October 24, 2014

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

I'm honestly surprised I tried these rolls because for one thing, I RARELY make any baked good that has to rise for any period of time. Because who's got time for that? (Or remembers they need to rise that far in advance.) And secondly, while they sounded weirdly amazing, I didn't think I'd ever get around to adding pumpkin to my dinner rolls.

Then the other day I had half a can of pumpkin puree leftover from making pancakes so I decided to give them a go.

It turns out, these were very easy to make, but they do take a long time to rise. But rising does make them fluffy, hearty and oh so delicious.
I was so impressed with the savory pumpkin spice flavor that reminded me of the holidays and the thick, chewy texture. In other words, I could easily have eaten the entire pan myself and almost did. Also, my 2-year-old even loved them! We served them with some butternut squash soup from Costco and it was a match made in heaven.

I did not bake them with the honey butter mixture since I served them with soup, but I know it would be delicious because I ate a few with honey and butter afterward and I could not get enough.

And now I really need some of these rolls back in my life!

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
Slightly Adapted from Averie Cooks
Yield: 10-12 rolls
Total Time: about 2 hours, mostly downtime for rising
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp. instant dry yeast (one 1/4-ounce packet)
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. Allspice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

Honey Butter
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp. honey
Tip: Combine equal parts softened butter (not melted) and honey, and whisk together until fluffy and combined for serving with the rolls

To make dough:
1. Add milk to a 2-cup microwave-safe measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl. Add butter and heat on high power to melt butter, about 45 seconds. Stir until butter has melted smoothly into the milk.
2. Add the egg, pumpkin puree and whisk to combine.
3. Return measuring cup to microwave and heat for about 15 seconds to warm mixture up. This will help activate the yeast; set aside briefly.
4. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or large mixing bowl for hand kneading, add the remaining dough ingredients.
5. Pour wet pumpkin-milk mixture over the dry ingredients.
6. Turn mixer to low speed, and knead for 5 to 8 minutes, or until dough is smooth and has come together. This is not a sticky dough and if your dough is sticky, tacky, or gloppy, add additional flour, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until dough is no longer sticky. (I had to add 2 Tbsp. of flour.) Be careful not to over flour your dough.
7. Turn dough out into a mixing bowl that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Flip dough over once so both sides are lightly greased and cover bowl with plastic wrap.
8. Place bowl in a warm, draft-free environment until dough has nearly doubled in bulk, about 45 to 60 minutes. Be sure to wait until dough has nearly doubled in size and if it takes longer than an hour, that's fine.
9. Punch dough down and turn it out onto a nonstick surface. Divide dough into 10 to 12 equally-sized portions, rolling each portion into a ball. Place dough balls into a foil-lined and greased 9-inch square pan. Cover pan with a sheet of foil, place pan in a warm, draft-free environment until dough has nearly doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. In the last minutes of rising, preheat oven to 375F.

For Honey Butter Pumpkin Rolls:
1. Melt butter in small microwave-safe bowl, about 45 seconds on high power.
2. Add the honey and stir to combine.
3. Before baking, generously brush dough with honey butter; reserve any extra and brush it on after baking.

10. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until puffed, golden, domed and cooked through. Allow rolls to cool in pan until they're cool enough to handle before serving.

*Rolls will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 4 days. Heat in microwave for 5 to 10 seconds as necessary to recreate the just-baked taste and to soften.

October 20, 2014

Easy Homemade Chicken Burrito Bowls

You know the Southwest Chicken Pasta Salad recipe I posted last week? The recipe that I am completely in love with? Well, it showcases the chicken from this burrito bowl recipe I got off of Iowa Girl Eats. And just like with the pasta salad, the chicken is the star of the show. It will make you so happy you won't know what to do with yourself! Oh and did I mention how delicious the beans and cilantro-lime rice are, too??
The combination of all the flavors going on in this burrito bowl are incredible. It's so refreshing yet filling and there are SO many possibilities with toppings. In other words, you will NOT be disappointed and you really should make this as soon as possible. It will brighten your day. I promise.

Easy Homemade Chicken Burrito Bowls
Slightly Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats
2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp. olive oil
15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup water
1-1/2 cups cups cherry tomatoes, halved
4 oz. freshly shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream, guacamole, salsa, quesco fresco, optional

For the seasoning mix:
1 Tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1-1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

For the Cilantro-Lime Rice:
2 cups water
1 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup long grain white rice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
juice of 1/2 lime

1. Mix the seasonings together in a small bowl and set aside. Place chicken pieces in a separate bowl and combine with olive oil. Stir in enough seasoning mix until chicken is well seasoned; reserving 1 Tbsp. of seasoning for beans.
2. Heat a pan over medium-heat and cook chicken 3-4 minutes per side until no longer pink. Remove from heat and set aside. 
3. For the Cilantro-Lime Rice: Bring water, oil, and salt to a boil in a saucepan. Rinse rice in a strainer under cold water then add to the boiling water, place a lid on top, turn heat down to medium-low, and then simmer until rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Add lime juice and cilantro then stir to combine and set aside. (You can also do this in a rice cooker.)
4. Add black beans to a small saucepan with water and 1 Tbsp. seasoning mix. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low to stay warm.
5. Scoop cooked Cilantro-Lime Rice into bowls then top with grilled chicken, seasoned beans, cherry tomatoes, shredded cheese and other toppings if desired.

October 17, 2014

Food Link Friday: Gimme All the Apples

Apples are perfect for picking right now so I thought I'd round up a few yummy apple recipes I've seen floating around the internet!
Apple Cinnamon Streusel Galette
I've never had a galette, but I'm definitely up for trying this one! That streusel sounds divine!
Apple Pie Muddy Buddies
I love how so many people are creating new versions of muddy buddies! This one sounds like a real winner!
Caramel Apple Cider Floats
This drink sounds refreshing yet decadent! I've got to try it out!
Candy Apple Bar
Is this not the funnest take on candied apples you've ever seen?? It would be perfect for a party!
Apple Pie Cookies
These cookies not only sound amazing, but they look amazing as well!

For the Love of Food Link: Apple Pie Apple Nachos

October 15, 2014

Banana Bread Waffles

As you all know by now, I am a big advocate of breakfast for dinner, which usually consists of my favorite waffle recipe. However, one night I wanted to incorporate some bananas into the mix and found this fantastic recipe.
These waffles are crisp, airy and light and have the perfect banana flavor. I will definitely be making these time and time again!
Be sure to serve these bad boys with some of the extra banana puree for an added banana flavor!

Banana Bread Waffles
Slightly Adapted from Mother Thyme
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup milk
2 ripe bananas, mashed (about 2/3 cup)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
2. In a medium bowl mix milk, bananas, eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla extract.
3. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until smooth and combined.
4. Follow instructions of waffle maker to cook waffles.

*Freeze waffles and toast as desired amount of waffles from frozen in toaster.

October 14, 2014

Southwest Chicken Pasta Salad

This is hands down one of my new favorite meals. I wanted to make this pasta salad for dinner one night, but knew I needed to add some protein to make my husband happy. I recently made some yummy chicken in another recipe (coming soon) and knew I had to combine the two.
It turns out the end result was phenomenal! The seasonings of the chicken and dressing paired perfectly and I had a definite winner!
The best part is you could add all kinds of vegetables to this pasta that would add more great flavor to the dish!
I also made this for my sister-in-law's baby shower and it was a definite hit! You have got to try it!

Southwest Chicken Pasta Salad
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats and Our Best Bites
For the Chicken
2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
1-1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1. Mix the seasonings together in a small bowl and set aside. Place chicken pieces in a separate bowl and combine with olive oil. Pour in seasoning mix and stir until chicken is well coated.
2. Heat a pan over medium-heat and cook chicken 3-4 minutes per side until no longer pink. Set aside and let cool.

6 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (about 3 small, juicy limes)
1/4 cup white wine or rice vinegar
3 tsp. garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1. For the dressing: Process lime juice, vinegar, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and sugar in a blender until smooth. With the blender running on slow speed, add the oil in a steady stream until incorporated. Turn off the blender and add cilantro. Pulse 5-6 times so cilantro gets broken up but some pieces still remain intact.
Pasta Salad
Zest from 2 limes
1 lb. penne or bowtie pasta, cooked according to directions and cooled
1 (14 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup feta cheese
Grape tomatoes, red onions, corn (optional)

1. For the pasta salad: Zest limes and place zest in a large salad bowl. Place cooled, cooked, drained pasta in a large salad bowl with lime zest.

2. Add beans, chicken and other ingredients if desired. Toss with dressing. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. For best results, chill 1 hour before serving. Right before serving, sprinkle feta cheese on top.

October 12, 2014

Fresh Peach Crisp

This is a recipe I should have and wanted to share a few weeks ago while we were still in full-fledge peach season, but never got around to it. Hopefully you can scrounge up a couple of peaches to make this because it is to die for!
I made this peach crisp on a whim when I realized I had a few ripe peaches sitting on my counter and I was amazed with the result! The topping is out of this world and the warm, juicy peaches mixed with the cold vanilla ice cream made my heart skip a beat! I could totally finish off a pan by myself and I bet you could, too!

Fresh Peach Crisp
Slightly Adapted From: Our Best Bites
Serves 4-6
Filling Ingredients
3-4 ripe but firm peaches (About 1 1/2 lbs.) peeled, pitted, and sliced into 3/4″ wedges
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
pinch salt
pinch of cinnamon

Crumb Topping
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
3 Tbsp. cold butter, grated
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8x8-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. For peach filling, gently combine peaches and sugar in a large bowl and let stand for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Drain peaches in a colander set over a large bowl, reserving the peach juices. 
3. Whisk 2 Tbsp. of the drained peach juice, cornstarch, lemon juice, salt and cinnamon together in a small bowl. (You can discard the rest of the excess peach juice or use it in something else.) Toss juice mixture with peaches and transfer to prepared pan.
4. For topping, combine oats, brown sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon using your fingers to crumble the mixture together. Sprinkle topping evenly over pan.
5. Bake for about 30 minutes. The topping should look golden brown and crisp and the filling should start to bubble on the edges. Let cool to lukewarm before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

*You can easily double the ingredients and bake in a 8x8 or 9x9-inch pan if you want more peaches in your dessert.