Saturday, December 29, 2012

Easy Yeast Rolls

This recipe comes to me from my Father - in - Law. I was skeptical when I first read through it, but decided to trust his judgement and tried it anyway.


My verdict: these were the easiest rolls I have ever made. Seriously. They are probably even easier than pulling store bought rolls out of the freezer and allowing them to rise before cooking.

I did have a couple moments of concern throughout the recipe, but pressed on, and it worked out. I'm going to alert you to those concerns so you don't panic partway in. The dough is reeeealllly runny. 1) This doesn't look like your standard yeast dough. 2) Don't worry about filling the muffin cups full. They won't spill everywhere, but will rise the perfect amount.

No one will have any idea that the tasty rolls you made took a total of 20 minutes from start to finish. It's a wonderful thing.

Yield: 12-16 rolls

2 cups very warm water
1 tbsp dry active yeast
3/4 cups butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Once dissolved, add the rest of the ingredients in and mix well. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. Spoon into a well greased muffin tin, filling the cups almost full, and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Mexican Quinoa

In order for me to be excited about and love a meal, it needs the following characteristics: colorful, tasty, and easy. It doesn't have to be healthy, although this meal has that going for it too. This one can go right up on my list of favorites. See all the pretty colors - red, green, black, yellow? I'm happy.

While this is tasty on it's own, and I ate all my leftovers at work that way, it gets an added dose of tastiness if you want to throw some cheese and sour cream on top. Ah, dairy, how I love you. 

This entire meal literally takes less than 30 minutes. It's super easy and super tasty, if I haven't mentioned that enough yet. 

Side note: if you are interested in cooking your own beans to use in this recipe, follow this link over to Food Storage For Dinner where I give step by step instructions. They take some time, but are super easy, save money, and are worth it. 


Yield: 4-6 servings

1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
3-4 jalapenos, seeded depending on your love of heat, and diced
1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth (chicken broth works well too)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups corn
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of one lime

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the garlic and jalapenos and saute until fragrant and jalapenos are beginning to soften. Add quinoa, broth, black beans, diced tomatoes (including their juices), corn, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice and enjoy!

Source: adapted from Annie's Eats

Monday, December 24, 2012

Chocolate Peppermint Sandwich Cookies

Things have just been so busy this year that Christmas was almost lost in all the hub-bub. However, the Christmas spirit struck me last week (just in time!) and I decided that these cookies HAD to be made. I even went so far as to buy the ingredients and make the cookies after working a 12 hour day. They were crucial to me surviving the day. Lucky for me, they were super easy and quick.

They are veeeeerrry chocolatey and have just the right amount of peppermint. They will make a nice addition to your Christmas celebration or any goodie plates that you deliver (they were made again for our goodie plates that were sent out today). 

Yield: 15-18 cookie sandwiches

1 bag + 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (about 2 1/2 cups total)
2 tablespoons butter
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3.5 oz bar peppermint bark, crushed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt a bag (or about 1 1/2 cups) of chocolate chips and butter over low heat until smooth. Allow to cool just a little. Add the eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla, and baking powder and mix until blended. Add the remaining cup of chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Allow cookies to cool completely.

When your cookies are cool, prepare the frosting. To make the frosting, mix the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar. If needed, add a little milk to reach the right consistency (I didn't need to add any milk). Once well mixed, add the crushed peppermint bark and stir to mix.

Frost one cookie and top with another. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from Ghirardelli

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Pumpkin Oatmeal

My last semester of college I lived off of oatmeal and hospital cafeteria food. I didn't have time for much else, nor did I want to put in much more effort than that diet required. Little did I know though, how boring my oatmeal was in those days. Oatmeal is better than simply mixing in peanut butter after being heated up. I wasn't doing it it's full justice. Fear not though, my error has been corrected. 

I have made this multiple times and I eat the whole of it almost every time. It is yummy fresh and reheats nicely for days. It is also very filling and makes the morning at work pass by hunger free. 

Yield: 6-8 servings


2 cups steel cut oats (also known as Irish Oatmeal) 
2 cups water
2 cups milk
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp molasses
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/3 cup maple syrup
Pecans (optional)

Mix everything except the maple syrup and pecans in a large pot. Bring it to a boil, making sure to stir almost constantly so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes - again stirring almost constantly - until an oatmeal like consistency is reached. Remove from the heat, stir in the maple syrup, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Top with pecans and enjoy!

Source: adapted from Serving Up the Skinny

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Turkey Chili

One of my favorite meals is Chili. It is so warm, and comforting, and oh, so good. I could eat chili weekly and never get sick of it. My husband on the other hand, could never eat chili and not think a single thing of it. I made chili shortly after we got married (before I really put much effort into cooking) and had a heavy hand with the cayenne pepper. It must have scarred him because ever since then, every time I suggest chili for dinner he cringes and I die a little inside. 

Imagine my surprise when earlier this fall while at a PA School interview he called and told me he had some chili for dinner that he LOVED. What?!? Lucky for me, he was staying with my best friend and her husband so the recipe was easily passed on. Thank you, Emily, for feeding my husband chili that he will not only eat, but thoroughly enjoy. Our lives have been forever changed. 

Yield: 6-8 servings

2 lbs ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 4 oz. cans diced green chilies
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp white vinegar
3 tbsp yellow mustard
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cilantro
Cheese and sour cream for topping (optional)

Add the turkey, onions, and garlic powder to a large pot and brown. Once the meat is cooked through, add all remaining ingredients except the cilantro and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes then add cilantro. Serve topped with cheese and sour cream if desired. 

Source: adapted from Jamie Eason's Livefit Recipes