Friday, July 30, 2010

Garlic Knots

• 1 (10 ounce) can refrigerated pizza crust dough
• 1/3 cup olive oil
• 6 tablespoons finely chopped fresh garlic
• 5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
• 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
• 1 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

2. Roll out pizza dough to form a 10x16 inch sheet of dough. Cut the sheet into 3/4 inch parallel strips. Then cut these strips in half making about 24 pieces. Tie each strip into a knot and place these knotted strips of dough close together in a greased pan.

3. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown. Remove the knots from the oven, place them in a big bowl. While the knots are still hot, drizzle them with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic, cheese, parsley, red pepper and salt. Toss well and serve.

Pour the toppings over them right when they come out so it soaks in. If you wait until they are cold it coats the outside and gets messy.

I decided to add all the ingredients to the olive oil so the flavors would infuse and it really turned out great!

Beef and Bean Chimichangas

• 1 pound lean ground beef
• 3/4 cup chopped onion
• 3/4 cup diced green bell pepper
• 1 1/2 cups whole kernel corn
• 2 cups taco sauce
• 2 teaspoons chili powder
• 1 teaspoon garlic salt
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
• 8 (12 inch) flour tortillas
• 1 (16 ounce) package shredded Monterey Jack cheese
• 1 tablespoon butter, melted
• shredded lettuce
• 1 tomato, diced

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain excess grease, and add the onion, bell pepper, and corn. Cook for about 5 more minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Stir in the taco sauce, and season with chili powder, garlic salt and cumin, stirring until blended. Cook until heated through, then remove from heat, and set aside.

3. Open the can of beans, and spread a thin layer of beans onto each of the tortillas. Spoon the beef mixture down the center, and then top with as much shredded cheese as you like. Roll up the tortillas, and place them seam-side down onto a baking sheet. Brush the tortillas with melted butter.

4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Serve with lettuce and tomato.


• Add 7oz of green diced canned chiles. Reduce corn to 3/4 cup.

• To make it taste like enchilada instead of a burrito don’t add any taco seasoning, instead add 1/2 cup of Enchilada sauce for better flavor. Between the green chile's and the enchalada sauce that will make the meat mixture moist enough without over doing it.

• Use "Blackbean" refried beans instead of the regular.

• Instead of seasonings use a packet of taco seasoning

• Mix the refried beans right in with the meat.

• Try with - shredded chicken, shredded beef, ground beef, and all bean.

• Make them to the point where you roll the tortilla and then freeze the Chimichangas in individual packets. When you want to use them take out as many as needed, microwave them until they are warm and defrosted and then spray them with Pam and bake them.

• Serve them on shredded iceburg lettuce with sour cream and salsa on the side.

I was worried they wouldn't have that nice crispy fried taste to them if baked but as long as you bake until they have a nice lightly hard touch (I had to bake them 10 min longer to achieve this ...just touch tortillas until desired doneness) they were fabulous!

Peanut Butter Bars

• 1 cup butter or margarine, melted
• 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
• 2 cups confectioners' sugar
• 1 cup peanut butter
• 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
• 4 tablespoons peanut butter

1. In a medium bowl, mix together the butter or margarine, graham cracker crumbs, confectioners' sugar, and 1 cup peanut butter until well blended. Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.

2. In a metal bowl over simmering water, or in the microwave, melt the chocolate chips with the peanut butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Spread over the prepared crust. Refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting into squares

Real Homemade Tamales

Tamale Filling:

• 1 1/4 pounds pork loin
• 1 large onion, halved
• 1 clove garlic
• 4 dried California chile pods
• 2 cups water
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Tamale Dough:
• 2 cups masa harina
• 1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2/3 cup lard
• 1 (8 ounce) package dried corn husks
• 1 cup sour cream

1. Place pork into a Dutch oven with onion and garlic, and add water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the meat is cooked through, about 2 hours.

2. Use rubber gloves to remove stems and seeds from the chile pods. Place chiles in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, then remove from heat to cool. Transfer the chiles and water to a blender and blend until smooth. Strain the mixture, stir in salt, and set aside. Shred the cooked meat and mix in one cup of the chile sauce.

3. Soak the corn husks in a bowl of warm water. In a large bowl, beat the lard with a tablespoon of the broth until fluffy. Combine the masa harina, baking powder and salt; stir into the lard mixture, adding more broth as necessary to form a spongy dough.

4. Spread the dough out over the corn husks to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Place one tablespoon of the meat filling into the center. Fold the sides of the husks in toward the center and place in a steamer. Steam for 1 hour.

5. Remove tamales from husks and drizzle remaining chile sauce over. Top with sour cream. For a creamy sauce, mix sour cream into the chile sauce.

A few things for the beginner: it's better to boil the peppers(any kind will do) and all the flavorings for 30 or so minutes, and then cook the meat in that broth. Also, the water should cover the meat in the pan and it needs to be cooked until it is crumbly to the touch--this makes it easier and faster to shred by hand and eliminates any further meat preparation. Depending on the meat I use, my cook time varies between 4 hours to overnight. I keep my corn husks in hot/boiling water for at least an hour--they need to be very soft.

Two VIP things to note: masa is very bland, there is no substitute for lard! I use the leftover meat juice instead of broth for my masa, and still add lots of other spices. When you are making tamales the masa will dry out; just add a little meat juice to keep the consistency. It should spread like creamy peanut butter. The corn husks should only measure 4-5 inches across; larger ones can be torn to size. Place the meat filling along the edge and roll like a cigar. Also when steaming them, they need to be as close to standing upright as possible.

If you are going to take the time to make Tamales, you want them to turn out perfectly.

(1.) One of the biggest mistakes, when making the Masa dough, is not mixing long enough; which causes the tamales to fall apart. Mix the Masa dough with an ELECTRIC MIXER, until a small amount (1 tsp) will float in a cup of cool water. (2.) Spread the dough on the bottom 2/3 of the corn husk; placing the filling in a line down the center of the dough. (3.) You should never have to secure your Tamales with a toothpick or strip of corn husk, if folded properly. When folding; fold in one long side, about 1/3 over filling; then fold in the other long side, overlapping the first (this will help to hold the tamales together). Fold down the top 1/3 and place in steamer standing upright, with the folded end down and open end up. Turning your pan on its side will make it easier to stack the Tamales on top of each other. As you lay the Tamales in the pan, on top of each other, this will also help to keep them folded. Don’t over pack the pan, just tightly enough to keep Tamales in an upright position. If you don’t have a Tamale steamer you can use a large pot with cover. Place an inverted cake pan in the bottom of the pot and place an inverted pizza pan over the cake pan. Stand your Tamales (open end up) in the pan; add water, cover, and steam.

It's a lot easier than you would expect.

To simplify the meat preparation I simply used boiled chicken with monterey jack or queso fresco cheese. The chile preparation is also easy. I added a bay leaf and oregano (remove the bay leaf and add one teaspoon of lemon juice before you blend it). Don't expect a great flavor. The chile is meant to be concentrated so it will taste horrible (very woody and grainy). But when it steams with the masa and meat the end product is wonderful. Placing the masa in the husks is a challenge, be patient. Although, I didn't want to, You can use extra husk strips to tie the tamales, if needed until you get the hang of it.

It helps to cover the bottom, sides, and eventually top (once the tamales are in) with extra corn husks. This keeps the tamales dry as you add extra water during the steaming process. It also helps with clean up later. You can also put a coin at the bottom of the steamer (when the coin stops clanking, you know that your near the end of water and need to refill it).

The chili's used here are very mild, so I use cascabel peppers. I always use 2 pork tenderloins to make mine. I poured all the chili sauce on the shredded meat, added about 1/2 tsp each of ground ancho chili powder and ground chipotle chili powder since it adds a smoked taste. Then let in stand for several hours before I made it into tamales. This is easier done the day ahead. I also add some ground ancho chili about 1/2 tsp. and 1/4 tsp ground chipotle chili to the masa. I use Maseca brand instant corn masa flour. I use almost all the broth and make the masa the consistency of thick cake frosting. I do have to make double the masa to use all my filling though. I don't measure the filling out, I just take some with my fingers and lay out a strip of filling down the center. It gives me 4 dozen tamales.

They get spicier after reheating.

Depending on if I'm making beef or chicken,I use chicken or beef powdered bullion for the dough,I also mix dried parsley,onion powder and garlic powder, and a touch of cumin -oh and some powdered ancho pepper.

Taco Turkey Wraps

• 2/3 cup sour cream
• 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
• 6 (8 inch) (8 inch) flour tortillas
• 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese or Cheddar cheese
• 1/2 pound thinly sliced deli turkey breast
• Salsa

1. In a bowl, combine the sour cream and taco seasoning. Spread over tortillas. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with turkey; roll up. Serve with salsa if desired.

Add lettuce and fresh heirloom tomato slices from the garden. Instead of using all sour cream mixed with the taco seasoning, try using a three way mixture of ranch, mayo & sour cream.

Sangria! Sangria!

• 1/2 cup brandy
• 1/4 cup lemon juice
• 1/3 cup frozen lemonade concentrate
• 1/3 cup orange juice
• 1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry red wine - Spanish Rioja wine
• 1/2 cup triple sec
• 1 lemon, sliced into rounds
• 1 orange, sliced into rounds
• 1 lime, sliced into rounds
• 1/4 cup white sugar (optional)
• 8 maraschino cherries
• 2 cups ginger ale or 7-up

**Make sure to let it sit for several hours or overnight before serving

1. In a large pitcher or bowl, mix together the brandy, lemon juice, lemonade concentrate, orange juice, red wine, triple sec, and sugar. Float slices of lemon, orange and lime, and maraschino cherries in the mixture. Refrigerate overnight for best flavor. For a fizzy sangria, add club soda, ginger ale, or 7up just before serving.

Sun Dried Tomato and Asiago Cheese Bread

• 1 cup water
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons white sugar
• 2 tablespoons instant powdered milk
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 1/2 cups bread flour
• 1/2 cup amaranth flour
• 2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
• 1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
• 1 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon active dry yeast


1. Place all ingredients into bread machine in order given.

2. Bake according to bread machine directions for regular bake.

To make this recipe by hand - First dissolve the yeast in 1 cup warm water, then add the rest of ingredients in order listed. Allow it to rise for 1 hour until doubled, then punch down. Allow to rest on baking sheet for 15 minutes. Cook at 375 for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned.

This bread is delicious. I only had oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes so I rinsed them in hot water first ... it worked great!

Four Cheese Macaroni

• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni
• 9 tablespoons butter
• ½ – ¾ cup shredded Muenster cheese
• ½ – ¾ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
• ½ – ¾ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
• ½ – ¾ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
• 2 cups half-and-half
• 8 ounces cubed processed cheese food - Velvetta
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the oil and the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain well and return to cooking pot.

2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 8 tablespoons butter; stir into the macaroni.

3. In a large bowl, combine the Muenster cheese, mild and sharp Cheddar cheeses, and Monterey Jack cheese; mix well.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

5. Add the half and half, 1 1/2 cups of cheese mixture, cubed processed cheese food, and eggs to macaroni; mix together and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a lightly greased deep 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese mixture and 1 tablespoon of butter.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until hot and bubbling around the edges; serve.

*I mix up the Velveeta cubes until they're melted and then mix in the shredded cheeses real well too, before adding in the rest. Also I bake for 17 minutes and then do some more mixing and then sprinkle the last of the cheese and butter on top for the remaining 17 or so minutes. That's the magic ticket for me.

**I melted the butter in a pot on the stove, added the Velveeta cheese, then half the half/half and half skim milk, then the shredded cheeses. I was continually stiring with a rubber spatula and slowly adding all the cheese. When it melted completely, I took it off the heat. Then I tempered the beaten eggs with some of the warm cheese mixture. I then added the elbows, s & p, beaten eggs and warm cheese mixture. Stirring. Then baked in a glass pan.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Crab Stuffed Shrimp / Garlic Butter Rice

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup finely chopped celery

Saulte until tender then add:

1/4 cup sherry
1/2 t. Louisana Hot Sauce
1/2 t. garlic
2 dashes black pepper
1 t. worchestershire sauce
1 t. lemon juice
1 t. celery salt
pinch thyme
1 lb crabmeat

Do not let this stick to pan, will ruinthe flavor!! 

Mix in:
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup mayo

Scoop onto a split and deveined large shrimp, sprinkle with butter.

Place in pan and add 1/2 cup water to bottom.  Bake 20-25 minutes at 350. 

**Optional sprinkle with Parmaesean Cheese.

Serve on:

Garlic Butter Rice
  • 1/2 cup margarine (or soft margarine) or butter (or soft margarine)
  • 1/2 cup white rice (or jasmine)
  • 3 teaspoons chicken bouillon cubes (depending on size) or chicken bouillon granules (or kind of powdery)
  • 1 1/2 cups water or chicken broth
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped garlic (or minced)
  • Lemon wedges
 Melt the butter or margarine in a 10" skillet over med-high heat, add the rice and stir. Add the bouillon cube(s) and stir until softened or dissolved. I use a spoon and break the bouillon cube(s) apart while it is dissolving so that it dissolves faster.Watch closely so that the rice does not start to brown. You might need to lower the heat if the rice starts to brown or appears to be cooking too fast. Add the water and stir.  Cover with a lid and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to med to med-low and cook for 10 minutes or until rice is almost tender and a lot, but not all, of the water/butter mixture has been absorbed.

This comes out better if it is "slow cooked". Add the garlic and stir. Put the lid back on the skillet and continue cooking for 5 more minutes or until the rice is tender and all of the water has been absorbed. There may still be some melted butter at the bottom of the skillet, but that is okay. Stir well and turn the burner off. Let the skillet sit on the burner until you are ready to serve.

Squeeze lemon wedge over the shrimp and rice .....yumm-o!!

Shrimp Quesadillas

• 3 quarts water
• 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
• 2 teaspoons dried ancho chile powder
• 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
• 1 (10 ounce) Rotel Tomatoes, drained
• 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
• 1 cup monterey jack pepper cheese, shredded
• 4 flour tortillas
• 4 teaspoons butter

1. Bring water, seasoning and chili powder to a boil in a large pot over high heat.

2. Add shrimp; cook for 3 minutes or until pink.

3. Drain and rinse with cold water.

4.Coarsely chop shrimp and mix with tomatoes and cheese.

5. Spoon shrimp mixture evenly between four flour tortillas; fold each tortilla in half.

6. In a large skillet melt 1 tsp of butter over medium heat.

7. Add 1 quesadilla; cook for 4-5 minutes per side, or until the tortilla is crisp and the cheese mixture is melted.

8. Repeat with each quesadilla.

9. Cut into 4 wedges to serve.

Bubba Gump Southern Hush Puppies


• 2 cups self-rising cornmeal
• 1 cup self-rising flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
• 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
• 1 (17 ounce) can cream-style corn
• 1 large onions, chopped
• vegetable oil (for frying)

 1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl.
 2. Combine eggs and milk; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.
 3. Stir in cheese, pepper, corn, and onion.
 4. Do not overstir.
 5. Pour oil to depth of 2 inches into a small dutch oven.
 6. Heat to 375°F.
 7. Carefully drop batter by rounded tablespoons into oil.
 8. Fry hush puppies a few at a time 3 minutes or until golden brown, turning once.
 9. Drain on paper towels.

Shrimpin Dippin Broth - Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

• 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (frozen is okay)
• 1 fresh baguette
• 1 cup cooked white rice
• lemon wedges
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
• 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic


• 1/2 tablespoon butter
• 1 (12 ounce) clam juice
• 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1/2 teaspoon pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon cajun seasoning
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 1 chicken bouillon cubes
• 1/4 teaspoon sugar

• To prepare the broth:.

• 2 Sauté pepper, Cajun seasoning, and garlic in butter for approximately 5 minutes over medium heat.
• 3 Add remaining ingredients.
• 4 Bring to boil.
• 5 Turn down to simmer and leave on stove until ready to serve.
• 6 Shrimp preparation:.
• 7 Melt butter in pan and add shrimp, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, Cajun seasoning and garlic, and cook to medium rare.
• 8 Add the broth and bring to a simmer.
• 9 Serve in large bowl over rice with baguette and lemon wedges.

Sesame Chicken

1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds, divide
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
5 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into chunks
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 yellow onion, cut into wedges
1/2 cup green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons honey

1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine flour, 1/4 cup sesame seeds, black pepper, five-spice powder, and red pepper flakes. Place a few pieces of chicken at a time into the bag, and shake to coat. Remove to a platter.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Place chicken into skillet, and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken, and set aside. Stir onion wedges and bell pepper slices into skillet; cook until slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Remove, and set aside.

3. Return chicken to skillet, and reduce heat to low. Mix in teriyaki marinade, 1/4 cup sesame seeds, and honey; stir until sauce thickens. Return onion and bell pepper to the skillet. Warm through, and serve.

You’ll probably end up tripling the sauce amount; the fried chicken chunks generally absorb the relatively small amount of sauce mixture that is called-for very quickly.

Use sesame oil (refined for high heat) for frying. I’d also recommend that you pre-mix together the teriyaki sauce and honey separately in a small dish (or measuring cup), as opposed to adding each of those separately to the chicken pieces after you put them back in the skillet. This prevents one or the other tastes from becoming overly dominant.

I would definitely *not* omit the five-spice powder, as this is the unique, exotic ingredient that has a chance to give this dish a distinctively Asian taste. The end result of this recipe is relatively unsweet; if you do like more sweetness (most restaurant-style sesame chicken is actually sweeter than this recipe) I’d add brown sugar to taste when you're at the final mix, and maybe a little soy sauce and ginger powder.
I have also used broccoli and carrots rather than the onion and peppers.
Serve over a bed of rice

Southwestern Egg Rolls

• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half

• 2 tablespoons minced green onion
• 2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
• 1/3 cup frozen corn kernels
• 1/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
• 2 tablespoons frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
• 2 tablespoons diced jalapeno peppers
• 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
• 1/3 teaspoon salt
• 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
• 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
• 5 (6 inch) flour tortillas
• 1 quart oil for deep frying

1. Rub 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over chicken breast. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook chicken approximately 5 minutes per side, until meat is no longer pink and juices run clear. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in green onion and red pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until tender.

3. Dice chicken and mix into the pan with onion and red pepper. Mix in corn, black beans, spinach, jalapeno peppers, parsley, cumin, chili powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until well blended and tender. Remove from heat and stir in Monterey Jack cheese so that it melts.

4. Wrap tortillas with a clean, lightly moist cloth. Microwave on high approximately 1 minute, or until hot and pliable.

5. Spoon even amounts of the mixture into each tortilla. Fold ends of tortillas, then roll tightly around mixture. Secure with toothpicks. Arrange in a medium dish, cover with plastic, and place in the freezer. Freeze at least 4 hours.

6. In a large, deep skillet, heat oil for deep frying to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Deep fry frozen, stuffed tortillas 10 minutes each, or until dark golden brown. Drain on paper towels before serving.

I followed this recipe exactly, except I baked these at 450 degrees for 10 minutes instead of frying, and skipped the freezing part. I have also halved the cheese and doubled the spinach on some batches to make them a little healthier.

 I served this with Cilantro Cream Sauce.
I tripled the ingredients and placed the filling in egg roll wrappers and ended up with about 2 dozen rolls.

Note about freezing these-par bake them prior to popping them in the freezer so the egg roll wrapper doesn't break down.

Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
• 1 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 1 egg
• 1 egg yolk
• 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.

4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
We thought these were great. It's not the only chocolate chip cookie recipe I'll use, but when you want a "big, fat, chewy cookie," this is awesome. For the cookies to stay chewy, they need to be left on the cookie sheet until cool. (Except, of course, for the few you just can't resist eating right out of the oven.)

Also, the butter MUST be melted, and the flour should be all-purpose UNsifted.

 I don't really like cakey cookies. My suggestions to avoid cakiness are: use real butter, ( Although I have used margarine) be sure to melt the butter, don't overbeat your eggs, and do NOT skip the extra egg yolk.

HELPFUL TIPS NOT MENTIONED: This is very forgiving! Just keep baking until it becomes golden brown around the edges. If they cool COMPLETELY & they're not done..put back in for another 5 min.

Can't go wrong! I promise they'll be super chewy although they must sit (set) for awhile as they won't appear it. I've had to bake for 20 min. several times! Everything is dependent on if you put in fridge & for how long (I've left overnight or for DAYS). But if you don't refrigerate long enough or at all, they'll be flat!

Sift the dry ingredients. Melt the butter in microwave then mix in sugars. DO use the room temp. yoke of one egg & 1 other egg. Dump rest of ingredients on top. Mix by hand until blended. Make sure butter isn't hot or it'll melt chocolate chips!

Refrigerate batter for 1hr then preheat oven. Drop 1/4C scoop (should make 16-18) Bake! If I use a med. scoop, I just bake 2 min less.

Premium Pizza Crust

• 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

• 1 1/2 cups water
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon sea salt

• OVERNIGHT COLD RISE METHOD: In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Stir in 2 cups of flour and salt; mix well. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and supple, about 15 minutes. Place dough in bowl dusted with flour cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

• SPONGE RISE METHOD: In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup water. Stir in 1/2 cup of flour; mix well. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until foamy, about 1 hour. Blend in remaining water, flour and salt; beat well. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and supple, about 15 minutes. Place dough in bowl dusted with flour and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 2 to 3 hours.

• Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Roll dough out to half of its final size. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes (while you prepare desired pizza toppings). Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

• Stretch out dough over your floured knuckles and spin/toss 2 to 3 times until desired size is achieved. Place dough on a baker's peel sprinkled with cornmeal or a lightly greased pizza pan. Spread with desired toppings and bake on a pizza stone in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving.


• 2 lbs of skirt steak, chicken breast (deboned), slice your meat up first

• 1/2 c olive oil
• 1/3 c lime juice (freshly squeezed for better flavor and fell free to put more- lime never hurts)
• 1 tsp sugar
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp cumin
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/4 c vinegar
• 1/2 c chopped onion
• 1 tsp oregano
• 1/2 tsp pepper
• 1/2 tbsp paprika
• 1 can beer
• 1 large onion sliced
• bell pepper
• flour tortillas
• Lime wedges- as many as you want
• whatever garnishes you want.... toppings are endless

Let this marinate for several hours- overnight for best results!

Heat up your grill. (For best results) You will need iron skillets to cook the meat and veggies. Bring your olive oil (and even lime juice to squeeze on the meat as you cook) outside with you to put on the skillet so the meat and veggies do not stick to the pan. The skillets will make the meat and veggies caramelize- YUMMY!!!


Assemble your fajita and squeeze lime juice on it- I learned this trick from a friend who lived in El Paso

Daddy's Tangy Grilling Sauce (Paula Deen)

This is soooo yummy!! I like to use the bone-in chicken breast with skin because the skin soaks up the sauce and is so good!!!

1 cup of Worcestershire sauce
1 stick of butter melted (of course! what recipe of hers doesn't have a stick of butter?)
2 juiced lemons

Just combine these three ingredients and lather it on the chicken while you grill!

French Fried Potato Balls (Paula Deen)


1 cup mashed potatoes
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
5 tablespoons milk


In a large mixing bowl, mix ingredients in order given. Drop from a tablespoon into deep fryer at 360ºF. When brown, drain on brown paper. Serve hot.

Notes from The Paula Deen Test Kitchen: A light and fluffy potato ball. We sprinkled with The Lady and Son’s House Seasoning as soon as they came out of the hot oil and they were delicious. We also tried some right out of the hot oil with maple syrup and they were also delicious. Must be eaten hot/warm.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 4-6 min
Difficulty: Easy

Grilled Bacon Jalapeno Wraps

• 6 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
• 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
• 12 slices bacon

1. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.

2. Spread cream cheese to fill jalapeno halves. Wrap with bacon. Secure with a toothpick.

3. Place on the grill, Then 10 minutes on the grill is perfect, cook until bacon is crispy.

Here are some different methods: After slicing the peppers and cleaning them out, drop in boiling water for 4 - 6 minutes. This will pretty much take all the heat out though so if you want a punch, leave the membranes.

Try these different cream cheese flavors:

8 oz cream cheese mixed with a pkg of powdered ranch dressing mix
8 oz cream cheese mixed with a 1 - 2 tsp chipotle seasoning
8 oz cream cheese mixed with worstershire and garlic powder
8oz pkg of cream cheese with 1 tbsp Cajun Seasoning and 2 tsp Garlic Pwdr.

I found that 1/2 a strip of bacon was not enough - used the whole thing! And finally after you put the pepper together with cheese and bacon and toothpick - freeze it for 15 min. this will allow the cheese to firm up a bit and it won't all leak out of your peppers. I also have found that if you want them hot, leave all of the membrane inside and some seeds. If you want them barely warm(like me), get almost all of the membrane out from inside the pepper and leave no seeds.

You can also cook them in the oven on 350 for about 45 minutes

To take some of the bite out of the peppers,  you can also soak them in cold water after they're cut and seeded. The longer you soak them, the milder they are.

To avoid them soaking in grease from the bacon, try elevating them on a rack next time.

I like to freeze the constructed peppers (spread out on a cookie sheet so they don't stick together) prior to grilling, so the cheese doesn't melt as much while the bacon is cooking.

Watermelon Sangria

• 12 cups cubed watermelon
• 1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry white wine
• 1 cup vodka
• 1/2 cup triple sec
• 1/2 cup simple syrup
• 3 cups cubed seeded watermelon
• 1 medium lime, quartered
• 1 orange, cut into wedges
• 1 cup fresh blueberries

Place 9 cups of watermelon cubes in a blender; blend on high until very smooth. Strain juice through a mesh strainer into a large pitcher. Pour the wine, vodka, triple sec, and simple syrup into the pitcher. Stir to combine. Mix the remaining 3 cups of watermelon cubes, the lime quarters, orange sections, and blueberries into the sangria. Chill for 4 hours before serving.

*Top each glass with some lemon-lime pop, just for some fizz

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Vanilla Ice Cream

• quarts half-and-half cream
• 1/2 pint heavy cream
• 1 1/2 cups white sugar
• 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 pinch salt

Combine half-and-half, cream, sugar, vanilla and salt in freezer container of ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

Ok this recipe was so easy and for all of you who loved it try this: I added 1/4 cup of Carnation Coffee-Mate French Vanilla creamer this added a wonderfull flavor and everyone wanted to know what I did to make it taste so rich. worked great will keep this recipe

I have made this recipe numerous times with numerous alterations and have finally find the one that works for me. I heat the half-n-half/cream and sugar on the stove until the sugar is dissolved the night before I want to make the ice cream. I chill the mixture all night. I put the ice cream in my ice cream maker for about 25 min. Put it in the freezer for about 2 hours. Take it out and let it soften a little and serve.

Spanish Potato Omelet

• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1/2 pound potatoes, thinly sliced
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1 large onion, thinly sliced
• 4 eggs
• salt and pepper to taste
• 2 tomatoes - peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
• 2 green onions, chopped

1. In a large frying pan or skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle potatoes lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown and crisp.

2. Once the potatoes are golden, stir in the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions soften and begin to brown.

3. Meanwhile, beat eggs together with salt and pepper. Pour eggs into pan and stir gently to combine. Reduce heat to low and cook until eggs begin to brown on the bottom.

4. Loosen bottom of omelet with a spatula, invert a large plate over the pan, and carefully turn the omelet out onto it. Slide the omelet back into the pan with the uncooked side down. Cook until eggs are set. Garnish omelet with tomato and green onion and serve warm.

**Stir the potatoes often while cooking so that they don't get browned. You really want them to be very soft and tender, not crispy. It's also worth noting that in some regions of Spain they do not use onions, it's good either way but I find that when made with onions it is a little more moist. In restaurants they would often mix in other vegetables or ham so you can really add whatever you like. Another tip I use is to determine when the eggs are fully cooked, insert a butter knife into the center of the tortilla. If it comes out clean, it is done.

One other tip: After I cook the potatoes and onions in oil, I put the eggs and potatoes together (combine very gently) in a bowl, and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. The cooked potatoes absorbs the egg, and it's just SO moist. Last thing... I find that the dish tastes best if I turn the heat off shortly before it feels right to do so. It still looks a teeny bit moist and eggy inside - but when I cook it any longer it gets much drier. Mmmmm moist!

Olive Cheese Bread

• 1/2 cup butter, melted
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise
• 1 (2.25 ounce) can sliced ripe olives, drained
• 2 green onions, chopped
• 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
• 1 (1 pound) loaf unsliced French bread

1. In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Slice bread in half widthwise and lengthwise.

2. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Spread cheese mixture over cut sides of bread. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted

Playgroup Granola Bars

• 2 cups rolled oats
• 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/2 cup wheat germ
• 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup raisins (optional)
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup honey
• 1 egg, beaten
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Generously grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, raisins and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the honey, egg, oil and vanilla. Mix well using your hands. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting, or they will be too hard to cut.

This recipe is really great, but I have some changes that can make it near perfect. I used whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour, canola oil in place of vegetable oil, and I reduce the brown sugar to 1/2 cup and they are still super sweet, and even down to 1/3 cup and they're still yummy. For flavor I always use 1 tsp. of cinnamon and a whole cup of raisins. To make them chewy still use a 9x13 pan but don't spread the mixture into the entire pan- leave about an inch and a half empty space on one end. (The batter will cook exactly as it sits so you don't have to worry about it spreading. Also, you must be careful not to overcook these. Thirty minutes is way too long, but since every oven is different I can only really tell you that you need to take them out right when you see the edges becoming brown (the middle may still appear undone.) For me that is 18 minutes. If you do that they will stay chewy forever--just store them in a ziploc bag. And my last bit of advice is that you can get really creative with this recipe. For example, instead of raisins add dried cranberries and slivered almonds. Or up the cinnamon and add chopped dried apples. Or you could add peanut butter and freeze dried banana bits (like you find in the toddler section).
What I love about this recipe is all that you can do with it. I've been making this for months now. What I usually do is throw in whatever leftover bananas (goes great with the vanilla), applesauce, trail-mix, etc. into the mix! (this week I put in blueberries) Some weeks I put about a 1/4 cup peanut butter with the wet ingredients. Sometimes I put lemon, almond (especially yummy) or rum flavoring with the vanilla. Most times it comes out like a granola bar, sometimes like a cookie bar, but it's always good. I sometimes use whole wheat flour too. The only time I messed up this recipe, it came out a little dry and wouldn't cut without crumbling. I just crumbled it up, threw it back in the oven for a bit and had some mean granola. A good tip with this recipe is to measure out the oil first and then use the same measuring cup for the prevents the honey from sticking.
Add 1/2 cup of apple sauce to the mix . This made the bars much easier to cut and gave them a more chewy, cookie-like texture.

Creamy Chicken Spread


• 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
• 1/2 cup sour cream
• 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
• 1/2 teaspoon onion salt
• 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 2 (10 ounce) cans chunk white chicken, drained

Mix cream cheese, sour cream, minced onion, onion salt, Worcestershire sauce, and cayenne pepper in a bowl until well-blended. Stir in the chicken, breaking up any large pieces. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs

• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1/2 cup ranch dressing

• 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon white vinegar
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
• 1 tablespoon white sugar, or to taste (optional)
• 5 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the olive oil, ranch dressing, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, salt, lemon juice, white vinegar, pepper, and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes. Place chicken in the bowl, and stir to coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the grill for medium-high heat. Thread chicken onto skewers and discard marinade.

3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill skewers for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the juices run clear.

These were HEAVENLY! I lined a grill basket with tinfoil and put the chicken and some marinade into it and grilled the pieces that way. I used dried rosemary and cut the sugar in half. I also used low fat ranch dressing and completely omitted the salt because it just isn't necessary. These were melt in your mouth MOIST and DELICIOUS!! The marinade from the grill basket was also incredible poured over white rice.

EDIT: I've since made this recipe on the stove top and in the oven in order to use up all the marinade (which is INCREDIBLE on rice) and both alternate methods are good by the oven is a better 2nd choice as the stove top method tended to dry the chicken out a bit but still tasted great! I bake it with all the marinade on 450 for 20 minutes. Melt in your mouth moist!
 I have also marinated thie veggies that I used also (Vidalia onion, red and green bell pepper, and yellow squash) and it came out absolutely luscious. I made this with both the dried rosemary and again with the fresh rosemary, and I think that the fresh rosemary really adds a lot to the flavor. This will be a favorite recipe in the summer grilling months at our home!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

• 1 (16 ounce) can sauerkraut
• 1 (16 ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce
• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/2 (16 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
• 3 pounds small meatballs

1. In a medium bowl, mix sauerkraut, jellied cranberry sauce, brown sugar and spaghetti sauce.

2. Place meatballs in a slow cooker set to low. Cover with the sauerkraut mixture. Cook 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Signature Pizza Crust

• 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
• 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

• 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes.

2. Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour.

3. Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, and form a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out. Use for your favorite pizza recipe.

4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). If you are baking the dough on a pizza stone, you may place your toppings on the dough, and bake immediately. If you are baking your pizza in a pan, lightly oil the pan, and let the dough rise for 15 or 20 minutes before topping and baking it.

5. Bake pizza in preheated oven, until the cheese and crust are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

EXCELLENT thick, pan type pizza crust, that was crisp on the outside and chewy/tender on the inside! The only personal perference additions I did were: I added Italian Seasoning, garlic powder and onion powder along with the salt/oil. And I baked them for 10 minutes prior to adding the toppings in a 12 inch cake pan and 12 inch cast iron skillet, that were both olive oiled WELL, and dusted with yellow cornmeal. They came out of the pan very easy onto the cutting board. It was easy to make this. Adding about a 1/2 cup grated parmasean cheese to the dough is great with the seasonings. I never roll the dough out, I just use my hands and flatten it in the bottom of the pans, working up the sides Also sometimes string cheese rolled in the crust makes the kids happy too.

I had been looking for a pizza crust similar to Pizza Hut pan style and this is the closest and best so far! It definitly makes 2 crusts unless you have a huge pizza pan. And the trick to getting a crisp bottom on your crust is to bake it on a lower rack in your oven so your crust bakes before your toppings burn.

Pizza On The Grill

• 1 ready made pizza crust
• 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
• 1 cup tomato sauce
• 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
• 1/2 cup fresh sliced mushrooms

1. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil grate.

2. Roll out prepared pizza dough to a size that will fit your grill. Place on grill for 5 minutes, or to desired doneness, and flip over. Now add the sauce, cheese, green bell pepper and mushrooms.

3. Cover the grill and allow to cook over low/med heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

I keep the pizzas small (6 inches) so they are easy to move around. After cooking the first side, I take them off the grill and add the toppings then put them back on. I use a gas grill with mesquite chips - excellent flavor. I use a combo of mozzarella and smoked gouda cheese. 
Make sure you have all of your prep work done, there is no time to waste after you flip the crust over. Also, slice your veggies small/thin. Turn down the heat after flipping

Absolutely DO NOT set your grill to high heat when making this pizza.

Southwest Stuffed Chicken

• 6 (4 ounce) boneless skinless chicken breast halves
• 6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 2-inch x 1/2-inch sticks
• 2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chilies, drained
• 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 tablespoon chili powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
• 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1. Flatten chicken to /18-in. thickness. Place a cheese stick down the middle of each; top with chilies. Roll up and tuck in ends. Secure with a toothpick. In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, chili powder, salt and cumin. Coat chicken with flour, then dip in butter and roll in crumb mixture.

2. Place roll-ups, seam side down, in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. Discard toothpicks.

Grilled Lemon Chicken

• 1/3 cup lemon juice
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1. In a bowl, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, garlic, red bell pepper, salt, and pepper. Set aside 1/4 cup of the mixture to use for basting. Place chicken in the bowl, and marinate at least 20 minutes in the refrigerator.

2. Preheat grill for high heat.

3. Lightly oil grill grate. Drain and discard marinade from the bowl, and place chicken on the grill. Cook 6 to 8 minutes on each side, until juices run clear, basting occasionally with the reserved marinade.

Beer Butt Rosemary Chicken

• 1 (12 fluid ounce) can beer
• 1 orange
• 1 (3 pound) whole chicken
• 1 large sweet onion, sliced
• 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
• seasoned salt, to taste
• 1 (14.5 ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth
• 4 red potatoes, sliced

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a baking dish. Pour out half the beer from the can, spray the can with cooking spray, and set it upright in the center of the baking sheet.

2. Cut 2 thin slices from the orange, and set aside. Cut the rest of the orange into large chunks. Loosen the skin over the breast of the chicken, and insert an orange slice, an onion slice, and 1 rosemary sprig under the skin of each side of the breast. Place the orange chunks and 2 sprigs of rosemary into the cavity of the chicken.

3. Spray the outside of the chicken with cooking oil spray, and sprinkle with seasoned salt to taste. Place the chicken onto the beer can in an upright position, with the can inserted into the cavity of the chicken. Pour the chicken broth into the baking dish, and place the rest of the sliced onion and the potatoes into the broth.

4. Roast in the preheated oven until the skin is crisp, the meat is no longer pink at the bone, and the juices run clear, about 1 1/2 hours. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 180 degrees F (82 degrees C). Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before slicing

Homemade Mozzarella Sticks.

• 2 eggs
• 2 cups milk
• 1 1/2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
• 10 egg roll wrappers
• 10 mozzarella string cheese sticks
• 1 quart vegetable oil for frying


1. Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl. Whisk in the milk, then set aside. Place the bread crumbs into a plastic bag, and set aside.

2. Separate and place an egg roll wrapper onto your work surface with one of the tips pointed towards you. Moisten the two far edges of the wrapper with water. Place a string cheese stick onto the corner nearest you, and roll it in 1/3 of the way, fold over the right and left corners, then continue rolling to the end, pressing to seal. Repeat with the remaining string cheese sticks and egg roll wrappers.

3. Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 350 degrees F (190 degrees C).

4. Dip the mozzarella sticks into the egg wash, then toss in the bread crumbs. Repeat... Cook in batches in the hot oil until crisp and golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

• 10 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
• 1 liter vodka

1. Place the vanilla beans in the bottle of vodka and seal. Store in a cool, dark area such as a kitchen cabinet for 3 weeks, shaking the bottle every week. Three weeks is the minimum, store it 6 months for the best flavor. After using, replace with more vodka. The same beans will continue to flavor the vanilla for up to a year.

I split them and scraped out the seeds and placed seeds and beans into the 1.75 liter bottle of Vodka to age for 3 months, stored it in a dark area and gave it a little shake about once a week. After it aged for 3 months, I filtered it through a gold coffee filter to separate the seeds and bean fibers from the liquid, Don’t discard the beans, save them to place into the individual bottles. Gold coffee filters can be found at Walmart for about $5, they are very fine and make an excellent filter and they don’t absorb the extract. I placed one vanilla bean into each bottle so that it will continue to strengthen in the months to come. Used a small funnel to fill each individual bottle, added my custom labels, a gift tag and bow and I have a wonderful little gift to give to family and friends. I filled 10, 4 oz bottles and 1, 8 oz bottle and had about a cup of extract left over that I saved for myself. I would recommend using a 4 oz bottle; it seemed the perfect size for gift giving.

This is the best way to make your own vanilla extract! Don't buy those little expensive bottles in the grocery store. Make your own! So much cheaper.

Cinnamon Rolls

• 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
• 1 egg
• 3 cups bread flour
• 1/4 cup white sugar
• 3 tablespoons instant powdered milk
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 5 tablespoons butter, softened
• 1 teaspoon instant yeast
• 1/3 cup butter
• 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup butter, softened (for spreading)
• 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 cup brown sugar

1. Place water, egg, bread flour, white sugar, powdered milk, salt, 5 tablespoons butter and yeast in bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select DOUGH setting, and turn machine on.

2. Meanwhile; in a small saucepan, melt 1/3 cup butter. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar and ice cream; bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes. Pour caramel into the bottom of a lightly greased 9 x 13 inch pan.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

4. When machine has finished cycling remove dough from pan and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat dough into a rectangle. Spread with softened butter and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Crumble 1/2 cup brown sugar over the top. Roll up, and seal edge. Cut into 12 rolls, and place in prepared pan of caramel. Allow to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Very good. I was skeptical, even after having read all of the great reviews but they truly are very good. The bread is moist and tender, not hard and with using the bread maker, this is a pretty easy recipe to make. It takes time due to the required rising but other than that, it's quick and easy. I did do a couple of things differently -- I added more cinnamon, 1 tsp was not nearly enough; I omitted the powdered milk; and I used cream instead of ice cream. Next time I'll add nuts and they'll be perfect. I'm glad I didn't heed the advice to double the caramel, they were quite sweet and quite gooey with the recipe as it was. Try 'em, you won't be disappointed.

These are absolutly the best cinnamon rolls! I have made them for everyone this holiday season and all have loved them. The only thing I did different after the first batch was divide my dough in half and bake in 2 8x8 pans. The center rolls wouldn't shrink then, and they looked gorgeous :)

YUM! YUM! These are Soooo good and I can't wait to make them again! I doubled the caramel part and added pecans to the caramel recipe. I read a couple reviews saying it was dry. Mine was not at all dry. When taking from the oven, turn upside down on a platter and all the caramel will be on "top". I also frosted with cream cheese frosting. 1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened, 1/4 cup butter, softened, 1 cup confectioners sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 1/2 teaspoons milk.

Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls

• 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
• 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
• 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 cup butter, melted
• 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. In a small saucepan, heat the buttermilk until warm to the touch.

2. Pour the buttermilk and oil into the yeast mixture; mix well. Combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Stir the flour mixture into the liquid 1 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 20 times. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into a large rectangle. Spread the brown sugar and butter mixture over the dough, roll up into a log and pinch the seam to seal. Slice into 1 inch pieces and place cut side up in a lightly greased 10x15 baking pan. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate overnight. If baking immediately, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

WONDERFUL!!! These cinnamon rolls were very quick and easy, the only changes I had to make were to add more flour (about a cup and a half or two cups) to keep it from being so sticky, and I added some cinnamon to the dough and about 1/4 cup sugar because I noticed the recipe didn't call for any. Also sugar helps the yeast proof faster. Since we love cinnamon, I put more into the brown sugar mix than the recipe called for. Also, I put them in the refrigerator overnight and they rose some, but not as much as I wanted so I let them rise in a warm place for an hour before I baked them. The baking time was only 14 minutes for mine, and the cinnamon rolls were so perfect and golden and ENORMOUS! This recipe made 18 enormous cinnamon rolls. I topped them with homemade cream cheese frosting, but I don't think they needed it because they were already so moist and soft and wonderful. I don't think they were cakey or biscuity at all. A couple tips: Warm the buttermilk over the lowest heat setting or it will start to curdle. Also, once you have your cinnamon roll log, stretch it out a bit if you need to to make it all the same thickness. And to cut them, get a piece of thread and put it around as much roll as you want to cut off.

I follow the dough recipe to the T, then vary the fillings. Mini chocolate chips with toasted pecans and a butter/cinnamon/brown sugar mix.  Make them at night, refrigerate overnight and bake in the morning for something that tastes like you spent hours and hours on it. Oh, and a note. If you warm the buttermilk too much, it curdles, but doesn't wreck it. Just stir with a wisk and dump it into the mixer. No worries!

These cinnamon rolls are easy to make with my dough hook in my Kitchenaid Mixer - they are light and fluffy. I make them into sticky buns by coating the bottom of the pan with molasses/pancake syrup/brown sugar - mixture of anything you would like. Turn them out immediately upon removing from the oven and they are heavenly. We have had raves about them.