Monday, May 16, 2011

French Rolls

Needless to say we are a LITTLE obsessed with bread in our house.  My husband is definitely the worst of the bunch.  We can't just go to the store and buy bread, we have to make it, ALL of it.  And we LOVE to make it.  So with that premise, we were making French Dip sandwiches (recipe coming soon) yesterday and needed GOOD French Rolls. So, Saturday night we researched, found and made the dough for our Sunday feast.  Aren't they beauties?!  Slightly crunchy on the outside, soft, moist, and chewy on the inside! They are wonderful... for sandwiches or slathered in butter!  We found the recipe here.  It is simple, with very few ingredients.  And we have found that few ingredients usually make the best bread! We made some slight changes.

*You will need to let this dough sit in the fridge overnight, for best results, so plan ahead!*

French Rolls (Petits Pains)
(12 rolls)

1 2/3 cups cold water
2 1/4 t yeast
1/2 T salt
4 cups flour (we like King Arthur flour)

In a large bowl, mix water and yeast until the yeast is dissolved.  Stir in the salt and enough flour to make a soft dough that can be kneaded. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 8 minutes. (We put ours in the Bosch and let it do the work.)  If the dough gets too sticky, dust it with a little flour and continue kneading.  You want the dough to be soft, not hard.

Grease a large bowl (this dough will expand a lot).  Put the dough in the bowl and turn once to lightly grease the dough.  Tightly cover the dough and place it in the fridge overnight.

Take the dough out of the fridge 90 minutes before you shape it.  You should punch it down right after taking it out.  After 90 minutes, punch the dough down again and turn it onto a floured surface.  Knead the dough to remove all of the air bubbles, about 5 minutes.  Divide the dough into 12 equal parts and shape into round rolls.  Cover and let rise again for 1 hour.  Remove the cover and flatten each ball on a lightly floured surface with your hands.  Fold the roll in half and then in half again to make a long roll, taper the ends of each roll to make a point.  Place these rolls on greased baking sheets, cover and let rise a final time about 45 minutes or until doubled.

Bake the rolls at 400 for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm or cold.

If you want to retain the texture of these rolls, DO NOT store in a plastic bag.  Store in a paper bag, or eat the same day they were cooked.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ranch Potatoes

I LOVE this super easy, super fast way to do potatoes! It is from the back of my Hidden Valley Ranch box, so maybe I am the last to hear about it. These are such a great side to go with grilling!

Ranch Potatoes
(4 servings)

2 Pounds of red potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup oil (I used olive oil)
1 (1 oz) packet Ranch Dressing mix

Place potatoes into a large storage bag.  Add the oil and toss to coat. Now add the ranch dressing mix and shake to coat.  Spread evenly onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 (stirring every 15 minutes, so they cook on all sides) for 30-35 minutes or until the potatoes are browned and crisp.  
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chicken Taquitos

Every time I see taquitos in the frozen food section, I think YUM! But then I make them and think "What was I thinking?" They are never very good to me. So when I saw these over at Annie's Eats I ran right out and got the stuff. And boy I was NOT disappointed. My only regret was that I didn't double the recipe. *They freeze you know! So next time I make these (like tomorrow!) I am going to double the recipe and stock my freezer for the quickest meal EVER! My boys loved these too, making them double fantastic!

Chicken Taquitos
(10-12 taquitos, 3-4 servings)

3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup salsa (I used homemade, but use whatever you love)
1 T fresh squeezed lime juice
1 t chili powder
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t onion powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T chopped cilantro
1-2 green onions, chopped
2 cups shredded chicken (about 1 1/2 chicken breasts)
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese (I used cheddar)
10-12 6-inch (fajita size) flour tortillas
cooking spray
kosher salt
1/2 can corn, drained (optional)**
1/2 can black beans, rinsed and drained (optional)**

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or spray with cooking spray

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, spices, cilantro, green onions, chicken and shredded cheese. Mix until well combined.

Briefly heat the tortillas until they are soft enough to roll easily. Place a tortilla on a work surface and fill with 2-3 Tablespoons of chicken mixture down the middle. Roll the tortilla tightly around the filling and place the taquito seam side down on the baking sheet. Repeat until all the tortillas are filled. Space them evenly on the baking sheet. Lightly spray the tops with cooking spray and then sprinkle with kosher salt. (This actually gives a great pop to these, so do not skip this step!)

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until crisp and golden brown. Serve with salsa, sour cream and guacamole, if desired

*To freeze for later use, transfer the baking sheet to the freezer and chill the assembled taquitos for 30-60 minutes. Then transfer them to a freezer safe container or storage bag for storing. To bake them from frozen, simply add a few minutes to the original baking time, until the filling is warmed through

**We made these again and added one can of black beans and a can of corn (both drained), omitted the cheese, left the chicken the same and doubled the cream cheese and spices and it made twice as many taquitos!  We didn't miss the cheese at all and LOVED the corn and beans in them!
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Monday, May 2, 2011

Lemon Berry Trifle

I have had this recipe on my "to make" list for about a year! It is from My Kitchen Cafe, so I knew it would be amazing. But it also has a few steps so I wanted to wait and make it for a special occasion. So when we were trying to decide what to have for Easter dessert (the best part of any dinner, in my opinion!) I thought of this first. I made it again a week later for a baby shower.  Now, let me just tell you, it is worth the time and the many steps! Which, if you make the different parts a day or two in advance, which I did, it comes together lickity split! Just remember to let the finished product sit for a few hours in your fridge to blend together and saturate each other!

Lemon Berry Trifle
(serves 8-10)

Berries (can be made the day before and refrigerated)
4 cups berries (any triple berry combination works, fresh or frozen (if frozen thaw and drain before using)
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup sugar
2 t cornstarch

Combine the berries, sugar lemon juice, and cornstarch in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a simmer and cook until the berries start to break down, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Lemon Curd (can be made unto 3 days in advance)
4 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons), strained
8 T butter (1 stick), cut into pieces
1 T grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)

Strain the yolks and whole egg through a fine mesh strainer into a heavy medium sauce pan. Add the sugar and lemon juice and whisk to combine.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon.  This takes about 10-12 minutes.  Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the butter, one piece at a time, until fully incorporated.  Stir in the lemon zest.  Cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.  Store in an airtight container until chilled through or for up to 3 days.

Lemon Cream
3 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1 recipe Lemon Curd (see above)

In a bowl, whip the cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.  Whisk 1/4 cup of the whipped cream into the lemon curd to loosen it up.  Add the rest of the whipped cream to the curd and fold in gently.  Cover and refrigerate if not using immediately.

Lemon Pound Cake (can be made the day before or made and frozen for longer)
(this makes two rounds and I only used one for my trifle, I froze the other one for later use)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
3 cups flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 t lemon zest
2 T fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325.  Butter and dust with flour 2 round cake pans.  Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

Place the butter in a large bowl and beat until soft, using a hand mixer. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy (1-2 minutes).  Add the eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated after each one.  Add the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Mixing well after each addition.  Stir in the lemon juice and zest.

Pour the batter into the 2 prepared pans.  Bake until a toothpick comes out clean 35-45 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan and cooling completely on a wire rack.

The Assembly

To assemble the trifle, spoon a layer of lemon cream on the bottom of a trifle bowl.  Add a layer of pound cake. You may need to break the pound cake slices into smaller pieces and jigsaw them together to fit.  Then drizzle on about 1/3 of the berry syrup.  Don't worry if it doesn't completely coat the pound cake - just drizzle it across and let the berries fall where they may.  Spoon a layer of lemon cream over the top, smoothing to the sides.  Repeat all the layers 2 more times finishing with a layer of lemon cream.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  It is best to let this set for several hours before serving.

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