Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mini Cinnamon Rolls

    There are few times in my life that I have the where with all to plan enough ahead to make, "from scratch" cinnamon rolls--maybe once if ever.  It is really unfortunate because I love cinnamon rolls, even the ones I explode from the can.  Getting my hands on a good cinnamon roll is so dangerous because it cancels all self-control I have.  I love cinnamon rolls.

   This variation of cinnamon rolls is great because it combines the elements of from scratch cooking with the elements of convince products which could be the best of both worlds.  The good news is, they are so good no one would be the wiser that you did this from scratch.  For my family, we don't corrupt our cinnamon rolls with anything foreign like nuts or raisins, just can't happen.  If you were one to corrupt your perfect cinnamon rolls with such clutter then be my guest.

1 package of Pillsbury Crescent rolls
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Cinnamon Sugar
1 Tablespoon butter, melted

1/4 cup Powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon milk
Dash vanilla

Preheat oven to 400.  Unroll crescent roll dough and pince perforations to seal, making one complete sheet of dough.  Brush with melted butter.  Combine the Cinnamon Sugar and Brown Sugar together in a separate bowl and sprinkle over the buttered dough, evenly.  Starting at a narrow end, roll tightly.  Cut roll into 1/2 in coins and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 for 14-18 minutes or until golden brown.  Make glaze while the rolls are baking.  In a small bowl mix powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk together until smooth.  Glaze the rolls while still warm.  Makes about 12-15 rolls.


  • I keep Cinnamon Sugar in a sifter shaker and just kind of guessed how much I used.  If you don't have cinnamon sugar on hand.  combine 2 Tablespoons of Sugar to 1 tablespoon Cinnamon and stir well.  Don't bother if it's heaping.
  • Using puff pastry would be a great idea if you happen to have that on hand and remember to let it thaw.  I usually only use it for a specific recipe and use all of it up so I don't keep it on hand.  The Puff pastry would be great, though, in this recipe.
  • If you wanted to brush the tops of these rolls with more butter, live dangerously I say.  I didn't and found the rolls to be perfectly buttery. 
  • I use salted butter because I like the flavor of salted butter in sweet cooking.
  • I slowly glaze these rolls hot out of the oven because the glaze kind of soaks in to the rolls.  If you like your glaze to just kind of lay on top, then go right ahead and wait until they are cool
  • One of the things I love about this recipe is the crispiness that the butter and sugar become as they bake. It's almost like a carmel, so good.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bacon Egg and Cheese Muffin

   Saturday morning is my day to cook breakfast.  I have always been an early riser, getting up really early every day of the week.  During the work week that means I get to the office around 7:00-7:30 each morning which provides a lot of time to work, study, and get ready for the day.  Saturday, however means breakfast.  Kendra gives me a hard time because I get on such a rut that I don't' think of other things.  Worst part is, it's really true, I could eat waffles every Saturday morning for the rest of my life and not get tired of them at all.
   Last Saturday I was determined to come up with something new and different and really prove to my sweet wife that I could be different.  The idea to make a scrambled egg, meat, cheese, and some sort of bread "muffin" came to my head.  I'm not creative enough to just pull things out of thin air, well at least very often, so I hit the internet in my search for such a creation.  I was kind of heading in the bisquick direction, but quickly moved from that to these muffins.  I read a few recipe blogs and then synthesized these which turned out to be exactly what I wanted.  They are really good, quick to assemble and they aren't bad the next day either.  I think they could be frozen and reheated, though I didn't try that.
   This variation uses bacon, since that is the meat I had on hand, but you could use any protein you wanted.  I'll add some suggestions to just get your head spinning after the recipe is posted.  Be sure to spray your muffin pans really, really think pooling  well.  I used my hands to smoosh the biscuit dough out flat then used my fingers to get the dough to be evenly distributed in the pan.  I did learn that I need to add the filling and cheese to each pan then pour the egg mixture over, which the recipe reflects.  It just didn't work out of me when I mixed it all together and then tried to be fair to each little muffin well.

1 can refrigerated biscuits (I used Pillsbury)
1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup cheddar cheese 
5 eggs
5 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a muffin pan very generously with non-stick cooking spray.  In a medium size bowl, prepare your egg mixture, set aside. Flatten biscuits and place one biscuit in each muffin well, distributing evenly up the sides.  Place a heaping spoonful of meat and cheese mixture over evenly into each muffin well.  Add egg mixture to fill just barely the top of each muffin well.  Sprinkle with additional cheese.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the eggs are set and not jiggly at all.

  • I tried mixing all of the ingredients together and spooning evenly, I had some egg mixture left over which meant I had to go back and fill some of the wells that just didn't look full enough.  It's really your call, if you want to do separate, go for it.  Or roll the dice and be fair to each well.
  • Be sure to cook whatever veggies you may want to add, the water will wreck this, except for green onions.
  • Some combinations I thought of: 
    • Sausage and Cheese
    • Chorizo, jalapeño, and cheddar jack
    • Veggie
    • Spinach (sautéed) ham, swiss
    • Grilled Chicken, sautéed mushrooms, and swiss
    • Red bell pepper, sautéed onion, artichoke, and black olives
  • These come right our of the pan, if you spray them well enough.
  • Basic ratio is one egg to one tablespoon of milk for the egg mixture.  then you'll want about 2 tablespoons of mixture (whatever you want) per well to fill up.  
I served this with cinnamon rolls and a fruit salad (chopped up fresh fruit drizzled with honey).  Everyone loved it and I hope you do too.  I think these would be great for a brunch or busy on the go family who doesn't want to hit a drive through.  You can nuke and go with a great breakfast all week long. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chicken Dumplings

My first "real" ministry job was at the Mayfair Church of Christ in Oklahoma City.  I have great memories and some wonderful friends to this day from my time there. The Lord put us together, no other way to figure it out, and I look back on those days with great joy.  One of the many fantastic people who attended Mayfair was Ms. Mattie.  Mattie was simply amazing.  She was well into her 80's, cleaned the church building every Monday and worked the Nursery EVERY Sunday and Wednesday without fail.  Never called in sick, never needed a break, never complained of being tired or stressed, just served and loved and loved.  She was into her second generation of babies, loving the babies of babies she had cared for in her nursery when I came along.  I learned so much from her about the heart of servanthood.  She is one of my heros.  A tremendous legacy, tremendous.

Keenagers was a group of friends who started playing cards and other games the first Thursday of the month at the church building as Mattie put it, "ages ago."  This group had been together for over 20 years when I started hanging out with them.  What's a lonely single guy to do on a Thursday night?  Seemed like the perfect place for me to be, it was.  I played Dumb Rummy with Dorothy Reeves,  Lois Smith, and Jane Bell just about every week.  Scrabble, dominoes, more dominoes were also played everyone ate then just sifted and settled to their comfortable spot where they played games and laughed a lot.  It was the highlight to most of their weeks.  Lewis and Regina Gandy, Chester and Catherine Goss, and Buck and Ruth Gearheart were the only couples who still attended.  The rest were widowed and lonely. Oh the stories they told, the even better ones on each other.  Cards and games were not the most important thing, food and the fellowship as we ate was.  Kathryn Goss' jalapeño hominy was amazing.  It took me a year to try it because hominy in a spicy cheese sauce just didn't really hit my happy button, but once I did I couldn't get enough of it.  Swannie Stanczyk's mashed potatoes were beyond my ability to describe.  NO clue how she did it.  She always brought them in a 3 quart Club cookware pot, wrapped in bath towels. I should have been embarrassed by the amount I ate, but I was among Mommies and Grammies who loved LOVED to see the young folk love their cooking.  It was my wonderland.  Mattie and I usually cooked our grub at the building since we were there already.  I remember 80% of the stories she told, and desperately try to remember the other 20%.

Chicken dumplings was one of the recipes that Mattie shared with me when I couldn't think of anything to make.  It was from her niece who had been given it by someone, handed down and down, one of those recipes like green bean casserole.  I refuse to call them chicken and dumplings because it really isn't in my book, but it's a fine razor thin line.  The preparation is really very easy, easily started and on the table in an hour, less if you follow the shortcuts I recommend.  I have changed up some things, of course, and share my way of doing the chicken dumplings.

I made this for the kids last night, thinking Kendra was going to be away (JBF) but turns out she was home early.  It was a gamble that the kiddos would hate it, but I was pushing ahead hoping for the best.  Kendra opened the oven and said, "we haven't had that in a LOOONG time."  We were both taken back to Mayfair and Keenagers, and Mattie...so great to have one little smell open up such a wonderful happy memory.

Maybe one day someone will be talking to someone and say, "I read this blog from an odd guy who was a Children's Minister but liked to cook...anyway this was one of his posts, it's really good."  That would be such a compliment to the memories I tie to this recipe.

2 cups finely chopped, cooked chicken
1 cup Grated Cheese, plus 2 cups for later
1 teaspoon Poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon Garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cans Crescent rolls
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 cup Chicken broth
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray, set aside.  In a medium bowl, place the chicken, grated cheese and seasonings in a bowl.  Mix well.  Unroll crescent rolls, separate into triangles.  Place one tablespoon of the chicken mixture in the wide part of the triangle, fold and roll.  Make sure the crescent is sealed by pinching all of the edges.  Place in 9x13 pan.  Repeat the process until both cans are completed.

In a medium sauce pan, place the soup, milk, and broth mixing to combine.  Heat to near boiling.  Pour over the crescents. Place in oven and bake for 35 minutes.  After 35 minutes, add reserved cheese and cook 5 minutes longer until cheese is bubbly and melted.


  • You can use left over rotisserie chicken, canned chicken, or slow poach chicken breasts.  I only had frozen breasts, so I went with the slow poach.  Place frozen breasts in a medium sauce pan, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, add a very generous amount of salt.  Boil for 8-10 minutes or until the breasts are cooked.  The key is to finely chop.
  • The measurements of the seasonings are estimations, I simply sprinkled the poultry seasoning over the chicken mixture, I was generous.
  • Don't freak out when you pour the soup mixture over the chicken, you will want to, but don't.  The liquid cooks down to a thick gravy and really does magical things to the crescents.
  • I think the crispy top of the crescents coupled with the tender savory dumpling like crescents at the bottom are what get me every time.