Sandwich Buns

Sandwich Buns

Why not hamburger buns you ask? My answer to that is a question in and of itself: Why limit a bun to one thing?!?! These are great with pulled pork, chicken salad, a regular turkey or ham and cheese sandwich, etc. What’s not to like about that?

For a while now I’ve been wanting to play around with chicken burgers (which you’ll see tomorrow!) I got some ground chicken and set off to do just that and then realized I hadn’t purchased buns. Luckily I figured this out early enough that I was able to make some dough and play around with making some buns myself and it actually worked on the first try! I just love it when ideas like this come together so quickly!

Sandwich Buns: The Inside

What You’ll Need:
2 cups of warm water
1 tablespoon of yeast
1 tablespoon of organic cane sugar
5 cups of unbleached all purpose flour (Note: You could use white whole wheat flour instead.)
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 egg, beaten for an egg wash
Sesame seeds (optional)

In a glass measuring cup combine water, yeast and sugar. Let sit for 3-5 minutes until foamy.

Sandwich Buns: Dough

While the yeast is proofing mix together 3 cups of flour and sea salt in a large glass bowl until incorporated. Add olive oil and yeast mixture and stir to mix. Slowly add remaining flour until dough ball forms. I like to add 1 cup to the bowl and then pour 1 cup out on the counter to mix in while kneading. Keep in mind, as always when working with flour, that you may need slightly more, or slightly less depending on humidity conditions and such.

Sandwich Buns: Cut

Knead for about 3 minutes or until dough is elastic. This means that if you poke it with your finger it bounces back. Once it is kneaded cut the dough into 12-14 pieces that are roughly the same size.

Sandwich Buns: Ready to Rise

Place on two baking sheets that have been lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet and let rise for an hour or until roughly doubled in size.

Sandwich Buns: Risen, Brushed, Sprinkled and Read to Bake

Once the buns have risen preheat oven to 375 F. Next brush them gently with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

If you chose to use sesame seeds they’ll look like this:

Sandwich Buns: With Sesame Seeds

If you chose not to top them they’ll look like this:

Sandwich Buns: Without Sesame Seeds

Let cool and store in an airtight container for about a week. You could also freeze these for use later.

Notes: You can do many things with these buns. You can make them straight up, you can top them with sesame seeds, you could top them with dried onions and seeds to make an anything type bun, etc. What’s not to like about something so versatile?



OK first let’s do a little house cleaning so to speak! ;oP

Friday Link Love will be back next week. I thought you’d enjoy a recipe to round out Breakfast Week instead. I hope you’ve enjoyed Breakfast Week…I know I have!

What’s For Dinner will also be back next week. My parents were here most of the week and I was enjoying spending time with my Mom versus telling you what we were having for dinner. Watching her with Alexis is so much fun! Also I’ve got some great recipes lined up for next week too so be sure and check back then!

Now let’s talk some hashbrowns!

Hasbrowns are a classic breakfast dish. I had never actually made them, though I often order them when I have breakfast out. They were really simple to make and tasted fabulous! These went perfectly with the Mushroom Frittata…Just the right mix of crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. They are just perfect for a weekend breakfast treat!

What You’ll Need:
2 large potatoes, shredded
1/2 a red onion, chopped
Sea salt
Black pepper
Olive oil

Hashbrowns: Potatoes Draining

Shred potatoes and place potatoes and onions, along with a sprinkle of sea salt in a strainer and let drain over a glass bowl for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Coat a skillet with olive oil. Toss the potato, onion mixture together to make sure they are completely mixed and drained. Add some freshly ground black pepper and toss again to mix. Press mixture into the prepared skillet and bake for 20-25 minutes until crispy. Remove from oven and serve.

How easy is that??

Notes: You can leave out the onion if you like. You could also toss in some cheese.

Blueberry Muffins

Breakfast Week: Blueberry Muffins

Muffins are often a favorite breakfast food. I’ve made them before, but I wanted to lighten them up a bit. I decided to leave out the butter and use a small amount of safflower oil instead and I didn’t miss the butter at all!

I also decided to use lemon juice, instead of lemon zest and I really liked how that turned out. The lemon juice gave just the right pop to the blueberries, without making them overwhelmingly lemony. They complimented each other perfectly!

So if you like blueberry muffins these will hit the spot! These are just perfect to take to a breakfast gathering or even to make for a special weekend breakfast.

What You’ll Need:
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour (Note: You can use white whole wheat flour instead if you like to make them even better.)
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/2 cup of vanilla yogurt (Note: I used Stonyfield Farm’s Fat Free French Vanilla. If you want you can use plain yogurt instead.)
2 eggs
The juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup of buttermilk
2 tablespoons of safflower oil
1 – 15 ounce package of frozen blueberries, thawed, rinsed and drained

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, sea salt and baking powder until completely mix. Add yogurt, eggs, lemon juice, buttermilk and safflower oil and stir until batter forms. Fold in blueberries and place batter in muffin tins that have been lined with cupcake liners. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Breakfast Week: Blueberry Muffins

Notes: Next time I make these I’m going to set out 1/2 a cup of blueberries to add to the tops of the muffins. Alexis wants to try this using strawberries instead of blueberries. We’ll let you know how that turns out!

Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes

Breakfast Week: Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes

Pancakes…What’s not to like? Why not take those pancakes and shake them up a bit? What better combo than peanut butter and bananas? These pancakes are just perfect all by themselves, or topped with a little butter and maple syrup. Pair that with a couple of slices of bacon and you’ve got a perfect sometimes breakfast that really hits the spot!

What You’ll Need:
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour (Note: You can use white whole wheat flour if you like.)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 cup of peanut butter powder
1/4 cup of safflower oil
1/4 cup of honey
2 bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups of buttermilk

Heat a large pan or a griddle over medium heat until heated through. Test it by dropping a few drops of water on the pan. It should sizzle when it’s ready.

While the pan is heating in a large glass bowl mix together flour, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda and peanut butter powder until completely incorporated. Add oil, honey, mashed banana, eggs and buttermilk and stir until totally mixed.

Once the pan is ready brush it with oil or spray it with non-stick spray and ladle batter into rounds on the hot surface. Cook, flipping once until browned on both sides and done through. This usually takes 3-5 minutes depending on the size of your pancake.

Serve immediately.

Breakfast Week: Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes

Notes: The riper the banana, the stronger the banana flavor. You could also add a cup of chopped honey roasted peanuts for a bit of a crunch.

Coconut Pie

Coconut Pie

As I’ve grown older I’m becoming more and more fond of coconut. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always liked it, but I’m beginning to like it even more. There is a restaurant that I like to go to from time to time that has really fabulous down home cooked food. Their fried chicken is worth the drive all by itself! Not to mention their mashed potatoes, corn fritters and more importantly their Shaker Coconut Pie!

You may not know this about me, but I’m very good at tasting things, figuring out what is in them for the most part and then recreating them. I decided that this pie would be the perfect thing to play around with. My sister searched the internet and found something that was similar, but it wasn’t exactly what we were looking for. So I decided to go off on my own and try out a few theories. I actually nailed this one on the first try! Usually it takes a few goes, but this pie just came together perfectly! I plan to make another one for my sister and one when Jamison’s dad is here in a few weeks.

So if you like coconut then this is the pie for you. If you’re ever up around Thurmont, MD then be sure and try out Cozy…They even have a Camp David Museum on the premises too! Plus you’re a short drive from Gettysburg too so you could make a day of it.

Update 1/18/2017: Cozy has now sadly closed. The restaurant was sold and torn down. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve craved their fried chicken, corn fritters and this pie since they’ve gone. I’m leaving the reminiscence here to remember them.

Now let’s talk some pie!

What You’ll Need:
1 pie shell (Note: You can make one, or you can just pick up one at your store.)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups of organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 cup of half and half
2 cups of shredded coconut
6 tablespoons of melted butter, cooled slightly

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Place pie shell into a pie plate and crimp the edges.

Coconut Pie: Pie Shell

As you can see I’m not that great at the crimping thing. Oh well. Set pie shell aside.

In a large glass bowl beat eggs until completely yellow. Stir in sugar, vanilla and half and half until well mixed. Add coconut and stir to combine. Add butter and stir to mix. Pour into the pie shell.

Coconut Pie: Ready to Bake

Bake for 30 minutes until slightly golden. Turn off the oven, put the door in the broil position and the let the pie sit for another 30 minutes.

Coconut Pie: Baked

Let the pie cool completely before slicing or it won’t be set all the way.

Notes: No notes for this one either. Wow…That’s twice in one week! 😉

Irish Brown Bread

Irish Brown Bread

When I think of Saint Patrick’s Day one of the first things I think of is brown bread. I’ve had this recipe for years. I don’t remember who gave it to me, or where they got it, but it’s been a favorite of mine since I first tried it and everyone I have served it to has loved it as well. It’s a simple, no kneading, quick, has a fabulous texture and is perfect hot or cold rustic loaf of bread.

This is also the perfect bread to introduce whole wheat flour to someone that might not be a fan (or think they aren’t anyway) because the over all texture is so nice. If you’re looking for an easy brown bread, then look no further…You’ve found it!

If you’d like some ideas about other Saint Patrick’s Day type dishes then visit my Saint Patrick’s Day set on Flickr from 2007 when we were celebrating our trip to Ireland, which later was canceled when life got in the way, but we had fun with the feast none the less!


Update 1/18/2017: I finally made it to Ireland in the summer of 20016. Sadly I did not have one bit of brown bread while I was there.

Now let’s get down to some brown bread!

What You’ll Need:
2 cups of whole wheat flour (Note: I like the King Arthur Flour version.)
1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 3/4 cups of buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large glass bowl stir together flours, baking powder and salt until mixed. Add buttermilk and stir until dough forms. (Note: You may need slightly less than the amount of buttermilk listed above or slightly more. It all depends on humidity and such.)

Form dough into a ball and place on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper. You don’t need to knead the dough, (isn’t that a mouthful! ;oP) just shape it and go.

Irish Brown Bread: Ready to Bake

Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown.

Irish Brown Bread: Baked

Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Notes: No notes for this one. It’s pretty straight forward!

Caramel Hot Fudge Sauce

Caramel Hot Fudge

Diana and I share the nickname “Di”. I noticed her name immediately back in my TWD days because you just notice things like that. I started reading her blog Di’s Kitchen Notebook and have been an avid reader since. I was so excited when she agreed to guest blog this week! Be sure and let her know how awesome this hot fudge sauce looks and be sure to stop over at her blog and say hello too!

When Dianne posted on Facebook that she was looking for guest bloggers, I was really excited at the prospect of being one of them. I really enjoy reading her blog. I started following it back when she was also a member of Tuesdays with Dorie. I’m really impressed that she can keep up with posting on a daily basis, and I love the various themes that she comes up with, like Ice Cream Week. In fact, since that was one of my favorites, I thought that it would be fun to talk some more about ice cream, even though it’s still technically winter. Fortunately it’s pretty warm during the day down here in Texas, and besides, any time is good for ice cream. =)

I tend to be pretty minimalist with my ice cream. My husband Jamie sometimes likes lots of stuff in his ice cream, but I like usually like plain flavors. Chocolate. Vanilla. Mint. Maybe throw some chocolate chips in there. Or a swirl of something. So to make my ice cream choice more interesting for everyone else, I like to make some sort of sauce to go with it. Raspberry coulis, or chocolate sauce, or maybe some caramel. I’ve been having lots of fun making caramel at home lately. It’s gotten to the point where I can even multitask while keeping an eye on molten sugar on the stove. I never could have done that a year ago. =)

At the end of February, I made some Salted Burnt Sugar Ice Cream (from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours, though the salt was my addition) to go with another recipe that I made. Afterwards, I had some of the ice cream left, and was looking for something to go with it. Chocolate sounded good, and then I thought about combining the chocolate with caramel to tie everything together. I made some caramel sauce and melted some chocolate into it. The resulting sauce had the texture of hot fudge with an underlying flavor of salty caramel. Mmm.

(I realized later that I’d seen something similar recently on Rebecca’s blog, Ezra Pound Cake. Check out her great Cocoa Nib ice cream, too.)

Caramel Hot Fudge

Caramel Hot Fudge Sauce
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon light corn syrup (optional)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70%)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Start by putting the water into a medium saucepan. Pour the sugar into the center of the water, so it all gets wet without any crystals getting on the sides of the pan. Add the corn syrup, which acts as insurance against crystallization. Cover the saucepan and place it over medium heat. After a couple minutes the mixture will start boiling; remove the lid.

At first the sugar mixture will bubble like crazy as the water boils off. Once that happens, the syrup will start to thicken and the bubbles will get bigger and pop more slowly. It will even sound different. After 5 or 6 minutes (I think), the color will start to change, first becoming a pale yellow and eventually starting to turn amber around the edges. At that point, swirl the mixture in the pot, watching carefully as the whole thing gradually darkens in color. Once it reaches a medium to dark amber color, slowly pour in the heavy cream, standing back because steam will shoot out as the cream hits the hot sugar.

The caramel will probably seize up at this point. Add the kosher salt and put the mixture back over low heat, stirring until the caramel melts into the cream and the whole mixture smooths out. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the bittersweet chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth again. Let cool until just warm and add the vanilla. Serve over your favorite ice cream. Leftover sauce can be kept in the refrigerator. I’m not sure how long it will keep–but it probably won’t last long anyway. =)

Thanks Diana! And thanks to all who helped me out this week as a guest blogger. I’ll be back next week with all new recipes so stay tuned!

Swedish Meatballs with a Twist

Swedish Meatball With A Twist

If you’ve been around Dianne’s Dishes for a while, you’ve probably heard me talk about some of the things that were childhood favorites. Swedish Meatballs was one of those dishes. I’ve wanted to adapt that dish for a while now, but I just never got around to actually doing just that.

Last month I actually used ground chicken for the first time and I really loved it! I started thinking of other things I could use it for and many things started popping into my head…Burgers, chili, etc. But then I got the idea early this week that it would be fun to try and make Swedish Meatballs with the ground chicken in place of the ground beef, and not only was I really pleased with how this turned out, but I actually liked it better than the original version! That’s always fun when that happens!

This dish has three main part, the meatballs of course, a cream based soup or gravy and rice. I’ll cover the soup/gravy, which I made from scratch this go around and the meatballs. I think you guys can more than cover the rice! ;oP

So sit back, relax and let’s take a look at my Swedish Meatballs With A Twist!

Swedish Meatball With A Twist: Cream of Mushroom Soup

What You’ll Need For The Cream of Mushroom Soup:
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter
1 small portabella mushroom cap, chopped (Note: I like to just do little cubes.)
6-8 button mushrooms, chopped (Note: See note above.)
1/2 a large red onion, chopped
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 a quart of fat free half and half (Note: I love fat free half and half because it gives you the illusion of something much richer, but it’s not as many calories or fat as using cream.)

Swedish Meatball With A Twist: Mushrooms, Onion and Garlic Ready To Cook

In a medium sized pot melt butter in olive oil. Add chopped vegetables, a generous pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Cook until just tender:

Swedish Meatball With A Twist: Mushrooms, Onion and Garlic Cooking

Add flour and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly stir in half and half and cook for a few minutes until thickened. (Note: It will continue to thicken when it bakes, so don’t go for too thick. You can always add a bit more half and half if it thickens up too much.)

Remove from heat and set aside.

Swedish Meatball With A Twist: Browned

What You’ll Need for the Meatballs:
1 pound of ground chicken
1 small potato, shredded
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 a red onion, chopped
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of Panko breadcrumbs
2 eggs
Extra virgin olive oil

In a large bowl mix together all ingredients except olive oil until completely incorporated. (Note: The best way to do this is just to get in there with your hands!) Shape mixture into balls. I like to make them just slightly smaller than a golf ball, but whatever size you want to do is fine. Take into account though that larger it is the longer it will take to cook.

Swedish Meatball With A Twist: Starting to Brown

Heat a thin layer of olive oil and cook, turning the meatballs once or twice, until slightly browned:

Swedish Meatball With A Twist: Browning

(Note: You aren’t cooking the meatballs done all the way through, you’re just browning the outsides.)

Place the meatballs in a baking dish that has been brushed with olive oil or sprayed with non-stick spray.

Now it’s time to put it all together!

Swedish Meatball With A Twist: Ready to Bake

What You’ll Need to Put it All Together:
Browned meatballs
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Cooked rice

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Pour the Cream of Mushroom Soup over the meatballs and bake for 30-40 minutes until the meatballs are done through.

Swedish Meatball With A Twist: Baked

Serve over cooked rice.

Notes: I’m going to go out on a limb and say since this worked with ground chicken, you could do the same with ground turkey too. If you want you can used canned soup, but I really liked the fresh taste of the one I made myself.

Sausage and Cheese Two Ways

Sausage and Cheese Two Ways

Today we’re actually going to pull one out of the archives and it might surprise you a bit!

I have a confession to make…Once in a blue moon, usually every couple of years, I actually like to have a little Velveeta. I don’t know if you’d call it a guilty pleasure or just a comfort factor, or a blast from childhood, but there you have it…My dirty little secret! ;oP

You’ll probably be surprised how I enjoy it too. I don’t like to use it to make a grilled cheese sandwich, or to top scrambled eggs, or even to make a version of macaroni and cheese, or any other way you might think I might use the product. The way I like to use it, is with sausage!

Growing up, occasionally my mom would pair sausage and Velveeta and the put it on top of toast. The thought of this takes me back to childhood so quickly! As I’ve grown older I’ve done the process by using cheddar, but to be honest, and this may shock some of you, I actually prefer this dish with the Velveeta! Don’t get me wrong, for every other dish I can think of, hands down I’d go to cheddar first, but for this, I just want that old familiar taste, but either way it’s a fabulous way to add a little spice and goodness to your breakfast. A friend of mine even says the Velveeta sausage mixture makes a good dip!

So below I’ll give you the methods for both and you can make it either way you choose. What’s better in life than choices? ;oP

What You’ll Need:
1 pound of breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled
8 ounces of Velveeta, cubed or cheddar, shredded

Cook sausage and drain if necessary. If you’re using Velveeta add the cubed Velveeta directly to the pan:

Sausage and Cheese Two Ways: Velveeta Ready To Melt

Cook until Velveeta melts, stirring frequently.

If you want to use cheddar then skip below to the toast assembly.

Preheat oven to broil.

Now it’s time for the toast!

First we’ll take a look at the cheddar version. Place a piece of toast on a baking sheet and top with a layer of sausage:

Sausage and Cheese Two Ways: Ready to Top with Cheddar

Next top with cheddar:

Sausage and Cheese Two Ways: Cheddar Ready to Broil

To make the Velveeta version simply spread the Velveeta/sausage mixture onto the toast.

Next up comes broiling. You want to broil for about 1-2 minutes. Just enough time to melt the cheese if you’re doing the cheddar version and to make the mixture slightly bubbly if you’re using Velveeta:

Sausage and Cheese Two Ways: After Broiling

Serve immediately.

Notes: You could use other kinds of cheeses using the same method as the cheddar. Obviously this isn’t something you want to eat everyday either in terms of calories/fat and such.

Cinnamon Buns

Cinnamon Buns: Yummy Bite

Before we found out Jamison couldn’t have gluten cinnamon buns were one of his all time favorite breakfast foods. I keep trying to come up with a gluten free version that he would like, but so far I haven’t had a lot of luck. We’ll get back to that in a minute….

For me I was a sometimes cinnamon bun sort of girl. I would have one occasionally and enjoy it, but my ideal breakfast is something much lighter. I’m not much of a morning person truth be told and I prefer cereal or some sort of fruit to get things started. But as I said above from time to time though I would get the urge to indulge and lately I kept thinking about cinnamon buns and thinking about them a lot.

So I started thinking, but I felt guilty about making them because I didn’t want to taunt Jamison. He however said I should just make them, so I did! And oh boy these were good! Who doesn’t like a fresh, warm, fabulous cinnamon bun? Top them with a little cream cheese frosting and you’ve got the prefect, sinful breakfast sometimes treat!

Cinnamon Buns: Dough

What You’ll Need for the Dough:
2 cups of warm water (Note: I just use warm tap water. You want it warm to the touch, but not hot.)
1/2 cup of organic cane sugar
2 tablespoons of yeast
2 teaspoons of sea salt
4-5 cups of unbleached bread flour

In a large glass bowl mix together water, sugar and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes or until mixture is foamy. (Note: Sometimes it foams within a minute or two. When it’s foamy you’re good to go.)

Add sea salt into the foamy sugar/water/yeast mixture and stir to mix. Next slowly add flour until dough ball forms. (Note: As with any bread you might need only some of the flour, all of it or more. When dough forms stop adding flour.)

Turn dough ball out onto a floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes. (Note: You want to knead just until the dough is elastic. You don’t have to knead it for a long time.)

Now you’re ready for the next step….Finishing the buns!

Cinnamon Buns: Ready for Cream Cheese Icing

What You’ll Need to Finish the Buns:
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1/2 cup of organic cane sugar

First you want to roll out your dough to about 1/4 of an inch thick:

Cinnamon Buns: Ready for Butter

Next you want to brush the surface of the dough with melted butter and then sprinkle with sugar and then cinnamon:

Cinnamon Buns: Cinnamon and Sugar

Then you want to start to roll the dough on one of the long sides:

Cinnamon Buns: Starting to Roll

Keep rolling until the dough is completely rolled:

Cinnamon Buns: Rolled and Ready to Slice

Next using a serrated knife, cut the dough into slices roughly 3/4ths to 1 inch thick:

Cinnamon Buns: A Slice

Place slices on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat:

Cinnamon Buns: Ready to Rise

Set baking sheet in a warm place (I like to put them in the oven with the light on) and let rise until roughly doubled in size:

Cinnamon Buns: Risen

After the buns have risen preheat oven to 350 F. (Note: If you use your oven as your rising spot, be sure and take the buns out BEFORE you preheat!) Bake for 25-20 minutes or until golden brown:

Cinnamon Buns: Baked

You can eat these plain OR you can frost with cream cheese frosting. (See below.)

Cinnamon Buns

What You’ll Need for the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 – 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
2 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Slowly add sugar and mix until completely incorporated. Add vanilla and stir until just mixed. Use immediately.

Notes: Sometimes I use natural brown sugar instead of organic cane sugar. You can use as much, or as little, cinnamon as you like. I normally use 2-3 tablespoons at least.