Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pizza Stuffed Monkey Bread

Regular sweet monkey bread is addicting enough but warping it into a savory dish elevates it to a new level. You can use biscuit dough or premade pizza dough as the base. I prefer to use the Boule Bread recipe from the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. You can stuff it with any pizza ingredients. I must stress that the miracle ingredient is fresh mozzarella.
Omit pepperoni to make vegetarian!

Pizza Stuffed Monkey Bread

6 1/2 cups flour
2 pkgs yeast
1 1/2 tbsp salt
3 cups room temp water

1 can tomato sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
dash of:

Dipping butter:
1.5 sticks butter, melted
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil

Stuffing ideas:
Red Bell Pepper, fine diced
FRESH mozzarella, cubed
Italian sausage, browned and drained
Mushrooms, diced

Cheddar and parmesan for topping, if desired

Mix all the bread ingredients together with your hands. No kneading, no mixer. Just mush until well mixed. Cover and let rise 2-4 hours. This is a very moist and sticky dough

Rip off a golf ball sized piece and pull it into a flat round. Stuff with ingredients. For ours, I placed a slice of pepperoni on it and topped with a few pieces of cheese and peppers, and covered with another piece of pepperoni. Then pinch it closed.

Dip the pieces in herbed butter. Place in a bundt pan or angel food cake pan. Layer with cheeses.

Top with any extra toppings.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or so, until well browned.

While baking, combine sauce ingredients and simmer until time to serve

Parmesan and Balsamic Glazed Roasted Asparagus

We love asparagus in this house. The recipe has the perfect balance of the sweetness and zip of the balsamic and the lovely funk of the parmesan.

Parmesan and Balsamic Glazed Roasted Asparagus

1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 lbs asparagus
Olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup fresh shredded parmesan

Place the balsamic and red pepper flakes in a small sauce pan and reduce on medium high heat until thick

Meanwhile, coat asparagus in olive oil, salt and pepper.

Roast at 400 for 10-15 minutes until crisp but tender and starting to brown.

Sprinkle with parmesan and drizzle with balsamic reduction

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stuffed Chicken Marsala

Did you know that Olive Garden puts some of their recipes up on their website?? Well, they do. Stuffed chicken marsala is one of my favorite things to get from them. This recipe is actually easier than you would think, but it tastes AMAZING. And the left over stuffing goes great toasted on bread or we put it into  scrambled eggs this morning and it was heavenly.

Stuffed Chicken Marsala
Adapted from Olive Garden


  1. Cheese Stuffing
  3. 1/2 cup smoked shredded cheese (provolone or gouda)
  4. 8-oz package mozzarella cheese, shredded
  5. 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  6. 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  7. 1 tsp fresh garlic, minced
  8. 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, crushed
  9. 3 Tbsp sun-dried tomato flakes (drain first if in oil)
  10. 1/3 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  11. 3/4 cup sour cream 
  12. Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Sauce
  2. 1 small onion,finely diced
  3. 16 fl oz Marsala wine
  4. 8 fl oz heavy cream
  5. 2 small containers crimini mushrooms
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
  1. 2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  2. 4 fl oz olive oil
  3. 2 cups all-purpose flour
Combine all cheese stuffing ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Butterfly thickest section of chicken breasts to create 2 lobes. Do not cut all the way through
 Place chicken breasts on a plate and place desired amount of stuffing on one lobe of each chicken breast. Gently press stuffing down. Fold over other lobe of chicken breast; does not have to seal. 

Heat large sauté pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and heat until shimmering. 
Plac flour in a shallow pan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Dredge stuffed chicken breasts in flour, shaking off excess. 
Saute chicken breasts with preheated oil, cooking until each side is golden brown.

Remove chicken from pan and place in a 9x13 pan. 

Add onions to sauté pan, and stir to loosen chicken drippings. After 2 minutes, add mushrooms and sauté until onions are translucent. Deglaze pan with Marsala wine – make sure to incorporate drippings from bottom of pan. Heat wine to a simmer.

 Heavy simmer for 10 minutes. Add heavy cream. Simmer on low heat until reduced by more than half.

When you add the cream to the sauce, put chicken in 350 degree oven for 10-20 minutes, or until juices run clean and center of chicken reaches 165°F.   Place cooked chicken breasts on a plate and top each with onions, mushrooms and sauce. Serve with your favorite garlic mashed potato recipe.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Seriously the World's Best Cinnamon Rolls

They may be more work than the can of cinnamon rolls, but I will never go back. These are amazing and always a huge hit.In fact, these are going to fit into some holiday morning tradition. They are easy to start the night before and pull out of the fridge and finish in the morning.

Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from Clone of a Cinnabon


1 cup warm milk
1 pkg of dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
4 1/2 cups bread flour, divided
2 eggs
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp kosher salt

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 stick butter, softened
3 tbsp cinnamon
pinch of ground clove and ginger (optional)

4oz cream cheese
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

1st thing, set out the stick of butter to use later for the filling!

Mix milk, yeast, and sugar in a kitchenaid bowl and let sit 10 minutes until foamy.

Add  4 cups flour, eggs, butter, and salt.

Mix on medium with dough hook until it starts to come together and then lower to "2"

Let knead 10 minutes. Add additional flour slowly if bread is too sticky.

Cover with a towel and let rise 1-4 hours.

Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead one moment and let rest 15 minutes.

Roll out to approximately 16x20 inches.

Rub with soft butter. All the way to the very edges. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Press lightly into the dough. Roll tightly. Use dental floss. Cut in half. Cut each half, in half. Cut each forth into thirds. You will have 12 rolls.

Spray a 9x13 pan. 

Place the smaller "end" rolls in the middle and the fatter "middle" rolls on the outer edge of the pan.

Either cover with foil and put in the fridge overnight, or let set on the counter 1 hour.

If refrigerated,  then put in cold oven and then preheat. (Take out the cream cheese for the frosting!)

Bake at 350 for 20-25 (maybe 5 extra if from cold)

Mix the cream cheese and vanilla. Add powdered sugar to desired sweetness

Once rolls are done, flip out and let the cinnamon sugar drizzle back down them.

Frost and enjoy

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Roasted Veggie and Balsamic Meatloaf

I hate meatloaf. Except this meatloaf.

I always picture meatloaf being this dry solid piece of ground beef covered in ketchup. Bleck.

This is flavorful and moist and colorful. My Father in Law said it was the best meatloaf he has ever eaten.

Roasted Veggie and Balsamic Meatloaf.
Adapted from Bobby Flay


1 lg zucchini, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, divided
2 lg eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2lbs lean ground hamburger
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan
1 cup ketchup, divided
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, divided.

Preheat oven to 425

Its VERY important to finely dice the veggies! Its already a loose meatloaf, but if the veggies are too big, it will fall apart.

Saute veggies, garlic, and red pepper flakes with olive oil on med low heat for 5 minutes or so until veggies are soft. Let cool

In a large bowl, combine eggs and herbs. Add meat, bread crumbs, cheese, half the ketchup, and half the balsamic. Add the cooled veggies. Combine lightly with hands. Don't mash but combine well.

Form into a loaf shape on a sheet pan. This will allow for maximum crust.

Mix remaining balsamic, ketchup, and red pepper flakes.

Coat the meatloaf well.

Cook 60-75 minutes or until reaches 170 internal temp.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Baked Penne with Bacon, Red Bell Peppers, and Spinach

Think of this as Mac and Cheese, on crack.

Its has the bake-y cheesy carb-y comfort food factor, but a ka-pow of bacon and roasted red bell peppers. There are a lot of pots to this meal but its worth the clean up.

Baked Penne with Bacon, Red Bell Peppers, and Spinach
Adapted from RecipeGirl


For the sauce:
2 cups milk
16oz container Pacific Natural Foods Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup (in the soup or natural section)
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
salt and pepper

For the pasta:
1 pound penne pasta, cooked at dente according to instructions
8 slices bacon
1 jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
6 oz sliced provolone, torn into chunks
1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan, divided
Salt and pepper

Place bacon on rack on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 for 20+ minutes until very crispy

Cook penne as directed
Once bacon is done, preheat oven to 350


In a small saucepan, heat milk and soup on med heat until small bubbles form around the outside

In a skillet, melt butter

Add flour and whisk. Cook a few minutes, whisking quite often.

Slowly add milk/soup to the flour/butter, whisking thoroughly. It will be lumpy, but it smooths out.

Heat, stirring often, until it thickens up.

In a large bowl, put the sauce, red peppers, crumbled spinach,  the provolone, and 1/2 the parmesan and combine.

Mix in the pasta.

Put into a 9x13 pan and top with crumbled bacon and rest of cheese.

Cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes at 350 and uncover for 10 minutes.

Dutch Oven Garlic Herb Bread

This bread can be made with any mixture of herbs. I am partial to the parsley/basil/garlic combo, but chive or rosemary would be amazing as well. Depending on the combo of herbs you choose, this bread really can be a part of any meal.

Dutch Oven Garlic Herb Bread
Adapted from Pioneer Woman

4 cups all purpose flour, divided
1 cup warm water
1 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp honey (or sugar)
2 tsp salt
1 stick melted butter
2-3 tbsp of your favorite herbs (I used basil and parsley)
1 tbsp garlic powder (optional)

Proof yeast in water and honey. Once it foams

Add 3 cups flour, butter, salt, and herbs/garlic.

Mix well with dough hook on med speed. Once it starts to come together, slow to "2"

Slowly add the remaining flour until the dough balls up on the hook and isn't too sticky

Let machine knead for 8-10 minutes. Place in 1 gallon ziplock and seal with all the air out. Let rise in warm place 1-4 hours.

Preheat to 450.

Lightly knead dough. Lightly coat in olive oil and place in dutch oven. Sprinkle with coarse salt and with a serrated knife cut an X about 1/3 deep into the bread.

Cover and cook 30 minutes. Uncover and cook 15 minutes more.

Let cool pretty well. Tear a chunk off and enjoy with your meal. This goes very well with Italian dishes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Baked Spicy Veggie Eggrolls

Asian food is some of our favorite things to eat. We can't find any really good Chinese restaurants around here, so I have been dabbling more.

I hate frying. It takes a ton of oil, and your house stinks for a week. Not to mention the obvious "its crappy for you" reasons.

I wanted something to pair with my Egg Drop Soup. I have wanted to do some "soup and sandwich" nights. Asian sandwich....well, egg rolls are wrapped...close enough.

Baked Spicy Veggie Eggrolls

~2 cups cole slaw mix (I found fine cut slaw and it worked GREAT)
~3 medium carrots, grated.
~1 can bean sprouts, drained
~1 can water chestnuts, chopped
~3 green onions, diced
~2 garlic cloves, minced
~1 tsp fresh ginger, minced (powdered would be ok)
~4 tsp cornstarch
~1 tbsp soy sauce
~2 tsp honey
~1 tsp chili garlic sauce
~1 tsp sesame oil
~1 pkg egg roll wrappers

 Dipping sauce

Combine and whisk :

~1 tbsp rice vinegar
~1 tsp Sriracha
~1 tsp chili garlic sauce
~1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
~1 tbsp honey


Preheat to 425.

Put carrots, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, green onions, garlic, and ginger in a large saucepan on medium and cook until veggies soften. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, soy sauce, honey, chili garlic sauce, and sesame oil. Whisk and add to veggies. Cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Spoon 1/4 cup of mixture into bottom 1/3rd of egg roll wrapper. Fold in sides and roll tightly. Place seam side down on sprayed baking sheet. Spray well with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes on one side, and 10 on the other.

Egg Drop Soup

My husband loves soup. And brothy soup specifically. I have never had Egg Drop Soup before, but he looooves it. So I decided to give it a shot. Its CRAZY easy and pretty good (extremely good and spot on to restaurant egg drop soup, according to Husb)

Egg Drop Soup

Adapted from Simply Recipes


~4 cups low sodium chicken broth, divided (veggie broth for vegetarian)
~ 1 tbsp cornstarch
~1 tsp fresh grated ginger
~1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
~3 green onions, chopped
~1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
~3/4 cup crimini mushrooms
~2 lightly beaten eggs

Reserve 1/2 cup chicken broth and mix with cornstarch.

Put rest of broth, ginger, soy sauce, green onions, pepper, and mushrooms in a pot on medium high. Bring to boil. Add cornstarch broth. Return to boil and lower to medium.

Stir soup and as stirring, slowly pour eggs into soup. Stir until egg ribbons form.

Simmer 1 minutes and serve!

Cheesy Roasted Red Bell Pepper Dip

I made this Pre-Blog to take to a Anti-Super Bowl game. I don't have a pic of it, but man it was yummy. Its like spinach and artichoke dip, but also very different. I actually think you could pair the two together and it would be a nice match. I serve this with my Tricolor Braided Bread

Cheesy Roasted Red Bell Pepper Dip
Adapted from HowSweetEats


~12 oz 1/3rd fat cream cheese, room temp
~8 oz asiago cheese, grated
~6oz parmesan cheese, grated
~8oz fontina cheese, grated, divided
~1 jar of roasted red bell peppers, dried well and chopped
~5 pieces of bacon, very crispy and crumbled
~2 green onions, diced
~1/2 tsp garlic salt

preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a bowl, combine all of the cheese except a few oz of fontina, the bell pepper, bacon, green onions, and garlic salt. Spray a oven safe dish and spread mixtures into it. Top with remaining fontina. Bake around 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Banana Muffins with Strawberry Butter

Something about strawberries just screams Valentines Day. So when I saw this Strawberry Butter recipe, I had to make something to put it on. Strawberries and Bananas. Now that is a good match.

Banana Muffins

Adapted from All Recipes.com

~1 1/2 cups flour
~1 tsp baking powder
~1 tsp baking soda
~1/2 tsp salt
~1/2 tsp cinnamon
~3 large very ripe bananas, mashed
~3/4 cup sugar
~1 egg
~1/3 cup butter, melted
~1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees . Coat muffin pans with non-stick spray, or use paper liners.

Combine dry ingredients and set aside

Combine bananas, sugar, egg, butter, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and combine until just mixed.

Scoop into muffin pans and cook for 12-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Strawberry Butter 
From TheKitchenSinkRecipes.


~1 lb strawberries
~2 tbsp honey
~2 tsp lemon juice
~1 1/2 stick butter, room temp

Hull strawberries and blend in food processor until smooth. Press through fine mesh sieve into small saucepan. Add honey and lemon juice and bring to boil. Boil 3 minutes and let cool to room temp. In a mixing bowl, combine strawberry mix and butter. Whip until well mixed. Store in airtight container in fridge

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Uh, YUM. Saw this on pinterest and couldn't pass it up!

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries
Adapted from The Sweets Life


~6oz 1/3rd fat softened cream cheese
~1.5 pounds fresh hulled and hollowed strawberries
~5 tbsp powdered sugar
~1 tsp vanilla
~graham cracker crumbs

Hull and hollow the strawberries. I used my 1/4 tsp measuring spoon to gently carve out the strawberries like a miniature melon baller.

Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla.

Stuff strawberries and dip ends in crumbs

My FAMOUS cream cheese garlic bread.

This is always such a hit. Its creamy and full of garlic and cheese. Amazing and the perfect pairing to lasagna or plain red sauce pasta.

Cream Cheese Garlic Bread:


~1 pkg cream cheese (1/3 fat is fine) room temp
~1/2 stick butter room temp
~Garlic powder (to taste)
~1 loaf French or Italian bread (I am using some leftover Tricolor Braid Bread)
~8 oz shredded mozzarella

Combine cream cheese, butter, and garlic powder. It should be a little stronger than you like in just tasting the mixture. It will be flavoring the mozzarella and bread as well.

Slice the bread 3/4 inch thick. Spread about 1/4 inch thick layer cream cheese mix. Top generously with mozzarella.

 Bake at 400 until cheese is melted and started to brown


I have never ever liked homemade lasagna. I have eaten it and tolerated. But nothing has ever been better than the Stouffers Frozen.

Until I went to"D"'s house for Christmas dinner this year. Her lasagna was amazing. Her secret (printed with permission) is roasted red bell peppers pureed into the tomato sauce. Ah-may-zing

So here is my take on "D"'s Lasagna. Its not pretty, but it sure tasted good.


~2 28oz cans tomato sauce
~1 large jar roasted red bell pepper, drained and rough chop
~3 cloves garlic, rough chop
~3 sun dried tomatoes
~1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (with juice)
~1 tbsp oregano
~1 tbsp basil
~1 tbsp parsley
~3 tbsp dried minced onion
~1 lb 90% lean ground beef
~2 boxes no boil lasagna noodles
~8 oz shredded mozzarella
~8 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
~2 cups part skim ricotta
~1 egg

Night before, or morning of:

In a slow cooker, combine sauce, bell pepper, garlic, and sun dried tomatoes. With an immersion blender, puree. (can use food processor too)

Add diced tomatoes and spices. Cook on high for a few hours and turn to warm overnight or until ready to assemble.

Brown hamburger with a dash of the previously mentioned spices. Add to slow cooker.

Mix ricotta and egg.

Put a little sauce in the bottom of the 9x13 pan. Put layer of noodles. Layer of ricotta. Layer of meat. Layer of sauce. Layer of cheese. Repeat until filled. Top with cheese.

Bake covered with tin foil 60 minutes at 350. Let sit covered for 10 minutes before cutting.
FYI, the cheese might stick to the foil like mine... A light spritz of non stick on the foil may help

Beer and Caraway Fondue!

Ok. This was my first experience with fondue. EVER. And, yes, its as good as it seems. "S" and I decided to have a fondue party as a last hoopla before we were separated thanks to this wacky military life. We decided to do 2 types of fondue and a chocolate salted caramel fondue. It was amazing.

Our dippings for the cheese include tricolor bread, pretzel bites, roasted potatoes, brussel sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, and mushrooms. The other fondue was "S"'s Pesto Fondue. MMMM.

The dippings for the chocolate was homemade marshmallows,  Nutella swirl cheesecake bites (OMG, "S", they were amazing!), and fresh fruit: Banana, pineapple, strawberry, and apple.

Beer and Caraway Fondue: 
Adapted from Crockpot 365


~ 1 tbsp butter
~1 yellow onion, diced
~2 garlic cloves, minced
~8oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
~8oz sharp white cheddar, shredded
~4-5 tbsp cornstarch
~2 tsp ground mustard
~1 tsp caraway seeds
~1 bottle of beer (we used Sam Adams Boston Lager)
~1/2 tsp salt

In a heavy saucepan on med, add butter and saute the onion and garlic until soft. Add cheese and stir. Add 4 tbs cornstarch, the mustard and caraway seeds and salt. Stir and let cook until melty. Add beer. Stir and cook until alcohol burns off, its nice and gooey, and it thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir often. Add additional cornstarch if needed.

Put in warm fondue pot and serve (or just take saucepan to table and eat from the pan. We won't judge)

Tricolor Braided Bread

This bread is light and soft with a mild flavor. But its presentation sure makes a statement!

Tricolor Braided Bread
Adapted from Bernard Clayton's Complete New Book of Breads: Marbled Bread. 

Makes 3 loaves

Ingredients for all three loaves:

~3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (divided)
~1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) dry yeast
~1 tsp salt
~1 tsp sugar
~2 tbsp melted butter
~1 egg

For white bread:
~2 tbsp milk
~2/3 cup hot water

For tomato bread:
~2 tbs milk
~1 8oz can tomato sauce

For spinach:
~1 pkg chopped spinach, thawed
~1/4 cup milk

 For each separate loaf:

Measure 2 cups flour into a stand mixer bowl. Add yeast, salt, sugar, butter, egg. Add the special ingredients for the flavor of loaf you are making.

Stir with a flat beater for 2 minutes.

Attach dough hook. Turn to "2". Slowly add remaining 1 1/2 cups flour (1/4 cup at a time) until dough forms a ball on the hook. Let machine knead dough 4-5 minutes.

Spray a large ziplock with Pam and place dough inside. Get all the air out and seal. Place in a warm place for 1 hour up to 5 hours.

Repeat with other 2 loaves.

Once risen

Pop out of the bag onto a floured surface and knead lightly for a minute until not sticky, adding a dusting of flour if needed. (the tomato bread is always sticker for some reason)

Cut each loaf into 3 equal sections.

Roll each section into a log about 14-18 inches long (length doesnt matter as long as its the same for all three colors.

Pinch all three on one end and then braid. Pinch the other end. Place on a sillicon sheet or a sprayed pan. I usually put 2 on a large sheet and 1 one a smaller one.

Grease wax paper and cover for 40 minutes (while oven preheats) or put in the oven to slow rise over night and bake the next morning.

Preheat the oven to 375 for at least 20 minutes before baking.

Bake for about 40 minutes.

Let cool completely before cutting.