Cinnamon Rolls Made Easy

Last weekend, I was craving something sweet to serve for a Saturday brunch that was easy to make and wouldn’t make a mess of the kitchen.  I decided to try a recipe for cinnamon rolls that did not require yeast.   At first, I was pretty skeptical about not using yeast, and I was worried that without yeast, it would compromise the quality of the rolls.  However, these cinnamon rolls were perfect and my guests raved about them.

Cinnamon Rolls (Adapted from Recipe Girl)

Filling:

4 tbsp. softened unsaltened butter

1 C. Light Brown Sugar (you can use dark brown sugar, per the original recipe’s instructions)

3 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice (original recipe calls for cinnamon, but I used what was available)

Dough

2 C. All-Purpose Flour  (make sure you have some more for rolling)

2 tbsp. sugar (the granulated stuff…no Sugar in the Raw, just rely on the Domino or whatever’s available)

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

3 tbsp. unsalted softened butter (room temperature)

3/4 C. Milk

1 egg, beaten

Glaze

1 C. Powdered Sugar

2 tbsp. milk (or more depending on the consistency)

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray your muffin tin with nonstick spray.

Prepare the filling:  Combine filling ingredients with a fork until a crumble like mixture is formed.  Set bowl aside.

Let’s work on the dough:  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  With clean hands (or that wonderful tool known as a pastry blender…man, I miss mine.  It got lost during a move), work the butter into the flour mixture.  Add the milk and egg, stir to combine.

Now comes the *fun* part:  Roll the dough out onto a floured surface into a large rectangle.  Sprinkle the filling over the surface of the dough (make sure it’s even).   I promised you the fun part, which is roll the dough into a roll.  Cut the rolls into 12 pieces.  Place the pieces into the muffin tin.  Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.

While the rolls are baking, let’s go over the glaze.  It’s easy peasy to make this glaze.  In a small bowl, combine the sugar, milk, and vanilla.  Stir until the glaze turns into a frosting consistency.   After removing the rolls from the oven, move the rolls onto a plate, then drizzle the glaze over them.

Totally yummy and the kitchen…well, it was a bit messy!  Cleaning is the fun part of cooking, right?

Busy…and running out of options

Last week, I had an extremely busy week at work, and with yoga class after work, I did not have much time to spend in the kitchen.  When this happens, I am normally at a loss of inspiration until I decided to take a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and make baked chicken fingers.  I paired this with kale chips, and it was pretty remarkable by the healthiness of the meal.  In a pinch, try the Kale Chips I featured in an early post.

Baked Chicken Fingers

1 1/2 c. Panko Bread Crumbs

1 tbsp. Buttermilk Ranch Seasoning  (The one I used was from Penzey’s)

1 tsp. Smoked Paprika

1/2 tsp. Chipotle Tabasco Sauce

2 eggs

1/2 c. buttermilk

2 tbsp. grated parmesan reggiano cheese

Salt and Pepper for the chicken breasts

2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into strips

In a medium bowl, beat eggs, buttermilk, chipotle tabasco sauce together.  In a 8 x 8 baking dish, combine the panko, spices, and grated cheese.  Dip the chicken strips in the egg mixture, then take each strip and transfer to the panko mixture.  Make sure that the panko mixture coats the chicken strip.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the chicken temperature reaches 180 degrees and when cut shows no pink.

Since this dinner was made for two people, it can be easily doubled for a family of four.

Maple Bourbon Pork Chops and Cheese Grits

One evening last week, I had a craving for something sweet and savory.   After looking in the refrigerator, I saw a package of boneless pork chops that looked ready for a cast iron skillet and some 1 on 1 time in the oven.  However, fear came across me.  How do I transform pork chops into something sensational for a weeknight?  Enter a recipe I found on How Sweet Eats that incorporated the sweet flavors of maple syrup and bourbon.  It was easy to prepare for the most part (that is until I saw the blue flame from the alcohol cooking off in the sauce…I honestly don’t know why I freaked out).  All in all, the pork chops were phenomenal.  They just demanded something decadent to join them.

Enter Cheese Grits.  Granted, I did not grow up in the south.   As a Marylander, I was not exposed to the delicacy of consuming grits.  In fact, my Mother hated them and refused to cook them.  However, I felt it was time to give Grits a chance.  While shopping at Trader Joe’s, I noticed they had a bag of quick cooking grits.  I bought a bag and transformed instant grits into a masterpiece.

Cheese Grits

Pkg. of Quick Cooking Grits

1/2 c. Shredded Quattro Formaggio Cheese

1 tsp. sage

1 tsp. thyme

1 tsp. rosemary

Follow the directions on the package of grits for the most part, with the exception of water.  You want to use chicken broth, in place of water.  Add the thyme, rosemary, and sage while cooking.  Once the grits are finished cooking, fold in cheese over low heat.  Serve warm.

From Drop Box

Beautiful Mornings…

I love when the birds are chirping,  the weather is warm (especially in March), and enjoying freshly baked blueberry lemon muffins with a cup of coffee.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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I must admit the wrappers are pretty sweet.  After all, you can’t beat monkeys and bananas.  The muffins are the star of the show, and there is no doubt you can tailor these to your dietary needs.

Introducing Blueberry Lemon Muffins (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line your muffin tins with cute liners (you could use the plain ones, but that is no fun…is it?).  Put those to the side.

In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

In a small bowl combine egg, milk, oil, and vanilla extract.  Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture.  Stir until moistened.

Now comes the fun part…fold in 3/4 cup of frozen blueberries (you can use fresh) and the zest of half a lemon. 

Spoon batter into muffin cups, filing two thirds full.  Note:  I love big muffins, so I always go three fourths full and bake a little longer.  Also, I use nine liners instead of twelve.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over muffin batter (I use Penzey’s Spices Cinnamon Sugar, because it rocks).  Bake in a 400° oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden.  Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Remove from cups; serve warm.

Totally delicious…and it pairs well with black forest bacon.