FIVE STAR (NO KNEAD) CINNAMON ROLLS

I thought I had the best cinnamon roll recipe, but oh my goodness..."Katy bar the door".....


Drop everything and try this recipe!!! 

Here's why:
.
1. The dough is light and fluffy, not "bready"
2. There is NO KNEADING, but it sure tastes like there is
3. The flavor is outstanding!!
4. They have the texture of a good donut
5. Covered, they stay fresh and delicious for 2-3 days
6. They freeze beautifully

Do I have your attention yet? Click on this photo so you can see the light and airy texture of the baked rolls.





2 cups buttermilk (no substitutions)
1/2  cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar

1 packet Quick Rising yeast 
4  1/2 cup all purpose flour *DIVIDED*
1/2  teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

FILLING
3/4  brown sugar
1 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
2 tablespoons butter (soft)


Mix the buttermilk, vegetable oil and sugar in a bowl and put it in the microwave just long enough to get it a little warm (I call it baby bottle warm) Let it cool down if necessary.


Stir in the yeast and let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Stir in 4 (of the 4½ cups) of flour to the buttermilk mixture and stir well (no need to knead, just mix well). Dough at this stage will be extremely sticky and more like a thick batter. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for an hour.

In a small, separate bowl, mix the final ½ cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. After the sticky dough has raised for an hour, stir it down and add this final half cup flour mixture. Mix until well incorporated (by hand or electric mixer)...just takes a minute.
 

Turn batter (which will still be quite soft and sticky) out onto WELL-floured counter and roll the dough around a few times, coating the surface with flour so it is not super sticky. 

Roll (or pat) dough out into a rectangle that is about ½” thick. Spread dough surface with 2 tablespoons room temperature butter then evenly spread on the filling ingredients and top with nuts if you are going to use them (pat the nuts into the sugar a little). 

Roll up, jellyroll style, keeping it as tight as you can. Pinch the seam shut tightly. Cut 1½” slices and lay them, cut side down, in a greased 9x13 baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 60 minutes (or until double in size). 

Bake in pre-heated 375F oven for about 20-25 minutes or until golden and they sound hollow when you tap on them. Frost while still hot.

FROSTING

3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
4 tablespoons* milk (less if you want thicker frosting)


*Mix the powdered sugar + butter + extracts and just a couple tablespoons of the milk. If frosting seems to thick, add just a little more milk. If it seems too thin, add just a little more powdered sugar.



ENJOY !!!
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CHUCK ROAST SLOPPY JOES IN THE CROCK POT


This recipe came about one day when I was feeling very lazy relaxed.
I had a big beef chuck roast in the fridge and the idea of regular old roast beef just didn't sound good, so I went through my recipes and spotted a Sloppy Joe recipe that I've been using for 30+ years and thought...why not???

I just put the roast and veggies in the crock pot, early in the day, and enjoyed the wonderful aroma of our upcoming dinner all afternoon. When it was time to eat, I just pulled out some burger buns and potato salad and we had a meal fit for company (well, OUR kind of company any way).



CHUCK ROAST SLOPPY JOE'S

2 pounds lean beef chuck roast (trim any large fatty areas)
1 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup chopped celery
2/3 cup green pepper chopped small
2/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder

Brown the beef chuck roast in a frying pan, then put it in the slow cooker (a large slow cooker works best). In the same frying pan, saute the vegetables until the onions are almost transparent, then tuck them in and around the meat. 

Mix the rest of the ingredients and pour over the meat and veggies. Cook on high for 4 to 5 hours, or on low for 8 hours. It isn't necessary, but I turn the meat over a couple of times during cooking and spoon the sauce over the meat.


Thirty minutes (or so) before serving, remove the meat and thicken the sauce with a slurry of 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water. Once the sauce is nice and thick, cut the beef into slices

(or just pull it apart) and put it back into the sauce so it will stay nice and hot.

When it is time to eat, pile the meat and sauce on a warm buttered bun or french bread ....oh so good!!! I like my Sloppy Joe sandwich with a swirl of yellow mustard.....how do you like yours?


NOTE:  My slow cooker takes only 4 hours on high to make the meat extremely tender, but still slice-able. If you like your beef more like pulled pork, cook it on high for 5 hours.

NOTE: Browning the meat and veggies isn't absolutely necessary, but it sure improves the overall taste.


ENJOY !!!
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Mini Mexican Pizzas


I often get asked, what I like to make with the Cali'flour Foods flat breads. I enjoy them a variety of ways, but I love using them to make these Mini Mexican Pizzas. Plus the kiddos like them too! Super easy to make with just taco seasoned beef, lettuce, tomatoes, chopped jalapenos, sour cream and of course cheese! Two of the flat breads count as 1/3 Lean and 2 Greens on the 5 & 1 plan! As always, use Code SANDY to save 10% off your entire order!


Some little tips when making the flat breads:

I find that these flat breads are best baked on a pizza screen like the ones pictured above. This allows the heat to circulate evenly around the flat bread because the heat is not trapped underneath. You can find these pizza screens on Amazon.

I also bake the flat breads at a slightly higher temperature than what the package states for about 12 min. Temperature times will vary. Then I broil them until they are done to my liking, about 3 to 4 min. Let the flat breads cool for 10 min and then add the beef and cheese. Bake for a few more min just until the cheese is melted. Top with the rest of the toppings. That's it!


Eat them as mini pizza or fold them over as soft tacos. Perfect for those nights you are craving Mexican! Enjoy!


Mini Mexican Pizzas

Ingredients:
2 Cali'flour Foods Flat Breads (1/3 Lean, 2 Greens)
2 ounces 95 to 97 % lean ground beef, cooked (1/3 Lean)
1/4 tsp taco seasoning (1/2 Condiment)
1/3 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese (1/3 Lean)
1/2 cup shredded lettuce (1/2 Green)
1/4 cup diced tomatoes (1/2 Green)
2 tbsp regular or light sour cream* (2 Condiments)
1/2 ounce chopped jarred jalapenos (1/2 Condiment)

Directions:
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Place flat breads on a pizza screen or pan with holes in it. Or place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake flat breads for 12 to 14 min. Broil for a few more minutes. Let cool for 10 min.

Season cooked ground beef with taco seasoning and stir until combined. Top each flat bread with half of the beef and shredded cheese. Bake for an additional 4 to 5 min or until cheese has melted.

Sprinkle lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and jalapenos on top of each flat bread.

1 Serving (2 mini pizzas) with
1 Lean, 3 Greens, and 3 Condiments for both pizzas

*If you do not like sour cream, you can use 2 tbsp of salsa as 2 Condiments.


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Mini Bell Pepper Nachos

Mini bell pepper nachos is one of my favorite recipes! They are so easy to make, low carb, gluten free, and a great way to get your nacho fix with minimal calories! All the amazing flavors of nachos, but without the carbs from tortilla chips! 


This recipe is made with seasoned taco ground beef, plenty of cheese, and topped with a little bit of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, guacamole or avocado, shredded lettuce, and sliced green onions. Add sliced pickled jalapenos if you want some extra spice! I used my own taco seasoning blend, but you can use store bought taco seasoning mix if you prefer. 

Make the swap to these delicious, healthier nachos and stay on plan! Trust me! You won't miss the chips! Enjoy!


Mini Bell Pepper Nachos

Ingredients:
6 Mini sweet bell peppers  ~ 186 grams ~ weigh for accuracy (2 1/2 Greens)
3 ounces Taco Seasoned Beef ~ recipe below (1/2 Leaner and 1.5 Condiments)
1/2 cup reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese (1/2 Lean)
1 tbsp sour cream or 2 tbsp plain non-fat Greek yogurt (1 Condiment)
1 tbsp guacamole or 3/4 ounce avocado, chopped (1/2 Healthy Fat)
1/4 cup shredded lettuce (1/4 Green)
2 tbsp sliced green onions (1/4 Green)
Optional:
1 ounce pickled sliced jalapenos (1 Optional Snack)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the ends off the mini bell peppers and then cut lengthwise. Remove seeds and ribs. Place peppers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Arrange the peppers in a single layer, cut side up. Bake for 5 min.

Top peppers with cooked ground beef and cheese. Bake for 7 to 8 min or until cheese is melted. Top with sour cream or Greek yogurt, guacamole or avocado, lettuce, green onions and sliced jalapenos.

1 Servings with
1 Lean, 3 Greens, 3 Condiments, 1/2 Healthy Fat (for the 95 to 97% lean ground beef) and 1 Optional Snack

* If you want to use 85 to 94% lean ground beef, omit the guacamole or avocado.

** If you want to omit the lettuce and sliced green onions, use 224 g of mini bell peppers.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Taco Seasoned Beef

Ingredients:
1 lb 95 to 97% lean ground beef (2 Leaner)

Taco Seasoning Blend (or 1 tbsp store bought Taco Seasoning):
1 tsp chili powder (2 Condiments)
1 tsp cumin (1 Condiment)
1/2 tsp garlic powder (1 Condiment)
1/4 tsp salt (1 Condiment)
1/2 tsp black pepper (1 Condiment)

Directions:
In a large skillet over medium heat, add meat and seasonings. Cook and break up meat until cooked thoroughly about 6 to 7 min. Drain meat of any excess fat.

2 Servings with
1 Leaner (6 ounces cooked) with 3 Condiments per serving


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Ricotta Bacon Stuffed Mini Peppers

These ricotta bacon stuffed mini peppers make a colorful delicious appetizer to serve at your next gathering! Perfect for serving during a football game or at your next get together! 


The savory taste of turkey bacon with creamy ricotta, fresh herbs, and a variety of cheese pairs so well with the sweetness of mini bell peppers. They are surprisingly filling and a serving size is a generous amount of food! That is why I gave the counts for 2 Servings as well as 4 Servings.


Besides some prep work, the recipe comes together pretty easily. First, you need to slice the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and membrane. I removed the tops, but it isn't necessary. 

You can also cut the tops off, remove the seeds and membrane, and then stuff the peppers whole with the filling. If you decide to do it this way, set the filled peppers in muffin tins standing upright so the filling doesn't spill out.


Next, make the filling by combining all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Then portion out the filling on the prepared peppers.


Bake the peppers for about 20 min or until ricotta is set.


That's all there is to it! Stuff, bake, and serve these creamy, tasty, bites to your guests or save them all for yourself! Enjoy!


Ricotta and Bacon Stuffed Mini Peppers

Ingredients:
1 pound assorted mini peppers, about 18 mini peppers (6 Greens)
2/3 cup part skim ricotta cheese (2/3 Lean)
1 egg, beaten (1/3 Lean)
1/2 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese, shredded (1/2 Lean)
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (4 Condiments)
4 slices turkey bacon (1/2 Lean)
2 tbsp fresh basil chopped (1/4 Condiment)
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (1/2 Condiment)
1/4 tsp salt ~optional (1 Condiment)
1/8 tsp black pepper (1/4 Condiment)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook turkey bacon and chop into very small pieces. Set aside. Cut peppers in half lengthwise, removing seeds and ribs. Place on a baking sheet and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, egg, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, turkey bacon, basil, parsley, salt and pepper. Fill peppers with the cheese mixture. Bake for 18 to 20 min or until ricotta is set and cheese is melted.

Makes 2 Servings
Each serving provides
1 Lean, 3 Greens, and 3 Condiments (about 18 pepper halves)
or
Makes 4 Servings
Each serving provides
1/2 Lean, 1 1/2 Greens, and 1 1/2 Condiments (about 9 pepper halves)

*I used 18 whole mini peppers/36 pepper halves (1 lb total weight) for the entire recipe, so 18 pepper halves per serving The amount of peppers per serving will vary depending on weight.


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YEAST BREAD FOR BEGINNERS

COME ON, BE BRAVE!!!
YOU CAN MAKE GREAT BREAD !!
I PROMISE !!!!!

I've been making this bread recipe (at least once a week) for nearly 40 years and it has never failed me. 

It is a basic, no frills, white bread that goes together in minutes and is nearly fool proof. 




OR


HINT
Read all of these hints and tips
before you 
start for the first time

INGREDIENTS
4 to 5 cups Better for Bread Flour (see note below about flour)
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 Scant tablespoon of table salt
2 envelopes of rapid rise yeast (see note about yeast)
4 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
2 1/2 cups very warm (not hot) water (about 120 degrees)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, place 1 cup of bread flour, 2 packets of rapid rise yeast, 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar, 1 scant tablespoon of table salt and 4 tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil.

Stir together, then add 2 1/2 cups warm water. Mix with spoon and let it all sit for about 10 minutes (important).

HINT
If you are concerned about the temperature of the water in this recipe, you can use an instant read thermometer, but it is NOT rocket science. After you make bread a few times, you will learn exactly what the water temperature is supposed to feel like, just by holding your hand under the running tap water. It should be about 120 degrees (I call it "baby bottle warm") 😉



After the yeast-dough has "bloomed" for about 10 minutes, start adding the rest of the flour...1/2 cup at a time, mixing with a sturdy spoon in between each addition. When the dough gets too thick for your spoon, attach a dough hook to your stand mixer and turn it to low.

NOW HERE IS AN IMPORTANT TIP

When adding flour (at this stage)  you might see something I call "dough shag". Dough shag is simply dry flour that hasn't been thoroughly mixed in yet.

Click on this next photo so you can see the dry white sections next to the wet sections of dough. 

Click on the photo to see the
shag more clearly


 Shag is not totally a bad thing, it is simply a clue that it is NOT time to add more flour yet. 

Here is another photo, see the shag?
I intentionally added the flour a little too quickly (in this next photo) so you could see what I mean by "shag".


Click on photo


 Don't panic if you see shag, just keep "kneading" with your dough hook (or by hand) and the shag will eventually incorporate into the wet dough. 


Your dough should look like this
before you add the next 1/2 cup of flour




When you get all the flour worked into the dough, let your machine knead the dough (gently, on a low setting) for about 6-8 minutes (or by hand for 6-8 minutes).

Stop your mixer every once in a while and pull all the dough off of the dough hook, scrape down the inside walls of your bowl and turn the ball of dough completely over and start the mixer again. You will need to do this a few times until the shag totally disappears and the dough clings together in a nice semi-solid "glob".

At the end of 6 to 8 minutes of kneading, (exact time is not critical), the dough should have worked itself into a smooth ball that stays on the dough hook when you raise the hook out of the bowl. The interior walls of the bowl should be fairly clean and should look like this:





See how the dough ball has "cleaned" all of the little bits off of the bottom and sides of the bowl? This is what you want to see. The dough will not be sticky and it will feel sort of like warm "Play Doh" when you touch it. 

After 6 to 8 minutes of kneading, your final dough will be smooth. Remove it from the dough hook, form it into a ball and place it in a greased bowl (I just use a little vegetable spray). Then spray the top of the dough with a little more, and cover it with plastic:






 Place this covered bowl of dough in a nice warm place in your kitchen. Room temperature is OK, but if you have a warmer place (less than 100 degrees) place it there. After an hour, your dough will have doubled in size.


Your dough should look
like this after an hour
(doubled in size)

After the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto your counter. Some people say flour the counter at this stage, but I NEVER do.

Push all of the air out of the dough and cover it with an inverted empty bowl (or plastic wrap) and let it sit for 15 minutes to relax (this will make your dough much easier to handle when you try to form it).

Depending on how you want to shape your dough, follow these general directions:

If you are making loaf bread for slicing, cut the dough into two or three equal pieces, depending on how large your loaf pans are. I like to use 9"x 5" loaf pans (this recipe makes 2 loaves).

Roll each piece into a rectangle about 8"x 10" (size not critical). Starting at the short end and roll it up tightly into a log and "pinch all of the seams shut". Place in a greased loaf pan (I use vegetable spray) and then I spray a little more on the top of the formed dough. 

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it raise for 1 hour or until it is doubled in size. 

Bake at 400° for 25 minutes. Remove from pan immediately and brush top with butter (optional) and let it cool on a baking rack.

If you are making rolls, just pinch off pieces about the size of a golf ball, roll them into a round shape and place them in a greased 9" baking pan with sides of the "dough balls" almost touching. Spray a little vegetable spray on top and loosely cover with plastic. Let raise for an hour or until doubled in size. Bake at 400° for 18 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan and brush tops with butter (optional) and let them cool on baking rack.

 
Hamburger Buns

Sandwich Rolls 



IMPORTANT
NOTE ABOUT YEAST

The kind of yeast you use makes a HUGE difference. Not the BRAND of yeast, but the KIND of yeast.I recommend QUICK RISE (also known as instant yeast or bread machine yeast)

Regular Active Dry Yeast works well too, 
but it takes longer to "bloom" AND raise. You will have to dissolve it in 1/2 cup warm water for 10 minutes BEFORE you add 
it to the recipe.

Whatever kind of yeast you use, just be 
sure to check the expiration date on the yeast!!!!!!!!!!!


MOST IMPORTANT TIP OF ALL:
Make sure you use a 
HIGH GLUTEN (BREAD) FLOUR,
this is extremely important!!!

I made mediocre bread for years, until I discovered 
these two BREAD FLOURS; they make all the difference in the world.

Personally, I like the
Gold Medal Flour the best!!

If your flour is six months old, 
THROW IT OUT!!



HINT ABOUT DOUGH RISE: Some people have granite counter tops which are usually cool to the touch. This will effect the length of time your bread needs to raise. I suggest that you find a warmer place to let your bowl of dough raise than on granite. You can also place a nice thick towel on your granite counter top and let your bread pan sit on top of the towel. Make sure there is no draft in the area where you let your dough raise.

I hope you give this recipe a try, it really is fun once you get over the "nervousness" of bread making. You can use this recipe to make sandwich bread, bread rolls, bread sticks, pizza dough  and a million other things........come on, you CAN make bread....
be brave and have fun!!



ENJOY !!!!!

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Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

I am a big fan of cheesesteak sandwiches so I was excited to try this recipe from Optavia! It did not disappoint! It was absolutely delicious! Sauteed onions, minced garlic, beef and mushrooms stuffed perfectly in a pepper. Then topped with provolone cheese. It has all the flavors of the iconic sandwich, but without all the carbs!


Lots of meaty flavor, easy to make, and a huge family favorite! Plus it is a great way to sneak those extra veggies in with the kiddos!  


Because this recipe uses a few common ingredients, meal prepping is a cinch! Take four peppers of any color and slice those suckers in half lengthwise. Then remove all the seeds and ribs. Set aside until ready to stuff with the creamy meat mixture.


Low sodium beef broth is used instead of oil or butter to saute the onions and garlic. This is a wonderful way to give those onions and garlic extra flavor without added fat. The broth is mostly absorbed and evaporated within the 5 min cooking time. Notice I did not mention mushrooms. This is because we are not fans of mushrooms in my household so I omitted them. If you skip the mushrooms, you will need to add one more Green per serving. After the onions are translucent, add the beef and cook until heated thoroughly. Remove skillet from the heat and add cream cheese. The cream cheese adds additional flavor and makes it slightly creamy. Yes!!!


Stuff the pepper halves with the creamy beef mixture.


Then top each pepper half with 1/2 an ounce of provolone cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 min until the cheese gets melty and gooey! Pure heaven!


I hope you enjoy these stuffed peppers as much as me!


Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:
4 medium green bell peppers
1/3 cup diced yellow onion
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup low sodium beef broth
6 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 lb thinly shaved, deli roast beef or thinly sliced steak
4 tbsp low-fat cream cheese
4 oz reduced fat provolone cheese, sliced

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice peppers in half lengthwise, remove ribs and seeds, and set aside.
In a large skillet, saute, the onions and garlic in broth over medium-high heat for about 5 min, or until onions are translucent. Add the mushrooms, and continue to cook until mushrooms are tender.
Mix in the roast beef and heat through, about 3 to 5 min. Remove skillet from heat, and stir in cream cheese.
Fill each pepper with an eighth of the roast beef mixture, then top each half with a 1/2 ounce of cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 min until peppers are tender and cheese on top is melted and bubbly.

4 Servings (2 Bell Pepper Halves) with
1 Lean, 3 Greens, and 3 Condiments per serving


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