Monday, January 30, 2012

Breakfast Wagon Wheel | Sin & Soul Food Blog

One thing I was thinking about this weekend while I was cooking, was the fact that it's so nice to take pictures in the natural light! The quality of my images are just so much better. I do enjoy cooking at night and using my dinners as fodder for the blog though because it challenges me in low light situations and pushes me to be better. This particular blog post has a whopping 12 or 13 pictures? I went a little crazy, I'll admit. But on top of the great lighting, I also love this breakfast recipe. It's so fun & easy, it would also be a great activity to do with a child since there is a lot of little work that would keep them busy. I am all for bringing the kids in the kitchen to participate.

I first found this recipe on the back of a Hormel Little Sizzlers sausage box, and since making it a few times I have adjusted it to my own tastes. I also make my own homemade pancake mix (which I will share the recipe for at a later date) so I don't use store-bought. However, for ease of use I am going to share the recipe with store-bought pancake mix being used since this recipe IS easy but can get a little involved. I promise though, it will look like you slaved, and it will definitely be a crowd pleaser. Hormel calls this a Baked Apple Pancake, I prefer Breakfast Wagon Wheel because it's so much cuter and it really looks like a Wagon Wheel.

Breakfast Wagon Wheel Recipe

1c. pancake mix or baking mix such as Bisquick
1 pkg. Hormel Little Sizzlers
2/3c. buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
2T. sugar
2T. margarine or butter
1/4t. ground cinnamon
1/4t. ground nutmeg
1C. finely chopped, peeled apple
1/4C. pecans

Heat oven to 400 degrees, grease a 10" pie plate.

Cook sausages according to manufacturer's instructions; drain and place on plate lined with paper towels and set aside. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients with the exception of apple. Stir until well combined, then add apple.

Pour pancake mixture into prepared pie plate.

Arrange sausages in a spoke pattern on top of pancake mixture. Add pecans.

Bake pancake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with maple syrup.

Now, I talk about being from Wisconsin all the time. Yes, I am a proud Wisconsinite. I've lived here my entire life, and when I was younger I dreamed about leaving Wisconsin. I couldn't stand it! I wanted to live in a big city, I wanted to escape, run away. Then...I started traveling. I've been all over the U.S., not to all 50 states (YET) but to a lot of major cities. Chicago, New York, Kansas City, Denver, Las Vegas, the list goes on. And the more I traveled, the more I loved my small town Wisconsin. There is so much about this state to love, and one of my biggest loves is honest to goodness maple syrup. My favorite comes from Fitzl's and I strongly recommend trying it. In fact, I would be glad to ship you a bottle just ask for my Paypal and it will be on it's way!

Drizzled over the top of pancakes, waffles, ice cream this stuff is divine. I've even tried some drizzled over nuts and then baked. Delicious! I pour a good serving of this over the top of my serving of Breakfast Wagon Wheel and it is perfect. I strongly recommend splurging on the real thing and not using Maple "flavored" syrup.

As one of my all time favorite recipes, I am very much looking forward to your thoughts on this one when you make it! Thanks so much for tuning it. :) Have a great Monday evening!

Poppy Seed Chicken & Grape Pasta Salad | Sin & Soul Blog Bare Kitchen Recipes

You guys are really lucky today! You get TWO blog posts. This weekend, I went on a bit of a cooking binge, and cooked a ton. On Saturday, I wanted a light and easy lunch so I decided to make one of my favorite cold pasta salads, Poppyseed Chicken & Grape Pasta Salad. I had saved some chicken from the Chicken Rollups earlier in the week, as I was planning to make myself a chicken salad sandwich with grapes, but this sounded so much better! My local grocery store makes a version of this and I am in love with it. This salad is also very versatile, you can add pineapple, apples, assorted peppers, and lemon if you would like. However, in the spirit of Bare Kitchen Recipe planning, I decided to keep it simple and minimal. I will however, include the amounts in the recipe and leave it as optional ingredients if you would like to customize it a bit more. If you do choose to add more ingredients, you'll also need to eyeball your mayo and add a bit more chicken.

8 ounces pasta, your choice cooked as directed
1/2 c. diced, cooked chicken
1 c. grapes, sliced in half length-wise
1/4 c. mayonnaise
2T. milk
1T. honey, warmed 10 seconds in microwave
1 T. poppy seeds

Optional Ingredients

Juice of 1 lemon in replacement of milk
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 c. pineapple
1 small apple
assorted peppers, sliced

Now, I love poppy seeds so you may want to alter the recipe a bit to your taste. You'll see in the photos that the poppy seeds are quite rampant. Just the way I like it!

In a large bowl, combine pasta, chicken, and grapes, stir to combine. In a medium bowl, combine warmed honey, milk, and mayonnaise. Whisk briskly, ensuring that the honey is well combined. I use Breitsamer Honig Golden Selection Blossom Honey and I love it!! It's one of the highest quality honeys I have ever tried. I usually try to stay local with items like this, but this is a German honey that I can't imagine any local honey will ever replace. I strongly recommend trying it, you can find it HERE.

Back to our recipe, once you've well combined the previous items add the poppy seeds and stir. If the mixture seems not to be loose enough, you want it to be more of a sauce or dressing; add milk until you reach desired consistency. You may not need the entire 2T. and in some cases, you may need more. Pour over the top of pasta mixture and stir. This can be served immediately or refrigerated overnight.

This can also be served with a wide variety of things. There was enough for us to have lunch with and in the evening I served it with steak and broccoli for dinner.

Pasta salads are probably one of my favorite things to make no matter what the season is and I am always on the look out for new varieties, so please share if you have one in particular that you enjoy. Also, if you have any special requests for a future blog post, please feel free to give me any recommendations you may have! Thanks again for tuning in, see you again soon!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Making My Pinterest Pins, Chicken Rollups | Sin & Soul Food Blog

In an ever evolving effort to continue making my Pinterest pins, I made Chicken Rollups last night. I pinned this pin a while back, via another pinner who found it on
I also love chicken, so this website most definitely appeals to me! Anyway, the picture looked all ooey-gooey and delicious so I thought I would try it. I've had the cream cheese in the refrigerator for a while now and I don't care what the expiration date says, I was freaking out about it going bad so I made this last night.

A few things I will say about the recipe ahead of time and nothing against the blogger, but it definitely teaches me a lesson to make sure that my recipes are easy to read. This one was a bot all over the place. So, while you're welcome to try out her recipe, I am going to give you mine which I think is a little easier to read.

2-8ounce cans crescent rolls
1-10 and 3/4 ounce can Cream of Chicken soup
3/4 grated cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
1/2 Cup milk


4 ounces very soft room temperature cream cheese
2 T. very soft room temp. butter
1/2-1t. garlic powder
1t. minced onion
2c. cooked chicken breast, I diced mine
1/2 grated cheddar cheese
1/2 t. salt or seasoning salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper (I used freshly ground)
2T. milk (optional, use will vary)
1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese for top of casserole.

Set oven temp. to 350 and grease a 13x9 casserole dish. Mix together 1/2c. milk, 3/4c. cheese, and undiluted soup with pepper. Pour some of this mixture (about half) into the bottom of the greased dish.

For the filling, cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and well combined. Add garlic powder. Add in the chopped chicken, onion, and cheddar cheese; mix until well combined. The mixture will seem thick, add in some of the 2T. milk a little at a time until mixture reaches a creamy consistency. You might not need it all, and you do not want the mixture to be runny. Season with salt & pepper, and set aside. Unroll crescent rolls, and put approximately 1T of the cream cheese mixture on the wide end of the crescent. Begin rolling from the wide end and as you roll, tuck the sides in to create a pouch. You may have to pinch the side together to get a good seal. This part can be messy. Place seam side down, in the casserole dish. Continue until all the rolls are in the pan. Spoon some more of the soup mixture on top of each crescent, and top with cheese. Bake in oven for 30 minutes and serve.

These were very good, very rich! I would recommend being careful with the salt & pepper because the soup will have a lot of salt on it's own. Also, when cooking the chicken, I seasoned mine with a small amount of salt & pepper so it had some of it's own flavor. I served with rice that had spinach, tomatoes, and onions in it. Really easy, and I will be sharing a recipe for this in the future. Let me know what you think!

And since I love chicken, I want to know what your favorite chicken recipes are. I might try one out and share it here! Thanks for tuning in, have a great day!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Roasted Grapes with Ricotta Over Toasted Bread

I have an addiction to Pinterest and for a while there I was comfortable with just letting my addiction be a mindless enjoyment. But as all things do with me, I kind of got tired of letting that addiction just be pinning things to a board with abandon and really doing nothing with them. So, I decided to start making some of the things I was pinning, otherwise what was the sense? I do have some plans to make some of the DIY items in my DIY folder, I just need to find the time! Between running 2 businesses full time, writing this blog, and all the other random things that come along, finding time for DIY business is few and far between.

Not to mention, living in a 964 square foot home with no place to really call my craft space, I tend to get a bit disorganized. Not only that, but pulling everything out and then having to pack it all up and put it away again never sounds like fun. Besides, I usually don't end up putting it away. It usually sits out, this haphazard mess of papers and glue, and random instruments just lying there waiting for someone to poke an eye out for 2 weeks before I finally decide I should probably put it all away.

But cooking, now that is something that doesn't require all of that effort and I have to do it every night anyway. My first Pinterest pin attempt was this Roasted Grapes with Ricotta over Toasted bread that I got from
She originally grilled everything, and I like that idea a whole lot better but seeing as it has been below zero here, in a frigid Wisconsin winter I decide against that. I also chose to make this for supper rather than lunch as she did, and to be honest I recommend this as lunch rather than dinner. T wasn't exactly thankful for my idea of dinner, either. So if you have a man in the house...don't make this as dinner! I think this would also be a really great appetizer if you cut it up in smaller portions. It would be perfect for a lasagna or some type of Italian meal.

The grapes get sweet, but slightly tart and create a beautiful syrup all of their own. I would also imagine you could do this panini style if you desired to. I love the basic quality of this recipe, it's simple and easy to throw together which is why I am counting it as my Bare Kitchen Recipes installation. Ingredients are below.

grapes (about 40-50)
olive oil or butter
kosher salt
italian seasoning or fresh thyme
good bread (I used Italian)

Preheat oven on broil setting. Once oven is ready, put grapes on pan and broil until grapes have reached your desired texture, I liked mine nice and softened with a few still in tact, not very many though. In the meantime, slice bread in about 1" thick slices. Put some butter or olive oil on each slice and place on baking pan.

Bake until golden brown, do not leave unattended. Burning can happen very quickly if you leave the oven unattended!

Pull bread and cover with Ricotta and grapes. I then popped mine back in the oven for about 5 minutes. The ricotta got a little brown on top and the grapes released a little more of their juice. Once done, add some italian seasoning or thyme, and salt and enjoy.

I loved this recipe, and I will definitely use it again. It's simple, but will look like you really worked hard on it. It also has a nice combination of sweet & salty with slightly tart. I hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Very Best Waffle Recipe Ever | Sin & Soul Food Blog

Tonight I was still trying to decide what to make for supper, when suddenly the vision of waffles came dancing through my head. Once I had that vision, there was no stopping me. I broke out my handy dandy waffle maker and my favorite waffle recipe and went to town.

I've had this waffle recipe for as long as I can remember now. It comes with all Toastmaster waffle griddles and I have heard tell that it's been around for years & years. One of those tried & true recipes that stands the test of time. What I like most about this recipe is the lightweight, sponge-like texture on the inside and the crispy, golden edges on the outside. These waffles also have a really neutral flavor that lets good old Wisconsin Maple syrup be the star of the show, at least when it comes to flavor. Mix the saltiness of delicious melted real butter, with good quality maple syrup, and these waffles and you're pretty damn close to Heaven itself. I can't make these often though, T will eat the entire batch and I am pretty good at polishing 4 of them off on my own. Not exactly the breakfast (or dinner) to eat if you're watching your waistline. We're suppose to be...but that's not going as well as planned. Maybe because I keep making dumplings, and lemon cupcakes, and waffles, and sinful sour cream, onion, & chive mashed potatoes. Hmmm. Good possibility!

Toastmaster Waffle Recipe

1-3/4 C. flour
2t. baking powder
1/2t. salt
1T. sugar
3 eggs, separated
7T. vegetable oil
1-1/2C. milk

Combine all dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and mix with a fork. In 1 large and 1 small bowl separate egg whites and yolks. Whites go in the large bowl. Beat whites with an electric mixer on high, until stiff peaks form. Set aside. Add vegetable oil and milk to egg yolks and stir to combine. Make a well in dry ingredients, and pour egg mixture into dry mixture. Beat with fork until well combined and smooth. There will be a few lumps here & there, that's fine but the majority of the batter should be smooth. Take care to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to collect any dry particles that may be sticking. Believe me, they're there! The recipe says to fold the egg whites into the batter, but I find the opposite to work better. I very gently and very slowly pour my batter into the egg whites, and then very, very gently fold the batter around the whites with a flat spatula. Some of the whites will not mix in entirely. That's ok! Don't overmix or you will lose the light & fluffy texture that makes these so incredible. Be gentle.

Pour about 1/3 of a cup of the batter onto your griddle. Depending on your griddle, this may take some tweaking. Now, this recipe doesn't call to grease your griddle. I forgot about this, so naturally tonight when I put my first waffle on my (non-stick) griddle...this happened:

Yeah, not pretty. I fixed it by doing what I always do...pour a little bit of vegetable oil on to a piece of paper towel and rub onto the griddle.

Perfect, now we can continue to proceed with cooking our delicious waffles which will no longer stick to the waffle maker.

Last of all, slather with some delicious butter and some equally delicious maple syrup, serve with some sausages, and you are good to go! A huge thanks tonight to Mr. T, who kindly came into the kitchen again and helped me with a couple of the photos. Such a good boy...and he better be, since he ate enough waffles to feed 3 people. Enjoy this waffle recipe, it is my favorite but I am such a waffle lover that I would love to try new recipes. If you have one you love, please let me know in the comments! Also, if you have a suggestion or request for a future blog post, please ask! I love direction, you give it to me and you never know what you're going to get. Thanks again for checking out the blog! See you again tomorrow for the Bare Kitchen Recipes installation for this week!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bacon Macaroni & Cheese Recipe | Sin & Soul Food Blog

See, I promised right? Bacon Macaroni & Cheese. Sinful and delicious, guaranteed to meet your comfort food craving. Pretty much guaranteed to make you over-indulge too, so cook this with caution.

Personally, I think homemade macaroni and cheese should always come with bacon. Let's face it, there is pretty much nothing that couldn't be made even better, even richer with bacon. I have a great trick to have a splatter-proof kitchen too. It's surprising how many people don't know this, it's surprising I didn't know this until the invention of Pinterest!

Anyway, take a cookie sheet and line it with tinfoil. I think parchment paper would work too, but I have yet to try it. I'll let you know how it works when I do. Place the strips of bacon on the cookie sheet, you can lay them really close to one another, no worries about them touching or even over-lapping a little. They'll shrink up with plenty of room. However, usually only a half package will fit on one cookie sheet, if you need more or are doubling this recipe, you'll need 2 cookie sheets. Then cover with another layer of tinfoil and pull the center of the foil to make a kind of "tent." Place in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Another great thing with this method, is you don't see as much shrinkage, meaning more bang for your buck!

I'll also preface my recipe by saying that, I use a combination of different cheeses and I also used Ziti for my pasta. You can use whatever you want. If the traditional elbow macaroni is more your style, then by all means go for it!

Bacon Macaroni & Cheese

1lb. Ziti pasta, cooked approximately 4 minutes less than directed
1/2 lb. bacon
1 C. Mozarella cheese, shredded
1 C. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 oz. cream cheese
1-1/2 C. half & half
1-1/2 C. milk
1/4C. butter
1 package Ritz Crackers, crushed
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2T. flour
2T. butter
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pasta as directed, with slight variation of 4 minutes less cooking time. While the pasta is cooking, melt 2T. butter, add flour and continue to stir for 3-5 minutes. Add milk, continue to stir until mixture is no longer lumpy and has thickened. Reduce heat to med-low. Reserve 1/4 C. of mixture

Very slowly add literally DROPS of the reserved milk mixture to the egg yolks. You do not want to add large amounts at a time, because you will curdle the egg. This process is called "tempering." You're slowly raising the temperature of the egg yolks so they are not curdling, which will help to create a creamier sauce for your macaroni and cheese. If you're not comfortable, you can omit this step, but I highly recommend not to. With some practice, you'll be glad you have the eggs. I use a teaspoon, and put a tiny amount in the spoon and slowly add to the eggs while vigorously whisking. Once the entire 1/4 cup has been added to the egg, add to the remaining milk mixture, along with seasonings and stir well. Add 3/4 cup mozzarella and 1 cup sharp cheddar, stir to combine. Add cream cheese once the previous cheeses are entirely melted and combined. The cream cheese will take a while to melt in, just be sure it's entirely melted before continuing. Add the crushed, cooked bacon and stir.

Add your pasta, stir to coat. Pour into a large baking dish, cover with remaining cheeses and then crushed Ritz crackers. Pour 1/4 C. melted butter over the top, place in oven for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly.

I think what makes my macaroni & cheese different, and better is the addition of the cream cheese and one additional egg from the usual ONE total egg. I also use Ritz crackers, while most people use saltines, or bread crumbs, or panko. I think the Ritz crackers add for a richer experience. T claims the Ritz crackers make this dish, I think I will have to agree. But, you use whatever you want. Make it your own, that's what makes macaroni and cheese so amazing, you can literally tweak it to your preferences and still have an amazing dish. Keeping the amounts the same, change the cheeses and see what you get. Use pancetta or ham, instead of bacon, even chicken would work. Be creative! Let me know what you come up with.

So that's it for today. I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. What is your favorite macaroni & cheese recipe? (It's okay if it comes from a blue box. I'm not judging!)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bare Kitchen Recipes | Sin & Soul Food Blog

So along with great pictures, I also believe that a good blog is also about trust. I promised you guys a Bacon Mac & Cheese post tonight, but unfortunately that's not in the cards. I went out job hunting today, and unfortunately that didn't give me much time for writing my post and uploading pictures. I promise! Tomorrow! But for those of you who have been anxiously awaiting, I wanted to at least do you the courtesy of letting you know what is going on.

On top of everything, I had a bit of a mishap today. A bit irritating really, because I JUST did this same thing about a month ago. I was walking through our local mall, in my sexy 4" heels after dropping off a resume, and I slipped and fell. In the process of falling, my knee took the brunt of the blow and it hurts insanely! I'm all for laughing at myself, and the first time this happened (in completely different shoes, so it's not the shoes.) I laughed my butt off. I even told everyone on Facebook and let them have a laugh at my expense. But this time? This time it hurt, and I have a knob on my knee and a very nicely developing bruise and hobble to show for it. Yes, you can laugh...but you should feel bad. I would laugh too, if it wasn't my knee.

Anyway, when I came home I forgot to pick up chicken for tonight's supper and I didn't have anything thawed and needed supper ready in 30 minutes. Which brought me to my next thing. I am a whiz at whipping dinners up with next to nothing in the cupboard or refrigerator with the exception of the bare essentials. T makes comments about how handy I am all the time, so why not take advantage of that creativity through my blog. Which brought me to "Bare Kitchen Recipes." Once a week, I will share a Bare Kitchen Recipe with you, something I cooked up with minimal ingredients in my kitchen. I know how hard it is to be creative when you feel like there is nothing in the house, so hopefully this will help you think differently AND be proud of yourself when you whip something up that the whole family loves and can't believe you pulled together with minimal ingredients. Also, let's face it...with the economy being so difficult, every little penny you can save, helps. I made a quick meal tonight and I will share the recipe, but unfortunately no photos. Forgive me? I hope so.

So I don't have a name for this...let's call it: Chili Cheese Rice

1 Cup Uncle Ben's Brown Rice, prepared as directed
1/2 can Cheese soup
1/2 can water
1 small can green chiles
1 can diced tomatoes
4 eggs
salt & pepper
chives, optional
shredded mozzarella cheese, optional

Cook rice as directed. Once entirely cooked add soup and water, stir until combined. Add green chiles and tomatoes, stir until well combined. Let mixture heat until bubbly, stir. Add all the eggs, leave them on top of the mixture until mixture is bubbling again. Break the yolks and stir eggs into mixture. Cook approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add seasonings. Serve in bowls with mozzarella cheese, or plain.

Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Candied Lemon Slices & Lemon Cupcakes

So, I've meant to have another blog post up wayyy prior to today, but unfortunately we have been so busy and our main computer with Photoshop on it is shared between myself and my boytoy, T. When I do get a chance to use it, it's mainly used for working on clients' photos and managing my blog. Obviously not this blog, and yes...I spend a lot of time "Pinteresting." Funny, how in such a short period of time, Pinterest can develop it's own verb. I am officially addicted! I kid you not. And if you find me on Pinterest, you'll see why and probably develop your very own addiction. Don't worry...we can start a support group.

Anyway, I have pictures all finished and ready to upload for my amazing Bacon Macaroni & Cheese, and I will be sure to get that uploaded tomorrow sometime. The boy helped me with a couple of the photos, simply because I really needed three arms and I wasn't about to risk 3rd degree burns just over being stubborn. Believe me, I tried!

In my process of coming up with more blog fodder, I came up with a recipe I will be trying to develop very soon. Wait for it....Lemon Cupcakes with either Blueberry or Lemon filling, and candied lemon slices. I've even considered going with chocolate filling...mmmm. Maybe this is where I will head.

This Limoncello Meyer Lemon Cupcake photo came from
The recipe is included on the page, but originally came from Tartelette. Beautiful photography from the blogger, I was mesmerized. There were a lot of lemon cupcake recipes to choose from and I chose this one because of the very nice photographs. I also found a great recipe for candied lemon slices, but I will share that when I actually make them and have my own photos to share.

During my research tonight, I also ran across the cutest video EVER:

It's You're My Honeybunch "The Original Cuppycake Song," sung by a 3 year old and it is just too adorable! I hope you enjoy. Since we're on the subject of cupcakes once again, what are your favorite cupcakes and do you have a favorite recipe?