Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cheesy Onion Rolls

Last summer, while in Winnipeg for some Celebration book launch events, we enjoyed some wonderful cheesy onion rolls made famous by a local bakery.  I came home with the recipe and am sharing my copykat version with you today.  The yeast dough I used is not the bakery original, but my favorite refrigerator yeast dough. 

Yeast Dough:

  • 2 cups very warm water
  • 1/4 cup potato flakes (instant mashed potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons yeast (instant, fast rising)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter (or margarine)
  • 6 - 6 1/2 cups flour
  1. Stir together the water, potato flakes and sugar. 
  2. Add eggs, softened butter, and yeast mixed with 3 cups flour. 
  3. Beat with mixer on high speed. 
  4. Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until a soft but knead-able dough is formed. 
  5. Knead well. 
  6. Place in a greased bowl.
  7. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. (About an hour in a warm place.)

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  1. Punch down dough, and divide in half.
  2. Roll each half out to form a 16 x 12 inch rectangle.
  3. Brush each piece with half the melted butter; sprinkle with half the cheese and poppy seeds.
  4. Beat egg, and brush lightly over long edges.
  5. Starting at one long side, roll up tightly, pinching seam to seal.
  6. Cut thick slices (about 1 1/2") and place on parchment lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. 
  7. Press buns to flatten to about 3/4" thick.
  8. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
  9. Brush lightly with beaten egg.
  10. Top each roll with onion slices. 
  11. Add a dollop of mayonnaise on top of each bun (about 1 teaspoon).
  12. Bake at 350°F for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  13. Cool on racks.
Yield: 20 large cheesy onion rolls.

*Here's what I love about this dough.  It is a wonderful refrigerator dough...and keeps well for several days in the fridge in a sealed container.  It is a simple thing to use half the dough for cheesy onion rolls today...and refrigerate the rest to use for cinnamon buns or more onion buns tomorrow (or the tomorrow after that!). 

Served alongside a salad...these cheesy onion rolls have been a lunchtime favorite in recent months.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Apple Chimichangas

Our apples are ripe for the picking on the apple trees.  If you are hungry for apple pie but don't know what you would do with a whole pie, try making some apple chimichangas.  Make a dozen or make one or two.  As long as you have apple pie filling tucked away in your fridge or freezer and small tortilla shells it is a quick dessert.    Choose apples that are local to your region so they are as fresh as possible.

  • small tortilla shells
  • apple filling
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Place a few tablespoons of cool apple filling near the bottom of each tortilla and roll up burrito style, being sure to tuck in the sides. 
  2. Brush each chimichanga with melted butter and place on a skillet on low heat, turning them until browned on all sides.
  3. Combine sugar and cinnamon and spread on a flat bottomed bowl or plate. 
  4. Remove from skillet and roll in the combined sugar and cinnamon mixture.  
  5. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream if desired.
Apple Filling  ~ Makes about 5 cups
  • 8 cups peeled and chopped apples  (about 8 apples)  Our apples are Jonagold. 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cold water
  1. Combine apples and lemon juice and set aside.
  2. Combine sugars and cornstarch with cinnamon and salt in a large saucepan.  Slowly add water while stirring to eliminate lumps and bring to a boil.  
  3. Add apples and stir until the mixture comes to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes or until apples are tender crisp.  Do not stir more than necessary to avoid turning the apples to sauce. 
  4.  Remove from heat and cool. Filling will thicken more once cooled.  Refrigerate in jars or portion and freeze in freezer bags.   

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

What a treat it was for me to have our youngest daughter surprise me with these wonderful delicious cupcakes that aren't really like a cupcake at all. They have the texture of pumpkin pie, dense and moist. Topped with whipped cream and pecans, it was the perfect dessert for my favorite season.
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  1. mix pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and milk
  2. add the dry ingredients.
  3. fill 12 greased muffin tins.
  4. bake at 350 for 20 min
  5. cool in pan for 20, remove and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes. 
* We make our own spice blends, and this is what Emily used to make two teaspoons. 
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of each, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

BFTJ - He Giveth More Grace

  1. He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
    He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
    To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
    To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
  2. When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
    When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
    When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
    Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
  3. Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
    Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
    Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
    The Father both thee and thy load will up bear.
  4. His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
    His power no boundary known unto men;
    For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
    He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
  5. Annie Johnson Flint.
  6. James 4:6
  7. This hymn has played over and over again in my mind over the past while.  In all of our lives there are daily challenges, large and small which God in HIs mercy gives us the grace and strength to face and overcome. 
  8.  I read up on the background of this hymn and found that the author experienced many difficult challenges throughout her life. She lost her parents as a very young child and as a teen was afflicted with arthritis. She loved music and pursued an career as a composer and pianist, however it wasn't long before the arthritis ended those dreams.  Ultimately, she took up writing poetry, often using her knuckles to punch the keys of a typewriter and put some of her poems to music.
  9. Indeed, she experienced the grace of God throughout all her challenges and now we have this lovely hymn to encourage us in our daily walk.
    1. His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
      His power no boundary known unto men;
      For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
      He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Apple Slab Pies for a Crowd - Serving the Kiev Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

Every once in a while special opportunities come our way. Earlier this year we were asked if we would be willing to prepare and serve a meal to a group of musicians from the Ukraine...and we said yes. 

A week before the event we met in the kitchen of the Chilliwack Alliance church to pre make some of the meal we would be serving to the members and some guests of the Kiev Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. This group arrived in Canada September 7th and September 9th was the date of their first Canadian Tour concert, and we had the joy of preparing and serving them dinner before the evening concert. We were so thankful that Kay joined us as this is a kitchen she is very familiar with and she was such a tremendous help.

This group of talented musicians has performed at 17 concerts so far. 
This evening they will be giving a concert at Knox Metropolitan in Regina. From there they will travel to Manitoba and on to Ontario,
You can find a list of all their upcoming concerts here.
We encourage you to attend one of the concerts in your area and please pray for them and the ministry of Music Mission Kiev.

At every concert across Canada there is a group of willing people who are preparing and serving a meal to these guests from the Ukraine. There is also a committee at each hosting venue who find a host home for these guests. Many have been so blessed through their music and many have been showing hospitality to these guests to Canada from the Ukraine. 

Our menu:
Cabbage and Swiss Chard Rolls
Farmer Sausage
Mashed Potatoes
Carrots with Dill and butter
Garden Salad
Fresh baked buns
Apple Slab Pie and ice cream

Back in the kitchen we were making Apple Slab Pies. There was lots of chatter and fun as we peeled and sliced up 25 pounds of apples.

Bowls were filled with slightly salted cold water to keep the apples from discoloring.

At another station in the kitchen pie dough was being made and rolled out.

Sugar, cinnamon and flour were stirred into the sliced apples and then placed into the pastry lined baking sheets. Pads of butter were placed over the apples.

Top crusts were added, edges were pinched, slashes were made, and an egg wash and sugar dusting made them ready to cover and freeze.

The morning of the event my friend Debbie also came to help us, and she and Marg kept watch. We were so thankful for everyone who willingly came to help.
Baked to perfection.

Recipe is for 4 slab pies. Each pie cuts into 24 pieces.

  • 25 pounds apples
  • 5 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 10 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup butter
For the pie crust: (Tip: When preparing this large amount of pastry make 1/2 a recipe at a time which is how the instructions are given below. If you still feel it's too big a recipe to work with divide the whole recipe into 4) 
  • 22 cups flour
  • 8 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 4 pounds Tenderflake, (lard)very cold 
  • 4 tbsp vinegar
  • 4 eggs
  • cold water
  1. Prepare 3-4 over sized bowls with cold water and a few teaspoons of salt. This will be used to keep the apples from getting brown while peeling and cutting.
  2. Peel and slice apples. We used several apple peelers which peel, slice and core the apples quickly. Soak apples in slightly salted cold water. Set aside.
  3. Stir together the white sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  4. To make the pastry divide the flour, salt, brown sugar and baking powder evenly between 2 large mixing bowls. Stir well to mix.
  5. Cut 1/2 of the Tenderflake into each amount of flour until it resembles coarse oatmeal. (Tip: Using a large cheese grater works really well for this. Instead of using a pastry blender, grate your cold Tenderflake into the flour. This gives you small even pieces.)
  6. Place the vinegar and eggs in a large glass measuring cup and whisk. Add enough cold water to make 4 cups. Whisk again.
  7. Slowly pour 1/2 of this mixture into one bowl of flour/Tenderflake mixture and stir until the pastry comes together. With you hands pull together and form a ball. Add the remaining liquid to the other bowl of flour and Tenderflake. Again stir and then pull pastry together into a ball.
  8. Divide each ball into 4 equal pieces. This will give you 2 pieces for each of 4 pans.
  9. On a lightly floured board roll out pastry to fit a 13"x18" baking pan. Once the dough is rolled out, roll it around your rolling pin, place it at one end of the pan and unroll it onto the pan. Line all four pans with pastry.
  10. Drain apples well. Add the sugar, flour and cinnamon mixture to the apples and stir well to coat.
  11. Divide the apples between the 4 pans lined with pastry.
  12. Cut butter into little chunks and 'dot' over apples.
  13. Next roll out the remaining pastry to make the top crusts. Again the easiest way to place this large piece of pastry is to roll it up on your rolling pin and unroll it over the apples. 
  14. Pinch the edges all the way around.
  15. Brush pies with an egg wash mixture of 4 eggs and 4 teaspoons milk or cream. Sprinkle lightly with raw sugar. Slash top crusts.
  16. To bake immediately, preheat oven to 375º F. Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown and you can see the juice from the apples bubbling clear and gelling around the edges. Poke a knife into one of the slash marks to make sure apples are tender.
  17. To freeze and bake later: (this is what we did) Cover pies with parchment and then wrap with foil. Place in a large freezer bag and place in freezer. When ready to bake preheat oven to 375º F. Unwrap pies and bake from frozen for 1 1/2 hours. Poke pies to see if apples are done. If the apples are not soft and if the pastry is still light continue to bake checking every 10 minutes. 
Let us know if you were able to attend a concert. Maybe some of you helped make and serve a meal or helped out in some other way at one of the concerts. We'd enjoy hearing about it.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Flashback Friday..Autumn Apple Cake

For Flashback Friday I am re-introducing this Autumn Apple Cake. It is the right season when apples are available fresh from the orchards. This is a very moist cake, a recipe from my sister in law.
There are so many varieties of apples in the store and in our backyards right now. I think any kind of apple will do.
This cake smells wonderful as it is baking and your kitchen will be filled with wonderful aromas!
For dessert hubby and I enjoyed a piece of this cake with a dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce. So delicious!
  • 2/3 cup butter 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts..I used pecans, walnuts would be good too
  1. Cream together butter, sugar. Add eggs, and vanilla and beat till well blended.
  2. Stir in dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk. Fold in chopped apples and nuts.
  3. Pour into a 9" by 13" greased pan and sprinkle topping over cake.
  4. Bake in 350 oven for 40 minutes.
  5. Cool, serve with whipped topping and a drizzle of caramel sauce if you like.
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/4 cup coconut
  • 1/4 cup toffee bits
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Crumble this together and sprinkle over cake batter.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tortellini and Cauliflower Bake

This casserole was inspired by a recipe called Cauliflower Tortelloni Cheese on Yummly Recipes. I tried it using beef tortellini, making my own cheese sauce and a combination of grated cheeses. With summer days coming to an end, there is a good feeling about going back to comfort foods in the kitchen.

  • 4 cups cauliflower, cut bite size
  • 1 (350 g / 12 oz) package tortellini of choice
  • 1 (280 g/ 10 oz)  package fresh spinach
  • 1 1/2  cups combination of mozzarella, cheddar and Monterrey Jack Cheese 
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • freeze dried basil
Cheese Sauce:
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups combination of mozzarella, cheddar and Monterrey Jack Cheese
  • 1 tsp freeze dried basil
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. 
  2. In the meantime, in a saucepan, melt butter, stir in garlic and cook 30 seconds, stirring. 
  3. Add flour, stirring in with whisk, gradually adding the milk and stirring until smooth. Add salt, cheese and basil and continue stirring until bubbly. Set aside. 
  4. To boiling water in large pot, add cauliflower and bring to boil again, then add tortellini.
  5. Bring to boil once more, cooking cauliflower and tortellini 5 minutes, then add spinach and cook until wilted.
  6. Drain and transfer pasta and vegetables into 2.5 liter /quart oven proof dish.
  7. Pour cheese sauce over top and mix in. Top with grated cheese and tomatoes. Sprinkle with extra basil. 
  8. Bake at 375 F for 20 - 30 minutes. Serves 5