Sunday, August 25, 2013

Spinach Wheels

Spinach Wheels

I could say a lot about these things, but I'm not feeling very inspired with words this morning, so I'll just say I made these spinach wheels today because it's my son's 11th birthday, and he LOVES them. He just ate a bunch for breakfast. Have I mentioned that he's my eating buddy?

At any rate, these aren't only great for breakfast, they're a great appetizer to take to a potluck or to a friend's house. They're soft, salty, flavorful, and just plain sinful, really. I hardly make them any more because of the fat and sodium in them. I suppose you could sub Greek yogurt for the sour cream, and reduced calorie mayo for the regular, but I just don't think they'd be as good. I'd rather have full fat once every year or two than slightly reduced fat more frequently. That's just the way I roll. (A couple of puns intended.)

Spinach Wheels

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch dressing/dip powder
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 jar bacon bits or Bacos (about 1.5 ounces)
  • 2 pkg (10 oz. each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 6-8 large flour tortillas (burrito size)
Instructions (See TikTok video below as well):
  • In a medium or large bowl, mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, ranch powder, green onions, and bacon bits. Add the spinach and mix thoroughly, making sure to completely mix in any squeezed chunks of spinach.
  • On a flat surface, lay a square sheet of plastic wrap and place one tortilla on top of it. Spread a thin, even layer of the spinach mixture over the tortilla, and then gently roll into a long cylinder. Wrap the cylinder well in the square of plastic wrap. Set on a pan/plate and repeat with remaining tortillas and spinach mixture.
  • Refrigerate rolls for 2-24 hours (if you're using Bacos they need some more time to soften than just two hours).
  • Unwrap a cylinder, and with a sharp knife, cut into 1/2" to 3/4" thick wheels. Eat the ends that don't make wheels, because they won't look good plated and because you need to know what they taste like.
  • Plate up the wheels. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes 48-64 wheels, depending on how large your tortillas are.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fried Mashed Potatoes

Fabulous Fried Mashed Potatoes. Browned and yummy.
Lately, I've been making my mashed potatoes a little ahead of dinner time, and setting them on low to warm while I cook the rest of dinner. I do it partly out of convenience, but mostly I do it because this nice browned layer develops on the bottom of the pan. THAT is the thing I go for at the end of the meal--the best part--a deeper, yummier flavor of mashed potato than what is scooped off the top.
So, when planning dinner tonight, I spied the leftover garlic mashed potatoes from the other night, and decided to take them a step further. I would spread them out in a frying pan and make it ALL into that yummy, flavorful, deep brown stuff that I like to scrape off the bottom of the pan. And why not add a little onion while I'm at it?
My mom used to make potato pancakes with leftover mashed potatoes, but they never keep their shape, and they just don't have the depth of flavor that the bottom of the pan potatoes have. I think what I've done here has captured exactly what I was going for. It's not exactly pretty, but what they lack in looks, they more than make up for in flavor. Trust me. If you like potatoes, you'll LOVE these. 

Fried Mashed Potatoes

  • 3-4 cups leftover garlic mashed potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the vegetable oil. Add diced onion and saute onion until slightly soft. Scoop mashed potatoes into the pan and flatten to cover as much of the onions as possible. Reduce heat to medium low. (If potatoes are cold, it may take a few minutes to soften up in the pan, or you can warm them in the microwave before adding to the pan.)
Fry potatoes over medium low heat for about 20-25 minutes, turning a small section at a time with a spatula every five minutes or so. If potatoes seem to be getting too dark too quickly, reduce heat a little bit. When potatoes seem as brown as you want them, turn the burner off and serve.
Makes about 5 servings

Gluten Free French Sandwich Rolls

Gluten Free French Sandwich Roll
I'm still amazed at how beautiful it looks inside.

It's about the size of a hamburger bun.

I started making Gluten Free French Rolls about midway through last school year. I've been serving them to my son in the morning sliced, buttered, sprinkled with garlic salt, and toasted in the oven. We finally realized around May that these rolls are good for turkey sandwiches too. Now my son doesn't have to eat plain rolled up turkey meat for lunch like he has for the past six years--he can have the turkey on a roll. One roll wasn't quite enough,  though, and two rolls was just too much for his lunch, so I decided to start making them bigger and slicing them before freezing. The freezing step is important for these, because it dries them out a bit. They're a little too gummy right out of the oven, although, they are still quite enjoyable that way.
Unfortunately for me, I'm realizing that I will probably have to double the recipe from now on because my son goes through about two rolls a day, and although these are super easy to make, I don't want to have to make these more than once a week. Maybe I need the kid to eat a more varied diet... hmmm... interesting concept.
In the meantime, I'm probably going to keep on baking these. I really only changed the size from my previous Gluten Free French Roll recipe, but since I've got the food blog here, and because the freezing step is important, I decided to go ahead and post this recipe.
I have not tried this recipe with any other type of gf flour, so I don't know if substituting will work. I do know, though, that I love, love, love my Better Batter Gluten Free Flour. It's almost time to purchase my third 25 pound bag. Yep, I bake a LOT. In the end, though, I'm saving not only my son's sanity, but I'm also some money by making my own rolls. Plus, they're delicious. Not a bad combo. Not bad at all.

Gluten Free French Sandwich Rolls
     --adapted from

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 1/2 cups Better Batter Gluten Free Flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal (optional)
  • Ice cubes

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or grease it) and sprinkle with the cornmeal. Set aside. (You may need two pans, but can probably just use one.)
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the water and the yeast. Allow to sit for five minutes to soften the yeast. 
Add the flour and the salt. Beat on low until flour is all wet, and then beat on high for 5 minutes.
Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup, scoop a slightly less than level half cup of batter and then scrape out with a silicone/rubber spatula. Space blobs about 2 inches apart. 
With wet fingers, gently smoosh and smooth out the dough blobs until they are as round as you can make them, and about 3/4 inch thick. They don't have to be perfect, just not jagged (see pic below) 
Allow to rise for about 35-40 minutes. 
Place in the preheated oven and throw four ice cubes into the bottom of the oven to produce some steam. After 6-7 minutes, put in four more ice cubes and bake for another 12-15 minutes, or until rolls are nicely browned.
Remove from oven and cool rolls completely on a wire rack.
When rolls are completely cool, use a very sharp serrated knife to slice them open. The rolls are pretty gummy at this point, so you may need to actually wash your knife between cutting rolls. It's a hassle, but it's worth the effort. When rolls are all cut, place them on a cooling rack or baking sheet and place in the freezer to freeze overnight. Then you can place the frozen rolls in zip top freezer bags in the freezer for storage. 
To thaw, microwave for about 40 seconds at 70% power, give or take 15 seconds, depending on your microwave.

Makes about 9 rolls
This is how they look before rising.
Finger marks disappear after rising and baking.
The gluten free garlic roll (aka breakfast)
These rolls are great for a quick gf pizza. My gluten-limited
son just loves them.

Because I have been making a recipe and a half of these lately, and I've been converting the measurements each time, I am putting the ingredients list here for a recipe and a half. I'm tired of doing the same math over and over.

1 1/2 Recipe Ingredients:
  • 3 3/4 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 packages (3 and a scant 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 5 1/4 cups Better Batter Gluten Free Flour
  • 2 tablespoons optional corn meal
  • Ice cubes
Follow the directions above. 
Makes about 15 rolls

Oh, and I just went to make a batch and a half of these and realized that I'd already written the above list of measurements on a Post-It and placed it on the cover of my Better Batter Flour bin. Duh.

Glazed Waffle Nuggets

Glazed Waffle Nuggets

So, my son has been on a Cinnamon Waffle Nugget kick since I made them last week. He makes me laugh because he'll finish his breakfast of a toasted garlic gluten free French roll (should I post that recipe...?) and turkey sausages and say, "Can you make some cinnamon waffles now?"
"You just ate breakfast."
"I know."
"You want another breakfast now?"
"No, the waffles are dessert."
"Ah. Breakfast dessert."
It's summer, so I don't mind making just about anything my kids ask for. It gives me something food-related to do.
Today we were at the grocery store, and I asked my son to return the basket while I paid for our few items. After returning the basket, which caused him to pass by the donut case, he said to me, "Mom, you should make some GLAZED waffle pieces instead of the cinnamon." The cashier thought it sounded like a fantastic idea, and so did I. "I know what I want to do today," I thought to myself.
The thing is, my son hasn't been able to eat glazed donuts in probably a year. I'm limiting his gluten. You may already know that from reading this blog, but the poor kid loves glazed donuts so much. We've tried the gf donuts in the freezer section--too dense and cakey. Max likes the light, tender Krispy Kreme glazed donuts. I even tried making some gluten free donuts here at home. No dice. Too dense.
So, I thought that maybe these would be a good substitute. Well, my son says they're good, but they're not a substitute. Oh well. He's been gobbling these down, so I know they're a general success. 
At any rate, I think they're great. They're buttery, soft, and sweet. A perfect breakfast dessert.

Glazed Waffle Nuggets

  • 4-5 cups waffles cut into bite size pieces
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons milk
In a large mixing bowl, mix the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.
In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter and then add the waffle pieces. Stir/turn with a spatula until waffles are crisp and hot.
Pour hot waffle pieces into the bowl with the glaze and fold with a silicone spatula until pieces are evenly coated. 
Turn waffle nuggets out onto a plate, or serve up on individual plates or in small bowls.
Makes four-ish servings

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Cream Caramel Syrup

Cream Caramel Syrup
Yummy with iced coffee, cream, and milk
I try not to frequent Starbucks too much. I mean, I'm sure many of you can attest to the priciness of a Starbucks habit. Mostly I limit myself to Starbucks only when I have a gift card in hand, or when I'm meeting up with a friend--both of which are somewhat infrequent. I've come to love the iced caramel macchiato there--decaf, of course. I've been craving that beverage, but have been unwilling to part with the $3.50. So, today I decided to try to make something like it at home. I made a cream caramel sauce, but when it cooled it got too thick. So, I added half a cup of water, and although it's not the same consistency as what I get at Starbucks, I think it makes my iced coffee taste awesome. So does my eating buddy Ezra.
Now, I'm not saying this is a copycat recipe or that if you use this syrup that it will taste like Starbucks, but it will give you some pretty tasty coffee. I think I'll post the "recipe" for the coffee at the bottom, just because I find it annoying when I can't locate a recipe for something pictured on a blog. 
Let me know if you try this and tell me what you think!

Cream Caramel Syrup

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup cup water, divided
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a heavy saucepan over medium high heat, place the sugar and then only 1/2 cup of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove cover and continue to boil, without stirring, until the boiling sugar gets thick and starts to turn a golden color (about 5 to 8 minutes). As the sugar boils, bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat.
When the sugar is golden, remove from heat and carefully pour in half of the hot cream. (I've added a little stop motion video below, so you can see how the sugar turns golden and then you add the cream.) There will be a lot of bubbling, and when it subsides a bit, take a whisk and whisk the sugar and cream, adding the remaining hot cream while you do. Add the other half cup of water and the vanilla extract; whisk until thoroughly combined.
Allow syrup to cool to room temperature before pouring into a clean bottle or jar. 
I keep my syrup in the refrigerator, and I honestly don't know how long to tell you it will keep.

I added the second half cup of water when I saw
that it came out too thick without it.

Iced Coffee with Cream Caramel Syrup

  • ice cubes
  • 2-3 ounces fresh brewed espresso
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2-3 tablespoon cream caramel syrup
Fill a tall drinking glass about half full of ice cubes. Pour in espresso, milk, cream, and caramel syrup. Stir with a straw or long spoon. Add more milk, cream, espresso, or syrup to taste.
Makes one serving

01 09