Melissa's Cuisine: February 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cinna Spread Bread

Cinna Spread Bread (1/30/11)

Have you seen this deliciousness before?  It's what Mike affectionately calls "Cinna Spread".  As far as we know, it's only available in Canada (the other side of the container is actually in French!), so we stock up when we go there.  We usually have it on toast, it gets all melty and oh so delicious!  Lucky for you, it's possible to make a close replica at home!  On the way home from church the other day, Mike randomly asked, can't you make a bread or something with the cinna spread in it?  That got the wheels turning, and this is what was created!
As I was making it, I realized that I was pretty much making a cinnamon roll, just in a bread form!  Mike was thrilled with this recipe, so that makes it a hit in our household!

You will need:

2 packages (4-1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2-1/2 cups warm water (110-115 degrees F), divided
1/2 cup nonfat powdered milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
7-8 cups flour
1/2 cup Cinna-Spread (recipe below)

1.  In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast into 1/2 cup warm water.  Add 1 Tablespoon sugar, and let it sit until the yeast grows.

2.  Add powdered milk, oil, sugar, brown sugar, salt and 3 cups flour.  Mix until smooth.

3.  Add in remaining flour until a soft dough is formed.

4.  Knead dough until soft and elastic, about 8 minutes.

5.  Place in a greased bowl and cover with a towel.  Let it rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.  (I like to turn my dryer on low heat for about 5 minutes and then place my bowl of dough in the dryer to rise.  It yields a high rise and can lessen the rising time!)

6.  Punch dough down and divide in half.

7.  Roll each half of dough into a long rectangle, about 8 inches wide and 1/2 an inch thick (length will depend on how thin you roll your dough).

8.  Spread cinnamon spread over dough.

9.  Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with the short side.  Pinch seam to seal.

10. Place seam side down in greased loaf pan.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

11.  Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes, until golden brown. 

12.  Brush tops of bread with butter after removing from oven.
Cinna-spread Recipe

You will need:

1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Combine ingredients until smooth. Add more sugar or cinnamon if the taste is not strong enough for you.

Here is what the store-bought cinnamon spread looks like, yours will probably have a softer consistency, but the taste will be similar!!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Chicken, Apple, and Rice Salad

Chicken, Apple, and Rice Salad (1/31/11)
I wanted something light, healthy, and easy for dinner the other night.  I saw a picture of something that looked like this in a magazine I was flipping though at work.  I got lucky--I don't always get paid to read magazines, but someone needed my computer and there was nothing else for me to do!  The picture stayed in my head all day and when I got home, I knew what I would be making for dinner!
You will need:
2 cups brown rice, cooked
2 chicken breasts
3 Tablespoons honey
1 apple (I used a Golden Delicious apple)

1.  Cook chicken breasts in a frying pan.

2.  When chicken is about half cooked, pour honey over each breast.  This will result in a very deep red/brown color, go ahead and let the chicken get some good color!

3.  While chicken is cooking, core and dice apple.

4.  In a bowl, combine rice, chicken, and apple.  This can be served warm or room temperature, as a main dish or a side!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Beer Bread

Beer Bread (1/23/11)

"I cling to my imperfection, as the very essence of my being." ~Anatole France (Jacques Anatole François Thibault), The Garden of Epicurus, 1894

This recipe is not one that will create the perfect loaf of bread. With beer bread, its perfection is in its imperfection. It's a delicious bread, its nutty and somewhat sweet flavor is the perfect addition to a meal, or even a snack (or meal) on its own!

Beer bread is super simple, only 6 ingredients! It takes about 5 minutes to put together and you can be enjoying it in less than an hour! If you've ever purchased a mix to make beer bread, save yourself the money, and make this one instead!
You will need:

3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (12-ounce) can beer
3 tablespoons margarine, melted

1. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.

2. Add beer and mix until combined.

3. Place dough in a greased bread pan.

4. Pour melted margarine over dough.

5. Bake at 350 for 55 minutes, until golden brown.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Beef Stew

Beef Stew (1/23/11)

This is definitely a filling meal! Perfect for a snowy winter day. We had some friends over for dinner and I knew this was the perfect meal. I served this with thick slices of Beer Bread and it went over so well! No-one knew I used 2 cans of beer to make this meal--ha ha! I had the left over stew for lunch the next day and it was just as good, if not better than the day I made it. It had thickened up a lot and was even more of a stew than a soup like the day before.

Note: I took the pictures before I thickened up the stew, but when I served it, it was thicker than it appears!

I saw a post on Tidy Mom a few weeks ago about her Soup-a-Palooza.  It sounded like fun but I didn't know what to enter.  I knew this stew had gone over really well, so I figured it would be the perfect addition to her party!  After all, who can resist an invitation like this?  "Come join Soup-a-Palooza with TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by Bush’s Beans, Hip Hostess, Pillsbury and Westminster Crackers

Tidy Mom

You will need:
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 pounds Stew Meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 can Beer, 12 Ounce
4 cups beef stock (you can also use 4 cups water and 4 beef bouillon cubes)
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
2 teaspoons Sugar
4 whole Carrots, diced in 1/2 inch pieces
6 whole New Potatoes, diced
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add meat to pan and brown.
3. Add onion and garlic to pan and cook until onions are tender.
4. Pour in beer, water, beef stock, tomato paste, salt, and sugar.
5. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours. The liquid will cook down, if it gets too thick, add up to 2 cups water to thin it out.
6. Add carrots and potatoes. Cook for 30 more minutes.
Adapted from: Pioneer Woman

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mess-less S'mores

Oh, these are just so good!  They would make the perfect treat for Valentine's Day!

I love to make homemade marshmallows, I don't know if I'll ever use store-bought again.  Homemade marshmallows are so fluffy, sticky, vanilla-infused, and delicious!  Another thing I love is s'mores.  They just scream campfire, summer, warmth...  All things I really miss during a cold (and long) Michigan winter. 

I just received a package of vanilla beans in the mail and I knew I had to make marshmallows again!  I wanted to do something different though.  I thought about just dipping them in chocolate, but then I thought, why not s'mores?  This is what I came up with.  I brought them to my small group and they went over real well.  I know I'll be making these time and time again!

You know, I really don't think the name I chose for this snack really describes how incredible these are. If you have any name suggestions, please feel free to share them!
You will need:

1 pan of homemade marshmallows (click here for my recipe)
1 package graham crackers
1 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)
1/4 block of parafin wax (or baking wax),  could be optional, but I like the way it helps the chocolate dry and the shine it gives the chocolate

1.  Break graham crackers into 4 pieces.

2.  Using crackers as a guide, cut marshmallows into pieces the same length and width of the crackers.  (I found that I could get the length of 3 crackers from the short side of the marshmallows, and about 8 crackers wide.  I hope that makes sense!)

3.  Melt wax in a microwave safe bowl.  It took about 3-1/2 minutes for my wax to melt completely.

4.  Stir chocolate chips into wax.  They should begin to melt, but you can put the chocolate chips in the microwave in 20 second increments until the chips are melted and smooth.

5.  Assemble the s'mores by placing a marshmallow on top of a graham cracker and then topping with another graham cracker. 

6.  Dip the s'more into the melted chocolate and coat completely.  Remove s'more with a fork and place on waxed paper.

Oh so good!  I just couldn't resist!!!

Fun with Fondant

A few weeks ago I invited 2 of my friends to come over to bake cakes and decorate them with fondant.  Both girls had been wanting to learn how and we had such a great time!   We made a chocolate cake, and divided it up between the three of us.  Each of the girls used two 5 inch ramekins and I used 4 smaller ramekins for my cake.  Kaylyn made hers into a double layer cake with chocolate frosting between the layers.  Libby cut each of her cakes in half to make a 4 layer cake with vanilla frosting.  I made each of my cakes into a double layer cake with strawberry frosting.  I know I definitely need more work with fondant to make mine look good, but we had so much fun :)
Kaylyn's cake (pink fondant with black royal icing)

Libby's Cake (purple fondant with yellow and black royal icing)

It was Valentine's weekend, so I made individual cakes for Mike and my parents.  I used pink fondant and made each of our initials out of milk chocolate.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Individual Apple Crisps

Individual Apple Crisps (1/20/11)
We had lots of apples in the house the other day so I was trying to come up with a use for them. I had seen a recipe before for baked bananas with Heath bar crumbles and caramel, and that was actually part of the inspiration for this recipe. (The other inspiration? You guessed it--apple crisp!) The more I thought about it, the more clear the picture in my head became of what I wanted to make. This was such an easy recipe, I threw it together in about 10 minutes and the house smelled wonderful as the apples baked.

I think these were fabulous. I topped mine with warm caramel sauce, and Mike had a few scoops of vanilla bean ice-cream with his. You can bake these in a baking dish, or in individual ramekins like I did. I would recommend eating these the day they're made. I had one the next day and the "crisp" part became more like a bowl of oatmeal! (It still tasted good, just not the texture I was going for!)

You will need:
4 medium sized apples
1/2 cup oatmeal
2 Tablespoons margarine, melted
4 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon cinnamon sugar

1. Peel and core apples. If you don't have an apple corer (I don't), here's what I did: Use a sharp pearing knife to cut around where the core is. Then I used a grapefruit spoon to scoop out the apple.
2. Mix together oatmeal, margarine, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
3. Spoon oatmeal mixture into the wells in your apples.
4. Sprinkle apples with cinnamon sugar.
5. Place apples in baking dish and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
6. Top with caramel sauce and/or ice-cream. Serve warm.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Superbowl Round-up~~Spinach Dip

Spinach Dip (2/6/11)
I really don't know if this needs much of an explination...really...spinach dip.  It's just so good!  I went back for food probably 3 times during the Superbowl game, and every time, this dip was on my plate!  I do have to say, I was pretty happy that there was a little bit leftover after the party, so I could enjoy it the next day!

You will need:
1 8 oz package cream cheese (I actually used Neufchatel)
1/2 cup mayonaise (I used light)
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 package frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and chopped
1 cup cheese crumbles (I cut a block of cheese into small pieces)

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Superbowl Round-up~~Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels (2/6/11)
Everyone loved these pretzels!  The hint of sweetness from the sugar, spiciness from the cinnamon, and saltiness from the, you guessed it!, salt makes for such a delicious treat.

You will need:
1/2 bag pretzels
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
olive oil

1.  Spread pretzels on a cookie sheet.

2.  Mix cinnamon and sugar together.

3.  Drizzle olive oil over pretzels.  Toss with your hands to ensure even coverage.

4.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over pretzels.

5.  Bake at 300 for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Superbowl Round-up~~Peanut Butter Cup Bars

Peanut Butter Cup Bars (2/6/11)
I love peanut butter cups.  Seriously, for Christmas Mike put a ton of them in my stocking, and I was one happy camper!  I love making peanut butter bars and I think this is my best version yet!  It was a huge hit at our party and I had to send some home with my friend so I'd stop eating them :)

You will need:
3/4 cup margarine, divided
1-3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter (I used creamy but you can use chunky just as well!)
3/4 cup crushed pretzels
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

1.  Line an 8x8 pan with foil.

2.  In a microwave safe bowl, melt 1/2 cup of the margarine. 

3.  Stir in powdered sugar until smooth.

4.  Add in peanut butter and crushed pretzels and stir until completely combined.

5.  Spread peanut butter mixture into foil lined pan.

6.  In a microwave safe bowl, melt remaining 1/4 cup of the margarine.

7.  Add chocolate and stir until melted.  You might need to put it back in the microwave for 15 seconds if the chips won't melt completely.

8.  Pour chocolate over peanut butter layer and smooth.

9.  Refrigerate at least an hour, until set.

10.  Remove from pan using the foil as a "handle" and cut with a pizza cutter.

If you have any leftovers, you'll want to store them in the fridge!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Superbowl Round-up~~Pizza Bites

Pizza Bites (2/6/11)
 Our Superbowl party was a huge success!  We had a ton of fun and a lot of food!  Over the next few days I'll be sharing recipes for the foods I served.  First up, pizza bites!

I first made these pizza bites for game night with our friends, but I didn't have time to take a picture.  They went over so well, everyone loved them.  I knew they would be making the cut for our Superbowl menu.  I made a double batch, so I ended up with about 56 little bites, and by the end of the night they were all gone!!!  These are so easy to make and absolutely delicious!

You will need:

3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
30 pieces of pepperoni, cut into 6 pieces
1 cup pizza sauce

1.  Mix together flour, baking powder, milk, egg, salt, seasoning, cheese, and pepperoni.

2.  Let it stand for 10 minutes.

3.  Stir batter and drop by the tablespoon into greased mini muffin cups.

4.  Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, until puffed and golden.

5.  Serve with warmed pizza sauce for dipping!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Sausage Stuffed Potatoes

Sausage Stuffed Potatoes (1/19/11)

I came across this recipe a while back and thought it looked fabulous! Mike and I eat a lot of potatoes, I fix them in many different ways, but I had never made twice-baked potatoes. My dad has, we used to have them on special occasions, and I know they're delicious! When I saw these potatoes I knew they would be perfect for Mike and I, a simple one dish meal. I made quite a few changes to the original recipe (mostly substituting healthier ingredients), and Mike and I both really liked these.

You will need:

4 medium sized potatoes
3/4 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 cup reduced fat Monterey Jack cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1 Tablespoon garlic
1 "rope" smoked turkey sausage (I used Eckrich)
Olive oil

1. Cook potatoes in microwave until baked through.
2. Cool potatoes until they can be easily handled.
3. Scoop the insides out of each potato, leaving enough potato near the skin to form a sturdy shell. I did this by cutting an oval in the middle of the potato and then scooping out the potato with a spoon.
4. Place insides in a mixing bowl and add sour cream, cheese, and garlic. Whip until potato mixture is creamy.
5. Slice the sausage rope down the middle lengthwise. Then slice each half in half again lengthwise. Dice sausage into small pieces.
6. Stir sausage into potato mixture.
7. Scoop potato mixture into potato shell. Rub potato shell with olive oil and sprinkle with salt to create a crispy potato shell.

8. Place each shell in a baking dish and bake at 350 about 20 minutes, until potatoes are hot.
9. Sprinkle with cheese before serving.
Adapted from: A Southern Fairytale

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Super Bowl is Tomorrow!

Is it bad that I wanted to host a Super Bowl party just so I could make a ton of food?  :)  No, I don't think so either!  I spent the majority of the day in the kitchen today;  most of it was spent making these incredible cookies!  I used my go-to sour cream sugar cookie, covered it with a marshmallow fondant, and then decorated it with royal icing.  I was thrilled with the results, especially since it's only my first time working with royal icing! 

These were so much fun to make!  I'll be posting the recipe for them soon!

Here's my Super Bowl menu (sorry, no recipes yet but they're coming!  I should have planned ahead and made the recipes to post on here before hand!)

Super Bowl Sugar Cookies
Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels
Peanut Butter Cup Bars
Spinach Dip with Crackers
Vegetable Dip with Chips and Carrots
Pizza Bites
Lil' Smokies in BBQ sauce
Chimichangas and Taquitos (a friend is bringing these!)

What are you doing for Super Bowl?

Quarter Pound Chocolate Chip Cookies

Quarter Pound Chocolate Chip Cookies (1/17/11)

These cookies are similar to the ones I posted the other day, just not double chocolate. Mike prefers just chocolate chip cookies, so I thought I would try the recipe, just omitting the cocoa powder and adding in some brown sugar. The results were delicious!

You will need:

2 sticks margarine, cold
1-1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2-1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2-1/2 cups chocolate chips

1. Combine margarine and sugars in a mixing bowl.

2. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.

3. Add in eggs, one at a time.

4. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder to the bowl and mix until incorporated.

5. Fold in chocolate chips with a spoon.

6. Divide dough into 4 ounce portions (or 12 equal pieces).

7. Form into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet, 2-3 inches apart.

8. Flatten balls slightly with your palm.

9. Bake at 350 for 16-19 minutes.

10. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to completely cool.

Adapted from: Annie's Eats

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Giant Double Chocolate Cookies

Giant Double Chocolate Cookies (1/17/11)

I saw these cookies the other day and bookmarked the recipe immediately. I couldn't wait to make them! They were every bit as fabulous as I'd imagined and I know I'll be making them again.
These cookies are quite dense and thick, as you can see from the picture. You'll only need one to fill you up (they make a delicious, though unhealthy, lunch!) I'll be experimenting with these cookies too, maybe trying some peanut butter chips, or even white chocolate chips!

You will need:

2 sticks margarine, cold
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
2-1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2-1/2 cups chocolate chips

1. Combine margarine and sugar in a mixing bowl.

2. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.

3. Add in eggs, one at a time.

4. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa powder to the bowl and mix until incorporated.

5. Fold in chocolate chips with a spoon.

6. Divide dough into 4 ounce portions (or 12 equal pieces).

7. Form into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet, 2-3 inches apart.

8. Flatten balls slightly with your palm.

9. Bake at 350 for 16-19 minutes.

10. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to completely cool.

Source: Annie's Eats
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