Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Jalapeno Popper Dip

Last night was the highlight of my month-bookclub. A night me and my besties get together to discuss the following highly important subjects which come up every single month: 

  • Cesarean Sections
  • Whether/When everyone is/will be getting pregnant
  • Crazy People of- or not- our Acquaintance
  • Our Naughty Children
  • Our Displeasure that our Children are Getting Older Despite the Fact We have Specifically Asked Them to Not.
  • A Few Minutes Delegated to the Book
It is a night we can get together and laugh until we cry over things such as: "The Lyrics to the Songs of the Saturday's Warrior Movie".
 I should note it's a late night for mom's.
Since it was my turn to host, I brought myself to make a few goodies, one of which was this dip. And it was a hit-evident by fact that it was snarfed by women at 9 pm. I know women who won't eat an apple at 9 pm. This is worth the sacrifice.

Jalapeno Popper Dip
Serves 12

16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup mayonnaise
8 pieces of bacon, cooked and chopped up
6 jalapeƱos, minced (if you can’t get fresh, substitute a 4-ounce can diced jalapeƱo peppers, drained)
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon cumin
1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese

For the topping:
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, bacon, jalapenos, garlic, cumin and cheddar cheese in a mixing bowl. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish or 9×13 baking dish.
3. Combine the panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and melted butter in a small bowl, tossing with a fork until the mixture is evenly moistened. Sprinkle evenly over the cream cheese mixture.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the dip is bubbling. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips, crackers, pita chips, vegetables, etc.
If you happen to be in need of a new book to read, and would like something a little suspenseful, *and if you are not bothered by the occasional eff word, or a few remarks regarding wieners*, this is the book I chose for this month:
It's a goodie.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Icing

I did it, friends-I had a big bowl of instant potatoes and a glass of chocolate milk, and felt good enough to bake something and take a picture of it. And I even went as far as to have some, and I will tell you I had 3. But the good news is that these are from Cooking Light, therefore making 3 a natural serving size. 
You may have the same concerns about their "lightness" that I did while making them-"2 Tablespoons of butter in the filling? Because I'm pretty sure The Pioneer Woman's calls for 2 sticks." But rest assured, friends-you totally can't tell they're light. And the icing is so rich and flavorful, you don't need a whole ton-it's the perfect amount.
These are best served warm, but Dylan can tell you from experience that 3 minutes in the microwave is a tad too long-and something you do not want to hear when coming out of the shower (obviously, completely unclothed) is, "mom-there's smoke everywhere!" I have never seen such a black cinnamon roll smoke so profusely. 
After you get all the ingredients for the dough into the mixing bowl, be sure to take a big sniff of the yeast, pumpkin, warm butter and nutmeg. You'll be glad it's fall time. Even if you have developed a new hatred for the fall-since it is the time of year when the schools steal our babies away from us and teach them such annoying phrases as, "SERIOUSLY, Mom?!" Happy Fall Time friends and neighbors.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Icing
Makes 12

1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus 3/4 cup extra to use as needed.
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Cooking spray
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1. Make the rolls: Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand for 5 minutes. Add 3 cups flour, pumpkin, milk, sugar, salt, nutmeg and melted butter; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of the remaining 3/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).
2. Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, for 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into the dough. If an indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) NOTE: If you have a breadmaker you can just throw everything in and put it on the dough cycle. That will take care of steps 1 and 2.
3. Make the filling: Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.
4. Punch dough down; cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Roll the dough into a 12 x 10-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Roll up the rectangle tightly, starting with a long edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam and ends to seal. Cut roll into 12 (1-inch) slices. Place slices in a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 25 minutes or until doubled in size.
5. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake the rolls at 375° for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes in pan on a wire rack.
6. To prepare the glaze, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until butter is brown and aromatic, about 4-6 minutes total. Remove from heat. In a small mixing bowl, combine the powdered sugar, cream cheese and browned butter with an electric mixer. Mixture will be thicker than a glaze, more like frosting. When rolls are done, immediately top each with a dollop of the frosting and let melt, using a spoon to help spread all over rolls (as it melts it should ooze down the sides.) 

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Recently Developed Affliction

I have not posted in over a week. The reason for this is that I have recently become afflicted with a feeling of revulsion to practically all foods not in this list:

  • Baked potatoes
  • Cereal
  • Pretzels
  • Toast
  • Crackers
Typically, people are not in need of recipes for these foods. Interestingly, the food I have felt the strongest hatred for recently is >gag< the salsa I made for my last post.
It is a temporary, yet relatively long-term condition that also includes emotional breakdowns over such things as: "Old Navy Coupons". 
The worst of my condition should pass by the middle of next month, at which time there will be more "official" information. But I will really attempt to not only bake something in the near future, but continue looking at the food long enough to take a picture of it. And perhaps even taste it. 

To tide you over, here is a photo of a little trick Owen learned yesterday, much to the delight of his primary teachers:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Simple Fresh Salsa

At the end of summer when we finally have tons of tomatoes in the garden, I don't mind living on this salsa. It is the perfect football food, and Josh makes it anytime the Utes are playing away. (Normally I detest everything about the sport except the food, but over the summer I have become a GIANT fan of football. And by "football" I am speaking of the TV series Friday Night Lights, which can be found on Netflix instant play-and is one of the best shows ever.) Josh and I each have our own ways of making the salsa-he likes it so spicy I have to take a drink after every bite, while I prefer super lime-y and salty (the technical measurement for the amount of salt I put in is: "buttload"), with perhaps one small pepper. 
It's super versatile and super addicting (I made it today to take to my sister-in-law's. Perhaps I shouldn't be snarfing it while I post this.), and also: HEALTHFUL. For real.

Simple Fresh Salsa
Serves 1 (me) - 6

2 lbs. ripe tomatoes, diced
1 red onion, diced 
1-3 jalapeno peppers, to taste
1-4 limes, to taste
1 Tbl.-1 buttload salt, to taste
Optional: handful of cilantro, chopped

tortilla chips, for serving

Mix ingredients in a large bowl, adjusting ingredients to taste.