Monday, December 17, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

I've had these babies in sight for a long long time.

It was one of those recipes that I ran across a while back and then kept putting it off to try, well, today was the day. And now I regret not trying them months back because I've been missing out on some yumminess.

Careful though, can't enjoy these every morning, but for a holiday or a special occasion they are perfect.

Recipe comes from Recipe Girl and she has some other variations to try, like the Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll and even Gingerbread Roll Pancakes. You bet I'll be trying those soon.

On to the recipe........

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, just melted (not boiling)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2-ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

Prepare the cinnamon filling: In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Scoop the filling into a quart-sized heavy zip baggie and set it aside (see *Tips below).

Prepare the glaze: In a small pan, heat the butter over low heat until melted. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cream cheese until it is almost smooth. Sift the powdered sugar into the pan, stir and add in vanilla extract. Set the pan aside while you make the pancakes.

Prepare the pancake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the milk, egg and oil, just until the batter is moistened (a few small lumps are fine).

Cook the pancakes: Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-heat and spray with nonstick spray. Use an ice cream scoop (or 1/3 cup measuring cup) to add the batter to the pan. Use the bottom of the scoop or cup to spread the batter into a circle (about 4-inches in diameter). Reduce the heat to medium low. Snip the corner of your baggie of cinnamon filling and squeeze the filling into the open corner. When your pancake begins to form bubbles, add the filling. Starting at the center of the pancake, squeeze the filling on top of the pancake batter in a swirl (just as you see in a regular cinnamon roll).

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Cook the pancake 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bubbles begin popping on top of the pancake and it's golden brown on the bottom. Slide a thin, wide metal spatula underneath the pancake and gently but quickly flip it over. Cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the other side is golden as well. When you flip the pancake onto a plate, you will see that the cinnamon filling has created a crater-swirl of cinnamon. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, and repeat with the remaining pancake batter and cinnamon filling. Re-warm the glaze briefly, if needed. Serve pancakes topped with a drizzle of glaze.

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

*Quick and easy tip: Use a boxed pancake mix as the base for this recipe.
*Tips for the cinnamon filling: Before swirling, open up the baggie again and give it a good stir to re-incorporate any butter that may have separated from the sugar. You want the mixture to thicken a bit- it's best when it's similar to the squeezing texture of a tube of toothpaste, which will happen if you leave it at room temperature for several minutes. Don't try to use the filling for the pancake swirl unless it has thickened as it will be too runny to make a solid swirl.

*Keep the heat low or your pancakes might cook up too quickly. Don't flip them until you see those bubbles starting to pop on top. Flip them with a wide spatula so you can grasp the whole thing without batter and filling dripping all over the place!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Homemade Fettuccine Noodles

So a few days ago my husband gave me one of my Christmas presents early.  He just couldn't hold it in anymore because he knew that it was something I had been wanting for a while.

December 12

I had NO clue what it was, even though he kept throwing hints around.  When I opened it up, I was pretty ecstatic.

See, I've been wanting a pasta maker for years, just never got around to buying one.

December 12

In my journey to make as much homemade as I can, making pasta was one thing and now I have the perfect excuse to get right on it.

The recipe I used for this batch came from the book that came with the Pasta Maker.

Very simple recipe and makes quite a big batch of noodles. This is the basic pasta recipe which can also be used to make spaghetti, angel hair and lasagna noodles.

Homemade Fettucine Noodles

Mamma Antonietta

4 eggs, at room temperature
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup tepid water or as needed

1. Place flour on a wood board, make a well, and break the eggs into it.
2. If you prefer, you can mix it in a bowl with a fork, or in an electric mixer with a
dough hook.
3. Slowly incorporate the flour into the eggs.
4. It will come together in a smooth, elastic (manageable) ball, with just enough
moisture that it sticks together, but does not stick to the table or bowl.
5. You may need to add a bit of water if the dough is too dry and crumbly, or a bit more
flour if too wet and sticky.
6. Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes covered with a towel. (If in a hurry, you can
skip the resting period.)
7. Use a sharp knife to cut off a chunk from the ball, and roll it to about ⅛” (2.5 mm)
thick. This should be about the thickest setting on your pasta machine.
8. Sprinkle some flour in the middle of the flattened sheet, fold it double, and roll it flat
9. Repeat at least a half dozen times, until the sheet has taken shape.

December 12

10. The dough should be relatively soft, however anytime it seems too moist, sprinkle a
little flour.
11. Finally, roll it to the desired thickness for cutting.
12. After cutting, sprinkle liberally with flour, to keep it from sticking in bunches until
you get it into the pot of salted boiling water.
13. Pasta strands can be hung from a drying rack, to keep from sticking until they’re
ready for the pot, or to dry for freezing.

December 12

Monday, December 10, 2012

Crockpot Spinach Alfredo Lasagna

Oooohhhh Lasagna.  Love love love it.

I've been really enjoying using my Taste of Home Slow Cooker recipe book.  Have found so many that I want to try.

Spinach Alfredo Lasagna

I marked this one off last month and then didn't get around to making it, but today was the day.  Everyone is sick and miserable and now it's coming my way, so it was the perfect meal to throw in the crockpot and forget about until dinner time.

It's delicious.

If you think you can't make Lasagna in the crockpot, you are going to be majorly surprised, give it a try :)

Spinach Alfredo Lasagna

Spinach Alfredo Lasagna

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jar (24 ounces) spaghetti sauce
1 package (8 ounces) no-cook lasagna noodles
1 carton (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 cups (32 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 jar (15 ounces) Alfredo sauce

In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce.

Spread 1 cup meat mixture in an ungreased 5- or 6-qt. slow cooker. Arrange four noodles over sauce, breaking noodles to fit if necessary. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, parsley and pepper; spread half over noodles. Layer with 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1 cup meat mixture.

Top with four noodles, spinach, Alfredo sauce, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, four noodles and remaining ricotta mixture. Layer with 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1 cup meat mixture and any remaining noodles, meat mixture and mozzarella cheese.

Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until noodles are tender.

Yield: 8 servings.

Spinach Alfredo Lasagna

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Kung Pao Chicken

I think it's the one item I most request at Chinese places.  Love the chicken, spicy, peanut combo.

Making it at home is very easy and tastes just as good.  Only thing I changed is that I didn't add the red peppers because my youngest can't stand them.  But aside from that, Yum!

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken
Credit:  Taste of Home

8 whole chicken wings (about 1-1/2 pounds) *I used boneless thighs*
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small sweet red pepper, diced
1/2 cup diced onion
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup peanuts
Hot cooked rice

Cut chicken wings into three sections; discard wing tip section. Set the wings aside. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch, water, soy sauce, lemon juice and pepper flakes until blended; set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Cook chicken wings, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until chicken juices run clear, turning occasionally.

Add red pepper and onion; cook, uncovered, for 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir cornstarch mixture; gradually add to skillet. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until sauce is thickened and vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with peanuts. Serve with rice.

Yield: 4 servings.

Kung Pao Chicken

Monday, December 03, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Loaf

Pumpkin Chocolate Loaf

I've been baking up a storm lately, getting things ready to ship off for Christmas Gifts.

These mini loaves were a part of the homemade goodies and I just love the pumpkin and chocolate mix.

Another great recipe from Taste of Home.

Pumpkin Chocolate Loaf

Pumpkin Chocolate Loaf

3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 to 1-1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 eggs
1 can (29 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1-1/4 cups canola oil
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips


In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.

Pumpkin Chocolate Loaf

In another large bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, oil, chocolate and vanilla.

Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chips.

Transfer to three greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pans.

Pumpkin Chocolate Loaf

Bake at 350° for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Wrap and freeze for up to 6 months.

Yield: 3 loaves.

Note: I use the mini loaf pans and get 5 loaves out of this recipe.

Pizza in a Pot

Oh my, I do love a good slow cooked meal, especially in the winter time.

I don't get to use mine as often as I would like, and nowhere near as much as I used to back in Idaho where it actually got cold and snowy and my crockpot beckoned for soups and stews..

Pizza in a Pot

I have a few recipes on the menu for my crockpot....and one especially because I have the best review/giveaway coming up which focuses ALL on slow cooking etc. Stay tuned for that.

Anyway, on to the recipe. I love Taste of Home and have a bunch of cookbooks, magazines etc.....this recipe comes from one of the Slow Cooker Cookbooks and is a winner in my pasta and pizza loving household.

Pizza in a Pot

Pizza in a Pot

1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 jar (14 ounces) pizza sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups spiral pasta, cooked and drained
2 packages (3-1/2 ounces each) sliced pepperoni
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


In a large skillet, cook the beef, green pepper and onion over medium
heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomato sauce,
pizza sauce and tomato paste.

In a 5-qt. slow cooker, layer the pasta, beef mixture, pepperoni and
cheese. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until heated through.

Yield: 8 servings.

If you'd like, substitute 1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage for the pepperoni in Pizza in a Pot. Cook it along with the ground beef, green pepper and onion.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Zuppa Toscana

By far, my favorite dish from Olive Garden is their Zuppa Toscana, along with those delicious breadsticks.  Yum!

But honestly, I don't always get to Olive Garden, nor do I have the money to go by anytime I crave this soup.  So, I went searching online because as you know, many of the restaurants have copycat recipes out there, and I do have quite a stash of bookmarked favorites to try.

I've been making this soup for a while now, but hadn't had it in a few months, probably a year or so.

Since I picked up some great looking Kale at the grocery store yesterday, it was the perfect time to make another batch.  This recipe comes from Tuscan Recipes.

Zuppa Toscana

Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana
Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 lb ground Italian sausage
1½ tsp crushed red peppers
1 large diced white onion
4 Tbsp bacon pieces
2 tsp garlic puree
10 cups water
5 cubes of chicken bouillon
1 cup heavy cream
1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
¼ of a bunch of kale

Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.

In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.

Add chicken bouillon and water to the pot and heat until it starts to boil.

Zuppa Toscana

Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.

Zuppa Toscana

Add the heavy cream and just cook until thoroughly heated.

Zuppa Toscana

Stir in the sausage and the kale, let all heat through and serve.

Note: This recipe makes enough for our family of four, and I still have 2 mason jars with leftover soup for midweek lunches :)