ORANGE CINNAMON ROLLS WITH ORANGE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

ORANGE CINNAMON ROLLS WITH ORANGE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
ORANGE CINNAMON ROLLS WITH ORANGE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

RECIPE FOR MY FAVORITE WHITE BREAD DOUGH

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons shortening (Crisco)
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups scalded milk cooled to about 120°

PREPARATION:

Pour lukewarm scalded milk into a large mixer bowl.  Add Crisco, sugar, and yeast.  Using a dough  hook, mix on low for one minute and then let rest for five minutes.  (The warmth and sugar will activate the yeast). Add salt and 3 cups flour.  Add a little flour at a time until you have added 6 cups.  Mix well and then start touching the dough.  It should be smooth and not sticky.  If it’s sticky, add flour a little at a time, mixing well after each addition, then touch dough again.  NOTE:  If you have a heavy duty mixer, the entire thing can be done in the mixer. After the flour is added and dough is not too sticky, beat it at low/medium speed for five minutes.

When dough is ready, lift dough hook and smear butter all over the inside of the bowl.  With your fingers, press dough into a round shape, and then turn it upside down, which will coat the top with butter, keeping it from drying out. Cover with greased plastic wrap and a dish towel to hold the heat in, and let rise in a warm place, out of drafts, for about 1 hour, or until doubled. When dough is touched, an indentation will remain.

(KNEADING BY HAND) Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead, adding more flour as necessary to keep it from sticking, until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Place dough in a large buttered mixing bowl. Turn dough over so greased side is up. Cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel to hold the heat in, and let rise in a warm place, out of drafts, for about 1 hour, or until doubled. When dough is touched, an indentation will remain.

Punch dough down and divide into two equal portions. With a rolling pin, roll into a rectangle about the width of your pan and however long it ends up being. (16” – 18” or so).  Starting at narrow edge, roll dough tightly; pinch long seam together. Fold ends under loaf. Place loaves, seam side up, in greased loaf pans, and then turn over so top gets greased (approximately 9 x 5 x 3-inch). Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise until double, about another hour.

Preheat oven to 425°. Put pan of water on bottom rack of oven to keep bread moist and give you a nice crust.  Bake loaves at the center of the oven for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown.

To make rolls, it’s pretty self-explanatory.  Shape them, cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise.

ORANGE CINNAMON ROLLS  (YIELDS 12 CINNAMON ROLLS)

Half of dough

2 TBSP grated orange zest

1 TBSP milk

2 TBSP butter

2 TBSP sugar

1 TBSP cinnamon

½ cup chopped dates (optional)

½ cup chopped pecans

OPTIONAL: I LOVE adding dates to baked goods.  I have NEVER had a kid say that they didn’t like them.  I think they believe them to be some kind of awesome chocolate chip.  Dates come from mature date palms and are rich in minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants.  They are easily digested and full of fiber, as well as beneficial Vitamins A, K, B,  and iron.  They are delicious in these orange cinnamon rolls, oatmeal cookies, chocolate chip cookies, banana bread, and lots more.

Another great thing to add to orange cinnamon rolls is Craisins.  They are bright and sweet and add a nice additional flavor.

PREPARATION:

Lightly flour your work surface. Using only half of the dough (bake a loaf of white bread or rolls with the other half), quickly knead 2 tsp orange zest into dough.  Roll the dough  into a  10” x 17”rectangle and brush a little room temperature milk.  Spread the butter evently, then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Sprinkle dates and pecans.

Roll up, beginning at the long side, and pinch edge of dough to seal.  Make sure roll is at an even height all the way across.  With a serrated knife, cut into 1” slices and place in greased oblong pan.  Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise for half an hour.

Bake at 400 °F for about 20-25 minutes, or until browned.

ORANGE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

3 1/2 oz cream cheese, softened

2 TBSP butter, softened

1 tsp orange extract

1 TBSP orange juice

2 dashes of cinnamon

1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

2 TBSP orange zest

PREPARATION:

Beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until well blended and fluffy.  Add extract, orange juice, cinnamon, and orange zest, mixing quickly until incorporated.  Add the sugar slowly and blend well.  Frost rolls. Sprinkle a little orange zest on top for color.

ORANGE CINNAMON ROLLS

ORANGE CINNAMON ROLLS (2)

ORANGE CINNAMON ROLLS (3)_crop

ORANGE CINNAMON ROLLS WITH ORANGE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
ORANGE CINNAMON ROLLS WITH ORANGE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2015

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COUNTRY-STYLE FRENCH BREAD

COUNTRY-STYLE FRENCH BREAD
COUNTRY-STYLE FRENCH BREAD

(This is not my recipe, but it’s a good-un!) Bob loved it. Toasted? Out of this world. Instead of using my bad boy mixer, I kneaded it totally by hand for a change. It was fun! You can make it in the oven or on the grill.

“You could make this bread, and no other, for the rest of your baking career, and never feel cheated. It uses the sponge, or poolish, method: sort of a poor man’s or woman’s sourdough starter — no feedings, little pre-planning, lots of flexibility and superb bread. I usually make this dough, sponge starter and all, in the bread machine, but you can do it by hand, processor, or stand mixer. After barbecue season, bake this bread in the conventional oven but atomize it with water to get that crisp crust. If you’ve always wanted crusty, hole-ridden, French-style bread, this is the ticket.

Sponge Starter (Begin 2 to 16 hours ahead)
1 cup (8 ounces) cool to lukewarm water (90 to 100°F)
1/2 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1/4 cup (1 ounce) King Arthur White Whole Wheat or Traditional Whole Wheat Flour

To Make The Sponge: Stir all of the sponge ingredients together to make a thick, pudding-like mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on a counter overnight or for at least 2 to 4 hours. If you’re making this in a bread machine, place the sponge ingredients inside, and turn the machine on for just a few seconds to mix the ingredients together. Turn the machine off and close the cover. Let the sponge rest for 4 hours or overnight (anywhere between 2 and 16 hours is fine, the longer the better).”

Dough
All of the sponge starter (above)
1 cup (8 ounces) lukewarm water, preferably spring water (l00 to 115°F)
3/4 teaspoon active dry or 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
3 3/4 to 4 cups (1 pound to 1 pound 1 ounce) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

To Make The Dough: Stir down the sponge with a spoon and add the water, yeast, sugar, most of the flour (hold back about 1/2 cup to use if required), and salt. Knead the dough, adding more flour as necessary, to make a soft dough, 10 to 12 minutes.

Note: You may also do this in your bread machine, using the Dough or Manual setting. After the dough has finished kneading, place it in a lightly greased bowl, and continue as directed below.

Big Tip: Mix ingredients together using up to 80% of the flour called for: it will be a loose, messy mass. Let the dough rest for 12 minutes, and you’ll see it change in texture, to be come much smoother. Continue, kneading and adding additional flour as required. Overall, the dough handles better once its had time for the flour to absorb the water while resting and relaxing. By using this method, you’ll tend to add less flour, and have much bigger holes in your finished bread.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or plastic container, cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and a damp towel, and let it rise until almost doubled (depending on the weather, this could be l to 2 hours). If you’re going out, or if you prefer, let the dough rise slowly in the fridge. If your dough has been refrigerated, allow it to come to room temperature; it’ll warm up and rise at the same time.

After its first rise, deflate the dough gently, but don’t knock out all the air; this will create those “holes” so important to French bread. Form the dough into a round ball. Place two cookie sheets atop one another, and place a semolina- or cornmeal-dusted piece of parchment paper on top. Gently place the ball of dough on the cookie sheets, seam-side down. Cover it lightly with a tea towel, and let it rise the second time until it’s puffy and about 40% to 50% larger, anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes (depending on the weather, luck, and magic). Slash or cross-hatch the bread with a sharp knife or lame. Dust it with a little flour.

Preheat your grill to High. Place the bread (on the doubled-up cookie sheets) on the grill, and close the cover. Immediately reduce the heat to Medium (400°F), and allow the bread to bake for 25 minutes, or until it’s well-browned. Reduce the heat to Low, and carefully place the bread directly on the grill. Continue to bake until completely done, about 5 minutes.

COUNTRY-STYLE FRENCH BREAD
COUNTRY-STYLE FRENCH BREAD

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TRIPLE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE FROSTING, BY TIKA

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE FROSTING
TRIPLE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE FROSTING

     I have to say that of all the brownies I’ve made over the years, these might be my new favorite.  I’m not exactly sure if they beat out the Mocha Brownie Cake, but I’ll tell ya this . . . They are outstanding; so moist, and incredibly fudgy.  The white chocolate frosting will take you to a place that chocolate lovers only dream about.  

     Unfortunately, while I was making the frosting, the family was cutting little samples when my back was turned.  They couldn’t control themselves, even before they were frosted.  See all the little nibble marks?  I know we don’t have mice!  Oh, and let me add that it wasn’t the little kids, either.  *Sigh.  Nobody minds me.

INGREDIENTS:

1 stick butter

4 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate

¾ cup semi-sweet baking chips

1 cup + 2 TBSP sugar

¼ cup baking cocoa

½ tsp baking powder

Dash of salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 eggs

1 cup unbleached AP flour

¾ cup walnuts optional

PREPARATION:

Spray an 8 x 11 baking dish, then lay parchment paper in the bottom and up the sides.  Cut it a little bigger than the dish so you have handles to lift the brownies out after cooling.  Spread room temperature butter on the bottom and sides of the parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, chocolate, and chocolate chips over medium/low heat.

Add the sugar and stir until melted.  Remove from heat.  Add cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and vanilla, whisking until incorporated. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and temper them by adding small amounts of the chocolate mixture while stirring well between additions.  Add eggs to chocolate mixture and whisk well.

Add flour, mixing only until incorporated.  Stir in nuts if you’re using them.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350°F for a good 30 – 35 minutes.  Use toothpick test.  If they are too wet, check them again in 5 minutes. Brownies should have a few crumbs stuck to the toothpick.  Do not over bake or you’ll lose some of the moist, chewy, fudgy goodness.

Cool completely before removing parchment and brownies from baking dish.  Frost.

WHITE CHOCOLATE FROSTING WITH SEMI-SWEET CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE

INGREDIENTS:

3 ounces white cooking chocolate (NOT white chocolate chips)

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

2-3 TBSP half and half

1 tsp vanilla extract

Dash salt

PREPARATION:

In a ramekin, melt the white chocolate in 30 second intervals in the microwave.  Stir between heating sessions to remove all lumps.  Set aside.

In your mixer bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for a minute.  On low speed, add the confectioner’s sugar a few TBSP at a time, mixing until well blended.  Add the vanilla and white chocolate.  Turn the mixer speed up and beat well.  Add the half and half and beat until mixture is fluffy and out of this world delicious.

If desired, add a chocolate drizzle made with ¼ cup chocolate chips, a tsp of butter, 2 TBSP water, and a quick ¼ tsp vanilla extract.  You should melt the chips and water in the microwave, then add the remainder of ingredients as necessary to achieve the desired consistency. Make sure it’s stirred well and lump free. You want it to be able to run off the end of a spoon.

You could also simply shake on some chocolate sprinkles to give the white chocolate frosting a contrast.

GONE!

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CHICKEN POT PIE, BY TIKA

THREE INDIVIDUAL PIES
THREE INDIVIDUAL PIES

Another Westover Leftover!  Remember the chicken soup I made a few days ago?  I cooked extra chicken in it to make the broth extra rich, and also to have leftover chicken and broth to make quick and easy meals.  You just can’t be that!  I began with 5 ½ lbs of bone-in chicken breast and 8 cans of chicken broth.  The magic continued from there.

I ended up with one big bowl of soup which I photographed in one of my best bowls so it would look beautiful.  I was going to pour it back in the pot after taking pics, but I looked at it for so long, I ate it!  It was so good.  I have six small bags of soup in the freezer for future sickies.  I made three individual chicken pot pies.  I only intended to make two, but there was enough filling and pie crust to make one small one.  Can ya say, “Lunch?” I also made ten chicken, shrimp and black bean burritos.  Last night I made enough chicken and biscuits to serve four.  I made all this food with one big pot of chicken soup. What a deal, huh?

Look at these beauties!!  Except for making homemade pie crust, the rest was a cinch.  If you just can’t make your own crust, use store-bought.  (Just don’t tell me.)

I’ve seen lots of recipes for chicken pot pie baked and served in a pie pan.  I don’t care for that, because even if you let it sit for ten minutes after baking, I think everything slides out into the middle of the dish once you’ve cut it.  Hence the individual pies that I make.  Trust me, they are easier, because working with a small piece of dough is easier than a big piece.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is to add more gravy than you think you might want.  You don’t want to end up with just chicken and veggies.  Between the holes you must put in the top crust so the steam can escape and what bubbles up

around the edges of the crust you lose precious gravy.  Steam is part of your gravy!  No!  Not my gravy. Say it ain’t so. Make it on the wet side. I don’t know about you, but the gravy is a big part of the deliciousness of a chicken pot pie. I should have added a little extra to this batch.

PIE CRUST INGREDIENTS:  (This is for a double crust pie)

2 cups unbleached AP flour

1 tsp salt

2/3 cup Crisco

7 TBSP iced water

PREPARATION:

In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour and salt together.  Cut in Crisco with a pastry blender until mixture is pea sized.  Add your iced water one teaspoon at a time, stirring with a fork each time. Test it by picking up a small hunk and pinching it into a small ball.  If it sticks together smoothly, you’re good.  If it feels dry and crumbly, add another ½ teaspoon of water.  The texture is important.  It won’t roll out correctly if it’s too dry.

Form dough into a ball and then cut it in half.  Depending on the size dish you’re using, you may want to cut it in half again so you have four pieces.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough with a floured rolling pin until it’s the shape you want.  Pick rolled dough up with a spatula or wrap it around the rolling pin to transfer it to the dish.

MIX UNTIL YOU HAVE A PEA SIZED CONSISTENCY
MIX UNTIL YOU HAVE A PEA-SIZED CONSISTENCY
PERFECT CONSISTENCY. SEE HOW DOUGH HOLDS TOGETHER WHEN I SQUEEZED IT?
PERFECT CONSISTENCY. SEE HOW DOUGH HOLDS TOGETHER WHEN I SQUEEZED IT?
BOTTOM CRUSTS IN!
BOTTOM CRUSTS IN!

FILLING INGREDIENTS:

Pastry for double pie crust

1 can chicken broth

3 TBSP flour

2 TBSP corn starch

2 or 3 cups of chicken stock from your soup pot

1 chicken bouillon cube

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 rib celery, diced

½ tsp poultry seasoning

½ tsp thyme

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp parsley

Pepper to taste

½ cup milk

½ – ¾ cup frozen peas, rinsed in water to remove ice

1 large chicken breast (about 2 cups), cooked and cut into big chunks

PREPARATION:

In 3 quart saucepan, add chicken broth, flour, corn starch, and bouillon.  Over medium heat, bring to a simmer while whisking lumps out. Add 3 or 4 cups of chicken stock from your soup pot. (or a jar of chicken gravy). Once it’s come back to a simmer, add the carrots and celery.  Turn heat down to low. Cover pot with cover askew and let it simmer, stirring with whisk once in a while.

When vegetables are tender add the seasonings and peas.  When peas are done, add the chicken and milk. Ladle into prepared crusts.  Top with crust and poke holes in it with a fork.

Bake at 425°F for 30 – 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

DOESN'T THAT LOOK GOOD? DON'T OVERFILL THE DISHES OR IT WILL SPUTTER AND SPLASH IN YOUR OVEN.
DOESN’T THAT LOOK GOOD? DON’T OVERFILL THE DISHES OR IT WILL SPUTTER AND SPLASH
IN YOUR OVEN.

CHICKEN POT PIES

SO DELICIOUS
SO DELICIOUS

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BLUEBERRY CRUMB MUFFINS WITH LEMON CURD FILLING, by Tika

BLUEBERRY CRUMB MUFFINS WITH LEMON CURD FILLING
BLUEBERRY CRUMB MUFFINS WITH LEMON CURD FILLING

  This recipe makes a wonderful lightly sweet muffin with a great crumb.  No, you don’t have to fill them with lemon curd, but why wouldn’t you?  It takes them right over the top!

YIELD: 6 Jumbo muffins and 8 regular sized muffins.  You could also make a few muffins and a coffee cake.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup Crisco

3 cups unbleached AP flour

1 ½ cups sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

3 large eggs

1 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 ½ cups blueberries

PREPARATION:

In your mixer bowl, cut together the first five ingredients using a pastry blender.  Mixture will be crumbly.  Remove one cup of mixture and set aside.

Beat in the eggs, milk and vanilla.  (Never over mix muffins.)  Lastly, fold in the blueberries, and then top with reserved crumbs.  Bake jumbo muffins at 375°F in well greased pans for 22-25 minutes.  The regular sized muffins take about 21 minutes.

Leave them in the pans for about ten minutes, and then remove.  Let them cool completely on a wire rack if you’re going to add the lemon curd filling.  And if you aren’t . . . why not?  Just in case, here’s the recipe for the LEMON CURD FILLING RECIPE: https://wordpress.com/page/95625498/139/

USE PASTRY BLENDER UNTIL MIXTURE IS CRUMBLY
USE PASTRY BLENDER UNTIL MIXTURE IS CRUMBLY
EXCUSE THE BAD PHOTO, BUT I HAD TROUBLE WITH THE LIGHTING TO SHOW YOU HOW MUCH I HOLLOW OUT
EXCUSE THE BAD PHOTO, BUT IT WAS DIFFICULT TO SHOW YOU THE HOLLOW THAT I CUT OUT
THIS IS THE PAN I USE WHEN MAKING JUMBO MUFFINS OR CUPCAKES
THIS IS THE PAN I USE WHEN MAKING JUMBO MUFFINS OR CUPCAKES
BLUEBERRY CRUMB MUFFINS WITH LEMON CURD FILLING
BLUEBERRY CRUMB MUFFINS WITH LEMON CURD FILLING

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SHRIMP AND CHICKEN BURRITOS, BY TIKA

SHRIMP AND CHICKEN BURRITO ON HOMEMADE FLOUR TORTILLA
SHRIMP AND CHICKEN BURRITO ON HOMEMADE FLOUR TORTILLA

     These hearty burritos are made with homemade tortillas and filled with shrimp, leftover chicken, cheese, black beans, rice, and tomatoes.  I top them with a homemade cheese sauce.  They are stick to your ribs good! 

     Best of all?  They’re made with leftover chicken from when I made the chicken soup.  This is part of the reason I begin my soup with over five pounds of chicken. It’s all about Westover’s Leftovers, don’t you know. 

     These tortillas are flexible enough to roll, even when packed full of goodness.  Serve them filled with your best breakfast fare, fill and roll with lunch meats and cheeses (kids love this), fill, roll, and slice for great party appetizers, use them as a pizza crust, fill them for burritos for dinner.  The sky is the limit.

INGREDIENTS:

1 large cooked chicken breast (about 1 ½ cups)

1 cup raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 ½ cups cooked rice

One 14.5 oz can petite cut tomatoes with chilies

1 chicken bouillon

½  can black beans, drained and rinsed (put remainder in freezer)

¼ cup green pepper, chopped

¼ cup onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp cayenne red pepper

1 tsp cumin

1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

PREPARATION:

In saucepan, drizzle a bit of olive oil and sauté green pepper and onion for two minutes.  Add garlic and raw shrimp.  Cook for three – four minutes or until shrimp is pink.  Remove from pan and place in a medium bowl.  Add the cooked rice and black beans to the bowl.

In same pan, place tomatoes with their juice, bouillon, and all the seasonings.  Simmer for about five minutes.  When cool, add to the bowl.

Pull the chicken into big chunks and add to the bowl. Add the shredded cheese.  Mix well.

Place about half a cup of the mixture on one end of a flour tortilla and roll up, tucking ends in as you go.  Place seam side down in a greased casserole dish. Brush tops and sides of tortillas with a little olive oil.

Bake at 375°F uncovered for 20-25 min.

Serve with cheese sauce, salsa, guacamole, refried beans, sour cream, pico de gallo, etc.

SHRIMP, GREEN PEPPERS, ONIONS AND GARLIC
SHRIMP, GREEN PEPPERS, ONIONS AND GARLIC
SHRIMP, CHICKEN, RICE, CHEESE, BLACK BEANS AND TOMATO.
SHRIMP, CHICKEN, RICE, CHEESE, BLACK BEANS AND TOMATO.
PLACE A GOOD 1/2 CUP OF MIXTURE ON ONE END OF TORTILLA AND ROLL UP, TUCKING ENDS AS YOU GO
PLACE A GOOD 1/2 CUP OF MIXTURE ON ONE END OF TORTILLA AND ROLL UP, TUCKING ENDS AS YOU GO
SHRIMP AND CHICKEN BURRITO ON HOMEMADE FLOUR TORTILLA
SHRIMP AND CHICKEN BURRITO ON HOMEMADE FLOUR TORTILLA

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FLOUR TORTILLAS, BY TIKA

BROWNING THE FLOUR TORTILLA
BROWNING THE FLOUR TORTILLA

     You will never want to eat store-bought tortillas again.  These are delicious and easy to make.  You may expect that when rolling the dough out so thin that you would have sticking, breakage, etc.  NOPE!  They handle like a dream.  These tortillas are flexible enough to roll, even when packed full of goodness.  Serve them filled with your best breakfast fare, fill and roll with lunch meats and cheeses (kids love this), fill, roll, and slice for great party appetizers, use them as a pizza crust, fill them for burritos for dinner.  The sky is the limit.

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups AP unbleached flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp garlic powder

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup warm water

PREPARATION:

In your stand mixer, combine flour, salt, baking powder and garlic powder.  I just give it a few quick whips with my whisk.  With mixer on low speed and dough hook attached, begin adding the water and oil slowly.  The dough will begin to form a ball.  If the ball doesn’t appear, likely the dough is too wet.  Add a few tablespoons more flour.  The dough should be just like bread dough, not too sticky, and not too dry.  After the ball forms, mix at low/medium speed for a minute or two, scraping the bowl a couple of times.

Drop about half a cup of flour on your work surface off to the side.  Grab a few pinches and wipe it into your work surface.  You will also want to flour your rolling pin.  Leave the extra flour off to the side, because you will need to grab some here and there.

Divide the dough into 10 equal portions, roll them into balls and let them rest for fifteen minutes.  If when you begin to roll them, the dough keeps pulling back, let that tortilla sit and move on to another one.  After about five minutes, the gluten will have relaxed and it will roll fine.  Don’t worry about rolling them picture perfect.  This is not a factory where they form them exactly the same.  Make them as round as possible and don’t worry about it. You are going to be working fast now, roll one, throw it in the pan, flip it, and move on.

After you have two or three ready, drop one onto a preheated cast iron skillet set at medium/high heat.  After about a minute, bubbles will begin forming.  Flip it with tongs and cook the other side for 30-45 seconds.  If they are taking too long, raise the heat a smidge.  If they cook too fast, turn it down a bit.  Don’t brown them too much because you want them to be flexible.

Lay the finished shells on a platter.     Store in a plastic bag and they’ll keep fine for a few days.  Guess what?  You can freeze them!  Oh yeah. Make once and have a spare set in the freezer.

That’s it!  You just made homemade flour tortillas!!!

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FLOUR TORTILLA DOUGH
FLOUR TORTILLA DOUGH
ROLL INTO 10 BALLS
ROLL INTO 10 BALLS
FLOUR TORTILLA
FLOUR TORTILLA
BROWNING THE FLOUR TORTILLA
BROWNING THE FLOUR TORTILLA

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CHICKEN SOUP, BY TIKA (AKA LIQUID GOLD)

CHICKEN SOUP
CHICKEN SOUP

INGREDIENTS:

5 lbs bone-in chicken breasts

8 cans chicken broth

1 onion, chopped and divided

3 ribs celery, divided

4 carrots, divided

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

½ tsp poultry seasoning

2 tsp parsley

½ tsp tarragon

PREPARATION:

Rip that fatty skin right off the chicken and discard. (It makes the soup greasy).  In an 8 quart saucepan, simmer chicken for two hours with ½ of a chopped onion, 1 carrot and 1 rib of celery which you’re going to break into three or four pieces.  Cover the pan, but leave cover askew.  You want the broth to cook down.

Remove chicken from pan.  I always tear the bones off and throw them back in the pot while I’m peeling and chopping vegetables.  Put chicken in the fridge. Before adding carrots, celery, garlic and reserved onion to the pan, strain the broth to remove the bones and vegetables.

To strain the broth, use a large pan or bowl to catch the broth.  Line the bottom of a colander with cheesecloth. (In a pinch you can use a new Wet Wipe and/or some paper toweling.  I’m such a fraidy cat about chemicals, so if I have to use a Wet Wipe, I wash it in dish water and rinse it well before I strain my broth).  Slowly pour the broth over the cheesecloth and it will filter out any small pieces of fat, bones, cooked vegetables, etc.  Let it drain well so you don’t lose a drop of that liquid gold.

Now it’s time to add 2 ribs of celery, and 3 carrots, which you will chop, dice, or roll cut.  I always do a diagonal cut because I think it’s pretty.  Starting at the tapered end of the carrot or celery, make a diagonal cut with a sharp knife.  Turn the carrot a quarter of a turn and cut again, moving up the carrot as you go.  This cut gives you a pretty uniform size.  Simmer for another hour with cover askew.  Add some of the chicken to the pan.  This recipe makes a lot and I use the extra chicken for other meals.  i.e. chicken pot pie, chicken and biscuits, chicken chimichangas, chicken burritos, chicken and dumplings, etc. About fifteen minutes before serving, add the seasonings.

You will note that I have not added any noodles to the recipe ingredients, although there is ditalini in the photo.  Here’s why.  Noodles do NOT hold up after they’ve been cooked and frozen.  Since we normally don’t eat this as a meal, (the main reason I make my soup is for when people are feeling sicky).  I always have containers of it in the freezer and everyone knows it.  This is why they all want the recipe since I’m not in NY any more to give them mine.  Ha ha.  OK, so you have a few choices.  Add rice and let it simmer in the soup.  Rice freezes great.  Or add your noodles when you’re heating up the soup.  If you add a sturdier pasta such as ditalini or farfalle, and you won’t have the problem.

At this point you can eat some soup and freeze the rest, or save some of the broth, and leftover chicken to make other meals. (Which I mostly always do.  It saves a lot of work later and you know how we love our Westover’s Leftovers).

Feel free to add a can of tomatoes or some fresh tomatoes if you want to.

Why this soup is so good:

Starting out with chicken broth instead of water gives instant flavor and you’ll end up with a fabulously flavorful soup.

Using bone-in chicken enriches the broth even more and is incredibly healthy.

Adding a little poultry seasoning and tarragon gives the soup another layer of flavor.

If you’re making this for sickies, freeze small batches in quart freezer bags.  You know when you’re sick you don’t want a lot of solids, so don’t put too much chicken or vegetables in it.  The broth is the ticket. If you’re freezing containers for future meals, load it up with chicken and vegetables.

CHICKEN, ONIONS, CARROTS AND CELERY SIMMERING
CHICKEN, ONIONS, CARROTS AND CELERY SIMMERING
REMOVE BONES FROM COOKED CHICKEN AND RETURN BONES TO POT TO SIMMER LONGER WHILE YOU'RE CHOPPING VEGGIES
REMOVE BONES FROM COOKED CHICKEN AND RETURN BONES TO POT TO SIMMER LONGER WHILE YOU’RE CHOPPING VEGGIES
IN A PINCH YOU CAN USE A WASHED NEW HANDI WIPE AND PAPER TOWELING TO STRAIN THE BROTH
IN A PINCH YOU CAN USE A WASHED NEW HANDI WIPE AND PAPER TOWELING TO STRAIN THE BROTH
AFTER STRAINING
AFTER STRAINING
PURE LIQUID GOLD
PURE LIQUID GOLD
VEGETABLES CUT ON A DIAGONAL
VEGETABLES CUT ON A DIAGONAL
CHICKEN SOUP
CHICKEN SOUP

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RIGATONI PARMESAN

RIGATONI PARMESAN2006-02-14 19.56.20

A wonderfully versatile dish that you can customize with mushrooms, sausage, meatballs, or even cooked ground beef.  Make it your own for a dinner that will please any Italian food lover.

INGREDIENTS:

One 16 oz box of uncooked pasta (penne, ziti, rotini or rigatoni)

1 ½ quarts (6 cups) homemade sauce

¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan

¼ cup fresh grated Romano

1 cup ricotta cheese

2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese

PREPARATION:

Cook pasta in salted water, but undercook it by 2 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

Mix ricotta cheese into sauce, then pour enough sauce into a 13×9 baking dish to cover the bottom.

Add half the pasta, stirring to mix.  Sprinkle with half the Romano and Parmesan. Add half the Italian blend.  Repeat with Italian blend cheese being the top layer. Cover lightly with foil, and if your dish is very full, put a tray underneath it to catch spills.

Bake for 30 min at 350 °F, then uncover and continue baking until cheese is bubbly and browned. (Another 10-15 min).

NOTE:  This dish will freeze very well.  Make a double batch and freeze one before baking.  Lay plastic wrap directly on the cheese and push gently to squeeze out any air.  Lay aluminum foil on top of plastic wrap, label and freeze.  You’ll thank me later.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? ©2015

RIGATONI PARMESAN BY TIKA, FOR CHEW WANNA EAT?
RIGATONI PARMESAN BY TIKA, FOR CHEW WANNA EAT?

©2015

SWEET POTATO CHIPS FOR YOUR DOGGIES

SWEET POTATO CHIPS
SWEET POTATO CHIPS

I’ve been making sweet potato chips for my dogs ever since I first bought my food dehydrator.  They love them, and are a very healthy snack.  They freeze well, too!

Wash sweet potatoes and remove any bad spots.  Slice them as thick or thin as you want.  Know that the thicker slices will take longer to “cook”.  Just as with the chicken jerky, I put nothing on them.  (No oil, no seasoning, no nothing).

When they are done, they will actually be crisp.  If they’re still rubbery when you try to bend them, continue cooking.  Plan on a minimum of 6 hours at 135° – 145°, again, depending on how thick you slice them.

Dogs love sweet potatoes, but it’s never a good idea to feed them raw because they are difficult to digest if not cooked.  Sweet potatoes have dietary fiber, Vitamin C, beta carotene and manganese.  They are good to aid the digestive system, as well as reducing the risk of cancer.  As with any treat, don’t overdo.  Sweet potatoes are high in carbs and sugar.  I keep a container of them in the fridge near the chicken jerky treats.

Sweet Potato chips

SWEET POTATO CHIPS
SWEET POTATO CHIPS

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT?  ©2015