Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hawaiian Dinner Rolls

In my quest to find just the right bun for my Pineapple BBQ Beef Sliders, it didn't take me long to realize that a recreation of those Hawaiian rolls from the store would be perfect. I googled a few recipes and realized they were pretty similar to the rolls I already make, just a little sweeter and a couple of surprise ingredients; pineapple juice and vanilla!

These rolls are absolutely delicious!  Soft and chewy and make a perfect bun for the Pineapple Barbecue.

Hawaiian Dinner Rolls
3 cups flour
6 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. yeast
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
6 oz. can of pineapple juice (3/4 cup)
1/4 cup warm water (plus an additional 2-3 Tablespoons, if necessary)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the flour, sugar, salt and yeast.   Pulse a time or two to combine.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Mix on medium speed for about a minute.  If the dough looks too dry, add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Mix for 5 minutes.  Dough will be tacky but not too sticky.

Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, anywhere from 1-2 hours.  Gently deflate dough and divide into 12 equal balls.  Place in an oiled 9x13 pan.  Cover lightly with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick spray.  Let raise until doubled.

Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

SOURCE: Adapted from Culinary Adventures in the Kitchen

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pineapple BBQ Beef Sliders with Sweet Hawaiian Slaw

So, a while back I ordered part of a cow!  I never thought that would be something I would do, but as we are changing our eating habits and learning more about what actually happens to some of our food, it seemed like a natural step.

One of the cuts I was left with was a rump roast.  Now I'm sure there's not a shortage of recipes for roast but I wanted to make it GOOD since we hardly ever eat it.  I had initially planned an Italian-style meal with Pioneer Woman's Italian Pot Roast but changed my mind at the last minute.  I was in the mood for some sliders and slaw!

I was really pleased with how this whole meal turned out.  The meat was delicious and tender and I loved the pineapple and onion mixed in there.  The slaw is light, crunchy and so fresh and adds great flavor and color to the sliders.  The slider buns are a take on my favorite hamburger bun recipe, flavored with a unique ingredient; can't go wrong with those!

Pineapple BBQ Beef Sliders
1 (2-3 lb) beef rump roast
2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Place cold roast into a cold crock pot.  Turn it on low.
Cut up pineapple, reserving juice if you can, and onion and spread over and around roast in crock pot.
In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard and Worcestershire sauce and any juice leftover from cutting up the pineapple.  Pour over roast and replace lid. 
Cook roast for at least 6-8 hours on low, until meat easily shreds with a fork.  Once cooked, remove roast to a large tray or cookie sheet and shred with two forks.  Return meat to crock pot, letting it soak up the juices and mixing it with the pineapple and onion.
Serve on Hawaiian rolls with Sweet Hawaiian Slaw.

Sweet Hawaiian Slaw
1 small head of cabbage, thinly sliced (I used half purple and half green)
1 cup shredded carrots
3 green onions, sliced
1 1/2-2 cups fresh pineapple, small-diced
Anaheim pepper, finely diced
juice of a lime
2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
squirt of Dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

Place cabbage, carrots, green onions, pineapple and pepper in a salad bowl and toss to combine.  In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, coconut oil, mustard and salt and pepper.  Pour over slaw and toss once again to coat evenly.  Serve either on top of or aside the Pineapple BBQ Beef Sliders.:

*Note: If you refrigerate the slaw with the dressing, the coconut oil in the dressing will firm up.  To serve again, just leave the slaw on the counter and bring to room temperature.

SOURCE: Beef adapted from Six Sisters' Stuff

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Menu Plan Monday Week 26 (2013)

This summer has been a blast!!  We've been living it up and haven't had this much fun in a long time.  Sure we've had lots of late nights but it's only officially been summer for like two days so we still have plenty of time to play.

I guess it's been just over a month that we put our garden in but it seems a lot longer than that.  I'm still waiting for the day that I can pick my first ripe tomato and ear of corn of the season.  Every time I go out to see my plants I look at them and just will them to grow.  Produce stands and farmer's markets aren't really in full swing yet either and I'm just dying to get my hands on some fresh local produce.  Patience, I guess.

Anyway, still trying to clean out the fridge, freezer and pantry so menu items this week are mostly stuff I already have and need to use up before I go shopping again. Enjoy.

Dinner Menu Week 26 (2013)
Peach-Glazed Salmon
Arugula Salad
Herb Roasted Potatoes

Cashew Chicken Stir Fry
Thai Coconut Rice
fresh fruit

Roasted Red Pepper Lasagna Roll-Ups
steamed broccoli


Baked Chicken and Spinach Flautas
corn & salad

Mixed Greens with Honey Mustard Dressing
Artisan Bread

Beans and Cornbread

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

Hmmmm, pancakes!!  They're pretty much a breakfast staple around here.  I don't think a week goes by where we don't make at least a batch or two of them.  Last week I found a fabulous deal on some fresh blueberries and I knew immediately I wanted to make a blueberry cornmeal pancake.  My girls don't usually like fruit in pancakes, muffins and such, but when I made these Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins, they devoured them, blueberries and all, and have asked for them several times since.  Needless to say, I figured I was safe making these and I was absolutely right!

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 egg
3 Tbsp. oil or melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour (I use mostly whole wheat)
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup fresh blueberries

In  a mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, oil and sugar.  Next, add in the dry ingredients, al but the blueberries.  Whisk until incorporated.  Gently fold in the blueberries.  Let batter sit while griddle heats up. 

Pour batter by 1/4 cups onto griddle and cook until bubbles start to form and sides begin to look dry; about 3 minutes.  Flip pancakes and cook another couple minutes on other side, until slightly golden.

Serve warm with maple syrup.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Grilled Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers over Creamy Polenta


One of my favorite things about making dinner during the hot summer months is using the grill!  It's quick, easy and doesn't heat up the house.  The best thing about using the grill is how it makes whatever you're grilling taste absolutely fabulous. I cook whatever I can outside these days and I love it.

My kids are finally to the point where they actually like eating meat occasionally and I think they adored this chicken as much as I did.  The chicken is great with the peppers, but combined with the creamy polenta and it was over the top!

Grilled Chicken with Balsamic Peppers
for the chicken:
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. olive oil
large skinless, boneless chicken breasts, butterflied
for the peppers:
3 cups thinly sliced red and yellow peppers
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar 
for the polenta:
3/4 cup polenta (or coarse cornmeal; not instant)
3 cups water
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add salt and whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to low and stir polenta as it thickens. Depending on the grain of the polenta, it will thicken in about 15-25 minutes.
In a shallow dish, combine salt, fennel, pepper, garlic powder, oregano and olive oil.  Add chicken and toss to coat.  Set aside while the peppers are prepped.  Preheat outdoor grill and cook chicken until no longer pink; about 4-5 minutes per side.
Drizzle a tablespoon or so of olive oil into a frying pan.  Add bell peppers, onion and basil.  Saute about 3 minutes over medium-high heat.  Stir in broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes.  Increase heat to medium-high.  Stir in vinegar, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook another minute or two.
Once polenta is finished cooking, add in cream and cheese.  Add salt as necessary.
Divide polenta between 4 serving dishes.  On each place a piece of chicken, a spoonful of peppers and some of the liquid from the peppers.
SOURCE: Adapted from Cooking Light

Monday, June 17, 2013

Fresh Raspberry Scones

One thing I love about summer is the abundance of fresh produce, especially fresh berries.  Occasionally berries will go a on a super sale and I can't help but stock my freezer full, namely for smoothies.  However, I ALWAYS have to keep some out fresh to enjoy their goodness.  I  have to restrain my girls or they would eat the lot within minutes, but I do give them their fair share before I have a go at them.  I usually limit my use to just one baked goodie and eat the rest fresh as well.

Fresh raspberries are so delicious in simply baked treats and I knew they would shine in these scones.  Pair that with some dark chocolate and buttermilk and you have yourself a little piece of heaven!

Fresh Raspberry Scones
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In large work bowl of a food processor fitted with steel blade, add flour, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt.  Pulse a few times to combine.  Add butter and whiz until mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Put mixture into a mixing bowl. Add raspberries, chocolate and toss.  Add buttermilk. Stir with a spoon until a dough forms. Use your hands to bring it together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently, only about 3 or 4 times, adding a bit more flour, if needed. Do not over-work or dough will be chewy.

Form scones by patting the dough into a circle and cut into wedges.

Place scones on un-greased baking sheet and bake until lightly brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tilapia with Coconut and Macadamia Breadcrumbs and Mango Salsa

Right after making this tilapia a while ago, I began concocting a new recipe in my head.  I loved how the fish tasted cooked in coconut oil and thought a tropical twist would be just as delicious. And I was right!  I loved adding the sweet coconut and salty, crunchy macadamia nuts to the bread crumbs.  It made such a wonderful contrast in flavor as well as texture.

Fish is great to make for a weeknight meal since it cooks up so quickly and there is usually not much prep.  I usually like to serve fish with rice and for this meal used my Thai Coconut Rice, which I think paired perfectly.  Start the rice before you get to work on the rest and it'll all finish around the same time.

Tilapia with Coconut and Macadamia Breadcrumbs and Mango Salsa
for the fish:
4 fresh tilapia fillets
1 1/2 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil
3 Tbsp. sweetened flaked coconut
3 Tbsp. cup panko bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. macadamia nuts, chopped

for the salsa:
1 mango, peeled and chopped
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1/2 jalapeƱo, finely diced
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped (or more, if desired)
the juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine all salsa ingredients in a small mixing bowl.  Stir to combine and set aside while the rest is being prepared.

Add breadcrumbs and coconut to a small skillet over medium heat and toast until golden, about 3-4 minutes; add macadamia nuts the last 30 seconds or so.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add coconut oil and melt.  Season tilapia with salt and pepper. Add tilapia to skillet and cook 2-3 minutes per side, or until slightly golden or opaque. Remove from heat sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Serve warm with mango salsa and Thai Coconut Rice, if desired.

SOURCE: Salsa from How Sweet It Is

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Quinoa with Strawberries & Watermelon with Lemon Shallot Dressing

It's summer time!!  Time for fun in the sun, fun in the water, late nights, late mornings and cooking with as little heat as possible.  It's no secret that I love a good salad and I'm always on the lookout for new salads to try.  I knew I wanted to try this one immediately not only because of the wonderfully refreshing strawberries and watermelon but also because of the quinoa.  I've been trying to add a little more protein in my diet since we don't eat a lot of meat and this seemed to be a good solution.  This salad is great for lunch or a side dish at dinner and won't leave you hungry!

Quinoa with Strawberries & Watermelon with Lemon Shallot Dressing
3 cups cooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups watermelon, cubed
1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and chopped
feta cheese, crumbled
small handful fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
sliced almonds
Lemon Shallot Dressing (below)

Cook and cool quinoa.  You can place it in the fridge to help it cool faster.

In a salad bowl, toss quinoa, watermelon and strawberries with as much dressing as desired. Spread out on a platter and top with feta, almonds and fresh basil leaves. Add more dressing to individual servings as desired.  Serve immediately.

Lemon Shallot Dressing
5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. minced shallot (I often used dried for that small an amount, unless I have one I need to use up in the fridge.)
1 1/2 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Combine ingredients in a small mason jar with a lid.  Shake vigorously until well-incorporated.  Set aside until ready to use.  Shake again before pouring.

SOURCE:  Edible Perspective

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Crispy Lemon-Basil and Parmesan Crusted Chicken

My kids have been such picky eaters lately, it's killing me!  Thankfully they do eat chicken because this is the BEST CHICKEN EVER!! This right here in front of you.  It comes together quickly, cooks quickly and tastes fabulous!  

I decided to use whole wheat bread crumbs here and used my own homemade bread.  I was a little leery that using my own bread to make the bread crumbs wouldn't get it crunchy enough, but I was wrong, thankfully, and it delivered. 

The chicken is simply flavored with lemon and fresh basil, the perfect flavors for summer.  I served it along side some herbed roasted potatoes and salad and everyone gobbled it down; you're sure to as well.

Crispy Lemon-Basil and Parmesan Crusted Chicken
2 chicken breasts, butterflied
2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs*
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, sliced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
flour, about 1/2 cup
1 egg, whisked

To make bread crumb mixture, combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, basil, salt and pepper.  Set up breading station first with a shallow dish of flour, next the egg and third the bread crumb mixture. Line a cookie sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Dredge chicken, one piece at a time, in the flour shaking off any excess.  Next dip each piece in the egg and then lastly the bread crumb mixture.  Place the crusted chicken breasts on the wire rack.

Bake about 12-15 minutes depending on thickness of chicken.  Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.

*To make your own whole wheat bread crumbs, take 2-3 thick slices of bread (enough for 2 cups)  and toast in toaster until well-toasted. Place in a small food processor and process until bread resembles breadcrumbs. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Menu Plan Monday Week 24 (2013)

Ahh, I'm a blog-slacker!!  Summer has set in and we are trying to live it up!! We've been having lots of fun playing with friends and cultivating our garden (well, mostly me on the garden), staying up too late and enjoying the sun and warm.  After such a cool spring, I thought we might have a mild summer...NOT so.  We're getting blasted with hot weather this week, but I guess that just means more days at the pool for us.  FUN!

So, I ended last week with a full fridge.  My challenge this week was to use what we had for meals and not have to shop for much, other than a few produce items.  So, I'm going to throw it up there for ya, hope you enjoy! 

Welcome to a few new followers.  Some dishes are new this week, however if it's a repeat, it will link back to the recipe on the blog.

Dinner Menu Week 24 (2013)
Italian Pot Roast
Mashed Potatoes

Baked Chimichangas (with leftover roast)
Homemade Refried Beans
Fresh Fruit

Cran-Cherry Salad Wrap
roasted potatoes

Easy Sesame Peanut Noodles
Southwest Cabbage Slaw
Fresh fruit and veggies

Basil Chicken Burgers
Greek Panzanella

Creamy Spinach and Avocado Pasta
leftover salad

Sunday-Father's Day
Cajun Shrimp
Jasmine Rice
fresh fruit and veggies
Orange Rolls

On the side...
Homemade Burger Buns
Homemade tortillas
Artisan Bread
Peaches and Cream Steel Cut Oats

Monday, June 3, 2013

Pina Colada Pancakes


Happy Monday!!  It's officially summer break for us here in Utah so I thought I'd start off the week with some Pina Colada Pancakes and get you in the mood for the beach or Bahamas or whatever floats your boat.

I've made a lot of different kinds of pancakes over the years, but it had been a while since I tried something new.  When I spied a version of these a while ago on Tasty Kitchen I knew I wanted to try immediately!! I absolutely LOVE just about anything coconut and pina colada is always a combo I have loved.  If you're looking for something new and unique to try, and can't quite make it to the beach, hopefully these can suffice! You'll love them.

Pina Colada Pancakes
1 cup coconut milk (I used coconut milk beverage from a carton, if you use it from the can  you can water it down a little bit.)
1 egg*
1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 ripe banana, smashed
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup fresh pineapple, chopped

sweetened, flaked coconut
macadamia nuts, chopped

In a mixing bowl combine the coconut milk, egg, coconut oil, banana and sugar.  Whisk to combine.  Add flour, baking powder and soda, and salt.  Stir just to combine.  Fold in fresh pineapple.

Preheat griddle while batter sits.

Melt coconut oil on griddle, if desired, before pouring batter.  Pour batter by 1/4 cup onto griddle and cook until bubbles start to form and sides start to look dry.  Flip and cook on the other side another minute or two.  Continue with remaining batter.

Serve warm with chopped macadamia nuts and flaked coconut, even syrup, if desired.

*You can make these vegan by omitting the egg and replacing it with 1 tablespoon ground flax seed, mixed with about 2 tablespoons water.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Menu Plan Monday Week 23 (2013)

Ahhh, school is finally out and summer has arrived!!!  I must say it took it's sweet time.  But our forecast for this upcoming week show's no lack of heat, so I guess we're on track. 

I'm so excited for this summer, mostly because my girls are a little bit older and we can start doing a few more things with them.  We have a week-long vacation coming up next month to Seattle that I'm SO excited about.  I've never been up to that area and can't wait to visit.  Plus we almost NEVER go anywhere so it'll be nice to get away.  My oldest daughter and I also started our "bucket list" of things we wanted to do this summer.  Things like camping, fishing, sleepover at grandma's, painting with water, hiking, splash pad, tye dye, marshmallow shooters....yeah, it's going to be fun.  We're definitely not going to be bumps on a log this summer. 

So, weekly menus may be on and off but I'll keep ya posted with delicious seasonal meals that are sure to knock your socks off! This week is easy and thankfully won't heat up my house much since I'll mostly be using either the crockpot or the grill and eating lots of salad!  Enjoy.


Dinner Menu Week 23 (2013)
Ancho Braised Beef Tacos
Cabbage Slaw

Crunchy Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Dressing


Grilled Chicken
Orange and Arugula Salad w/ Red Onion and Blue Cheese

Italian Pot Roast
Egg Noodles
leftover salad

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi
Watermelon, Strawberry and Basil Salad

leftovers/free day
Fresh Fruit

On the side:
Rye Artisan Bread
Caprese Chicken Wraps
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