Soft as a Pillow Dinner Rolls

When it comes to fresh homemade “HOT” bread or rolls right out of the oven, can you wait until they cool down? Not here, I try but no luck and my family is just as bad. Big “V” will have the butter and knife waiting until I give the ok to dig in. Because of our lack of patience, I have to make more than one batch of what ever bread I am making.
So when it come to my Soft as a Pillow Dinner Rolls, 1 or 2 batches is not enough. I sometimes make 4 batches. 1 batch for us to test to make sure they are ok to eat, 1 batch for my neighbor, 1 batch for my sister’s family, and another one for us for dinner. And if my brother lived closer or coming down, I would have to make another batch or two for them. If your family is anything like my family, save yourself some time and just double the recipe from the start. You will not regret it!

Soft as a Pillow Dinner Rolls 

2 1/4 teaspoons of dry active yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1/3 cup sugar (divided) 

1/4 melted butter 

1 cup hot milk

1 teaspoon salt 

1 egg beaten 

4 1/2 cups flour

2-4 Tablespoons of melted butter (for topping rolls)

Pre-heat oven to 350. 

1) In a large measuring cup, add warm water, yeast and 1/2 of the sugar. Do a quick stir and set a side until  yeast foams, about 10 minutes. If it does not foam your yeast is not good.

2) In large bowl add hot milk, the 2nd 1/2 of the sugar, salt and butter. Mix well, make sure sugar is dissolved. Let cool until about 110 degrees. 

3) Add yeast mixture to the milk mixture, add beaten egg. Mix well, add the 4 cups of flour one cup at a time. Leave the 1/2 cup flour aside. You will have a soft sticky dough.

4) Dust a clean counter top with some of the 1/2 cup of flour, kneed dough adding flour as needed for 5 to 6 minutes. Dough will be smooth at this point.

5) Place dough in a well buttered large bowl, cover with a clean dish cloth and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size.

6) After dough has risen, punch dough down and kneed for  5 minutes. I do not add more flour, but if needed use as little as possible. Adding to much flour, you will not get a light fluffy roll.

7) Divide dough into 16 equal parts and roll in to balls, place balls into a well buttered 13×9 baking pan. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes until doubled again.

8) Brush with 1/2 the melted butter for topping. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Once out of the oven brush with the remaining melted butter. 

Let cool if you can!

Enjoy! 

Garlic “Instant” Mashed Potatoes…Shhh don’t tell anyone they’re Instant!

I know you can never replace the real thing, but sometimes you can substitute it! I’m talking about potatoes! My family loves “Real” mashed potatoes. But sometimes I don’t always have enough on hand or they are so expensive and not that great looking. Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind paying for good looking potatoes, but not those ugly ones that look like they should be the start of next year’s crop.

I always have that container of good old fashioned instant potatoes flakes on hand, just incase. There is so many options that you can do with them. You and add garlic, cheese, sour cream, bacon and more. You can also make bread, rolls, gnocchi and they also make a great thickener for soups. So next time your at the store pick up a box, you never know when you might need it!

Garlic “Instant” Mashed Potatoes 

4 cups water

4 1/2 teaspoons chicken bullion 

1 1/2 cups 1/2&1/2

6 Tablespoons of butter 

4 cups instant potatoes flakes 

1 teaspoon pepper (we like pepper)

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 

1/2 teaspoon parsley 

Salt (optional, remember you have it in the bullion)

1) In a medium sauce pan add water, 1/2 & 1/2 and butter. Heat on medium low just until a simmer starts. Remove from heat.

2) Add chicken bullion, pepper, garlic powder and parsley.

3) Whisk in instant potato flakes slowly just until combined. At this point they may look like you need more flakes. But do not add more. Let sit about 5 minutes. Add salt if needed.

4) Whip the potatoes a bit and serve.

Enjoy! 

Summertime Bean Salad

Summer time is here! Picnics, BBQs, and camping. Ice cold lemonade, watermelon and ants, it wouldn’t be summer with out the ants. Summer family get togethers are my favorite, sitting outside reminisce about the good old days or playing board games. One of our family favorite games is Tile Rummy. In the past my mom, Grandma and a close family friend Florence would play Tile Rummy for hours. So now we keep up the Tile Rummy tradition and play it often. Sometimes we play for mini candy bar, each round the winner will get a mini candy bar. My sister and daughter Nina usually end up with the most candy.

Our summer family get togethers usually includes some type of food. Sometimes it’s simple,  like cut up watermelon or something bigger like a BBQ. When we have a BBQ I like to make quick and easy side dishes that I can make before hand, that way I can enjoy more time with my family instead of in the kitchen. My Summer Bean Salad is super easy. I like to make it the night before so it has time to marinate. And it is always a big hit with the young and not so old!

Summertime Bean Salad

1 can kidney beans

1 can black eye peas

1 can black beans

1 can green beans

1 can garbanzo  beans

1 can corn

1/2 medium onion finely chopped

2 green onions finely chopped

2 to 3 tablespoons of cilantro finely chopped

Dressing

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes

1) Drain and rinse beans and corn, put in large bowl.

2) Add chopped green onions, onions and cilantro.

3) In a small to medium bowl  add dressing ingredients mix well, until sugar is dissolved and oil and vinegar is well combined.

4) Pour dressing over beans and mix until all beans are coated.

5) Chill for 2 to 3 hours. The longer the better. Mix well before serving.

Enjoy!

Bran Muffins with Raisins and Walnuts

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One of Big V’s favorite muffins are Bran Muffins. He loves them slightly warm with butter. So when he asked if I could make some, the hunt was on for the “Perfect” Bran Muffin. I started playing around with different concoctions tying to get the best muffin that was moist and with big flavor. I tried some with bran cereal and some without. I tried toasting the wheat bran and not toasting. I added all white flour with the wheat bran and all wheat flour.l I even tried a 50/50 white flour/wheat flour mix. In the end I came up with a muffin recipe that Big V was very happy with. I am very pleased with my Bran Muffins with Raisins and Walnuts, but like all other recipes I will still keep playing around with it. Who knows I might come up with the “Ultimate Perfect Bran Muffin”.

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Bran Muffins with Raisins and Walnuts
(Makes about 12 regular size muffins)

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
2 eggs slightly beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups wheat bran, toasted
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Pre-heat oven to 350
1) Toast wheat bran on a plain cookie sheet in oven, stir every couple of minutes to prevent burning for 6 to 8 minutes. It will have a toasty smell when done. Set aside, cool completely.
2) Spray muffin tin or line with liners.
3) In a medium bowl add sugar, molasses, eggs, oil, milk and vanilla, mix well.
4) In a large bowl add cooled wheat bran, wheat flour, white flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda, mix well. Add raisins and walnuts coat with flour mixture.
5) Fold wet mixture into flour mixture just until combined. Do not over mix.
6) Fill muffin tin almost to the top of liners. I use an ice cream scooper.
7) Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
8) Cool muffins in tin for about 3 to 5 minutes, remove to wire rack to finish cooling.
Enjoy them warm or at room temperature. They also freeze well. And don’t forget the butter!

Enjoy! 

Super Easy 1,1,1 Peanut Butter Cookies

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I have a cookie recipe that your going to want to save. It’s my Super Easy 1,1,1 Peanut Butter Cookies. They are super easy and fast to make. Best part is that you probably have all the ingredients in you kitchen right now! My family has been making these cookies for years, I can not tell you where the recipe came from, but a big “Thank you” who ever came up with this great recipe. They have become my “go to” cookie when I need to whip up a batch of cookies at the last minute. You can keep them simple and plain or dazzle them up for the holidays, by adding a candy kiss to the top, or drizzle with melted chocolate or even sandwich ice cream between two cookies for a fun summer treat.

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My oldest nephew just graduated from high school…”Way to go Bubba!!” and my brother had a big Bbq for him, my sister was making cupcakes and I was bring other desserts. I thought it would  be fun to make mini peanut butter and jelly sandwich cookies.  Remember when I said you would probably had everything you needed, I did! No need to run to the store for anything and I was so happy about that. I whipped up a triple batch of Super Easy 1,1,1 Peanut butter Cookies (I needed lots of cookies) let them cool, then I added strawberry jam between two cookies and I was done! Super easy, Super quick and Super yummy!

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Super Easy 1,1,1 Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Pre-heat oven to 325.
Prepare cookie sheet with parchment paper. Mix all ingredients until well combined. Scoop out cookies with a mini ice cream scooper on to cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Press with floured fork or bottom of glass.
Bake 7 to 10 minutes.

* If adding candy kiss to top of cookie, make sure to add unwrapped candy to cookie as soon as they come out of the oven.
** If add melted chocolate drizzle, let cookie cool first then drizzle with melted chocolate.
*** If make a sandwich cookie, let cookies cool before adding sandwich filling.

Enjoy!

Double Chocolate Fudgy Brownies

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My daughter Nina and I love chocolate.  Every so often we get the urge to make something real chocolaty. One day brownies sounded good, but not just any plain brownies they had to be full of chocolate. So putting our heads together we came up with Double Chocolate Fudgy Brownies. They are so rich, fudgy and full of chocolate it will satisfy any chocolate craving. If you take them to any potluck or gathering, I’m sure your going to be asked for the recipe. So feel free to share and let eveyone know you got the recipe from Little Country Wagon.

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Double Chocolate Fudgy Brownies
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
3 teaspoons of vanilla paste
3/4 cup of mini chocolate chips
or 1 cup of regular chocolate chips
1/2 cups of nuts (optional)
Powdered sugar for dusting

Pre-heat oven to 325
1) Prepare a 9×13 inch baking pan. Line with parchment paper, spray lightly with non stick spray. Make sure parchment paper hangs over sides of pan for easy removing.
2) In a medium bowl mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add chocolate chips and nuts (optional), mix to coat chips and nuts with flour mixture. Set aside.
3) With mixer beat oil and sugar until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, mix well between eggs. Add vanilla paste. Mix until light and fluffy.
4) Hand fold flour mixture into oil mixture just until combined. Do not over mix.
5) Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Test with toothpick, done when toothpick has a few most crumbs on it.
6) Cool completely, dust with powdered sugar.

Enjoy!

Enchilada Pancakes with Homemade Sauce

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Enchilada pancakes are one of my family’s favorite dinners. You have a two thick crispy homemade corn tortillas, creamy enchilada sauce with cheese, lettuce and marinated onions nestled in between. I serve everything in separate dishes/bowls so eveyone can build their own enchilada stack. You can add ground beef or chicken if you like, but there is so much flavor you do not need it. Rice and beans make a great side dish.

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Ingredients
Shredded cheese
Shredded lettuce
Marinated chopped onions (onions with a little apple cider vinegar and a pinch of oregano)
Olives (optional)
Enchilada Sauce (recipe below)
Enchilada Pancakes (recipe below)

Dip one enchilada pancakes in sauce, pile with cheese, lettuce and onions. Take another enchilada pancakes dip in sauce, place on top. Add more sauce and cheese. Top with olive. (Not pictured)

Enchilada sauce
2 Tablespoons canola oil
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon New Mexico chili powder
2 Teaspoons California chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
Pinch of oregano
2 cups chicken broth
Salt to taste (I do not add salt due to the chicken broth having salt in it)

1) Heat oil until hot then add flour, mix while cooking over medium heat for about 1 to 2 minutes or until a light tan color.
2) Add chili powders and seasonings mix well. This will become a dry thick paste.
3) Slowly add chicken broth, mix well. Reduce on low heat about 15 to 20 minutes or a nice sauce consistency. Stir occasionally.

Enchilada Pancakes
4 cups of Maseca (instant corn masa flour)
3 cups warm water
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
Oil for frying

1) Mix masa flour and salt, add warm water.
Mix by hand, until a soft play dough consistency.
2) Scoop into balls, I like using an ice cream scooper.
3) Take a gallon size zip plastic bag, cut the sides and the zip part off. Slightly  dampen inside of bag with water. Place masa ball in between plastic and press until ball is flatten to about 1/4 inch thick pancake.
4) Fry on both side untill golden brown and cooked through.

Enjoy!