Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Roll Out! Actually, I love any kind of bread. I have a recording of my mother trying to get me to say "itty bitty peas" when I was a wee toddler and over and over--despite her perseverance--I would say, "Bread!" These thighs don't lie, y'all! Thus, when i found the Pioneer Woman's recipe for yeast rolls, I drooled and decided to give it a whirl. I've honestly never baked anything involving yeast because it seems a little...well...more time-consuming than I care spend on bread--especially when Sister Schubert does such an excellent job for me! But, hey, I'll try almost anything once! Who might become my "go to" bread recipe!

Wow. There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, but most I already had from the days of my quest to make the perfect biscuit--except for yeast. And whole milk. The yeast I acquired from the sis (Thanks, Anna.). And I don't think I've ever in my whole life purchased whole milk (1% is my milk of choice), but that's no biggie. So, the original recipe makes like a million rolls, I think, so I decided to half the recipe. A million is just too much for my mill house kitchen to handle, but half a million I can handle. Ok so I exaggerate. Maybe it's just 24.

Here's the recipe halved:

2 c. whole milk
1 stick butter
½ c. sugar
2 ¼ t. active dry yeast
4 c. all-purpose flour
½ t. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
1 ½ t. salt
½ c. (additional) all-purpose flour
1 stick (additional) melted butter

Combine milk, 1 stick butter, and sugar in a large pot. Let it simmer until it’s almost boiling. Turn off the heat and let it cool for 30-45 mins, until mixture is slightly warmer than lukewarm.

Sprinkle in yeast and 4 c. flour. Stir to combine.

Cover and allow to rise for one hour.

After one hour, add baking powder, baking soda, salt, and additional ½ cup flour. Stir to combine.

Turn onto floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes. Get ready for a workout.

I made my dough at night, and at this point covered it and put it in the fridge. During my lunch hour the next day, I rolled out the dough to ¼-½ inch thick (I discovered it works better if it’s thinner), and cut my dough with biscuit cutter (actually I just used a drinking glass) into circles.

Melt a stick of butter in the microwave. Dip rolls into butter, fold in half, and place on a greased cookie sheet. Press them down lightly to get them to seal.

They look like they're smiling at you!
Because I had to go back to work, I covered these in plastic wrap and popped them back in the fridge until I got home that evening. However, if you are ready to bake at this point, let them rise for about 30 minutes and put them in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.

I kind of whined a lot while I was making the dough for these rolls because it seemed like a lot of trouble to make something when I didn't know if it was going to turn out tasting like heaven or...poop. Luckily for me...these were wonderfully marvelous! I really was impressed with how well they turned out. And knowing that they are SO good, I think I will make these again. You can go so far as to make the dough, form the rolls, freeze them raw, pull out the number you want when you want them, let them thaw and rise on the pan, pop them in the oven, and EAT. That will save lots of time and energy. I will go out on a limb and say these are better than any rolls I've ever had. EVER. But I'm not's just a great recipe. Try them. I ate 3 at dinner :)

In case you missed it the first time, here's the Pioneer Woman's full recipe if you'd like to see it:

As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to email us at or post a comment on this blog.  We love hearing from you!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Mardi Gras is a time of celebration in many cultures. The phrase, ‘Mardi Gras’, is French for Fat Tuesday. This ’Fat Tuesday’ refers to the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the fasting of the Lenten season begins. The Lenten season lasts for 40 days (not including Sundays). Most of us attempt to rediscover those New Year’s resolutions we have left behind. Others attempt to truly ‘fast’ by giving up something very important to them, like chocolate or caffeine.
Now that the history lesson is over, let’s get to the good part. The food!!!
Each of the Everyday Girls chose a true Cajun or New Orleans inspired recipe. My mom made her famous Shrimp Creole, which can be found in the January 21st post. My choice was jambalaya. I love it, but have never attempted to make it. Every recipe I have come across has about 20 ingredients. When I see there are more than a handful of ingredients, I usually just try to find something easier. This time, I wanted a true classic. This particular recipe would be considered a ‘Creole Jambalaya’ because we are using tomatoes as part of the cooking liquid.
The only way I know to find a recipe that is true to its roots, is to find a true New Orleans resident and ask for the recipe. This recipe was sent to me from a college friend who grew up in Covington, LA just across the Pontchartrain. I have had the pleasure of visiting and dining on true Cajun favorites from this family. Love them!!
We talk about this every post, but this recipe, in particular, it is very important to prep your ingredients. Doing this will make everything so much easier when you are ready to begin cooking. All the veggies can be chopped the night before and stored in the fridge.
To see the full recipe, check under the recipes tab. Please note that I am posting the full recipe. I divided this in half and there was more than enough to feed 9 adults at lunch plus lots of leftovers.
1. Start by heating a large pot over med-high heat. Render the bacon and sausage with the butter, stirring occasionally to keep the bacon from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add it to the pot. Cook chicken about 5 min.

2. Add the onions, bell pepper, and celery to the pot and allow to cook for about 15 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook an additional 5 minutes.
3. Add all the spices and rice to the pot, stirring often for about 3 minutes.
4. Increase the heat to high, add the tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer for about 15 minutes.
5. While the rice is cooking, season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Once the rice is done, turn off the heat. Stir in the green onions and shrimp, cover and the shrimp will cook in about 10 minutes. Remove lid, fluff, and serve.
This was so delightfully yummy, words cannot describe it. You are able to taste each element of the recipe; andouille sausage, bacon, chicken, and shrimp. The spice mixture was perfectly spicy without being overpowering. I loved it! However, if I were to make this again, I would take into account the large quantity even the half recipe makes

Kirby here. 
My Mardi Gras dish is a true classic; however, it might not be as difficult as you would expect.  I cooked beignets, and they were a hit!  Want to know the secret?  They were made from a box.  This goes to show that you can have a great Mardi Gras meal without having to go overboard.  Stephen said his mom made the best beignets, so naturally I wanted her recipe.  When word came back that they were prepared from a mix I was slightly hesitant. Then, I read through beignet recipes and saw where I would have to get yeast and let things rise…whoa! Stop right there! I don’t like my food moving around once it comes indoors, so let’s check out that mix a little more.
 When looking for this mix, I became slightly panicked because I couldn’t find it.  I was in one of the largest grocery stores in my area, and if they didn’t have it who would?!? My sweet, calm boyfriend suggested we try World Market.  Bingo! They had it, and at around 4 dollars, too. 

Ingredients: Mix, vegetable oil, water, powdered sugar
To make the batter mix 2 cups of mix with 7 ounces of water.  Put a few inches of oil in your pan and begin to warm this up.
 Now, bring out your flour; you’ll need lots because this is a very sticky batter. 
Flour your surface and your batter, bring together, and then start to roll this out.
Cut your dough into squares.

Drop them one by one into the oil, but no more than around 4 depending on the size of your pan.  Once you drop them in, they should rise to the top after a few seconds.
Flip them constantly until they are puffy and golden in color. 
Once you take them out of the oil, drain on paper towel and immediately coat in powdered sugar.  Since I was traveling with these, I stopped at this step.  We liberally coated them right before dessert!

Check out pics of Andie's King Cake!  Her recipe will soon be posted! It's one that won't want to be missed!

Who found the baby?! Check back to find out!

Throw on your best Mardi Gras costume and Laissez les bons temps rouler!! (Let the good times roll!)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Shrimp and Grits

This is one recipe that I looked forward to making.  Not because I felt like this is a fancy dish to try, or not because I felt like it’d impress anyone.  I wanted to make this for me.  I’ve only had it a few times, but every time I do I just love it.  Therefore, I thought it’d be a perfect recipe to try to re-create.  I found this through a friend’s blog who made this for her husband for their anniversary.  She had rave reviews on it, so I knew it’d be a perfect one to try.  I’m always looking for recipes that others have tested.  That way I at least know that someone out there has liked it before.  Matter of fact, that’s one of my biggest tips: Always read the reviews.  Most recipe index websites all have reviews, and they sometimes give the best tips, so read 'em they can help you out!
This recipe taught me a lot about myself.  I learned that I can’t cook without some sort of disaster.  It always happens, but I’ve learned that that’s OK.  As long as there’s an edible outcome it’s all good!  This time (as always) I didn’t do my prep work, so as I was hurriedly trying to chop my vegetables and sausage, I cut my thumb.  <Blood may have been the secret ingredient.  OK, all jokes aside,  I took a break to clean everything up! > Then, my milk mixture boiled over because I left it unattended.  Now you know, milk boils over and sharp knives go through flesh like butter.
Let’s get on with it. Here's the original recipe.


3 Tbsp olive oil (I used canola because that's what I have)
1 whole red bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped (I omitted)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced (I used 1 tsp of pre-minced garlic)
6 oz sausage, sliced
½ c dry white wine
1/3 c all-purpose flour
2 ¼ c chicken broth
½ c heavy whipping cream
2 bay leaves (I used one)
1-1 ½ tsp Creole seasoning (I probably used more about 2)
3 lbs shrimp (I used 1 frozen bag)
2 Tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley (I used about a tsp of dried)

Step 1:
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add bell pepper, onion, and garlic, and sauté 2 minutes to soften.  Add sausage, and cook 6 to 7 minutes or until browned, stirring often. Add wine, and cook until almost all liquid has evaporated.  This took about 7 minutes

Step 2:
Sprinkle flour over mixture in skillet, and cook about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. (Flour will start to brown.) Gradually whisk in chicken broth and cream; add bay leaves and Creole seasoning.
Step 3:
Bring mixture to a simmer, and cook, uncovered until thick, stirring often.  At this point, I just left  it simmering until I was about ready to serve.
Step 4:
Add shrimp to sauce, and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until shrimp turn pink, stirring often.  This won’t take long!  Take out your bay leaf and serve over grits.

Cheese Grits
Right around Step 3, I made my grits, which in this case was polenta, which is basically yellow grits.  The kind I bought were quick cooking so they only took about 5 minutes.  This is how I made mine, but most any cheese grits recipe will work just be sure to follow that package’s liquid to grits ratio.

2 c milk
2 c water
2 c chicken stock
2 c grits
2 c Swiss cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp butter

Bring water/milk/stock mixture to a simmer, add S &P, and butter.  Then, whisk in grits. Next, whisk in cheese. Continue stirring for about 5 minutes; keep warm.

This recipe may not be streets of NOLA worthy, but it’s pretty good for an Alabama week night!