19 March 2015


It's Improv time again!



The premise of the Improv Challenge is easy: each month there are two assigned ingredients.  The participants must make a recipe using both ingredients and blog about it.   

This month's ingredients were chicken and noodles.  We've had a couple of warm days here in Wisconsin, but we're back to normal for this time of year and I am still in comfort food mode.  Chicken and noodles definitely feel like comfort food to me.  As I was looking through my huge backlog of food photos that I have taken, I came across a chicken and pasta recipe that I absolutely love and have made several times, but for some reason, I had never gotten around to blogging about. I am not a huge pasta person; I prefer potatoes over pasta any day.  But this is hands-down my favorite pasta recipe ever.  It is so good.  My version is adapted from Kevin and Amanda.  You cook chicken in a super flavorful mesquite marinade (I love that stuff), then shred it and toss it with your favorite short cut pasta and bacon (of course!), and hold it all together with a homemade creamy parmesan sauce.  So good!  

Smoky Garlic Chicken Bacon Pasta

Ingredients:
3 chicken breast cutlets
½ bottle Lawry’s Mesquite Marinade
10 oz. short cut pasta
4 tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp flour
1½ cups milk (I used whole)
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
¾ lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions:
Place chicken in slow cooker.  Pour mesquite marinade over chicken. Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours, flipping chicken once if you are able, or until chicken is fork tender.  Remove chicken from slow cooker and shred with two forks.  (You should have about 2 cups.)  Set chicken aside and don’t throw out that cooking liquid yet.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook until tender.  Drain. 

While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a medium saucepan.  Add the garlic and cook over medium-low heat for a minute or so until fragrant.  Add the flour and stir well.  Cook for a couple of minutes.  Slowly whisk in the milk and bring to a boil.  Cook until the sauce gets quite thick, then turn heat down to low and stir in the parmesan cheese.

In a large bowl, combine the bacon, chicken, drained pasta, and sauce.  Toss to evenly distribute ingredients.  Add a bit of the cooking liquid from the slow cooker to thin the sauce out to your desired consistency.  Grate a little more Parmesan over the top for garnish, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

*A note about chicken cutlets: I buy my chicken breasts from Sam's and they are humongous.  I cut them in half to create two "cutlets" from each huge breast.  They cook more quickly and you end up with more surface area for your delicious seasonings.  If your chicken breasts are small, use two of them.

I am telling you, this stuff is the bomb.  I love making the cheese sauce a little too thick because adding the mesquite cooking liquid to it gives it that much more smoky flavor.  So good!

You can use any kind of short cut pasta you like.  I can't remember what this one in the pic is called.  It wasn't really my favorite for this dish, but it worked.  I have also made it with penne and farfalle.  Shells would work too.

Like I said, I'm not a huge pasta person, but I could eat this stuff every day!  This is one of those recipes were the picture doesn't do it justice.  You really have to try it out for yourself.

Be sure to check out all the other great chicken and noodle recipes below and come back next month to see what I make with asparagus and egg.  How springy!


17 March 2015


Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Did you make corned beef and cabbage today?  A lot of people are intimidate by it; thinking that it's complicated and hard to make.  It's totally not!  I already have a recipe for Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage on my blog, but I have found a recipe I like even better.  It is adapted from A Year of Slow Cooking.  This one is better because it is simpler.  And simple is always best!  All you do is throw a hunk of corned beef in your slow cooker and slather it with a honey mustard glaze.  The glaze permeates the meat and makes it so tender and delicious.  


 Slow Cooker Honey Mustard Corned Beef and Cabbage

Ingredients:
4 lb. corned beef brisket (point cut)
2 tbsp honey
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
½ large head cabbage

Directions:
Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Unwrap the corned beef, and remove the seasoning packet, and trim as much of the fat from the meat as you can. Rinse and pat dry.  In a small bowl, make a paste of the honey, brown sugar, and mustard. Rub this mixture on all sides of the meat. Place the meat into the slow cooker and cover. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until meat pulls apart easily with a fork. 

Halfway through cooking, chop the cabbage into chunks and place it in the slow cooker, on top of the corned beef.  Using tongs, toss the cabbage so that it gets coated in the cooking liquid.  Replace lid and continue cooking on low.

Remove corned beef to a platter and slice.  Remove cabbage with a slotted spoon and place alongside corned beef.

Makes 6 servings.

I serve this with Traditional Irish Soda Bread, of course.

I like to get the point cut for this.  It has more fat and is beautifully marbled.  You want to cut off as much of the visible fat as you can before you cook it.  I have found that kitchen shears work better than a knife for this.  You might need to remove some more of the visible fat after it has cooked. By then, it's easy to remove.  You can certainly use the flat cut for this recipe too.  It will not be quite as fall-apart tender though.

This beef comes out so amazingly tender.  It literally just falls apart.  I love that.  And the cabbage has a surprising sweetness to it.  It's all just delicious. 


For more great St. Patrick's Day food offerings, click on "St. Patrick's Day" on the category list to the right. ----------------------------->



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14 March 2015


Happy Pi(e) Day!  Did you make pie today?  I forgot to plan, but I couldn't pass up making a pie on Pi Day.  So I searched my Pinterest boards for a pie that I could make without going to the store.  (It's Saturday; I avoid the grocery store on Saturdays!)  I found this one that I had pinned from Frieda Loves Bread.  I had a basket full of apples and I had just gotten two small jars of Penzeys Apple Pie Spice for free on Thursday, so it was perfect.  The only thing that wasn't perfect was that I had no pie crust.  I don't make my own pie crust and I didn't have any Pillsbury.  But I did have a box of graham crackers, and thankfully my kids didn't eat ALL of them for breakfast, so we made a graham cracker crust instead.  It's not ideal for apple pie, but it certainly worked in a pinch.  Since it's not ideal for this pie, I won't include the directions for making the graham cracker crust.  Just use your favorite pie crust, store-bought or homemade.

Caramel Apple Crumb Pie

Ingredients:
Pie crust for 9” pie
½ cup sugar
3 tbsp + ½ cup flour, divided
1 tsp + ½ tsp apple pie spice, divided
⅛ tsp salt
6 cups thinly sliced peeled apples (about 4 large apples)
¼ cup caramel bits
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup cold butter
Caramel ice cream topping, optional

Instructions
Preheat oven to 375°.

If using a regular pie crust, pre-bake for 8-10 minutes. If using a graham cracker crust, don’t pre-bake.

In a large bowl, stir the sugar, 3 tbsp flour, apple pie spice, and salt. Add apple slices and gently toss until they are coated well. Pile mixture into pie crust.  Sprinkle caramel bits on top.

For the crumb topping, stir together brown sugar, remaining ½ cup flour, remaining ½ tsp apple pie spice, and oats. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until topping resembles coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle over apple mixture in pie and press down. To prevent over-browning, cover edge of pie with foil. Put pie on baking sheet.  Bake for 45 minutes, or until top is golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting and serving.  To serve, drizzle each piece with caramel ice cream topping.  Top with whipped cream or serve with vanilla ice cream.

Makes 8 servings.



The caramel bits were my addition.  I bought them for something and didn't end up making it, so I thought I would throw some in there to see how it worked.  Worked perfectly!  Added awesome caramel goodness.



My daughters helped me make this pie.  Eva (4) put the graham crackers into the food processor and they took turns pushing the button.  They both also helped toss the apples in the sugar/flour/seasoning mixture.  They got pretty bored while I was peeling and chopping the apples, though.  Lena (7) kept eating the peels and then took some seeds and went outside to plant them.  I had to call them in to watch me make the crumble topping.  

Of course, they were at the ready when it was time to try it after dinner.  We had it ala mode, and they both loved it.  I forgot to drizzle it with the caramel syrup, but it was awesome anyway.

What's your favorite pie to eat on Pi(e) Day?



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01 March 2015


It's time for this month's Secret Recipe Club! The Secret Recipe Club is a group of food bloggers who secretly make one of someone else's dishes and post them all on the same day at the same time.  It's really fun, choosing a recipe to make, making the recipe, then reading about everyone else's recipes.  It's a great way to "meet" other bloggers and check out some great blogs that you never knew about before. 


This month I was assigned to Not Enough Cinnamon, written by Marie.  Marie was born and raised in Paris, but now lives in Sydney, Australia.  Cool!  She has some really fabulous recipes on her blog.  I found two ground beef recipes that I can't wait to try, her Zucchini, Lemon, and Rosemary Beef Skillet and her Asian Beef Noodles.  Speaking of Asian, I was also intrigued by her Thai Chicken Patties with Sweet Chili Sauce.  Yum.  As good as her beef dishes looked, I have been trying to slightly alter my family's eating by increasing the number of seafood dinners we have each week.  In the past I have always done one seafood recipe a week, either white fish (usually cod), salmon, canned tuna, or ahi tuna steaks.  I have decided to try doing two seafood dishes a week.  That, combined with our one meatless meal each week, means we have really cut down on our meat consumption.  It also means that I am always on the lookout for new and interesting seafood recipes.  I was delighted to find that Marie had a lovely looking white fish recipe that I had never tried before: Pesto Panko Crusted Fish.  White fish fillets slathered with fresh basil pesto and topped with crispy toasted panko.  Sounded right up my alley!

Pesto Crusted Cod

Ingredients:
1 large fresh basil bunch
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
¼ cup + ½ tbsp olive oil, divided
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup Panko breadcrumbs
4 cod fillets
Salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425°.  Line a baking sheet with foil, coat lightly with cooking spray, and set aside.

Place the basil, garlic, parmesan, and ¼ cup olive oil in a food processor.  Pulse until smooth.  Set aside.

Place the panko and the remaining ½ tbsp olive oil in a small skillet.  Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until breadcrumbs begin to turn golden.  Remove from heat and let cool while you prepare the fish.

Pat cod fillets dry and season with salt on both sides.  Place the fillets on the prepared baking sheet and spread the pesto evenly over each of the fillets.  Top with the toasted breadcrumbs and press down lightly.  

Place baking sheet in preheated oven and bake 15 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Makes 4 servings.

I used my tried-and-true method for toasting the panko.  I'm sure Marie's way is just as good, but I kind of went on auto-pilot the day I made this and realized halfway through toasting them that she did them in the oven.  Oops!  Either way is good!

I served this fish with some one-pot creamy garlic noodles and green beans.  It was a lovely meal.  The pesto wasn't as flavorful as it could have been, due to the fact that I made this in February, when it was below zero with a foot of snow on the ground, and had to buy my basil from the grocery store.  It was ok, but I think it would be absolutely amazing with fresh garden basil in the summertime.  I seriously can't wait to try it again this summer.

Thanks so much for a great recipe, Marie!



19 February 2015


It's Improv time again!


The premise of the Improv Challenge is easy: each month there are two assigned ingredients.  The participants must make a recipe using both ingredients and blog about it.  


This month's ingredients are coffee and cream.  Two ingredients that I enjoy every day!  I thought it would be fun to be super creative and use coffee and cream in some kind of savory dish.  And I'm sure it would have been, but February got too busy and I went with something more obvious. And simple.  But you know, it's just so perfect for this time of year.  I don't know what the weather is like where you are, but here in Wisconsin, it is frigid!  It is -1 right now as I type this (Wednesday night) and today have a high of 1.  1 degree for a high!  And living on Lake Michigan, the windchills are brutal. Supposed to be between -20 and -30 tomorrow.  So you can understand why a hot coffee drink was appealing to me!

This one is awesome because it not only contains hot coffee, but also alcohol!  I often get so cold in the evenings that I just can't warm up no matter how many layers I wear or how many blankets I pile on.  Whenever that happens I have to get warm from the inside out.  A glass of wine does the trick every time.  So combining coffee and alcohol in one drink is doubly effective!  Are you familiar with a hot toddy?  A traditional hot toddy is hot water or tea mixed with rum, brandy, or whiskey and sweetened with honey or sugar.  This variation uses coffee, a caramel creme liqueur, butterscotch liqueur, and is topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce.  Mmm.  I got the recipe from Delightful E Made.

Caramel Creme Coffee Toddy

Ingredients:
1 shot caramel creme liqeuer
1 shot Buttershots 
8 oz. hot brewed coffee
Whipped cream
Caramel ice cream topping

Directions:

Pour caramel creme and Buttershots in a mug.  Pour in hot coffee.  Top with whipped cream and drizzle with caramel sauce.

Makes 1 drink.

It's so easy, it's almost not even a recipe, but it's too good not to share.  Bailey's has a salted caramel variety, but I found a Bailey's knock-off brand at Aldi that came in caramel cream variety.  It was really good and less than half the price of Bailey's.  Love Aldi!

Since my husband and I enjoy this drink in the evening, we use decaf coffee.  But of course it works with any kind of coffee.

I don't actually recommend serving this in the kind of glass I used in the pic above.  It's best served in your favorite coffee mug.  But I chose a clear glass for the pic so you could see what it looked like.  Otherwise it would have just been a mug with some whipped cream on top.

So if you are experiencing the same cold snap I am, go make yourself one of these!  If not, and you are someplace warm, I don't want to hear about it! ;)

Check out all the other great coffee and cream recipes below and come back next month to see what I make with chicken and noodles.



13 February 2015


Happy Valentine's Day!  I made a yummy Valentine's Day treat that I had to share with you.  I am also sharing the Valentines I made for my girls' school exchange, so don't forget to scroll down and take a look at those.

These brownies are amazing.  Brownie base topped with raspberry cheesecake and swirled with more chocolate and topped with fresh raspberries.  Yum!  Chocolate and raspberry is my favorite food combo at Valentine's Day.  It's just perfect.  I saw these brownies at Sally's Baking Addiction and had to try them.

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

Ingredients:
1 box brownie mix
Eggs, oil, and water
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sugar
⅓ cup seedless raspberry jam
1 egg yolk
Red food coloring, optional
12 fresh raspberries

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°.  Coat an 11x7” baking dish with baking spray.

Prepare brownie mix as directed on box, adding eggs, oil, and water.  Pour brownie batter into the prepared baking dish, leaving 2 tbsp or so of brownie mix in the bowl.  Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, raspberry jam, and egg yolk.  Mix until there are no cream cheese lumps (it helps to have the jam and egg at room temperature before mixing).  If desired, add a couple of drops of red food coloring.

Pour cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter in the baking dish.  Add a tiny bit of water to the remaining brownie batter in the bowl to make it a drizzling consistency.  Drizzle the batter on top of the cheesecake mixture in horizontal stripes.  Run a knife through it vertically one way, then the other way in between to create the swirl pattern.  Place raspberries so that one will be in the center of each piece when cut into 12 pieces.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Cover pan with foil and bake an additional 25 minutes, or until middle is slightly loose but not jiggly.  Remove from oven, uncover, and let cool completely.  Cut into squares, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Refrigerate any leftovers.

Makes 12 brownies.

These are really pretty easy to make. The original recipe called for making the brownie part from scratch.  I'm sure it's really good, probably better than the mix, but I am too lazy for that.  They are awesome with the mix.  I used a Ghiradelli mix that has chocolate chunks in it.  Yum.  If you are inspired to make the brownie part from scratch, click over to get Sally's recipe.  

I could not achieve the beautiful light pink color that Sally got.  The first time I made them I forgot the part about covering them with foil.  They came out tasting good, but they were hardly pink at all.  The egg yolk in the cheesecake part will make them brown if you leave them uncovered.  They are a bit prettier if you cover them.

Here are a few pics of the assembly process:

 I assume you have all seen brownie batter in a pan, so I skipped that pic. :) Here is the cheesecake layer spread out over the brownie batter.  I was too lazy to get out my hand mixer, so I mixed it up by hand.  I had the cream cheese nice and soft and creamy, but when I added the cold raspberry jam and egg yolk, it created lumps.  If you think about it, get the jam and egg out early so they are room temp before mixing with the cream cheese.  If you don't think about (like I didn't), don't worry about it. The white lumps will not be noticeable in the finished product.


 Thin out a little bit of brownie batter and drizzle it horizontally only on the cheesecake layer.


 Drag a knife through the other way, three times in the same direction.


 Then drag the knife the opposite direction in between to make the pretty swirls.


 Place the raspberries on.  You can do more raspberries if you like.  I think they look pretty with one in the center of each piece.



Out of the oven.  These are not the kind of brownies you eat warm from the oven.  They are best served chilled, because of the cheesecake layer.  I do recommend cutting them before refrigerating though, because it's difficult to cut through cold brownies, especially if they have chocolate chunks in them like mine did.  I powered through, though!

Now I have to show you the Valentines I made for my daughters' to exchange at school.  I am not very crafty at all, so every year I scour Pinterest for something cute, but not too difficult or involved.  


The Fishbowl for Eva.  All you need to make this is on Backless Shirt.  It was super duper easy.  One disclaimer though, that wasn't mentioned on Backless Shirt: The goldfish will leave greasy marks on the cardstock.  I didn't realize this until I had them all done and ready to go the next morning. It was too late to do anything about it, so I gave them out that way. I would suggest either laminating the cardstock, or using Swedish fish instead.


For Lena I did the Love Bug.  The instructions are found at The NY Melrose Family.  These were a little bit more involved, but still pretty easy.  One thing I will warn you about: Do not think you are smarter than the instructions and try to use any other glue besides hot glue for this.  First I got some glue at the dollar store.  Bad idea.  Then I thought super glue would do the trick. I tried two different kinds, spent an hour trying to get the googly eyes and noses to stick, glued my fingers together several times, and could not even get one good one.  I gave up on the super glue and broke out the glue gun.  Instant success.  Don't worry; the hot glue will not melt the fruit cup.

They were a big hit at school.  

I'm planning a fun Valentine's Day breakfast and lunch for my little sweeties.  Red velvet pancake muffins, and heart-shaped sunny-side-up eggs for breakfast, and heart-shaped lunchables and fruit kabobs for lunch.  Dinner will be with my in-laws because my sweetie is taking me to see Alton Brown Live! tomorrow night!  Can't wait!




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01 February 2015


It's time for this month's Secret Recipe Club! The Secret Recipe Club is a group of food bloggers who secretly make one of someone else's dishes and post them all on the same day at the same time.  It's really fun, choosing a recipe to make, making the recipe, then reading about everyone else's recipes.  It's a great way to "meet" other bloggers and check out some great blogs that you never knew about before.     


This month I was assigned to Wendy's Weekend Gourmet.  I was quite familiar with Wendy's blog, not only from SRC, but also because I participated in her monthly Salad Bar challenge for a while.  I love Wendy's Texan enthusiasm about cooking and during this cold dreary Wisconsin winter, perusing her blog was a joy because all the bright summery ingredients made me think of warmer weather.  

Because I was familiar with Wendy's blog, I had some of her recipes already pinned.  I knew I had pinned her recipes before, but as I went to look for them, I suddenly became aware that Pinterest has no function for searching your pins by a specific source. Might have to submit that one to the suggestion box!  I did remember that I made one of her recipes before.  I made a slight variation of her Turkey Mornay Open-Faced Sandwiches.  It was a couple of years ago, and I didn't write anything down about it, and I remember that I didn't have broccoli, but we totally loved it.

  I found several things to tempt me this time around.  I thought that my daughters would love her Creamy Veggie-Ranch Chicken Wraps.  I love the bright colors from the all the veggies Wendy uses!  I also considered making her Goat Cheese-Stuffed Pork Chops with Maple-Balsamic Parsnips, Apples, and Potatoes.  Yum!  That one is still definitely on my to-make list.  In the end, I decided to do something seasonal.  February provides two options: Valentine's Day and Mardi Gras.  I loved the looks of her Mardi Gras Crispy Fish Sandwiches.  But since Valentine's Day is closer, I went with that.  She has a couple of fun Valentine's Day goodies.  I decided to make her Red Velvet Strawberry Cheesecake Trifles.  Red velvet pound cake, strawberries, and cheesecake filling layered together into one yummy dessert. Mmm!

Strawberry Red Velvet Cheesecake Parfaits

Ingredients:
1½ cups chopped strawberries
1 tbsp sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1 cup powdered sugar
Red velvet cake, pound cake, brownies, or cookies (I used 3 Marie Callender’s mini red velvet cakes, thawed)
White chocolate, for garnish

Directions:
Combine the strawberries and sugar in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.

Combine the cream cheese and the Greek yogurt in a medium bowl.  Slowly add the powdered sugar, mixing well to remove any lumps.  (You can use a hand mixer for this, but I just did it by hand.)

Cut the red velvet cake (or brownies) into cubes.

Get out four parfait glasses and place some of the cheesecake mixture into the bottom of each, being careful not to touch the side of the glass with the spoon.  (I used a parfait spoon and just dropped a couple of dollops into the bottom.)  Place a few red velvet cubes on top, then a couple spoonfuls of the macerated strawberries.  Repeat layers until all ingredients are used.  Shave or grate some white chocolate over the top of each as a garnish.

Makes 4 parfaits.

Wendy used wine glasses, but since I happened to have parfait glasses, I used those.  I actually used two parfait glasses for my husband and myself, but I thought that might be too much for my 4 and 6 year old daughters, so I used these little juice glasses for them.  If you don't care about presentation, you can also just layer this in a regular bowl.  Tastes just as good!




They loved them.  My husband and I did too.  They are amazing!  The cheesecake filling made with cream cheese and Greek yogurt is so good!  I seriously had to stop myself from eating it out of the bowl.  It would make a really awesome fruit dip too.  

 I couldn't find any red velvet pound cake, and thought I was going to be out of luck finding anything red velvet, but then I spotted these in the freezer section.  They worked really well.  I thawed them according to the package directions, then scraped the frosting off.  

Aren't they cute!  If you can't find these, or anything else red velvet, these parfait would be just as good with regular brownies or pound cake.  Use whatever you can find.

The combination of the chewy cake cubes, the creamy cheesecake filling, and the bright tart strawberries is just amazing.  This is one of those recipes where the pictures just do not do it justice.  You've got to make these for your favorite Valentines this year!

Thanks for a great recipe that I already can't wait to make again, Wendy!

Be sure to check out all the other great SRC picks below.




30 January 2015


Are you hosting or attending a Super Bowl party on Sunday?  Are you still undecided on what to make or take?  I make this for dinner sometimes, but it would be an awesome Super Bowl party snack.  Super easy to make, easy to slice and serve, and feeds a crowd.  Perfect!  It's adapted from What About Pie?.

Pepperoni Rolls

Ingredients:
2 loaves frozen bread (I use Rhodes)
1 tbsp cornmeal
1 package pepperoni
2-3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp pizza seasoning (I use Penzeys Frozen Pizza Seasoning)
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
1 tsp Italian seasoning (I use Penzeys Tuscan Sunset)
Pizza sauce, for dipping

Directions:
In the morning, remove bread dough from freezer.  Spray a plate with Pam and place dough on plate.  Cut a length of plastic wrap and spray one side with Pam.  Loosely cover the dough with it, Pam side down.  Let bread sit for 6-8 hours.

Preheat oven to 375°.  Spread ½ tsp cornmeal out on a large cutting board.  Remove one loaf of dough from plate and place on cutting board.  Using a rolling pin or your fingers, roll or press out to form a large rectangle.  Shoot for 11x8”, but don’t stress if it’s not exact.  

Place pepperoni slices on dough, slightly overlapping.  Sprinkle with 1-1½ cups cheese, 1 tsp garlic powder, and 1 tbsp pizza seasoning.  Starting with the long side, carefully roll the dough up, making it as tight as you can.  Bring the far edge up and pinch the edge to the roll to seal it up.  Pinch the edges of the log together to seal the ends. 

Transfer log to a baking sheet (I use stoneware), with the seam side down.  Brush top with 1 tbsp melted butter and sprinkle with 1 tbsp Parmesan and ½ tsp Italian seasoning.

Repeat with the second loaf of dough and remaining ingredients.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bread is golden brown.  Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before cutting.  Cut into 1” thick slices.  Serve with pizza sauce for dipping.

Makes 6 servings as a main dish, 12 as a party appetizer.

Note: If you don't have time the day of to let the dough thaw and rise for 6-8 hours, you can do that part the day before, then refrigerate overnight.  Let it come back to room temperature the next day before proceeding with the recipe.

Even though it's super easy, I took a few pics of the process.

 This is what my dough looked like after thawing and rising.  It got crazy big!


 I was fortunate to have a handy dandy kitchen assistant on the day I took these pics.


 Press or roll dough out to a rectangle shape.


 Have your lovely assistant place the pepperoni on.


 Don't let her sneak too many pieces of pepperoni!


 I used turkey pepperoni, so that's why they are kind of curly-looking.  Regular pepperoni will lay more flat.  If you use regular pepperoni, I suggest blotting it well with paper towels after laying it on the dough to remove some of the extra grease.  


 Layer on the cheese.  Don't be stingy!


Then top with pizza seasoning.


 I used Penzeys, of course. This stuff rocks. I use it any recipe that has pizza flavors going on.


 Roll that baby up.  Pinch the seam together.



 Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with more seasoning and Parmesan. I used Tuscan Sunset, which is a different Italian-style seasoning, but you can use the same seasoning you used inside.  You can even omit it if you want.


 This is how it looks coming out of the oven.  Isn't it gorgeous?


 Mmm.


I cut them into 1" slices when I made them for dinner.  You could slice them a bit thinner if making them for party appetizers.  Just don't get too skinny or the filling might fall out.  Serve with your favorite marinara sauce for dipping.  

These pepperoni rolls would be a huge hit at any party, let alone a Super Bowl party.  I have made them for dinner a couple of times and they are always a huge hit with my family.  Served with a nice salad, they make a great "fun" dinner.  

Secret Recipe Club resumes on Monday; come back to see what fun thing I made.  (Here's a teaser: it's perfect for the next great holiday coming up.)



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