Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cheesy Potatoes My Way

Cheesy potatoes, funeral potatoes, call them what you want, are usually too dry and bland for my liking. I just amped it up a bit  and it turns out so much better. I served these at my sister's bridal shower and everyone loved them.

Cheesy Potatoes

1 package frozen shredded potatoes (got mine from fresh and easy, Ora Ida just seem to be too thick and mealy for this recipe)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups sour cream
1/3 cup green onions
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
 Pepper, to taste
2 sleeves Ritz crackers, coarsely smashed
5 Tbsp butter, melted

In a large bowl, mix cream of chicken soup, sour cream, green onions, cheese and pepper together. Mix in the potatoes and pour in a 9x13 casserole dish. Add smashed crackers on top and pour melted butter over the crackers.

Bake 30 minutes at 350.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

This is a slight adaptation of PW's cinnamon rolls. They turned out absoluely fantastic which is a good thing considering that I'll be serving them at my sister's bridal shower brunch this Saturday!

 2 cups Whole Milk
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil

1/2 cup Sugar
1 package Active Dry Yeast
4 cups (Plus 1 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Melted Butter
2 cups  Brown Sugar
Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup butter
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 lb powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk

Preparation Instructions

Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. Scald the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in package of Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 4 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.

After rising for at least an hour, add 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down).

When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle 1/4 cup melted butter over the dough. Now sprinkle 3/4 - 1 cup of brown sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.

Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a seven inch round foil cake or pie pan. Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans.

Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 375 degrees until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.

For the frosting, mix together all ingredients listed and stir well until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls. Go crazy and don’t skimp on the frosting.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pan Roasted Porkchops

This is one of the best pork chop recipes I have had thus far! You will definitely not be disappointed. It is adapted from Sweet Nicks blog. You can check it out for the original recipe. I tweaked it a bit to our liking and it turned out fabulous. I think the brining here is the key. They were so tender and juicy, and the sauce is to die for. Made it with mashed potatoes and the sauce also complemented them as well. I doubled the recipe (except the brine which was enough) and it fed 4 adults and 1 kiddo perfectly.

Pan Roasted Pork Chops

Pork Chop Brine:

Dissolve in one gallon resealable freezer bag:

2 cups hot water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 cups cold water

Dissolve salt and sugar in hot water. It helps to set the bag inside a large bowl in case of spills or leaks. Add ice water to brine. This will cool the brine quickly. Add the pork and seal the bag and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Just before cooking, dry chops to remove excess brine.

4 1″-thick brined rip chops
2 T olive oil
1 T garlic, chopped
1 T sweet onion, chopped
1 T shallot, chopped
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T Dijon mustard
1/4 cup half and half

Preheat oven to 425. Season chops with pepper. Dust lightly with flour. Brown one side in olive oil over medium-high heat. Turn, cover and roast in oven for about 10 minutes. While the chops are in the oven, in the same pan saute onion and shallot in the drippings over medium-high heat until soft. Add garlic. Deglaze pan with broth. Add sugar and vinegar; reduce by half. Add Dijon mustard and half and half and pork chops to pan and cook for 2 minutes each side until sauce is thick. Makes 1 cup sauce.

Perfect Pizza Crust

No, it's not just good pizza crust or even great pizza crust - this truly is the perfect pizza crust recipe. Given to me by one of my besties (she came over to make me pizza AND then cleaned my kitchen after I had the baby!) Amazing? Yes I think so :) I don't have a picture yet, it gets eaten too fast! But I am sure I will get one up soon because we are now pronouncing a weekly pizza day in our house. 
What are your favorite topping combinations? We love Canadian bacon with sweet onions and pineapple on one side and mushrooms with bell pepper and pepperoni on the other side and we are all happy campers! Ive also put motz. cheese folded under the crust... it is so great. I'd imagine this recipe would be great for bread sticks too.
Perfect Pizza Crust
Yeilds: 2 pizza crusts
2 cups warm water
4 1/2 tsp. active yeast
5 cups plus 3 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp kosher salt
Olive Oil
Preset your oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl mix the water, yeast and 2 Tbsp flour for a couple seconds. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp flour on top. Place aside for 2-3 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl wisk together the rest of the flour and salt. Pour in the yeast mixture and stir together until fully incorporated. Kneed the dough for a full five minutes on a floured surface adding a bit more flour if dough is too sticky. Split dough in half and put in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for 20 minutes.
Roll rested dough out to desired size. Poke the entire surface with a fork and then brush the entire surface lightly with olive oil. Place on pizza stone or a greased pizza pan. Add your favorite sauce, cheese and toppings. Bake for 20 minutes.
*A GREAT sauce is much easier then you think. Just pour tomato sauce on the uncooked dough, sprinkle with garlic salt and italian seasoning (i like to extend the seasonings out to the crust) Top with mozzarella cheese and toppings, and enjoy!

Perfect Pumpkin Cookies

Perfection in cookies in my book means that every time I walk through the kitchen I have to grab one as I pass by because I just can't get enough. So this to me is a perfect recipe. 
Don't ask me how many I ate.
Because I will lie to you and say "only 2...ish"
But you will know better then that.

  I made them twice this week and sent home the recipe with my sister who was visiting because her fiancee couldn't get enough of them! :) Perfect pillowy pumpkin perfection!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies adapted from Joy the Baker

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter flavored crisco
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup canned or fresh pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips, or any chip you like

Position a rack in the middle of the oven . Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Wisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together in a medium bowl for 30 seconds and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, mix the eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla until blended. Mix in the flour mixture to incorporate it. Mix in the chips.

Using an ice cream scoop with a 1/4-cup capacity, scoop mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least 2 1/2-inches apart. You could also simply use a 1/4-cup measuring cup if you don’t have a scoop. Use a thin metal spatula to smooth and flatten the rounds.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 10 minutes. Cool them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes.

Dust the cooled cookies lightly with powdered sugar. The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days.