Monthly Archives: March 2013

Cinnamon Buns for Easter Breakfast

When I was growing up, we had a major Holiday (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc…) Tradition of making a big breakfast. Bacon, eggs, cinnamon buns, toast, hot chocolate, OJ… all made it on to our plates. It’s one of my favorite things about holidays. I really LOVE breakfast food. And Cinnamon buns are (pretty much) my favorite breakfast food, right after pancakes. I’ve always bought the Pillsbury ones in a can… but not this time! This time I was determined to make my own. I was original going to do a different version, but it had yeast and multiple rising times. Not gunna happen (I spent all day yesterday making Perogies for the first time in my life), so I opted for a quicker version from In Jennies Kitchen. I first saw a version on Lemons for Lulu, who adapted it from Iowa Girl Eats, who adapted it from In Jennies Kitchen!
 
It’s pretty simple, once you get the hang of it. It took me 2 tries to roll the first half of the dough out close to the right size/ shape. Before you start rolling, shape it into a rectangle! Duh, right!?
I also had a bit of an interesting time rolling the dough around the filling… the first batch was kind of loose, and the second kind of tight. It didn’t really make a difference, except how they looked. I gently squished each roll down to flatten them a little, in hopes that they would look more alike. It kind of helped.
 
You can make these the night before, and just bake them in the morning while you’re making bacon & eggs! I did. Although… I had this in a glass baking dish overnight in the fridge, and changed them into a regular baking pan in the morning. I wasn’t sure if it’s safe to put a cold glass dish in a hot oven, and that one is my favorite piece of Pyrex! I would definatly NOT skip the parchment paper & grease… the melted brown sugar is super sticky.
 
I’m thinking that the next time I make these I’m going to roll the short sides, and make 8 big buns instead of 16 average sized ones. And I also think I’ll use some liquor in the frosting (Bailey’s, Kahlua, maybe Grand Marnier)…
 
Happy Easter, and Happy Sunday Bakery!
-Hey Waitress!!
 
PS. Do you call these Cinnamon Buns or Cinnamon Rolls? I guess technically they’re rolls because I rolled them…

Click HERE for my recipe!

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New To Me Cooking Challenge, weeks 9-12

 
Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers, week 9 (no recipe)
I messed with the original recipe a little bit… and I’m not happy with the way it came out. They were edible, but not worth posting a recipe. Since I’m determined to share the “Fails” as well as the successes, I figured just a quick note would be enough until I mess with the recipe again. The original was from How Sweet It Is. You should check out hers! I bet it’s awesome!
Things I did different:
-No wire rack for the second half of baking- I took it out ‘cause my kitchen started to smell funny, and I started to doubt whether or not my non-stick wire rack was oven safe (or if it was perhaps whatever I happened to burn to the bottom of my oven)! The chicken tenders still came out crispy.
-I used Chipotle Panko Breadcrumbs instead of whole wheat (I couldn’t find any panko labeled whole wheat in the grocery store)
-I changed out ¼ cup of all-purpose flour for crushed Rice Krispies.
-I used an egg (lightly beaten) instead of the buttermilk.
-I used cooking spray not an olive oil mist.
 My main issue with this recipe is that it’s supposed to be healthier than eating regular fried chicken. And I guess with the substitution of the almond meal & olive oil (and NOT frying the tenders) it would be… but… almond meal costs over $10 for a small bag, and it’s definitely not low-calorie (the almond meal has 50 more calories per serving than all-purpose flour). So… because I count calories these chicken fingers aren’t quite “healthy” enough for me. I’m already working out a way to decrease the calorie count a little bit more, and I’m really excited to post it (as soon as I figure out what I’m going to change)!
Check out the orginal recipe from How Sweet It Is.
 
Beef Stroganoff, week 10
This recipe is from the Better Homes Cookbook.
I’m not sure where to start when I talk about this meal.
It reminded me why I don’t eat mushrooms. I really don’t like them. I don’t like the taste or the texture. Or even the way they look. So, you’re probably thinking something along the lines of “The why the eff did you use them!?” Am I right? Well… I used them because Hubs likes mushrooms.
Besides the Shroomy taste this Stroganoff was kind of bland. Basically all I could taste was the shrooms & occasionally a bit too much sour cream. I think if Hubs asks for it again, I’ll probably add some Cajun seasoning.
In the Better Homes Cookbook (which I LOOOOVE, BTW)… the type of noodle wasn’t specified, so in an attempt to clean out my pantry I used some egg noodles I had sitting around. The nutrition facts I posted are the ones from the cookbook. I’m not sure if they include the “noodles” or not, but the original recipe only uses 2 cups.
Overall… I wouldn’t make this again, unless Hubs asks for it.
 
BBQ Chicken Pizza w/ Homemade Pizza Dough, week 11
I have (what I now believe to be a totally irrational) fear of yeast. Seriously… it scares me. Extra step, rising, warm places, warm (but not hot) water, and the waiiiiiiting… eeek!
Today I used yeast for the first time. Yay me! I chose a simple pizza crust recipe and crossed my fingers. It worked! I made something with yeast! Yay me (again)!
 The dough recipe is from the Pioneer Woman Cooks. Ree Drummond is AAAAHmaaaaazing. The cookbook has beautiful step by step pictures, easy instruction, and is filled with great (hearty) recipes. Go buy it. I’m not kidding.
 I did use light olive oil instead of regular olive oil, and didn’t EXACTALLY follow the directions.
I let the dough rise for about an hour and 15 minutes. You’re supposed to put it in a warm place… but my apartment thermostat is set at 64 degrees… what’s a girl to do!? I put it on top of my clothes dryer while it was running (I need dry workout clothes, geez). I’m not sure if it helped or not, but it was pretty funny.
After it was done rising I divided it in half, wrapped one tightly in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer for future use. If you do this, make sure to thaw it at room temperature. Apparently yeast dough gets all jacked up if you thaw it in the fridge (internet rumors, I haven’t tried it). If you don’t freeze (or use) half store it in the fridge and use it w/in 2 days.
 I stretched my dough out onto a 9X13 pan, slathered on the bbq, then the pre-cooked chicken, and the mozzarella, and baked it for about 12 minutes… if you want a crispier crust bake for a few minutes longer.
 Oh! A note about the cheese! I used a block of mozz, and started shredding it (with a grater, ‘cuz that’s what I have) … then I realized it peels just like string cheese. How cool is that!? So I basically peeled strings of cheese off the block, and then put them on the pizza. You could probably cut thin slices if you don’t want to peel all those string. The other day, a friend pointed out to me how much “extra” stuff is in bags of pre-shredded cheese, and when I actually made the effort to check the ingredients I was kind of bothered by it. The block of mozz I bought listed less than half the ingredients of the bag of shredded. I know it’s a convenience thing for most people, but for me (because I’m lucky enough to have the time), I might as well shred it myself and cut out the extra crap.
 Any ways, that’s all for week 11. This week gets thumbs up from both Hubs and I. Yay me (AGAIN)!
 
Chicken & Broccoli Cheesey Casserole, week 12
When I decided to make this dish for week 12 I had originally wanted to make a Mac N Cheese dish. That evolved to a Chicken Mac N Cheese… which turned into this casserole! I adapted it from a recipe for Mac N Cheese on AllRecipes.com. I added the broccoli, chicken and mozzarella, and left out some cottage cheese (eeeew).
It was SUPPOSED to be “healthier” than regular Mac N Cheese… but… well… I don’t think that worked out so well. Hahaha!
I divided my pan into 6 HUGE servings. If you’re going to eat anything else with it I would suggest much smaller servings.
I used Perdue individual packed Italian Seasoned Chicken… mostly out of convenience. I know what a serving size is. Plus we keep them in the freezer, and they thaw and cook quickly. I cooked 2 pieces on the George Forman (I love that “grill”), rested them, then diced them into small pieces.
 
That’s the New To Me Cooking Challenge for March!
 
Happy Cooking!
-Hey Waitress!!
 
PS click on the headers to see my recipes. And I’ll hopefully have some pictures to post… soon. 😉
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Homemade Marshmallow Bunnies & Chicks, and Other Easter Treats

Marshmallow Bunnies & Chicks
(adapted from Miss CandiQuik)
I love marshmallows. I mean, I LOOOOOOVE them. I’ve been wanting to try to make my own since the beginning of the winter (hello marshmallow hot chocolate). Because I finally bought a candy thermometer AND that next weekend is Easter (and I also recently bought some really cute Easter themed cookie cutters), I decided that this weekend would be the time to try it!
 
The recipe has a lot of steps, but it’s not too complicated.
 
Atleast it wouldn’t be complicated if you used the right sized sauce pan. Do you have any idea what burned corn syrup/ sugar smells like? Nasty. That’s what. My small sauce pan was (apparently) too small. The mixture started to boil, reached about 200 degrees F, then proceeded to boil out of my small sauce pan and burn onto my stove top. Oops. In a moment of pure panic I grabbed another (larger) sauce pan, poured the wicked hot mixture into it, and set it on a different burner on med-high heat. It obviously took a bit longer to heat back up (about 6 more minutes), and I only got the temp up to 230 degrees F. It still worked, so I’m not complaining!
 
The original recipe said to whip the combined mixtures for 12-15 minutes, mine was fluffy after about 8, so I added the vanilla and kept whipping for 2 more minutes just to make sure.
I used a sifter to get a nice even coating of corn starch/ powdered sugar in the bottom of the prepared 9×13 pan before I spread the marshmallow mixture in it, then sifted some more on top after I got it in the pan. Also… try not to eat all the marshmallow. I had some trouble with this because it tastes just like FLUFF at this point in the process.
 
I made Bunnies & Chicks, but you could just cut the marshmallow into squares (after it sits overnight, or for 4 hours). Dip the cookie cutters, or your knife into the leftover corn starch/ powdered sugar to keep it from sticking to the marshmallow.
 
I saved the scraps (I HATE wasting stuff), and cut them into tiny pieces to make bite sized marshmallows.
 
Click here for the Homemade Marshmallow Recipe!
 
Other Easter Goodies
I also made a bunch of other stuff this weekend with the intention of making things that Hubs could take to work for folks to share with their families. IE I didn’t use ANY booze this weekend.
First was the super duper cute Cadbury Egg Chicks (inspired by A Mummy Too). I followed her directions, with the exception of the beaks. I cut a yellow candy melt in half, “glued” the flat sides together with melted candy melt, then cut those in half. That made 2 quarters “glued” together, then “glued” onto the Cadbury Egg. I didn’t include tails on mine, and I used candy eyeballs (made by Wilton, bought at Michael’s craft store).
 
Next was M&M (egg-shaped) Rice Krispie Treats. Check out Will Cook For Smiles for the recipe & directions. I couldn’t get my M&M’s to stick to the sides of my eggs, so I just left them off. I wish mine would have come out as cute as hers! Cut the scraps into small squares (try not to eat them all), and save for what’s coming next.
 
Bunny Bark ( 2 ways)! Because I needed an excuse to buy my favorite Easter candy. Right? Yes. CONFESSION: I love, love, love Starburst Jellybeans and Mini Cadbury Chocolate Eggs. Like, really LOVE them both.
I used a large bag of white chocolate chips…
For the first kind of Bunny Bark, I melted half of the white chocolate chips, and poured in onto a 9×13 cookie sheet (covered with parchment paper). Then I sprinkled some Starburst Jellybeans (3/4 cup maybe), some of the homemade mini marshmallows, and some of the left over Rice Krispie Treat pieces on top. Then I drizzled some melted dark chocolate over it.
For the 2nd kind… I cut 1 cup of mini (bite sized) Oreos in half, sprinkled them on a piece of parchment paper (on a 9×13 baking sheet), covered those in melted white chocolate, then dropped some Reese’s PB Eggs, Mini Cadbury Chocolate Eggs, and some Easter Pretzel M&M’s on top… then drizzled some dark chocolate over the top.
Allow the bark to chill for 45minutes in the fridge before you break it into smaller pieces.
 
 
Have a great Easter!
Happy Making (or Baking)!
-Hey Waitress!!

 

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Irish Car Bomb Truffles & Minty Fudge

I had a lot of fun making these. Actually…
 
I had a lot of fun making the cake, and eating the edges.
Let me explain… This Guinness cake tastes delish. Perfect by itself, I think it would taste great with a very light frosting of some kind. Maybe a fluffy Bailey’s buttercream? It’s got a really great flavor, with just a hint of Guinness. And it’s super moist. Plus I added the green food color to make it a little more fun. The only downside is that the edges got a little too brown to be considered pretty. So I ate most of them.
I kind of made a booboo and forgot to write down the length of time I baked the cake for, but I think it was about 35 minutes. Be smart and peek in the oven window every so often before that, just to make sure. 😉
 
I had a lot of fun making sure the ganache tasted “right”. Who wouldn’t!?
Make sure the ganache is COLD before you try to whip it, if it’s still warm it won’t work. Don’t ask me why, I have no idea (that’s what the interwebs say, so it must be true). It took mine about 5 minutes to get as fluffy as I wanted it to be. Just give it time… be patient. This ganache is a little TOO chocolaty for me, the flavor really overpowered the Guinness cake. It’s really good, just a little to stong for such a light cake flavor.
 
Over all the ganache overpowered the cake crumbles. I used about 90% of the ganache I made. You can probably use less. I think it will depend on how crumbly/ cakey you want your truffles to be. Make sense? This was my first attempt at making truffles using cake so I was kind of winging it.
 
I didn’t have a particular amount of fun dipping these little guys into the chocolate. It’s a technique I still haven’t mastered. I started off using a spoon, but that was too messy. After the first few I realized that I had some lollipop sticks in the cupboard so I stuck the truffles on those, then dipped them. I used at least a whole bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips AND a little over a cup of white chocolate chips… you my use more or less, depending on how thick you like the chocolate covering, and how quick you get your cake balls/ truffles dipped. Ever notice how quickly white chocolate chips harden back up? I did. 😉
 
I also made some Minty Fudge this week using the McCormick recipe. The recipe online didn’t specify how much mint extract to use so I used a teaspoon of it. Then I added some mini chocolate chips to the top. You can never have too much chocolate, right?
 
Happy St. Paddy’s Day and Happy Baking!
-Hey Waitress!!
 
RECIPE HERE
 
Soo… I though I had posted this on St Paddy’s… (last Sunday) but apparently I only saved it as a draft.  Drat! Better late then never!
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