It’s Fall Y’all

Fall has hit me full force. I pulled out my good Swedish Lutheran roots and cooked up a full midwestern chili dinner. And no chili dinner can’t be complete without cinnamon rolls!

I slipped some of my husband’s smoked brisket from the freezer into the chili for a bit of a smoky twist. It turned out delicious and carbtastic.

I have no idea why my family of four (two of which are small children) needed a full pot of chili and an entire pan of cinnamon rolls. But hey, it got us all in the fall mood and we have leftovers for the whole week.

Happy eating!!

Cheesecake Experiment

Quarantine life is really starting to have an effect on me. I got a wild hair at 7 pm on a weeknight that I wanted to see if I could actually make cheesecake in my instant pot like I keep seeing on social media. I just so happened to have all the ingredients, so in the midst of bedtime preparation for the littles I pulled a recipe off the internet and got to work. It mixed up well and was super easy to get in the cooker.

What I didn’t expect was how “poofy” the cake was when I pulled it out of the cooker. I thought for sure I ruined it. The filling had over spilled and made a cheesy volcano. But I set it out to cool and walked away.

When I came back an hour later I noticed it had receded into something more resembling an actual cheesecake. We let it rest overnight in the fridge and then the family promptly DEVOURED the entire thing. The flavor was very good. I think I need to work on my filling texture and how much to fill the pan. We all voted that this was something we would do again.

PB didn’t much care for the filling and just liked the crust. But Jellybean had a ball experimenting with different toppings. He settled on caramel sauce as the best option. I can’t blame him!

What would you put on top of cheesecake?

More Gratuitous Baking Content

Jellybean looked at me this week and said “we should make cookies”. And I said why not! So here is more gratuitous quarantine baking content.

We made pretty standard cookies except for Jellybean insisted on adding the whole bag of chocolate chips. He then put fork marks in them like peanut butter cookies because why not? He also squished the completely flat. So we have very nice and crisp cookies.

They lasted all of 3 days. But to be fair I only baked 1/2 the dough and froze the other half or another baking day. I hope future Rachelle enjoys the work of past Rachelle, lol.

Happy Baking!!

Dinner Rolls Take Two

Happy Carbohydrate Friday! (I’m pretending its a thing during this crazy time)

I decided to take another run at dinner rolls in my bread machine. My last attempt was okay but I knew I could do better. I did some internet searches and landed on the Bread Machine Dinner Rolls on the Betty Crocker website.

The dough came together nicely. I managed to make more reasonably sized dinner rolls that were almost all the same size. The batch made 15 rolls and they raised nicely. I think I need to space them a little better during their second proofing.

The rolls taste and texture were a VAST improvement form my first try. This recipe is definitely a keeper. I printed it and put it inside my bread machine cookbook. My family quickly gobbled these with a bit of butter and peach jam.

Happy Baking!

Stress Baking

I’m my father’s daughter and when I feel uncertain or stressed….I like to work me feelings out by making carbohydrates. Today’s self care is brought to you by my bread machine and my first go at making dinner rolls.

The batch went swimmingly well in my machine. However, I definitely need more practice at sizing my rolls. I kind of overshot the “roll” size and landed more in a “hamburger bun” size range.

My family pronounced them delicious no matter the size. They browned beautifully and rose nicely. I used a basic white dinner roll recipe from my Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook by Beth Hensperger. The texture was light but this recipe used eggs and it had different texture than I an anticipated. I’m new to hardcore baking but my mother told me this is normal for egg based breads. I think I am going to make the pizza dough recipe for the next round and shape them as rolls instead of crust. It is just flour, salt, olive oil, water and yeast in that recipe.

Based on the current social distancing, I think I’m going to get a lot of baking practice. And I might end up needing bigger pants…

Happy Baking!!

Should Have Done This Sooner

I have continued my carbohydrate craze this week and tried something new….pizza dough in my bread machine. And y’all…I should have done this sooner!

My mom got me this great book on bread machine bread. Its really comprehensive and has helped me make really successful bread. But that is all I have ever made.

Jellybean and I needed a project this week so we decided to make homemade pizza. I pulled out the book and used the machine to make one batch of regular crust and on batch of whole wheat crust. It was SOOO EASY. The machine does all the hard work and when it’s done you can cook it right away, store in the fridge for 24 hours or store in the freezer for 3 months.

As a working mom who handles most of the cooking I feel like this has opened up a whole new world for dinner options. My family gets home between 5 and 5:30 and everyone is hungry, especially the kids. I can’t take an hour to cook dinner or there will be meltdowns. It’s just how it is with our littles right now and I know it will change when they get older. But as it stand now, during the week I have to plan meals that can come together quickly.

So holy cow, I can make up dough the night before and put fresh rolls, homemade pizza or whatever else I can think of in the oven for a few minutes when I get home. This has kind of fired up my cooking mojo and maybe I can shake up our recipe rut a little this spring.

What is your favorite (and quick) thing to do with basic dough?

I Need To Level Up My Biscuits

The kids requested biscuits and jelly with dinner this week. Now, normally as a working mom I grab a can of Pillsbury from the store and go to town. My kids eat them just fine. But I got a wild hair to make my own. I got out my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook and made Supreme Biscuits. They are kind of a mashup of baking powder biscuits and buttermilk biscuits.

They turned out fine and the flavor was good. But I really need to level up my biscuit skills. I forgot to put the cream of tartar in and I definitely rolled the dough to thin. My biscuits came out pretty short because of those two factors. I did manage to keep the butter cold and not overwork the dough so they were soft and flaky.

I’m kind of in carbohydrate phase right now and I think I may fire up another batch for some chicken and biscuits or biscuits and gravy…..yum! What is your favorite way to have biscuits?

Cake By Jellybean

Jellybean from time to time likes to bake and cook with me. Sp during his birthday shenanigans we made a birthday cake. We made the cake together and then I added the base coat of chocolate frosting.

He then went to town with every color of frosting, every decorating frosting tip I could round up, and literally every variety of sprinkle we own. He wanted to make it look like “trash” and not the derogatory kind. He was thinking a la Oscar the Grouch. I think he nailed it!

Then he proceeded to grab my phone and take “beautiful” photos of it.  He concentrated SUPER and hard and I stood off to the side laughing till I cried. My kid is something else and I wouldn’t trade him for anything. So I’ll just leave you with a few of his cake glamour shots….

P.S. it was also delicious!

Don’t Bake While Hungry

It’s cold and grey here in Kansas. And I made the mistake of baking while hungry. Which resulted in oatmeal lactation cookies turning into peanut butter banana protein muffins and chocolate chip banana bread. I don’t even like bananas! But my house was warm and smelled amazing.

Guess PB and Jellybean have snack and breakfast sorted for a few days?! 😋

Ps. I still have bananas on the counter AND in the freezer. What else should I make with them??

Grinching

Jellybean is OBSESSED with Grinches this year. To the point that he dressed as the Grinch for Halloween and PB was Max the dog. Add this to my desire to have rolled sugar cookies at Christmas meant we made frosted Grinch cookies!

The Santa hats were harder than I thought they were going to be…

And we attemped hair and beards. Professional cookie makers…..we are not!

Some cookies are more grinch-y than others. But they are all tasty and wonderfully festive. Now we are ready with cookies for Santa…Bring on Christmas!!