These are amazing. These are a beautiful, delicious, savory answer to the cinnamon roll. And they make your house smell amazing!
I found these in my beautiful Smitten Kitchen cookbook and, although they are in the breakfast section, I have only made them for dinner.
They went beautifully with bar-b-que ribs.
Cheddar Swirl Breakfast Buns
For the dough
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp table salt
a shake or two of black pepper
1 tbsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp (1 pkg) yeast
1 cup milk
4 tbsp butter, melted
For the filling
1/2 cups (about 1 small or 1/2 medium) grated white onion
6 oz sharp cheddar cheese (but you know, if you have an 8 ounce bag and it all just happens to get used, that’s ok too)
2 tsp parsley
First make the dough. Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and sugar in a large bowl.
If you have a large enough measuring cup you can combine the milk and yeast in that (and save washing an extra bowl). Whisk until the yeast has dissolved into the milk.
Pour the milk and melted butter into the flour mixture and stir until a sticky ball forms.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and allow to rise until doubled in bulk (about 1.5 to 2 hours). This dough also can easily be chilled overnight (or up to three days) and then brought back to room temperature when you are ready to make and serve them.
While the dough is rising, grate an onion.
(Its fun! or not… but really try not to cry.)
Mix the onion with the cheese and then add in the parsley. (A note about the filling - really, you have many different options. The original recipe called for dill - I am not a fan of dill. I use parsley. Like mozzarella? Try that. And olive oIl instead of butter. Garlic! Garlic is always nice. Go wild here.)
Punch down your dough and roll it into a rectangle (about 12x16—but my marble is 12X12, so that is the size I got) and, a la cinnamon rolls, spread the cheese mixture on the dough and roll up the long edge to form a 12-inch log.
Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log into roughly 1-in rolls.
Arrange in either a well greased 9X13 baking dish or two well greased 8-in cake pans.
Allow to rise another hour until beautiful.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake for 20 - 25 minutes. The rolls should be brown and the cheese should be bubbly.
Serve immediately and be so so glad you made them.
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For me comfort food is warm and cheesy. Pizza, grilled cheese and tomato soup, and mac and cheese. Sometimes I just whip up some macaroni with Velveeta and milk on top of the stove, but sometimes we make this delicious baked Mac and Cheese. And it is very comforting and warm.
Macaroni and Cheese
From my mom’s old The Southern Living Cookbook
roughly 8 ounces of macaroni, uncooked
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1 tsp salt
2 cups (8 ounces) sharp cheddar cheese
1 egg (beaten)
Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Melt the butter in a medium-sized heavy sauce pan.
Add the flour and stir until smooth, making a roux. Cook for 1 minute, stirring consistently.
Slowly, stirring constantly and after each addition, add in the milk. Cook until thickened and bubbly.
Add in the salt and cheese;
stir until cheese melts completely.
Beat the egg in a separate bowl. Temper the egg by adding roughly 1/4 cup of the hot cheese mixture to the egg. Stir well and then pour back into hot mixture. Stir like crazy.
Pour the macaroni into a greased 1 3/4 quart baking dish.
Pour the egg/cheese mixture over the macaroni.
Stir till combined.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes until brown and bubbly and delicious.
Serve and eat immediately.
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I blame the experiments into sourdough but I have been really into finding interesting ways to make bread rise and unique textures.
Now I know that this might get me kicked out of the country or at least the cool kids club but I hate beer. I can’t stand the taste of it. Or the smell. Or really… anything about it. So it was a very perplexing moment when I found myself standing in the beer section of the supermarket trying to figure out what I should buy to make these bread recipes… I went for the pretty packaging and the local brewery cause.. yeah support local.
I wanted to try both recipes… I definitely think the no-knead one worked out better for me (don’t tell my fiancé - he loves Alton Brown!) but that is not a reason why you shouldn’t give them both a try.
Cheesy Beer Bread
From Alton Brown
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour (I use white whole wheat)
1tbsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt (add 1/2 tsp more if you are using a different/less salty cheese)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 1/2 ounces sharp Cheddar, grated
12 ounce cold beer
Preheat over to 375. Spray a 9X5 loaf pan with Pam or other non-stick spray.
Whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, sugar, and pepper in a large bowl (the beer will foam up so it really needs to be a large mixing bowl). Add in the cheese and stir.
Then pour in the beer and stir just until mixed.
Spread the batter in the loaf pan and bake for 50 - 55 minutes.
Remove and cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool another 10 minutes. This bread is best warm.
It has a really good cheesy flavor but also a little bit more beer flavor than the next one, but takes a lot less time and effort to make.
No-Knead Beer Bread
You will need to start this one the day before you make it.
From Sunday Hotpants
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup white wheat flour (though you can opt for 3 cups all-purpose flour if you like - or don’t want to run to the store again and get wheat flour special)
1/4 tsp yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp water at room temperature
1 cup beer at room temperature
1 tbsp wine vinegar (we didn’t have any so I used apple cider vinegar and it came out perfectly tasty)
Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Dig a well and add the water, beer, and vinegar.
Mix together until a shaggy ball forms, cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 - 18 hours. I left mine for closer to 18 than 8.
Lay a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil inside a 10-in frying pan and spray with Pam or other non-stick cooking spray. Transfer dough onto a floured surface and give it 10 - 15 turns. (Yes, I know, this is called a no-knead bread and here I am telling you to knead it. I can’t make any explanations or excuses for this. It just is. And I guess No-Knead bread sounds better than Knead 10 - 15 Times and That’s it Beer Bread.)
Place dough, seam-side down, into the frying pan and allow to raise until doubled, about 2 hours.
About 20 minutes before baking, place a 6 to 8 quart heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, with lid on, in the oven and heat to 500 degrees.
Make a slash across the top of the the loaf and, using the edges of the paper or foil, place the loaf (CAREFULLY!!!!!) into the preheated Dutch Oven and put back in the oven, covered for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake another 20 minutes until the loaf is a nice brown.
Carefully remove the bread from the pot and allow to cool before devouring.
So who is making ham tomorrow? Ok not me, but just in case you are, I made a small ham on Friday to get this perfect recipe for the leftover ham you may find in your fridge (but really this is good enough that you may want to set some ham aside to ensure the leftovers!).
It really is a flexible recipe. It originally calls for frozen peas. We didn’t have any, but frozen green beans are just as good (better says my pea-hating brother)! You can expand it easily to cover more people; just throw another handful of pasta into the pot, splash in a little more cream, and of course, add more cheese. Really, it’s super easy and surprisingly addictive!
Pasta with Ham and Cream
1 cup frozen green beans (or peas)
1 - 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 cups diced ham
3 - 6 tbsp grated parmesan (plus more to sprinkle on top)
Cook the pasta to package directions. After about 5 minutes, add the frozen beans or peas.
Once the pasta is finished cooking, drain with the green beans. Put the empty pan back on the stove top and heat the cream, ham and parmesan until it is all warm and just about to bubble. Add the pasta and green beans/peas back into the pan, toss everything together and serve.
The sauce is runny. Next time I make it, I think I might start with a simple roux to thicken it.
Top with more parmesan cheese if you desire.
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Sometimes you just want a simpler dinner. This one is easy. Delicious. Few ingredients. Perfect comfort food.
Not to say it can’t be a special meal easily too. My fiancé and I are in a long distance relationship with me in New Orleans and law school and him up in New York City. Valentine’s Day he wanted to cook the same meal even though we were both in our respective cities. This was the recipe we came up with, easy but still delicious and easy to make into a romantic pasta dinner. And the best thing… no worry about garlic breath on Skype!
Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce
From The Pioneer Woman Cooks (I have The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook - it is wonderful! Seriously one of my new go-to cookbooks! Check it out)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 onion diced
4 cloves garlic minced
2 15 - ounce cans of tomato sauce
dash of sugar
1 cup heavy cream
grated parmesan cheese (lots!)
1 pound fettuccine
Heat butter and oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté just till fragrant.
Pour in tomato sauce and add sugar as well as salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low heat 25 - 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. (This can be tricky, I have no advice.. I wound up with half the water on the floor… keep a mop handy?)
Remove the tomato sauce from the heat and stir in the cream.
Add the cheese to taste (my taste is a lot of cheese!).
Toss the pasta and, if you find it too thick, add some of the pasta water to thin out.
Add in fresh chopped basil and serve immediately!
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It’s turned colder here in New Orleans. I am drinking mug after mug full of tea and dreaming of soup. I made this one for Halloween and the house smelled so good one of the princess trick-or-treators tried to edge her way into the house. Until her mother pulled her back, that is.
French Onion Soup
From Smitten Kitchen
This soup takes some time. But trust me, it’s so worth it. This is the best soup I have ever made. I could open a restaurant and just serve this soup and retire a millionaire! it’s that good!
1 1/2 pounds (about 5 cups) thinly sliced onions (and I do mean thin! Chop till your eyes are streaming and your wrist is numb! No pain no gain! Chop! Chop! Chop!)
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
3 tbsp flour
2 quarts beef stock (or other brown stock)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 tsp thyme
3 tbsp brandy or cognac (optional but so, so worth it! I opted for the brandy because that was what my local grocery store had in a small bottle)
Melt the butter and oil together in the bottom of a 4 - 5 quart dutch oven (or saucepan) Add the onions and toss to coat. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to really low and let them steep for 15 minutes undisturbed.
After the steeping raise the heat slightly and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook the onions, stirring frequently about 45 minutes to a hour until they have turned a deep brown and reduced a lot. It takes forever but smells good and trust me is so,so worth it.
After the onions are cooked sprinkle them with flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add the wine in full and scrape off all the good bits on the bottom of the pot. Slowly add the stock a little at a time stirring after each addition. Season with the thyme, a little salt and some pepper. Bring to a simmer and simmer partially covered for 30 - 40 minutes. Add the brandy.
At this point you could bring the soup to a boil and serve. I however found that the flavor gets more complex and better - melding if you let the soup sit in the refrigerator over night or even up to two days. Bring it back out and to a boil and it’s all good to go!
To make the graitineed top you have two choices depending on if you have oven proof bowls or not.
You will need some croutons or (my favorite) good french bread and either swiss or gruyere cheese.
If you have the oven proof bowls I like to first gently toast my french bread, then fill the bowls with soup and float the bread on top. Cover the top with the cheese and try to get a little over the edge so it all oozes down and looks all restaurant fancy! Bake for about 15 minutes then hit it under the boiler for a minute or two to get it all brown and bubbly.
If you lack oven proof bowls (or like me need to serve more people than you have oven proof bowls for) you can do an ad hock top. Take the bread slices and place on a cookie sheet, cover the slice with cheese and bake/broil like above. I feel like this method is a little light on my cheese though so I always put a bit in the bottom of the bowl before pouring on the soup and then floating the cheese toast on top.
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I have a confession. I am not a big cheese person. Its a temperature/ texture thing. I don’t know - I love pizza (oh how I love pizza) but a piece of cheese with some grapes and crackers? No thanks, I’ll just have the grapes and crackers.
But… I love this bread. Fresh and hot from the oven - divine. Toasted the next day - delicious! This is another recipe from my mother via the Beard on Bread book and it is really surprising and delicious.
Before we get to the recipe I need to give a pep-talk. This is for a yeast bread and involves kneading. Do not be scared! Do not be alarmed! It is really not that hard at all and you can do it. Do not fall into the trap of thinking you need a bread machine or the dough hook - you can do it! People will fall over themselves in awe when they find out you made the bread from scratch and kneaded by hand! And you will be connected to the history of humanity kneading bread for centuries. Kneading is good and you can do it!
Still with me? Good, we are the bread bakers and will take over the world and feed the survivors of the zombie apocalypse! Or just have very very good sandwiches to make co-workers jealous!
(from Beard on Bread by James Beard)
Makes 2 loaves
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 3/4 cups warm water
5-6 cups all-purpose four
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) softened butter
1 teaspoon Tabasco (I left out and still good but my mom swears by it)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or slightly more to taste - I opt for more)
3/4 cup shredded Gruyere or Cheddar
(Note, in batch I opted to leave out the Parmesan all together and just put in a heaping cup of good Cheddar)
Dissolve the sugar and yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water and allow to proof (leave it alone for a few minutes and allow the yeast to start to bubble). Mix 5 cups of flour and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the remaining 1 1/2 cup warm water, butter, Tabasco, and the yeast mixture. Stir until a dough forms. Turn out onto a floured board or surface and knead for 10 - 12 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Basic kneading is great for a light arm work-out or to deal with stress. Form the dough into a lose ball, fold the top half of the dough towards you, press down and gently push away. Turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise in a draft-free spot until doubled in bulk. Should take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Punch down the dough (yep punch it with with your fist, I did say great stress relief) and turn out onto the lightly floured board. Slowly knead in the cheese.
When throughly blended, cut the dough in half and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into a rectangle. Allow to rest another 2 -3 minutes and then roll each rectangle into a log, pinching the edges as you go. Place each roll into a greased loaf pans (8 x 4 x 2) and allow to rise until the bread has reached the top of the tin or slightly higher (about 30 minutes when I made it).
Bake on the center of the middle rack in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the loaves sound hollow when you knock on the bottom.
Cool the bread a little on wire racks before slicing.