Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls and Orange Rolls

Growing up, almost every Sunday morning before church, our family would sit down to a breakfast of hot cinnamon or orange rolls. We would wake up and my parents would preheat the oven and throw a pan of cinnamon rolls in the oven. We'd get dressed and by the time we were ready, the rolls were coming out of the oven and quite often my mom would have whipped up a batch of frosting for the top of them. What good memories I have of those days.

I have decided to start a family tradition of gifting cinnamon and orange rolls to my neighbors and friends at Christmas time. What a fun gift to give that can either be eaten immediately, frozen and saved or eaten for Christmas morning. My family enjoys walking around to each of our neighbor's homes and delivering the rolls with a little note that includes reheating instructions and Christmas blessings.

Now, when I make cinnamon rolls, I go back and forth between using my mom's recipe and Pioneer Woman's recipe. They're both good and turn out about the same. When I use Pioneer Woman's recipe, I don't heat it on the stove like she says to do. I just use hot milk and mix in my mixer. It's a big recipe for my little mixer but I make it work. One recipe of Pioneer Woman's makes about 7-8 pans of rolls. One recipe of my mom's rolls makes about 3 pans. Here's the recipe I grew up with. It's called Army Sweet Basic Dough because it's a recipe that was used in the Army for their sweet rolls.

Army Sweet Basic Dough

*Set 2 sticks of butter out to soften for later*

In a small bowl, mix and let stand until foamy:
3/4 cups hot water (as hot as you can get your tap water and not burn yourself)
2 packages yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
1 Tablespoon sugar

In large mixing bowl: cream together (with cake beater):
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt

After creaming above mix, add and cream together:
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk

Add yeast mixture and:
2 cups flour

Mix well. Switch to a dough hook.
2 cups additional flour (knead for a long time to break down gluten). I usually add another 1-3 cups of flour at this stage until the dough pulls away from the wall of the bowl. There shouldn't be flour in the bowl that can't be absorbed but if it's sticking to the walls of the bowl, you can add more flour. Don't go crazy with it though. If it sticks a little, it's okay.

Preheat oven to warm for 5 minutes. Grease the bowl, flip the dough to coat both sides with oil (prevents drying out). I generally just spray it with my aerosol spray. Cover with a cloth. Let rise 2-3 hours until doubled. Punch down the dough and let rise for 10 minutes. (If you try to roll it out right away it'll tend to pull back in on itself due to the gluten. Allow the gluten to rest for a short while and it'll be much easier to roll).

Get 2-3 cake pans ready. In each pan put 1/4 cube of melted butter in each pan and 1/4 cup of brown sugar (sugar is optional...butter is not).

Pour dough onto floured pastry cloth or work surface. Using a large, sharp knife, press to cut dough in half. Return half to your bowl. Shape other half into a rectangular shape with your hands and then roll out evenly. At this point, the dough should not be sticky. Use enough flour to make sure it doesn't stick to your work surface or rolling pin. You shouldn't have to add much if you added enough prior to rising. Work the corners out so you don't end up with an oval. You want a large rectangle.

Once you have your rectangle, spread 1/4 cup or so of soft butter over the surface with a spatula. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon, sugar and sprinkle with raisens. The cinnamon and sugar should cover the entire surface. Roll up and cut in half. Keep cutting your sections in halves until you have the size rolls you want. This helps you end up with even sized rolls. Mine are usually only about 1 inch wide when I place them in my pans. *(be sure to put them in pans with butter/sugar on the bottom). Remember, they will rise and spread. I usually end up with 24-36 rolls depending on how I cut them. Don't crowd your pans. I will usually put 6-8 rolls/pan. Think about the size of your family when you place your rolls. If you have 4 people, maybe make pans of 8. We used to use some larger cake pans and put 12 rolls in them so we'd each get 3 rolls to eat. The point is, it's flexible. There's no perfect number.

Place pans in a warm oven and let double in size for 30-60 minutes. The rolls should fill the pan at this point. Remove from oven and preheat oven to 350.

Because we usually weren't eating them right after we made them, we cooked them and then reheated them later which is what the following directions are for. We would always bake our rolls for about 15 minutes until cooked through. (They're a little undercooked at 15 minutes bit still edible. If you want to fully cook them, I'd leave them in for 20-25 minutes). Lay out about 2-2 1/2 feet of tinfoil and flip pan upside down on to the center of the tinfoil. Scrape any remaining sugar from the bottom of the pan and roll up the sides of the tinfoil to close. Turn and wrap with one more layer of tinfoil on the other side. Allow to cool and then you can freeze the rolls in the tinfoil and then just thaw, and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes while still in the tinfoil. This way, you have your pans free for other uses. After you reheat the rolls, unroll the tinfoil, place a plate on the bottom and flip over. Your rolls are now face up and ready for frosting.

Basic Icing:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon milk
Drop of almond extract
(Personally, I always like a good cream cheese icing but this one's easy and works good as well)

Variation: Orange Rolls
My mom would switch back and forth between cinnamon and orange rolls. As a child, I preferred the cinnamon rolls but now I really enjoy the orange rolls as well.
Make everything as normal but instead of cinnamon, sugar and raisens, use the following filling and a different icing to create orange rolls.

Orange Filling:
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons grated orange rind
Stir together and sprinkle over buttered dough

Orange Glaze Icing:
3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sour cream

I hope you have fun making cinnamon rolls for your family and make many wonderful memories!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Fresh Burrito

I was at my friend, Kendall's, house for dinner a couple of weeks ago. She made these burritos for dinner and they were so delicious! In the past couple of weeks, I've probably eaten one of these burritos at least every other day. Once I cook the chicken, it lasts for about a week in the fridge. I can then throw together a burrito in about 3 minutes! Here's how to make it:

Shredded Chicken:
Add about 3 chicken breasts to your crock-pot with half a jar of salsa (I prefer the green salsa but use whatever you have) Great way to use up those jars of salsa that get opened and linger in the fridge once the chips are gone! Turn your crock-pot on high and cook until you can shred your chicken with a fork. Use a little for your burrito and store the rest in the fridge.

Organic, whole wheat burrito size tortilla
Shredded chicken, warmed up
Shredded cheese
Sour Cream

Warm your tortilla in a pan and flip. Make sure it stays soft and doesn't become crunchy. Remove and add a little of all of the above ingredients. Fold in sides and roll up. Eat immediately!! This burrito tastes so fresh and is so quick and easy to make.

Variation: My husband prefers to make chicken tacos. He heats up small corn tortillas, adds chicken and then tops it with pico de gallo. Also delicious!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Potato Soup

2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
Melt butter in large saucepan.  Add onion.  Saute until translucent.

3 cups potatoes, diced
2 cups water or broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup celery with leaves, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped or shredded
1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, dried marjoram, celery salt, dried dill weed, or paprika
Add, cover and cook until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.  For a creamier soup, remove some of the cooked potatoes, puree them and return to the saucepan.

2 cups milk
3 Tablespoons flour
Mix together until smooth.  Add to soup and cook until thickened, stirring constantly.  Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Optional additions: 1 cup cubed cooked ham ~ 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese ~ 1/2 lb. browned ground beef with 1/4 cup plain yogurt stirred in just before serving ~ substitute 2 cups corn for one of the cups of potatoes ~ dumplings: combine 1 large beaten egg, 1/2 cup flour and 2 Tablespoons milk, drop dough by teaspoons into simmering soup and simmer 5 more minutes.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Huevos Rancheros

Eggs poached in tomato sauce. 

Saute in skillet:
3 T. oil (I use lard)
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
1 large onion, chopped (I use 1/2)
2 cloves garlic, minced

2 large fresh tomatoes, finely chopped OR 2 c. stewed tomatoes, drained
1/2 c. tomato sauce (I use an 8 oz. can)
1/2 t. salt
1-2 T chili powder
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. oregano

Cook over medium heat 20 minutes, occasionally mashing tomatoes. 

Break into hot sauce:
6 eggs

Cover eggs with:
6 slices mozzarella cheese

Cover skillet and poach eggs over low heat 3-5 minutes, or until as firm as desired. (I find it takes longer than that, and I'm not going for hard yolks either).

Serve with green salad and corn muffins.  I serve it over rice.

Recipe from More-with-Less cookbook, page 152

Monday, March 26, 2012


Cook 1/2 package of extra thin noodles
Saute 1 chopped green pepper in lard, when mostly done add 1 lb. ground beef to brown.  Then add:
4 cloves garlic, minced
grind pepper over all
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried basil
1-2 TBSP ground oregano
1 4oz. can mushroom pieces
2 15oz. cans tomato sauce

Simmer, add to drained noodles, let sit for a bit for flavors to absorb.

Monday, March 5, 2012


½ head cabbage, cut up
4 beets, in strips
2 big carrots, in strips
4 potatoes (often I use less or no potatoes)
1 lb. stew beef, cubed
1 onion, diced
1 small can tomato sauce (optional, I leave out)
1 tsp. each dried dill and parsley, use more if fresh
salt to taste
pepper - I use 1/8 - 1/4 tsp.
sour cream

Boil meat, add salt when it starts to boil (I use beef stock when I have it). When it’s almost done, add the potatoes and cook midway. Meanwhile in a different pan put oil (I use lard) and the beets and carrots cut into strips. Add ½ cup water and simmer until softer, continue watching and stirring. When halfway cooked, add onions and tomatoe sauce/paste and cook until almost soft. Then dump it all into the other pot of meat and potatoes and add cabbage. Let it all cook together until the cabbage is cooked. At the very end add the dill and/or parsley and black pepper, then let it simmer 5 minutes to get the full flavor. Serve with sour cream stirred in.  It's delicious!

There are many, many ways to make Borscht.  The above are the instructions I got from Russian friends.  Other methods include:  Put it all in the crock pot. ~ Simmer all the veggies together, then add cooked meat.  ~ Simmer everything together except the beets, omit the carrots.  Steam the beets, then add (I guess that's quicker?  Beets do take a long time to soften).  ~ Use ground beef instead of stew meat, make small meatballs with salt & pepper added, put these in at the end as they cook quickly.  ~ Add diced tomatoes and garlic.  ~ Use browned ground pork sausage instead of beef.  ~

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sahara & Megan's Sow Your Own Oats Cookies

There's a local bakery that makes DELICIOUS (but expensive) breads and pastries. Earlier this week, my friend, Sahara, came over to my house and brought a couple of their delicious oatmeal cookies. After enjoying them together, we decided to try to knock-off these cookies. Today, I purchased another of their oatmeal cookies called "Sow Your Oats Cookie" and we "dissected" the cookie and attempted to recreate it. Let's just say what we ended up with is extremely close to original cookie. We were both very impressed with ourselves that they turned out so close to the original. So, if you'd like to try a hearty, oatmeal cookie chalk full of goodness, make these today!

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Mix in:
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 to 2 cups flour

2 cups oatmeal (try to use old fashioned oats or thick rolled oats)
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons flax seeds
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup chopped, pitted dates

Form into 1/4 cup balls of dough. Slightly flatten with hand. Only put four cookies per cookie sheet as they will spread.

Bake 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes until edges turn brown.

Recipe makes 13-15 extra large cookies.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

My friend, Carley, made this recipe for my friends and I the other week. She had just been watching my kids and when I arrived at her home, she had this meal prepared for us and it was so delicious! One of my other friends and I each had four multiple servings. It was seriously so good! If you want something quick, easy, and delicious, throw this together for dinner.

1 family can of cream of chicken soup
2 7 oz cans of diced green chillies
1 finely chopped onion (optional)
2 big chicken breasts diced (cooked)
extra spice add 1 can of jalapeƱo  (optional)
Mix together

Layer corn tortilla, then mixture, then shredded cheddar cheese. Repeat.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until hot throughout.