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Easter Foods That Are Easier Than You’d Expect!

Easter is coming! Here’s a round-up of some of my favorite springtime breakfasts, sides and desserts, perfect for your family get-together this week! Just click on the recipe title to be taken to the full recipe! Enjoy and Happy Easter!Hard Boiled Eggs

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Braided Spaghetti Bread

I totally need to go to the grocery store. Big time. I’ve been stalling for days. I don’t know why. Maybe because in the summer all I want to eat is fruit. Or maybe I just needed something to procrastinate about that would make me actually fold the 5 loads of clean laundry sitting on my bed. Mission accomplished! Whatever the reason, I needed a solution for dinner that did not involve any fancy ingredients. I scoured my freezer and found a bag of frozen dinner rolls and a tube of chicken sausage. I knew there was a dinner in those ingredients, it just needed a couple pantry basics to make it work. A nice jar of marinara sauce, mozzarella and some pasta did the trick. This braided spaghetti was absolutely delicious, mondo easy and will most certainly become a part of my regular rotation.

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Hot Cross Buns

These light, gently spiced buns are one of my favorite Easter week traditions. I make them every Good Friday, always bringing them to my mom for sharing with a  cup of tea. This recipe from America’s Test Kitchen is a little time intensive, but not difficult and, it has never failed me.  You get big, beautifully golden rolls that are a perfect breakfast or brunch treat. Although they are a traditional Easter delight, these buns are delectable (my daughter’s new favorite word) all year round.

I love bread. It’s so gorgeous.

And, it kinda makes me happy in my heart.

I’m sure food shouldn’t do that, but these buns just have that effect on me. Mmmmm.

Hot Cross Buns

* 3/4 C buttermilk, warm (110 degrees)
* 6 T (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
* 3 large eggs
* 4 1/4 C all purpose flour
* 1/4 C sugar
* 1 envelope instant or rapid-rise yeast
* 1 1/4 t salt
* 1 t ground cinnamon
* 1 C  raisins
* 1 large egg
* 1 T water
Glaze:
* 3/4 C powdered sugar
* 1 t milk
* 1/2 t vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

1. For the buns: Whisk the buttermilk, melted butter and eggs together in a large liquid measuring cup. Combine 4 C of the flour, sugar, yeast, salt and cinnamon in a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. With the mixer on low, add the buttermilk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes.
2. Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If after 5 minutes, more flour is needed, add the remaining 1/4 C flour, 1 T at a time until the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.
3. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter, add the raisins and knead by hand to form a smooth round ball with evenly distributed raisins. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place  until doubled in size, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
4. Grease a 13×9 inch baking pan. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter, divide it into 12 even pieces. round the pieces of dough into small taut rolls. Arrange the rolls in the prepared baking pan and wrap tightly with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until the rolls have nearly doubled in size and are pressed against on another, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
5. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the egg and water together and brush over the buns. Then, using a sharp knife, cut an X through the top 1/4 inch of each bun. Bake until golden and puffed, 25-30 minutes.
6. For the glaze: Let the rolls cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Whisk the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla together then drizzle in an X into the cut groves of the buns. Serve warm.

Pretzel Bites

It’s that time of year again. No more family Christmas parties with your crazy Uncle Lou who makes inappropriate remarks after a few glasses of Granny’s homemade nog. The presents are opened & carols all sung. You’ve convinced yourself that the tree and lights can stay up while you do absolutely nothing for a few days. This is the magical time of year when pretty much the only thing on TV is football. College bowl games and NFL playoffs are kicking into high gear. It’s time for lazy afternoons parked on your caboose with friends who don’t care that you are wearing your ratty sweatpants. Friends who totally understand that you must wear elastic waistbands due to the obscene number of holiday treats you’ve been eating for the past month. No judging. Just  more eating. And football. A great time of year indeed. [Read more…]

Perfect Dinner Rolls

I love love love my new bread machine. It’s so easy to just throw all the ingredients in, turn it on and have beautiful dough. The recipe for these rolls is pretty time-consuming – only because you have to allow it to rise three times. You don’t really have to do anything with the dough during all that rising time – today I did some laundry and played with my munchkins, it just requires you to be around the house pretty much all day. But letting the dough rise thrice (I love that word) is what makes these rolls so airy and light. Mmmmm and delicious. Have I mentioned I love bread? These are perfect with soup. Or Thanksgiving dinner. Or soup. I also love soup.

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

I’ve only been to Red Lobster a couple of times, and the only memorable thing about my visits was their biscuits. Light cheddar biscuits filled with savory seasonings. Yum yum. This makes about 24 biscuits – so if you’ve got a small family, you might want to cut the recipe in half. I guarantee that you’ll eat however many you make – and these aren’t exactly diet food.

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