Thursday, November 21, 2013

A New Twist On a Lunchroom Classic

When I was in Elementary School, one of my all time favorite lunches was Chili and Cinnamon Rolls. The lunch ladies made these huge, fluffy, delicious cinnamon rolls that complimented the chili so perfectly! Imagine my delight when I learned that clear over here in Nebraska, hundreds of miles from my hometown, the same fantastic menu item is served - so my kids can experience the joy!

In an effort to clean out the fridge before we leave for a week for the Thanksgiving holiday, I made a version of Chili and Cinnamon Rolls that turned out pretty sweet! My kids, who often rate the meals I make on a scale of 0-30, gave this meal the highest rating - pretty rare in our house. So mostly, I'm posting this in an effort to remember the modifications I made to two recipes so I can recreate it! So I'll post the original recipes, with notes in parenthesis to explain what I did different. And why.

Pumpkin Chili

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper,chopped (I didn't have a yellow, so I just chopped and used one whole green bell pepper.)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. ground turkey (I used ground pork, because it is what I had in the freezer. In was ah-maze-ing!)
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes (I didn't have any, so I chopped up the last of the tomatoes from my garden that I had ripening in a box.)
2 cups pumpkin puree (I only had maybe 1 - 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper dash of salt (I used somewhere between 1/2-1 tsp - it just seemed bland without it!)
*I also added 1 1/2 cups of pinto beans. Again, use it up...

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the onion, green & yellow pepper and garlic until tender. Stir in the turkey and cook until evenly browned. Pour meat mixture into slow cooker. Mix in tomatoes and pumpkin (and beans). Season with chili powder, pepper & salt. Cover & set on low, and cook for 4-5 hours. Serve topped with Cheddar cheese and sour cream. (We used Queso Ranchero instead of cheddar, because I had some on hand. It was perfect.)

Cranberry Cinnamon Rolls with Orange Glaze

The roll dough I used is my standby for pretty much every type of roll I make. I discovered the 30 minute roll recipe from Real Mom Kitchen and it is my favorite. It is super fast and super easy.

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp warm water
⅓ cup oil
2 Tbsp yeast
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
1 egg
3½ cups flour
1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce (I made my own, but only because I didn't have any canned stuff and I was gifted a bag of fresh cranberries that my parents picked up from a farm stand in Wisconson. I added about 1/4 of the orange zest to the sauce as I cooked it. Yummmmmmm.....)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
zest from one orange
juice from 1/2 orange
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine water, oil, yeast, and sugar. Allow mixture to rest for 15 minutes. With a dough hook, mix in salt and eggs and 2 of the cups flour until combined. Add remaining flour ½ cup at a time. Roll out dough into a large rectangle - I think mine was about 12X18 inches. I don't know. Spread the cranberry sauce evenly on the dough and sprinkle the cinnamon on top. Roll tightly and pinch the seam so it stays together. Cut into 1 inch thick rolls (I use a dental floss trick to cut my cinnamon rolls that my mom learned from my great aunt. Using a decent length of dental floss, slide it under your roll, then wrap the two ends up and cross them over the top of the roll. Pull taut and the floss should criss-cross and slice the dough neatly without squishing it.) Place close together on a greased jelly roll pan (I leave about 1/2 inch space between them.) I don't bother to let these rise - they do great straight into the oven! Bake them for 10-15 minutes until they're all golden on top. While the rolls are baking, whisk together the orange juice, zest and powdered sugar. Drizzle over the rolls immediately when they come out of the oven and then let cool for a couple of minutes before serving. Makes approx. 1 dozen cinnamon rolls.


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