Barbecue Chicken Calzones

I got a great new cookbook this Christmas that I’ve been drooling over.  You can find the cookbook HERE if you want to drool too:).  Some of the recipes in the cookbook are also on their website.  This particular recipe is HERE.  I tried this out a few nights ago and it was a HUGE hit even with my kids, which is always a great surprise.  I’ve made a few alterations to the recipe but click on their website to get the original.  Thanks Six Sister’s!

6 slices bacon
olive oil
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
3 cups shredded, cooked chicken
3/4 (plus) cup Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce
2 Tbsp. broccoli florets
1 can refrigerated biscuits
1 cup + shredded mozzarella cheese
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook bacon on an aluminum lined baking sheet for about 25 minutes or until somewhat crisp.  Than heat oven to 400 degrees.  Remove bacon from pan, blot with paper towels and cut into pieces.  Put onions and shredded chicken in a pan with a small amount of olive oil.  Saute over medium heat for a minute.  Stir in 3/4 cup barbecue sauce and add in the bacon and broccoli.  Remove from heat.
Flatten out biscuit dough on a greased cookie sheet.  Spread a dab of barbecue sauce on each biscuit.  Divide the chicken mixture between the biscuits, spreading on only half of each biscuit and keeping 1/2 inch away from the edge.  Sprinkle cheese over each biscuit.  Fold biscuits in half and press the edges together with a fork to seal. Sprinkle a little more cheese on top.  Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown.

Best Rolls EVER

I have made A LOT of different roll recipes.  I had narrowed it down to my two favorite roll recipes a few years ago, but I’m always open to trying new recipes.  This new recipe leaves the others in the dust!  These rolls are soft, ‘squishy’, airy, and delicious!  They don’t dry out and lose their prime after a couple of days.  They are perfect!  I’ve used these only as rolls, but I can’t wait to try them out in cinnamon rolls, bread sticks, and all other bread-y goodnesses.  Thanks Michelle, for always finding the best recipes and sharing them with me!

Best Rolls EVER!

This recipe can destroy Kitchenaids, so just do it by hand every time.

3 cups very warm water

1/3 cup oil (or applesauce)

1/3 cup honey (i always add extra)

3 tbsp yeast

1 tbsp salt

8 +/- cups flour 

Stir together first four ingredients and let yeast activate (10-15 mins).  Add 1 tbsp salt, stir.  Add in flour, 2 cups at a time.

Spray counter with non-stick spray and knead dough until “Gluten Window” is visible (Pull a small amount of dough apart to see if a stained glass/translucent dough appears. If the dough breaks or rips, it is NOT ready). Basically the dough should be so smooth that it feels as soft as a babies bottom.

Spray your mixing bowl with nonstick spray, put dough in bowl. Spray sheet of Saran-wrap, cover bowl. Cover all with slightly damp warm towel. Put in warm place. Let rise until dough doubles (30-45 minutes).

Now you can make whatever you want with it. It is a great base recipe for everything. Makes two dozen rolls, two dozen cinnamon rolls, two pizzas, four loaves of bread, two sheets of Breadsticks, deep fried scones. It is a great base for add-ins, also. You can add more honey and changed half the flour to wheat.

Get the dough in the shape you want it, cover it with the Saran-wrap and towel again and let it rise again until it doubles in size (30-45 minutes).

Bake at 350. Rolls bake about 12-14 minutes. Knock on the middle to see if they sound hollow to test for doneness. Take them out, while still hot take a salted real butter stick and rub it on top of each one. Let sit about 3 minutes before removing any.

Good luck. You will be amazed at the awesomeness!

Banana Spice Bread

Looking for the easiest sweet bread in the world to make?  Seriously, there are only two ingredients.  I made this as an experiment and it was so good that I ate it. . . all. . . by myself.   Hmmm, that really sounds horrible, but to be fair to myself I had a little bit every day over a week, because the rest of my family doesn’t like the spice cake flavor.  Man, it was good!  :)I think I’ll try this with other combinations of cake mixes.  Possibilities are endless!  Okay here it is:

Banana Spice Bread

Spice Cake powder mix

4 banana’s mashed

(possible add-ins:  nuts, coconut flakes, dried fruit bits, etc.)

Stir the ingredients together.  Pour in bread pan that has been oiled.  Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 50 minutes or until knife poked through comes out clean.  Done.  Woohoo!

Easter Rolls

I love Easter and it’s so nice to find a way to make it more meaningful.  I want our boys to know what Easter is all about.  I want them to understand the Passover and that because of a perfect mans willing sacrifice of his own life,  death will only be a sting in the eternal journey of a continued life.  He concurred death so that we can too defeat the grave and be free.  I started searching online for something I could cook up with an analogy.  This was the best thing I could find for explaining the resurrection to a 4 and 5 year old.  It went well and the boys really seemed to understand and grasp onto the meaning.  Not to mention they were delicious and made the house smell TANTALIZING!

I copied the recipe from here:  http://growinggourmets.blogspot.com/2011/04/resurrection-rolls-resurrection-cookies.html

She has some great pictures of the whole process too.  However, when I made them I used crescent rolls.

Easter Rolls

1 can of refrigerated biscuits (crescents)
1 package of large marshmallows, (must be fresh; stale ones won’t work)
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Melt butter in a microwavable bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.

 Have the children each take a marshmallow.  Jesus was pure and sinless which is represented by the white marshmallow.

Now have the children roll the marshmallow in the butter.  After Jesus died on the cross, they anointed his body with oil.

Next, roll the marshmallow in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  This represents the spices that were put on Jesus’ body before they placed him in the tomb.

Take one biscuit and flatten it with your fingers. Wrap the biscuit around the marshmallow and seal it very carefully.  Make sure it completely sealed.  Jesus was placed in the tomb and they rolled a large stone in front of it to seal it.

Roll the ball of dough in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place it on the cookie sheet.  Be sure and place them, seal side down, so the marshmallow doesn’t expand and puff out the top.

Bake the biscuit tombs in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until browned on the outside.  Remind the children that Jesus was sealed up in the tomb for three days.

Finally, remove the biscuits from the oven.  Let cool slightly and encourage them to break open the tomb.  Where is Jesus?  He has risen!  The rolls taste sweet. Easter is a sweet time because Christ died for us and then three days after the cross, he arose so that we also can have a new life in Him!

Yorkshire Pudding

This is a British staple.  In my naivety,  I was expecting Yorkshire Pudding to be like the Kraft Pudding I’m used to. . .not even close!  Yorkshire Pudding or ‘Yorkies’ are very similar to Dutch Babies, or the alternative to a roll with your dinner.  They are fun to make, easy (just be sure to plan ahead), and you will LOVE them!

Yorkshire (York-shur) Pudding

4 Large Eggs

Milk (equal quatity to eggs measurement)

Flour (equal quatity to eggs measurement)

Pinch of salt

Crisco or vegetable oil

 Crack the eggs and pour contents into a 2 cup measuring cup.  (Remember what it measures to!  My eggs measured to about 1 1/8 cup.) Then pour the eggs into a bowl.  Clean out the measuring cup (I hate using to many dishes), and now measure the flour and the milk (seperately) to the same measurement the eggs were, and pour into the same bowl as the eggs.  Use an electric hand mixer and beat the mixture into a cream, with no lumps.  Now you just leave the bowl to sit, on the counter for at least 30 minutes or up to several hours.

Preheat oven to 415 degrees.  Put a small (about 1/16 tsp) amount of oil or crisco in each muffin pan hole, place in oven for about 3 minutes, until crisco is melted and even slightly steaming.  While the crisco is in the oven put 2 Tbsp. of cold water into the egg mixture and stir it well.  Take the pan out of the oven and quickly pour the batter into each hole about 1/3 full (DON’T fill it too full, these babies puff up huge!).  Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden on edges.  This will make about 2 dozen.  Served best hot, right out of the oven.  Traditionally they are eaten with gravy.  They don’t re-heat well, but they taste great cold with jam or honey on top.

The Science and Art of Bread 101

When I started making bread I went through quite a few flopps in my endeavors to find the perfect bread.  Some would end out like a rock while others would just be so dry and crumby that I could barely cut into it.  Then I would make some delicious bread and when the time came to make the same recipe again it would be disastrous.  The key to cooking is recognizing that what you are doing is a science experiment. Understand the science and how the ingredients react to each other and you will enjoy amazing bread!

Just remember if things don’t go well, don’t beat yourself up.  Keep on trying and you’ll get there!  Here are my two favorite bread recipes that I’m sure you will love too:

Our Best Bites‘ 7 Grain Bread

Lion House Whole Wheat Bread

 

Lion House Whole Wheat Bread

You can’t go wrong with anything from the Lion House Classics cookbook.  This bread is light, airy and delicious!  I put the recipe in exactly as written from the cookbook, but I add gluten and dough enhancer when I make it.

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Lion House Whole Wheat Bread

1 Tbsp. dry yeast

3 cups warm water (apx. 101 degrees)

1 cup cooked oatmeal

1/4 cup molasses

6 Tbsp. nonfat dry milk

6 Tbsp. shortening, softened

5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour***

1 1/2 Tbsp. salt

2 cups white flour

Proof yeast in 3 cups lukewarm water in large mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and beat until dough forms a ball and leaves sides of bowl.  (I used cinnamon roll flavored instant oatmeal and it was yummy – I could taste a hint of cinnamon in the cooked bread.)  After kneading the dough using an electric mixer for 3-5 minutes remove the dough and knead it by hand for another 5ish minutes.  If you cut off a small piece of the dough and carefully stretch the dough, it should not tear.  If tearing occurs then continue kneading for another 3-5 minutes.  Place dough in a large greased bowl, cover with terry cloth and let rise until double (about one hour).  Be sure it rises in a warm area away from breezes.  I think the best place to let dough rise is in an oven turned off, and the oven light on.  Once the rising process is done, cut the dough in half and roll it into two greased loaf pans.  Let rise until about double and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a nice golden brown.

***I grind my own wheat, these measurements were given from bagged flour.  Fresh ground flour is much lighter and airier, so if you’re using fresh flour you’ll use quite a bit more then what’s asked for.  I usually wait a week before I use my flour so that it will settle.

Seasoned Breadsticks

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This past week I never cooked.  Yep, not even once. Wow, I am amazed that I’m admitting this, but that’s just how life goes sometimes.  Hello McDonalds, hello random frozen things in the freezer, and hello sandwiches.  I spent most of last week cleaning.  When I’m pregnant I always tell everyone that I can have a moderately clean home, or a cooked dinner, but NEVER both on the same day.  Well, I’m not pregnant so I can’t use that as an excuse, but my house did get a really good cleaning:)  I made these a couple of weeks ago, and luckily froze some for a rainy day (which happened to be last week).  This will be two recipes in a row from Our Best Bites.  Yes, when it’s good I can’t help but share it.  I will never make any other breadsticks again.  Amazing!  It’s really the seasoning that makes it so perfect.  You’ll love it!  Happy cooking.

Seasoned Breadsticks

(word for word from HERE)

1 1/2 c. warm (105-115 degrees) water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
3-4 1/2 c. flour

In a large bowl (the bowl of your mixer, if you have one), combine water, sugar, and yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes or until yeast is bubbly.  Add salt and stir. Add 1 1/2 c. flour and mix well. Gradually add more flour (usually between 3-4 cups, depending on your elevation and your humidity) until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and it barely sticks to your finger.  Spray a glass or metal bowl with cooking spray and place dough in the bowl.

Cover and allow to rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Remove from bowl and place on a lightly-floured surface. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Roll into a rectangle and cut into 12 strips with a pizza cutter.  Roll out each piece of dough into a snake and then drape over your forefinger and twist the dough. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining 11 pieces of dough. Try to space them evenly, but it’s okay if they’re close; pulling apart hot bread is one of life’s greatest pleasures!

When there’s about 15 minutes to go, preheat your oven to 425. When done rising, bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Rub some butter on top of the breadsticks (just put a ziploc bag on your hand, grab some softened butter, and have at it) and sprinkle with garlic bread seasoning or the powdery Parmesan cheese in a can and garlic salt.

Garlic Bread Seasoning

1/2 c. powdered Parmesan cheese

2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. marjoram
2 tsp. parsley
Combine ingredients in a jar (preferably one with a sprinkle top) and shake. Well, don’t shake until you’ve put the lid on, but I assume most of you are smart enough to figure that out! :)Sprinkle on top of breadsticks or combine 1 1/2 Tbsp. seasoning with 1/2 c. of softened real butter and spread on a loaf of French bread (cut in 1/2 lengthwise). Wrap in foil and bake at 375 until butter’s melted. If you want, you could also pop it open-faced under the broiler for a few minutes so it gets brownish and crispy.

7-Grain Bread

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A while ago we decided to switch to whole wheat.  I grind my own wheat once a month and very rarely purchase white flour.  I do love wheat breads, but I seem to miss the squishy-ness of white bread. I know there are a million bread recipes out there, and this is now in my top five.  It’s healthy, squishy, hearty, and freezes well.  One of my favorite recipe blogs is OurBestBites.com  because almost everything they make appeals to my tastes.  For the most part their recipes are simple and family friendly.  I was so happy to find this recipe and I’m copying it here directly from their site so I can save it in my ‘files’.  Make it, love it, double the recipe to save some for later, and enjoy!

Multi-Grain Bread

Ingredients
1 1/4 cup (6 1/4 ounces) seven-grain hot cereal mix
2 1/2 cups boiling water
3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour (not bread flour)
1 1/2 cups (8 1/4 oz) whole wheat flour
1/4 cup honey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled*
2 1/2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 tablespoon salt
Optional (I omitted): 3/4 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz) old-fashioned rolled oats or quick oats

*If you’re using salted butter, just decrease the additional salt by just a bit.

Instructions
Place cereal mix in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook and pour boiling water over it; let stand, stirring occasionally, until mixture cools to 100 degrees and resembles thick porridge, about 1 hour.  Whisk flours together in separate bowl.

Once grain mixture has cooled, add honey, butter, and yeast and mix on low speed until combined.  Add flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, and knead until cohesive mass starts to form (*note: some at high altitudes have noted they have not needed all of the flour, go by look and feel and stop adding flour if you need to!) 1 1/2-2 minutes; cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 20 minutes.  Add salt and knead on medium-low speed until dough clears sides of bowl, 3-4 minutes (if it does not clear sides, add 2-3 tablespoons additional all-purpose flour and knead until it does.  Don’t add more!) continue to knead dough for 5 more minutes.  Add seeds (if using) and knead for another 15 seconds.  Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead by hand until seeds are dispersed evenly and dough forms smooth, round ball.  Place dough in large, lightly greased bowl; cover tightly with plastic and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 45-60 minutes.

Grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.  Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and divide in half.  Press 1 piece of dough into 9×6 inch rectangle, with short side facing you.  Roll dough toward you into firm cylinder, keeping roll taut by tucking it under itself as you go.  Turn loaf seam side up and pinch it closed.  Repeat with second piece of dough.  Spray loaves lightly with water or vegetable il spray.  Roll each loaf in oats to coat evenly and place seam side down in prepared pans, pressing gently into corners.  Cover loaves loosely with greased plastic and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size 30-40 minutes.  Dough should barely spring back when poked with knuckle.

Thirty minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake until loaves register 200 degrees, 35-40 minutes.  Transfer pans to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.  Remove loaves from pans, return to rack, and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours, before slicing and serving.

Storage: Bread can be wrapped in double layer of plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.  Wrapped with additional layer of foil, bread can be frozen for up to a month.

For those without a stand mixer, Cook’s Illustrated recommends:  “Stir wet and dry ingredients together with a stiff rubber spatula until the dough comes together and looks shaggy.  Transfer the dough to a clean counter and knead by hand to form a smooth, roughd ball, 15-25 minutes, adding additional flour, if necessary, to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter.  Proceed with recipe as directed.”

Favorite Cinnamon Rolls

Favorite Cinnamon Rolls

One of my favorite traditions when I was young was eating fresh hot cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning.  It’s the smell of cinnamon on warm, sweet bread filling the house that makes me forget everything else. Mmmm. Thanks Michelle for this great recipe!

In small cup proof the yeast:
1/2 cup HOT water
2 Tbsp. yeast
1 tsp. sugar
-set aside

In medium sauce pan, bring the following to a boil:
1 cup water
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
-once the mixture has boiled, remove from heat and add:
1 cup water
-cool until luke warm

Place both mixtures (yeast and butter) in KitchenAid or mixer.

Mix and add gradually:
4 eggs-beaten
7 1/2-9 cups flour

Mix everything until dough has elastic texture.  Kneed dough for 2-5 mintues. Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.  Remove from bowl, spread out on lightly floured surface.  Kneed slightly and roll out into large rectangle  (dough may need to be divided in two if space is limited)

Spread/sprinkle the following across the open dough:
1-2 cubes butter-melted
cinnamon
brown sugar (don’t be too stingy on this)
opt. nuts

Roll dough into a log (or two) and cut into equally sized rolls (floss is the BEST way to cut) Place rolls into greased baking pan leaving room for rolls to nearly double in size.  Cover rolls with a light cloth and let rise about another hour.  Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.  Rolls will be medium to dark brown on top- do NOT under bake.

Remove rolls from oven and immediately cover with frosting.  If you wait to cover the rolls with the frosing until they have already cooled, the frosting is not able to seep into the crevasses of the rolls and the rolls will not be as soft.  I usually pour 3/4 of the frosting on the rolls immediately and save the last little bit to put a dab on the top after it’s cooled.

Frosting:
(whip with electric mixer)
8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
4 Tbsp. butter (softened)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-4 cups powdered sugar
milk (add to desired thickness)