Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Looking for tickets? Ask Andy or the police...

Some days go as planned.  Most days don't.  I can't tell you how many times during the weekend of Mother's Day I was going to go buy the cinnamon rolls I needed for this French toast.  SO many times.  And did I ever get to it?  Considering I sent Andy out at 9 PM to go hunt them down - the answer is no.  But that's life, right?  Hindsight - it wasn't a big deal - the disruptions. Makes for a good story.  Want to know what happened?  Ask Andy… I'm all out of tickets for telling that story… ugh.
Anyway!  Mother's Day brunch at our house.  I asked my folks and my Gram to come since we'd all be at church 7 1/2 minutes down the road anyway.  Yes, it's 7 1/2 - you want to make it less?  Our friendly Police Officers will see that it takes you extra longer and you get a fancy piece of paper to go with that.
I saw this recipe for Cinnamon Roll French Toast and figured since I loved both - why not?   I cut up the frozen cinnamon rolls the night before expecting great things to happen by morning.  I opened the fridge the next morning?  Looked the same as when I put it in.  Hrm.  Sure they were thawed, but not puffy or changed in any way. 
I used the magic oven timer - I LOVE the timed start on my oven.  I can cook food while I'm not even there.  When we got home - the cinnamon rolls had puffed up and smelled amazing.  No syrup needed - just use the packet of frosting.  I did only make a half a recipe, since I didn't want too many left overs.
I really liked this recipe - but each bite I took I wished it was just a cinnamon roll.  Maybe it was the frame of mind at the moment.  If you like French toast and cinnamon rolls - this one is a winner.

Cinnamon Roll French Toast Breakfast Bake
1 bag (36.5 oz) frozen cinnamon rolls, 12 pk (like Rhodes)
4 large eggs
1 cup milk, 2% or higher is best
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
cream cheese glaze packets from frozen cinnamon rolls
1.Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
2.Cut each frozen cinnamon roll into 4 pieces. Some may break and not be in 4 perfect pieces and that's fine. Place into the baking dish in an even layer. A few may be overlapping.
3.In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk together until well combined. Pour over the cinnamon rolls in the baking dish.
4.Cover with plastic wrap and put in fridge overnight.
5.Take the dish out of the fridge in the morning and leave on the counter while you preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
6.Bake for 35-40 minutes. Place a piece of tin foil over top of the dish (loosely) to prevent the cinnamon rolls from browning too much.
7.Let cool for 3-5 minutes. Place glaze packets in the microwave for 30 seconds and drizzle over the breakfast bake. Serve.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Racing Butterfly Cupcakes - with grass and without grass...

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… at least for this 5 and 7 year old.  What?  Xander is 7 and Anika 5?  How is that possible?  Xander requested a racetrack and Anika very specifically wanted the butterfly cupcakes her mom had pinned on Pinterest.  So Anika?  Winner – no question – although she wasn’t sure about the grass – her memory perhaps was incorrect on the cupcakes she picked.  Xander?  Wanted a race track.  Well, my cupcakes tend to shift around a bit so I wanted something that could be moved a bit and not cause an issue… well apparently these weren’t the winner since there was no grass (maybe he and Anika should have switched grass) and it did not say NASCAR in the middle.  Well.  Um… perhaps next year I’ll just surprise them with whatever pops into my head at the moment… guess we’ll see.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

How do you like your sausage?

The plan was to make pizza… but it just didn't happen.  We needed a fast meal but pizza - not a quick meal.  Instead?  A crockpot sausage and sauce meal.   This recipe was a little more involved than my normal crockpot meals.  You brown the sausage, then brown the veggies, continuing with all the veggies, dump it all in and cook away.  I did use lean Italian turkey sausage so by the end of the cooking, all the fat had cooked out and the texture was not the best.  Instead, next time I would cook the sausage and set them aside. Then cook all the veggies (so they got that extra flavor) then right before serving, warm and crisp the sausage up in a pan, mmmm yum.  Or, don't do the sausage at all.  This made awesome pasta sauce and it will get made again.

Crock Pot Sausage and Peppers
Sweet Italian Sausage links, cut in half, or thirds if large
salt and pepper
2 yellow onions, cut in half then sliced
3 small or 2 large green bell peppers, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon (more or less) red chili pepper flakes
28oz can tomato sauce
28oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken broth
Drizzle a small amount of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium/medium-high heat (6/10 on the heat scale.) Add half or a third of the sausages (depending on how big your skillet is,) then brown for a minute or two on all four sides, or until golden brown, then transfer to a 6-quart crock pot (sausage does not need to be cooked all the way through.) Repeat with remaining sausage then add to crock pot.
Turn heat up to medium-high then add onions to skillet, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until just beginning to become tender, 3-4 minutes then add to crock pot.
Add bell peppers to skillet, season with salt and pepper, then saute until crisp tender, 4-5 minutes, adding a drizzle more oil if necessary to keep peppers from burning. Add garlic then saute for 1 more minute, and then add peppers and garlic to crock pot.
Add red chili pepper flakes, a little pit of salt and pepper, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, and chicken broth to crock pot then cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until sausages are very tender. Serve over pasta or inside rolls with provolone cheese on top.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

We ate it, so you don't have to...

Once again my family will serve as a public service announcement for the rest of the world… ok for the three people who read my blog. (Hi Mom!  Hi Andy! and Hi someone else!)
One pan dishes, often they are great.  Awesome!  You are able to do all the cooking in one pan, very little clean up, only one thing to toss in the oven, everyone walks away from the table happy.
Not this time.
Chicken, broccoli and red potatoes - how could that go wrong?  Oh my.  First add in mayo - or Miracle Whip.  There is something about it that just doesn't work with cooking.  Sure it's amazing in my Zesty Chicken Tortilla Bake, but in other things? Um... no.  The potatoes did not cook so well, the broccoli was kind of over cooked.  The chicken?  Well the chicken was right on the edge of, "is this juicy and really nicely cooked or is this undercooked and we are all gonna die?"   We all sat around the table looking at our plates wondering if this was thing that would keep us close to home for the next day.  YUCK.
So.. needless to say, it went in the trash.  So sad to see it wasted, but that's what happens sometimes.
The recipe?  Nope.
Pretty pictures?  I guess the cheese is pretty...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

3 Year-Old Eats Coffee Cake - Mother Shocked

I continue on a hunt - a hunt for the perfect almond coffee cake.  Surely you've been down this road with me before.  It's a path well traveled.  I'm narrowing the road to a path.... closing in on the perfect recipe.
This recipe?  While not what I was seeking, is something well worth trying, if you are on the same path.  My friend Marcia told me she had an almond coffee cake recipe that was awesome.  Since I feel I'm becoming a connoisseur of these things, I felt it was time to give it a try.  Marcia is a much better Dutch girl than me.  She makes banket (and likes it),  she keeps a clean car, and even goes to the local Dutch Fest.  She also has a great almond coffee cake recipe.  Get this - even Bronwyn ate a piece on a Sunday morning.  I know right?  Amazing. That never happens!
I will continue on the hunt and I think it's leading me in the direction of ground almonds.  Interesting right?  Maybe I need to get a part time job at the bakery and then I will know their secrets!

Almond Coffee Cake

Mix together:
½ lb. margarine
1 cup sugar
2 eggs

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
½ lb. almond paste, grated
1 tsp vanilla

Topping: (mix like pie crust, until crumbly)
½ cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 stick margarine

Bake 375 degrees in greased and floured pan
10x15 (jelly roll) pan: 25-30 minutes
9x13 pan: about 40 minutes

When cool, drizzle with glaze.

1 cup powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1 T butter or margarine
2-3 T milk

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