Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

A few days ago, a friend mentioned on her blog that she was in search of the best cinnamon roll recipe. It just so happens that I was baking my favorite cinnamon rolls a few days later, so I promised her I would blog the recipe!
I thought the recipe was originally from my grandma, but my mom told me she actually got this recipe from a ward cookbook! The cinnamon rolls are so fluffy and soft, and the cinnamon frosting is really what makes these our favorite recipe! So here's the recipe, just for you, Janica (and anyone else who wants a fantastic cinnamon roll recipe)!

[I have to apologize for the pictures, they don't look as good as they taste—I actually made the dough a month ago and froze it. They were still good, but not as moist...probably in the freezer a little too long. Great to do if you're only feeding two people though!]

Cinnamon Rolls

2 1/2 cups warm water
2/3 cup powdered milk (I always use regular milk—skim)
1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp quick yeast
2 eggs, beaten
7 cups flour
1 cup mashed potatoes (instant is okay)

Combine water and yeast. Let stand, covered, for five minutes. Mix in milk, sugar, oil, salt and mashed potatoes. Beat in eggs. Add two cups of flour. Mix well. Keep adding the flour (not all at once or you risk the dough getting too dry) until the dough is dry enough to roll out.

Roll into a large rectangle 1/2–3/4" thick. Sprinkle with milk (or softened butter, but we like milk better—it makes them softer!) and spread with back of spoon (don't get it too wet). Sprinkle evenly with sugar and cinnamon all over. Roll lengthwise, away from you. Slice with thread or dental floss to 1 1/4" thick (a much easier way to slice than a knife! Just place a piece of floss under the dough, 1 1/4" from the end. Bring the floss up around the dough and cross it over the top, pulling and cutting through the dough!). Place on greased cookie sheet. Cover with waxed paper and let rise about 30 minutes. Bake at 375º for 20 minutes, until light brown.
Makes three to four dozen rolls, depending on size.

** Like I mentioned before, the rolls can be frozen before rising or baking. Place them on a greased cookie sheet and put them in the freezer for a couple hours, then pull them out and bag them. Let frozen rolls rise four or more hours or overnight (if eating for breakfast) before baking.

Cinnamon Frosting

4 Tbsp butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon (I always end up shaking more in)

Mix well with electric mixer, adding more sugar or milk to make right consistency. Spread on slightly warm rolls.

What to eat with cinnamon rolls? Liz Edmunds suggests chili!!
This opened up a whole new world of yum-ness to us!!! The flavor combination is absolutely fantastic! We love Liz's three-bean chili with these cinnamon rolls. I modify it a little: take out the sausage and add diced red pepper, carrots and celery to make it a little healthier!

What do you like to eat with cinnamon rolls?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ranch Oven Fries

So everyone probably knows how to make oven fries, but I tweaked a few things last time I made them and they turned out especially yummy! Here's my recipe!

Ranch Oven Fries

Russet potatoes
Ranch dressing seasoning mix
Garlic salt
Olive oil or cooking spray

Start a big pot of water boiling. Preheat oven to 425º. Scrub the potatoes (or peel if desired). Slice to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Place potatoes in boiling water and boil for about five to ten minutes. You don't want them too soft. Drain potatoes and put them on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Shake some ranch dressing seasoning on top (not too much, it's strong). Toss with your hands. Shake some garlic salt and pepper on top and toss again. Spread potatoes evenly around pan. Bake for ten minutes, then pull out and turn over with a spatula. Bake for five or ten more minutes, until tender and light golden.

These were really good! Boiling them before not only makes them cook faster, but makes the insides softer and more like a real french fry. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Kalua Pork and Tropical Ambrosia Salad

This meal couldn't be easier! If you've never tried Kalua pork, you're seriously missing out! Give this recipe a try!

Kalua Pork

Pork roast (any cut and size you cut fat use a leaner center cut pork loin. Trust me, it still turns out plenty tender with the way I cook it!)
Liquid Smoke
Sea Salt (or regular salt)

For the best tasting roast, long and low is the key! Start the night before. My roast had been in the freezer. Take it out, rock solid, and place it in a pan big enough (mine fit in a 9x9), lined with 2 sheets of foil, criss-crossing (does anyone know what I mean by this? You're going to wrap the roast in it...). Sprinkle salt and pepper all over it, both sides. Pour 1–4 Tbsp liquid smoke over roast (depending on how big your roast is—some recipes call for the whole bottle!). Wrap roast in foil, leaving some space between the roast and the foil. Put it in the oven at 200º–225º around 11:00pm (or before bed). In the morning you should smell a slight pork smell (if you don't, turn the oven up to 225º or 250º, depending on what time you're going to eat it). Cook for 14–18 hours (I'm just estimating...mine cooked for about 17). Pull out of the oven and shred with two forks (it comes apart SO easily!). Make sure to “taste test” a piece or two to see if it needs more s&p or liquid smoke.
Serve with rice! ENJOY!!

I also made this ambrosia salad like we had at my parents’ a few weeks ago...I had totally forgotten about this!

Tropical Ambrosia Salad

Canned mandarin oranges, drained
Canned pineapple, drained
Banana, sliced
(any other fruit you like)
Shredded sweetened coconut
Sour cream
Miniature marshmallows

Mix all ingredients together. There's really no measuring, just do proportions you like. It's best chilled a little before. Done and done!

As always, let us know how you like the food! :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

SECRET Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe: REVEALED!

Um,'re going to want this recipe! I made this recipe twice (almost a third time, but I controlled myself) in four days if that proves anything. Stew raved about them to his coworkers, and I thought it would be mean if they didn't get to try them! From what Stew says, they all LOVED them (and they didn't even turn out as good the second time). One of his coworkers asked for the recipe, and he emailed it to everyone, so I figured if they had the recipe, I might as well post it (I was going to keep it secret so only I could make the best chocolate chip cookies in the world—hehehe). ;)

This cookie might not look super spectacularly out of the ordinary, but trust is. By looking at the ingredients you might think, “What makes these cookies any different?” The secret, my friends, is all in the way you make them! And it makes all the difference in the world! I don't know if I'll ever make regular chocolate chip cookies again!

So here is the secret:

browned butter!

And here's the recipe.

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies


10 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 Tbsp butter (additional)
3/4 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet both times, but use whatever you like)
3/4 cup nuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 350º and prepare baking sheets with parchment or silpat baking liners (I highly recommend these—cookies keep their shape!).
In a skillet, melt the ten tablespoons of butter over medium high heat until dark brown and has a nutty aroma (make sure you go far enough, that's what gives it the amazing carmelly flavor!). This should take about three minutes. Keep the skillet moving throughout the process. Remove from heat and transfer butter into a large heatproof mixing bowl.
Add the four tablespoons butter, two sugars and salt, and mix until smooth. (Now begins the critical process) Add egg and beat for 30 seconds. Let rest for three minutes. Beat again for 30 seconds and let rest for three more minutes. Beat one last time, making sure the batter is smooth and shiny.

Mix in flour and vanilla with a spatula or wooden spoon (I didn't use my KitchenAid for this part). Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using).
Drop cookies on prepared sheets with a cookie scoop or spoon.
Bake for 9–11 minutes. Cool on sheet for five minutes (helps the texture).

You need to make these ASAP (you'll thank me). I promise, they're not difficult to make, and the extra time is SOOOOO worth it. And, you can just tell everyone the recipe is an old family secret. :)

Leave a comment and let us know how you like (or LOOOOVE) them!

: : Update (3-15-10) : : I've heard that some cookies are turning out flat! Check out our comments on this posting to see possible high altitude changes.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Liz's Chicken Tacos and Homemade Flour Tortillas

This is our absolute FAVORITE taco recipe! They are so easy to make, and they're juicy and filled with so many flavors: cilantro, garlic, tomatoes...and with homemade flour tortillas, these FAR surpass ANY taco you could buy ANYWHERE! Seriously! You've GOT to try these! The tortillas really are not hard to make at all, and you can do them while you're working on the filling. Hopefully you have Liz Edmunds' book (you can buy it here), cause I'm not giving you the taco recipe...but here's the tortilla recipe!

Homemade Flour Tortillas

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup very hot tap water

Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Stir with a whisk to combine dry ingredients. Add the oil and work into the flour with a fork or pastry cutter until the crumbs are the size of peas.
Pour in the hot water and stir with a fork until just combined. Dump mixture on a lightly floured surface and knead with your hands for three to four minutes to form a smooth dough (it will seem a little tough). Place back in the bowl, cover with a towel, and let rest for 15 minutes (while you cook the taco meat).
Divide the dough into eight balls, and roll between your palms to make as smooth as possible (I don't really do this). Place ball between two sheets of waxed paper, smash, and with a rolling pin, roll out each ball of dough into a thin circle about six to seven inches across.*
Preheat a dry cast iron or non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Place tortilla in the hot pan and cook for 30 seconds to a minute (they always cook faster toward the end), until small bubbles appear (or large bubbles—but DON'T pop or flatten the bubbles).Flip over and cook for another 30 seconds to a minute. [I actually just read the recipe right and it says to flip it over one last time and cook again and it will puff up and get the brown spots, but mine would probably burn if I did this!]I keep mine warm by placing a paper towel on a plate and one over the tortillas. Last night at Cafe Rio I noticed they keep theirs in a big plastic bag—this helps keep them soft and steamy. I want to try this next time.

*I always roll them out thinner than I think I should, because they seem to shrink/get thicker when they cook. Mine are usually so thin I can see the counter top through it.

Top with your favorite taco meat and toppings, let the juices run down your arm (yeah, that's happened...and I love it) and enjoy!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Thai Chicken in the Crock Pot

I wasn't expecting this recipe to taste too great (I mean, salsa and peanut butter?), but I thought I'd give it a shot. It definitely exceeded my expectations, and was in fact, delicious! Totally making this again!

Crock Pot Thai Chicken

4 chicken breasts
1 cup medium salsa
4 Tbsp peanut butter (I used reduced fat, creamy)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Combine salsa, peanut butter, lemon juice, soy sauce, and ginger in a mixing bowl. Place chicken in crock pot and spoon sauce over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 7–8 hours (I put mine in frozen and cooked it until we got home that night, about 10 hours), or high for 4–5 hours. Serve over rice, with extra sauce spooned over rice.

I know it sounds a little weird, but it really is good and totally works! Enjoy!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Food Nanny TV show!!

Hey all you foodies out there!! Tune in to BYUTV Thursday night to see Liz Edmunds' new TV show, The Food Nanny at 6:00pm and 8:00pm. You can also watch it online here. We LOVE her cookbook and if you don't know Liz, she is genuine, over-the-top and hilarious!
That's what we'll be doing tonight!