Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pretzel Dogs

Today was a comfort food day. Hubs (which is my common word for "husband") and I went to a greek deli for lunch and I made these fabulous pretzel dogs courtesy of Brown Eyed Baker for dinner. I got home at 4:00pm from running errands. I started making these pretzel dogs closer to 5:00pm, and we were sitting down to dinner at 7:00pm.

That's right- pretzel dough and all only took 2 hours, and that includes an hour of rising time! Next time, I'm gonna try this recipe with sausage. Mmm :)

I'm putting this recipe away in the "easy comfort food that doesn't come from a drive-thru" section of my brain....and my Pinterest, of course. :)

Pretzel Dogs
Total time: about 2 hours
Serves: 4

3/4 cup warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 package (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 cup unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
5 cups water
1/3 cup baking soda
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt, for sprinkling
4 all-beef hot dogs
  • Combine the water, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. 
  •  Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it in a clean, greased bowl Cover with a towel and place in a warm area for about 1 hour (I did 50 minutes...darn my impatience), or until the dough has doubled in size. 
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly brush with the olive oil. Set aside. 
  • Bring the 5 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in a 4-quart pot. 
  • In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a rope that's about 24-inches long (shorter if you aren't using "bun length" hot dogs). Starting at one end, wrap the dough around the hot dog, pinching each end together so that it's sealed. Place onto the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough and hot dogs. 
  • Place the pretzel dogs into the boiling water two at a time and boil for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat slotted spatula or tongs. Return the boiled pretzel dogs to the baking sheet, brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with the coarse kosher salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, which took me about 13 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Homemade Hamburger Helper

Today was one of those days where we had plenty of food in the house, but I had no idea what to make. My husband is getting his appetite back, so I wanted to make something more substantial than soup. So, of course, to Pinterest I went.

I found a recipe from Simple Comfort Food for a homemade hamburger helper. There's an idea! I want to start cooking more naturally, instead of putting mystery ingredients in my meals or eating out of a box. While hamburger helper isn't going to make me a size 2, making it from scratch instead of a box is a winning situation for everyone.

This recipe can be tweaked SO easily. Add in whatever spices you want. Saute some vegetables and add them to the mix. Make it Mexican, Asian, or however you prefer. Gotta love the versatility!

Homemade Hamburger Helper
Prep time: 5 minutes
cook time: 30 minutes

1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
2 cups of milk, warmed
1 1/4 cup of hot water
2 cups of elbow macaroni, uncooked.
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 cup of cheese, shredded (I improvised with crumbling up slices of cheddar and mozzarella and some grated parmesan).

  • Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking the meat up into crumbles. Drain the fat, return to pan.
  • Add in the uncooked pasta, giving it a good stir. Cook for a couple of minutes.
  • While the dry pasta and beef are cooking, add your selected spices and corn starch to a small bowl. Mix together and set aside.
  • Add hot water and stir.
  • Add the milk
  • Add the spice mixture.
  • Cook for about 15 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally until the pasta is tender and the sauce reduces.
  • Mix the cheese in and turn heat off. Let stand for a few minutes while the sauce thickens.  
  • Eat it! And enjoy! I prefer a side of green vegetables to make myself feel a tiny bit healthier :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


My husband is officially on the mend. How do I know? After eating chicken noodle soup and crackers all week, he requested I bake cookies. When my husband wants more food, you know things will be all back to normal soon. I decided to go with a family favorite- snickerdoodles.

I've been baking snickerdoodles by trial and error for awhile, but I kept getting crunchy, hard cookies. I'm a sucker for soft cookies, so that crunchy business just won't do. On my search, I stumbled upon Brown Eyed Baker's recipe for snickerdoodles. Boy, I'm glad I did! She figured out the secret to baking them while keeping them nice and soft. These yummy cookies melt in your mouth. Be careful, they're quite addicting!


2¾ cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and put in refrigerator to chill.
  • Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well. Beat in the vanilla.
  • Gradually stir in the flour mixture, beating on low speed just until the flour is blended.
  • Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
  • In the meantime, mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  • Scoop 1-inch balls of dough and roll in the cinnamon and sugar mixture to coat.
  • Place on chilled cookie sheet about 2 inches apart and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Chill the dough and cookie sheets between batches.
  • Let cookies set on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack. Store cookies in an airtight container. 

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

Last week, my husband and I were planning a trip cross country to visit some family and friends. We were deep cleaning the apartment, packing, and cleaning out the fridge. We were all set to go husband gets the flu. Needless to say, our trip is postponed and my husband is on anti-viral meds to hopefully kick this flu in the can.

Naturally, my husband needs sicky food, and what better sicky food than Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup? I found this recipe on Pinterest courtesy of Six Sister's Stuff. I adapted it to our family's taste, and voila! It's soothing, warm, and the ultimate sick comfort food. The best part? It's all in the slow cooker, so you get to smell it all day! Hope you enjoyed this recipe as much as we did.

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

5 cups chicken broth
1 (10.75 oz) can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
1/4 of an onion, finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
4 large carrots, finely chopped
1/2 can corn, drained
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups egg noodles, uncooked
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded (about 1 lb)
  • Add everything but the noodles and cooked chicken to the crock pot. 
  •  Cook on low heat for 6 hours. 
  • Add the uncooked noodles and cooked chicken, turn heat to high, and cook for one more hour.
  • Serve and enjoy!