January 31, 2011

Culinary Smackdown Battle - Hand Held Meat "Pies"

I woke up to quite a surprise this morning when I logged onto my blog and found a comment that I had won January's Culinary Smackdown Battle - Salmon on Brenda's blog over at, Brenda's Canadian Kitchen. Do you remember that Smoked Salmon Cardamom Spread? Yea that one! I raved about how incredibly delicious this spread was and I felt like a winner just for getting to make and eat it! Haha!

Now that I am metaphorically crowned Culinary Smackdown Battle winner it is my honor to get to host February's Culinary Smackdown. I have thought hard but not so long on what the challenge would be. I decided to go with Hand Held Meat "Pies". The possibilities are endless. Think along the lines of HotPockets, calzones, kolaches, etc. Meat in a shell that can be ate with your hands and maybe a fork to pick up any pieces that fall out.

Culinary Smackdown Battle - Hand Held Meat Pies will held throughout the month of February. Entries may be submitted starting February 1st, 2011 - February 27th, 2011. I will be announcing the winner on the morning of February 28th. All you have to do to enter is link up your entry below. I'll be looking forward to seeing all of the wonderful ideas you're going to submit!

I'm sure you're wondering what's in it for you. The winner will receive a $10.00 gift card for Barnes and Noble. Put it towards a new cookbook, DVD, or even towards a Caramel Macchiato from a Starbucks within the store. It's also redeemable online. If coffee is what you're putting it towards I recommend going in store for that purchase. Could you imagine the mess? Haha!

Let's get to linking up those Hand Held Meat "Pie" entries now! It doesn't have to be a new recipe. I'm more than happy to see what you've maybe already made on your blog. Only one entry per person please. If you would do me a favor pretty pretty please, mention my link/Pretend Chef in your submitted post. That would be greatly appreciated to help generate buzz. What's a competition without other competitors? A for sure win. Haha!

January 30, 2011

Cream Cheese Scrambled Eggs

Breakfast can either be my favorite meal or least favorite meal of the day. When it's the usual bowl of cold cereal with milk, plain oatmeal, or even 2 egg whites with dry toast I grow bored of the monotony. Throw a twist on the usual and then I look forward to preparing breakfast and eating it.

If you're going to wake up early and prepare something it better be worth your while. Eating breakfast is a great way to jump start your day and provide you with energy needed to carry on the day, that is of course, after a cup or two of coffee. Or a pot of coffee for some.

After making the Yukon Gold Potatoes with Clarified Butter for dinner I knew reheating them with my breakfast would be a hearty side instead of dry toast. Egg whites are a great source of protein and I do like them but I can't stand to eat them everyday. I'm not really a scrambled egg fan but on occasion scrambled eggs with cheese sound irresistible. While searching through, MyRecipes, I found a recipe for Cream Cheese Scrambled Eggs. They sounded and looked incredibly creamy. I figured they would be a great change up for breakfast.

Cream Cheese Scrambled Eggs surely did not disappoint. They were so smooth and creamy. Perfect with the Yukon Gold Potatoes with Clarified Butter and a side of applesauce. The addition of basil also added a very fresh taste and was a new twist on scrambled eggs I am looking forward to making again. This made for such a hearty breakfast.
MyRecipes.com and Southern Living, January 2005
Makes 4 to 6 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 (3 oz) package cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil (optional)
And Action:

Whisk together first 4 ingredients.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the egg mixture and cook without stirring until the egg begins to set on the bottom. Sprinkle the cubed cream cheese over the egg mixture. Drawing a heat resistant spatula across the bottom of the skillet to form large curds.

Cook eggs until thickened but moist. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil before serving.

*Note: If you prefer a lighter version substitute 2 cups of egg substitute for the eggs and 3 ounces of light cream cheese instead of regular. Proceed as directed.

January 29, 2011

Yukon Gold Potatoes Sautéed in Clarified Butter

Clarified butter. Never heard of it. From clicking the Clarified Butter link on the original recipe I learned that milk solids are skimmed away leaving the clarified butter to have a higher smoke point than just regular butter. This once again is another reason I call myself the Pretend Chef. I learn something new every day and even after attempting to look in the saucepan of melted butter nothing looked solid. Hmmm.... maybe I just didn't know exactly what I was looking at. I just decided not to bother and continued making the recipe with the butter I had just melted. Saved myself one step as far as I was concerned.

Growing up my mama would make homestyle potatoes with breakfast many mornings. I loved her well seasoned potatoes with my eggs and bacon. Oh how I miss living under here roof and sitting around her table! Although I didn't make these potatoes for breakfast I have plans of reheating them with my eggs and making sort of a scramble.

Whether you know what or how to make clarified butter or just use regular butter these potatoes are amazing! Simple. Yes. But oh so flavorful! Crispy and creamy. The Yukon gold potatoes cook for 20 minutes in a skillet to get tender and browned before being seasoned with parsley, garlic, salt and pepper.

These would make a great side dish for breakfast or dinner. I prefer them for breakfast with a poached egg over the top so the runny yolk runs down and onto the potatoes! Yummy!

MyRecipes.com and Cooking Light, January 2007
Makes 8 Servings (Serving size = 1 cup)

Stars of the Show:
  • 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup clarified butter - I used Land O' Lakes Butter with Olive Oil and didn't skim any milk solids off the top. Remember... I had no clue what I was looking for.
  • 2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley - I used dried parsley.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
And Action:

Place the potatoes in a pot covered with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Drain and let stand for 2 minutes.

Heat the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the potatoes to the skillet, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are nice and browned and tender. Stir occasionally. Stir in the parsley, salt, pepper, and garlic.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 197 (29% from fat)
Fat: 6.4g (sat 4g,mono 1.8g,poly 0.2g)
Protein: 4.1g
Carbohydrate: 30.2g
Fiber: 2.1g
Cholesterol: 16mg
Iron: 1.5mg
Sodium: 158mg
Calcium: 2mg

January 28, 2011

Cloverleaf Honey Wheat Rolls

I cannot stand wasting food. I dislike it so much that I have created a spreadsheet of ALL the food items that I have in the house and keep it updated on a daily basis. I even color code it with what is expiring during the current month and aim to make as much as I can to use up that ingredient. It's a great tool to have when I menu plan and now nothing gets pushed to the back of the cupboards and forgotten about. Having my spreadsheet has also help cut our food bill significantly.

Seeing that my 100% whole wheat flour was expiring by month's end I decided it was best to put it to use. I searched my favorite recipe website, MyRecipes, and did a quick search for whole wheat flour. Cloverleaf Honey Wheat Rolls. I had all of the other ingredients on hand and it wasn't a hard decision to make these.

I had tried another recipe similar to these that were good but not great, Herb Cloverleaf Rolls. Their pull apart shape made me giddy. I was excited to get in the kitchen and give the Cloverleaf Honey Wheat Rolls a go. When isn't honey and wheat a winning combination? Cooking Light recipe also. Can't go wrong.

Working with dough no longer intimidates me like in my earlier blogging days. Is that weird to say considering the fact that I've only been at this for three months? I use to question every step of the bread making process and now I can breeze through a recipe such as this without any self doubt. I've come a long way.

After these rolls got out of the oven letting them cool down enough to handle was pure torture. The apartment smelled of fresh bread and the sweetness of the honey had me dying to get my hands on these. I popped them out of the muffin pan and the time it took to photograph them was enough to let them cool.
I pulled one of the "cloverleafs" off and the steam rose. The smell was so sweet and tantalizing. They looked so airy and light. I raise the portion to my mouth and before I was able to take a bite itty bitty had also taken notice of the fresh out of the oven love and raced over to stake claim on a roll too. Both of us shared a first bite together. "Nom-me!" I couldn't agree more. Now if only Mr. Sideline Chef would have been home to see if these Cloverleaf Honey Wheat Rolls would be deemed "engagement" worthy. Guess I'll just have to make them again... oh darn! Haha!

MyRecipes.com and Cooking Light, September 2002
Makes 1 dozen (Serving size = 1 roll)
*To Freeze: Wrap the baked rolls in foil and reheat at 350º for 10 minutes or until warm.
Stars of the Show:
  • 1 package dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 2 cups bread flour, divided
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • cooking spray
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 egg
And Action:

Dissolve the yeast in 1 cup warm water in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups bread flour, whole wheat flour, honey, butter, and salt to the yeast mixture stirring well until blended. Add 1/4 cup bread flour and stir to form a soft dough.

Turn the dough onto a well floured surface. Knead until smooth, about 8 minutes. Add enough of the remaining bread flour, 1 tbsp at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands.

Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray and turning the top to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Punch dough down. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425°.

Coat a muffin pan with the cooking spray. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time, separate each portion into 3 balls. Place the 3 balls into one muffin cup. Cover and let rise 25 minutes or until doubled in size.

Uncover the dough. Combine 1 tbsp water with the egg and brush over the tops of the dough. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 152 (18% from fat)
Fat: 3g (sat 1.6g,mono 0.9g,poly 0.2g)
Protein: 5.1g
Carbohydrate: 27.3g
Fiber: 2g
Cholesterol: 24mg
Iron: 1.5mg
Sodium: 206mg
Calcium: 4mg

I'm linking this recipe to:

January 27, 2011

Caramelized Onion Potato Spread

Tuna sandwiches and salads can become so monotonous for lunches. I needed something to shake up my lunch rotation. While searching my favorite recipe website, MyRecipes, I found this recipe for Caramelized Onion and Potato Spread. The nutritional stats for the spread made me do a double take. 45 calories for 3 tablespoons of the spread? Whoa! That is incredible! After reviewing the nutritional stats I figured I would stick with my tuna sandwich and instead have this as a snack with some low fat crackers.

If you recall my first attempt at caramelizing onions didn't turn out so well. They instead burned to a crisp. I still ate them to avoid hurting my own pride. I was a bit nervous to try it again. After the onions started to turn translucent I turned the heat on the stove down and let them turn to a golden brown color instead of black. Job well done. Hope has been restored.
Reminds me of when my mom would make hot dogs for us for dinners and she'd make caramelized onions to put on hers.
This spread has a base of Yukon gold potatoes mashed with navy beans and the caramelized onions blended in. Balsamic vinegar lends another layer of flavor that pairs well with the onions and potatoes. Yogurt and sour cream are then stirred into the mix and then the spread is seasoned with salt and pepper. The original recipe states to let this chill in the fridge for one hour before serving. Pssh... I thought this was fantastic on it's own while it was still warm. Not wanting to blow it by eating this by the spoonful I followed through and demonstrated extreme willpower and brought myself to put it in the fridge.

After it's chill out time I grabbed for my box of crackers and grabbed out the proper portion size, 5, and scooped myself 3 tablespoons worth of the Caramelized Onion Potato Spread. My snack ran me 115 calories. So satisfying and filling. I'll be looking forward to snack time tomorrow.

I also have set out to complete a sort of "bucket list" if you will but for things I want to cook before I turn 24 in June. I call it "Stir the Pot" because that only seems more fitting since this is after all a food blog. Number three on my list was to find a spread for our Game Days that could compare to the Smoked Salmon Cardamom Spread. These two spreads are on two different sides of the flavor spectrum that I couldn't compare one to the other. Mission accomplished. This spread will be fantastic for our next Game Day which will be Super Bowl. If you haven't heard our beloved Steelers are going to the Super Bowl and they're headed close to us in Dallas! Mr. Sideline Chef has already made arrangements for us to go up to Dallas for the weekend and bar hop. (((Hines Ward))) How about the two of us smiling over a cup of cocoa after the game?

MyRecipes.com and Cooking Light, December 2007
Makes 22 Servings (Serving size = 3 tbsp spread)

Stars of the Show:
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 lb peeled baking potato, cut into 1-inch cubes - I used Yukon gold potatoes.
  • 3/4 cup canned navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain fat free yogurt
  • 2 tbsp fat free sour cream
And Action:

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions to the skillet and saute for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 45 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently.

Place the potatoes in a medium pot covered with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes or until very tender. Drain and cool for 5 minutes. Combine the potatoes and beans in a large bowl (I just put them into the pot I used to boil the potatoes) and mash. Add onion, vinegar, salt, and pepper stirring well. Add yogurt and sour cream and stir until blended. Chill at least 1 hour before serving with crackers, baguette slices, or breadsticks.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 45 (10% from fat)
Fat: 0.5g (sat 0.1g,mono 0.3g,poly 0.1g)
Protein: 1.5g
Carbohydrate: 9.1g
Fiber: 1.1g
Cholesterol: 0.0mg
Iron: 0.4mg
Sodium: 87mg
Calcium: 23mg

Before you set out to make this spread how about visiting Smart Girl Reviews and enter for a chance to win some Cowgirl Chocolates. Drool worthy! Who doesn't love a chance to win free products? What are you still doing here. Head over to Smart Girl Reviews and tell her the Pretend Chef sent you! Thank you in advance!

January 26, 2011

Pink Lemonade

Do I dare say I'm not a lemonade fan? NEVER do I order lemonade. From anywhere. Not because I don't like it but because it's just not my favorite. Mr. Sideline Chef on the other hand will have me buy lemonade mixes and end up dumping in so much of the mix into a 16 oz bottle of water that it literally makes you pucker. He likes it tart and only in the Summer.

While it's not Summer time, obviously, and no we're not having Summer weather we did have a beautiful Sunday. The weather was perfect for a picnic at the park and all I wanted to do was take the football before the big game and go play catch with my boys and let itty bitty get out of the house and get some of his pent up energy out. Have to take full advantage of these sunny days before the rainy weather keeps us indoors.

We ended up missing our window of opportunity from the time itty bitty woke from nap and kickoff. Even though we ended up not going to the park I still wanted to make the Pink Lemonade. I ended up making it on Monday afternoon.
Simple syrup. Check. Fresh hand squeezed lemon juice. Check. Water and grenadine. Check. Strawberry garnish. Check. It was that simple. This recipe came together really quickly and into the fridge it went to chill out for a couple of hours.

Lemonade does not make me excited. Now Pink Lemonade on the other hand makes me giddy so does Red Robin's selection of lemonades. This Pink Lemonade was no exception. It looked so beautiful mixed in the glass pitcher with the diced strawberries floating on the top. Once poured into my glass I couldn't wait to take that first sip. More sweet than sour. The grenadine and strawberries along with the simple syrup balanced out the tang from the lemons. Lip smackin' good!

The picnic will need a redo and this will for sure make it in the cooler... or maybe Mr. Sideline Chef is reading this and will make it for me and pack a picnic on Valentine's Day... a girl can dream... in reality I'll be the one packing the picnic and he'll be along for the ride. No matter what occasion you make this for it'll be a hit.

MyRecipes.com and Southern Living, July 2001
Makes 3 quarts

Stars of the Show:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup grenadine
  • 1/2 pint of fresh raspberries or strawberries (optional) - I used strawberries. Yummy!
And Action:

Bring sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan and boil, stirring constantly until the sugar dissovles. Cool. Pour into a large container or pitcher. Stir remaining 9 cups water, lemon juice, grenadine, and if desired the raspberries or strawberries. Chill for 2 hours.  

January 25, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Granola

My breakfast rotation has just received a shake up. Welcoming to the lineup Apple Cinnamon Granola served over a big bowl of plain yogurt. We all know plain yogurt is crap healthy for us and this just adds a whole other layer of healthiness and makes choking down eating plain yogurt that much more rewarding to your waist line and your taste buds.

If you want to torture yourself you can do what I did. I had this toasting up in the oven while I broke a sweat on the treadmill jumping off only long enough to wash my hands and stir the granola every half hour. The aroma of cinnamon filled the air and the oven warmed our tiny apartment making the aroma that much more intense. I planned my workout and shower to end right about the time the granola finally had a chance to fully cool down so I could eat it afterward. Such a rewarding treat!

This was my first time making granola and this came out perfectly crunchy and sweet. The best part were the walnuts with some of the oats stuck to the outside from the applesauce and brown sugar. For this being my first granola recipe I can happily say I'd be happy if this becomes the only one I make. Sure, that would be boring so I could see how swapping the applesauce for other fruit purees could work and switching up the dried fruits as well would prevent this granola rotation from becoming tiresome. Whatever floats your boat! Make yourself and your taste buds happy. It's such a versatile recipe so make it your own.

Making homemade granola is much lighter on the budget than purchasing premade mixes. It is also simple to prepare with easy cleanup. What more could you ask for in a recipe? The fact that it is a Cooking Light recipe should be a perk as well.

Apples and cinnamon are a winning combination and you can't beat that nutty-apple cinnamon taste on a cold winter's day.

MyRecipes.com and Cooking Light, November 2005
Makes 6 cups (Serving size = 1/2 cup)

Stars of the Show:
  • 3 cups regular oats
  • 1 cup Cheerios
  • 1/3 cup oat bran cereal
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup chopped dried apples
And Action:

Preheat the oven to 250°.

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl and stir well to combine.
Melt 2 tbsp butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the applesauce, honey, and brown sugar to the pan and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute stirrinf frequently. Pour the applesauce mixture over the oat mixture stirring to coat. Spread mixture evenly over a baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray. Bake at 250° for 1 1/2 hours stirring every 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Stir in the chopped dried apples.

Store the Apple Cinnamon Granola in an airtight container for up to one week.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 196 (27% from fat)
Fat: 5.8g (sat 1.4g,mono 1.6g,poly 2.2g)
Protein: 4.4g
Carbohydrate: 35g
Fiber: 4g
Cholesterol: 5mg
Iron: 2.2mg
Sodium: 128mg
Calcium: 28mg

January 24, 2011

Homemade Salsa

This post is nothing more than a big shout out to one of my favorite bloggers, Laurie, from Simply Scratch. I FOLLOW her blog religiously. I'm envious of her photography. I want to be at her level one day. It's no wonder why she has 215+ followers. Her food and her stories put you right in the kitchen with her.

One morning I had read her recipe for Homemade Salsa, drooled all over my keyboard, and pushed the memory of her images to the back of my brain. Mr. Sideline Chef and I had gone to the grocery store later that morning to purchase some yummies for our Pittsburgh Steelers game day. Mr. Sideline Chef while walking through the produce section had requested I make salsa. Thankfully, Laurie had posted her Homemade Salsa and I was able to somewhat replicate her recipe. I didn't add the sugar or the diced tomatoes with green chiles since I didn't recall those items. Mr. Sideline Chef loves his salsa spicy. The batch I made had all of the ribs and seeds of the jalapeno included. Hot is actually an understatement. It was a burning inferno. Nonetheless it was still delicious. Those photos of her salsa still had me reeling with excitement to try it out another weekend.

Here we were again. Sunday morning. It was game day again in our home and as usual we headed to the grocery store. This time I was prepared. I checked back on Laurie's post for her Homemade Salsa and added the items to the grocery list.

Once at home I set out to make her version. Okay. So the food processor does all the work really. After the onions, jalapeno, and garlic got a few good pulses I added the can of whole peeled tomatoes, cilantro, sugar, salt, and lime. Then I added the secret ingredient. This my friends is what Mr. Sideline Chef and I agree makes this salsa and puts the finishing touch on it... the can of diced tomatoes with green chiles. This time I didn't want it as spicy as the first batch I had made from memory so I only used half a jalapeno with it's ribs and seeds and the extra spice from the green chiles made for just the right kick. Well, if you ask the native Texan we had in our home last night he would tell you it wasn't hot enough. That's the beauty of this and any other salsa, you can really make it your own.

We couldn't get enough of it. Kickoff wasn't for another five and a half hours and our bag of Tostitos Scoops was almost bare. Thankfully the corner store is a hop, skip, and jump away and they carry bags of the Tostitos Scoops. I suggest stocking up on as many bags of tortilla chips you can get your hands on because we didn't even make a dent in the 4 cups that the recipe makes. Or better yet, make Laurie's Baked Lime Tortilla Chips. You can't go wrong!

Check out her website for the recipe and to see photos that really do this salsa justice! Lip smacking good!  Super Bowl is right around the corner and I can guarantee you that this salsa will be on our table then and again and again and again. Thank you Laurie!

Pittsburgh's going to the Super Bowl! Here we go Steelers! Here we go!

January 23, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed Bread

Nothing is more surprising than a knock at the door and a neighbor standing in the doorway with a cheerful good morning, cup of coffee, and a plate of baked goods. Mr. Sideline Chef and I are blessed to have the BEST neighbors considering the fact that we live in an apartment complex.

Because I am a stay at home mom I tend to keep an eye on my neighbor's places while they are gone or walk their dogs while at work. One lady is so sweet and thoughtful. Mr. Sideline Chef works out on the road quite frequently and she takes notice when I seem to be feeling lonely and will lend an ear and provide some great company. She also likes to send us home baked goods as well. Banana Nut Bread and Mr. Sideline Chef's favorite, Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed Bread.

One morning she had dropped the bread off right before Mr. Sideline Chef was leaving to go to Iowa. I had a slice with my morning coffee and sent the rest of it with him to nibble on. Within an hour I received a call exclaiming, "Get that recipe. This is so good!" Being the incredible neighbor that she is a copy of the recipe was left on her fridge for me when I went to walk her dogs later that day.

The poppy seeds and lemon peel perk up the flavor of this moist bread loaf while the lemon drizzle provides a sweet and sour top. The recipe states to wait for the loaf to cool completely before drizzling but with little patience after the first 10 minutes of cooling I drizzled the lemon topping and was cutting the loaf into slices. The smell of the bread baking for close to an hour of pure torture. My stomach was growling.
Sure the middle caved in a little bit when I cut into the loaf due to my impatience but it was pure heaven. The tart lemon drizzle is the first thing to tickle the taste buds and then the sweetness from the blueberries tames it. Mr. Sideline Chef felt that my bread had more of a lemon flavor than he remembered but still thought it was terrific. Obviously the lemon wasn't too overpowering because he ate four slices of it and informed me that he'll polish off the rest of the loaf for breakfast. I better set my alarm an hour early to ensure I get a slice of this to go with my mug of Classic Cocoa.

Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed Bread
Source is unknown since the recipe was passed onto me.
Makes one loaf (12 slices)

Stars of the Show:
  • 1 package Duncan Hines Bakery Style Blueberry with Crumb Topping Muffin Mix - Any blueberry muffin mix will work.
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
And Action:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8x4-inch loaf pan.

Rinse blueberries with cold water and drain.
For the loaf, empty muffin mix into a medium bowl. Add poppy seeds and stir to combine breaking up any lumps. Add egg and water stirring until moistened, about 50 strokes. Fold in blueberries and lemon peel. Pour into the loaf pan. Sprinkle topping from packet over batter. Bake for 57 to 62 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Loosen loaf from pan. Lay foil over the top when removing from the pan to keep the topping intact. Invert onto a cooling rack. Turn right side up. Cool completely.
For the drizzle, combine confectioners sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Stir until smooth. Drizzle over the loaf.

I am also linking this recipe up with:

Check out all of the other entries! There are a lot of wonderful looking sweet treats!

January 22, 2011

Classic Cocoa

With the plummeting temperatures here it was time to make one of my favorite cold weather treats. Hot chocolate, a blanket, and a good movie is enough to make any dreary day brighter. Rather than doing a remake of the Peppermint Stick Cocoa I decided that I wanted to just have plain hot chocolate.

This is another one of those recipes where you can layer it in a glass jar (lesson learned... I've been saving all the glass jars I can get my hands on), tie a ribbon around it, add a cute tag "Classic Cocoa" with directions, and give this as a gift. Homemade goodies are the best.

The original recipe states to mix 1/3 cup of the Classic Cocoa mix with 1 cup of boiling water. I find that water doesn't give that creaminess in a hot chocolate that is comforting so I would recommend adding the Classic Cocoa mix to hot milk instead. Much more creamy that way and so comforting and heart warming!

MyRecipes.com and Sunset, December 2004
Makes 1 quart mix or 12 servings hot chocolate

Stars of the Show:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup powdered milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
And Action:

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. If giving as a gift, layer the ingredients in a glass jar making sure to keep the ratio of ingredients constant. Add boiling water or hot milk to 1/3 cup of the mix.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 142 (20% from fat)
Protein: 3.7g
Fat: 3.2g (sat 1.9)
Carbohydrate: 30g
Fiber: 2.6g
Sodium: 131mg
Cholesterol: 1mg

January 21, 2011

Sour Cream Cake Batter

The last time I made a sweet treat was in the beginning of December, Maple Glazed Sour Cream Doughnut Holes. I don't make goodies that often since I mainly focus on dinner items whether that be the entree or side dish. I claim that I don't have a sweet tooth, that is, unless you set in front of me a pan of brownies then I have to strike that statement from the record. I claim that I have a salt tooth instead. Hello chips and guacamole!

Last night was a special night. It was Thursday night. What's so special about Thursday night? The only thing that made last night different from any other night was the fact that I decided to make some Sour Cream Cake Batter cupcakes after dinner.
Upon itty bitty's discovery that his mama was making cupcakes all he kept asking for were chocolate ones. He was in luck. Little did he know that was my plan all along. In the original recipe there was a variation for the Sour Cream Cake Batter that included Chocolate Red Velvet Cake Batter. Believe it or not, I have never had Red Velvet anything. That fact alone added to my excitement to be making my guys a special treat.
When the cupcakes were finally cooled enough to serve (frosting free tonight) itty bitty couldn't contain his excitement, "Cah-cake!" As he saw me walk by with his daddy's Sour Cream Cake Batter cupcake he exclaimed, "Mine cah-cake!" He just couldn't get over the fact that his mama made something he has been asking for. He's been asking for chocolate cake since I made the Chocolate Sheet Cake with a Quick Caramel Frosting  which was over two months ago. I'm sure he was thinking something more along the lines of, "It's about damn time mommy!"

Maybe make these tonight and make your Friday night (or whatever night it may be when you end up reading this) extra special for yourself and your loved ones. Who doesn't love cupcakes or as the original recipe states that this is a "Pick Your Pan" recipe and in that case who doesn't love a Bundt cake?

MyRecipes.com and Southern Living, December 2005
Serving sizes vary depending on whichever pan you pick. Click the link above for serving sizes and cook times for the other pans. I'll be telling you about the cook times for using a muffin pan which will make 32 to 38 cupcakes.
Stars of the Show for the Sour Cream Cake Batter:
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 (8 oz) container sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
And Action:
Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just blended after each addition.

Stir together flour and baking soda in a separate bowl. Add to butter mixture alternating between the sour cream beating at a low speed until blended. Begin and end with the flour mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract. Use batter immediately. You can do as I did and save half the batter to make the Chocolate Red Velvet Cake Batter (recipe below).

Bake at 350° in muffin pans for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Stars of the Show for the Chocolate Red Velvet Cake Batter:
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 (1 oz) bottles red food coloring
And Action:
Prepare the Sour Cream Cake Batter and stir in the unsweetened cocoa and red food coloring. Bake the cupcakes the same way as directed above.

January 20, 2011

Potato Chips

I love fried foods. Hello Texas State Fair! I have dreams of walking through the vendors and eating rolling my way from the back of the fair to the exit. Deep fried paradise. I'm giddy over the thought of deep fried Oreos and chicken fried bacon.

Frying in my own home scares the bejeezus out of me. I attempted frying for the first time at the beginning of December for our "Christmas Eve" party so Santa could enjoy some Maple Glazed Sour Cream Doughnut Holes with his Peppermint Stick Cocoa (Santa comes early to our house every year since we leave for a two and a half week vacation to Ohio and we enjoy having our own little celebration.) That experience went better than expected. Our apartment was kept intact and didn't burn down from a grease fire and last I checked my eyebrows have finally grown back. Only joking.

My confidence for frying is still somewhat on shaky ground. I really need to invest in a deep fryer. Potato chips make for a good snack for itty bitty and I with our tuna sandwiches at lunchtime. Why not make my own? Fire extinguisher at the ready. Hot oil in the pot. Batches of Yukon gold potatoes frying. Fresh, hot, salted potato chips. Deliciousness!

Not only was itty bitty snatching these as they were cooling down, Mr. Sideline Chef and I couldn't keep our hands off of them. The first batch was gone in the blink of an eye. Crispy with that potato taste you expect in a chip without too much grease. You could season these with any variety of spices that you wish to use. I wasn't feeling up to anything more than a simply seasoned with salt potato chip.

Super Bowl Sunday is quick approaching. Make these for your get together and enjoy with a keg beer.

MyRecipes.com and Sunset, April 2003
Makes about 2 appetizer servings per 8-ounce potato

Stars of the Show:
  • 1 lb Yukon gold potatoes (about 3 potatoes) - You can make any amount worth of potato chips you wish. I ended up using 2 lb of Yukon gold potatoes and it gave me more than 4 servings worth.
  • 2 inches worth of vegetable oil in a large deep pot
  • salt or any seasonings you wish to use
And Action:

You can choose to either leave the skin on the potatoes or not. Just make sure they are scrubbed cleaned if you choose to keep the skin on. Use a mandolin slicer to slice the potatoes as thin as you can over a bowl of cold water. Let the potato slices soak for 10 minutes. Rinse slices and blot completely dry with paper towels.

Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil over medium high heat to 380°. Fry the potato slices in batches to avoid overcrowding. Stir occasionally to separate and submerge the slices until golden and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to fish the potato chips out of the hot oil and drain on paper towels. Let the oil return to 380° in between batches.

Sprinkle with seasoning as soon as you lay them to drain on the paper towels.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 69 (59% from fat)

Protein: 2.5g

Fat: 4.6g (sat 0.6)

Carbohydrate: 5.3g

Fiber: 2.6g

Sodium: 7.9mg

Cholesterol: 0.0mg

January 18, 2011

Perfect Poached Egg

To have the word "perfect" in the title is like stating "World's Best". I'm not saying that these are perfect poached eggs but for being my first attempt at poaching an egg I think I did a mighty fine job if I do say so myself.

This cooking method didn't come without teeth grinding and nail biting. The first egg I slipped into the bubbling water spread across the bottom of the pot and looked like a jellyfish. Quite a turn off. I ended up fishing it out and throwing it into the garbage.

I didn't want to throw in the towel. I had high hopes of making these so called Perfect Poached Eggs and maybe in the future being able to make Eggs Benedict.

My second attempt went much more smoothly with a plan in mind. Rather than cracking the egg shell above the bubbling water I cracked my egg into a small bowl and gently lowered the bowl near the water's surface and let the egg slide out gently into the water. Surprisingly this egg didn't spread out but stayed rather intact. After 4 minutes my poached egg began to float to the surface. I used my slotted spoon and scooped it out of the water.

When I cut into the yolk it was runny with the egg whites cooked to perfection. I now have the confidence that I will be able to make poached eggs at a later date and am excited to be able to add a new breakfast item to the roation.

MyRecipes.com and Sunset, April 2000

Stars of the Show:

  • egg(s) - Use how many ever eggs you wish to cook at the time.
And Action:

Put about 3 inches of water in a pot and bring to a boil over high heat. With a slotted spoon, quickly and gently emerse the eggs in their shells, one at a time, for 8 seconds and then lift out. Heating the eggs in their shells helps to prevent them from sticking together when you poach them.

Pour out all but one inch of water. Reduce the heat so that bubbles occassionally rise to the surface. Crack eggs one at a time while holding the shell close to the water's surface and let the egg slide into the water gently. Do not overcrowd the pot with eggs. Only a couple at a time. Cook to desired doneness. 4 minutes will yield a softcooked egg.

With the slotted spoon lift the eggs out one at a time. You can either serve immediately while they are still warm or you can slip them into cold water. You can make these up to 2 days ahead of time. Wrap in an airtight container and chill.

To reheat the eggs, immerse in hot water for 5 to 10 minutes. Lift out with a slotted spoon.

Nutritional Information (per egg)
Calories: 75 (60% from fat)
Protein: 6.2g
Fat: 5g (sat 1.5)
Carbohydrate: 0.6g
Fiber: 0.0g
Sodium: 140mg
Cholesterol: 212mg

January 17, 2011

Ricotta Pasta with Sausage

Saturday was Game Day! Game Day is a holiday in our household. Our day revolves around football and all things Steeler Nation. Don't you dare walk into our home without wearing your badge of honor. Black and Gold or get the hell out. Okay. That's not exactly how it is. You can get away wearing whatever you want as long as it's not our opponents gear.

Case in point, Mr. Sideline Chef's mother came by for a visit and since she does not follow sports and we enjoy her company we cut her some slack and welcomed her into the craze that becomes Game Day. Before her arrival I made the executive decision that I would prepare a meal for all of us but with Mr. Sideline Chef's help. After pulling out a cookbook and reading a few titles and a few "Not feelin' that," we finally settled on a recipe for Ricotta Pasta with Sausage.

Off to the supermarket dressed in head to toe Steeler's gear we made our purchases and raced home to get the meal ready before his mom's arrival. Just as the pasta was being tossed into the ricotta cheese, butter, and Parmigiano-Reggiano mixture his mom knocked at the door.

We were able to sit down and enjoy our meal before kickoff. I'm sure she was overwhelmed with the f-bombs being dropped and the hollering at people who can't hear us. She kindly excused herself after thanking us for a delicious meal and a full belly and stepped back into the real world as she exited our home... where life doesn't revolve around football and all things Steeler Nation.

This pasta was so hearty and comforting and made for a perfect meal for Game Day. It's quick and easy to prepare and the clean up was a breeze. I've had macaroni and cheese a number of times but have never had a "mac n cheese" like this with ricotta cheese. I didn't even know if I would like the ricotta cheese. Let me tell you... it's a winning combination with the sweet Italian sausage... although... I would recommend using hot Italian sausage for more of a flavor boost and a kick.

Ricotta Pasta with Sausage
Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners
Makes 4 Servings

Stars of the Show:
    This is the most I have EVER paid for a single ingredient... $14.99 for 13 oz
  • 1 lb penne or ziti rigate
  • salt
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped - I only ended up using half the onion since Mr. Sideline Chef doesn't prefer to have a lot of onion in his dishes and I second guessed myself. I think it would have been delicious with the full amount.
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • generous handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped - I used dried parsley.
  • black pepper
  • 20 fresh basil leaves, shredded or torn - I used dried basil leaves since that's what I had on hand.
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
And Action:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pasta and salt the water. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

Place the ricotta, butter, and Parmigiano or Romano in a large bowl.
Pillowy clouds of ricotta cheese, butter, and Parmigiano-Reggiano
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil and brown the sausage before adding the onions. Cook the onions for 5 minutes. Add the parsley and cook for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Drain the pasta. Add to the bowl with the cheeses. Toss to melt the butter and evenly coat the pasta with cheeses, then season with salt and pepper. Top the pasta with the basil and season with a little bit of salt. Toss and serve at the table.

January 16, 2011

Cajun Grilled Fish Fillet Quesadilla with Spanish Rice

When it comes to convenience it's no surprise that even I turn to frozen foods to help put dinner on the table in a hurry. Gorton's has a large selection of seafood products to choose from and their website has an even larger selection of recipes to make. After hosting a giveaway from their company they were kind enough to pass along a handful of coupons to me for free product. I already loved their products beforehand and now I have even more reasons to love.

Because of these coupons I have been able to try out products, risk free (cost wise), and have found some new items I enjoy that I wouldn't have thought to purchase before such as these All Natural Cajun Grilled Blackened Fillets.

Mr. Sideline Chef had come home after a long days work and thinking we had enough leftovers to make a meal realized I was wrong. Thankfully I had planned out some meals for a couple of days and had the ingredients on hand to make this recipe.

Makes 4 Servings

Stars of the Show:
And Action:

Prepare the All Natural Cajun Grilled Blackened Fillets according to the package directions.

While those are cooking, bring the water and salsa to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the white rice, cover and remove from the heat for 5 minutes. *Note: I didn't follow this step exactly. I didn't have instant rice so I brought 2 cups of water and the salsa to a boil, added the rice, and then covered and simmered for the 15 minutes while the fish cooked.

The Cajun fillets on their own were delicious but took this meal over the top!
Lay 2 tortillas on a baking sheet and lay 2 fish fillets on each tortilla. Smash the fillet down and spread it to the edges of the tortilla. Top each with 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

Broil until the cheese is melted. Top each half with the other tortilla and cut into wedges. Serve immediately with the Spanish rice. Optional: Serve with some guacamole, sour cream, and salsa.

On a side note: Please check out Smart Girl Reviews to enter a giveaway for Nordic Ware The Great Cookie Book Giveaway! Tell her Pretend Chef sent you! Thank you in advance for doing so.

January 15, 2011

Crispy Carrot Fries

I know. It has been less than a week since I posted a similar recipe, Cumin Carrot Fries, but to my defense these don't have ground cumin seasoning them. So there. They're different.

For those of you following the trend that is, "Meatless Monday", you could add these as a quick and easy side dish. I figured I would try the concept out on Mr. Sideline Chef and when the plate was set in front of him, Classic Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes and Crispy Carrot Fries, he no longer had any reservations regarding the lack of a protein. The cheese in the scalloped potatoes counts, right?

The baking times for both the Cumin Carrot Fries and these are just guidelines. If you like them to have more of a crunch to them then leave them in the oven for less time. Check on them at 5 minute intervals until they are cooked to your desired texture. The longer you leave them in the softer they become. I like mine after they've been in the oven for the full 20 minutes.

Crispy Carrot Fries
Good Things: For Kids: 63 Fun and Easy Recipes the Whole Family Will Love
Makes 8 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 16 carrots (about 2 lbs), peeled and cut into 4 inch long sticks
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
And Action:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, toss the carrot sticks with olive oil and salt. Spread the carrot sticks in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until fries begin to crisp about 20 to 25 minutes. 

January 14, 2011

Classic Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes

That's a wrap! My mission is accomplished. I found Mr. Sideline Chef's "engagement" scalloped potato recipe. For those of you who don't know about the "engagement" recipes they are what I make that I consider to be my golden ticket to my ring man's heart through his stomach. This recipe will now make the rotation along with the Chipotle Spiced Macaroni and Cheese.

A week ago I found a Cooking Light recipe for Scalloped Potatoes with Cheese that Mr. Sideline Chef liked but didn't jump out of his seat, throw his arms around me, and swing me from side to side singing my praises... or have him in the kitchen doing dishes afterward.

Like I stated before, scalloped potatoes have never been my thing. I really wanted to like scalloped potatoes. I like all of the ingredients in the dish so it's really disappointing that I just couldn't develop a liking to them. Well things have changed. I am in LOVE with these scalloped potatoes. My mouth is still watering thinking about these even though my stomach is filled to full capacity.

Nothing brings me more joy than making Mr. Sideline Chef's favorites and knowing that he has a dinner that makes him look forward to coming home to after a long day's work.

MyRecipes.com and Southern Living, November 2007
Makes 8 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 lb Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
  • 3 cups whipping cream - I used half the amount since that is what I had on hand and I wouldn't make it any other way.
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley - I used dried parsley.
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
And Action:

Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir in potatoes and the next 5 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook stirring gently for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 13x9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake at 400° for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

January 13, 2011

Baked Cod

Before our two and a half week Christmas vacation I had the best of intentions to photograph our time in Ohio and also the Pittsburgh area. I was most excited for Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is a town that excites me for a number of reasons and the number one reason is my love of being surrounded by people who share a common interest... mine and Mr. Sideline Chef's beloved Pittsburgh Steelers. Being surrounded by a vast number of people in black and gold and seeing Heinz Field makes me giddy.

Being back here in Houston, Texas makes me miss Ohio and Pittsburgh. I'm not originally from the area like Mr. Sideline Chef is but my love for the area came about when he took me to meet his family and show me where he grew up our first Christmas together 4 years ago. We daydream about living back in Ohio one day and being close enough to Pittsburgh to go to games with his dad who is a season ticket holder, walk the markets, and be among our "people" while enjoying the sights, food, and football.

While on vacation Mr. Sideline Chef's dad was our tour guide for the Strip District in Pittsburgh. He took us on the Fort Duquesne Incline (the highlight of itty bitty's day) before taking us through the Public Market, Wholey's, and Primanti Brothers. We did Wholey's and Primanti Brothers on two separate days because his dad didn't think we could handle a sandwich such as "The Whaler" and my pick at Primanti Brothers, the angus with an egg and bacon all in one day. I polished my sandwich off and picked every crumb off of my parchment paper. I'm little but my appetite is big. I think it ended up being a good call on his dad's part to break it up into two days so I had something to look forward to the next day.

Quick side note about Primanti Brothers... Mr. Sideline Chef's dad is shown on the Travel Channel's, Sandwich Paradise, taking a big bite out of his sandwich from their establishment. You can check out his picture HERE... we like to joke about him being "a big deal" there because he's number one!

One of my favorite Christmas gifts!!! 
When walking the markets I did something I normally don't do. I sampled everything I possibly could. At one vendor they sold nothing but olive oil and vinegar and when I started to notice the looks of disgust and feel the olive oil and vinegar dripping down my elbows I figured it was time to either move along or purchase something in order to pay back what I owed them for what I just ate. I walked away with two bottles of olive oil. One was infused with chipotle (that was recently used in the Chipotle Spiced Macaroni and Cheese) and the other one was infused with lime. Marinated grilled shrimp were dancing in my mind for this one.

Since the weather is too cold to ask Mr. Sideline Chef to fire up the grill the cooking has been selective to indoor methods. I had a couple pounds of cod that needed to be cooked and chose to bake it with an Italian breadcrumb and Parmesan cheese topping with an olive oil drizzle.

The topping became crunchy and the flavor of the lime infused olive oil went well with the cod and the salt in the cheese. I was giddy to be able to use my bottle of olive oil but then reality set in that once it was opened it would soon be gone until I make it to the market next year. I'm already looking forward to purchasing the chocolate balsamic vinegar and tangerine olive oil. And the, and the, and the... might just stock up on all of them.

Baked Cod
Makes 4 Servings (Serving size = 4 oz fillet)

Stars of the Show:
  • 1 lb cod fillets
  • 1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp olive oil - If you have a citrus infused olive oil I recommend using it. If not, then slice some lime or lemon wedges and squeeze over the baked cod.
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
And Action:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small mixing bowl combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and the next 5 ingredients (through the black pepper). In a shallow dish add the egg white. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Dip each fillet in the egg white and then placed on the baking sheet. Spoon the breadcrumb mixture over the top of each fillet. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

January 12, 2011

Honey Yeast Rolls

I doubt myself every time I bake. I prefer stove top cooking. I can keep an eye on the goods whereas our oven doesn't have a convenient little window to let me check on the baked goods to ensure they aren't burning. Not only does the actual baking process worry me it's the questioning of, "Is this how my dough is supposed to look?"

Mr. Sideline Chef loves rolls with dinner. They don't appear on our dinner table enough for his liking. I normally resort to packaged rolls (leaving it to the professionals) since my first attempt at rolls didn't quite turn out songs of praise. I loved the Herb Cloverleaf Rolls and their shape made me giddy. Wanting to continue on the search for a good roll I searched my favorite recipe site, MyRecipes, and found this recipe for Honey Yeast Rolls.

I had a handful of moments that had me sweating. Not having enough honey and forgetting to bring the eggs to room temperature before starting. (Luckily, Google knew what to do.) I also have never used my stand mixer to make the dough. I was used to turning dough out on a floured surface and kneading. The mixer did all of it and in the process somehow the dough made it's way to the top of the mixer and the cleanup was a mess. The amount of dough was so much that dividing it into 28 equal portions was a nightmare. I decided to take my experience from the Herb Cloverleaf Rolls and use my muffin pan to bake these rolls in. I just pulled a handful of the dough apart and threw it into each muffin cup. I ended up with 24 rolls and not 28. Close enough.

When they came out of the oven after 12 minutes they were beautiful and smelled delicious. Since I didn't have enough honey I ended up just brushing the baked tops with melted butter. I can only imagine how much better these would have been with the honey butter topping. These are sweet rolls but not too sweet and have a light and airy texture. These are hands down the best rolls I have ever made. So what if this was only my second attempt. A winner is a winner.

Itty bitty and I loved these rolls. Mr. Sideline Chef thought they were "good", this is a compliment, food doesn't make this man giddy except for a handful of things, and said that he's wanting something more like what they serve at "Red Lobster, you know, those Cheddar Bay Biscuits." There's no competing with those biscuits. My only retort was, "Those are biscuits and these are rolls." I don't even know the difference myself but it sounded logical.

MyRecipes.com and Southern Living, May 2007
Makes 28 Rolls

Stars of the Show:
  • 1/4 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 1 (1/4 oz) envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature - I forgot to set the eggs out an hour before starting this recipe so I ended up placing the eggs in a bowl with warm tap water to cover them and let them sit for 5 minutes.
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup honey
And Action:

Combine first three ingredients in a small bowl and let stand for 5 minutes or until mixture bubbles.

Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until 100° to 110°.

Stir together warm milk, eggs, and next three ingredients in the bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer, blending well. Add yeast mixture, stirring to combine. Gradually add 5 cups of flour, beating at medium speed. Beat 3 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 1 hour.

Uncover dough and add remaining 1 1/2 cups of the flour beating at medium speed for 5 minutes. The dough will be sticky. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (85°) and free from drafts for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Punch the dough down. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface and roll into 28 balls. About 1/4 cup dough per ball. Place balls in 4 lightly greased 9 inch pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°) and free from drafts for 1 more hour or until doubled in bulk.

Stir together 1/2 cup softened butter and 1/4 cup honey.

Bake the rolls at 400° for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Brush the tops with the honey butter. Serve with more honey butter if desired.

Note: To freeze, place baked rolls in a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Let the rolls thaw at room temperature and reheat if desired.

January 11, 2011

Sauteed Turnip Greens with Bacon

Turnip greens made their way onto my last grocery list with the intent of making a warm turnip green dip. Plans changed when I couldn't demonstrate self control and ate an entire box of Triscuit crackers and all of the Smoked Salmon Cardamom Spread within a day and a half. That spread was the best smoked salmon spread I have ever had. Now what was I to do with a 32 oz bag of turnip greens?

When it comes to leafy veggies I think of one of my favorite "hole-in-the-wall" joints for eating indulgent comfort food for cheap. We have a soul food place here in Houston, Texas called My Food's All That and they serve up some collard greens that I rave over but Mr. Sideline Chef on the other hand isn't much for green leafy veggies. He also doesn't like sauteed spinach. It's not like me to make a dish knowing that he doesn't like it. These are turnip greens. I have never cooked turnip greens before so I figured I give it a shot and maybe change his mind. If all else fails he can just stuff himself off of the honey yeast rolls I made to go with dinner.

Yes. I had to search the Internet for a "how to" on turnip greens. Even the bag they came in just said bring to a boil and simmer until tender. I need a roundabout time. After reading a handful of recipes I decided to just wing it and add bacon. You can never go wrong with bacon. Mr. Sideline Chef is on a bacon kick right now so it only seemed right.

I brought 16 oz of the turnip greens to a boil and then simmered for about 30 minutes. Nice and tender. After they drained I figured what better to do next then decrease their nutritional value? That's right! Sauteed in bacon drippings with the crumbled bacon. Isn't this what any good Southern home cook would do?

Mr. Sideline Chef wasn't persuaded by the crumbled bacon and after one bite my veggie serving became two. Okay. I now know he doesn't like spinach, collard greens, and turnip greens. Mustard greens! Maybe he'll like those.

January 10, 2011

Smoked Salmon Cardamom Spread

It is absolutely amazing that this Smoked Salmon Cardamom Spread is a Cooking Light recipe! It tastes creamy but only has light sour cream in it and because the amount of sour cream added isn't an excessive amount the taste of the smoked salmon really is the star, which is what I would expect. Ground cardamom offers a unique twist on the standard smoked salmon spread and the flavor profile is a winner.

I served this for the first set of NFL playoff games and offered Triscuit crackers to go with it. I am looking forward to spreading this over a toasted bagel or toast points since I ate damn near the entire box of crackers and still had an abundance of the dip left. This makes a lot of servings. Great for a party or just a quick snack.

All of the ingredients are thrown into the food processor and this spread is ready for serving within 5 minutes. This is a definite must try! Easy, no cook, and can be made up to a day ahead of time. Valentine's Day is right around the corner and this would make for a great appetizer for a romantic dinner or even a fun Single Ladies party!

MyRecipes.com and Cooking Light, July 2006
Makes 20 Servings (Serving size = 2 tbsp)

Stars of the Show:
  • 1 lb hot-smoked (kippered) boneless salmon fillet - I used cold-smoked (lox) since that is what they had available at the store. Hot-smoked is great for savory dishes. I recommend using the hot-smoked if it is available where you shop. Better yet, smoke your own!
  • 3/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • Garnish: chopped fresh chives (optional)
And Action:

Place all ingredients into the food processor, excluding the chopped fresh chives for garnish, and process until smooth. Transfer into a serving bowl. Cover and chill. Garnish with the chopped fresh chives if desired.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 39 (48% from fat)

Fat: 2.1g (sat 0.9g,mono 0.8g,poly 0.3g)

Protein: 4.4g

Carbohydrate: 0.5g

Fiber: 0.0g

Cholesterol: 9mg

Iron: 0.2mg

Sodium: 182mg

Calcium: 13mg

I'm linking this recipe to:

January 2011 Culinary Smackdown - Battle Salmon! - Head over to Brenda's Canadian Kitchen and get in on the kitchen action. There's already a handful of competitors and some very tasty looking salmon dishes.
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