Honey Wheat Sandwich Rolls

In my opinion, there’s no better smell than bread baking in the oven. In fact, I’m not sure why there isn’t a Yankee candle with a “fresh baked bread” scent. I would have it burning all the time! Making yeast breads may seem intimidating, but once you get the hang of it, the technique really becomes second nature.

Out of all the different types of breads and rolls that I’ve made, I still had never got around to making a good sandwich roll. I knew I wanted something soft, yet sturdy and dense to hold up to some hearty sandwich fillings. This recipe fit the bill perfectly. They are soft, slightly sweet and large enough for a decent size sandwich or burger. Plus, since they have some wheat flour in them, it automatically makes them healthy, right? ūüėČ

Honey Wheat Sandwich Rolls
Yields: 12 rolls

1 1/4 cups warm milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons rapid rise yeast

2 tablespoons butter, melted

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the warm milk, egg, butter and honey. In a separate bowl, combine the bread flour, whole wheat flour, salt and yeast together. Using the paddle hook, slowly add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients on slow-medium speed. When the dough is well mixed, switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed for 8-10 minutes until smooth. If the dough is too sticky, gradually add in additional flour.

After the dough is kneaded, transfer to a lightly greased bowl, turn once, then cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to raise until double in size, about 1 hour.

After the dough has raised, punch the dough down and turn onto a floured surface. Break the dough in 12 equal pieces, shape into rolls then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Alternatively, you can roll the dough out to 3/4 inch thick, then use a 3 inch biscuit cutter to cut into rolls. Cover the rolls with a clean, dry, towel, and raise again for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the rolls for 8-10 minutes until golden brown, brushing the rolls with melted butter halfway through baking.

Source: Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Posted in Biscuts and Rolls, Sandwich | 4 Comments

Brownie Cookies

Is is a brownie, or a cookie? A brookie? A crownie? I guess it doesn’t really matter what you call them, but you know if you’re going to combine brownies and cookies you’re going to come up with a winner. They are rich and chewy like brownies, but in the shape and form of a cookie. You even get that wonderful flaky top just like traditional brownies. They can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes, which is perfect for those late night chocolate cravings. So grab yourself a tall glass of milk, and see if you can stop yourself from eating the whole batch!

Brownie Cookies
Yields: About 4 dozen cookies

¬Ĺ cup butter
4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 cups (18 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1 ¬Ĺ cups all-purpose flour
¬Ĺ teaspoon baking powder
¬Ĺ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 ¬Ĺ cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine the butter, unsweetened chocolate, and 1¬Ĺ cups of¬†chocolate chips in a large heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until butter and chocolate melt; let cool.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl, set aside.

Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, beating well. Then add the chocolate mixture and beat well. Stir in the¬†remaining 1 ¬Ĺ cups chocolate chips.

Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat, and use a cookie scoop to scoop the dough onto baking sheets 1 inch apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool slightly on baking sheets the transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Source: Pure and Yummy

Posted in Chocolate, Cookies | 3 Comments

Four Cheese Ravioli

Pasta and cheese are pretty synonymous together, whether the cheese is sprinkled on top or stuffed inside of the pasta. So, why not kick it up a notch and use four different cheeses? The filling inside these¬†ravioli is rich, creamy and the perfect balance of cheese¬†and spices. Plus, nothing beats fresh homemade¬†pasta. Yes, it is a lot more work than opening a bag of frozen¬†ravioli, but you can’t beat the taste. If you’re up to the task, I highly recommend making a large of bath of these ravioli, and freezing some to use at a later date. They’ll be perfect for a night when cooking a huge meal is just not in the cards.

Four Cheese Ravioli
Yields: About 4 servings

1 batch fresh pasta
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup shredded provolone
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 egg, whisked

In a large bowl combine all the cheeses, spices, and egg together until well combined. Set aside while you prepare your dough.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a long, thin sheet. Using a pastry cutter, pizza cutter or a long, thin knife, cut the pasta into strips about 2 inches in width. Place a small amount of cheese filling about 2 inches apart on the strip.

Dip your finger into water, then make a square around each cheese filling. Place another strip of pasta on top, then gently press the seams down.

Use your pastry cutter to cut into squares, and move then ravioli aside. Continue until all the pasta is used up.

To cook; bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes until al dente. Serve with your favorite sauce.

Source: A Stick a Fork In It original recipe.

Posted in Italian, Pasta | 1 Comment

How To: Make Homemade Pasta

I’ve mentioned before that growing up, Sunday afternoons always meant spaghetti at Grandma and Grandpa’s with my Grandma’s famous sauce. Now, if you’re going to spend all day simmering spaghetti sauce, there is no way you go just throw it on top of 99 cent ziti from the grocery store. If you’re going through the effort to make homemade sauce – you need homemade pasta to go along with it!

My grandfather was always in charge of making the homemade pasta, while my grandma worked on the sauce. He used an old-fashioned¬†hand crank machine to craft the noodles, and mixed all of his ingredients¬†directly on his coveted “bread board”. As my grandpa was getting older, I knew time was running out to learn the secrets of his homemade noodles and homemade bread recipes. Therefore, during a fall break during college, I spent an entire afternoon with him, kneading bread dough, mixing pasta dough, and cranking it through the machine. I took meticulous notes, and tried to decipher what his measurements were, since he never measured anything.

Grandpa and I – Christmas 1987

My grandpa died about six months later, and I will be forever grateful for the afternoon I spent with him that day, as well as his famous recipes that were able to saved and cherished¬†for generations to come. I have now inherited¬†the duty of making the¬†homemade¬†noodles for Sunday sauce, and while it’s a ton of work, it is totally worth it.

Homemade Pasta
Yields: About 4 servings

4 large eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil

Begin by gently stirring together the salt and flour. Create a well in the center, then crack your eggs into the well. You can do this directly on your countertop, but I prefer to use a large mixing bowl so it’s a little less messy.

Use your hands to incorporate the eggs into the flour. The mixture will be dry and crumbly at first.

Turn the dough¬†out onto a work surface, and knead in the olive oil. If you’re dough is too dry, add a teaspoon or two of water. Too wet? Add a¬†little more flour.¬†Continue to knead the dough until the mixture becomes more springy and cohesive. It should be nice and smooth with no lumps.

Take a section of dough, and flatten it out in your hand. With you pasta roller set at the widest setting, run the pasta through the machine. Fold in half, and then in fourths, and run through again. At first the pasta will roll out pretty ugly, but continue to run it through the pasta machine until it is smooth in consistency. You can continue to adjust the width so it rolls it out thinner each time.

When you are satisfied with the thickness of your dough, run it through the pasta maker again to cut the noodles. Dust the pasta generously with flour, then set aside until you’re ready to cook them.

To cook, bring a pot of water to a boil, then cook the pasta for 2-3 minutes. Serve with your favorite sauce.

Don’t have a pasta maker? Simply roll out the pasta using a rolling pin, then use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the pasta into thin strips.

To freeze the pasta: Allow the pasta to partially air dry, separate the pasta into individual portions, and then curl into a small nest. Place the pasta bundles onto a cookie sheet covered with waxed paper, and flash for a few hours until they are hardened. Place the frozen pasta bundles  into a ziplock bag and freeze for up to 6 months.

To cook, drop the frozen pasta bundles directly into the boiling water, and gently encourage the bundle to unravel. Boil for 4-5 minutes then serve as desired.

Source: Stick a Fork In It original recipe.

Posted in How To, Italian, Pantry Staples, Pasta | 2 Comments

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells

It’s no secret that I love any type of pasta, and when you stuff pasta with lots of tasty components, it’s an automatic home-run in my book. While I’m normally one just to default to my favorite mariana¬†sauce, every once in a while¬†it’s nice to change-up the pace a little and try something different. Therefore, bring on the pesto!

After my black thumb failed miserably to grow a garden last year, this year I decided to just stick to herbs. Thankfully, my herbs have taken off, leaving me with an abundance of basil.¬†Pesto is the perfect way to use up excess basil, and it can be used in everything from pasta dishes, in place of pizza sauce or even on top of burgers. These pesto chicken stuffed shells were a big hit in our house, and they’re extremely versatile so they can easily be adapted to your family’s tastes.

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells
Yields: 4-6 servings

12-16 jumbo pasta shells
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese + 1/4 cup for topping
3 tablespoons prepared pesto (homemade or store-bought)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Prepare the pasta shells as directed on the package, cooking only until al dente. Drain the shells and put them aside. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, 1 cup of the parmesan cheese, chicken and garlic, then stir to combine. Fill the shells with the filling and place in a greased baking dish. Top with the pesto and remaining parmesan cheese.

In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except the 1/4 cup  of cheese for the topping. Fill the pasta shells with the filling and  place in a baking dish.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over  filled shells.

Bake the shells uncovered for 30 minutes or until the shells are bubbling hot and the cheese is melted.

Source: Carrie’s Sweet Life

Posted in Freezer Friendly, Main Dish, Pasta | 4 Comments

Foodbuzz 24×24: Mangia! An Italian Feast

Ask anyone who is Italian, and they’ll tell you that their culture revolves around food. Growing up, Sunday afternoons meant a big pot of sauce on the stove, homemade Italian bread in the oven, and fresh pasta being cranked through the old-fashioned pasta maker. It was an all day affair that took place at my grandparents; my grandma would¬†put the sauce on the stove early in the morning, and my grandpa worked on the homemade garlic bread and pasta. Dinner was always at 5:00pm sharp, whether you were there or not! Don’t bother coming if you were running late – there usually wasn’t any¬†food¬†left!

I’ve known my husband for almost seven years, and during that time he has enjoyed many Sunday meals¬†with my grandparents. However,¬†my in-law’s¬†have yet to try my grandma’s famous sauce. Their idea of an Italian meal is spaghetti¬†sauce out of a jar, pasta out of a box, and a frozen loaf of garlic bread. As their daughter-in-law, I felt that it was¬†my responsibility to show them a true¬†Italian meal – with everything made from scratch!

When I planned the menu I choose things that were typically found on the table during a Sunday meal. Lots of fresh pasta, mountains of meatballs, and of course, lots of red wine! After such a filling meal, we usually don’t have much room for dessert, so I kept it simple with some traditional pizzeles.

The Menu:

Homemade Fresh Pasta

Grandma’s Spaghetti and Meatballs

Four Cheese Ravioli

 Garlic Bread


Don’t worry, we had a salad too, I just forgot to snap a pic. We didn’t eat just carbs. ūüėČ My in-laws were very impressed with the food, and we had a great time chowing down pasta and sipping on wine.

Sponsored by Foodbuzz¬†as part of their Foodbuzz 24×24¬†program.

Posted in Italian, Parties & Entertaining | 3 Comments

Funfetti Cookie Sandwiches

Cake Batter Cookies

Since I was a little girl, funfetti has always been a favorite cake flavor of mine. I’m not even sure that it really qualifies as a flavor, since it’s essentially just white cake with sprinkles mixed in. Either way, it’s a fun and festive flavor that is perfect for birthdays and celebrations. I love funfetti so much that I even convinced my husband to have it as part of our wedding cake.

So, when I was craving cookies the other day, it dawned on me that I’ve never made a¬†funfetti cookie. A lot of the recipes that I found used a cake mix, which is fine, but I’ve been trying to stay away from pre-packed mixes. This homemade version of funfetti cookies tastes just like its¬†cake counterpart. Now you’ll just have to decide – eat them alone or fill them with buttercream and make cookie sandwiches.¬†Obviously, buttercream makes everything better. ūüėČ

Funfetti Cookie Sandwiches
Yields: About 3 dozen cookies, or 1 1/2 dozen sandwiches

Cake batter Cookies

For the cookies:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup rainbow jimmie sprinkles

For the buttercream frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 1/2 -2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, almond, and egg. Beat until well combined.

In a separate bowl, sift in the flour, cornstarch, soda, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and continue on low speed until it’s well incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to mix in the sprinkles.

Using a tablespoon, scoop out a ball of dough and roll into a ball. Place each ball of dough on baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 6-8 minutes until light brown on the bottom. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool.

Meanwhile, make the buttercream frosting. Using the whisk attachment to your mixer, whip the softened butter on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla and heavy cream and mix well. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency. If the frosting is too stiff, add a little bit more heavy cream. Too thin? Add more powdered sugar.

Either using a piping bag or a spoon, pipe the frosting onto the back side of a cookie. Top with another cookie, and press gently. Roll the edges of the cookie sandwich in additional sprinkles.

Source: Cookies adapted from Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body, buttercream frosting is a Stick a Fork In It original recipe.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments