Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hot Ham & Cheese Sandwiches





This recipe comes to you  via my sister.  I'm pretty lucky to be surrounded by sisters (and parents) that really know how to cook.  It's a great resource for new (and good) recipes!

I tried this on a whim one night last year, and it has become a family favorite ever since.  My little dudes LOVE when I make these....and included in those little dudes is my husband. 

This recipe makes a dozen dinner sized sandwiches...and I can promise you that you probably won't have any leftover.  It isn't the healthiest of dishes (admittedly), but it's a great go-to every once in a while.  It would also be great served with soup in the winter!

**When I make rolls, I save the other half of the dough in the freezer for these, or I'll bake a dozen rolls (just regular round rolls), and use them for the next night.  I bake them in a 9x13 glass pan, then reuse that same pan for this recipe.

Hot Ham & Cheese Sandwiches
  • 12 dinner rolls (I guess you could use store bought, but.  Don't.)
  • 12 slices swiss cheese
  • 12 slices ham
  • mayonnaise
  1. Cut rolls in half, spread with a light smear of mayo.  Add folded piece of ham to the bottom half of the roll, place folded piece of cheese to the top of the roll.  Close roll and place in a 9 x 13 inch pan.
  • 1/2 T. poppy seeds
  • 1 stick (gulp) melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 T. mustard
  1. Mix ingredients together.
  2. Using a spoon (or...I just mix mine in a liquid measuring cup and pour it out using that), pour mixture over the top of each roll. 
  3. Cover with foil.  Refrigerate for several hours, or overnight (I usually make them the night before, and keep them in the fridge until dinner). 
  4. Loosen foil (don't remove) before baking.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until warmed through. 
In fact, Mason has been requesting these, so I might have to add them to the next menu!  I had planned on making them for a big bash we're having at our house this Saturday, but in the end, I decided they were too messy for people to be eating while wandering around my house.  Greasy fingers galore!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pumpkin Rolls and Cinnamon Butter

Sorry for the craptastic photo.  I actually took this indoors, in the dark, DURING my Thanksgiving dinner.  That's how dedicated I am to giving you a visual.  You are welcome.
...for the WIN!

Seriously, these were good.  Like, GOOD.  So good, in fact, that I ate these rolls for the majority of my Thanksgiving meal.  And when they were gone, I was finding anything and everything to slather with cinnamon butter. 

T-day morning I got up to make my rolls.  And when I was finished (letting them rise the last time), I panicked, thinking there was no way I had made enough rolls!  So, I quickly decided to do something different and whip up a batch of pumpkin rolls and cinnamon butter.  (The pumpkin rolls don't require as much rising as my regular awesome rolls.) 

This, my blog reading friends, will be a new holiday tradition.  I think I'll make them for Christmas as well.  And perhaps New Years, and definitely Presidents Day. 

Even if you "don't like pumpkin" (so says my husband), you'll like these.  The pumpkin taste isn't strong at all!  (And, for the record, in case it has taken you years to notice, I have the most picky husband EVER.)

Pumpkin Rolls
  • 1/4 c. warm water
  • 1 1/4 T. yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 c. hot milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree
  • 2 1/2 T. oil
  • 5 c. flour
  1. In a small bowl (I use a liquid measuring cup) proof the yeast.  Add the yeast and 1 tsp. sugar to the warm water.  Stir with your finger to mix and dissolve.  Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a large mixer with dough hook, combine milk, salt, sugar, pumpkin and oil.  Add yeast mixture and blend at a low speed.  Scraping down sides if necessary.  Gradually add flour; continue mixing until dough forms an elastic ball around the hook, leaving sides of bowl.  Cover bowl with towel and let rise until doubled. 
  3. Punch dough down and form into rolls of choice, place rolls on pan, cover with a towel and let rise (in a warm place) again, until doubled. 
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
*The rolls pictured are clover leaf rolls----roll 3 walnut sized balls, and place in a cupcake pan, sprayed with non-stick spray.  You can also roll into cresents, parker house rolls, or just regular rolls. 

Cinnamon Butter

  • 1 c. butter, softened to room temp.
  • 1/3 c. sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 T. corn syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon (more or less to taste, I ended up adding more)
  1. In a mixing bowl, mix butter with electric mixer, until light and fluffy.  Add in milk, corn syrup, salt and cinnamon.  Mix until well combined and fluffy. 
  2. Transfer to a container (I used a small ceramic souffle bowl), refrigerate.  Remove from the fridge a bit before serving for a softer butter.
Spread this on pumpkin rolls, scones, regular rolls, toast, tofu, leather...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pie Dough

I'm pretty sure I've been promising to post this recipe for over a year!  Sadly, I finally remembered the day before Thanksgiving.  In "real" life, I'm ridiculously organized and scheduled, to the point where it becomes a major downfall.  If it isn't on my list, it most likely won't get done.

Posting this recipe never made it to my list.  But, you'll be happy to know that my spices are in alphabetical order, and the labels in my pantry are all facing the right way.  Hey, people, it's all about priorities!
Thankfully this recipe is pretty basic and straight forward, and you should have all of the ingredients on hand anyway! 

I had hoped to have a great picture, but I am making my pies this afternoon.  I have 2 little dudes who are very anxious to help make the pies.  Wish me luck!


This recipe is very similar to the one I use in the Rustic Apple Tart.  The difference is the addition of shortening which makes this crust more flakey, and more suitable for pies.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Perfect Pie Dough
America's Test Kitchen
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 8 T. all-vegetable shortening, CHILLED
  • 12 T. unsalted buter, chilled, cut into 1/4" pieces
  • 6-8 T. ice water
  1. Pulse flour, salt and sugar in food processor until combined.  Add shortening and process until mixture has texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds.  Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture; cut butter into flour until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse crumbs, with butter bits no larger than small peas, about ten 1-second pulses.  Turn mixture into medium bowl.
  2. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons ice water over mixture.  With a rubber spatula, fold water into flour mixture.  Press down on dough with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together, adding up to 2 tablespoons more ice water if it won't come together.  Divide dough into two balls and flatten each into 4-inch-wide disk.  Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days before rolling.
**I like to cut up my butter and shortening into pieces, and then place them in the freezer until I need them.  (Obviously, not long term, or you'd have bricks!)  But, I'll put them in the freezer right after I cut them, and while I'm working with the flour.  This will bring them back up to a cold temperature, because they tend to get warm as we work with them.  Cold butter/shortening are the key to a flakey crust!
Bake according to your pie recipe.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mom's Homemade Rolls

It's getting to be that time of year where pictures will be crappy---it gets dark way too early!  It's hard to take a decent picture with no natural light!


So, here's the truth: 

I come from a great heritage of roll makers.  Seriously, my mom makes the best rolls ever.  EVER.  In fact, before a meal that involves rolls, I'd bet that at least everyone in the family "snitches" at least one roll.  Thankfully my mom is smart and makes dozens and dozens of rolls. 

Now, obviously, it's heraditary.  My grandmother made the BEST rolls.  So, I guess my  mom is just living up to her genes. 

That being said, it has taken me several years to finally get it down.  My rolls are good, awesome even, but not quite to my mom's level.  I'll get there, and because of this recipe, you can too!  In fact, I remember one of the first times I tackled this recipe, my oldest son was about 15 months old, and we were having a "dinner party" at my house.  The food was great....and the rolls were.  Well, it was kind of a disaster.  My mom even came over to my apartment to rescue me as best she could.  I still don't know what happened.  Bad yeast??  Sure.
I hope my mom doesn't disown me for posting her recipe on the 'net.  BUT, I think she'll forgive me.  I just can't live my life knowing that people are actually going to be buying rolls from the store for Thanksgiving.  Or *gasp*, even worse, making them from a pop-open tube.  I just can't have that on my watch.

Anna's Mom Can Cook Super Awesome Rolls
  • 2 c. scalded milk
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 T. salt
  • 2 T. yeast
  • 1/4 c. warm water
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 4-6 or even 7 cups flour
  1. Heat milk in a saucepan until scalded. [This DOES NOT mean to boil the milk!!]  Put milk, butter, salt and sugar together in the bowl of your mixer [aka: kitchen aid] to cool.  Putting the hot milk with the butter will melt it, and dissolve the sugar and salt.  Let it cool enough that you can put your finger in it.  You don't want it to kill the yeast!
  2. Meanwhile, add yeast to warm water; let rise.
  3. Once milk mixture has cooled, add yeast, eggs and 4 cups of the flour.  Mix well. [Using your bread hook!]
  4. Now continue to slowly add flour to make a soft dough.  You don't want it to completely pull away from the sides like you would a pizza dough.  You want it to be soft and still a little sticky.  It's kind of a feel thing, you'll get it, I promise!  I usually use at least 6 cups (total, so adding 2 more cups at this point), but sometimes up to 6.5 or so. 
  5. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and let rise for 1 hour.  Punch dough down and cover with towel, rise for another hour. 
  6. Pour dough onto a floured surface and roll out for rolls. [The picture shows crescent rolls, but you can do parker house, etc.  Or just ball them and line them in a 9X13 inch sprayed pan.]  For the crescent rolls, roll a big circle, and cut into triangles [like a pizza], and roll tightly from the widest end to the skinniest end, tucking the end under.
  7. Let rise on baking sheet [covered with towel] for 1/2 more or until doubled. 
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  [Watch your oven, I'd set it for 15 and go from there.  20 is how long it takes in my whackadoodle oven!]
  9. Then eat 15 rolls and then have to run 43 miles the next day to make up for it.
This makes a huge batch of rolls.  I usually make this batch, divide it in half, and freeze half of the dough.  To freeze the dough, spray a ziploc bag with cooking spray, and then add dough and put it in the freezer.  Check on it, to make sure it doesn't continue to rise and explode!  To use the frozen dough, just let it defrost and rise one time before use.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Coming Soon!

...I have been having serious issues with Blogger, so I haven't been able to post!

But, hopefully I'll have it all resolved soon.

Coming soon:

The perfect dinner roll (just in time for Thanksgiving)!
General Tso Chicken
Insane Pumpkin Bread
Hot Ham & Cheese Rolls
Perfect Pie Crust