Wednesday, January 30, 2013

heavenly yeast rolls - a lazy daisy favorite

These are so good... so, so good.  And not only are they really tasty, but they are no-fail and easily frozen for later.  I love them because the size can be adjusted effortlessly, depending on your needs.

Way back in the summer I posted my pimento cheese recipe promising I would share my yeast roll recipe in the future.  But I have quickly learned with blogging that there are multiple ideas forever rolling around in my head, hoping to be posted, and...  well... I sometimes forget my promises.  It wasn't until a few days ago my friend reminded me.  So, here it is!

These are wonderful filled with spreads, chicken salad, bacon or sausage, butter... Oh - and they're perfect to make hot ham and cheese rolls... Recipe on that to come, by the way. 


I use 3 tablespoons of sugar.  But you could certainly add one more for a bit more yeasty, sugary flair. There are so many things you can do with this simple recipe.

With the big Super Bowl coming up in a few, you might want to use the rolls to sandwich in a slider or two - maybe a baby burger or some BBQ topped with a spoonful of vinegar slaw... mmm-hmm!

I hope you'll find a moment to give these a try.  Why not make a double-batch?  After baking, tightly wrap the extra to stow away in the freezer for another time.  Once you remove, just loosely cover in foil and bake on 350 until heated through.  It couldn't be easier and will taste like the first day you made 'em.


Heavenly Yeast Rolls - makes 2 8x8 pans
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tbsp. yeast
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 4 cups bread flour
~ Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water.  Let sit until foamy; about 5 minutes.
~ With dough hook, mix in salt, butter, and flour until fully incorporated.  Continue to mix 
    about 10 minutes (or you can remove the flour and knead by hand a fully twenty minutes;
    MAJOR triceps workout!)
~ Remove dough and place on lightly floured surface, kneading 10 more minutes (if you
    kneaded the first 10 with the hook) until smooth and elastic.
~ Place dough in large, lightly greased bowl, turning once to cover the top.  Cover and let
    rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.
~ Uncover dough and punch down. 
~ Pull off pieces of dough according to your desired size.  For the rolls pictured, I pulled an 
    approximate large tablespoon and rolled into a ball.
~ Place in a greased pan/s, one inch apart.  For this batch, I used an 8x8 pan and fit 25.
~ Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
~ Bake at 375 about 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden.

Recipe slightly adapted from Tasty Kitchen.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

love people; cook them tasty chicken pot pie

I do believe that some of the best food I ever put in my mouth was that which was brought to me after having my babies.  I don't know if it was because my taste buds (along with the rest of me) was in a state of hypersensitivity, or because the food was prepared by someone else, or maybe my serious sleep deprivation played a part.  No matter the cause, with both boys, the post-delivery meals were wonderful!

This Chicken Pot Pie recipe is one I have carried with me ever since.  I doubt you'll find anything terribly surprising in the ingredient list, but I contend the fresh thyme is what takes it over the top.  I just love it in this dish!  It's also particularly good if you have a little extra time and want to make the soups from scratch rather than using the canned... I'll share that in a future post.

If you're not using a deep dish pie pan, you can get two traditional-sized pies out of this recipe, which makes it incredibly easy to bless someone all while preparing supper for your own family.

I encourage you to think of a new mom who probably hasn't had a break since she came home with her newest bundle.  Maybe think of one who's even a couple of months into the journey and is just now realizing she may never get all ten of her fingernails painted ever again, or even one leg shaved, let alone two. Because those of us who've been there know our babies need us when they need us.  Period.  

Maybe you're needed at this very moment.  Grab a few items this week on your grocery run and go bless someone... goodness knows her "hypersensitive everythings" will thank you!

Chicken Pot Pie - makes two pies
  • 2 recipes/packages of your favorite double pie crust
  • 1 10 oz box/bag of frozen vegetables, prepared according to package directions
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can condensed cream of potato soup
  • 2-3 cups chopped, cooked chicken (the fresh rotisserie chickens work great… LOTS of flavor)
  • 1-2 tbsp. fresh thyme (adjust to your preference)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • water

    ~ Heat oven to 375 degrees.

    ~ Place one pie crust in the bottom of each greased 9-inch pie pan and form up sides.  
        Set aside.
    ~ Mix together veggies, soups, chicken, thyme, salt, pepper, and milk.
    ~ Divide mixture between two pans evenly, and cover the tops of both pies with 
        remaining crusts.
    ~ Trim excess crust edges with kitchen scissors and press tines of fork on the edges
        around the pies to seal.
    ~ Cut slits in top of crusts to allow steam to escape as they cook.
    ~ Place pies on foil-lined baking sheet (to catch any overflow... learned the hard way)
        and cook until golden and beginning to bubble, about 45 minutes.
    ~ Prepare egg wash by beating egg yolk with a little water... just a splash.
    ~ Remove pies and brush tops with egg wash.  Cook an additional 10 minutes until a 
        deeper golden and sauce is beginning to emerge.


Monday, January 21, 2013

lazy daisy fruit salad

"A fresh start."  Those are the words that come to mind when I see this picture.

I actually made this fruit salad on New Year's Day to go along with our gingerbread waffles and bacon.  It's nothing fancy whatsoever, but it's much better than canned and a step up from just a bunch of cut fruit stirred together.  I wanted to come up with some kind of thickened sauce, but I didn't want to take away from the nutritional value of the fresh ingredients by adding in a bunch of sweeteners.  This was the result, and I think you'll like it!

I know Mondays are tough, but I try to think of them as a new beginning, taking what inspired me during Sunday worship and working to put it into practice.  It's a chance to try again... wipe the slate clean... rethink what might have seemed impossible the week before.

So here's to Monday.  A new day to a new week.  One more beginning to work towards a great ending.    

A fresh start...

Make the best of it!

Lazy Daisy Fruit Salad - makes 4 servings
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 1 cup red grapes, halved
  • 2 cups fresh (or canned, drained) pineapple chunks
  • 1 15 oz can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. powdered sugar
~ Prepare and mix together all fruit in large bowl and set aside.
~ Whisk together orange juice, cornstarch, lemon juice and sugar in measuring bowl.  
~ Microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring between each until thickened.
~ Chill mixture until cool.
~ Pour mixture over the fruit and stir.  

Tips and Tricks:
  • I can definitely see this with fresh or frozen strawberries, peaches, mangoes... it would be beautiful with pomegranate seeds and garnished with fresh mint.  Experiment to your heart's desire!
  • To speed up the chilling process of the juice mixture, place the bowl in the freezer about 15 minutes.  Stir before pouring over the fruit.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

spinach artichoke dip

I'm not sure how many times football has been mentioned in my posts, but I'd venture to say it's been a good number.  I really look forward to the season every year, and our family has come to have so many teams to root for...  Daniel's and Luke's rec leagues, the Lipscomb Mustangs (thanks, Kay), John's McGavock Raiders, the Titans (whose stadium we can ride our bikes to, if we wish), the Colts (because that's our home town), Daniel's favorite college team, the Oregon Ducks (super-cool uniforms), and Luke's own, LSU Tigers (it's all about "THE eye").

I'm sure I'm leaving out a couple.

Of course, we all know the football event of all football events is the infamous Superbowl.  And where there is a Superbowl gathering, there is... you guessed it... food.

So I thought in honor of the play-off games and big day to come, I might share a couple of my top party food items with you.  This one, in particular?  A touchdown all the way, terribly easy, and really, really good.

Really.  Good.

I have been making this for 15 years and have never found a need to alter it, although I guess it might be more interesting to add some things here and there.  But, honestly, I like this better simple.  Spinach and artichokes don't really have a huge flavor, so I think the additional ingredients help them shine without overpowering them.

My friend, Judi, shared this recipe with me and would always serve it with the Hint of Lime Tostitos tortilla chips.  Or you might want to try serving it up in a bread bowl with cubed bread.  Crackers work.  I'm tellin' ya, folks... it's a winner all the way around!

Five ingredients, a gathering of friends, a cozy house...

When's kickoff?!?

Spinach Artichoke Dip - fills a two-quart dish
  • 2 jars oil-packed artichokes, chopped to your liking
  • 2 packages frozen creamed spinach
  • 2 cups Helmann's real mayonnaise 
  • 2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
  • chips, bread, crackers of choice
~ Heat oven to 350 degrees.
~ Cook spinach in microwave according to package directions, or until completed thawed.
~ Mix artichokes, spinach, mayonnaise, and one cup of cheese in large bowl.
~ Pour mixture into greased baking dish.
~ Cook at 350 degrees until bubbly and slightly brown, about 45 minutes.
~ Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining cup of cheese over top of dip.
~ Bake approximately 10 minutes until cheese is bubbling and slightly golden, or broil for a 
    couple of minutes, watching closely not to burn.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

SOUPer saturdays - country french beef stew

One of several of my New Year's resolutions...  Use the crockpot more.

I am a huge fan of being able to smell supper before I get the key in the door at the end of the day.  It's welcoming, it's comforting, it's home.  And considering we have a two-parent working family, the crockpot is the only thing that's going to make that happen for the Greens.

I got three new cookbooks for Christmas, one full of only soups and stews.  When making out my meal plan for the week, I had my sights set on a hearty beef stew, but was hoping with each turn of the page I'd find something a little different to set it apart from my regular go-to.  This one did not disappoint.

Full of rich flavor, heartiness, and - my favorite - ease, I was an instant fan of this recipe.  I suggest serving it over egg noodles making sure to include a ladle of broth over the top of it all.  A sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley and shaved parmesan adds the perfect ending!  Within 30 minutes of coming home, you'll have a table full of happy people.

Heads up, friends.  Stew's on!

Country French Beef Stew - makes 12 servings
  • 6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 boneless beef chuck roast (3 lb). trimmed of fat, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 3 cups ready-to-serve baby carrots
  • 1 cup red cooking wine
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 package (8 oz) sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes (I used oil-packed)
  • hot cooked egg noodles (optional)
  • chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • shaved parmesan cheese (optional)
~ Spray 5 or 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray.  In skillet, cook bacon over medium-
    high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp.  
~ Cut bacon into 1-inch pieces and place in cooker.
~ Discard all but 1 tbsp. bacon fat in skillet.  Cook beef in fat 2-3 minutes, stirring 
    occasionally until brown but not cooked through.  
~ Stir onion into beef and cook one minute.  Spoon beef and onions into cooker.
~ Deglaze skillet with the broth, scraping up any browned bits left on pan.  Pour into the 
~ Add cooking wine, flour, basil, thyme, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, canned diced tomatoes, 
    and sun-dried tomatoes into pot.  Stir.
~ Sprinkle mushrooms over the top and pour some juice mixture from the pot over the 
~ Cook on low 7 to 8 hours.
~ Serve over egg noodles, if desired, and garnish with parsley and cheese.  

Tips and Tricks:

  • When buying chuck roasts, I try to keep my eyes open for "marked down for quick sale" options.  I happened to find this one already cubed for stew use, which made it even easier.
  • While I was preparing all the ingredients, I sprinkled the uncooked meat with coarse salt and ground pepper and set aside to boost the flavor.
  • A non-stick skillet will work fine to cook the meat and onions, but it doesn't lend itself well to leaving browned bits or any caramelization for the deglazing to work.  It certainly will do just fine, though, so if preferred, use the non-stick, skip the deglazing, and just throw all the ingredients into the pot after the onions have been added to the skillet and have cooked for the one-minute suggestion.

Recipe adapted from Soups and Stews, 100 Recipes for the Way You Really Cook.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

coconut cake - a lazy daisy favorite

Ten years old.  How can it be?  I just know it was only yesterday I was holding that sweet little hand as he toddled into story time with Ms. Elaine at the library or would want to eat pancakes out on the front porch on Friday mornings just to get a closer look at the trash truck.

Daniel.  He is a blessing, and much to my dismay, he is ten.

He is also, as John and I say, an old soul.  He loves to be home.  He loves to get a hot shower, put on his robe, sit by the fire and watch Andy Griffith episodes.  And he loves biscuits and gravy, stuffing, and "Popie food," as he calls it.

By the way, you may recall from this post, Popie is my sweet grandfather, and he just so happens to share the same birthday as Daniel.  In fact, I love this picture of the two of them opening gifts on their special day.

So, in keeping with his old-soul style, Daniel didn't ask for chocolate cake with chocolate icing, or white cake with mounds of decoration or colored sprinkles and ice cream.  No.  Daniel asked for...

Coconut cake.

What?!?  Where in the world did that come from?

Well, if coconut cake is what he wanted, then coconut cake was what I'd do.  And can I just tell you how glad I am I did?  It was a marvelous recipe.  One that comes straight out of my favorite recipe book of all time from one of my favorite book series of all time, The Mitford Series.

The cake was moist and delicious, the lemon filling was  out. of. this. world.  And the icing was... well... tricky.  But I have some tips, so don't let that scare you.

I just can't begin to tell you how much we all enjoyed this one!  I did make white cupcakes with buttercream icing for Daniel's friends, because I wasn't convinced a group of boys was going to go for coconut. Thankfully, they didn't, and we had it all to ourselves...


So, here you have it.  Probably one of the best cakes ever for most definitely my favorite 10-year-old on the planet.  Happy Birthday, my dearest Daniel.  You are my sunshine.

PS - An Oregon fan through and through, Daniel (and the rest of us) are rooting for the green and yellow tonight... Go Ducks!

Coconut Cake - makes one 3 layer cake (or two thick layers)

For the cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting the pans
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups coconut (freshly grated or frozen)
~ Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
~ Coat three 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray, then dust with flour.  Set aside.
~ In a large bowl, sift together the flour, soda, and salt.  
~ In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed until stiff peaks 
~ Using another bowl, at medium speed, cream the 2 cups of granulated sugar and 1/2 cup 
    butter until light in color, about 4 minutes.  
~ With the mixer running, add the oil and combine thoroughly, scraping down the sides of 
    the bowl so all of the batter is mixed properly.
~ Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (about 30 seconds after each addition).  
    Continue beating for 2 minutes after adding last yolk.
~ Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in half of the flour mixture with a large rubber 
~ Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add half of the buttermilk.
~ Fold in the remaining flour mixture, scrape down the sides, and add the remaining 
~ Fold in the 2 cups of coconut.
~ Scrape down the sides and fold in the beaten egg whites.
~ Pour the batter into the pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted 
    comes out clean.
~ Let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then run a small knife around the sides of 
    the pans and invert the cakes onto cooling racks and cool completely before icing.

For the filling
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp milk
~ In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the 1/2 cup butter and the cream cheese together 
    until fluffy.
~ Add the confectioners' sugar, zest, juice, and milk and mix.

For the icing
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 16-oz container sour cream
  • 2 cups coconut
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
~ In a large bowl, combine the sugar, butter, coconut and vanilla.  
~ Add sour cream a spoonful at a time until spreading consistency is reached.

To assemble the cake

~ Spread half of the lemon filling on top of one cake layer.
~ Place the second layer on top and spread the other half of the filling on top.
~ Place the third layer on top and finish with the icing.
~ Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight, before serving.  

Tips and Tricks:

  • The original recipe does not call for butter in the icing, but as I said, the icing is tricky.  I have found the butter is needed to give some substance and "hold" for presentation.  It also, in my humble opinion, deepens the flavor.  

  • The original also called for adding in all 16 ounces of the sour cream, but I could tell immediately that this would be too much "sour" and too runny.  This is why I suggest adding it in a little at a time and last.  With some research, I have also learned that full fat and name brand sour creams work better with this kind of icing recipe than their counterparts.  They are not as watery.

  • Finally, I did only do 2 layers, as you can probably see in the picture.  This is only because I didn't have three pans but had two deep ones that could adequately hold the batter.  Just keep a watch on the doneness.  It will take a few minutes longer for thicker layers to cook.   

  • This cake gets better the longer it sits.

Recipe slightly adapted from Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader.