My Mother made wonderful cinnamon rolls and I can still smell the wonderful aroma of them baking in my Mothers farmhouse kitchen. Daughter, Megan, also makes wonderful cinnamon rolls that I must share. These are similar to Cinnabon rolls, rich and delicious. Megan, when can we have another cinnamon roll party?
The BEST Cinnamon Rolls
For the Dough:
1 cup scalded whole milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 packet dry active yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
2 large eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour (+ for rolling)
2 teaspoons salt
For the Cinnamon Roll Filling:
1 cup brown sugar packed
1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 cup cream cheese softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
For the Dough:
Set the butter, eggs and cream cheese out to warm to room temperature. Place the milk in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. The moment it reaches a boil, remove from heat. (This process is called scalding, and it ensures the milk doesn’t affect the yeast’s ability to rise. Don’t skip!)
Pour the hot milk into the bowl of an electric mixer and add 1/2 cup butter, to bring the temperature down. Stir and allow the butter to melt completely. Then stir in the sugar. Touch the milk mixture to test the temperature. It should be close to luke warm. If it is not, add 1/2 cup flour and test again. Once it is just above room temperature, stir in the yeast and let it foam for approximately 10 minutes. (Too-hot liquid can kill yeast.)
Place the bread hook on the mixer and turn on low. Add the eggs, salt, and remaining flour up to 4 cups. Allow the mixer to “knead” the dough until it pulls away from the sides. Run the mixer for approximately 10 minutes to allow the dough to stretch and develop the gluten. If the dough seems too sticky after the first 2-3 minutes add an additional 1/4 cup flour. After 10 minutes, turn the mixer off. Cover the top with plastic, and allow the dough to rise until double in size, approximately 60-90 minutes in a warm kitchen.
For the Cinnamon Roll Filling:
Mix the brown sugar, softened butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg until smooth. Keep at room temperature until ready to use.
Dump the inflated dough out on a well-floured work surface. Fold into thirds and press flat. Then turn and fold into thirds again and press into a rectangle. Roll the rectangle out into a large 16 X 20 inch sheet.
Using a large flat spreader, spread the cinnamon filling over the sheet into a thin layer. Leave 1 1/2 inches bare (cinnamon-free) on one long edge. Be careful not to gouge holes in the dough. Starting at the cinnamon-covered long edge, roll the dough sheet tightly toward the uncovered edge to form a long tight log. Place a piece of parchment paper in a 9 X 13 inch baking dish. Then cut the log into 12 equal rolls. Tuck the loose end under each roll to secure it, and place them in the baking dish to rise.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Allow the rolls to rise for at least 30 minutes while the oven heats. Then bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are barely golden and the center of each roll is puffed high up.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
While the rolls are in the oven, beat the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar together until completely smooth. The moment the rolls come out of the oven gently spread half the glaze over the tops and allow it to seep down into the cracks. Five minutes later, add more glaze if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Notes: To prep ahead, make the dough the day before serving. Follow the instructions through cutting the rolls and placing them in the dish. Then cover the baking dish with plastic and refrigerate until morning. Set them out on the counter while the oven warms. Bake for approximately 30 minutes and glaze!
The grandkids love chocolate chip cookies as well as peanut blossom cookies, so this recipe was a ‘must make’ for the grandkids. They were delicious and a easy way to combine our favorite flavors of peanut butter AND chocolate.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/2 cups (318 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (202 grams) creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 cup (200 grams) packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups (340 grams) semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In a large heat safe bowl, microwave the butter until melted. Vigorously stir in the peanut butter into the hot butter until well combined. Stir in the granulated sugar and brown sugar until well combined. Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add in the vanilla. Gradually stir in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Dough may be a little loose and slightly crumbly. If it’s unbearably crumbly, that’s likely due to the brand of peanut butter. Add 2 tablespoons milk if that’s the case.
OPTIONAL: If time permits, cover the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours but no more than 72 hours. Let the dough sit at room temperature just until it is soft enough to scoop.
Divide the dough into 3-tablespoon sized balls using a spring-loaded scoop and drop onto prepared baking sheets. Flatten dough slightly into disc shapes with your palms. Dot each disc with a few extra chocolate chips for picture-perfect cookies.
Bake for 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Caramel Cookie Bars should be classified as a sin…but a very delicious one! Daughter, Megan, made these to take to friends that recently had a baby and she shared a piece with me. Oh my gosh! They are decadent and perfect for a special occasion.
Caramel Cookie Bars
1 cup salted butter softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips/chopped chocolate use your favorite (I like a combination of milk and semi sweet)
Zucchini abound this time of year as do my Sungold cherry tomatoes. Combine these two ingredients with basil, garlic, shrimp…WOW! You could easily adapt this to regular pasta, but why? I topped my meal with a sprinkle of Parmesan as well. Deliciouso!
Garlicky Tomato-Basil Shrimp with Zoodles
4 small, straight zucchini, ends trimmed
salt, garlic salt, pepper
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
5 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
1lb jumbo shrimp (16/20 count,) peeled and deveined
1 large clove garlic, minced
Spiralize zucchini using the fattest noodle blade then add to a colander set atop a bowl. Lightly salt then toss with your fingers to coat. Cover then place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour to drain excess liquid.
Add tomatoes and basil to a large bowl with 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil then season with salt and pepper, stir to combine, and set aside.
Heat 1-1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat shrimp very dry between paper towels then season tops with garlic salt and pepper. Add half the shrimp to the skillet seasoning-side down then sauté for 2 minutes per side, or until cooked through, then transfer to bowl with tomatoes and basil. Heat another 1-1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in the skillet then sauté remaining shrimp. When shrimp have 30 seconds left add garlic then sauté until fragrant, and then add to the bowl and stir everything to combine.
Meanwhile, remove zoodles from refrigerator then pat dry with paper towels. Heat remaining Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in the skillet then add zoodles. Season with salt and pepper then sauté until crisp-tender, 2-3 minutes. Plate zoodles then top with garlicky tomato-basil shrimp and serve.
Vietnamese and Thai food are a favorite of mine and I was delighted to find this recipe. The caramelized ground pork is out-of-this-world and makes the dish. I also thought the caramelized pork would be great in street tacos (ok, so now I’m on to Mexican food). The leftovers were equally as good, warmed in the microwave. For those that do not like spicy hot, I was relieved that the green curry paste from the grocery store was not at all spicy hot, it just added the right about flavor to the dish.
Vietnamese-Style Caramelized Ground Pork Bowls
For the Quick-Pickled Carrots:
4oz grated carrots
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Caramelized Ground Pork:
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1lb ground pork
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
salt and pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
For the Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice:
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
12oz fresh or frozen cauliflower rice
salt and pepper
squeeze fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
For the Green Curry Drizzle:
2 Tablespoons green curry paste (I like Thai Kitchen)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk (I like full fat)
2 Tablespoons chicken broth
squeeze fresh lime juice
For the toppings:
8oz broccoli florets, steamed
chopped green onion
For the Quick-Pickled Carrots: Add vinegar, water, sugar, and salt into a microwave safe dish then microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved then pour over carrots, stir to combine, and refrigerate. Can be done several days ahead of time.
For the Caramelized Ground Pork: Place 2 layers of paper towel on a large plate then set aside. Heat oil in a large wok or skillet over high heat. Add ground pork, shallot, garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper (to taste) then saute until pork is just barely cooked through, breaking it up as it cooks. Add brown sugar and fish sauce to the skillet then stir to combine. Spread pork into an even layer in the bottom of the wok or skillet then saute for 2 minutes – DO NOT DISTURB OR STIR THE PORK as it caramelizes. Stir then spread the pork into an even layer again and cook for 2 more minutes, undisturbed. Continue cooking then stirring in two minute increments – leaving the pork alone as it cooks and caramelizes – until the pork is brown and caramelized. You may need to cook in 1 minute increments near the end to prevent the sugar from burning. Scrape the caramelized pork onto prepared paper towel lined plate to drain then set aside.
For the Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice: Get out a serving bowl then set aside. Place wok or skillet back over high heat then add oil. Once oil is hot, add cauliflower rice, season with salt and pepper, then stir fry until cauliflower is crisp tender, 3-4 minutes. Add lime juice and chopped cilantro then stir to combine. Scrape cauliflower rice into serving bowl then set aside.
For the Green Curry Drizzle: Place wok or skillet back over medium high heat. Add curry paste then saute for 30 seconds, scraping/flattening/stirring it with a spatula. Add coconut milk, chicken broth, and sugar then stir until smooth and bring sauce to a simmer. Turn heat down to medium then simmer until sauce is slightly thickened and reduced, 3-4 minutes. Squeeze in a little lime juice to taste.
To assemble: Scoop the Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice into bowls then top with the Caramelized Ground Pork, Quick Pickled Carrots, toppings, and Green Curry Drizzling Sauce.
Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage and Goat Cheese is such a treat. My daughter, Megan, suggested I make it when I asked what I could make with leftover canned pumpkin.
The recipe is so easy and is plate of fall goodness complimented by a great salad and bread. Easy peasy dinner that will please a family or guest!
Pumpkin Pasta Dinner with sausage and goat cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
15-ounce can pumpkin puree or a scant 2 cups of pumpkin puree
A few fresh sage leaves and a few sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
A good pinch of ground nutmeg
1 1/2–2 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Serve with 1 pound al dente linguini pasta, or any cooked pasta you like.
Well-browned ground Italian sausage
Goat cheese crumbles
Toasted pine nuts
Red pepper flakes
To make the sauce, in a medium saucepan heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook gently until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and chopped herbs.
Increase heat to medium and add all of the spices. Stir in 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and allow to simmer for 10 minutes until thickened to your desired sauce consistency. Add more stock as you see fit. Taste and season with salt and pepper (and even more spices) to your taste.
Toss boiled pasta in the warm sauce. To serve, top with sausage or sausage alternative, goat cheese crumbled (or parmesan), toasted pine nuts (or any kind of crunch) and chopped parsley.
Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables. It started with fried Eggplant in my Mother’s kitchen, and through the years I have experienced eggplant in many ways. I have made Ina Garten’s Eggplant Spread dozens of times. This recipe is more like baba ganoush, with that wonderful smoky flavor. The dip would be wonderful served with a fresh Greek Salad.
SMOKY EGGPLANT DIP
Makes about 2 cups
2 medium eggplants (about 1 pound each) 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt, or to taste 6 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste), well-stirred if a new container 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed Juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste, if desired Pinch of cayenne or aleppo pepper Pinch or two of ground cumin 2 tablespoons well-chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided Toasted sesame seeds or za’atar for garnish (optional)
Heat oven to 375°F.
Brush a baking sheet or roasting pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt.
Prick eggplants a few times with a fork or tip of a knife. Over a gas flame, grill or under a broiler, evenly char the skin of your eggplants. I like mine quite smoky and like to leave no purple visible. Transfer to a cutting board, and when cool enough to handle, trim off stem and cut lengthwise. Place cut side down on prepared baking sheet and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until very, very tender when pressed. Let cool to room temperature.
Next Step Option 1: Food Processor: In a blender or food processor: Scrape eggplant flesh from skin and into the work bowl. Add tahini, lemon, cayenne, cumin and 1 tablespoon parsley. Blend in short bursts (pulses) until combined but still coarsely chopped.
Taste and adjust ingredients if needed. You may wish to add more salt and lemon.
To serve: Spoon into a bowl and drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Scatter with second tablespoon of parsley, and some toasted sesame seeds or za’atar, if desired. Serve with pita wedges or naan.
Snickerdoodles have always been a family favorite. What do you do when you want a Snickerdoodle but too lazy to make individual cookies? You find a Snickerdoodle Bar recipe. I doubled the recipe and made it in a 9 x 13 pan lined with parchment paper. This recipe is easy and uses ingredients that are in most pantries. Another recipe that will be made over and over again.
1/2 c.Butter, room temp. (can use Vegan butter)
3/4 c.Granulated Sugar
1/4 c. Brown Sugar
3/4 tsp.Cream of Tartar
1/4 tsp.Baking Soda
Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
Allow butter and egg to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix together butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined.
Add vanilla and egg and stir until fully mixed.
Add flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to the bowl. Fold into the butter mixture until combined. Evenly spread the batter into the baking dish.
In a small bowl stir together sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Sprinkle on top of the cookie batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing and cutting into 16 squares.
Wonderful, yummy Spicy Peanut Soup with Sweet Potato and Kale is a new favorite. I first enjoyed this soup at a Bunco gathering a few years ago and I asked for the recipe. The source, Pinch of Yum, is a favorite site for my daughters and I and this recipe doesn’t disappoint.
The title says ‘spicy’ but with one chopped jalapeno, it was not hot at all. If you truly want it hot, I would suggest adding 2+ jalapenos. With this batch, I only added the curry powder, but next time I will add the tumeric.
This soup is Vegan and Vegetarian. If you would like protein, adding some shredded chicken would be delicious. It’s fall y’all, and I’m cooking up a soup storm!
SPICY PEANUT SOUP WITH SWEET POTATO & KALE
2 tablespoons olive oil
half an onion, diced
1 jalapeño, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes1
14-ounce can light coconut milk
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry and/or turmeric
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1/4 cup peanut butter
1–2 cups kale, stems removed, chopped
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Saute until soft and fragrant.
Add sweet potatoes. I like to brown them a little bit with the aromatics to get them nice and flavorful.
Add tomatoes, coconut milk, water, spices, and peanuts. Simmer until sweet potatoes are fork-tender.
Add peanut butter and kale. Simmer until everything is thick, creamy, and delicious. Top with more peanuts and a little cilantro if you’re obsessed like me.
Instant Pot: Cook everything except peanut butter and kale on high pressure for about 3 minutes with a quick release. (Sometimes I reduce the liquid when I make it in the Instant Pot by a cup or so, and then just add more as needed when it’s all done. But that is optional – it should work fine either way.) Stir in the peanut butter and kale after cooking. Voila!
Slow Cooker: Cook everything except peanut butter and kale on low for 6 hours. Stir in the peanut butter and kale. Don’t cook the sweet potatoes too long or they’ll fall apart on ya! Just cook until they pierce easily with a fork.
One last note. This recipe is inspired by an amazing West African recipe called maafe, or groundnut soup. I did what I always do and changed/added some ingredients based on what I love and what I had on hand (kale, jalapeño, coconut milk, cilantro, etc.) making it more of a cultural mash-up. That’s why I’m not calling it a proper West African peanut soup even though those are its roots.
Freezer Meal Version
3 cups chopped sweet potatoes, fresh or frozen
2 jalapeños, minced
half of an onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
Instant Pot Instructions: High pressure 8 mins + 10 mins natural release
Slow Cooker Instructions: High setting 6 hours
Final Step: Stir in 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup chopped peanuts, and 1-2 cups chopped kale. Add water to thin to desired consistency.
Check out our full freezer meal posts with all recipes and instructions here!