Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls

It was Thanksgiving weekend and I was anxious to get my bake on. It had been a long time since I had some kitchen therapy - spending time preparing food. I feel like I've been in survival cooking mode throughout the fall, barely pausing from work to prep basic, easy meals.

So over the long weekend I was in the mood to bake something that would take a good deal of time. Something with yeast. Something I had to wait for.

And take good care of.

A year ago I found a recipe for Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls on the clever and inspiring blog Rock.Paper.Reckless.

With leftover cans of pumpkin in the cupboard from Thanksgiving meals, I decided this was the winner for the weekend. I had tried out this recipe once before, but it was my first time ever making a homemade cinnamon roll and the results weren't that great.

This time around, however, they turned out awesome!

I made a few changes, adding pumpkin spice to the cinnamon, and baking the rolls in a baking dish rather than muffin tins.

Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls

3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 - 0.25 ounce packet instant yeast
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 egg
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 can pumpkin puree

Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it just begins to bubble, then remove from heat. Mix in 1/4 cup butter until melted, allow to cool until lukewarm.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups of the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.

In a smaller, separate bowl, combine water, egg and the milk mixture. Stir well.

Add the water, egg and milk mixture to the flour mixture and beat well. Add the remaining flour in two additions, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition until dough forms a large, soft ball.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead with flour dusted hands until smooth and elastic, approximately 5 minutes. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rise for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, 1/2 cup softened butter, and half can of pumpkin.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 12 x 9 inch rectangle. Spread the pumpkin mixture evenly over the dough. Roll up the dough, starting from the long edge, being careful not to "smoosh" all of the pumpkin mixture to the edges. With seam side down, cut into 12 equal size slices with a serrated knife. Place rolls cut side down in the bottom of a greased 9 x 12 inch baking dish.

Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until browned.

Spread with Vanilla Cream Glaze from How Sweet It Is or use your own favorite cinnamon roll frosting.

Serve warm & invite your friends!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sauce: 1, Squash: 0

I haven't been making things from scratch as often as I used to/want to... That's when handy prepared items, like the many tasty items that can be found at Trader Joe's are quite convenient.

I picked up a container of "fresh" (aka not dried and in the refrigerated section) butternut squash ravioli that was in triangle shapes making it a triangoli!  Wow!  I love butternut squash so was very excited to try this product.  Though I didn't know what sauce to use...  when I Googled, I found that most of the time butternut squash ravioli is served with brown butter sage sauce.  While that sounded delicious I wanted something a little less... buttery/creamy.  So I searched for a vegan recipe knowing that would be without both of those items and I could modify however I wanted.  I came across a great, simple recipe for mushroom and walnut broth from .

It was an amazing broth, and I added butter instead of vegan butter, making a really nice sauce.  In fact, the brothy sauce was the best part. I didn't read the whole ingredient list on the butternut squash until after I started eating.  The butternut squash ravioli, which usually tend to be a little sweet due to the sweetness of the squash, was way too sweet.  They tasted like a Dutch letter.   Which was weird, especially with the awesome savory mushroom broth.  When I checked the ingredients I found that they included some sort of amaretti cookies in the squash filling.  Here is a product review from Trader Joe's fan and blogger What's Good at Trader Joe'  for more information.

All in all, it was an ok meal, but I definitely would not get the ravioli again.  I would love to try this broth again with a savory pasta because it was perfectly delicious without being too heavy. I'm glad I now know how to make such a quick and easy, savory, non cream sauce for pasta.  The sauce was the winner in this dinner.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Weekly Menu

What's for dinner this week?  Nothing too fancy, but at least I have some plans.

vegetable stir fry with home-made sauce*
     *sauce consists of me putting dashes and spoonfuls of  stuff in a bowl until it tastes good.  ingredients include:  soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, red curry paste, Siracha and cashews.  Start slow and taste as you go.  You can always add more fish sauce but once you add too much you can't take it out!

frittata with potatoes and leeks

black bean soup!!!!!
I have been putting heaping spoonfuls of wild rice in my individual servings of this sauce to make it even better.

pork chops with cauliflower/potato puree   (this will be an experiment)

turkey, pesto panini with sweet potato fries

Have a delicious week.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Taco Pizza

Side note: for those of you wondering where the weekly menu went, I had to take a break! Perhaps it will return.

My husband loves taco pizza.  If you are not from Iowa, you might be wondering, WHAT IS TACO PIZZA?  It is a delicious pizza that combines the ingredients of a taco  (plus crushed Doritos!) on a pizza crust and is usually found at Casey's General Store or Happy Joe's Pizza.  For his birthday last year I made a homemade taco pizza and am reprising that again this year.


1 pizza dough, store bought or home made.

toppings as desired:
1/2 pound ground turkey
1 T homemade taco seasoning
shredded ice berg lettuce
chopped tomatoes
shredded "taco" cheese blend
chopped onions
refried black beans (I don't know if this is a figment of my imagination but I swear this is a real taco pizza topping, but Ryan tends to disagree.  However, we both find it delicious).
jarred "taco sauce"
sour cream
crushed Doritos chips

Brown and season the meat with the taco seasoning.
Roll out and pre-bake the crust for about 5 minutes. at 450 degrees.
Cover with toppings (hold off on the lettuce and Doritos, they will both get gross and soggy) in any order that looks good to you.
Bake until cheese is melty crust starts to brown. Then top with crushed Doritos and lettuce.