Thursday, August 06, 2015

Hawaiian Bread Rolls

Homemade Hawaiian Rolls

Love, love, love Hawaiian bread rolls but honestly they can be a little pricey, and I love being able to make something that I get at the store, at home.

It has always given me a sense of accomplishment and joy to know that I can put on the table a favorite dish, or bread roll or cake.

I have a huge family reunion next week, at my house.  Oh boy!!!

Homemade Hawaiian Rolls

One of the things I plan on making are my Baked Ham and Cheese Sliders, and for that I need dinner rolls.  I usually either use the small butter flavored, or the hawaiian rolls but come to think of it, knowing that I have to make 40 is going to be extremely pricey, so I wanted a way to cut some of the cost out, and usually making it at home is a lot cheaper.

Homemade Hawaiian Rolls

I made a test run of this recipe today and it was a huge hit.  My husband and children are in love and say they are better than the ones from the store, that is all I needed to hear.  I'll be making a bunch this weekend to use for the reunion.

Homemade Hawaiian Rolls

Hawaiian rolls recipe
Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Makes 16 rolls

For the sponge

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons lukewarm water

For the dough

1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk; reserve the egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt

Prepare the "sponge." In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine all of the sponge ingredients. Let them rest for 15 minutes.

Add the pineapple juice, butter, brown sugar, eggs and yolk, and vanilla, mixing until combined.

In a separate bow, sift together the remaining flour, starch, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the liquid ingredients in the stand mixer bowl.

Begin to mix the ingredients using the paddle attachment. The mixture will start out quite sticky. Once the ingredients have come together, continue to mix and knead until the mixture becomes smooth and elastic. You can continue with the paddle attachment or switch to the dough hook.

Lift the dough out of the bowl for a moment. Lightly grease the bottom of the mixing bowl, form the dough into a ball, and place it back in the bowl. Cover, and let rise until puffy, about 2 hours.

Grease a 9" x 13" pan. Gently, deflate the dough. Divide it into 16 equal pieces, by dividing in half, then in halves again, until you have 16 equal pieces.

Form each piece into a smooth ball, with the seam, if any, facing down. Space the buns in the pan (two rows of 5, and one of 6).

Cover the dough with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in the pan for 1 hour, until it's nicely puffy. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350 F.

Mix the reserved egg white with about 1 tablespoon of water, and brush over the tops of the rolls. This will give them a shiny finish.

Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden on top.

Remove the rolls from the oven, and place the pan on a wire rack. Let cool for several minutes, then remove from the pan to serve warm.

Store leftovers, wrapped, at room temperature for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Homemade Hawaiian Rolls

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Chicken, Rice and Cheese Grilled Burritos

Folks, you have got to make these for your family.

One thing my family loves is Mexican food, or Mexican inspired food of any kind.  I had chicken thighs on hand and was racking my brain trying to decide what to do with them.  Usually I follow a menu plan, always have, for the past almost 20 years, but since moving to Texas, we have had family dropping in on a constant basis and I've found myself flying by the seat of my pants.

I hate it.  I can't cook that way, it's just not me.

I need to go grocery shopping but I still have a bag of frozen chicken thighs in the freezer.  I wanted to use those up, plus some pantry items on hand, and so this recipe came about.

A bit of this, a bit of that and out came these Grilled Burritos which my husband and children raved about. It's been added to the list of favorites and requested to be made again, real soon.

So here we go.....oh and did I mention it's a crockpot recipe? No? Well it is, which makes it even better.

Chicken, Rice and Cheese Grilled Burritos

Chicken, Rice and Cheese Burritos

For the chicken:
Chicken Thighs (I used 6 big ones)
1 cup salsa (I used Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa)
1 (12 oz) jar Taco Sauce, Mild

For the rice:
2 cups of rice, cooked
Leftover Sauce from the chicken

Throw the chicken thighs into a crockpot, add the salsa and the taco sauce and cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4.

When done, shred the chicken using two forks, and throw out the bones.

Take some of the sauce from the chicken and add it to the rice, stir well until combined.  I didn't have an exact measurement I just eyeballed it according to our taste.

In the middle of a tortilla, add some rice, top with shredded chicken, and then put on a good helping of shredded mozzarella cheese.  Roll up like a burrito and then place on a hot skillet, grilling both sides for a few minutes until nice and brown.

Chicken, Rice and Cheese Grilled Burritos

Toad in the Hole

No, not the toad in the hole we eat here in the USA, where you take a piece of toast and fry an egg inside.  Thought, I do love that one too.

This one is a traditional dish from England.  You all know how much I love England and anything from there, and I've wanted to make this one for quite a while.

I actually followed Claire Witt's recipe and it turned out amazing.  Big thumbs up from the whole family.

Toad in the hole

Toad in the Hole

Olive oil
1 cup Flour
1 cup Milk
1 Egg
Salt and pepper

In an ovenproof dish, place the sausages and drizzle on some olive oil.  Should have quite a bit to cover the bottom of the dish.

Toad in a Hole

Bake in a 400 degree for about 20 minutes.

In a bowl, mix the flour, milk, egg and salt and pepper to taste.  Remove the sausages from the oven, the oil should be piping hot.

Toad in a Hole

Toad in a Hole

Pour in the flour mixture over the sausages and pop back in the oven for another 20 minutes or so until cooked through and browned.

Serve with brown gravy and mashed potatoes.

Toad in the hole

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Coconut Macaroons

So here's the deal, coconut macaroons have always been the one cookie that has done it for me.  I don't know but that one little bite of heaven has always drawn me in, much more than any other cookie, or dessert for that matter.  Unless we're talking Victoria Sponge cake which is a very high contender.

Anyway, as much as I love eating them, I have to admit that I've had a love hate relationship with making them, and I think it's due to the fact that I haven't quite found, or rather, hadn't quite found the right recipe.

I tended to always end up with a big round messy pile of half melted coconut which didn't taste bad, but wasn't exactly appealing.

A few weeks ago when I decided to bring back the blog and get back at posting recipes, I was looking through my bookmarked folder and deleting things I no longer want to try, or links to recipes I tried and didn't like etc.  I came upon this one for Coconut Macaroons and honestly my first thought was to delete it because my search for the right recipe had been so long and frustrating.

At the urging of my kids, I kept it and decided to give it one more try, I was completely determined to try it, find it yucky, delete it and never again try my hand at making these delicious little bites.

I'm so glad I didn't.....I think I finally found the Coconut Macaroon recipe for me and I hope that if you've also been on the search for the right now, this may just be it.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons

1 14-oz bag of sweetened shredded flaked coconut
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 - 3 Tbsp. of all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the coconut, condensed milk, flour, almond extract, and vanilla extract until well incorporated. Cover and put bowl in the fridge for several hours; overnight if needed.

Use a cookie dough scoop to scoop batter and then roll with your hands to form 1 1/2-inch balls. Place each ball on baking pans lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper, leaving about 1-inch of space in between each. If desired, add the chocolate baking discs by placing one disc flat side down on top of each coconut ball (they may flatten, but that is ok).
Preheat oven to 330 degrees. Bake for 20 - 23 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
Immediately transfer macaroons to a plate. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

White Chocolate Chip, Almond, Banana Cake

White chocolate chip, almond, banana cake

So I was looking through my refrigerator and cleaning it out in preparation for grocery shopping.  I found 4 bananas that were needing to be used up or thrown out, and I never throw anything out that I can use.

What came to mind?

Banana bread, but I didn't want to just make plain banana bread, I wanted to kick it up a little.  I've used chocolate chips before but again, I wanted to change that up some, so I grabbed a few things and got to work.  I used my Banana Bread recipe just changing it slightly by adding two different ingredients.

If you want to make this cake, follow my recipe for Good Ol' Banana Bread but add in White Chocolate Chips and some Almonds.  I didn't measure, I just poured in a bit, I would say a cup of the chocolate chips and maybe half a cup of the almonds.

Bake in a loaf pan according to the directions on the recipe.

Remove from pan and let cool, slice the loaf into thirds so you'll end up with 3 layers and let cool completely.

Sandwich them between layers of Cool Whip and dust with powdered sugar.

Your family will thank you for this.  I promise.  It is so good, and all those amazing flavors meld together to create an out of this world delicious cake.

White chocolate chip, almond, banana cake

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Cream Cheese and Sweet and Chili Sauce

I'm bringing you a fun yummy, super easy appetizer or snack to serve at your next family/friend get together.

It's one of those things that you don't really realize how simple it is to get on the table, but yet when you try it, you're amazed at how yummy it is.

Really doesn't even need a recipe, persay, but nonetheless, I'm sharing it with you.

Cream Cheese and Sweet and Chili Sauce

Cream Cheese and Sweet and Chili Sauce

1 package (8z) cream cheese, room temperature
Sweet and Chili Sauce (your favorite brand)

Place the cream cheese on a plate, pour on the sauce and serve with crackers. That's IT!!!

Like I said, not really much of a recipe, but just an idea for a quick snack to serve, especially good when you have unexpected guests.

Cream Cheese and Sweet and Chili Sauce

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Custard Cake

I've been making this one for many years, sometimes with coconut, sometimes with lemon rind.  You may actually know it as Impossible Pie.

My favorite has to be the coconut, but my son doesn't like it so I tend to stick to either the lemon or just the plain custard.

The magic part is how it creates it's own crust, followed by a silky custard filling and a crust on the top.  It's so good, and so easy to make.  A definite to throw together when you have unexpected guests.

For this version, I used the recipe from Hugs and Cookies

Custard Cake

Custard Cake

4 eggs (whites separated from yolks), room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
8 Tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups milk lukewarm
powdered sugar for dusting cake

Preheat oven to 325 F degrees. Grease and Line 8 inch x 8 inch baking dish with parchment.
Separate eggs and add the egg whites to a mixer and beat egg whites stiff. Place egg whites in a bowl and set aside.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar until light. Add butter and vanilla. Beat for two mins. Add the flour and mix it in until fully incorporated.

Slowly start adding the milk and beat until everything is well mixed together. Add the egg whites, a third at a time and gently fold them in using a spatula, repeat until all egg whites are folded in. Pour batter into baking dish and bake for approx 60 minutes or until the top is lightly golden. Cool and dust heavily with powdered sugar.

Custard Cake

Mexican Lasagna


Back in the kitchen, and back at it.

The kitchen has always been my haven, since I was a little girl.  I've told you all the story many times of how I used to sit at my great grandmother's feet and pretend to cook.  I guess my love for cooking started at a very early age and was definitely inspired and brought on by my great grandmother, she loved cooking, loved feeding the family and was always in the kitchen, apron around her slender body and humming a song while she worked.

These last few months that I couldn't really cook, were terrible.  I missed it so much, and so now that I'm back at it, I feel immense happiness.

Last night I made a Mexican Lasagna adapted from one of my Gooseberry Patch Cookbooks.  I changed a few things, not many, and it turned out really good.  The family were thrilled to be sitting back down at the dinner table with a home cooked meal.

Mexican Lasagna

1 pound mild pork sausage
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes with garlic
Chili flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (10 3/4-oz.) can cream of celery soup
1 (10 3/4-oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (10-oz.) can enchilada sauce
18 (6-inch) corn tortillas
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 tomato, seeded and diced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain. Stir in diced tomatoes and next 5 ingredients; cook until thoroughly heated.

Spoon one-third of sauce onto bottom of a lightly greased 13"x9" baking dish; top with 6 tortillas; sprinkle with half of Cheddar cheese. Top with 6 tortillas; repeat layers, ending with tortillas. Sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese and next 3 ingredients.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Chocolate Chip Challah French Toast

Back in April I made a Challah Bread for Easter weekend, a chocolate chip Challah bread.  It was so good and so simple to make.

I used a recipe from the Cuisinart website, I was looking for an easy Challah Bread recipe, if there was such a thing and I lucked out because this one really is as easy as it claims and it's delicious too.

I had leftover Challah and made French Toast the next day.  It was AMAZING!!!

I'm giving you the recipe for the Bread and you can just use your favorite French Toast version to complete it.

Easy Ten-Minute Challah Bread

Chocolate Chip Challah French Toast

one package of active dry yeast
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose bread flour
2 eggs
4 heaping tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup warm (105-110°F) water
1 egg mixed with water for egg wash
handful of sesame or poppy seeds
cooking spray


Sprinkle yeast over water in a small bowl or cup, add sugar and watch it bubble, about five minutes.
Pour the above mixture into a food processor; add flour and then the rest of the ingredients. Mix and let it rise (It's okay to cover and leave it in the food processor or remove it to a greased bowl and cover) for about an hour.
Punch down the dough (press pulse a few times) and let it rise again (about an hour).
Separate the dough into four pieces. Use three to make the main bread, and use the fourth piece to make a smaller braid that you’ll pinch into place on top of the main braid. Place the braided dough into a greased bread pan and cover with greased plastic wrap (PAM is easy to use.). Let it rise another hour.
Paint with egg wash (egg and water whisked together). Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.
Bake for 45 minutes in a 350° oven.

Chocolate Chip Challah French Toast

For savory: Saute' finely chopped onion in olive oil. Roll onion in dough (No braiding with this version). Sprinkle some onion on top of egg wash (in place of sesame seeds) for an Onion Challah.
For sweet:
Before separating into four pieces, knead about 1/2 cup raisins OR 1/2 cup chocolate chips into dough.

Chocolate Chip Challah French Toast

Chicken Fajitas

Without a doubt one of my favorite food to eat, aside from the Portuguese, obviously, is Mexican.  I just love everything about it, the flavors, the combinations, the copious amounts of cheese, yeah, everything.

I have not yet been able to completely and successfully recreate a lot of my favorites, but I keep trying because even if they are not authentic, they are delicious.

One thing I do like doing, is following Authentic Mexican Food Blogs, I believe that is where I'll find the best recipes and I have yet to find one I didn't like.

The Chicken Fajita recipe I'm about to share comes from Cooking Mexican Recipes.  I have found quite a lot of gems on that website.

Chicken Fajitas

Chicken Fajitas

1 - 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
2 medium yellow onions sliced into 1/4 inch strips
1 large red bell pepper sliced into 1/4 inch strips
2 medium zucchini, sliced into strips


1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp. liquid smoke
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. honey
1/4 cup water
1 tbs. fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. oregano leaves
1 tsp. soy sauce

Combine the ingredients for the marinade and place 2/3 in a glass bowl or Ziploc bag and the other 1/3 marinade in another glass bowl or Ziploc bag.

Rinse chicken in cold water and slice into 1/4 inch strips. I happen to like chicken thighs so I use them in this recipe. If you are concerned about fat intake use chicken breast.

Remove any remaining fat. Add chicken to the bowl with 2/3 of the marinade.

Slice the vegetables and place them in the bowl with 1/3 of the marinade. Refrigerate both dishes for 2 hours or more.

Pan fry the chicken in a cast iron skillet, remove, and fry the vegetables, toss together and serve with warm flour tortillas.

Easy Cream Puffs

Right, I am back and I'm ready to start sharing recipes again.  The first few I'm sharing are actually recipes I made back in Idaho and never got around to posting because I was in the middle of the big move.

I do have some new ones coming up too, so keep an eye out for those.

So the first recipe I'm sharing today is one that my 16 year old daughter actually made.  It's one of those recipes that is so easy to do and it always looks like you've been working on it for hours.  Matter of fact, cream puffs were one of the first things I learned to make in my teenage years.

We had Home Economics in high school and for cooking, we had to make these.  I've always enjoyed them, and I'm happy to pass on this love of cooking to my children.

The recipe comes from Real House Moms, go on over there and take a look, you're sure to find tons of yummy things to try.

Cream Puffs

Cream Puffs

½ cup (one stick) butter
1 cup water
1 cup flour
4 eggs
2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding (3.4 oz each)
1⅓ cup cold whole milk
8 oz sour cream
powdered sugar

Cream Puffs:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Melt stick of butter and water to a rolling boil
Stir in flour and stir vigorously over low heat until mixture leaves the pan (comes off the sides) and is in a ball (about 1 minute)
Remove from heat and cool for a couple of minutes
Beat in eggs (one at a time) with a mixer
Beat mixture until smooth and velveety
Drop by spoonfuls (walnut sized) onto ungreased cookie sheet
Bake until DRY, 20-25 minutes (maybe longer)
Allow to cool

Cream Puffs


Mix instant vanilla pudding with whole milk until the pudding is dissolved
Add sour cream until thick
Put mixture in the refrigerator (at least an hour)
Slice the cream puffs in half and fill with the chilled pudding mixture
Sprinkle with powdered sugar

Cream Puffs