Dinner Rolls – Make homemade rolls for Thanksgiving

Have you ever tried Corned Beef Hash? Not a homemade version, but the kind from the can. Oh, if you haven’t, you aren’t missing anything. Actually, you are missing something, the ability to tell everyone how horrible it is because you’ve tasted it and you know. I have never smelled and tasted something so vile. As soon as you pop open the can, the smell of dog food wafts past your nose. Yes, I said “dog food.” While they say that this is human food, I venture to guess that this is really just canned dog food and they mistakenly put a corned beef hash label on it. While my husband and I were dating, he tried to pass this off as an appropriate breakfast food. That was the first time I experienced it and THE LAST. It’s funny, because it was the last time he ate it as well. Ever since I said, “Oh my gosh, that smells like dog food” he hasn’t been able to eat it. I’m glad it’s not his favorite food, because it will never be in my pantry.

Anyway, I invited my parents over for dinner this past weekend, and I made turkey tetrazzini. I wanted to make dinner rolls to go along with it. Now, I wasn’t about to take the easy way out and buy some frozen dough or even the Brown and Serve rolls that you can buy at the grocery store. I wanted to make them from scratch.

For me, making yeast breads is so much fun. It’s a project that requires you to carefully follow the recipe. Other recipes are very forgiving, but not bread. I found a good recipe for dinner rolls on Foodnetwork.com. It had some pretty simple ingredients, so I knew it would be easy to prepare.

I am a little impatient, so the picture below is what happened in my kitchen when I needed to cool off the scalded milk. I didn’t want to wait for it to cool off naturally. So, this is the highly sophisticated way to make your bread baking go a bit faster.

This bread requires 2 rises, which isn’t tough, but you just have to plan ahead. If you want to make these for Thanksgiving, just be sure to give yourself several hours of prep time to ensure that they are done and warm by the time the family is sitting down to stuff their faces.

This story has somewhat of a sad ending. I popped them in the oven, on the middle rack, and let them alone to bake. All of a sudden I started seeing smoke coming out of the oven. Never a good sign! Half of my rolls were burnt on the bottom. I recommend putting these on the top rack of your oven, or else you will be forced to turn your burnt rolls into bread pudding or croutons.

Pretty rolls…

Burnt rolls…

Hopefully yours turn out like this…

Dinner Rolls
Adapted from: Food Network
Printable Recipe

1 package rapid rising yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp. salt
1 cup milk, scalded but cooled to warm
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted, plus an additional 2 tbsp (softened) for spreading on rolls
5-6 cups AP flour

In bowl of standing mixer, combine yeast and warm water. Stir to dissolve and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir in sugar, egg, salt, milk and melted butter. Using the dough hook, slowly mix in the flour until it is just slightly sticky. The dough should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl as the dough hook is mixing. Add more flour until it reaches the appropriate consistency.

Turn dough out onto lightly flour surface and knead for an additional 4-5 minutes – incorporate additional flour until the dough is no longer sticking to your hands. Form into a tight ball.

Spray a bowl with cooking spray and place the dough into the bowl, turning the dough to coat it with oil. Cover with a towel and place in a warm area (I use the top of the stove) to rise for at least an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Lightly spray 2, 12 cup muffin tins with cooking spray. Turn dough out onto countertop and punch down (about 6 punches works). Using a pizza wheel, cut dough into 1-inch wide strips and then cut it again to create 1 inch cubes. Form the cubes into 1-inch balls and place 3 of the balls into each muffin cup. Once you have filled the muffin tins, cover with a towel and let them rise again for 30-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush risen rolls with softened butter. Place rolls on the top rack of oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until they are golden brown.


Povitica – An Eastern European dessert for the Daring Bakers Challenge

The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!

Have you ever heard of Povitica? I hadn’t until this challenge. Honestly, I really didn’t want to participate because this recipe seemed quite difficult. There were so many steps that I even missed one. Oops! I started watching the other bakers as they finished their challenges and became inspired. Their loaves turned out so beautifully and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it as well. I also wanted an excuse to use one of my most prized possessions, besides my Kitchen Aid mixer, my marble rolling pin which was handed down to me from my mom who received it from her Aunt. I remember seeing that rolling pin in my great aunt’s dining room when I was a kid, and I always thought it was so cool. I bet she never could have imagined that it would end up in my hands and that I’d be using it weekly….thanks Aunt Iva!

As I say with most of my Daring Cooks recipes, this isn’t for the novice baker. In fact, it almost wasn’t for me either. The thought of rolling out that dough and having to fold it really scared me. But it wasn’t tough at all. I should have known better. There have been many times in my life that I was scared of something that turned out to be less painful than expect or not painful at all. I guess the lesson in all of this is to always give yourself the opportunity to know if you like something or not. I almost declined to participate in this challenge because I thought it would be too hard. I’m so glad I didn’t. This Povitica was delicious! My children loved it, my friend loved it and even the neighbors liked it. If you are looking for a challenge and a way to impress a guest that may be from Eastern Europe, make them a Povitica.

Recipe by: Jenni of The Gingered Whisk
Printable Recipe

To activate the Yeast:
½ Teaspoon Sugar
¼ Teaspoon All-Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Warm Water
1½ Teaspoons (1 package) Rapid Rising Yeast

½ Cup Whole Milk
3 Tablespoons Sugar
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Large Egg
1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, melted
2 cups All-Purpose Flour, measure first then sift, divided

(I accidentally forgot this step)
2 Tablespoons Cold STRONG Coffee
1½ Teaspoons Granulated Sugar
Melted Butter

Adapted from: Sweet Pea’s Kitchen http://sweetpeaskitchen.com/2011/03/23/caramel-crumb-bars/

1 stick unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 cans (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk


To activate the yeast:

Add sugar, flour and yeast to a bowl of warm, not hot, water. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes.

Yeast after 5 minutes.

To prepare the dough:

In a medium saucepan, heat milk to the scalding point stirring constantly. Do not boil. Allow to cool slightly before using.

In a large bowl of a stand mixer, combine the milk, 3 tbsp. sugar, and the salt. Add the beaten egg, melted butter and 1/2 cup of the flour. Switch to the dough hook (or remove and knead the rest of the flour in by hand), kneading with the dough hook and adding in the flour until the dough starts to clean the bowl. I used almost all of the 2 cups of flour. Remove from the bowl and knead in any additional flour until the surface of the dough is smooth and does not stick.

Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat the dough on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (about 90 minutes).

Cover a large countertop or table with a clean bed sheet. Lightly dust with flour to prevent sticking. Turn risen dough out onto cloth and begin rolling it out using a rolling pin.

Start from the center and work outward. Roll the dough into a large rectangle. Spoon 1 teaspoon of melted butter on top of the dough and then begin spreading the dough with your hands. You can also use a rolling pin to achieve a flatter dough.

The dough should be thin enough to see through. Be sure to continually pick up the dough to ensure that it’s not sticking. Once the dough it paper thin, begin preparing the filling.

To prepare the filling:

Add butter, corn syrup, brown sugar and sweetened condensed milk to a large saucepan and heat over medium heat until simmering. Continue to simmer until the mixture begins to smell caramely and it changes color slightly. Use the caramel immediately or else it will be impossible to spread on the dough.

Rolling and Assembling the Bread:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a spatula, spread the caramel over the top of the dough leaving a rim around the edge to ensure a good seal once the dough is rolled.

After the caramel is spread out completely, begin rolling the dough into a long snake. Use the sheet to lift up and let the dough roll itself up like a jelly roll. This technique works really well.

Grease a standard sized loaf pan and place a portion of the dough into the pan, forming a “U” shaped with the 2 ends sticking out of the pan. Next, fold the 2 loose ends back into the pan making sure that they are coiled around one another to ensure that the bread has the unique, swirled look when it is sliced.

Mix coffee and sugar and brush over the top of the bread and place in preheated oven.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes and then lower temperature to 300 and then bake for an additional 45 minutes.

Remove bread from oven and brush with butter.

Let bread sit in pan for 30 minutes, although I used a knife to ensure that the caramel wouldn’t stick and make it impossible to remove from the pan.

Slice and serve!

Garlic Bread – The perfect side to a perfect pan of lasagna

I like to think that I’m an awesome chef. Ok, I’m not a chef at all. In fact, I’ve only been trained by all of the wonderful bloggers and websites out there. I have no formal training in cooking and baking.

As I was talking to the hubby a few nights ago, I made a really dumb comment. I said,

“I’m actually a pretty good cook, I hardly mess up recipes. Everyone makes it sound like cooking and baking are so difficult; I just don’t understand why they say that. Cooking and baking are so easy, I don’t know how people mess up recipes so badly.”

Leave it to the hubby to put me back in my place…he said, “so, like when you baked that pumpkin pie without sugar.” Dang! He got me with that one. He had a few others that I had conveniently forgotten. Oh well, let me live in my fantasy world please.

One of the dishes that I completely screw up everytime is homemade hashbrowns. My husband has perfected the art of making hashbrowns from scratch. He grates the potatoes himself and fries them up perfectly. He is a hashbrown connoisseur. Well, on Sunday morning he made a mistake. He decided to take his motorcycle for a ride to the grocery store to get sugar, leaving me with the task of preparing the hashbrowns. I told him that I would happily go to the grocery store, mostly because I knew I was going to have to cook those darn hashbrowns if I stayed home. And, he eagerly handed over the “hashbrown cooking” reins to me so he could ride his motorcycle, even it was only for a short distance. Neither of us wanted to cook the hashbrowns, but the potatoes had already been peeled. I should have made a different recipe, but instead I forged ahead with my husband’s original plan.

It always seems like such a simple recipe; shred the potatoes, heat some oil and fry. But it never turns out this way for me. The potatoes always end up burnt, there is never enough oil and they are raw in the middle. This Sunday was no exception – burn, raw potatoes. I vowed to concur this dish, and I WILL do it. I’m going to make hashbrowns to rival the ones they make at Denny’s! Watch out!

I just realized that I have been rambling on and on about potatoes and this post really has nothing to do with potatoes. I better get back on task….

Sunday is a big cooking and baking day for me. I love to spend the entire day in my kitchen baking up the fancy things that I don’t have time for during the week. I decided that homemade lasagna would be the perfect Sunday dinner for us, paired with some homemade garlic bread. YUM! I’m going to post the lasagna recipe next, so watch for it.

I made this french bread a few weeks ago, and it is really easy and good. I figured it would be a good bread to use for fresh garlic bread. My 11-year-old son was my Sous Chef, and I was really excited to teach him how to make bread. He was such a big help and I’m hoping that by teaching him early, he will be able to cook for his family when he gets older. We had such a great time cooking together.

We prepared the french loaves (recipe found here), and then made it in to garlic bread. It was so fresh and delicious. I’m somewhat upset that I didn’t bring some to work for lunch, but it will be waiting for me when I get home. Enjoy!

Garlic Bread
By: The Accidental Cook
Printable Recipe


1 loaf fresh french bread, sliced in half
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp. minced garlic (more or less depending on taste preference)
1 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. salt


Combine all ingredients in small bowl, mixing until completely smooth and light. Spread butter mixture on each half of french bread.

Preheat your oven broiler. Place bread on baking sheet underneath broiler and broil for 5-6 minutes, or until bread reaches your desired level of doneness. Serve immediately.

French Bread Recipe – Easy and Delicious!

I LOVE BREAD! There, I said it. I think I’ve only met 1 other person in my life that doesn’t like bread. I think he must be an alien. I could eat bread for every meal and in between every meal. I like it with butter, cinnamon/sugar, honey, Nutella, and pretty much any other way that it can be served. But, I still don’t like Rye bread. There is nothing good about rye!

Yesterday I was outside dethatching the lawn. Ok, for those of you that have never done this, it sucks! If you have never dethatched your lawn, you don’t know what this means, and if you DO starting dethatching, it will take you forever because you’ve never done it before. Lesson learned….dethatch your lawn every year and it won’t take 2 days to do just your front lawn. During the process of dethatching, I realized that we have virtually no grass in the front yard. It’s mostly weeds. GREAT! No wonder it always looked bad. Oh well, a special thanks goes out to the dude at Home Depot who told us exactly how to fix it. $150 later, we are ready for a thick, green lawn that requires multiple mowings each week. I love being a responsible homeowner…NOT.

So, while I was dethatching the lawn I came up with the idea to make homemade french bread (like I didn’t already have enough going on). I went inside, found a great recipe online, and then threw this together. The recipe that I found was really great because it had step-by-step instructions. I decided to go ahead and take pictures during my prep and baking processes, so I will post them as well. But, check out this post to see an even better play by play for making this bread.

If you have the time, make a couple of loaves of homemade bread. Try it at least once in your life. It’s not tough. The difficult part is kneading the dough, and I have a Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook, so it takes no time at all. Most stand mixers come with a dough hook, so use it if you have it. The other tricky part is getting the water temperature right. It can’t be too hot or too cold…it should feel a little warmer than room temperature. I don’t ever actually get a thermometer out to test the temperature, similar to the fact that I rarely time anything that I cook. I’m kinda lazy!

Perfect French Bread
Recipe from: Steamy Kitchen
Printable Recipe


4 cups flour (AP or Bread)
1 package (2 tsp.) active rapid rising yeast
2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups warm water

Add 3-3/4 cup flour to large bowl of stand mixer. Add 2 tsp. yeast to 1 side of bowl and 2 tsp. salt to other side of bowl. Create a well in the center and pour in 1-1/2 cups warm water. Using paddle attachment mix until dough forms a sticky mass.

Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. Let dough rest for 5 minutes. Turn mixer back on and mix for another 3 minutes.

Take the remaining 1/4 cup flour and spread it onto a clean work surface. Turn dough out onto floured surface and kneed in flour until dough can be formed into a nice, non-sticky ball. NOTE: I only used about 2 tbsp. flour. Do NOT use all of the flour if you do not need it. You don’t want the bread to be dry and crumbly.

Spray a medium sized bowl with cooking spray and add the dough ball to the bowl and turn the ball over to coat with oil. Cover with plastic and let rise in a warm place for 90 minutes.

NOTE: I turned on my oven and let it preheat. I then turned it off and placed my bowl on top of the oven so it doesn’t get too cold sitting on the counter.

When the bread has 15 minutes left to rise, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place your baking stone or baking sheet in the oven to warm.

Let dough rise until doubled (about 90 minutes).

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.

Punch dough down, form into a ball again and then cut the dough in half using a pizza cutter. Place one of the halves back into the plastic covered bowl until ready to use. Shape one of the pieces into a rectangle.

Fold the long ends of the rectangle over each other. The 2 long ends should overlap slightly. Using the side of your hand and using a “karate chop” type motion, press the middle of the dough where the two ends overlap down so that it forms a nice indentation down the middle of the dough. (see Steamy Kitchen’s post for a pic of this. I forgot to take a picture of this step.)

Now pull up the long sides again and pinch them together in the center. Also, pull the short ends together and pinch to seal.

Turn dough over.

Place on lightly floured cutting board and cover with damp kitchen towel. Let rest for 30 minutes.

Gently place dough on heated pizza stone and cut 4 shallow, diagonal slits in the top of the bread using a sharp paring knife. Place dough in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. I used a thermometer to ensure the bread was done (190-210 degrees).

You can also add steam to the oven by spilling 1/4 cup water onto the bottom of the oven and closing the door while the bread is baking. This supposedly helps form the crust.

Remove bread from oven and let cool slightly before serving.

Cranberry Orange Bread Recipe

Have you ever had one of those days where you just lack the energy to do anything? I was so tired yesterday that I didn’t even want to make dinner when I got home. It was all I could do to get myself to Zumba last night. By the way, if you haven’t tried Zumba yet, you have to do it. I have lost over 60 pounds doing mostly Zumba, so, if you like to dance, and you live in St. Charles County in Missouri, you should check out The Fitness Fuzion. I love that place…I promise they didn’t pay me to say that.

I have been promising a friend that I would try to make the cranberry-orange scones like they make at Starbucks. Honestly, I’ve never had one, and I really can’t afford another addiction for something at Starbucks. So, my goal last night was to make a pumpkin bread and then make cranberry-orange scones tonight. Well, that’s what I get for trying to plan…my pumpkin had gone bad. I had already greased and floured the pan, so I had to make some type of bread.

I found a great recipe for Cranberry Orange bread, but I had to tweak it a little to make it my own. It was very easy to make. The only thing that may take you a little extra time is zesting the orange, and it really doesn’t take that long.

I hope my friend isn’t upset that this post isn’t for her scones, but I’m certain that she would be just as happy with this bread. I bet she would be even happier if I would bring her a piece.

Below are the step-by-step instructions with photos (full recipe follows at the bottom):

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 bread pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, 1-1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, and 1/2 tsp. salt.

Using a grater or zester, take a whole orange and grate the outside skin until you see the white part. Do not grate anything beyond the orange skin. You will need the zest from the skin of approximately 1 medium sized orange. **Doesn't everyone wish they had a "Hand Model" for a daughter?**

Add 1 tbsp. zest and 1-1/2 cups dried cranberries to the flour mixture and stir to coat.

In a medium bowl, using a mixer, combine 1/4 cup softened butter, 1 cup sugar, and 1 egg until smooth.

Sorry everyone. Apparently I was in a hurry and forgot to take a picture of this step. So, use your imagination…

Add in 3/4 cup orange juice and mix until combined. Add flour/cranberry/orange mixture and mix just until combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour.

Once again, I didn’t take a picture of the final steps. What is going on with me???
Remove from oven to a cooling rack. Run a knife along the edge of the pan and then invert onto cooling rack to remove bread from pan.

To make the glaze, in a small bowl, mix 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla and fresh orange juice (use the juice from half of the orange that you used for the zest-just cut in half and squeeze directly into the bowl). Add additional juice to reach the desired consistency.

Spread over the top of the warm bread.

Slice and serve.

Cranberry Orange Bread
Adapted from: Allrecipes.com

2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. orange zest (you will need 1 whole orange)
1-1/2 cups dried cranberries

1/4 cup butter – softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup orange juice

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. fresh orange juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 bread pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Using a grater or zester, take a whole orange and grate the outside skin until you see the white part. Do not grate anything beyond the orange skin. You will need the zest from the skin of approximately 1 medium sized orange. Add the zest and cranberries to the flour mixture and stir to coat.

In a medium bowl, using a mixer, combine the softened butter, sugar, and egg until smooth. Pour in the orange juice and mix to combine. Add flour mixture and stir just until combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour.

Remove from oven to a cooling rack. Run a knife along the edge of the pan and then invert onto cooling rack to remove bread from pan.

In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar, vanilla and fresh orange juice (use the juice from half of the orange that you used for the zest-just cut in half and squeeze directly into the bowl). Add additional juice to reach the desired consistency. Spread over the top of the warm bread.

Homemade Cornbread Recipe – Delicious AND gluten-free

Why does it feel like the colder weather starts as soon as Labor Day weekend ends? I am just shocked that we went from 100 degree weather in Missouri to 70 degree weather so quickly. It would have been nice to have a gradual progression. My body hates cold weather, and I long for the day that I can move somewhere warm like southern Florida or Hawaii. I don’t care if they have hurricanes. We have weather issues here that are just as bad, if not worse. They are called, tornadoes, ice storms, and heatwaves. At least you have some warning with a hurricane. A tornado comes out of nowhere and is one of the most powerful weather forces that I’ve seen. I watched a special on NatGeo recently that shows home video footage from all of the recent tornadoes. It was truly amazing! I think I’m going to move my entire family to the basement just in case. Hey, at least I won’t have to wake everyone up in the middle of the night to go downstairs when a tornado warning happens. It’s called “planning ahead.” I’ve talked about it before…anything that saves me time. 😉

So, because I’m stuck here in this state with rollercoaster weather, I have to adapt to the changing seasons and give in to cooking the colder weather dishes. This past weekend I made homemade ham and beans (recipe here). Everyone knows that you have to have cornbread to go with your beans. I made a yeast cornbread on Saturday (with the hubby’s help) and planned to use the leftover bread to go with the beans on Sunday. This worked fine except the hubby can’t have regular flour, and he really likes cornbread. I decided to make cornbread that he could eat.

Cornbread is something, once again, that I never liked when I was a kid. I always remember it being really dry. I never understood why people liked it so much. But, as I got older, I realized that cornbread didn’t have to come from a box and it didn’t have to be dry. I also discovered the tradition of pouring maple syrup over the top of it, thanks to the hubby’s family. This is exactly the motivation I needed to start making and enjoying cornbread. YUM!

I found a really great recipe for cornbread, and made it gluten-free by using this gluten-free flour. I loved that the recipe called for pouring a syrupy mixture over the top of it after baking. No dry cornbread here! I tasted it, and was somewhat upset that it was going to upstage my beautiful, yeast cornbread. It was WAY better! I don’t think anyone noticed that it was gluten free. I know I had a piece and so did my mom. The hubby ate half the pan. If you are looking for a really good recipe, make this. Don’t be scared because the title of this post says, “gluten-free.” Just make it with regular flour and you will be amazed at how good this recipe is. I know it’s going to be my go-to cornbread recipe.

Here are the step-by-step instructions with photos (full recipe follows):

Preheat oven to 425. Lightly grease an 8 x 8 pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine 1 cup corn meal, 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 4 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt.


Add 1 cup milk, 1 egg, and 1/4 cup softened butter and beat until combined and smooth.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a tester comes out with only a few crumbs. Place pan on cooling rack.

Using a toothpick, poke small holes through the cornbread.

To make the glaze, combine 3 tbsp. butter, honey, and water in a saucepan. Heat over low heat until the butter is melted, stirring to help the mixture to combine.

Pour the glaze over the cornbread and let cool to room temperature.

Slice and Serve

Honey Cornbread
Adapted from: Couldn’t be Parve


1 C corn meal
1 C flour (regular or gluten free flour blend)
1/4 C sugar
4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 C regular milk
1 egg
1/4 C butter, softened

For Glaze
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons water


Preheat oven to 425. Lightly grease an 8 x 8 pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add milk, egg, and softened butter and beat until combined and smooth. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a tester comes out with only a few crumbs. Place pan on cooling rack.

Using a toothpick, poke small holes through the cornbread.

To make the glaze, combine the margarine, honey, and water in a saucepan. Heat over low heat until the margarine is melted, stirring to help the mixture to combine.

Pour the glaze over the cornbread and let cool to room temperature.

Chicken Tortilla Soup, Homemade Stock and Cornmeal Honey Bread for Daring Cooks

Let me start out by saying…this is a long post.

A couple of days ago I was accepted into the Daring Kitchen to participate in the Daring Cooks and Daring Bakers Challenges. I absolutely love that I am going to start participating in these challenges, but the recipes somewhat go against what I’m trying to promote here…simple and quick. The recipe challenges that are given to us each month are in no way “simple.”

Peta, of the blog Peta Eats, was our lovely hostess for the Daring Cook’s September 2011 challenge, “Stock to Soup to Consommé”. We were taught the meaning between the three dishes, how to make a crystal clear Consommé if we so chose to do so, and encouraged to share our own delicious soup recipes!

I decided against making Consommé this time, but would love to try it someday. I found a great recipe for bread that I wanted to try. Bread is one of those tricky things that I have had some success at, but I keep trying. Once again, the bread is not for a novice baker, but it’s ok to try if you are ready to learn. It’s not as tough as it seems.

The bread rose nicely and was very easy to work with, especially if you have a Kitchen Aid mixer. If you ever plan to be a foodie like me, a KA mixer is a must.
The bread was amazingly good both served warm and cooled. I have to thank the hubby for helping with the bread. I had an appointment, and I didn’t time my bread preparation properly. He has been such a good sport through all of this!

The chicken stock is ohhhhh so good. I’m not sure why I haven’t made my own more often. I am going to start saving all of my veggie scraps to use for future batches of stock. This recipe was really easy. Just make sure you do it when you have 4 hours to be home. You aren’t cooking that entire time, so don’t be scared!

The tortilla soup is super easy. Use canned or fresh ingredients. I used all fresh just to make it extra special, but canned works just fine. Just don’t forget to put the chicken in the pot (not that I speak from experience or anything). You can serve this with the bread recipe from this post, or tortilla chips. You can also top with cheese and sour cream. YUM!

The process of making the stock, soup and bread took a lot of time. Taking the pictures, writing about it and posting everything online took just as long. I’m so glad that everything turned out so good, and I hope that you will try to make something you have read here today. If you made it through reading this entire post, you deserve a gold star for the day!

Chicken Tortillas Soup with Homemade Stock



1 large, whole chicken
2 large yellow onions, unpeeled and quartered
4 carrots, unpeeled and roughly chopped
3 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds
10 sprigs fresh parsley
5 sprigs fresh thyme
10 sprigs fresh dill
1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in 1/2 crosswise
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns


Place the chicken, onions, carrots, celery, parsley, thyme, dill, garlic, and seasonings in a 16 quart stockpot. Add 5 quarts (20 cups) of water and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 4 hours, removing the chicken after 2 or 3 hours and returning the carcass back to the pot for the remainder of the cooking time. Set chicken aside to cool, and once cool, shred or chop and store in refrigerator. Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander and discard the solids. Chill the stock overnight. The next day, skim fat from the surface and use immediately or pour stock in containers and freeze for up to 3 months.

Chicken and veggies in the stock pot

Stock after 2 hours and with chicken meat removed

Final product after straining everything twice

About 10 cups of stock ready to be stored

Chicken Tortilla Soup


2 cups whole kernel corn (canned, fresh or thawed frozen)
3-1/2 cups chicken stock (see above)
1-1/2 cups cooked chicken (shredded or cubed)
1 (15 ounce) can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1-1/4 cups diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles


Place corn, stock, chicken, beans, tomatoes, and chilis into large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes (stirring occasionally) or until thoroughly warmed.


Cornmeal Honey Bread

Recipe from: Andrea at Cooking Books which was adopted from Beth Hensperger’s Beth’s Basic Bread Book

*I really loved the way Andrea narrated this recipe below, so I just copied her exact recipe, word for word. She has a lot of good recipes on her blog, so go and check her out.


3/4 cups warm water (105F – 115F)
1 tablespoon (1 package) active dry yeast
Pinch of granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups warm buttermilk (105F – 115F) (it might separate a bit when being heated, but that ain’t no thing so don’t worry about it)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 more tablespoons melted for brushing
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup yellow cornmeal, fine or medium grind, plus a bit extra for sprinkling
4 1/2 – 5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour


The first step in this easy bread (and in any bread) is to proof the yeast. Which is just a fancy way of saying put it in some warm water, give it something to munch on (the sugar) and wake it up (yeast is a living thing, after all). To proof it, pour the 3/4 cups warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast and the sugar on top. Give it a gentle stir with a fork so the yeast dissolves and just let it sit there for about 10 minutes until it’s a bit foamy.

To make the dough fit your standing mixer with the paddle attachment, and pour the buttermilk, the melted butter and the honey into the bowl of the mixer. Add the salt, cornmeal, and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour. Beat on medium-high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Stir in the now-bloomed yeast. Add the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing between each addition. The dough will be soft and a bit sticky, but if it’s too sticky to handle, add more flour.

As the dough begins to come together, you’ll have to switch the paddle out for the dough hook, or just turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand. Kneed it for about 3 minutes with the dough hook until it becomes smooth, not overly sticky and elastic. It shouldn’t be dry, so be judicious with any extra additions of flour.

Take the dough out of the bowl and set aside. Lightly grease the bowl and return the dough to the bowl, rolling it over so that it is coated. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature for about 1.5 hours, until it’s doubled in volume. Go do something else.

Dough before rising

Dough after rising

Come back, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then sprinkle the extra cornmeal on the paper. Set aside. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.

Dough before dividing

Divide it in half, which will deflate the dough. Shape the dough into two round loaves. Place the loaves seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let the loaves rise again at room temperature for about 45 minutes, until doubled in bulk.

Divided dough

Preheat the oven to 375F. When the dough is risen, use a sharp knife to cut an ‘x’ into the top of each loaf, which should not be deeper than 1/4 inch. Brush the loaves with the rest of the melted butter and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40-45 minutes, until the loaves sound hollow when tapped with your finger. Remove from the oven and transfer the loaves to cooling racks. Serve warm or at room temperature.