Sunday Dinner: Pretzel Rolls & Italian Beef

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So I have been craving Italian Beef for a few months now.  It's quite possibly one of my favorite meals.  We just received our meat shipment for the year and I now have roasts to work with.  (Those are usually the first thing I run out of.) Making the pretzel rolls was a fun little baking project that came from me forgetting to get hoagie rolls at the store this weekend and we were too lazy to run back to just get bread. So here we go with the recipes for all of you who asked.

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Chicken Soup and Biscuits

Everyone around here some how managed to come down with colds this past week.  I hate when the kids get sick.  Mom never gets to sleep (not that much of that happens anyway).  So in attempts to comfort everyone's runny nose, sore throats and beat away the cold, rainy weather blues; I made my favorite chicken soup and biscuits

I have worked with these recipe over the years and have finally tweaked it to my liking and to where it comes out the same each time I make them.  (Does anyone else have that problem?)  



The chicken soup has become a staple recipe in this house.  It is one of my go to's when I can't come up with anything else.  My kids love this and its easy for the little ones to pick up as they are learning to feed themselves.  It's done in about 30-45 minutes depending on the noodles used.  I have used this recipe to make a tortellini soup, using a 9 oz package of tortellini in place of the noodles.  I also have used a variety of different noodles ranging from elbow and spiral to thin and wide egg noodles.  Its your choice.  I put in there what ever I have on hand at the time and change the simmer time accordingly. It is also wonderful leftover and easily frozen for later use.  



**This recipe is a modified version of the Tuscan Bean Soup found in the Taste of Home Cookbook.

My favorite biscuits!
 You can't have soup with out some sort of biscuit or bread.  This one I have been making since college, and my roommates loved them!  They are supper easy to make and there is limit mess because they are "dropped" on the pan instead of rolling out.  Normally I just put them on a pan so they look like traditional biscuits, but I tried doing them in a muffin tin the other day....and I LOVED how they came out.  I think it gave them a little more structure and didn't seem as crumbly.  Either way they are delicious!


**This is a modified version of the Baking Powder Biscuits out of the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook.

I hope you love these recipes as much as we do here.  And I hope that everyone is surviving this weird winter and staying healthy.  
Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend!



Bread Baking!

So this week I have been baking bread like a crazy lady!  My mother taught us how to bake bread when we were younger, so I have some no fear  in trying different recipes.  The recipes I found were from King Arthur Flour.  They have a wonderful selection of different bread recipes ranging from quick breads and cookies to sourdough and gluten free.  They also have an online store for purchasing flours, mixes, pans and more!  It is also a great resource if you have baking questions too.   I don't have any affiliation with the site, I just love bread...haha. This week I made fresh Pita bread!  It was so easy and it was amazing with hummus!  I do recommend doing it on an air bake sheet.  I found they puffed up better than on a normal pan.

For dinner the other night I tried Pennsylvania Dutch Hamburg Barbecue Sandwich also very tasty...even the kids liked it!  (sorry I forgot to take a picture of this dinner, but if you can imagine a sloppy joe on a potato bun, that's what it looked like)

Then this morning I had a hankering for some English muffins so I tried this 

English Muffin Toasting Bread, so very easy to make especially when half awake and tastes wonderfull!

 

Hopefully this inspires you to try baking bread.  Its really not that hard, and the aromas of fresh baked bread through out your house are well worth it!

 
Have a great weekend!  Thanks for stopping by!

Zucchini Bread



One of my favorite summer time treats zucchini bread. Especially smeared with cream cheese but now with my new dairy-free diet, coconut spread works great!


Just  grab a few large zucchini and a cute little helper!  And lets begin.


 


Ingredients

4 eggs

½ cup oil
2 ¼ cups sugar

3 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups grated zucchini

3 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon allspice

½ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon cloves

Raisin or nuts, optional

Grate the zucchini with a grater.  I used an grating attachment on my kitchen aide mixer.  It makes the job so much easier. Set aside.



Beat eggs until well blended. 
  



Add oil, sugar, vanilla and grated zucchini to the eggs.


Sift and add to egg & zucchini mixture: flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves.  Mix well until blended, scraping down sides.
I used whole wheat white flour for a little whole grain.
And I also made it corn-free, by substituting
1/4 tsp of baking soda + 1/2 tsp of cream of tarter for the baking powder
which contains cornstarch.


Add in raisins or nuts if desired.


Divide between two greased bread pans.  

Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until tooth pick comes out clean when inserted.



Take out and cool on wire racks.



Enjoy!



Thanks for stopping by! Have a great day!
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The Easter Lamb

Spring is trying really hard to make itself known.  But despite the chilly weather and storms we have been having, Easter is upon us.  As the flowers and trees start blooming we are reminded of the new life that spring brings after the cold winter.  We are promised that 'new life' also as we remember the sacrifice that was made for each and everyone of us with the celebration of Easter.

Like Christmas, Easter in my family brings many traditions.  Spring planting and readying for the growing season is one of them.  Another is the annual Easter Lamb cake that my mom made every year.  Mom usually made the lamb cakes in the early part of Holy Week and then all of us kids would 'help' decorate the lamb on Good Friday or Holy Saturday depending on how our extended family gatherings landed that year.  All of us (and dad) got very excited when mom started making the cakes.  We all would wait in anticipation when the lambs came out of the oven.  We secretly hoped that the lamb would fall apart when it came out of the mold, because that meant that we got to eat that cake!  Mom would get so mad at us as we chanted...'Fall apart, fall apart,' when the mold unveiled the cake.  More often than not the cake came out just fine and we had to patiently wait until Easter to eat the decadent Lamb cake.

Now I am a starting my own family traditions, I get the same excited feeling as I bake our Easter Lamb cake that I did as a child.  I use the same mold that my grandmother used and my mother's recipe for the cake.   It's really an easy cake recipe, nothing fancy.  But, the mold on the other hand sometimes has a mind of its own.  The process is really a thrill in itself....waiting to see if that perfect Lamb will come out.  I have had some great luck with mine, except for this years, which I had to make twice because the first one decided that it didn't want to be done but looked like it was.  My second attempt turned out beautifully!  We  have yet to decorate it yet, but will be in the next few days.  I use a cream cheese frosting and coconut to make it look like a cute little lamb.   I wish you all a very blessed Easter and I hope this has inspired you to have your own special traditions.  This is one of my favorites!