Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How to Make Cinnamon Roll Biscuits Out Of Bisquick

Cinnamon roll biscuits are always a morning treat at my house and a nice change from having just regular biscuits. It took a little experimenting but I finally figured out the way to make them quick and easy. Try these out for yourself and you'll be surprised just how delicious they are.

Ingredients for Biscuits: 

  • 2 1/4 cups of Bisquick 
  • 2/3    cup of milk

Ingredients for Cinnamon & Sugar Mix:

  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 2 TBSP of Cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP of Brown Sugar
  • Sprinkle of Nut Meg

You're also going to need a 2/3 cup of butter

Step 1: Mix the 2 1/4 cups of Bisquick in and 2/3 cup of milk in a large bowl just like your making regular Bisquick biscuits. Important: you don't want to add cinnamon or sugar to the mix because that a separate step.

Step 2: Simply mix the ingredients I have listed for the cinnamon and sugar mix in a jar or container. Shake to make sure mixture is well blended together.

Step 3:  Melt 2/3 a cup of butter in the microwave. This is also probably a good time to go ahead and preheat your oven to 450 F.

Step 4 (above): Take a large cutting board and roll out your Bisquick dough mix very carefully onto it where's about less than 1/2 a inch thick. Then very slowly drizzle your now melted butter over the rolled out dough and brush to make sure it's covering the whole surface area of the dough on the topside. Finally take your cinnamon and sugar mix and sprinkle evenly over the entire surface area of the dough just like you did the butter and as you see in the picture. You should have a little cinnamon sugar mix left for Step 6.

Step 5 (above): Proceed to roll your dough from one end to the other very carefully until you have it completely rolled up as you see in the picture. Take a sharp knife and very delicately cut the dough every 1/2 inch which should come out to about 9 cinnamon roll shaped biscuits.

Step 6 (above): Very carefully (starting sound like a broken record) pick up your cinnamon roll shaped biscuit dough and place evenly on a large cookie sheet or pan. Whatever you have left of your cinnamon and sugar mix from Step 4 sprinkle a tiny bit over on top of the cinnamon biscuits to give it more a topping since all the good stuff is in the spiral. Throw in the now preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until they look golden brown.

Finally and very quickly I might add because this doesn't take long at all, you can enjoy your cinnamon roll biscuits. I love my eggs in the morning and these compliment eggs cooked any style, sausage, bacon, and hash browns very nicely.

Mini Foodie Snacks: Making Homemade Bean Dip That Tastes As Good As Canned

This might not seem like it's a huge foodie secret but I've been around awhile now and didn't discover this until this weekend. That makes it a big deal to me and maybe it will be for you. Ok, do you know those cans of bean dip in the store that cost around 2.50 for a tiny portion of bean dip? There's probably what, half a cup of dip in those tiny cans good enough for about 10 dips of the chips? Don't get me wrong, I love that bean dip, it tastes so darn good and it's kind of addicting. That's why I'm writing this post in the first place.

I've always wondered if I could imitate that same addicting taste at home doing my own dip that would be very similar. I'd save a lot of money and have more than enough bean dip to last the whole football game day without going broke buying several cans of dip. That's probably a little exaggeration but hey I like to save money. Here it is,  I cracked the foodie bean dip code and it was way more simple than I ever thought it would be and now I pass it along to you.

1 can of refried beans
1 can of Ro*tel Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies 
1/4 cup of water

Simply, put 1 can of re fried beans of your choice into a pot and pour in 1 can of Ro*tel with 1/2 cup of water. Heat on the stove until warm and there you have it. That's a whole lot bigger portion of bean dip for almost the same price and way better if you buy refried beans and Ro*tel in bulk at Costco or Sams.

I know this is super obvious and yes, you can do different variations by adding cheese, sour cream, or ranch but if sometimes you don't want all the extras this a great way to imitate those tiny tiny cans of bean dip and save you $$$.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Secret To Making Coffee House Quality Cappuccino At Home

Don't know about you but I'm sick of paying for too much for "commodities" such as that cup of java. Yeah, I'm calling it a commodity because who doesn't need that coffee fix on a regular basis. I'm here to help you solve that dilemma, if you too are feeling the same way, by showing you how to make coffee house quality cappuccino at home. Ok, so there's a little investment in getting an espresso maker which is what you need to make cappuccino but in the long run it will save you buckets of hard earned cash. Before we start, to give a slight recommendation on the espresso machine let me state that you don't need to go out and purchase the most expensive espresso machine. You can find a good quality one like I did for under 100 bucks. For the purpose of this article, the espresso machine I use is the DeLonghi BAR42 Pump-Driven Espresso Maker. If you don't want to spend that much, I recommend that you don't go lower than the next down which is the De'Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker. Let's get started shall we.

Ingredients for one restaurant sized portion of cappuccino:

  • 1 TBSP of coffee grinds that you should grind yourself (see Step 1 for recommended coffee)
  • 1 1/2 cups of filtered water
  • 3/4 cups of whole or skim milk

Step 1: For making good quality cappuccino at home, please grind your own beans. This is very important if you want it to come out tasting delicious and fresh. I highly recommended for you caffeine junkies out there, Ruta Maya Organic Whole Bean Coffee (Medium Roast). This will give you a caffeine jolt so big you will feel like you've taken 5 hour energy... no seriously.

Ruta Maya: Grown on the slopes of Mt. Nicaragua (not really just joking) but it tastes like it!

Found Ruta Maya at Costco for a super good deal! Wink wink.
Tip #1: It's important before we get to step 2, not to use refrigerated coffee grinds even if you ground them yourself the week before. I made this mistake and the coffee had lost a lot of its taste. Always grind fresh beans right then and there before you make the espresso. Also, don't refrigerate or freeze your coffee beans because you'll zap the taste right out doing this as well. Just store them in a cool, dry place.  

Step 2 (above): After you grind 1 TBSP worth of coffee beans (1 TBSP is for approximately 1 1/2 cups of coffee which is a restaurant sized portion) place your grinds into the filter that fits on top of the filter holder as you see in the above image.

Step 3 (above): Use the pressing pad that's protruding from the underside of either one of the espresso machines I recommended to mash the coffee down. You want to do this very carefully, don't press down too hard or too light but compact your grinds just enough so when the water trickles through, it will be the right consistency.  It's not really something that can be explained, you just have to see for yourself through experience, what the right touch is

Tip #2: Before we get to Step 4, it's important to use filtered water and not tap water for the best tasting espresso.

Step 4: Follow the directions that should of come with your espresso maker on how to proceed with turning the knobs to get your coffee flowing as you see in the picture. I won't go into this step because every espresso machine is going to be different for this operation. I'm just giving you important tips in making the cappuccino the best you can for pump driven espresso machines like the Delonghi's I recommended. However, it's important to remind you of Step 2, that you use 1 1/2 cups of the filtered water for approximately 1 TBSP of coffee grinds that you placed in the filter for Step 2.

Step 5 (above): Now comes the fun part which is frothing the milk. I froth approximately 3/4 cups of whole milk for the amount coffee grinds and water I use. I find that this makes for a nice creamy tasting cappuccino. Follow the directions that came with the espresso machine for frothing the milk. However, there's a secret to frothing the milk (as you see me doing in the above image) and it's to take your time with it. The milk is not going to froth instantly when you use the milk frother on the espresso machine. It takes me almost 2 minutes of constantly frothing the milk to get it how I like it. You're going to want to froth the milk until it gets super heated and bubbly as you see in the picture. The milk in your cup should increase in size from all the bubbles so use an over sized coffee mug to hold the milk that you're frothing so it doesn't overflow. Use the milk frother nozzle way down in the milk and also near the surface while your frothing and adjust the steam coming from the nozzle accordingly, using the knob, to a greater or lesser extent depending on the need. Again, just takes the right touch and maybe a little practice and you'll be frothing perfectly in no time.

Step 6: After frothing the milk, you're just about there. Pour the espresso that you made before you frothed the milk into a over sized coffee mug (above). It's important that you don't pour the espresso into the milk you just frothed because that's a different cup of gourmet coffee. Instead you want to pour the milk into the espresso that you placed in your over sized coffee mug. Wha

I hope you find that this cup of gourmet coffee meets your expectations. Whether or not it does, is going to of course depend on what espresso machine you're using but I hope I was able to point out important tips to making it the best you possibly can using the espresso machines I recommended. Even if you don't have the recommended espresso machines and are using something different, my aim was to be general enough where you can apply my recommendations to that as well. Cheers to having a happy java celebration and to saving big money!

Unusual Foods: Alligator Tails!

Today, I've decided to try something different. It will be a new category of posts to keep a look out for on this blog. It will be called unusual foods and it will feature grub that you may or may not be enticed to try. My mood has been kind of agitated today (general job issues...nothing serious) but it makes me think of when my dad teased the alligators at Brazos Bend State Park when I was a kid. Brave...maybe... smart.. maybe not so much but it was interesting to watch him throw this fishing line in the direction of these gators in the swamp. To say, they got agitated would be an understatement! Now, you know why I'm posting alligator as the unusual food for this post because they get very agitated when you mess with them and that's exactly how I feel today!

Not to be overly negative, I'll start off by saying eating alligator tails reminded me of watching a movie that was average but leaning towards bad... you can say you saw it but you wouldn't think of ever watching it again... which is why I wouldn't eat gator tails ever again....obivously this was my first time! To give you an idea of how they tasted... kind of like chicken but no where as tasty. What's worse, is the fact that they were kind of rubbery in spots and hard to chew. Ok, maybe some of you have tried these critters and have your own opinion about them but if I ever see a fried gator on my plate again...oh wait I won't ever see it on my plate again and that's a good thing! Finally, can someone please tell me if there is another part of the gator that actually tastes good because my guess is there isn't! Not only that, can you please tell me if there's any good way to serve a gator?