Category Archives: Recipes

The Best Homemade Cinnamon Breadsticks

cinnamon breadsticks stacked on a cutting board

Do warm, gooey cinnamon breadsticks take anyone else back to their childhood and pizza buffets?

You can easily recreate those pizza restaurant cinnamon breadsticks from your home.

It’s not hard, I promise. 😉

You start with a basic dough. I have your covered there. This dough is easy and so forgiving to make, so don’t be nervous if you are normally intimidated by working with yeast.

Of course, if you really, really don’t want to make your own dough (but I do think you should give it a try) you could buy a package of pizza dough from the store or a local restaurant.

After the dough is make, roll it out into a rectangle. You could do a circle if you don’t mind your cinnamon breadsticks not being uniform in length. The rectangle keeps the kids happier. 😉

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cinnamon breadsticks dough spread into a pan.

I have a pan the perfect size for a single batch of this recipe. It makes it so easy!

I like to do this directly on the buttered sheet pan. You will want your dough in a 9×12 inch rectangle. I love this baker’s roller gadget for rolling directly on the pan. (I also use it for tortillas and pizza crust!) Mine is the one from Pampered Chef, but there are many other options.

While the oven is preheating, the dough will rest while you prepare the final steps.

Melt the butter. Stir together the cinnamon and sugar. Use a pastry brush to spread the butter over the dough and then generously sprinkle with the sugar mixture.

unbaked cinnamon breadsticks topped with cinnamon sugar

Topped and ready to go into the oven.

Once the oven has warmed up, bake and enjoy!

If you want to go really over the top, mix up a basic powdered sugar icing to drizzle over the top. All you need is a cup of powdered sugar and 1-2 tablespoons of milk or water to get it to the desired consistency. Honestly, you could go either way on this one because this cinnamon breadstick recipe is already sweet and flavorful! My kids, of course, way prefer the added frosting.

cinnamon breadsticks drizzled with frosting on a cutting board

Yum! The house always smells amazing when these are baking.

Not only do these breadsticks make the perfect finale to have for dessert on your pizza night, they would also make a fun brunch item! Just think cinnamon rolls but way less time to make. I don’t think you’ll find anyone complaining.

Pizza Recipe: If you need an easy recipe to make your own pizza, this is our go to that we make on a weekly basis!

pan of cinnamon sticks on a cutting board drizzle with frosting

Cinnamon Breadsticks Recipe

The Best Homemade Cinnamon Breadsticks
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5-8
 
These warm, gooey cinnamon breadsticks are super easy to make and are an amazing dessert or brunch item. Your entire family will love these.
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
Topping
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
Icing, optional
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Water or milk
Instructions
  1. Place flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in mixer bowl. (I use my Kitchen Aid.) Add warm water over the top and knead until dough is smooth. Note: If you don't have instant dry yeast, place the yeast, sugar, and warm water in the mixer bowl. After 5-10 minutes, when the yeast is really bubbly, add the flour and salt and knead the dough.
  2. Cover the dough with a towel and let rise for 30 minutes or until double in size.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Butter a pan. Roll the dough out on the counter into a 12 inch by 9 inch rectangle.and transfer to the pan or roll out directly on the pan. I use a baking sheet that is that exact size.
  5. Mix cinnamon and sugar together. Spread melted butter over the top of the breadsticks. Then evenly sprinkle the sugar mixture on top.
  6. When oven is preheated, bake for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Cut in half down the middle lengthwise and then into 8-10 strips.
  8. If desired, drizzle with powdered sugar that has been combined with just enough water or milk to reach desired consistency. 1-2 tablespoons, most likely.
Notes
Prep time includes letting the dough rise. The hands on prep time is honestly just 5 minutes.

My kids love these, so our family of 5 finishes off a batch with no problems. If you limit the serving size to just a couple of the half sticks, you can stretch it further.

To Double: double all ingredients except for the yeast. Use 1 tablespoon of yeast.

 

Originally published April 17, 2014. Updated July 19, 2020.

 

Easy Mexican Haystacks Recipe

mexican haystacks ready to eat on a place

This Mexican Haystacks recipe is the perfect easy, cheap, and customizable supper! I even make this vegetarian so it’s the perfect meal for meatless Monday. But if you want to add meat, you can easily do so!

My kids already love tacos, taco salad, and quesadillas so this is sure to be a kid friendly meal idea. They will love being able to build their own haystack with their favorite toppings! Build it yourself suppers are always the most fun for kiddos.

If you’ve never had these before, you simply start with a bed of rice, add some ranch style beans, and then finish with crushed chips and whatever toppings you’d like.

The ingredients for Mexican Haystacks on a table

Here are some ideas for your Mexican Haystacks:

  • cooked rice (brown or white)
  • ranch style beans
  • chips
  • shredded lettuce
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • avocado
  • cheese
  • olives
  • cilantro
  • tomatoes

If your family needs meat to make it a meal, brown up some ground beef and add it to the beans. You could also shred or dice some chicken cooked with taco seasoning or salsa. Like I said, this recipe is so easy to make fit the needs of your crew.

You can purchase a can of ranch style beans or you can do what I did and make your own! I’ll share how I made them in a post soon. Very easy and flavorful and you get to control the ingredients.

If you want to use salsa, be sure to check out this super easy and delicious recipe! It takes seconds to come together.

Plate and ingredients for Mexican Haystacks

Tortilla chips are my go to, but you could also use a Frito like chips. To make it healthier you could take corn tortillas and brush them with some oil, cut them into wedges, and bake until crispy. Whatever you prefer.

One more tip, I love using my rice cooker to make rice. It makes it easy and hands off. While the rice is cooking you will be able to get all your other ingredients ready. This is a 30 minute meal, so perfect for even busy weeknights.

Another great thing about this Mexican Haystacks recipe is that the leftovers are great. In fact, I always cook enough rice and beans and chop enough toppings that so that we can have it again the next night. Just store everything in separate small containers.

Now, on to the “recipe”!

Mexican Haystacks on a plate with a white text box and words

Yummy Mexican Haystacks Recipe

Easy Mexican Haystacks Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Tex Mex
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 4.5-6 cups cooked rice (approx 1.5-2 cup dry)
  • 3 cups ranch style beans (1 large can or use homemade)
Toppings
  • Chips
  • Lettuce, shredded
  • Tomatoes, diced
  • Cheese, shredded
  • Olives, sliced
  • Salsa
  • Cilantro
  • Onions, diced
  • Avocado, diced
Instructions
  1. Warm the beans and make sure the rice is cooking.
  2. Chop the toppings you want to use and put in individual dishes.
  3. Put rice on plate. Scoop beans over rice and finishing with desired toppings.
  4. Enjoy!
Notes
You will want between ¾ and 1 cup cooked rice per person!

 

What other easy Tex Mex recipes does your family enjoy? Any toppings you love to put on your Mexican Haystacks that I need to know about?

 

Easy Cucumber Tomato Salad With Balsamic

Close up of cucumber tomato salad in a bowl

My friends’ with gardens always seem to have an over abundance of tomatoes and cucumbers each summer. Seeing that I do not have a green thumb, I’m always more than willing to help them out. One of my favorite things to make with them is this delicious and easy tomato cucumber salad with feta and balsamic.

It is so good.

After all, how can you go wrong with a fresh cucumber tomato salad with balsamic.

The ingredients are simple:

  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes (preferably vine ripened)
  • Onions (red or another more mild onion)
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh basil
  • Feta cheese
  • Salt and pepper, of course

Ingredients for cucumber tomato salad on a cutting board

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There’s nothing not to love! Unless you are one who doesn’t like feta or onions or basil. If that’s the case, leave it out or swap it with a different ingredient and it will just be a tomato cucumber salad instead of tomato cucumber salad with feta. 😉

You could try these subs:

  • Oregano instead of basil.
  • Freshly grated Parmesan instead of the feta.
  • Apple cider vinegar instead of balsamic.
  • Adding sliced olives.

Isn’t that one of the great things about salads? They are so customizable!

It is also so easy.

You can have this cucumber tomato feta salad with balsamic done in 10 minutes. Honestly, that would probably include the time it takes to wash the dishes. 😉 All it takes is a little bit of cutting and a little pouring and you are done!

cucumber tomato salad with feta with a pink text box

Be sure to make it at least an hour before serving because it tastes best after the flavors are allowed to marinate for a while.

Let talk how to chiffonade basil! I taught my daughter what this meant when making the recipe together this weekend. It’s super easy. You stack the basil leaves on top of each other and then gently roll the pile together (roll from the long side). Next you slice the basil into thin ribbons using a sharp knife. A sharp knife is important, otherwise your basil will end up bruised.

One tool recommendation. A few years ago I received a microplane to use for garlic and ginger and I love it! I makes doing the garlic so easy in the recipe and also makes it paste like.

One more note, I never like to give exact salt amounts because everyone’s tastes are so different. Maybe start with a 1/4-1/2 teaspoon, taste and add more if needed.

I’ve made this salad pretty much always. Both of my girls love it (as long as I’m sure to use a more mild onion). In fact, I used to have to “fight” my oldest for it, when she was 3. It’s just that yummy.

It makes a delicious side dish to go with any grilled meat and wouldn’t it be a great salad for your 4th of July celebration.

I also love to eat this as my lunch (served on a bed of spinach is my favorite) and don’t ever tire of it.

Go make this! I hope you enjoy a yummy cucumber tomato salad with balsamic as much as we do.

Cucumber tomato salad with feta in a bowlYou might also be interested these recipes:

A fun side salad: Garbanzo Bean and Roasted Corn Salad
A main dish salad: Mandarin Salad

Cucumber Tomato Salad with Balsamic

Cucumber Tomato Salad with Balsamic
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 side servings
 
An easy and delicious cucumber tomato salad with feta and balsamic. It comes together in minutes and has lots of flavor.
Ingredients
  • 1 English cucumber or seeded regular cucumber (around 2.5 cups)
  • 3 vine ripened tomatoes (2.5-3 cups)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • ¼ cup minced onion (red or mild)
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • fresh basil (1/8 cups lightly packed chiffonade of basil)
  • 4 tablespoons feta cheese
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut the cucumber into fourths the long way and then slice. (Be sure to peel if you aren't using an English one.)
  2. Cut the tomatoes into bite sized chunks.
  3. Chiffonade the basil leaves.
  4. Add the garlic, onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, basil, and salt & pepper to the bowl. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.
  5. Sprinkle the feta cheese over the top of the dish.
  6. Refrigerate until serving.

Originally published June 2014. Updated May 2020.

cucumber tomato salad with feta in a bowl with white text boxpicture of cucumber tomato salad with green text boxoverhead shot of cucumber tomato salad with feta and balsamic in a bowl

Homemade Naan Recipe

Homemade naan recipe stacked on a plate

We love this delicious, simple homemade naan recipe! My kids frequently request it (and butter chicken).

Now, let’s get one thing straight. I’m not naive enough to think this is like what you’d get living in India or at an Indian restaurant but it’s still absolutely amazing and beats anything you can buy at the grocery store. (I’ve tried the premade kind from a large supermarket grocery store and was not impressed 😉 )

plate of cooked homemade naan

I love breads. Naan might top the list for me. I’ve been known on multiple occasion to go to an Indian restaurant and only order naan. On vacation one year, I saw in Indian option in a mall food court. Of course, I had to order naan. I don’t think the poor man could handle the thought of us sitting there eating plain naan and sent out a bowl of chicken curry as well. I didn’t complain about that all!

If you enjoy naan or even if you just enjoy bread, I hope that you’ll make this recipe! It’s perfect with butter chicken or a curry dish. It would also make a great wrap for sandwiches (check out this recipe for an Indian themed chicken sandwich), naan pizza, or even to snack on plain.

homemade naan dough balls resting on a plate

After kneading the dough together, you let it double in size and then divide into balls. Cover with a towel and again let them double in size.

homemade naan rolled out

After that second resting period, get your grill or skillet heating up and start rolling out your naan into circular or oblong shapes! Then then you are able to cook and enjoy this homemade naan recipe!

Garlic also makes a fantastic addition to naan! If garlic is your thing, be sure to turn this into a garlic naan recipe by microplaning or finely mincing some fresh garlic and kneading it into the dough. You can also infuse the butter you brush on top of the naan with garlic – perfection!

 

close up shot of a stack of homemade naan

Homemade Naan Recipe

4.7 from 3 reviews
Homemade Naan Recipe
Serves: 16 pieces
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3½ cups flour
  • Optional - 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • 2-4 tablespoons melted butter
Instructions
  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water and let sit until frothy.
  2. Add milk, baking soda, egg (poke the yoke several times after you add it to the bowl), salt, sugar, and 1 cup of flour.
  3. Add enough of the reminder of the flour to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic.
  4. Cover bowl and let rise until double in size. (Around 1 hour)
  5. If adding garlic, knead into the dough now. (Can also add to just part of the dough)
  6. Divide dough into 16 balls, cover with a towel and allow to double in size. (Around 30 minutes)
  7. Roll each ball into a fairly thin circle.
  8. Preheat grill or skillet (stainless steel or cast iron) to medium high. Make sure it's good and hot.
  9. Before cooking, turn heat to medium low.
  10. To cook, brush one side of naan with butter. Put buttered side down onto grill or skillet. It should bubble up right away. Brush top side with butter. One side will be done in a minute or two.
  11. Watch carefully - you don't want to over cook. When the bottom is golden brown in spots, flip and cook the other side.
  12. When finished, remove and stack on a plate. Cover with a towel to keep warm until all the naan in finished.

stack of simple and delicious homemade naan!

 

 

Easy and delicious naan. One of my favorite breads. You can make it in on the grill or a skillet.

Here it is after being cooked on the grill.

Easy and delicious naan. One of my favorite breads. You can make it in on the grill or a skillet.

This is when it’s cooked in a skillet.

Originally published March 12, 2014

Easy Butter Chicken

Bowl off easy butter chicken on a wooden board

This easy butter chicken recipe is so delicious! It’s my husband’s favorite Indian dish. Indian should probably be in quotation marks, because I’m sure this is a thoroughly Americanized version. But that’s okay, because everyone enjoys it!

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Another plus is that except for one ingredients, you probably already have everything in your kitchen or can grab it inexpensively at your local grocery store. So don’t the list of ingredients scare you! This easy butter chicken recipe is so simple and comes together quickly.

Plate with spices on it

Garam masala, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves.

What’s the one special ingredient? Garam masala. This spice mixture smells amazing. You can find it at an Indian store or even try to make your own blend. You’ll find flavors like cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon in the blend along with others! Doesn’t it sound intriguing?! Of course, it’s also available on Amazon!

You can also use garam masala in this delish appetizer: Indian Layer Dip.

Butter Chicken is a favorite in our house. It is even one of our go to options for company. Most of our guests haven’t had it before but this dish is loved by everyone.

Serve over rice (or cauliflower rice if you prefer). Of course it’s amazing with naan or you can simply have a salad or roasted broccoli to round out the meal.

pot of butter chicken on the stove

The leftovers taste just as amazing as the first day, so this is a meal you could prepare the night before and pull out and gently reheat on the stove while the rice is cooking on a Sunday after church.

Aren’t those types of meals the best?

You will want to be sure to check out this recipe for homemade naan, as well! The prepackaged super market variety doesn’t compare. My kids love it.

Easy Butter Chicken Recipe

A plate of easy butter chicken served over rice

4.5 from 2 reviews
Butter Chicken
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
Sauce
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 T. finely minced garlic or garlic paste
  • 1 T. finely minced ginger or ginger paste
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 2 t. garam masala
  • 1½ t. cumin
  • 1 t. chili powder
  • ¼ cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1½ cups tomato puree
  • 1½ cups half and half
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 t. salt
  • pepper
Chicken
  • oil
  • 1½ pounds chicken cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 t. garam masala
  • ⅛ t. cayenne pepper
  • salt
  • 1 T. arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • ¼ cup water
  • Cooked rice for serving
Instructions
Sauce
  1. In a large pan saute onions until tender. Add in ginger, garlic, butter, lemon juice, garam masala, cayenne, cumin, chili powder, and bay leaf.
  2. Cook until ginger and garlic are done.
  3. Add tomato puree and stir and heat through.
  4. Add in half and half and yogurt. Let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Adjust other seasonings if needed.
Chicken
  1. In a skillet heat a small amount of oil and brown chicken.
  2. Add garam masala, cayenne pepper, and a little salt
  3. Add a few spoonfuls of cooked sauce and let the chicken finish cooking.
  4. Add cooked chicken to the sauce mixture.
Finish
  1. Combine and arrowroot powder and water and add to the butter chicken. Cook until the mixture thickens and is heated through.
  2. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Bowl of butter chicken with a gray dish towel in the background