• Beer Mac-n-Cheese and Beer Bread

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    If you like homemade mac-n-cheese you’ll definitely enjoy this version made with beer and bacon.  It’s so creamy and so flavorful.  If you don’t like bacon, leave it out, but bacon is a favorite in our house.  It was kid approved by the man-cheese eating kiddo (the non mac-n-cheese eating kiddo wasn’t home for dinner).  I added chipotle Tabasco to mine and that put it over the top for me!

    Beer bread: we’ve been making it for quite some time.  It is beyond good and beyond delicious and beyond easy!  We usually make a loaf, but this time we opted to make biscuits.  We’ll stick with the loaf from here on out because the biscuits didn’t have the same moist tenderness that the loaf has.

    Beer Mac-n-Cheese recipe from A Spicy Perspective.

    Beer Bread recipe from Food Network.

    Beer Mac-n-Cheese

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. elbow pasta
    • 12 oz. Shiner Bock (or favorite beer)
    • 8 oz. cream cheese (I used cream cheese with Greek yogurt)
    • 1 lb. cheddar cheese (not preshredded)
    • 1 c. crumbled bacon

    Beer Mac-n-Cheese directions:

    1. Place a large pot water on the stove to boil. Once boiling, add generous amounts of salt and add pasta; cook pasta al dente. Drain and set aside.
    2. Meanwhile, pour a bottle of beer in a skillet. (Choose a light crisp beer that you like to drink.) Turn the heat on high, and add the cream cheese in medium sized chunks. As the beer starts to simmer, break the cream cheese into pieces with a whisk and whisk into the beer.  Add the shredded cheese and whisk until completely smooth.
    3. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, pour it into the cheese sauce. Reduce the heat to low, then stir and cook another 3 minutes to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste.
    4. To serve, scoop the beer mac and cheese into bowls and sprinkle with crumbled bacon.

    Beer Mac-n-Cheese:
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    Beer Bread

    Ingredients:

    • 3 c. self rising flour
    • 1/2 c. sugar
    • 12 oz. bottle of Shiner Bock beer (or favorite beer)
    • 3 TBSP melted butter

    Beer Bread Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 375*F.
    2. Butter a loaf pan and set aside.
    3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and beer and mix well. The mixture should be sticky. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes. At the last 3 minutes of baking, remove from oven, brush the top of the loaf with butter and return to oven.

    Beer Bread:
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  • Cinnamon Pull-Apart Rolls

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    These pull-apart rolls are so easy and so delicious.  I’ve made it a number of times, both with the large round loaf (as pictured) and with individual rolls.  Both equally delicious, but we tend to prefer the individual rolls, because there is more surface area for that crispy, yet sweet gooey goodness!

    ***Note: if you use individual rolls, you’ll need a muffin pan, and the directions differ slightly, but I’ve noted the changes below.

    Recipe adapted from The Country Cook.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 Hawaiian round sweet bread loaf (or 12 individual rolls)
    • 1 c. brown sugar
    • 6 TBSP butter
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 3 tsp. honey

    Frosting:

    • 1 c. powdered sugar
    • 1-2 TBSP milk
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (or our personal favorite orange extract)

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
    2. Remove loaf of sweet bread from aluminum pan.
    3. Using a serrated knife, make 5 vertical slices in loaf about 1 1/2 inches apart stopping about 1/2-inch from bottom crust.  ***Note: If using individual rolls make 2 slices about 1 inch apart topping about 1/2-inch from bottom crust.
    4. In a small saucepan over medium/low heat, combine brown sugar, butter and honey. Stir constantly until everything is melted and combined (about 5 minutes.) Remove from heat then stir in cinnamon.
    5. Open each slice that you made in the bread and spread on a couple of tablespoons of the glaze. Press the slices together to make sure glaze gets distributed on each side of the slices.
    6. Then take your knife and make 4 more horizontal slices. Then fill in those slices with glaze.  ***Note: If using individual rolls make 2 slices about 1 inch apart topping about 1/2-inch from bottom crust.
    7. Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray, push loaf back together and put it back into the aluminum pan.  ***Note: If using individual rolls, spray a muffin pan with cooking spray and put 1 roll in each muffin slot.  
    8. Spread any remaining glaze over the bread and bake for about 8-10 minutes.
    9. While bread is in the oven, start making the glaze. Whisk together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract (or orange, or whatever flavor you like).
    10. Once bread is finished baking, you can remove it from the pan or serve it directly from the pan (be careful, it’s hot!) Spoon the glaze on the warm bread.

    Cinnamon Pull-Apart Rolls:
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  • Corn Casserole

    This may look like cornbread, but it’s not.  It’s corn casserole, and it’s soooo good.  Everyone in my family calls it corn mush, but in this case “mush” is a very good and tasty thing!  We had it with red beans and rice, but you could eat it with just about anything.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 (8.5 oz) box of cornbread mix
    • 1 (15 oz.) can of creamed corn
    • 1 (15 oz.) can of corn, drained
    • 1 egg
    • 1/3 c. fat free milk

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400*
    2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
    3. Grease a 9×9 baking dish and pour batter into dish.  Bake for 30 minutes or until brown.

    Corn Casserole:

     

     

  • Honey Whole Wheat Pretzels

    This pretzel recipe comes from honestcooking.com, and they are sooooo good!!!  They have soft chewy insides with a crisp outside.  Great recipe to get kids involved in the kitchen.  Enjoy hot out of the oven, with mustard, or sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar for a sweet treat.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/3 c. water
    • 2 tsp. salt
    • 1 package of fast acting yeast
    • 11 oz. (approximately 2 1/4 c.) all purpose flour
    • 11 oz. (approximately 2 1/4 c.) whole wheat flour
    • 4 TBSP butter, melted
    • 1/4 c. honey
    • vegetable oil for bowl

    To boil pretzels:

    • 10 c. water
    • 1/3 baking soda
    • 1 large egg, beaten with 1 TBSP water
    • salt

    Directions:

    1. Combine the water, salt, yeast, flour, butter and honey.
    2. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
    3. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil.
    4. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
    5. Preheat the oven to 450* degrees F.
    6. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
    7. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
    8. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope.
    9. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel.
    10. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
    11. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds.
    12. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula.
    13. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt.
    14. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

    Honey Whole Wheat Pretzels:

     

     

  • Flour Tortillas

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    These are the best homemade tortillas I have ever had!!!!  They are delicious, and the search for tasty homemade tortillas ended last night! *swoon*  The taste is so similar to Chuy’s tortillas, and Chuy’s flour tortillas are one of my favorite flour tortillas of all time!

    Recipe courtesy of Homesick Texan

    Ingredients:

    • 2 c. of all-purpose flour (can make them whole wheat by substituting one cup of whole-wheat flour for white flour)
    • 1 1/2 tsp. of baking powder
    • 1 tsp. of salt
    • 2 tsp. of vegetable oil
    • 3/4 c. of warm milk

    Directions:

    1. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and oil; then slowly add the warm milk, and stir until a loose, sticky ball is formed.
    2. Knead for two minutes on a floured surface. Dough should be firm and soft.
    3. Place dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap for 20 minutes.  After the dough has rested, break off eight sections, roll them into balls in your hands, place on a plate (make sure they aren’t touching) and then cover balls with damp cloth or plastic wrap for 10 minutes. (It’s very important to let the dough rest, otherwise it will be like elastic and won’t roll out to a proper thickness and shape.)
    4. After dough has rested, one at a time place a dough ball on a floured surface, pat it out into a four-inch circle, and then roll with a rolling pin from the center until it’s thin and about eight inches in diameter. (If you roll out pie crusts you’ll have no problem with this.) Don’t over work the dough, or it’ll be stiff. Keep rolled-out tortillas covered until ready to cook.
    5. In a dry iron skillet heated on high, cook the tortilla about thirty seconds on each side. It should start to puff a bit when it’s done.
    6. Keep cooked tortillas covered wrapped in a napkin until ready to eat.
    7. Can be reheated in a dry iron skillet, over your gas-burner flame or in the oven wrapped in foil.
    8. While you probably won’t have any leftovers, you can store in the fridge tightly wrapped in foil or plastic for a day or so.
    9. Makes eight tortillas

    Flour Tortillas:
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  • Campfire Buttermilk Biscuits

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    These biscuits are sinfully delicious.  The recipe comes from Stephan Pyles’ New Tastes From Texas cookbook.

    Ingredients:

    • 8 TBSP unsalted butter
    • 10 TBSP shortening
    • 3 c. self-rising flour
    • 1 1/3 c. buttermilk

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400*F  Place the butter in a 9 1/2 skillet and warm in the oven for 5 minutes to heat the pan and melt the butter.
    2. Using your fingertips, crumble the shortening in a medium bowl with the flour until crumby consistency, the size of small peas.  Add the buttermilk in 3 or 4 additions, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon or spatula until the buttermilk is thoroughly incorporated.  Do not overbeat; the dough should be quite sticky and hold together
    3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and lightly flour the top.  Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a circle about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut the biscuits into 2 1/2 inch circles.  Dip each biscuit in the melted butter, coating all sides thoroughly, and arrange biscuits in the skillet.
    4. Bake in the oven on the middle rack for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the biscuits have risen and are lightly browned on the bottom.  Turn on the broiler, transfer the skillet to the upper rack of the oven, and broil the biscuits for 4 to 5 minutes or until browned.  Turn out onto a rack to cool.

    Campfire Buttermilk Biscuits:

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  • Blue Cornbread

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    Yes I’ve made cornbread before, but this time I used blue cornmeal instead of yellow cornmeal, and what a treat it was! Everyone loved it, but that doesn’t surprise me one bit.
    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/4 c. flour
    • 1 c. corn meal
    • 3 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/3 c. sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 egg
    • 1 c. milk
    • 1/3 c. vegetable oil

    Directions:

    1. Sift flour, corn meal, baking powder, sugar and salt together
    2. Add the egg, milk and oil
    3. Mix and put batter in a greased 8×8 baking pan
    4. Bake at 350 for 1/2 hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

    Blue Cornbread:

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  • Updated Pizza Recipe: What -S Makes

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    Rachel has been bugging me for awhile to put up the pizza dough recipe we actually use to make pizza, as we don’t use the “Homemade Pizza” recipe from way back when. Actually after she put up that post, I was talking to the guys at Apizza in Stayton, Oregon and Shannon suggested a few changes, most of which I remembered but I’m not sure if I still do everything as he suggested, so you can assign authorship to whomever you’d like. Either way, Apizza is probably one of the 5 best places in the U.S. that I’ve had pizza, so you should check them out if you’re ever near Portland or Salem in Oregon.

    One thing I have done is make it work with round numbers, as I’m generally a little too lazy to tolerate all of the 3/4 tsp type stuff that the Giada recipe has in it. Here’s what you need per batch of dough (I usually make two, which makes two pizzas the size of our oven stone and two portions of my version of crazy bread, with one dough left over to do whatever with.):

    • 1 cup of cold water
    • 1 packet rapid rise yeast
    • 2 (or more) cups flour
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    • 3 tbsp olive oil

    Put the yeast into the water and let sit until the yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes.

    In a food processor with the dough blade, combine flour, salt, olive oil, and yeast/water mixture and process until the ingredients form a ball. This may require the addition of flour.

    Take dough from food processor and put it on a floured surface and knead until dough is smooth, about 5-10 minutes.

    Prepare a large bowl by coating it with olive oil. Place dough in bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator until it doubles in size (or more, if you aren’t the type to check it constantly. Just makes sure it gets quite a bit bigger than when it went in.) Depending on the enthusiasm of the yeast, this could take anywhere from 4-5 hours to overnight. I’ve had no problems doing the dough in the morning and having it ready for dinner. If it just doesn’t seem to be working, do a warm rise in the way described in the original recipe, and if necessary stretch the time to 2 hours of warm rise. Punch down the dough, cut whatever size you need, and roll it out on a lightly floured surface.

    An hour before you want to bake your pizza

    Place your pizza stone in the center rack of the oven and gun your oven as high as it will go. Make loud, enthusiastic noises to celebrate this opportunity to push your oven to its limits.

    What I do

    When I roll out dough to make a pizza pie, I use a lightly floured wood French rolling pin and I roll it out pretty thin. I put some corn meal on the pizza peel (not too much!!) and put the dough on there…it’s a pain to top the pie on your board and then put it on the peel. I lightly brush the surface of the dough with olive oil and then top. It will bake for 6 or 7 minutes — I try and take it as brown as possible without burning.

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    Picky kids

    What you’re quietly wishing I would tell you

    My version of crazy bread (I worked for Little Caesars for two years in college, so it has a spot in my heart.)

    Take a ball of dough about half the size you would use for a pizza and on a floured surface roll it out in an oval shape about not more than 1/4″ thick. Cut width-wise into strips using a pizza peel. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes.

    The topping:

    • 1/2 stick of butter
    • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
    • Italian seasoning
    • Cheap parmesan cheese from a plastic container you find in the Italian aisle at your local grocer

    Put butter and garlic in a small pot over medium-low heat and cook until butter is melted. Dump/drizzle/brush mixture over baked sticks. Shake Italian seasoning and cheese over the sticks (keep in mind that the cheese is essentially the salt for the dish, so be generous.)

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  • Challah: Take 2

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    Yes, I’ve made challah before, and now I’ve finally come to a recipe and process that is to all of our liking.  This recipe yields 2 loaves…use one and freeze the other for next week!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 c. lukewarm water
    • 3 envelopes yeast (totaling 2 TBSP + 3/4 tsp. yeast) (I like the Rapid Rise yeast)
    • 3/4 c. sugar
    • 1 1/4 c. lukewarm water
    • 3/4 c. vegetable oil
    • 1 TBSP salt
    • 3 large eggs
    • 8-10 c. bread flour
    • 1 egg for egg wash

    Directions:

    1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix the yeast in 1 c. water. Make sure the water is warm–not cold or hot. This allows the yeast to work properly–you’ll know it’s working of you see little bubbles on the surface. (If no bubbles, don’t worry, just continue.) Set aside.
    2. Combine sugar, 1 1/4 c. water, oil, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat 3 eggs. Then add the eggs to the sugar mixture.
    3. Add the yeast to the sugar mixture.
    4. Add 4 or 5 cups of flour and mix well. Gradually add 4 or 5 more cups of flour. By the time you add 6 to 7 cups of flour, it’s easier to mix the remaining flour into the dough if you put the dough on a floured surface. By judging the feel you will know how much more to add–if the mixture is sticky, add more flour; if it’s dry and stringy, add a little water. (The amount of flour you’ll need will vary every time, depending on things like the air temperature and humidity, so don’t worry about an exact amount of flour.)
    5. Knead your dough on a floured surface for 7 to 10 minutes…I only lasted 7 minutes. Add more flour to your surface as needed.
    6. Put some vegetable oil on a paper towel and wipe it around the inside of a large clean bowl. Put the dough in the oiled bowl, and flip the dough over so both sides get a little bit of oil on them. Then lay a piece of wax paper over the bowl and then place a dish towel on top of that. Let the dough rise for an hour, and it should double in size. (If your dough doesn’t rise much don’t worry, and continue on–trust me.)
    7. Punch down the dough to deflate it, and knead again for a few minutes to work out any excess air bubbles. Put the dough back into the bowl, and cover with wax paper and towel, and let rise for another half hour.
    8. Now you’re ready to braid. Take the dough out of the bowl and divide it into 2; working with one half at a time, divide the half into 4 equal chunks.  Roll the four pieces into snakes about 12 to 16 inches long. The length doesn’t matter, just make sure all 4 are the same length. I have found that if your snakes are too thick, the challah will be too thick and it won’t cook in the center, so it’s better to have longer thinner snakes than shorter fatter ones.
    9. Lay the 4 snakes on your work surface and pinch the ends together. Take the piece on the left and weave it over the roll of dough next to it, then under the next roll, and finally over the last roll, so that it finishes on the far right. Next take the piece that is now on the far left, and again, weave over, under, and over until it finishes on the far right. Continue to weave the left-hand piece until the pieces are too short to weave. Then pinch the ends together and tuck them under the loaf. Repeat with the second half.
    10. Step by step:

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    Step 1: 4 equal snakes

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    Step 2: Pinch ends together

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    Step 3: Take far left snake and weave over, under then over the snakes to the right

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    Step 4: Take the new far left snake and weave over, under and over the snakes to the right. Repeat.

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    Step 5: Finished braided Challah and pinch the other ends together and tuck under the loaf

    10. Place parchment paper on each cookie sheet and put one loaf on each cookie sheet and place a dishtowel over the loaves and let rest for 10 minutes.

    11. Prepare egg wash–don’t dilute it with water! Brush the egg wash onto each loaf.

    12. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Mine was done at 40 minutes, so I’d start checking at 35.

    Challah:

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  • Cardamom-Lime Sweet Rolls

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    This recipe is from the Jan/Feb issue of Cooking Light. I was very intrigued by the flavors, so I made them this afternoon. First off, the last few times of made breads, I’ve been having trouble getting the dough to rise, and this time was no exception. The dough rises twice in this recipe, and it barely rose each time when it was supposed to double. Strangely it did rise when it was cooking, and that’s what has happened before with the other doughs I’ve made recently. Next time I make a bread dough, I’m going to try a different yeast and use bottled water (maybe there’s something in the tap water that’s effecting the rising capabilities). Anyway, the rolls turned out good, but not great.

    Ingredients:

    DOUGH:

    • 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
    • 1/4 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
    • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
    • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup butter, melted
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
    • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (about 10 1/2 ounces), divided
    • Cooking spray

    FILLING:

    • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon grated lime rind
    • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
    • 2 tablespoons butter, melted, divided

    GLAZE:

    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

    Directions:

    1. To prepare dough, dissolve yeast in warm water in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes.
    2. Combine sour cream and next 5 ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl, stirring until well blended. Gradually stir yeast mixture into sour cream mixture. Lightly spoon 2 1/3 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 2 cups flour to sour cream mixture, stirring to form a soft dough.
    3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel slightly tacky).
    4. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)
    5. To prepare filling, combine brown sugar, rind, and cardamom.
    6. Divide dough into two equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, roll dough into a 12 x 10–inch rectangle; brush with 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle half of filling over dough. Beginning with a long side, roll up jelly-roll fashion; pinch seam to seal (do not seal ends of roll). Repeat procedure with remaining dough, 1 tablespoon butter, and filling. Cut each roll into 12 (1-inch) slices. Place slices, cut sides up, in a 13 x 9–inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
    7. Preheat oven to 350°.
    8. Uncover dough. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pan 5 minutes on a wire rack.
    9. To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar and juice, stirring until smooth. Drizzle glaze over warm rolls.

    Cardamom-Lime Sweet Rolls:

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