Glazed Orange Rolls

1 cup milk
3 Tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cake or 1 package active dry yeast
3 eggs
4 to 4½ cup flour

Scald the milk, then add butter, sugar, and salt. Cool to lukewarm and add  yeast. Let stand for 3 minutes, then add eggs and 1 cup of flour. Beat well, using a hand mixer if necessary. Add 3 to 3½ cups of flour, depending on the size of your eggs. Grease a bowl for rising. Knead on a floured board. This will be quite a wet and sticky dough, so you will probably want a dough scraper of some sort. Knead for 10 minutes or until the mass has become elastic and is holding together. Place in greased bowl, cover and set in a warm place to rise and double, about 2 hours. Keep an eye on it - may need to be punched down. Make the filling.

6 Tablespoons butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
grated peel of 1 orange

Mix ingredients together and set aside until dough has finished the first proof. Divide the dough into two balls. Roll each one out to 12"x8" on a floured board, and spread with the filling. Roll them up like a jelly roll, and cut 18 slices from each. Place with spiral up in greased pans, setting them slightly apart, and let double for about 1½ hours. Bake at 375° F for 15 minutes. Make the glaze.

4-5 Tablespoons orange juice
½ Tablespoon orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier (optional)
2 cups powdered (confectioner's) sugar

Note: I'm not super fond of really sweet glazes, so I cut the sugar back a bit. Laura

Mix all ingredients, stirring until smooth. This should be slightly runny. After rolls have cooled slightly, spoon evenly over the rolls.


Dark Rich Chili

Chili Paste Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons of ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon of chipotle chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons of cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons of mexican oregano

Chili Ingredients

  • 4 pounds of beef stew meat
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 2 poblano peppers (diced)
  • 1-5 jalapeno peppers (minced)*
  • 6 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 4 cups of beef broth*
  • 1 can of tomato sauce (14oz can)
  • 2 cans of beans (14oz can) pinto or red kidney beans*

Mix all ingredients for chili paste into a bowl. Slowly pour ½ cup of warm water into the bowl and stir. Set bowl aside for now. Brown the meat over a stove and throw in slow cooker set to high. Sear the onion and poblano peppers in same pan used for the meat. After about 5 minutes add the jalapeno(s) and garlic into the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes. Once done, throw it in the slow cooker. Add the chili paste to the slow cooker and stir it so that it even coats everything. Let it sit in the slow cooker for a couple minutes, then add the brown sugar, worcestershire sauce, beef broth, and tomato sauce. Add salt and pepper to your liking. Stir it all together so that it is evenly distributed. Let sit for 5-8 hours.

Recommended garnishings are shredded Mexican cheese, fresh cilantro, sour cream, diced
sweet onion, and Fritos/tortilla chips. Recipe should make 6-11 servings.

Notes from Travis
  • Use as many jalapenos as your taste can handle.
  • People on the internet say you can use beer or brewed coffee for more interesting flavors instead of beef broth.
  • Beans are entirely optional and are not typically used in Texas chili. If using beans, add them to the crockpot a couple of hours before serving. 


Gluten-Free Cream Puffs

Adapted from Fannie Farmer for benefit of those who cannot have gluten.

½ cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup water
1 cup Pillsbury gluten free flour
4 eggs, at room temperature (very important)

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Combine water and butter in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. Return to moderate heat and stir constantly until the dough leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating hard until the dough is smooth. Place rounded spoonfuls or pipe onto an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake for 30 minutes or until the puffs are golden. Do not open the oven to check them!

Chocolate Filling:
1 cup milk
2 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons gluten free all purpose flour
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 egg  yolks, slightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla

Place the milk and chocolate in a large microwave safe bowl. Heat 30 seconds at a time until the chocolate is melted. Stir. Add sugar, flour, and salt. Cook on high in the microwave for three minutes, stopping and stirring in between each minute, until the mixture is very thick and smooth. Add eggs and cool. Add vanilla. 

To assemble: slice off the top of the puffs and spoon the filling mixture into the puffs. Chill. 


Chicken Teriyaki

1-2 teaspoons sesame-chili oil
1 ½ pounds chicken, sliced thinly
2 cups carrots, sliced
1 cup snow peas
water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, other vegetables as desired

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
½ cup COLD water
2-3 cloves minced garlic
¼  teaspoon ginger, or more to taste
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Sesame seeds for garnish

Heat oil in large skillet. Add chicken and cook, stirring, over medium heat until liquid has evaporated. Add carrots, stir for a few minutes until carrots soften. Turn heat down to medium low. 

While chicken is cooking, mix sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Stir until cornstarch is fully dissolved. Pour over contents of skillet. Add other vegetables to skillet and continue to cook until sauce is desired thickness, stirring to distribute sauce. Serve over rice and garnish with sesame seeds.


Asian Chicken with Ramen Noodles

2 packages ramen noodles
2 lb chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
½ lb snow peas, ends removed, and cut into ½ slices
1 cup sliced carrots or substitute 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 cup teriyaki marinade sauce
1 tsp. sesame chili oil, plus more for stir frying
1 tbsp. garlic chili paste

Mix the marinade sauce, chili oil, and garlic paste in a large bowl. Add the chicken and marinade about 20 minutes.

Break ramen noodles inside the package into chunks, then open the package. Set aside the flavor packet.  Soak the noodles in a bowl of water while the chicken is marinating.

Heat a large skillet or wok on medium high heat. Use more chili oil as cooking oil. Pull chicken out of marinade and stir fry until cooked through. Add seasoning packets from ramen to remaining marinade, toss ramen and vegetables in marinade until coated. Add to skillet with chicken and stir fry to desired tenderness.  Serves 4.


Gluten Free Substitutes

My son was diagnosed with a pretty severe gluten allergy in January. Since then, I've been trying to find ways that I can still give him his favorite treats without upsetting his digestive system. I've tried some commercial baking mixes as well as a variety of flours.

Baking mixes:
Many companies make flours from a variety of carbohydrates sources besides wheat.  The issue with most of them is they require a complicated balancing act of proportions as well as weird ingredients. The other issue I've run into is most of the recipes that use these exotic flours are aimed at diary free or vegan options as well. Neither situation applies to my son.

The better options are the multipurpose flours that advertise as a one-to-one substitute for wheat flour. Usually any recipe I have can easily be adapted for a gluten free version using these. Sometimes I need to slightly adjust liquids to get the mixture to behave. Do not try this with anything that really needs to rise. Most of the time, but product comes out crumbly compared to what you would normally expect.


Mango Salsa

3 medium-large ripe mangos, diced*
1 red bell pepper, diced
½ red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped fine
¼ cup lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and toss well. Refrigerate at least an hour to allow flavors to meld.

This can be served with chips, or I usually have it as a side with Pork Adobo

*Note on dealing with mangos - do not try to peel it. You will either cut yourself or wreck your knife. Either way, there will be crying. Instead, notice that mangos are oblong and flat. The seed follows this shape. Stand the mango on its end and, using a sharp knife, slice the flattened side, just outside the seed. With a paring knife, score the flesh as close to the skin as you can get. Push on the skin until the mango slice flips inside-out. You can easy remove the flesh from the skin at this point. Continue to trim around the seed and score the resulting flesh until you have removed as much usable fruit as you can.


Tuscan Beef Stew

1 can (10.75 oz) tomato soup
12 oz. beef broth
½ cup red wine (or more - you decide)
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes, if necessary
1 can (14.5 oz) Italian-style tomatoes
3 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil, pinch red pepper flakes), crushed
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 cans cannellini beans, drained

Mix all ingredients except beans in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 8-9 hours, or on High for 4-5 hours until done. Stir in beans and turn heat to High. Cook for 10 minutes. Serves 8.


Buttermilk Biscuits

This recipe is originally from Mountain Measures but anyone who has cooked with me knows I like to take short cuts and find ways to create the least amount of dirty dishes possible. So I've adapted this to suit my cooking style. This method also requires less fancy cooking tools. 

¾ cup buttermilk
1 stick butter (or ½ cup shortening)
2 cups flour
2¼ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Pre-heat the oven to 450°F.

Put the buttermilk in the freezer while you are working with the other ingredients, but leave it there at least 10 minutes. Melt the butter in the microwave, setting it for a 20-30 seconds at a time.

Traditional: If you are using shortening, you can't do this shortcut and you'll have to do the normal cutting in with the dry ingredients and the shortening. Don't put the buttermilk in the freezer.

Mix the dry ingredients. Take the buttermilk out of the freezer. Using a fork or whisk, whip the melted butter into the partially frozen buttermilk until the butter makes tiny balls. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and combine all.

Traditional: If you are using shortening, cut in to the dry ingredients with a biscuit cutter or two knives until the mixture resembles small peas. Pour in the buttermilk and combine all.

Shape the dough into a ball and put on a floured board. Knead lightly. I don't roll mine out; I just flour my hands and pat it to the thickness I want. But you can roll it if you really want to, about ½ inch thickness. Use a floured biscuit cutter, or if you don't have one of those, flour a knife and cut the dough into squares or triangles.

Put on a greased baking sheet and brush the biscuit tops with melted butter.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Makes about 16-20 biscuits. Serve hot with butter, jam, or honey.

Gluten Free Biscuits
  1. Substitute the flour above for Pillsbury Best Gluten Free Multipurpose Flour, King Arthur 1-1 Gluten Free Flour, or Red Mill 1-1 Gluten Free Baking Flour
  2. Use a full cup of buttermilk
Mix the ingredients as above. You will not be able to knead or roll this dough. Instead pinch off a good quantity of dough and shape into a biscuit shape, place on the baking sheet. The recipe should make the same amount of biscuits as normal. Bake the same amount of time.


Kentucky Derby Pie Bars

 1 ½ cup flour
1 stick softened butter
¾ cup dark brown sugar

Beat with a mixer until crumbly. Press into a greased 9x13 pan, and bake at 350° F for 12-15 minutes. Take out of the oven.

3 beaten eggs
¾ cup light or dark corn syrup
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 ½ cup chopped pecans
12 oz. package chocolate chips

Whisk eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter, vanilla, and bourbon until smooth. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips, and pour into the crust. Bake for another 25-30 minutes. Cool and cut into tiny squares.


Baja Light Fish Tacos

1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1½pounds boned skinne Pacific cod
1 tablespoon olive oil
12-14 corn tortillas (5-6 inches, warmed on grill or skillet)
Chipotle Tartar Sauce

1. Heat grill to high 450° to 550°F. Combine seasonings in a small bowl. Set fish on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub all over with oil, then sprinkle with seasonings. Oil cooking grate, using tongs and a wad of oiled paper towels.
2. Grill fish, covered, turning once, until just cooked through, 4-6 minutes total. Break fish into large chunks. Fill tortillas with slaw and fish. Serve with chipotle tartar sauce.

Sarah and Jason

Cabbage & Cilantro Slaw

3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon red chile flakes
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 bag (10 oz.) very finely shredded cabbage
⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Put lime juice, vegetable oil, chile flakes, and kosher salt in a large bowl. Just before serving, toss with cabbage and cilantro. 


Chipotle Tartar Sauce

2 tablespoons canned chipotle chiles, seeded, deveined, and rinsed
8 ounces (1 cup) plain lowfat Greek yogurt
¼ cup sweet pickle relish
¼ cup chopped onion

Purée all ingredients in a blender. Chill until used.


Grilled Chicken and Penne Salad

2 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 pound penne or other tubular pasta
2 large red bell peppers, cut into a 1/2-inch dice
2½ cups thinly sliced celery
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 cup walnut halves
1¼ cups pitted Kalamata olives, cut in half
1/4 cup minced fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dried
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup olive oil

Oil a ridged grill pan and heat over moderately high heat or set an oiled rack 4-6 inches over glowing coals. Grill chicken breasts for 8 to 10 minutes on each side or until they are springy to the touch, and then transfer them to a dish. Sprinkle chicken with lemon juice and let it cool. Boil the pasta until it is tender; refresh under cold water in colander, and drain.

In a large bowl, toss pasta, bell peppers, celery, onion, walnuts, olives, and dill. Remove chicken from dish, reserving the juices, and slice it thin on the diagonal. Add it to the vegetables in the bowl. Pour the juices from the dish into a bowl or large cup, and then add vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk the mixture thoroughly, and then add the olive oil in a stream, whisking until the dressing is emulsified. Add dressing to salad and toss. Add more salt and pepper if needed.  Serve immediately at room temperature or chill for later use. Serves 8 to 10.


Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

My family doesn't eat turkey skin or parts of the turkey other than breast meat. This is the perfect 'put it in the crock pot and forget it' way to cook a turkey breast. The end result is falling off the bones and hardly requires carving. The best thing is the gravy is made when the turkey is done and just requires a little thickening.  If you do like a crispy skin, I suggest taking it off and frying it in a skillet when you brown the vegetables.  Use a slow cooker liner to make this whole process even easier.

1½ tablespoons butter (or olive oil)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/3 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth, low sodium if preferred
1 cup water
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoon fresh sage
2 bay leaves
4-5 pound whole turkey breast, or whatever size fits in your crock pot
salt and pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic; cook until onion is soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of broth and scrape any brown bits, smoothing out any lumps. Transfer to slow cooker.

Stir in remaining broth, water, wine, sage, and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Season turkey with salt and pepper, place skin side up in slow cooker. Cover and cook 5 to 7 hours, or until turkey reaches 165° F with a meat thermometer. If your turkey has a pop up indicator, it is done when the pin pops out.

Transfer turkey to cutting board, tent loosely with foil, and let it rest 20 minutes.  Let the braising liquid settle, then remove the fat from the surface. Strain braising liquid into a saucepan, discard celery and bay leaves. Let it simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Originally from, slightly modified.


Oatmeal Cookies

3/4 cup butter
1¼ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1½ teaspoon vanilla
3 cups oats, quick or old-fashioned, uncooked
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup raisins
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 375° F. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Combine butter, brown sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well-blended. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix into creamed mixture at low speed just until blended. Stir in raisins and nuts. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned. Makes about 36 cookies.


Sauce Pan Brownies

1/3 cup shortening
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup sifted flour
3/4 cup chopped nuts

Melt shortening and chocolate in sauce pan over low heat, stirring constantly. Beat in vanilla, sugar, and eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg. Add flour and salt, then nuts. Bake at 325° F for 15 to 20 minutes.