Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Homemade Hamburger Buns using your Bread Machine

If you have a bread machine, you probably already have flour, sugar, salt, and rapid rise dry yeast on hand. Frugal, homemade hamburger buns can be made easily using my all purpose dough recipe.  Not only can you avoid an extra trip to the store and feel good about serving buns made from all natural ingredients, but hot, fresh homemade buns can take your burgers to a whole new level!

Bun Directions:

Once your bread machine's dough cycle is complete, grease a cookie sheet with a little oil or cooking spray. Divide the dough into nine portions and shape the buns into circles about one inch thick...

Dough Formed into Buns

Allow the buns to rise for about thirty minutes on the cookie sheet. They will rise some when baking anyway so you can skip this extra rising if you are short on time...

Unbaked Buns After Sitting out for 30 Minutes

If you have any sesame seeds, sprinkle them on the hamburger buns just before baking. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Slice each bun with a bread knife after baking to separate the tops and bottoms.

Guacamole and Onion Burger
Avocado Burger on Homemade Bun

Thursday, July 25, 2013


So I was planning to make quesadillas and realized I was out of cheddar cheese. Here's how the conversation went between my picky six year old son and me:

Me: Will you eat a quesadilla made with white cheese?

Son: NO. Don't you have any orange cheese??

Me five minutes later: Wanna try one of these PIZZAdillas?

Son: Okay!

Son: MOM, Can you make these another day!? PUT THESE ON YOUR BLOG!!!

He likes it! Hey Mikey!!!

So here's what I used to make my pizzadillas:

Monterey Jack cheese
Pepperoni (preservative free)
Flour tortillas


Place cheese, salsa, and pepperoni on one side of a tortilla and place in a pan over medium heat.


Fold it over and turn it a few times with a spatula, making sure the tortilla doesn't burn on either side.

Pizzadilla is ready when the cheese is melted.

Serve with raw veggies for a fast weeknight dinner.

Copyright 2013, Raani S., Two Chickens In Every Pot

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Two Ingredient Banana "Ice Cream" Pie

This cool, refreshing pie was inspired by banana pudding which is traditionally topped with vanilla wafers. As I expected, the 'Nilla wafer crust turned out to be the perfect addition to the already decadent one ingredient banana "ice cream."  If you haven't tried eating bananas this way, yet, you will be surprised at how creamy and delicious they are after being frozen and blended!


4 bananas
1 store bought 'Nilla wafer pie crust

Yep. That's it! Okay, okay...I garnished mine with whipped cream and walnut pieces, but those are optional.


Cut up bananas into slices about one inch thick and freeze in a plastic bag for at least four hours.

Blend until smooth in a food processor, mini food chopper, or blender. It's okay to add a a few spoonfuls of water if you need to.

Spoon creamed bananas into pie crust and chill in freezer for two hours before slicing.

Warning: It will not be as creamy if you leave it in the freezer indefinitely so plan on serving it when it's ready.

frozen banana pie

banana pie with whipped cream and nuts

If you like non-dairy "banana ice cream," you may also be interested in my Two Ingredient Strawberry Banana "Ice Cream."

Monday, July 22, 2013

Frugal Freezer Burritos

I recently froze some homemade bean and cheese burritos after my sister mentioned this idea she saw on Pinterest. Since the refried beans were homemade and I got the tortillas on sale, I felt very frugal. I do make my own tortillas, but we had eaten all of the homemade tortillas the night I made the beans. Making tortillas is less expensive, but let's face it, it can be time consuming. A few days later, I froze some leftover breakfast burritos, and now I have come up with yet another frugal frozen burrito idea...

I used leftover bean soup to make more burritos! Ever notice how homemade soups and chilies thicken in the refrigerator? That consistency is perfect for spooning onto tortillas for burritos! 


Flour tortillas
shredded cheese
leftovers (bean soup, chili, refried beans, scrambled eggs, meats, etc.)
hot sauce or salsa


Spoon those thick, cold leftovers onto a tortilla, sprinkle with cheese and perhaps a little hot sauce, and wrap it up. I wrap each burrito in foil, and then I place several of the foil wrapped burritos into a plastic bag to prevent freezer burn. Label them with a permanent marker if there are more than one kind, and then throw 'em in the freezer.

Most flour tortillas are pliable enough to roll at room temperature, but you can heat them before wrapping if you are having trouble with them ripping. Since soups are moist and flavorful to begin with, they don't really need any hot sauce or salsa, but, in my opinion, the cheese is a must! You'll be surprised how many burritos you get out of that leftover soup that you were probably going to throw away. Sure, it was going to do some obligatory time in the fridge, but you were secretly hoping someone else would eat it. Even if you normally freeze leftover soups and chilies like I sometimes do, the burritos are much more convenient to pop into the oven on a busy day than a container of soup.

Since I have a large family, I heat several frozen burritos at a time in the oven which is one of the reasons I wrap mine in foil instead of  plastic. If someone wants to heat just one in the microwave, they can unwrap it and put it on a plate. Whatever your heating method, Melted cheese and flour tortillas will transform your leftover bean soup or other leftovers into flavorful burritos that only cost a few pennies to make!

bean burritos

School lunch idea: Sometimes I send a couple of heated, foil wrapped burritos in my teenage son's lunch so he can enjoy a hot, homemade meal at school. I put them in an insulated lunch box to keep them warm which works very well since they start out piping hot.

If you like frugal burritos, you might also be interested in my post about saving money by shopping at ethnic grocery stores.

Senate Bean Soup

I don't remember where I originally found this recipe years ago, but I remember reading that it was served in the cafeteria of the U.S. Senate which is how it got its name. I've been making this simple bean soup for years, and my husband really likes it. The following is my most recent adaptation of the recipe...

1 lb dry navy beans
1 or 2 meaty ham bones
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 stalks chopped celery
1 chopped carrot
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
salt and/or chicken bouillon to taste


Rinse and sort beans.
Cover beans and ham bones with 8-10 cups hot water.

Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, checking occasionally. You can cook this soup covered or uncovered depending on how watchful you want to be. If you cook it uncovered, you may need to add a little more water at some point.

Add remaining ingredients except for the salt or bouillon.

Frugal Navy Bean Soup

Simmer for another 1 1/2 hours, for a total of 3 hours cook time for the beans.

Remove ham bone, trim off the meat, and return the meat to soup.

Salt or add bouillon to taste.

Since the soup will thicken quite a bit overnight in the refrigerator, the leftovers can be used the next day as a tasty bean burrito filling! In fact, that's my favorite way to eat it!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Fun Lunches for Kids

I've started making colorful lunches for my children in the morning while they are still sleeping. Not only is it fun to surprise them later in the day with their pre-made "bento box" inspired lunches, but it also frees me up from having a lot of clean up to do after lunch. Just because most of us are home all day, doesn't mean we can't enjoy the benefits of lunches packed ahead of time...and the little ones eat more fresh fruits and vegetables when they are presented in interesting ways...

Fun Monster Sandwich for Kids
Monster Ham and Cheese Sandwich

I sometimes do the prep work for dinner in the morning so I am thinking about experimenting with morning only food preparation on most days. What if I made the lunches, perhaps put together a lasagna, and then made breakfast all before waking the littles?

I could do most of my cooking alone without distractions, clean it all up, and have more time to spend on other things throughout the day like reading to the kids, cleaning and organizing other areas of the house, running errands, and the list goes on. I will be posting more about my morning only food prep adventures as I go...

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fast No Bake Salted Caramel Cheesecake

This creamy, rich cheesecake takes only minutes to assemble and the recipe is so simple that I have it memorized. Sometimes it's nice to throw a dessert together that isn't completely from scratch and doesn't require a lot of measuring or effort. This cheesecake will impress your guests while still leaving you with plenty of time to primp before the party...


1 package cream cheese (8 oz)
1/3 cup powdered sugar
3 cups whipped cream
1 graham cracker crust
1 cup dulce de leche (caramel sauce)
 a few dashes of coarse sea salt


With an electric mixer, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar for about 30 seconds at medium speed. Add whipped cream and beat for thirty more seconds.

Spoon creamy filling into crust.

Spoon caramel sauce on top.

Sprinkle generously with salt.

Chill in refrigerator before slicing.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sweetest Sweet Potato Pie

I absolutely love pumpkin pie, and I had some organic sweet potatoes sitting neglected in the fridge that I couldn't let go to waste. By putting the sweet potatoes into a pie, I was able to get even my pickiest eater excited about eating sweet potatoes! It helps that sweet potato pie looks and tastes very similar to pumpkin pie. Yum! I should make this more often...


2 ½-3 medium sized sweet potatoes  or about 2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potato

½ stick of butter, melted

3/4 cups white sugar

scant ¼ cup brown sugar, NOT packed

½ cup milk

2 eggs

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust


Boil three sweet potatoes whole in skin for 45 to 50 minutes until tender. Allow to cool and remove skin.

Break apart sweet potatoes in a bowl, removing any stubbornly hard chunks that you will sometimes find near the ends. Add butter, milk, eggs, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla. The spices are flexible, but if you bake a lot, using the individual spices is more cost effective than buying "pumpkin pie spice."

Beat all ingredients on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust. I used a whole wheat crust which is more nutritious and has so much flavor but is a little denser than a store bought unbaked crust. Both the crust and the pie are surprisingly quick and easy to make! Remember what Mary Poppins said about pie crust; "..easily made, easily broken?" Well, my whole wheat crust IS easily made but not so easily broken...

Bake pie at 350 for 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. For best results refrigerate for a few hours before serving. It tastes best cold and slices up very nicely that way. The whole family loved the pie and it didn't last long so I baked another one the very next day!

sweetest sweet potato pie with whipped cream
sweet potato pie with whole wheat crust

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Whole Wheat Pie Crust Dough

With only half a cup of all purpose flour, this whole grain pie crust is nutritious as well as delicious. Whether or not that 1/2 cup of all purpose flour is bleached or unbleached is a personal matter--no judgment here! I am already impressed that you are considering using this healthy crust for your next dessert or savory pot pie. This recipe makes a single pie crust so you will need to double the ingredients if you are making a pie with crust on both the top and bottom like an apple pie or a chicken pot pie.

Ingredients for single pie crust:

1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick (½ cup) cold, salted butter
6 tbsp cold milk


In a large mixing bowl, stir together flours, sugar, and salt. Cut in slices of butter using a pastry cutter or simply grate the butter with your cheese grater and finish cutting it in with a fork. The largest pieces of butter should be pea sized and evenly distributed.

Pour the milk into the mixture, and use the fork to stir the dough. Do not stir too much or your crust won’t be as flaky. Form the crust into a ball, kneading it only a couple of times in the bowl to incorporate any dry powder into the ball. Refrigerate until ready to use.

When ready to bake your pie, roll out dough or press directly into pie pan. If desired, decorate the crust by making indentations around the edge with a fork. Bake this pie crust just as you would a store bought unbaked pie crust. Simply follow the instructions for whatever pie recipe you are using. Note: This hearty crust may be a little firmer than what you are used to. I do not recommend trying to eat it with a plastic fork.

Tip: Depending on the oven temperature and how long you are baking the crust, you may want to use a pie shield or a little bit of foil around the edges of the pie to protect it from burning during baking. That said, I baked my sweet potato pie for 60 minutes at 350 and did not need to cover the crust.

This dough isn't something you make just for the health benefits or to impress an orthorexic guest... (You may have to look that word up--it's a new one I've been dying to use!) Seriously, though...this crust actually tastes better than crust made with only refined white flour. Try it for yourself!

pie crust with decorated edges
Homemade Whole Wheat Pie Crust

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Busy Day Split Pea Soup

I've been making this split pea soup for years. It's amazingly easy to make. We are talking five minutes of prep time...And you can leave it alone for hours. I am always surprised at how flavorful cooked split peas are--this soup needs very little seasoning other than salt and pepper and maybe a few small pinches of garlic powder and onion powder. Pork neck bones also enhance the flavor, and I'm pretty sure that eating this soup counts as consuming "bone broth" which is all the rage right now. You can use fresh garlic, of course, but who wants the smell of garlic on their hands when heading out the door on a busy morning? This is an easy soup that you just throw together and it comes out great!


1 bag of yellow or green split peas
2 pork neckbones
2 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 of a medium sized onion, diced
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
8 cups of water
1 to 2 teaspoons of salt (to taste)


Rinse split peas in a colander (strainer.)

Place all ingredients except for the salt in a crock pot or whatever other brand of slow cooker.

Cook on low for 8 or 9 hours. Soup is done when it thickens and the pork is falling off of the bones.

Stir in salt to taste, adding a little at a time.

Remove bones and allow soup to cool a little before serving. It will thicken a little more upon standing. In fact, it will be "as thick as pea soup."

yellow split pea soup
Busy Day Split Pea Soup made with yellow split peas

Serve with bread or crackers for a more complete meal.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Man Pleasing Spring Rolls

Why is this recipe "man pleasing?" Because my husband made it, and it has bacon in it. Spring rolls are deep fried so they are more of an occasional weekend splurge for us than an everyday meal. On a more positive note, this is yet another one of our sneaky ways to get the kids to eat spinach.


1 lb bacon, chopped
1 head of cabbage, chopped
1 bunch of spinach, chopped and stems removed
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1/2 ham steak, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 tsp pepper
24 spring roll pastries
vegetable oil (enough to cover the spring rolls)

Fry bacon pieces and chopped ham until crispy. Set ham and bacon aside. Add the cabbage, spinach, and green onions to the bacon grease and sprinkle with pepper and ginger. Saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, for several minutes or until vegetables are wilted and somewhat soft.

While the hubby was sauteing the vegetables, he was also making fried rice which I will have to post about another time. Steamed rice drizzled with a little soy sauce would also be a good side dish to compliment the spring rolls.

Drain off any excess fat and return the bacon and ham to the pan.

Wrap a little bit of the mixture in each spring roll pastry. He bought a pack of 40 and ended up filling about two dozen.

how much filling to put in spring roll
filling on spring roll pastry

fold two opposite corners of spring roll pastry
fold two opposite corners inward

wrap a spring roll as you would roll a burrito
tuck one of the open ends around the mixture and roll forward

spring roll pastry
finish rolling by flipping the full part forward a few times over the excess wrapper

As you can see, he basically folds, tucks, and then tightly rolls the spring rolls in a similar way to how you would make a burrito. You can seal the edges with a little egg white if you like, but his rolls held together just fine during frying without that extra step. 

Carefully submerge a few of the rolls at a time for a few minutes in hot oil either in a deep fryer, wok, or deep skillet. Cook until the outside pastry is golden brown. The oil is hot enough if it bubbles slightly when you drop the roll into it, and the roll browns in one to two minutes.

Blot cooked spring rolls with paper towels to remove excess oil.

These are crispy, tasty, and filling.

homemade spring rolls with fried rice, green onion, and carrots

Note: Spring rolls are very customizable. Now that you know how to wrap them, you can fill them with whatever you like. You do not have to put meat in them since they are also good with just vegetables. Bell peppers, bean sprouts, and carrots are some sturdy vegetables that will work well in addition to the cabbage. Post a comment and let me know what you put in yours!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Personal Pizzas

Who doesn't like building their own pizza?

homemade fun children's pizza
my googly eyed pizza

There are a few secrets to making good pizza at home. First, heat the oven to about 500 degrees or hotter and preheat a pizza stone. It can be tricky transferring a large pizza onto a hot stone which is already in the oven. Some people make a full sized pizza on parchment paper and transfer it to the oven using a "pizza peel." They say you can slide out the parchment paper after cooking the pizza for a few minutes.

I use nothing but a metal spatula to transfer these small personal pizzas back and forth from my kitchen table to the oven. One thing that makes it so much easier, is that I cook the dough a little bit by itself before adding the toppings. Doing it this way not only makes for a crispier finished product, but it also provides a sturdy base which is easier to transport to the oven after loading it with sauce, cheese, and other toppings.
I made the dough in my bread machine, but you could also make it by hand or even buy ready made dough if you just want to get straight to the fun decorating part. I know your time is valuable. I'm not a food snob. I go through phases where I have different priorities in my cooking. In certain seasons of life, convenience is important. When I'm in "survival mode" I buy a different color of disposable cups for each child and eat take out food at least once a week. Other times, I cook most things from scratch to save money. And then there are those extreme health kicks where I spend way too much time in the kitchen and end up paying more for whatever they are currently telling us is superior...

I'm all for natural food, but I'm not going to lie to you and say this pizza was made with "pastured" cheese. For all I know, the cheese might have come from those thousands of black and white cows that stunk up a long stretch of highway on our recent road trip. But their milk tastes really good and has been radiated for our safety. Genuine Holstein Mozzarella cheese, folks! Cause happy cows come from.........wherever.

"Little Chef's" pizza had a mustache and goatee

"Tinkerbell," age 4, said she didn't want any 'green stuff' on hers...hence the carrots.

I call this one...Mr. Potato Head

Crust Ingredients:

1 cup water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine or quick active dry yeast


Place all crust ingredients into the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer.
My ten year old who we'll refer to as "Little Chef" was the one who suggested I put garlic in the dough. She's always right about these things.

There is a chance that the dough ball will look a little dry so check on it after a few minutes and perhaps add a little more water. Here's what the perfect pizza dough ball looks like about 30 minutes into the dough cycle...

perfect dough ball in breadmaker

Fixings for Seven Personal Pizzas:

1 1/2 small jars of all natural pizza sauce
16 oz of mozzarella
a few mushrooms
1/2 of a bell pepper
a few slices of nitrate free ham
a few sliced jalapenos
a few green onions
Parmesan cheese 

When the dough cycle is complete, preheat oven to 500 degrees or higher with the pizza stone in the oven. Divide dough into seven balls. Roll them out very thin, sprinkling with a little flour to keep them from sticking. Place two of the rolled out dough discs into the oven. I use my hands since they are as thin as tortillas and just quickly drop them onto the stone. Bake the crusts for 3-5 minutes or until they puff up a bit and are no longer floppy. Remove them from the oven using a spatula or pizza peel and put them on a plate...

partially baked, non-floppy pizza crust

Let people put their toppings on and return each pizza to the oven for a few more minutes on the stone. Bake pizzas, one or two at a time, until crusts are very crispy but not burnt and cheese is melted and maybe even toasty. Since the oven and the stone may continue to get hotter for subsequent batches, you will want to check on the pizzas every few minutes.

Homemade Bread Machine Pizza
Dignified Adult Pizza

I forgot to sprinkle on Parmesan cheese before taking the pictures...but trust me, there WAS Parmesan involved!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish consisting mainly of mashed potatoes mixed with some type of green vegetable. Usually kale or cabbage are used, but I make mine with spinach. The great thing about making Colcannon for your family, is that even some of the pickiest children will eat "green potatoes," if you catch my drift. Spinach is not the dominant flavor in these buttery potatoes so there is no need to include the "S" word in the name--especially if you are making it for children who say they don't care for spinach.

Not only is Colcannon a sneaky way to get kids to eat greens, but it is also serious comfort food for adults. Sour cream, garlic, and diced green onions give this dish an irresistible creamy, savory flavor. The fact that it is riddled with tiny pieces of spinach is just an added nutritional bonus. I first tried Colcannon at my sister-in-law's house, and I LOVED it. I believe hers was made with kale and coconut milk... Whaaaat?

A few days later I was making my own version of it at home which was equally delicious, and I've been making it ever since.


7 medium sized potatoes
8 ounces sour cream
half a bunch of spinach or about 2 1/2 cups finely chopped
7 green onions
1/2 cup butter
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp salt

Peel or scrub potatoes and cut into thirds. Boil about 45 minutes or until tender.

potatoes cut into thirds and boiling

While potatoes are boiling, chop up spinach, green onions, and garlic. I cut the stems off of the spinach and use only the chopped leaves. Be sure to chop the spinach into very tiny pieces...

chopped spinach for use in potatoes Colcannon

chopped spinach

Saute garlic, spinach, and green onions for about 4 or 5 minutes in the butter over medium high heat. Be careful not to brown the butter. You are mainly just wilting the spinach with this step.

buttery spinach

sauteeing in butter
This may seem like a lot of butter just for sauteing, but it will be dumped into a big pot of mashed potatoes.

Drain potatoes and return to pot. Combine all ingredients and mash. I use an electric hand mixer for about 30 seconds.

Some recipes call for adding ham or bacon to the potato mixture, making it more of a main dish, but mine does not have any meat in it. I serve Colcannon as a side dish with roasted chicken...

 Copyright 2013, Two Chickens In Every Pot, Raani S.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Simple All Purpose Breadmaker Dough

This recipe is so convenient since you probably already have these four ingredients on hand:

flour, sugar, salt, and bread machine yeast. (You will need a bread machine like this one that is large enough to hold four cups of flour.)

All Purpose Dinner Roll


1 1/2 cups water
4 cups all purpose flour or bread flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp rapid rise / breadmaker yeast

This dough is a great go-to recipe I like to use when I am low on groceries and don't want to make a trip to the store. For me, it is sometimes easier to bake some type of bread at home than to lug everyone to the store and perhaps mess up a toddler's nap schedule. This is also a frugal recipe since it uses the cheapest type of flour and not much else.


Pour the water into the bread machine, followed by the flour, salt, and sugar. I sprinkle the salt and sugar around toward the outside so it won't come into contact with the yeast immediately. I think I read that tip somewhere. When using a bread machine, the yeast always gets added last. Make a well in the center of the flour about an inch and a half deep but not deep enough to strike water. Spoon the yeast into the hole.

Correctly arranged ingredients in bread machine

Select the dough cycle and start the machine. You won't need to check the dough during the cycle like you would with a loaf of bread since this isn't quite as critical and this dough looks different anyway. As long as you have measured the flour correctly, your dough should come out just right. Always pour or scoop your flour into a measuring cup and level off rather than scooping the flour out with the measuring cup. Scooping with the measuring cup could pack the flour down to much, causing you to end up with more flour than the recipe calls for. That said, this recipe is very forgiving so stop obsessing. WALK AWAY FROM THE MACHINE! It will be fine...

Here's how the dough will look once the breadmaker beeps and tells you it's ready...

Dough in bread machine after dough cycle is complete

Another plus about using your breadmaker's dough cycle for small baked items is that it takes less time than baking an actual loaf of bread. It takes over three hours to make a regular loaf of bread in the bread machine, but the "dough cycle" only takes about an hour and a half. It takes only a few additional minutes in the oven to bake bread sticks, hamburger buns, or dinner rolls after the dough cycle is done.

For dinner rolls:

Preheat the oven to 400 and sprinkle some flour on your work surface--I use a large cutting board. Divide the dough into 15 or 16 similarly sized balls. I rub my fingers in flour every so often to keep the dough from sticking. Arrange all of the dough balls on a foil covered cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until slightly golden.

piece of dough ready to be formed into a ball

These rolls are fluffy and not too sweet. They are the perfect neutral white dinner rolls and so good with a little pat of butter. Even though they are simple to make, your guests will swoon at the smell of these freshly baked dinner rolls. Even my six year old son was overjoyed to find out I was baking fresh dinner rolls today! "Mom, remember the FIRST TIME we had dinner rolls!?" Um, no. Lol. But they are really good!

Breadmachine Dough Cycle Dinner Rolls
Buttery Perfection!

I use this simple dough recipe for a lot of things including hamburger buns or sandwich rolls which I plan to post about soon...

Friday, July 5, 2013

Summer Squash Bread in Your Bread Machine

I just discovered recently that my bread machine has a setting for quick bread. The "quick" setting is for quick breads like banana bread or zucchini bread that call for baking soda or baking powder instead of yeast. There is no kneading or rise cycle on the quick setting--it simply mixes and then bakes.

My husband brought home some crookneck squash a coworker grew in his garden...

So we made "summer squash" bread...


  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups grated fresh yellow squash, zucchini, or other summer squash
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoons cinnamon
  •  1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

This recipe makes about a one pound loaf. You may be tempted to double the amounts, but DON'T! A larger loaf does not come out quite right due to the shape of the bread pan and the timing of the automatic cycle.


Place all ingredients into the bread machine, making a well in the flour for the baking soda which goes in last. Put your machine on the quick setting. Three or four minutes into the cycle, scrape down any batter that has accumulated on the sides with a rubber spatula. Done? Okay, you are free to go about your business...

Once your bread machine beeps, remove the pan from the machine. Allow your loaf to cool for several minutes in pan before transferring it to a wire rack to finish cooling...

Wrap in plastic wrap or slice once cool...

Wow! This nutritious squash bread tastes like spice cake! We didn't have to heat up the kitchen by using the oven, and the mixing was done for us! Quick bread doesn't get much quicker than this!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Honey White Wheat Bread

The great thing about baking your own bread is that you know exactly what goes into it. There is no need for preservatives so homemade bread is a great way to "eat clean." I love my breadmaker since I don't have time to knead bread and keep track of all the rising times. Don't you just love the smell of freshly baked bread?

For this recipe, you will need a bread machine that can hold four cups of flour for a two pound loaf.


1 cup water
1/4 cup plus two tablespoons whole milk
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp softened butter
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups white wheat flour*
1 tsp vital wheat gluten 
1 3/4 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp fast rising dry yeast


If you keep your yeast in the refrigerator, set it out ahead of time to get it to room temperature. You will also need to soften your butter.

Place all ingredients in the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. With mine, the liquids go in first, and they tell you to make a well in the flour for the yeast which goes in last.

Set your machine on whole wheat cycle, light crust color, and 2 pound loaf.

A few minutes after it starts mixing, I like to open the machine to take a look at the dough and touch it. Ideally, it will have formed a ball that is only slightly sticky to the touch. Your machine may shake a little, but if it is practically walking across the counter, then your dough is too dry. If the dough is too dry, add more water a tablespoon at a time. If it is too wet (sticky), add more flour a tablespoon at a time.

Remove bread from pan when your bread machine cycle is done, and cool on wire rack. Cover with plastic wrap or store in a bread keeper.

This is the best bread I have ever made and quite possibly the only bread machine recipe you will ever need. Not only is this wholesome loaf light, fluffy, and delicious, but it does not contain any refined sugar and is made with half whole wheat flour and half all purpose flour.

*The whole wheat flour I use is called "white wheat." It is a breed of flour which is lighter in color and milder in taste so it is great for winning over white bread lovers to a whole grain bread. The secret to making wheat bread light and fluffy is adding a little bit of vital wheat gluten. While developing this recipe, I experimented with leaving out that extra ingredient, and it made a huge difference in the texture of the bread. In my opinion, the added gluten eliminates the need for using bread flour in your machine which is slightly more expensive than all purpose flour. I definitely would not change a thing about this perfect recipe!

Did you know that the bread machine is not just for yeast breads? You can also make sweet quick breads like this "Summer Squash Bread."