Crescent Rolls

I. Love. Bread. Of all kinds.

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I don’t like chemicals in bread, so when I saw this recipe for crescents, I decided to give it a go…I’d still been buying cans of rolls on occasion because they’re so easy, but now that I’ve made these, I won’t go back.

Yes…it takes some time to make them. BUT, one batch makes a whole lotta rolls. I baked all of them and froze the leftovers after they cooled, and they are absolutely delicious thawed and reheated, too.

I made mine a little smaller than the original recipe, which is good for portion size and for the number you’ll yield. My other changes from the original: I needed about 5 1/2 cups of flour to get to the point of the dough not being really wet and sticky. It was still a very soft dough, so I’m not sure why there was a difference (and I was nervous about having used so much), but they turned out perfect. The only other thing was that I didn’t use the Tbl of oil to coat the bowl…it’s just not necessary. And, I found the second rising time to be unnecessary, which speeds up this whole process considerably.

2 c warm water
2/3 c nonfat dry milk powder
2 Tbsp active dry yeast
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp salt
1/2 c butter
1 egg
4 1/2 – 5 1/2 c all purpose flour

In a Kitchenaid mixing bowl, stir in warm water and nonfat dry milk powder until it dissolves. Add yeast, then sugar, salt, butter, egg, and 2 cups of flour.

Mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then 2 minutes at medium speed.

Add 2 more cups of flour, mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then 2 minutes at medium speed. (You can switch your attachment to the dough hook at this point for easier mixing.)

Add 1/2 cup flour again, mixing on low speed until wet, then 2 minutes at medium speed. You can add an additional 1/2 – 1 c if your dough is still too wet.

Dough should be soft, not overly sticky, and not stiff.

Scrape the dough off the sides of the bowl.

Spray some plastic wrap with non-stick oil and place the plastic over the bowl. Allow it to rise in a warm place until the dough doubles in size and rises to the top of the bowl.

Once the dough has risen, place your dough on a flat floured surface, then divide the dough in thirds. Roll 1/3 of the dough into a circular shape, and using a pizza cutter, trim around the edges to make it into a circle (unless you are a magical fairy, there’s no way you’re going to roll this into a perfect circle). You may be able to use the scraps to make another roll or 2, so don’t throw it out.

Cut the dough into 16 pieces, like you would a pizza. Begin to roll the slice of dough in, starting from the outside. Tuck the small point under the roll.

Place on parchment-lined or Silpat-lined baking sheets.

Bake at 375 F for 15-20 minutes or until golden-brown.

If you’re freezing them, just let them cool completely before putting in a ziploc bag!

Slimmed-Down Sweet Potato Casserole

From Prevention magazine.  These were really good per the adults. The rest of the family’s response was: 2 “that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” and 1 gag-it-down-with-milk-so-he-can-have-dessert.

4 medium sweet potatoes, washed, peeled, and and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 c pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
1/4 c chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; toss to coat the potato pieces. Place mixture in 13″ x 9″ baking dish, covered with foil (otherwise they will dry out). Roast until fork-tender, about 40 minutes. Serves 4.

You’ll probably want to salt them a bit (I took the salt out of the recipe prep portion).

Approximately 235 calories/serving.

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Oops. Forgot to take a pic of them while still in the roasting pan! Here are the leftovers.

Layered Greek Dip

I had this at a party a long time ago and forgot to post it! It was so delicious I had trouble not just standing at the plate and continuously eating it.

Original here; I just removed olives (don’t like ’em).

It’s SUPER simple to put together. Just layer the following:

Hummus (I used Sabra’s Roasted Garlic)
Crumbled Feta
Diced tomato
Diced cucumber

Serve with pita chips. Seriously, you’ll want to eat this for your dinner instead of as an appetizer!

Chipotle Copycat Corn Salsa

I tore a recipe out of the Food Network Magazine a long time and hadn’t tried it until just now. It’s delicious!

I couldn’t find a poblano at the store, so I had to skip it and instead used a little bit more jalapeno and instead of regular frozen corn, I used Trader Joe’s Roasted Corn (in the frozen section) for the roasted flavor that was missing from the poblano.

The best part? This whole bowl has only 200 calories or so the way I prepared it!

1/2 small poblano chile pepper, seeded
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears), or 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar

IF USING A POBLANO: Preheat a grill to medium high. Brush the poblano with 1 teaspoon olive oil and grill, skin-side down, until charred but still firm, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly; peel and finely chop.

If using fresh corn, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes; drain.

Mix the corn (if using frozen, thaw it and then add it here), poblano, jalapeno, cilantro and red onion in a bowl. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil, the lime juice, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Serve with chips or on tacos.

Gorgonzola Garlic Bread

If you like gorgonzola, this is a must-make, no question about it.

Another successful recipe from Plain Chicken!

The only change I’ve made is cutting back the butter a little bit. Yes, yes, butter is delicious. But, it’s also evil, and I think with the creaminess of the melted cheese, you’ll not miss it.

2 Tbl butter, softened
1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese
1-2 garlic cloves, minced (I just run them through the press…use as much or as little as you’d like!)
1/2 tsp dried parsley
black pepper
1 (16oz) loaf Italian bread
Parmesan cheese

Preheat broiler.

Slice bread in half lengthwise.

Cream the butter with the gorgonzola cheese. Mince garlic and add to cheese mixture. Add chopped parsley, and season with pepper. Spread cheese mixture on each half of bread. Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese.

Place bread under the broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly, which only takes a couple of minutes. Cut into slices and serve.

Chopped Dinner: Take 4

Whew…this challenge is finally over! No more creative cooking for a little while 🙂

Dinner #4 in the Chopped challenge was Matt’s. His list was longer (because he was the oldest? I dunno.) but overall, pretty easy to work with AND gave me the excuse to try three new recipes!

Ok, so Matt’s ingredient list (which I accidentally leaked for those of you with eagle eyes last week!) was this:

So for the brie, I made these little Baked Brie Bites that were in puff pastry. Simple to make, and they were ok, but I think that Matt and I both prefer to eat brie bites the way I’ve made them in the past, which is these little brie cups. I’m thinking next time I make those for company, I’ll make some with pepper jelly and some with sweet jelly. I just used what I had on hand, which was strawberry jam, and the flavor was good, but so much jam baked out of the inside even though I felt like I sealed them well that the flavor was lost.

However, Luke and Jack Henry loved them and ate a few each, and Bennett had one and thought it was fine.

Moving on to dinner, which was Crash Hot Sweet Potatoes and Garlic Gorgonzola Steak. Oh. My. Goodness. Some of the best food I think I’ve ever made.

I’m not a huge sweet potato fan…not something I’d usually crave, but these were amazing (for the kids, I just used salt and pepper instead of the spice blend). Follow her instructions and you will not be disappointed. I did parboil the potatoes even though mine were fresh, but then they accidentally got left boiling too long when Jack Henry wandered into the kitchen with a fake sore throat and I was distracted away from my job for 5 minutes. Look at this pic compared to the original, and you’ll see what I mean…they fell apart but it mattered not…they were delicious.

The only change I’ll make is cutting my slices of sweet potatoes slightly smaller, about an inch tall. And I substituted regular chile powder for New Mexico chile powder…I don’t know the difference, but I’m thinking it can’t matter much in this recipe. And for the sake of using cashews in dinner per the Chopped list, I chopped them up finely and put the on each side of the potatoes with the spices. But, it really didn’t add anything, and I won’t do it again. (Bennett, however, was elated to see a can of cashews and put those on his plate instead.)

On to the steak. I did not buy ribeye as Matt requested; I got strip steaks, because I found a huge package of them on sale and they were better than ribeye, so I figured he wouldn’t complain. Plus, we almost never grill steaks, and we truly NEVER share with our kids, so this was a special dinner. Luke likes steak; the other two are fine with it, but seriously they’d rather have chicken or a hot dog, so it pains me to hear “how many bites of this do I have to eat?”

I seasoned all of the steaks as recommended in the recipe: rubbing a cut garlic clove over the steaks, drizzling with a tiny bit of oil (I used olive oil), and then sprinkling generously with salt and pepper. Next time, I’ll skip rubbing a garlic clove on them…for me, at least, it did nothing to give garlic flavor. I’ll use garlic salt and black pepper and omit the regular salt so we actually get some garlic flavor.

After that, Matt grilled them to close to medium for me, and as soon as he got them inside, I melted a very small amount of butter on each, and put gorgonzola on Matt’s and my steak and covered them with foil for a few minutes to help the cheese melt. It was recommended that you do this step ON the grill, but it was already dark out, and I was picturing it being too much hassle with falling cheese, etc. Know, though, that tenting foil over the steak will make it continue to cook, so that you don’t accidentally overcook your steaks.

Anyway, it worked for us to put the toppings on inside, off the grill. I topped the gorgonzola ones with the french fried onions, and that was it. Seriously, one of the best steaks I’ve ever had.

The leftovers tonight were great, too.

So there you have it! The kids commented that I didn’t get Chopped on any of my meals, so we need to do something harder next time.

How to Make Roasted Garlic

OK, so during our lots o’ time at home together with my boys being sick, we’ve been watching a LOT of the Food Network. Yesterday afternoon, after the boys all said “hey y’all” several times with Paula Deen, they left the room to play something and I half-watched while making headbands.

It was an old episode where Paula makes Zesty Roasted Garlic Bread and lasagne. And she makes a lasagne sandwich out of a half-loaf of bread…I literally watched this with my mouth hanging open, aghast at what I was watching…you won’t believe the last 15 seconds of this video:

Right.

Ok. Moving on.

I decided after watching, though, that I did want to roast my own garlic, and remembered that I’d pinned a how-to to Pinterest via For the Love of Cooking a few weeks ago. I checked both recipes, and decided on this combination for my first try:

1 head of garlic
1 tsp olive oil
sea salt

Preheat oven to 400. Cut the tops off all the heads of the cloves of garlic (but leave it all together – no need to separate the cloves)…doesn’t have to be perfect, and you can leave the papery skin on it, too.

Set the head of garlic on a small square of foil that’s big enough to close around the head. Drizzle olive oil over the top, sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and close up the packet.

Put the foil-wrapped garlic on a cookie sheet, and bake for 30 minutes.

Let it cool slightly, and you should just be able to squeeze the roasted garlic from the head and into a bowl.

this was just one clove that i pulled away, but you really don't need to do that...just squeeze the whole head of garlic and all of the delicious, roasted goodness comes right out!

 

Smash it up.

I mixed mine with half a stick of softened butter (not two sticks, as Paula suggests), about a tablespoon or a little more of parsley flakes (I didn’t have fresh), a little bit of fresh ground pepper, and a little shake of dried basil. I didn’t add salt because I used salted butter, so I think that’s enough.

I just stuck this in the fridge to use in the future. It’ll be great on french bread (just broil it for a minute or two to get it melty and the edges crispy), and I’m even thinking that when I make eggs tonight for dinner, I’ll use just a bit of it either to season the pan or butter toast for egg and cheese sandwiches.

I’ll post more uses for roasted garlic as I try out new recipes!

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