40-Minute Hamburger Buns

2 May

The other day I decided to make some pulled pork but didn’t have any buns. Feeling too lazy to go to the store I decided to make my own. Only I didn’t want it to take hours of my time. Imagine my delight when I found this recipe! It was super easy to put together and the buns turned out great. They are a little on the small side so if you want larger buns adjust accordingly. I’m guessing 8 buns would give you a nice size for larger hamburgers. Also, I weighed my flour and ended up using a bit more than the 3-1/2 cups of flour stated but I suck at making bread so you might be alright.

2014-04-30 20.20.05

Yield: 1 dozen

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil and sugar and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg, salt, and enough flour to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes. Do not let rise. Divide into 12 pieces and shape each into a ball. Place 3 inches apart on a greased baking sheet.
  3. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Bake at 425°F for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Adapted from Taste of Home

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Homemade Sunbutter

25 Apr

I’ve been trying my hand at a few different types of homemade nut butters lately and so far this has been my favorite.  Yes, I realize sunflower seeds are not nuts, but the term “seed” butter doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. My little 2 year old loves to eat this by the spoonful and I think it’s a great substitute for peanut butter for those who have allergies. This is super easy to make and takes less than 5 minutes in a food processor. Also, I custom make each batch… meaning I just add things to taste. This isn’t an exact science. If you’ve never tried your hand at making your own “nut” butter, I highly recommend it!

sunbutter

Ingredients

  • toasted sunflower seeds (I buy salted roasted ones from the bulk bins at the grocery store, but you could roast raw ones yourself)
  • light flavored oil (I use olive oil)
  • honey or other liquid sweetener, if desired
  • salt

Directions

Place sunflower seeds in the bowl of a food processor with the blade attachment. I think I used about 2-3 cups of seeds. Don’t use too many or it’ll be hard to get a good consistency. The seeds will go through several stages before they get to the correct consistency and you’ll probably have to stop it every so often to scrape down the sides. First the seeds will get a mealy consistency, then pasty/clumpy. Keep processing until the seeds are smooth and release their oils. The mixture will look relatively smooth and shiny.

Once you get to this point, taste the butter. This is the time to add extra salt and/or honey. I think honey gives it a great sweetness that pairs very well with the seeds. Don’t underestimate the importance of salt, especially if your seeds were not salted, you’ll need to add a bit to bring out the flavor. Once the honey and salt are mixed in well, you can adjust the consistency of the butter to your liking. Just add a bit of your oil at a time until the desired consistency is reached. And that’s it! You really could use this same process for any other nut/seed butter you want to make. Try out different flavors and variations and see which one you like best!

Classic Spaghetti & Meatballs

15 Apr
2014-04-09 17.59.35

I had a pretty picture all set up of the beautiful sauce & meatballs sitting on top of the spaghetti with cheese and then I promptly forgot about the picture and ate it instead. So here’s my half-eaten plate of spaghetti & meatballs!

I don’t know what it is about spaghetti and meatballs that’s so fun. It always just looks so delicious and comforting. Now I typically just make spaghetti with meat sauce, but every once in a while I like to mix it up a bit and do meatballs instead. These meatballs are super easy to make and have a great flavor from using a 50/50 mixture of ground pork and ground beef. And the spaghetti sauce is killer too. This whole recipe will probably take close to 2 hours to make, but most of that is for the sauce to simmer. Well worth the time I say.

2014-04-09 16.23.25

For the Meatballs:

  • ¾ pound ground pork
  • ¾ pound ground beef
  • 1 Tablespoon onion, minced
  • ½ teaspoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1-1½ cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a large mixing bowl add the meats and blend together with your hands. Add the onion, parsley, pepper, and garlic salt. Mix again with your hands until the seasonings are well blended with the meat. Add the eggs and while mixing, add in the bread crumbs ½ cup at a time (up to 1½ cups) until the meat begins to feel slightly firm.

Form the meat into 1½” balls with your hands and place on a baking sheet so the meatballs are close but not touching. Bake for 10 minutes or until browned. The meatballs will not be fully cooked.  (Start sauce while meatballs are cooking).

Adapted from Food.com

For the Sauce:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1½ teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼-½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 1 pound spaghetti noodles

In a large, heavy stockpot, cook the onions in olive oil until softened. Add garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Add basil, parsley, brown sugar, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Stir in red wine & meatballs.

Simmer on low, stirring occasionally for at least an hour. About 10-15 minutes before sauce is ready, cook spaghetti noodles.

Spoon sauce and meatballs over drained spaghetti and sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese.

Adapted from Food.com

Slow Cooker Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)

13 Apr

2014-03-16 12.48.05

I haven’t made too many Indian meals and thought this would be a quick, easy way to experiment. This had great flavor and was a big hit around here. Even my toddler loved it (which is a rarity). I cut back on the cayenne pepper a bit just to make it more kid-friendly and it still had a good amount of heat. I also shredded my chicken for easier eating. Nice to have something different that wasn’t too “weird”.

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (can use frozen)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2  teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/2  teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
  • 1 can (15 oz.) coconut milk
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream (to add at the end)

Directions:

Put chicken in 5 quart or larger slow cooker and add onion, garlic, spices, butter, tomato paste, lemon juice, and coconut milk. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4. The chicken should shred easily with 2 forks when fully cooked.

Stir in yogurt (or sour cream) 15 minutes before serving.  Salt to taste and serve with white or brown basmati rice.

Adapted from Crockpot 365

Crash Hot Potatoes

25 Mar

Smashed potatoes

I’ve never been a huge fan of red potatoes. Especially when quartered and boiled and served as a side at restaurants. No thanks. But, over the years I’ve come to find several variations of red potatoes which I actually enjoy. These Crash Hot Potatoes are my latest and most tasty find. I’ve made these babies probably 4 times in the last month or so. While they do take a bit of time to make, they really aren’t much work. Most of the time involved is waiting for them to cook. Using smaller potatoes will obviously cut way down on the cooking time. I’ve taken to using my pressure cooker for the first part of the process as it’s quicker and more fool-proof to get tender potatoes. This works especially well when I only have larger potatoes to work with.

One really great thing about this recipe is you can pretty much use whatever herb you like. The first time I made these I only had dried thyme available but they still turned out great. I’ve since made them with fresh thyme and fresh rosemary, both of which were awesome. This is now my go-to side whenever potatoes are needed. Give them a shot!

Go to Recipe

 

Bibimbap

25 Feb

bibimbap

I’d never heard of bibimbap before but it looked so delicious I knew I had to try it. There are a lot of components but none of them are too difficult to put together. This is mainly chopping and cooking glorious amounts of fresh veggies. You really could use just about any kind of veggies you like in here so it’s easily customizable. I would suggest however, that you try to the cucumbers as they added a delightful fresh spiciness to the mix. Have I mentioned I’ve already made this twice?

Go to Recipe

Quick “Roasted” Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

10 Feb

Brussels sprouts with bacon

I’m not sure why everybody is always hating on Brussels sprouts. They’re my favorite vegetable, especially when they’re roasted… mm mmm! I came across this recipe in my America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook and tried it out. It was a fabulous way to quickly cook the sprouts (there’s a microwave involved!), but still have the awesome results brought on by roasting.

Serves 4

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 slices bacon, sliced into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Microwave bacon in large bowl, uncovered, until rendered, about 3 minutes. Stir in Brussels sprouts, cover, and continue to microwave until largest sprout is just tender, about 4 minutes.

Transfer mixture to rimmed baking sheet and broil, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crisp and sprouts are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

From America’s Test Kitchen’s Quick Family Cookbook

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