Easy Dinner Rolls

Easy Dinner Rolls

Many years ago, I got some free samples of Easy to Bake, Easy to Make recipe cards in the mail and this recipe was included. I have been making these rolls ever since.

These rolls are super easy to make, especially since you don’t have to knead the dough. You can keep the dough in the fridge for up to 4 days, so it is easy enough to bake just enough for the night’s dinner and use the remaining dough to bake fresh rolls for the next few nights.

Easy Dinner Rolls

1 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
2 packages active dry yeast (do not use quick rising yeast)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 4 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

Combine the warm water and yeast in a large bowl. Let the mixture stand until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes.

Stir in melted butter, sugar, eggs, and salt. Mix in flour one cup at a time, until dough is too stiff to mix (some flour may not be used). Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 4 days.

Grease a 13 X 9-inch baking pan. Turn the chilled dough out onto a lightly floured board. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth round ball; place balls in even rows in the prepared pan. Cover and let dough balls rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Easy Dinner Rolls Rising 2

Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake until rolls are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.


Okra Pilau

Okra Pilau

People in South Carolina love their rice. A variety of rice dishes are popular in the state, especially in Charleston and the Lowcountry.  At one point in history, the Lowcountry was the center of rice production in the U.S. After slavery was abolished, rice production shifted to the Gulf Coast states, notably Louisiana and Texas. Rice is still an integral part of South Carolina’s agriculture. In recent years, there has been a resurgence in the growing of an heirloom long grain rice variety called Carolina Gold. If you have a chance to purchase some Carolina Gold, do so. It’s wonderful.

Pilau (or purloo) is a common rice dish found on tables in the Lowcountry. Just as there are many different ways of preparing the dish, there are also many different names. “Perloo” or “purloo” and “pilaf” being very common. No matter what it is called, the dish consists of rice cooked in a broth, often with meat and/or vegetables for flavoring.

This particular pilau can be made vegetarian by omitting the bacon and using vegetable broth. If not using bacon, heat 2 tablespoons oil to cook the onion and bell pepper.

When choosing okra, pick the smaller pods. The larger ones can be quite tough and fibrous. You can use frozen okra for this dish.

Okra Pilau

4 slices bacon, diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 pound okra, stem end removed and chopped or thinly sliced (you can use frozen okra)
3 tomatoes, chopped (or use a 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained)
1 cup uncooked long grain rice (try Carolina Gold if you can find it)
2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large skillet (that has a lid), cook the bacon over medium-high heat until just crisp. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until tender. Add the chopped okra, tomatoes, rice, and chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stir well, then cover. Do not use a spoon to stir the pilau beyond this point. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid has cooked away, about 15 minutes. Fluff the pilau with a fork and serve.


Crockpot Black Bean and Barley Chili with Mushrooms and Kale

Crockpot Black Bean and Barley Chili with Mushrooms and Kale

I’m catching up on some blogging.  I have dozens of half-written blog posts that are just waiting to be finished and published. In addition, I have several recipes written on scraps of paper that need to be typed up and hundreds of food picture that need to be sorted and edited. I’m not short on content, just time.  I love blogging about what I am cooking, though. I love that I have created my own digital cookbook and I am happy I can share it.

This is a little something I cooked up this past winter. With this chili, I set out to make one thing and ended up with something totally different. That is not necessarily a bad thing. I ended up with a nutritious and hearty vegan chili that tasted great. I was happy with the results.

Crockpot Black Bean and Barley Chili with Mushrooms and Kale

1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
16 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 14.5 ounce can black beans, drained
1/2 cup barley
4 cups vegetable broth (I used 4 cups water and 2 Knorr Vegetable Bouillon cubes)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper, to taste (I used 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper)
4 cups kale, chopped

Add all the ingredients to the crockpot. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high 3 to 4 hours.


Strawberry Infused Vodka

Strawberry Infused Vodka (427x640)

We made our first trip of the year to the local strawberry farm recently and picked some beautiful berries. I froze the majority of the berries we picked to use in smoothies throughout the year, but saved enough to make a jar of Strawberry Infused Vodka.

strawberries

Making fruit infused vodka is easy. Too easy. Pineapple is my favorite, but strawberry is a close second. I especially love the resulting color of using strawberries. So pretty.

Strawberry Infused Vodka

fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
vodka (my favorite is Tito’s)

I don’t have exact measurements for this recipe. Just place the sliced strawberries in a quart sized Mason jar. Don’t pack them tight. Pour the vodka over the berries almost to the top. Place the lid on the jar and place in a cool place for 3 days. Gently shake the jar each day.

Strawberry Infusing in Vodka

After 3 days, strain the vodka in a coffee filter-lined mesh strainer. I strain the vodka into a glass measuring cup and then put the strained vodka into a clean Mason jar. Store the Strawberry Infused Vodka in the fridge.

Strawberry Infused Vodka is delicious mixed with a little limeade. It’s also good with a splash of sparkling water or mineral water. If you like a sweeter drink, you can add a touch of simple syrup.

Strawberry Infused Vodka Drinnk


Collards and Chickpeas Soup with Sausage

Collards and Chickpeas Soup with Sausage

We are three weeks into the new CSA season and I’m so happy to be getting the box of fresh produce each week again. I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to blog about what I’ve been cooking with the wonderful vegetables (and strawberries) from Pinckney’s Produce.

For lunch today, I made this easy Portuguese-inspired soup using collards from my CSA box. The simple combination of ingredients made for a very flavorful soup.

Collards and Chickpeas Soup with Sausage

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 large potatoes (Russet are good), peeled and diced
1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained
8 cups chicken broth
1 bunch collards, center stem removed and then thinly sliced
8 ounces fully cooked sausage link, sliced (I used Eckrich Smoked Sausage)
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
salt and black pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until tender. Add the minced garlic and cook a minute more. Add the remaining ingredients, increase the heat, and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.


Ribollita (Italian Vegetable Soup with Bread)

Ribollita

This is another one of my favorite soups. It is loaded with vegetables. The way I make it is more like a stew than a soup, more veggies than broth. Adjust the amount of broth to your liking. This soup is also nice with a little pasta (like ditalini, pastina, or acini di pepe) added around the same time as the zucchini. If you add pasta,  you don’t necessarily need the bread, but the soup-soaked bread is pretty fantastic.

This recipes makes a lot of soup, so you will have plenty of leftovers. It’s great to have on hand for a quick lunch or as a nutritious and filling start of a meal. It keeps for a week in the fridge and freezes well.

Ribollita (Italian Vegetable Soup with Bread)

1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 – 10 cups vegetable broth
1 14.5 can of diced tomatoes & their juices
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced (I use Russet)
1 15.5 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 head green cabbage (or savoy), cored and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 zucchini, diced
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Italian bread, sliced

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.

Add the broth, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, cabbage, thyme, and basil to the soup pot. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer 15 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook until the zucchini is tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.

To serve, place a slice of Italian bread in a bowl and ladle soup over bread.


Carrot Hummus

Carrot Hummus

I let my 5 year old pull the remainder of the carrots in the garden to make room for something else. I decided to use them to make carrot hummus. My carrots were lighter orange than the ones you typically find in a grocery store. My hummus is not as vibrant of an orange color as I assume using more deeply colored carrots would produce.  No matter, the overall result is a tasty variation of hummus and would be a colorful addition to any table of food.

Carrots

I adapted this recipe from one found in the April 2015 issue of Cooking Light. This issue has 7 variations of hummus and they all look interesting.

Carrot Hummus

1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
shredded carrots
sliced almonds (optional)
paprika

Place the chopped carrots in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the carrots are very tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Save the water to add to the hummus.

In a food processor, add the chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, kosher salt, cumin, and cooked carrots. Add about 3 tablespoons of the water the carrots cooked in and process, stopping to scrape down the sides from time to time, until smooth. This may take up to 5 minutes. Spread carrot hummus in the serving dish and top with shredded carrots and sliced almonds (if using). Sprinkle with paprika.


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