Saturday, October 11, 2008

Soft, Buttery Rolls

I got this recipe from another recipe blog I sometimes contribute to. They are supposed to be just like the rolls at Texas Roadhouse. I don't know that they were "identical" in my mind, but they were very good. Soft, buttery and well-flavored. We made them large and used them as hamburger buns as well.

1/2 sol. oz. cake of yeast or 1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups milk- scalded and cooled to lukewarm
3 tablespoons of melted butter - cooled
1/2 cup sugar
3-4cups all purpose flour
2 whole eggs
2 tsp. salt

Soften yeast in warm water with a teaspoon of sugar.
Add yeast, milk, sugar and enough flour to make a medium batter. Beat thoroughly. Let stand until light and foamy.
Add melted butter, eggs and salt. Beat well.
Add enough flour to form soft dough. Sprinkle small amount of flour on counter and let dough rest. (If using a stand mixer, mix on dough setting for 6-8minutes)
Grease clean surface of bowl. Knead dough until smooth and satiny. Put in greased bowl; turn over to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place until double in bulk.Punch down.
Turn out on floured board. Divide into portions for shaping; let rest 10 minutes.Shape dough into desired forms. Place on greased baking sheets. Let rise until doubled.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes (until golden brown). Baste immediately with butter.

Makes 4 dozen.

Tutto Pasta Cucina Italiana

Last night we went out for my birthday. We've been wanting to try Tutto Pasta for awhile, and last night we did.
We liked it quite a bit. Almost everything on the menu looked interesting and we had a hard time deciding on what to have. The atmosphere was nice and fairly quiet, though not extravagent by any means. The restaurant has outdoor seating and the weather was perfect, but due to Madison's smoking ban, there were a couple of tables of smokers outside which made the option less desireable for us.
We each ordered a pasta dish and split an appetizer--but most of the salads and meat-based entrees looked interesting as well. We started with an appetizer of buffalo mozzarella, lightly breaded, deep-fried, and covered with spicy tomato-sauce and basil chiffonade. It was nicely done: crunchy outside, melting inside, but not at all greasy.
James ordered the "Tour of Tutto" containing three of their best-selling pasta dishes in "sampler" size. His favorite of the three was Rigatoni Cucina, a dish that contained grilled chicken and mushrooms in a romano-cream sauce.
I had the Penne Ai Quattro Formaggi: penne pasta with fontina, mozzarella, gorgonzola, and parmesan in cream sauce. It was probably the most cheesy pasta dish I have ever consumed but was nicely done and highlighed all the best elements of each cheese. I normally do not enjoy blue-cheeses, but I didn't realize it contained gorgonzola in time to ask for a substitute. However, the sharp-tanginess of the cheese actually added a lot to the dish and I didn't find the blue element to be too strong.
The portion sizes were generous, but not as large as I have seen served at some pasta places. James finished his whole entree and I took about 1/2 for a future lunch.
The total for the meal came to just over $40 with tip. However, has certificates available and we were able to get a $25 gift certificate good off a bill of $35 or more for less than $10.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Creamy Coleslaw

We love coleslaw, or rather I like it and my husband LOVES it. Like, he could eat a whole bowl for dinner in one sitting--the serving bowl that is. We've tried a lot of different recipes, and I've tweaked almost all of them, combined several and come up with this one that works for us. I like it because it is a lot lighter than many creamy varieties, which is important when one person is going to eat large quantities.

Creamy Coleslaw

1/2 c. plain yogurt (I like organic, whole-milk varieties, but fat-free works too)
1/4 c. miracle whip or mayonnaise
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/8 c. white vinegar
dash of powdered onion
dash of black pepper, to taste

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Pour 1/2 of the dressing over 1lb. bag of packaged coleslaw mix plus carrots and celery if desired. Mix together and let sit (refrigerated) for at least 20 minutes. If coleslaw is too dry after sitting, add a bit more of the dressing, to taste. Remaining dressing will keep chilled for about 1 week.

Chicken Noodle Soup

This is a good, basic Chicken Noodle soup that incorporates whatever vegetables you have on hand. Great for cold fall/winter nights and very flexible. (All four of us ate the same thing for dinner, a rarity with two adults, a two-year-old and a baby)

These are the basics of the soup:

2 cans (15oz.) reduced-sodium chicken broth/stock
4 cups water
1/2 package (8oz.) egg noodles
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 med. onion, chopped
3 cups assorted root vegetables (carrots, turnips, etc.), chopped
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into pieces
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 T. fresh (or 2 t. dried) basil, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. butter
1 T. Canola oil

Heat butter and oil over medium heat until hot. Add onions, garlic, celery, and root vegetables and saute for about 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add broth, water, chicken, and black pepper until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat, add pasta, and simmer for 40-45 minutes or until noodles and vegetables are tender.
Serve with bread or a salad for a quick dinner.


I love They are definitely my go-to source when I have a dish or ingredient in mind but don't already have a recipe (or a recipe that I love.) There's a recipe (or 100) for just about anything you can think of and great reviews too. You can change the servings on a recipe and it will re-calculate ingredients for you (just beware of ingredients like eggs, which if it calls for only one in the original it does not split), and membership is free if you'd like to have your own "recipe box" on their site.

Recent finds:

--Filet Mignon with Rich Balsamic Glaze (awesome with pork chops too)
--Carmelized Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios (I used almonds)
--Quick and Easy Doughnuts (so good with apple cider)

I'll try to get these linked soon, but until then you can just search for that at allrecipes.


My husband urged me to start this blog. He says we need a place we can keep track of what we're eating. Not so much for health purposes, but for sanity purposes. Life with two toddlers and busy jobs, etc. leaves not much time for careful meal planning. So, several nights a week we end up asking ourselves, what should we have. I love to cook and try new things, but if I haven't planned it ahead of time I just want it fast. We usually resist the urge to order out, but I think he's right that we'd eat better those nights if we could have a fast glance at a list of things we've done previously.

If you're in the same boat we are and any of these help jog your brain also, so much the better!

So, here goes--enjoy!