Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Herbed Dinner Rolls

I've been using this recipe for many years now. I found it in Quick Cooking, oh how I miss Quick Cooking. Simple & Delicious is just not as good. It uses too many pre-packaged foods to speed up the process, but enough of my soap box. :) The recipe calls for herbs in the dough, but if you don't want them leave them out. I usually use all purpose flour instead of the bread flour the recipe calls for. And I use kosher salt on top. The buttery, saltiness of the top makes these oh so good.


  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano, thyme and rosemary, crushed
  • 3-1/4 cups flour
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • Additional butter, melted
  • Coarse salt, optional


  • In a bread machine pan, place the water, butter, egg, sugar, salt,
  • seasonings, flour and yeast in order suggested by manufacturer.
  • Select dough setting(check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to
  • 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed).

  • When cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Divide dough into 16 portions; shape each into a ball. Place 2 in.
  • apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place
  • until doubled, about 30 minutes.

  • Bake at 375° for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with
  • butter and sprinkle with coarse salt if desired. Remove from pans to
  • wire racks. Yield: 16 rolls.

Tacos & Beans

A few weeks ago I tried a recipe (from Cook's Country, I think) for tacos with refried beans.  It was kind of odd because you set the hard tacos on a bed of refried beans to bake.  With concern that the bottoms would get soggy, I tried it anyway.  The bottoms of the tacos were soggy, but the flavor was good.  So I figured it could be just as good baked in two dishes, one for the beans and one for the tacos.  That method worked much better.  For one can of tomatoes & chilies, I prefer to make 2 lbs ground beef although you only need one lb for this application.  I just put the rest in the freezer to pull out another day.

Tacos with Refried Beans

2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
2 cans tomatoes & chilies (Ro-tel tomatoes)
2 pkg. taco seasoning
1 can refried beans
2 cups shredded cheese (I used pre-shredded Fiesta blend)
12 hard taco shells

Preheat oven to 375.  While the oven heats, combine refried beans and 1 can Ro-tel tomatoes, drained slightly with liquid reserved for the meat.  Put bean mixture into a small casserole dish and top with cheese (I used probably 2/3 cup or so).

In a skillet, cook the ground beef with the diced onion until the meat is no longer pink.  Drain fat if necessary.  Add taco seasoning, the remaining can of tomatoes and reserved juice, and 1/2 cup water.  Cook uncovered until the sauce has thickened (10 min.)

Put the beans in the oven while stuffing the tacos.

When the sauce has thickened, stuff each taco shell with meat mixture and cheese.  Save remaining meet mixture for another use.  Put the tacos in another casserole dish and bake until the cheese has melted (10 min. or so).

We like to serve these with shredded lettuce, taco sauce, salsa, green onions, and sour cream.  Serve the beans as a side dish with tortilla chips or put some right on your taco.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Chocolate Pie

So with the Oscars last weekend I saw a post for Minny's Chocolate Pie from The Help. (The original recipe appeared in the August 2011 Food & Wine issue.) I thought it looked like it could be really good, so I got around to making it today. I mostly followed the directions, but baked it like I usually do for a custard pie. I'm just not a fan of blind baking. I expected this to be a chocolatey custard pie. Wow was I surprised and delighted by the way this fudgy chocolate pie tasted, with a thin crisp layer on the top of the pie and gooey, yet fully set chocolate filling. And it did not really seem custardy either, I think to the appreciation of my guys. We served it with whipped cream and the remaining pieces' minutes are numbered.

I used my standard pie crust, although I have been tweaking that one too. Sorry Great-Grandma Genevieve. This was always a never-fail pie crust, but over the last several years it hasn't rolled as easily as I remembered (darn Crisco changing the formula). So a while ago I tried doing the crust with lard instead of shortening. It rolled like a dream the way I remembered it working when my mom made the crust when I was little. Over the last few years I have had to add extra flour because it was too sticky and it just didn't roll well. It was much more apt to tear. With lard all my troubles went away. The texture was flaky like we wanted. The only drawback was it tasted a bit oily. Today I only had about 1/3 lard for the recipe and used shortening for the rest. The crust worked better than with just shortening and the taste was much more to our liking. I think half and half would work well for taste and ease of use.

Minny’s Chocolate Pie
9-inch pie crust, unbaked
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons sweet butter, melted
2 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whipped cream, for serving

Preheat oven to 450°.
In a bowl, whisk sugar with cocoa powder, butter, eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla and salt until smooth.
Pour filling into pie shell and bake for about 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350° and bake another 30 minutes or until filling is set around edges but a little jiggly in the center. Cover the crust with strips of foil halfway through baking, if desired.
Transfer pie to rack and let cool completely before cutting into wedges.
Serve with whipped cream.

Minny's Chocolate Pie can be refrigerated overnight.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mini-Monsters (Cookies)

There's a recipe from Kraft for Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies. They remind me a lot of Monster Cookies. But I just don't want such a big cookie. So I tweaked this one a bit and used mini-M&M's and you get the big taste of Monster Cookies in a reasonably sized cookie.


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats (quick or old-fashioned)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup mini-M&Ms
1 cup chocolate chips (mini or standard)

Cream sugars, butter, and brown sugar. In another bowl mix flour, oats, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add eggs to butter and sugar mixture one at a time. Gradually add dry ingredients. Mix in M&Ms and chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoons onto cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes, until just starting to brown around the edges. Cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.