Sunday, April 24, 2016

Cowboy Lasagna

 Once again, another twist on a classic. I love this recipe because it's chock full of meat, just the way my hubby likes it. And the variety of meats give it a great flavor. I also love recipes in a casserole dish because I can make it early in the day, put it in the fridge, then just pop it in the oven. Perfect!!

2T olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground sausage (I use Jimmy Dean Regular sausage)
1/2 pound pepperoni, cut into quarters
16oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes (regular can be substituted if you don't like fire roasted)
12oz can tomato paste
1T dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
16oz lasagna noodles
16oz ricotta cheese
16oz mozzerella cheese (or any other grated cheese you like. I like to use a medley of mozzerella and cheddar)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


In a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, add the oil and lightly brown the ground beef and sausage with the onion and garlic. Be sure to keep the meat chunky, not finely separated, while cooking. Add the pepperoni, tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, salt, pepper and 2 cups water. Bring to a simmer and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. (You can always use your own tomato or marinara sauce here, or use a canned sauce to save time. We all know we need a time saving option every once in a while.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions, drain and then lay out flat on parchment paper or foil so they don't stick.

In the bottom of a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan, spread a layer of the prepared sauce. Top with a layer of the lasagna noodles and the ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Repeat, ending with the sauce, noodles and cheeses.

Bake until lightly browned and bubbling, about 40 minutes. Allow the dish to stand for 15 minutes before serving. Cut and serve. Enjoy the rustic goodness!!

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

I thought I had the whole cinnamon roll thing figured out. I had a recipe that was no-fail and tasted great. And THAT is the reason why you should always be trying new recipes. You never know what you're going to miss!! For some reason I wondered if there was a better recipe out there for cinnamon rolls. I found this one and I will NEVER go back. They're absolutely perfect!

 I mean look at them! Have you ever seen a yummier cinnamon roll, besides Cinnabon?! They're so soft, buttery and the perfect ratio of bun to cinnamon gooeyness.

 Don't pass up this opportunity to make and eat amazing cinnamon rolls at home!

For the dough:
3/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 egg
1/3 cup oil
4 and 1/2 - 5 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:
1 and 1/4 cups light brown sugar
2 and 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature

For the whipped cream cheese frosting:
1 8oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 t vanilla
1 and 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 
1T powdered sugar


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar ( I measure the 1/2 cup sugar then take 1T from that.) Stir together, then let the yeast rise for about 5-10 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, and oil until well-combined. After 10 minutes, the yeast should look frothy and bubbly. At this point, pour in the buttermilk mixture, remaining sugar, and salt, and stir together for 10-15 seconds.

Pour in 2 cups of the measured flour, and stir on low speed until incorporated. Continue to pour in flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the bowl and bowl starts to look clean. Increase speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky, but not sticky enough to stick to your fingers when touched.

Transfer dough to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, then set aside in a warm place to rise for 1-2 hours, or until dough has doubled in size. I usually heat my oven up to 100 degrees then turn it off.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch until combined. 

Butter an 11x15 inch glass baking dish (or 1 9x13 and an 8x8 square pan or pie dish).

Once dough has risen, liberally flour a large, clean work surface. Punch down the dough to remove air bubbles, then transfer it to the work surface. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle, roughly 20x30 inches wide. Spread softened butter over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1-inch strip on the edge of the dough farthest from you untouched. Spread the room temperature butter evenly over the dough. Evenly sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over the butter, then use a rolling pin to gently roll over the mixture and slightly press it into the butter. This can get the rolling pin really messy, but necessary for the filling not to fall out after you've rolled it up.

Starting with the edge of the dough closest to you, gently roll up the dough into a tight log, sealing it with the strip of dough you left untouched. Cut off any uneven ends. Score dough every two inches, then use those marks to evenly slice your dough into rolls.

Place rolls into parchment paper lined baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap, then set aside in a warm place to rise 1-2 hours, or until rolls have doubled in size and are almost touching each other. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 15-17 minutes, or until tops start to brown. Do not overbake!

While rolls are baking, prepare your frosting. In a bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and beat until combined. Pour in powdered sugar and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Then, increase speed to high and beat for an additional 5 minutes, or until frosting turns white. In a separate bowl, whip the cream and 1T powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold it into the cream cheese mixture.

Once you remove the rolls from the oven, spread half of the frosting on top of them. This layer will melt into the rolls. Once they've cooled down, spread on the remaining frosting. Serve warm or reheat before serving.ENJOY!!
*Adapted from Culinary Couture
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