Friday, July 31, 2009
What a week it has been! I made these last weekend and am just now getting around to sharing them with you all.
I haven't cooked since Tuesday which ended up being an evening of cooking for the monthly potluck at work the next day (I made those really good Stuffed Zucchini again, only I cooked them in the oven instead of the grill).
Wednesday Sir Sportsalot decided I needed a night out for 1/2 priced margaritas. I had 3. Lets put it this way...I was shit faced for under $10. (ya baby!! gotta love a cheap date!! even if you're married to her!!! hahahahaha)
Thursday, Natalie and I went out for a girls night in Hollywood (which will require a post of its own...you'll find out why later).
Anyways....Here I am, finally, ready to tell you about the yummiest cinnamon rolls ever! I don't think if I've ever actually had homemade cinnamon rolls. I do know I've never made them before. But let me tell you, they rock!!!
Where did I get this wonderful recipe you ask? Well, let me tell you. I very sweet lady that shall be called Magicalrain shared them with me. You can see her recipe here. She was also sweet enough to give me permission to blog about her recipe. Thank you very much Magicalrain!
These cinnamon rolls are called Special Cinnamon Rolls. I forgot to ask her why. I can guess though. Maybe its cuz they make soooo much that they should be for special occasions? When I started making them, I didn't really think much about the quantity. But when I was done, I was wondering...
What the hell am I going to do with 24 cinnamon rolls?!
Oh God! I'm going to gain 20 lbs TODAY!
Oh man...these are soooo damn good!
Do I have to share them????
But I was a good girl and I took them to work with me on Monday and shared.
I will post this recipe in 3 parts. The Dough. The filling. The glaze.
We shall begin with the dough. Don't pay attention to the raisins in the picture. They didn't belong there. Not sure how they got there. Guess they weren't paying attention to their cue and showed up for the wrong photo shoot. raisins...go figure. (Not the brightest fruit in the cupboard.)
2 packets or 4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110' - 115')
8 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 of a small packet of instant vanilla pudding mix*
2 cups warm milk (110' - 115')
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup butter, melted (wait until towards the end of the second rising time to melt the butter)
*The recipe called for 1 pack of 3/4 oz pudding mix but I couldn't find that packet. And my scale doesn't weigh that small of an amount so I improvised. Its just pudding so I knew it wouldn't "harm" the recipe if I was off on the measurement.
In a large mixing bowl (keeping in mind that 8 cups of flour will be mixed in this bowl), combine the yeast with the warm water. Let it dissolve for 5 minutes.
Add the flour, salt, pudding mix, milk, eggs, sugar and oil (basically everything except for the butter). and mix well but do not knead.
I started off with a spoon but quickly discarded that idea and just dove in. Go ahead, play with that ewwy goooey sticky mess. Just don't knead it.
Place the mess into a greased bowl, turning to make sure its all greased up....
Cover and let rise, in a warm place until it has doubled in size. Should take about an hour.
(meanwhile, watch a bit of Paula Deen or Rachael Ray or something. Or read blogs)
Its also probably a good time to mix up ......
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped pecans
Combine all the filling ingredients and try not to be tempted to stuff it into your face by the handful.
Lets see....is the dough done yet?
hmmm....I don't think so. Lets give it 15 more minutes.
waiting waiting waiting....peak...
Oh ya...thats goooooood!
Punch down the dough........
Ok, honestly....how many of you totally love doing that?!! except now, it's kinda looking like my belly and I just punched myself in the belly button.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface (this is why I totally love my granite counter tops!!). Divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a 12" x 8" rectangle.
Now take that melted butter and brush each of the rectangles with it. Sprinkle the filling over the dough....
Roll each rectangle into a log, along the long side. Pinch the seam tightly to seal
Slice each log into 12 rolls and place onto 2 greased 9" x 13" baking pans.
Cover and let rise till nearly doubled....about 45 minutes.
Check these babies out.....
Its getting exciting now... I mean, I've been working on these suckers for over 2 hrs now! whew!
Bake (yeah!!!! finally!!!) in a 350' oven for 25 - 30 minutes or until nice and golden brown.....
Did you have any idea that these would be so BIG??? I certainly didn't. I mean, its as big as my hand!!!! (somehow, this is sounding vaguely familiar but I don't think it has anything to do with cinnamon rolls)
And now for the piece de resistance.....
Monday, July 27, 2009
Yep...this week, I had to alter the norm. We were invited to a 25th Wedding Anniversary party on Sunday and rather than give up my Salubriousness, I decided to hold it a day early.
Btw...we had an awesome time at the party. They served margs out of a water dispenser, so how could I not totally enjoy that, right?
This week I chose another recipe out of my new Pillsbury Fast & Healthy Cookbook titled Pork and Pineapple Stir-Fry. It was the perfect choice. My youngest child refuses to eat pork (even bacon.....whats up with that???) and since she's out of town I think the family should just pork up while we can.
Hamming it up would probably be a lot more fun, but the ole husband is anything but a ham.
1 1/2 cups uncooked instant rice (fast wasn't an issue so I just used regular rice.)
4 tablespoons packed brown sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I ground mine...not into choking and gasping on super hot pepper seeds)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1 20 oz can pineapple chunks, drained, 2 tablespoons liquid reserved
3/4 lb boneless, lean pork, cut into think bite size strips
1 16 oz bag shredded cabbage w/carrots (coleslaw mix)
Cook the rice according to the package directions.
In a small bowl mix 3 tablespoons of the brown sugar, the cornstarch, ginger, pepper flakes, water, soy sauce and reserved pineapple liquid. Set aside.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. (I don't own a non stick skillet. Therefore I added a small amount of olive oil to the pan.) Add pineapple chunks and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.
Cook 5 minutes, turning chunks occasionally.
Turning all those chunks of pineapple was giving my hand a cramp. I recommend buying the pineapple rings, browning them and then cut those up into chunks. It would be sooo much easier.
But either way....YUM!!! I think this is the first time I've ever had browned pineapple.
Remove pineapple from your skillet and set aside.
In the same skillet, cook and stir pork over medium - high heat for 2 minutes
I think I made a tiny mistake. I cut the pork into chunks instead of the "requested" thin strips and it took a little longer to cook. O'well, live and learn.
Add coleslaw mix.......ooooh, ya it's a lot....
But don't worry, it will cook down. Cook and stir 3 - 6 minutes or until pork is no longer pink in the center and the cabbage is tender....(crisp tender would be best so cook the least amount of time as you safely can while making sure the pork is cooked).
Add the pineapple to the mix
Stir the cornstarch mix really really well (all that starch likes to settle in the bottom of the bowl) and then add it to the mix...
Cook and stir for about 3 minutes or until pork is glaze and sauce is slightly thickened. (it never thickens as much as you think it should so just give up before everything is over cooked...trust me.) If you want it thicker, you should adjust the cornstarch in the recipe...which might not be a bad idea.
Serve over rice.
Now...I wish I hadn't cooked it so much because the cabbage wasn't as crispy as I'd have liked it. Hell, from this pic, you can't even tell the cabbage is there. It is...I swear!! It just absorbed some of that sauce or something.
Anyways, I think bean sprouts would've been a great addition, without jeopardizing the healthiness or calories. I would've love to have added a little sesame oil. That would've added some GREAT flavor, which this dish was lacking, but I don't know how much it would affect the nutritional value. It did have some heat to it. That helped. But I've had and made enough sweet and sour stir-fry dishes to know that this dish needs some help.
It was fast. It was easy. And it was healthy. So I can't complain too much.
Here are the stats:
Makes 4 servings
Calories from Fat; 70
Total Fat; 7 g
Saturated Fat; 2.5 g
Trans Fat; 0 g
Cholesterol; 55 mg
Sodium; 750 mg (is it me or does that seem a little high? yikes...didnt notice that one until just now. Maybe some of that lite soy sauce would be a better choice next time)
Total Carbs; 69 g
Saturday, July 25, 2009
I'm what you might call....grill challenged. I don't know what it is about grilling (and I'm talking about charcoal grilling, here) but I have a very hard time doing it. I think the first time I grilled steaks, I did exactly what my husband told me to do (then he left) and poof....those suckers were up in flames. I considered adding them to the bag of coals for next time.
I guess I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around the whole thing. Its about as different from kitchen cooking as the stove is from the microwave. I dunno...I'll find a mental box to put it in someday.
Anyways....the other night my husband wasn't going to be home but I had my heart set on bbq steaks and stuffed zucchini. So Sir Sportsalot got the grill all ready and alls I had to do was light the chimney starter thingy and go from there.
Wait, wait wait wait....First things first.....a happy cook makes for a happy meal, no?
That day I got something new! Don't you just love all the fun things they have at Costco? Now if I had gone by myself, I would've looked, wished, pined...and walked away. But because Sir Sportsalot was with me, he decided it was something I really needed and hey, it was only $29.99.....And now I have my very own really cool Margarita Pitcher with 6 awesome matching margarita glasses!!! Wooo hooooo
Of course Sir Sportsalot broke that baby open the minute we got in the door and proceeded to mix up a fresh homemade batch of margaritas (another recipe from his co-workers). No marg mix, just tequila, fresh lime juice, cointreau and fine sugar. Holy cow, I don't know what these co-workers were trying to do, but that shit is strong and seriously kicked my butt!
Hmm...maybe thats why I had my first ever successful BBQ, I was too lit up to care.
Omg....light bulb moment!!! Now I totally get it! Its all about the happy cook!! Thats why these guys start popping the beer open as soon as the charcoal is dragged out. DOH!!!
Ok....before I even thought about lighting the grill, I had to tackle the stuffed zucchini. Now I got this recipe from another foodie blogger that I follow, Ciao Chow Linda. As soon as I saw her stuffed zucchini, I just knew I had to try them.....YUM! I pretty much did as she instructed. I only made a couple of slight ingredient changes, both by choice and by availability, and of course cooked them on the grill instead of the oven...(except for the very end but thats for later).
6 medium to small zucchini (I used the mediterranean zucchini this time)
2 tablespoons chopped onions, or to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 oz sliced crimini mushrooms
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 sliced roma tomatoes
1 cup of cooked rice
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
First I trimmed the stems from the zucchini and parboiled them for about 5 minutes. The outside of the zucchini is slightly cooked and the inside is still hard.
I cut the zucchini in half, length wise so they were like little canoes....
Then took a small paring knife and cut around the edge, leaving a small amount of the zucchini along the skin. I cut the the middle into chunk sized pieces and scooped the chunks out with a small spoon.
I only used the insides of 4 of the zucchini. I saved the insides of the other 2 for something later....soup or something. I dunno...its in the freezer. Once I had finished making the stuffing I had too much for only 4 zucchini as the recipe had originally called for. Does that make sense? So basically I boiled 6 zucchini, scooped all of them, used the insides of 4 of them and stuffed all 6. K....lets continue......
Heat up some olive oil in a skillet and saute the onion, garlic, mushroom and zucchini chunks until cooked through. (I guess I forgot to take a picture at this point, or I figured you knew how to saute, or we could just blame it on the margs....take your pick).
Once cooked through, season with salt and pepper. Don't do it before hand, cuz the salt will release too much moisture. Remove from heat.
Add the tomatoes, rice, egg, parsley, 1/2 of the parmesan cheese and all of the mozzarella cheese.
Mix well and then start stuffing away....
I lined an old casserole dish with tin foil...lined up my stuffed zucchini then topped them with the remaining parmesan cheese. Depending on how heavy handed you are with cheese, you might find yourself shredding more.
Now for those coals....
I lit that little bit of newspaper sticking out the bottom...and waited
hmmm....where there's smoke, there's fire so I must be doing something right....
Wooo hooo....its up in flames.....I'm off to a good start. YAY!!!
I think I waited for about 12 minutes (thats what Sir Sportsalot told me to do) then I dumped the coals out
I think that red glow is a good sign....time to put the grate in place, let it heat up a bit so's I can scrape it (more Sir Sportsalot instructions) and then get the zucchini pan
I put the lid on and let it sit in there for about 45 minutes.
Mean while, back in the kitchen, it was time to get the rib-eye steaks ready
I rubbed in some fresh ground pepper and a bit of creole seasoning.....drizzled a small amount of olive oil, rubbed some more and repeated on the other side. Those babies were ready for the Q....
At that point, I saw that the zucchini weren't cooking the way I thought. I think I had made a mistake by partially closing the vent in the bbq lid (didn't know at the time that it would decrease the cooking heat)...so I ran in the house and cranked up the oven to broil. I had a plan and a mission.....these zucchinis needed some top heat to get that cheese all nice and brown. It only took a couple of minutes to achieve my purpose
Flip the steaks....
Wait a few more minutes......and those babies were looking mmmm mmmmmm good!!!
Move over Sir Sportsalot....I think you've created a monster!! (que evil laugh) muuuaaahh hhhaaaa haaa haaaa