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Preparing to stay out of the kitchen

I am so looking forward to this weekend as we will have family visiting from California, Seattle and North Dakota, celebrating niece Katie’s wedding.

I’ve been busy planning and preparing a variety of dishes and freezing them so I can enjoy my time with them rather than in the kitchen. This week I would like to share a few of the recipes that I know they will enjoy.

Basic Caramel Rolls

Serving size: 18     

1 cup milk, scalded and cooled

3/4 cup cold water

4 tablespoon butter (or margarine)

1 egg lightly beaten

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoon salt

4 1/2 cups bread flour

2 tablespoon dry bread machine yeast


1/2 cup melted butter or margarine

1/2 cup white corn syrup

1 cup brown sugar

Cinnamon Roll Mixture:

1/2 cup soft butter

1 cup brown sugar

cinnamon to your liking

Heat milk on high in microwave for two minutes. Add cold water and butter to hot milk and let set until butter is melted, about 20 minutes. Lightly beat egg and add to milk. Pour into bread machine. Add flour, sugar and salt. Draw a trough in the flour and add yeast. Set machine on dough cycle. When cycle is completed, remove dough and divide dough in half. With a rolling pin roll dough on a floured surface to form a 12-by- 4 inch rectangle. Spread dough with half cup melted butter, sprinkle with about one cup brown sugar and cinnamon to your liking. Roll dough lengthwise like a jelly roll. Cut into 1-inch slices. Before putting slices in pan, mix caramel mixture together over low heat in a 9- by- 13 inch pan. Continue to stir until butter is melted and mixture is combined. Place slices cut side down over caramel mixture. At this point, I covered the rolls and put them in the freezer. The night before I plan to serve them, remove from freezer and let raise over night and bake in the morning. Otherwise, cover rolls with a clean cloth and let rise until double in bulk. Bake at 350 degrees about 15 minutes.

Red and White Lasagna

Serving size: 12    

White Sauce:

1 onion chopped fine

4 tablespoon butter

3 tablespoon flour

2 cups milk

2 egg yolks

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated

1/2 of 16 ounce box lasagna noodles, cooked and drained

Red Sauce:

1 pound ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoon parsley, chopped

1 quart tomatoes, slightly drained or a 26 ounce can

6 ounce tomato paste

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper, to taste

White Sauce: Saute onion in butter for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, for two minutes. Stir in milk and cook, stirring, over medium high heat until it boils and thickens. Remove from heat and beat two or three  tablespoons of hot sauce into the egg yolk, then return egg mixture to the white sauce. Add Parmesan Cheese and return to medium heat and cook two more minutes, stirring. 

Red Sauce: Brown ground beef in large skillet. Stir in onion and garlic until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add parsley, tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves and salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes. 

To assemble, alternate layers of cooked lasagna, red sauce and white sauce in a 9- by-13 inch cake pan. End with white sauce. You should have three layers. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cut into squares to serve.  

* I froze the lasagna before baking. Remove the night before and let thaw in the refrigerator and bake when ready to serve.

Freezer Cream Puffs

1/2 cup butter

1 cup boiling water

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

Vanilla ice cream

Chocolate sauce:

15 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

2 ounces unsweetened bakers chocolate

2 tablespoon hot water

1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt butter in boiling water over high heat. Stir in flour and salt all at once and stir until it forms a ball. Remove from heat. Beat eggs with a beater one egg at a time. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and with a teaspoon or No. 10 food scoop, shape small puffs. Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Do not underbake. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack. Split puffs and fill each with ice cream. Freeze. When ready to serve, put two or three puffs onto a plate and ladle a little chocolate sauce over each. To make the chocolate sauce, place milk, chocolate and water in the top of a double boiler and heat over simmering water, stirring frequently, until the chocolate has melted and the sauce is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: We can either grin and bear it, or we can smile and change it.

GARY’S TIP: To prevent a musty smell in your thermos jug, drop a whole clove or two into each container before putting it away.