In the Kitchen..

Fall is beginning to make its appearance here in the Pacific Northwest! The days are getting shorter, the evenings cool off quick and it takes a bit of time to warm up in the morning. The other day the clouds covered the sky and the house was cool and I decided to do a little cooking. Up to this point, I’ve not wanted to heat up the kitchen much. Just too hot!! But on this day I made up a couple of family favorites for dinner and did a little baking.

I started by making my Mexican Rice Casserole for dinner. I made a HUGE pan of this. Feel free to cut the recipe in half to fit your needs. I feed 6 adults daily and this meal fed us for 2 nights. The recipe calls for shredded cheese on the top.. I only had cheese slices (real cheese, not American, so that is what I used instead).

Here is the recipe..

Mexican Rice Casserole

2lbs hamburger
1 large onion, chopped
10 cups cooked brown rice
1 can rotel tomatoes
2 cups salsa
2 cups frozen corn
2 to 4 cups shredded cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large frying pan cook hamburger and onion until hamburger is no longer pink and onion is soft. In a large bowl combine cooked hamburger/onion, onion, rotel tomatoes, salsa, frozen corn and half the cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Put all ingredients into an 11x15 pan. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until all is hot and bubbly. Serve with a little extra salsa on the top.

I also made Refried Beans to go with this meal.

And the recipe…
Refried Beans

3 cups dried pinto beans
12 cups water
1T salt
1 cube/stick butter (8T)

In a large stock pot combine dried beans, water and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 3 hours. When the beans are soft heat a large frying pan on medium high heat. Add butter and let it melt. Scoop out beans and some of the broth into the frying pan. Using a potato masher, mash the beans and continue to add more beans and mash until all the beans have been added. Add more bean broth as needed to give a smooth consistency.
I served it with corn on the cob that our neighbors had given us.. it was a delish meal!!

After I was done with all that I decided to make a batch of cinnamon rolls…

Cinnamon Rolls

I began by making a 2 loaf recipe of my favorite bread..

2 cups warm water
1/3 cup honey
1 T yeast
1/3 cut olive oil
2 t. salt
1/3 cup gluten flour
5 to 7 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour (or you can use all white flour or half white and half wheat.. if you do you can skip the gluten flour)

In a large bowl or in a large mixer (such as a Kitchen Aid or Bosch type) combine the water, yeast and honey. Let sit for a few minutes to give the yeast a chance to start working. Add the salt, oil, gluten flour and 3 to 4 cups of whole wheat flour. Continue to add more flour until the dough does not stick to the side of the bowl and does not feel sticky to the touch. Knead for 4 minutes in a Bosch mixer or 7 to 10 in other mixers or 10 to 15 minutes by hand.

Let the bread rise once, punch down, and divide the dough in half. Roll out half the dough into a large rectangle (12x15inches or so). Spread with butter, sprinkle as much brown sugar over the top as you’d like and then sprinkle on cinnamon. Roll the dough up, from the long side. Cut the dough into about 1 to 2 inch pieces. Lay on a large jelly roll pan that has been sprayed with Pam, or greased or (my favorite) lined with parchment paper. Repeat this for the second half of the dough.

Let the rolls rise for about 45 minutes to an hour. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until nice and brown.

While rolls are baking make the glaze..

Cinnamon Roll Glaze

3 cups powdered sugar
3T butter, softened
2t vanilla
3 to 4T milk

In a mixer combine powdered sugar, butter and vanilla. Mix this for a few minutes. Add milk. Mix until it is a smooth and spreadable consistency. You don’t want it to thick.. should be more of a glaze than a frosting.

Spread glaze over cinnamon rolls as soon as they come out of the oven…

I'm looking forward to more fall baking and cooking again as the weather slowly cools down! 


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