Saturday, November 20, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's turkey time!  Time for the family to gather 'round and be thankful for all that God has given us.  Health, family, life...ya know...the good stuff!  So, be gracious and kind this Thanksgiving...kiss and hug all your family, say Grace, love and live for the day...and wear those fat pants...'cuz you got some eattin' to do!
Have a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

Love, Peace and Bacon Grease-


Monday, November 8, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls on a Sunday afternoon...

Well...I finally did it!  I finally made (from scratch) Cinnamon Rolls...only one of my husband's all time favorite things to eat.  So it all worked out :o)  I found this recipe on Cooking with Libby, who by the way seems like a really nice lady and the only one who comments on this silly blog...thanks Olivia!  I was super excited to make these and a little nervous since I have never worked with yeast before.  I had heard through reading different blogs and websites that it can be tricky.  Let the adventure begin!

Libby's Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

  • 2 1/4 tsp Bread Machine Yeast
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4/ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup melted butter plus more for greasing the pan
  • 3/4 cups sugar plus more for dusting the pan
  • 2 Tblsp ground cinnamon
Cinnabon Cream Cheese Frosting (I used this recipe instead of the Glaze):
  • 1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350*.  Pour 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of water in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat in the microwave for 1 minute and 15 seconds.  Once heated, pour into the bowl of your electric mixer.  Next, take 1/4 cup of sugar and place it in the mixing bowl with the milk/water mixture.  Stir until the sugar is well combined with the liquid.  After the sugar is will mixed, add 2 1/4 tsp of yeast and mix in with the liquid.  Now, let it sit for 10 minutes.  This gives the mixture a chance to get poofy.  Once the mixture is good and poofed, mix 1 tsp salt, 1/3 cup of butter and 1 egg in.  Mix until well combined.  Next, add 3 1/2 cups of flour to the mix.  Keep mixing until it forms a ball.  I used my hook attachment on my mixer and it worked like a charm :o)  Leave the ball of dough in you mixing bowl and cover with a dish towel.  Let it sit in a warm, dark place for an hour.  While the dough is rising, grease up your baking pan with butter.  Make sure to get the sides as well as the bottom.  Then sprinkle with good amount of sugar.
To make the filling, start by combining 3/4 cups sugar and 2 Tblsp cinnamon in a bowl.  After the hour is up and your dough has risen, punch it down once.  Take the dough out of the bowl, spread it on a lightly floured surface and roll it into a 9x15 inch rectangle.  Melt 1/2 cup of butter and spread it all over the rolled out dough.  Sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture all over the buttered dough.  Once the dough is all sweet and spiced, take the 15 inch side and start rolling it upward.  Roll it nice and tight, making sure to pinch any open edges to seal them shut.  Cut the dough into 1 inch pieces using a serated knife.  Place each roll into the buttered baking pan, cover with a dish towel and let it rise for another 45 minutes.  Then place them in a preheated oven for 30 minutes.  While the rolls are baking, prepare the frosting.
Whip together cream cheese and margarine until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing after each cup until smooth and creamy.  Then add the vanilla and lemon juice, blend until all combined.  Once the buns are cooled down a little, slap some of this incredible frosting on 'em and chow down!

Noshing commencing in 3...2...Yum!
These turned out awesome and I had no trouble using yeast for the first time ever!  I must be a natural ;o)  I will definitely make them again and again.  The only thing... they do take a while to make, so do these on a lazy day when you have time to spare getting cozy with your oven and making your house smell absolutely heavenly.

Dad is great...give us chocolate cake!

 My mom's friend Cindy's birthday was on my mom wanted me to get a cake and surprise her. This was the perfect opportunity to try my hand at cake making...from scratch! And I knew just the recipe to use. A while back I had been watching The Barefoot Contessa and she made this awesome Chocolate Cake. I have never made a cake from scratch (aka not out of the box) and was really excited to try it. Instead of making the chocolate frosting, I made a Whipped Cream Frosting.

Beatty's Chocolate Cake

  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-pupose flour, plus a little more for the pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups Hershey's Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 xtra lrg eggs, at room tempature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee
Whipped Cream Frosting
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream (I used 2)
In a big bowl, whip the cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth. In your electric mixer's bowl, dump in 1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until well combined.

Preheat the oven to 350*. Grease up 2 (8 inch..I used 9) round cake pans with the butter and dust them with flour. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of your electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until all is combined. In a seperate bowl, mix buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. With the mixer on low speen, slowly add the wet ingredients the dry. While the mixer is still on low, add the coffee...take a moment to inhale...then make sure to scrape the bottom and sides with a spatula to ensure all batter is getting mixed. Pour the batter into the prepared pans making sure to keep the amounts in each pan equal to one another. Put the pans in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. A toothpick (or in my case a dry spaghetti noodle) should come out clean when insterted into the middle of one of the cakes. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and let 'em chill out the rest of the way until they are completely cool. Place one layer, flat side up on a flat plate. Spread a good amount of the frosting on the top. Put the second layer on top, rounded side up and spread out the rest of the frosing on the top and sides.

Happy Birthday to You!

Success!  This came out great and everyone loved it!  I am not really the biggest chocolate cake fan, but my my...this was heavenly.  Both great recipes and extra tasty!

It was a Monster Mash!

I hope everyone had a fun Halloween!  Here at the Hills we had a blast! 
My husband and I had our parents and some friends over.  We had a little bonfire out in the driveway while the kiddies came and trick or treated.  It was a lot of fun!  And of course there was food!  I made my spaghetti and had various treats for everyone to snack on.  I found this recipe for Carmel Peanut Butter Dip on Real Mom Kitchen.  Sounded simple and I tried it!

Carmel Peanut Butter Dip
  • 3/4 cup Caramel Apple Dip (I found this in my grocery store's produce section)
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
First combine the Caramel Apple Dip and peanut butter until smooth.  Then fold in the marshmallow fluff.  Dump it all into a small serving bowl.  Serve with apple slices.

Easy right?  Well...of course I was in a hurry and missed the part of the recipe where you are supposed to FOLD IN the marshmallow fluff... But it still turned out really good!  I might use less peanut butter and more caramel next time.  It was VERY peanut buttery, but it went over really well at the Mash!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Halloween!

This is my favorite time of year!  I of course love Christmas too, but Halloween is just as much fun!  Especially since you not only get to decorate your house...but yourself too!  We really get into the costumes at my house.  We tend to make instead of much more fun that way. all you ghouls and goblins I just wanted to wish you all a creepy, fun and safe Halloween!

Carmel Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding...YUM!

Now things are getting interesting... This recipe is one of many that are like nothing I have ever made before!  I have never made a bread pudding or worked with pumpkin...yeah thats right...never worked with pumpkin.  Told ya I was new at this ;)  So, when I came across this recipe I thought this would be a good (and delicious) way to start trying new things!  I was right!  I found this wonderful concoction on Southern Living's Website

Carmel Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 15oz cans of pumpkin (I used one 29 oz can)
  • 1 1/2 cups of 2% or whole milk
  • 1 cup Half & Half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 10 cups (give or take) cubed bread (I used Italian...and it wasn't day old! Still turned out great)
Mix all ingredients together in a big mixing bowl.  Like a REALLY big bowl...just makes it easier :o)

Stir in the bread and make sure that pieces are coated evenly.

Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours (the longer the better).

When you are ready to bake, butter a 9x13 pan and spoon the mixture in.  Make sure to spread out to all corners of the pan.  Bake at 350* for 1 hour.

During the last 15 minutes of baking, prepare the carmel/pecan topping:
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 Tblsp light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Lightly toast the pecans in a pan with 1/2 tsp of butter.  In another pan, melt the butter, brown sugar and corn syrup together.  Add the pecans (after they're toasted) and the vanilla to the buter/sugar mixture.

After everything is looking gorgeous and absolutely carmelrific...drizzle over the bread pudding.  Then return to the oven for about 5 minutes.

Ooooey Goooooey Goooodness...thats a lot of ooooo's!
Sooooo freaking good you will be hummin' and yummin' until the last bite!  This was actually not too hard to do and turned out great on my first try.  Which was surprising :o)  The only suggestion I have...if you have a fairly shallow 9x13 pan...put it on a cookie sheet BEFORE pouring the carmel sauce on!  Learned this the hard way. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pillsbury Mini Pizzas...improvised.

Pillsbury is genious.  I will just start with that... They put out some really yummy (and inexpensive) products that can be used to make some even yummier food!  On top of simple!  I had a bunch of soon-to-expire cans of biscuits, so I took to the internet to find some recipes to use them up.  I found this one on Pillsbury's website.  Only one problem...the recipe calls for flaky biscuits and I only had homestyle (which I personally like better).  So, I improvised!

Kitty's Homestyle Mini Pizzas
  • 1 can of Pillsbury Grands Homestyle biscuits
  • 1/2 cup of pizza sauce
  • sliced pepperoni
  • shredded mozzarella
  • Pam Olive Oil Cooking Spray
Preheat oven to 400*

Spray a cookie sheet with the cooking spray and set aside.  Press out each biscuit to form a small pizza crust (dont roll it out, but use your hands to flatten the dough and pinch around the sides lighty to form a "crust").  Top each one with a tablespoon of pizza sauce (you can use more or less...up to you) and spread around with the back of a spoon.  Then sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on much or as little as you want.  On the tippy top, place the pepperoni.  Pop this into the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly. 

Note the dish towel...we's fancy 'round these parts!
 Take out and serve!  Super yummy and easy!  Another constant in our weekly menu.  I served with a salad (gotta eat your veggies!) for a complete meal. 

Cinnamon Cresent Rolls

A little something about me...I love to bake!  I love to cook...but I reeeeaaalllly love to bake.  Its theraputic.  I would bake everyday...if I didn't have a full time, 9 to 5, Monday through Friday job that takes up most of my days during the week.  So, I have been hunting for some recipes that are quick, but will still fulfill my need for alone time with my oven.  Enter one of my favorite blogs...For the Love of Cooking.  This recipe was stupidly simple and tasted great!  I guess you could is so great it's stupid :o)

Cinnamon Cresent Rolls 
  • 1 can of Pillsbury Cresent Rolls
  • Butter
  • 2 Tbsp of Sugar
  • 3/4 tsp of Cinnamon
Preheat your oven to 375*

Unroll all the cresent rolls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and spread with butter (you might wanna use either softened or spreadable butter).  Mix together the sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle the mixture on the cresent rolls....and maybe a little in your mouth as well.  Hey! It is important to follow the recipe ;) When you roll them up, make sure you roll from the bottom of the triangle to the tip. 

Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes (or until they look like golden goodness).  Remove from the oven and serve while warm.  Yum!
I know, I know...I should've cut one open...I am new at this!
This was suuuuuupppper simple!  And my hubby and I loved them!  Thanks again Pam!  Really easy, tasty and clever!  This WILL be made again and again...


So...I cook for a very very very picky eater.  My wonderful, hunky and charming husband Troy.  There isn't much he will eat, so I am always searching for new and tasty things to make.  Through my "travels" on the internet, I found many awesome blogs.  One I found called For the Love of Cooking, is one of my faves!  Pam has some really great recipes on there and easy to follow instructions!  This particular one that I tried is called Ground Beef, Black Bean and Cheddar Cheese Taquitos.  Well...the hubby doesn't like beans (of any sort) and I didn't have all the spices required (being the rookie that I am...I buy the pre-mixed Taco Seasoning), so I improvised and made it my way.

Kitty's Picky Taquitos
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef (I used Laura's Lean)
  • 1 packet of Taco Seasoning
  • 1/2 of one large sweet onion
  • 2 tbs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • Pam Cooking Spray (any kind is fine...I used Regular AND Olive Oil)
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese 

Preheat your oven to 425* (not sure how to type the degrees symbol...if someone knows...HELP!)

So, start by heating the pan on medium heat and add the Olive Oyl Oil (ah geh geh geh).  Sorry...I am goofy... Once the oil is thin and moving easily around the pan, add your beef.  Brown the beef about half way, then add the packet of taco seasoning. Stir this up good!  While the meat and the seasonings are getting friendly..dice the onion very small (I have not yet mastered this technique, so I cheat and use a Vidalia Chop Wizard...that thing is my best friend), then add to the beef.  Stir this up until all is mixed together.  Turn the heat down a little and stir a little here and there until the beef is good and browned.  Turn off the heat and set aside.

Now its tortilla time!  Spray a cookie sheet liberally with the cooking spray and set aside.  Take your corn tortillas and wrap them in damp paper towels and heat in the microwave for 1 minute.  Then take each tortilla and put a little cheese and a little beef in the center.  Carefully wrap one side over the other and place seam side down on the cookie sheet.  Repeat this with all the tortillas.  Once all the taquitos are wrapped and on the cookie sheet, spray each one with more cooking spray.  I go pretty liberal with this...they get crunchier that way :o)

Place the cookie sheet in the oven for 5-8 minutes (the longer the crunchier).  Once the time is up, flip them over with tongs and place back in the oven for another 5-8 minutes.  Then your done! 

I serve this with spanish rice (Zatarain's...its awesome!  But maybe I will make homemade...someday).

Here are how mine turned out :)
This probably sounds pretty plain to some, but like I said before...I am cooking for the pickiest eater...ever!  Please click on the link to the original recipe and try it out!  I would have never thought of making these like this before reading Pam's blog.  This meal is one of our regulars now.  My husband and I both LOVE it! 

Monday, October 18, 2010

A new and exciting idea!

Hello!  I have been inspired by some of my favorite blogs out there (check out my "Blogs That Inspire Me" section) to start a new and exciting blog!  I will be trying out some really yummy sounding recipes that I have found on various websites and blogs, then trying them and home.  The exciting part is...I will be blogging about how (as a rookie "chef") I was able to execute them and show you how MY finished product came out!  I can't wait to get started! 
So, I hope you are as excited as I am...this is going to be fun!