Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls - Paula Deen Style

It must be a sin.
It felt so wrong but oh so right. 
It had to be sin. 
Yep, using that much butter has to be breaking one of the 10 Commandments or something. 
No, I know... it is one of the 7 deadly sins, Gluttony. Yep it must fit in there. 

I feel soooo much better now that I have confessed. ;)

Now I know all the words below are gonna discourage you from making these... but seriously... it is so simple! :) :) :) It took me no time at all. I whipped up 2 batches and refrigerated them overnight BEFORE letting them rise the second time.  That way they are warm and fresh in the morn! 

***After taking them out of the fridge in the morning, let them rise again. This may take a while, so take them out early enough. Then just pop in the oven. Simple! ***

Here is the recipe straight from Or click here. NOTE: only bake for about 23 minutes, not the 30 that it says on FN



  • 1/4-ounce package yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup scalded milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter or shortening
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour


  • 1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup sugar, plus more for pan
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup raisinswalnuts, or pecans, optional



Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. In a large bowl mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Place in well-greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
When doubled in size, punch down dough. Roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle. Spread melted butter all over dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins if desired. Beginning at the 15-inch side, role up dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12 to 15 slices.
Coat the bottom of baking pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake for about 23minutes or until nicely browned.
Meanwhile, mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Money Saving Tips (freezing bulk meat)

One of the ways that I save money is basing my grocery list off the sales in the circular. I rarely ever buy something that is not on sale, or that I do not have a coupon for. The exception to that rule is milk and bread. I buy that either way.
I ONLY buy meat if it on sale. Ever. End of story. Meat is always on sale somewhere. There is never a reason to pay full price. I never pay more than 1.99/pound for boneless/skinless chicken breast. In fact, I usually only pay 1.59-1.79/pound. (It runs 3.29-3.69/pound when it is full price) When a store has them on sale, I buy whatever will fit in my freezer. We can usually go 2-3 months without buying chicken. Like I have mentioned before, we eat chicken at least 5 times a week. I can get 2 meals out of one pack of chicken which usually cost less than $8.00 a full pack.

This week, 85/15 ground beef was on sale for 2.59/pound. They grind it fresh daily at my grocery store, so I was able to buy a 7.5 pound bag. I separated into 1 pound packages and froze it.  I reserved about 3 pounds and made meatballs, browned them and froze them as well.

Here is how I freeze the meat.
Lay out a piece of freezer paper with the shiny side UP. Place meat in the center. ( I eyeballed what I think is about 1 pound of meat.)
Begin folding the paper like you are wrapping a present. 
You can use a piece of tape to secure the seams if it makes ya feel better. I did, but it's not pictured. 
Use a sharpie to mark a freezer bag with the DATE, WHAT YOU ARE FREEZING and HOW MUCH OF IT.  

Slide your meat into the freezer bag. Press all the air out of it and seal it shut. Stick it in the freezer. 
***Important: Remember it is in there! ;)***

Friday, August 19, 2011

Chile Verde (and why I hate cilantro)

I LOATHE cilantro. I absolutely hate it. I think it is the most vile thing. It tastes like soap and kerosene. I have a very unpleasant reaction if I taste it. I automatically spit it out, gag, choke, avoid puking right there in the restaurant. (I should puke right there... they deserve for defiling their beautiful food with that repulsive little green leaf.
This is important to this post. Why you ask? Well friends, it is because I made Chile Verde for the very first time. An authentic Chile Verde will contain about 1/2 bunch of cilantro. But seeing how I have a natural aversion to that crap herb, this recipe will NOT contain it. If you like cilantro *gag* then you can feel free to add it in when you process the peppers and tomatillos in the food processor.  
You will find a small science/genetics lesson... about cilantro, which is quite interesting, if you desire to educate yourself on the particulars of it in the link at the end of this post. :)
Now, for the real reason we are here. Chile Verde. Amazingness. This is basically pork simmered in a green sauce made with tomatillos and peppers. So freaking good. 

Click this link to see a tomatillo in a husk ( which is how they would be found in the produce section of your grocery store.)

Chile Verde
3 pounds cubed pork stew meat ( bought a Boston Butt and chunked it)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 cups chicken broth
3-4 fresh poblano chile peppers, seeded 
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded 
1 yellow bell peppers, seeded 
1-1/2 pounds fresh tomatillos, husks removed
small amount of flour for dredging

Cut all your peppers and tomatillos in half lengthwise, remove seeds of peppers. ( Do not touch the seeds in the jalapeno, or your skin will burn and burn and burn. Wear gloves or put plastic baggie over your hands.) Place peppers and tomatillos on a baking sheet and lightly drizzle with some oil and sprinkle with S&P. Carefully use your hands to make sure all the tomatillos and peppers are coated. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15- 20 minutes. This will intensify the flavor and allow you to skin the peppers and the tomatillos easily.

When the skin starts to brown, they are done. Let them cool enough to touch to peel. It is not necessary to peel the tomatillos. I peeled about half of them. They will be watery and mushy. It doesn't seem right, but just keep going.

Heat about 2 TBSP of oil in a large stock pot. Meanwhile, LIGHTLY dredge pork in flour and place into the hot oil. Brown pork. Remove pork from the pot, set aside. Reserve 2 TBSP of oil in the pot to cook onions and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent. (Stirring so the don't stick to the bottom of the pot.) Deglaze pan with 1/2 cup of chicken stock.

  When onions are done, throw the pork back into the pot with 2.5 cups of chicken broth and simmer for about 30 minutes. This is a good time to peel the peppers, but don't forget to stir the pork mixture occasionally.

After peppers are peeled, throw them and the tomatillos into the food processor or blender. ( This is where you would add the cilantro *boo hiss*)
 Throw the green mixture in with the pork and simmer another 25-30 minutes.
 Stir, stir, stir some more.
 The pictures do NOT do this justice.
 Serve over white rice. YUMMY!
 Serve with roasted corn. Oh My WORD... BEST.CORN.EVER
Just cut the corn off the cob, throw in a baking dish with a small amount of oil and S&P. Roast at 400 for about 18-20 minutes. Until corn begins to brown. Add butter and serve.

  • The corn was yummy right on top of the Chile Verde. So good. Easier than it sounds. Just try it. If you like Mexican food... you will LOVE this. You can add an extra jalapeno or two for extra heat. 

  • Okay... Cilantro... YUCK YUCK YUCK Check out this article about cilantro... it is about being genetically predisposed to like or hate cilantro. Interesting read.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Baby Belle

You wouldn't know it by all the haphazard pictures take of food, but I dabble in photography. ( My food pictures suck because I want to eat the food, not waste time photographing it.) :) Anyway, here are some pics of the beautiful baby Belle from a fun little shoot on Saturday at my aunt's house. Her flowers were gorgeous! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Heck Yes Chicken!!

We eat a lot of chicken around here. I mean A LOT. Like almost every meal. But  I pretend that it is not chicken. Well, it's chicken. But not from our feathery friends. No. I would never eat a poor lil chicky. I don't know where I think it actually comes from. I mean, I know it is chicken. But to me its not. So don't tell me the truth, okay? Just let me keep on pretending that chicken doesn't come from chickens. :) Good.
Moving on.

Heck Yes Chicken (Why the name? I dunno... i was creating it, it smelled good, and I said, "Heck Yes!")
(Note: Remember... most of the time  sometimes I don't measure? Well, I didn't. so just sprinkle and pour and have fun!)

Smoked paprika
ground mustard
Salt ( I used sea salt)
Ground red pepper
Worcestershire sauce
Boneless/Skinless Chicken Tenders (I bought mine on sale for $1.88/pound!-WAHOO!)
Salt not pictured. It was too shy for the camera. ;)
Okay, so Sprinkle chicken liberally with all the spices. If you don't like heat, then cut back or skip the ground red pepper. If you are using sea salt like I did, don't be so liberal with it. Drip some worchertershire on top of that. Heat oil in a skillet. ( med/high) Place tenders spice side down in skillet. Now season the side facing up. Flip half way through about 3-5 minutes on each side depending on thickness of chicken. Just make sure juices are running clear. YUM!
TIP: Don't overcrowd our skillet, the chicken will brown better this way.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Alfredo Sauce Oh Yeah!

I love Alfredo. I hate the jarred crap stuff. Making your own is actually very simple. So why buy the stuff in a jar?
 Remember when I told you that sometimes I have a problem with measuring. I am too impatient. Well, this is one of those recipes where I don't measure... I just do. But the good thing is, that this is hard to mess up, keeping in mind to add things conservatively to start. You can always add more, but you can't take away. :) 

Some important notes before we get started: 
-I usually cut up some chicken and cook it in the skillet, then remove the chicken. I make the sauce in the same skillet. The drippings from the pan just make the sauce taste better :) 
-I microwave some broccoli on occasion to tender crisp to throw in with the noodles and chicken. 
-Feel free to use any kind of pasta (preferably whole wheat or enriched.)
-You can use Parmesan cheese out of the shaker can, but it is going to be really salty. In this case, use unsalted butter. I prefer to use a block of Parmesan cheese and grate it in the food processor. 

Alfredo Sauce: 
Melt 2 sticks of butter in a pan over low-medium heat. while the butter is melting, you can throw in a clove or 2 of garlic or a sprinkle of garlic salt. (If you don't like garlic, skip this altogether.) When butter is melted add 2 cups of heavy whipping cream. Whisk it into the butter and bring to a low simmer. Add Parmesan cheese. I usually use a whole wedge piece, pictured below. I grate it in the food processor first.  Whisk until cheese is melted and combined with sauce. Add more heavy whipping cream if the sauce is too thick or too cheesy. It is really about just getting it to your liking. Whisk over a simmer until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and let set for a few minutes. Serve over pasta and chicken and any veggies you like. 

Here is the cheese I use.  Approx 8 ounces.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What Do Ya Do on a Rainy Day?

Dress the kids up! Curl their hair (or straighten it if you have one with beautiful curls that endlessly brushes her hair in hope that it will one day stay straight.) Doll them up with some make up and have a photo shoot! Oh and while your at it... you might as well make your own version of Taylor Swift music videos. Take lots of pictures and make lots of memories! 

 Oh my word... this LOOKS like C-bell is flicking us the bird... she is NOT! oh my!