One-A-Penny, Two-A-Penny

The first time I heard about The Pioneer Woman, it was about a recipe that used mostly canned, pre-packaged, way-processed foods. Not that I'm a purist about using whole ingredients, but it turned me off for a while.

Then on Thursday, I was reading a blog (don't remember which one) that referenced The Pioneer Woman so I clicked on over, and the recipe that was on the front page was "Hot Cross Buns" - these haven't been an Easter tradition for me, but I thought to myself, "Why not start a new tradition?" So, off I went!

Hot Cross Buns
(Barely) Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

2 cups Whole Milk
½ cups Canola Oil
½ cups Sugar
1 package (2 1/4 Teaspoons) Active Dry Yeast
4 cups All-purpose Flour
½ cups (additional) Flour
½ teaspoons (heaping) Baking Powder
½ teaspoons (scant) Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Salt
¼ cups Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
Spices: Cardamom, Nutmeg, Allspice (optional)
½ cups Raisins

1 whole Egg White
Splash Of Milk

1 cup Powdered Sugar
Splash Of Milk

Combine 2 cups milk, canola oil, and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan. Stir and heat until very warm but not boiling. Turn off the heat and allow to cool until mixture is still warm, but not hot to the touch – about 30 minutes.

Sprinkle yeast over mixture. Add 4 cups of flour and stir to combine. Mixture will be very sticky. Cover with a towel and set aside for 1 hour.

Add 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir till combined.

Combine 1/4 cup sugar with cinnamon and whatever other spices you want to use.

Lightly flour surface. Press to slightly flatten dough. Sprinkle a couple tablespoons of the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Sprinkle on about a third of the raisins. Then fold the dough over on itself and flatten again so the dough is “plain” again. Repeat the sugar/raisin process, then fold the dough again. Repeat a third time until all the raisins are used. (You won’t use all the sugar/cinnamon mixture.)

Pinch off large golf ball-size bunches of dough. With floured hands, quickly roll it into a ball, then turn the edges under themselves slightly to create a smooth top to the roll. Place on a cookie sheet sprayed lightly with non-stick spray. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for at least 30 minutes - an hour is better.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix 1 egg white with a splash of milk. Brush onto each roll.Bake for 20 minutes, give or take, or until tops of buns have turned nice and golden brown. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Mix powdered sugar with enough milk to make icing very thick. Start with 2 Tablespoons and add more as needed for consistency.

Add icing to a small Ziploc bag and snip the corner. Make icing crosses on each roll.

Makes 18-24 rolls


One Pot Wonder

One pot meals are a favorite for me. Seeing as we don't have a dishwasher, the fewer pots/bowls/pans I use for a meal, the better. This one comes from Smitten Kitchen (which, by the way, if you haven't discovered yet, you are missing out!) Steve loved it, I loved it, and we both loved how little there was to clean up!

Arroz Con Pollo (Cuban Chicken with Rice)
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine and SmittenKitchen.com 

3 large garlic cloves
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
3-4 large chicken breasts, cut into thirds
3 ounces Spanish chorizo (cured sausage), skin discarded and sausage cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 lb. tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 12-ounce. bottle beer (not dark)
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups long-grain white rice (14 ounces) 

Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 2 teaspoons salt, then transfer to a large bowl. Stir in vinegar and oregano. Toss chicken with marinade until coated and marinate, covered and chilled, at least one hour, no more than two hours. 

Cook chorizo in olive oil in a 6- to 7-quart heavy pot (12 inches wide) over medium-high heat, stirring, until some fat is rendered, 2 to 3 minutes. Add onions, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes. Add cumin, oregano, paprika, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add chicken with marinade to chorizo mixture and cook, uncovered, over medium heat, stirring frequently, 10 minutes.

Remove chicken from pot and set aside. Stir in tomatoes, beer, broth, and rice and bring to a boil, making sure rice is submerged. Add chicken back into pot.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cover pot with a tight fitting lid. Cook, stirring once or twice, until rice is tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.

Serves 4