Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sandwich Rolls


Each holiday, I have been experimenting with different roll recipes.  Here is one I tried out yesterday for Easter.  It was a "stiff" roll recipe.  The roll definitely kept its shape, I am thinking from the potato flakes in the ingredient list.  I was thinking this roll recipe would be great for sandwiches or sliders, but not if you want a super soft, delicate roll.  They sliced up beautifully.


12 C bread flour (I didn't use this much I don't think....I lost count)
3 1/2 TBS yeast
1 1/2 TBSP salt
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C oil
4 C hot water
1 C powdered milk
1 C potato flakes

In a measuring cup, mix yeast and 1 TBSP of the sugar.  Let sit until the mixture becomes foamy, about 5 minutes.  In a mixing bowl, add 4 C flour, salt, powdered milk, potato flakes and sugar.  Mix well.  While the mixer is on, slowly add the foamy yeast water.  Add oil, mix well.  Gradually add 7-9 C more flour while kneading with bread hook till dough begins to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl and isn't sticky.  After adding last cup of flour, knead for about 7 minutes.  Shape into desired shapes or loaves, rise until almost double.  Large loaves bake 350 about 32 minutes.  Don't preheat oven.  If you want to preheat oven, bake at 325 for 30 minutes.  When I was baking the rolls, I believe they baked at 325 for 25 minutes.

Recipe Source:  An old recipe I found in a stack ;)
Photo Source: Karla Akins

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Homemade Stir Fry Sauce

One thing I am learning in the cooking world is that making your own sauces is not as hard as I originally thought it was AND its also tastes WAYYY better than anything you can find in a bottle (from my experience).  You also cut out all of the extra unnecessary preservatives.  Yes, it does take more time to stir together 3 ingredients than it does to open a bottle, but the money AND taste savings are well worth it.  I hope to be able to find more stir fry sauce recipes and will post them here.  For now, this is one that my kids love (because its sweet) and oh so easy.



Stir Fry Sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar


Mix all ingredients and cook with stir fry veggies.  This sauce is thin and sweet.  You can double, triple, etc the amounts as needed.


Recipe Source:  Recipezaar.com
Picture Source: Stir Fry Sauces


Shoyu Chicken




Since I live in Hawaii, I figure I better learn how to make a little local food every once in awhile.  This chicken is a staple here.  Its great because this chicken recipe does not need to be marinated ahead of time from what I hear, but I did, just to be on the safe side.  :)  Many people boil the chicken in the sauce for 30-45 minutes, turning every once in awhile.  I baked the chicken in the oven with the directions below:

Ingredients:
1 5lb box chicken thighs, thawed
1 C shoyu (soy sauce)
1 C sugar
5 cloves garlic
3 half inch chunks ginger (I used dried)

Mix the shoyu and sugar. Add the garlic and chunks of ginger together in a bowl.  Stir it until the sugar dissolves. Mush the ginger and the garlic cloves with the back of a table knife so that the flavor can comes out of them, before you add them to the sauce. 

Put the chicken thighs (defrosted) in a pan that is deep enough that the juices won't boil over the side, and bake the chicken at 350 degrees, covered, for about 1 hour. Check the chicken to see if it is done - it should be just done. Do not over cook the chicken or it will be tough. If the chicken needs a little more time put it back in the oven and check it again in 15 minutes. The chicken should have turned white and there should be no blood near the bone (if you are using thighs that have bones in them). 


Some people use boneless - skinless thighs, some people like thighs with the skin and bone on. It doesn't matter which type you use, but I think thighs are the best thing to use for shoyu chicken. I also think it is good to cook the chicken a little ahead of time so that it can reabsorb the flavor of the sauce after it has cooked. So if I wanted chicken to be ready to eat at 5pm, I'd stick it in the oven at 3pm so that I would have time to cook it a little longer if needed and also so it could cool in the sauce for a while before serving it.

If you like the taste of a thicker sauce you can take the sauce out of the pan, after the chicken has cooked, and thicken it in a sauce pan with some corn starch and then pour the sauce back on the chicken.

Recipe Source: Benita C, my friend
Picture Source: Kuki's Kookbook

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Teriyaki Meatballs Crockpot Style




This is a fast, easy, versatile recipe for lots of occasions.  The original recipe called for 3 lbs frozen, precooked meatballs from the store.  Eh, that would be ok in a pinch or if you were wanting to serve like 100 meatballs for a party, but making meatballs is so easy and tastes a whole lot better than the prepackaged kinds.  I am still looking for a great meatball recipe so I am not posting a recipe for them on this post quite yet. 


*If using pre-cooked meatballs, place them in the crockpot and cover in sauce (see recipe below).  If using meatballs made from scratch, bake them in the oven according to recipe instructions and place cooked meatballs in crockpot, add sauce and keep warm until ready to serve. 

Sauce Ingredients:

1 (13.25 oz) can pineapple chunks in juice
2 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 C brown sugar
2 TBSP corn starch


Directions:
1.  Open pineapple can and drain juice into a saucepan.  Place pineapple aside.  Over medium heat, stir in brown sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce and lemon juice until the sugar and cornstarch dissolves. 

2.  Bring the mixture to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, about 10 minutes. 

3.  Place *cooked meatballs* into slow cooker crock pot.  Pour pineapples and sauce mixture over meatballs.  Feel free to add in other veggies such as sliced peppers, onions and broccoli.

4.  Cook on medium for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. 

Note:  When I made this recipe, I cooked the meatballs and sauce earlier in the day, say 2pm.  I placed all ingredients in the crockpot and added a lot of veggies like cut up peppers, onions and broccoli.  Even though the meatballs were cooked, I put the crockpot settings to low for an additional 2 to 3 hours so it cooked up the veggies to perfection.  This recipe is high in sugar from the sauce, but you can use turkey meatballs to make the protein portion healthier and add in tons of veggies and it makes this meal pretty balanced in my opinion.  My kids ate it too, which is a huge plus!!

Recipe Source: All Recipes
Picture Source: Cook Talk Love


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Brown Butter Banana Bars



I got this recipe from my friend Rachelle over at To Die For Recipes.  Oh man, they are good.  Not healthy, but wow, this frosting is incredible.  The browned butter gives it a delicious flavor.  My kids said they liked them as much as my Peanut Butter Bars.  Say what?!  They would be great for any occasion as well.  Rachelle says you can halve the recipe, no problem.

Ingredients:

BANANA BARS:

1 1/2 C sugar
1 C sour cream
2 eggs
1/2 C butter, softened
1 3/4 C mashed, ripe bananas (about 3-4 bananas)
2 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)


BROWN BUTTER FROSTING:

1/2  C butter
4 C powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 TBSP milk
1/4-1/2 tsp salt


1. Heat oven to 330F. Grease a 15x10-inch jelly roll pan. For the bars, in a large bowl, beat together sugar, sour cream, butter, and eggs until creamy. Blend in bananas and vanilla extract. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and blend for 1 minute. Stir in walnuts. 



2. Spread batter evenly into pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.


3. Meanwhile, for frosting, heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until boiling. Let the butter turn a delicate brown and remove from heat immediately.


4. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, salt and milk. Whisk together until smooth (it should be thicker than a glaze but thinner than frosting). Using a spatula, spread the brown butter frosting over the warm bars (the frosting will be easier to spread while the bars are still warm).




Side note:  My frosting needed extra milk.  It was pretty thick without it.  I will keep experimenting, as I was letting my daughter help stir in the powdered sugar and it was taking her awhile.  I wonder if this made a difference?

Recipe Source:  To Die For Recipes
Picture Source: Many Makings

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies-Updated!




I just replaced a previous "Best Chocolate Chip Cookie" recipe with this one.  I didn't compare the two recipes, but I know they were similar.  This recipe turns out PERFECT.....so perfect they looked like something you would buy at Mrs. Fields Cookies, plus they are delicious.  My husband's only complaint was that there were a bit too many chocolate chips....say what?!  They are perfect!  So, this is my new go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Hooray!  As a side note, the previous recipe can be found here from The On Call Cook.  I lived in a very dry climate and The On Call Cook's recipe baked up great!  Now I live in a very humid climate, that particular recipe hasn't turned out as well for me.  Thanks to Mel's Kitchen Cafe, I have a new go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe that turns out perfect.  

Ingredients
  • 2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour (about 10 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar (7 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet or milk chocolate chips

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make sure an oven rack is in the center of the oven.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until well mixed. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla. Mix well until the batter has lightened slightly in color, about 2 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and chocolate chips at the same time. Mix until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Form dough into tablespoonful-sized balls and place on parchment or silpat-lined cookie sheets. Frozen cookie dough can be stored for up to 2 months in the freezer.
  5. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until the edges are set and just lightly browned (keeping in mind that ovens can vary in temperature so use your best judgment). Don't overbake or else the cookies will be tough and hard. If baking frozen cookie dough, add 1 to 2 minutes onto the baking time. Store the baked cookies in an airtight container (or baked cookies can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months).

Mel's baking tips:  I've had great success baking these cookies at 325 degrees for 13-ish minutes or 350 degrees for about 11 minutes (each oven will vary in time). Basically, do what you have the time and patience for. I usually stick with 350 because it is easier to remember and two minutes faster. Time is money, right??

For me, baking at 350 for 13 minutes was perfect.  

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Photo Source: here

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Shells with Easy Pesto & Peas

This recipe is easy and delicious.  You can make your own pesto from scratch or I like to buy the refrigerated version from Costco.  Its a great vegetarian meal or you could throw chicken in as well.


Saute 3-5 minutes:
2 TBS butter
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1/2 onion, diced
salt to taste

Add in:
1 bag shells, cooked to package directions and drained

Add and stir over low heat until  heated through :
1/2 jar Pesto
1/2 bag frozen peas

sprinkle top with parmesan cheese if desired


To make your own Pesto:
2 medium garlic cloves or more to taste
4 c fresh basil leaves
4 TBS pinenuts
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste

With blades running in food processor, drop in garlic and mince.  Add basil leaves and process until finely chopped.  Add pine nuts until finely chopped.  Drizzle in olive oil in a fine stream until a thick paste forms.

Recipe Source, altered by Mel: The American Vegetarian Cookbook from the Fit For Life Kitchen by Marilyn Diamond
Picture Source: Cook Smart