Monday, December 28, 2009

Home from the Holidays!

Well I managed to survive a quick visit to my mother's house. We got a pretty good snowstorm over X-mas. So that curbed my visit by one day. Zach got everything he wanted. We managed to only buy 8 presents total(stocking included) and I was very specific with my mom and brother to get the last few itmes on the list. He said it was the best christmas ever!
Like I said we were pretty much snowed in on X-mas, but it was fun playing in..
We stayed pretty warm, enjoying hot cocoa and my super perfect yummy cinnamon rolls.
Recipe to follow later. :)

Yummy Cinnamon rolls:

1 cup warm milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Place milk, egg, butter, sugar, salt, flour and yeast in bread machine pan. Make sure you add yeast last. Set bread machine on Dough cycle and begin. In a medium sauce pan, melt 1/3 cup butter over medium-low heat. Stir in 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons milk and 1 cup walnuts. Stir constantly until well blended (making sugar is melted and no longer granular). Pour this sauce in bottom of baking panpan; set aside. After the cycle is complete, put the dough on a lightly floured board, and roll the dough into a rectangle. Brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts. Roll the dough up tightly like a jelly roll, starting with the long side. Press the edges to seal. With a knife, cut the roll into one inch pieces. Place the pieces in the prepared pan on top of the caramel sauce. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until brown. Remove from oven and immediately turn upside down onto a platter. (You can leave out the walnuts if your family does not like them.) I have also added chocolate chips to the dough when rolling them up, or raisins as well.

We have another short menu this week due to the holidays, as we are hosting a New Years party with a greek theme. Enjoy the recipes, and Happy New Year!

EZ Crockpot Mexican pork

1 lb boneless country style pork ribs, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups salsa
1 tsp cumin
1 small can chopped green chiles, drained
1 can (15 oz)black beans, drained, rinsed
1 cup shredded cheese
2 cups cooked rice
sour cream

Place pork, salsa, cumin, chilis and beans into crockpot. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Serve on rice with cheese and sour cream.

Homemade pizza night

EZ dough recipe:
1 1/4 cups warm water,
1 pkg active dry yeast,
1 tblsp sugar,
1 tsp Italian seasonings,
3 tblsp olive oil
3+ cups of flour,
1 tsp salt
Mix water, yeast, sugar & oil in mixer bowl. Then add flour & salt. Mix-knead for 10-12 minutes, sprinkling with flour to keep from sticking to bowl. Dough should be elastic & smooth. Place dough in oiled bowl, cover dough with oil, cover & let stand 1 hr at room temp. Then divide dough 2 equal parts roll into balls, cover with damp towel & let stand another 10 mins. Use immediately. Don't forget to poke holes into dough with fork once rolled onto pan to let steam escape while baking.

Use you family's favorite toppings. I always keep things like pizza cheese, pepperoni, and Italian sausage in the freezer. And I always keep black olives, and canned mushrooms in the pantry. Then making a last minute pizza is a snap. If you don't have time to make dough, buy ready to make pizza dough packets and keep them in the pantry as well.

Baked chicken and dumplings

1/4 cup butter
1 small chopped onion
3 stalks chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon, sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon or to taste
1 (9 ounce) bag frozen peas, thawed
4 cups cooked chicken (I simmer boneless skinless chicken breasts in chicken broth
then shred when cool)

2 cups biscuit mix
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2/3 cups milk

In a large saucepan, melt butter and sauté onion, celery and garlic until soft. Add flour, sugar, salt, pepper and basil. Mix until flour is mixed in well. Add broth and bring to a boil, stirring until mixture is blended and thickened. Add bouillon and stir. Stir in chicken and peas. Pour mixture into a baking dish. Make dumplings by combining dumpling ingredients in a medium bowl. Drop 2-3 Tablespoons of dumpling mixture on top of casserole in approximately 12 separate mounds. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes . Cover with foil if necessary (so dumplings don’t get too brown). Remove foil for last 10 minutes of cooking.

New Years Eve Menu

Spanikopita(Greek spinach pie)

Spnach pie:
2 pkgs. frozen chopped spinach
2 sticks butter, melted
6 eggs, well beaten
2 med. onions, finely chopped and sauteed
1 bunch of fresh parsley chopped(stems removed and sauteed)
1 tablespoon dried dill
1 lb. cottage cheese
3 oz. cream cheese
3/4 lb. feta cheese, crumbled
1 box phyllo dough, defrosted

Cook spinach and drain VERY well; add 1/4 cup melted butter to it. Mix eggs, sauteed onion, parsley, dill and cheeses together and combine with spinach. Preheat oven to 350. Place pyllo sheets in a pan, one at a time, brushing each sheet with melted butter. Distribute spinach mix evenly over sheets. About halfway through layering. Top with remaining sheets. With sharp knife, cut through tops to make into squares. Bake 1 hour or until golden brown and puffy. Cool and cut into squares.

1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2/3 cup long grain white rice
2/3 cup pine nuts
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
1 (8 ounce) jar grape leaves, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup lemon juice

Mix the lamb, onions, rice, pine nuts, salt, pepper, and mint into a bowl until evenly combined. Gently open up a grape leaf, and place rib-side down onto your work surface. Place a rounded tablespoon of the meat mixture into the center of the grape leaf. Fold the bottom of the leaf over the meat, fold in the sides, and roll into a tight cylinder. Place the rolled grape leaf into a large skillet, seam-side down. Repeat with remaining grape leaves, packing them in a tight, single layer.
Pour the water and lemon juice into the skillet, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, 50 to 55 minutes. Check occasionally and add more water if needed. Save water for sauce. Serve with lemon suace for dolmades.

Lemon sauce for dolmades:

Whisk together 2 egg yolks in a small bowl and set aside. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small pan, over medium heat, then whisk in 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, stirring until smooth. Add 1 cup of hot cooking liquid from dolmades, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a simmer and begins to thicken. Reduce heat. Stir a couple tablespoonfuls of hot broth mixture into egg yolks, then slowly add egg-yolk mixture to broth, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice and continue stirring and cooking until sauce has thickened a bit more. Stir in 2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley.


1 pound chopped mixed nuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 . Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Toss together cinnamon, nutmeg and nuts. Unroll phyllo and cut whole stack in half to fit the dish. Cover phyllo with a damp cloth while assembling the baklava, to keep it from drying out. Place two sheets of phyllo in the bottom of the prepared dish. Brush generously with butter. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the nut mixture on top. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used, ending with about 6 sheets of phyllo. Using a sharp knife, cut baklava (all the way through to the bottom of the dish) into four long rows, then (nine times) diagonally to make 36 diamond shapes. Bake in preheated oven 50 minutes, until golden and crisp. While baklava is baking, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir in honey, vanilla and lemon zest, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Remove the baklava from the oven and immediately spoon the syrup over it. Listen for the sizzle sound! Let cool completely before serving.

We are not Greek in case you were wondering, we just love Greek food!. This is our
3rd year of having our Greek New Years, and I think our group will be the biggest this time around. We had tons of leftovers last year and I hope we will have the same, since I love the leftovers. Have a great one..toodles...Evie

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