Parkerhouse Rolls

These rolls are amazing! I made them for Thanksgiving and I can’t wait to make them again for Christmas dinner. I was worried a little during the “rise” process. The dough didn’t seem to double in size as fast as I thought it would. I gave it an extra 30 minutes and in that 30 minutes the dough finally doubled in size. What I love about this recipe is that you allow the dough to rise only once. After the initial rise you can start forming the rolls and bake them. That makes it nice when you are making them the same day as your dinner.

I have been wanting a go to recipe for rolls and I’m happy to say that I found it. They tasted even better the next day smothered in mayonnaise and left over turkey.

Parkerhouse Rolls:

  • 1 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 7 1/2 to 8 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus softened butter for brushing
  • 2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  1. Measure out 1/2 cup warm water and check the temperature: It should be between 110 degrees F and 120 degrees F (comfortable bathwater temperature). Sprinkle the yeast into a large bowl, add the warm water and whisk in the sugar. Let sit 1 minute (it should bubble and froth slightly), then gently stir in 1 cup flour. Set aside near the stove while you prepare the dough.

Make the dough.

  1. Mix the melted butter and milk in a mixer with the hook attachment on low speed. Add the eggs and mix until blended. Scrape in the yeast mixture and mix until incorporated. Add 6 1/2 cups flour and 1 tablespoon salt; mix until the dough forms a ball, 2 to 3 minutes, adding up to 1/2 cup more flour if the dough is too wet and sticky.
  2. Brush a large bowl with softened butter. Transfer the dough to the bowl, cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place, 2 hours to 2 hours, 30 minutes. The dough should double in volume.

Shape the dough and bake.

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dust a clean flat surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Flour your hands; gently press the dough into a 16-by-8-inch rectangle, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick (don’t use a rolling pin).
  2. With the short side in front of you, cut the dough in half lengthwise with a floured knife. Then slice crosswise into 12 strips.
  3. One at a time, fold each strip of dough unevenly in half so the top part slightly overlaps the bottom half, then tuck the overhang underneath. Place the rolls seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet in 3 tightly packed rows. (If making in advance, wrap the baking sheet tightly in plastic wrap and freeze up to 3 weeks.)
  4. Bake until the rolls are bursting at the seams and golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. (If frozen, bake 25 minutes at 325 degrees F, then 10 minutes at 375 degrees F.) Remove from the oven and brush with softened butter. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

Source: Alexandra Guarnaschelli via Food Network Magazine Nov Issue 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake

If you haven’t noticed, I am in love with pumpkin. I could have pumpkin every day and not bat an eye. So when I saw this pumpkin cheesecake in the latest Holiday Entertaining issue from Cook’s Illustrated, I knew I had to make it for Thanksgiving. The recipe may seem a little daunting, but it’s totally worth it! One of the steps is to remove the liquid from the canned pumpkin. You won’t believe how much liquid comes out! Releasing the liquid helps make the cheesecake to be not so dense. But, it’s very rich and a little slice goes a long way. This has now become my favorite cheesecake!

I also made a simple thing of whip cream by whipping up 3-4 cups of heavy whipping cream, 2 tbs powdered sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla. I beat it with a mixer till it was a stiff consistency, but not too stiff so it would become butter.


Pumpkin Cheesecake:


  • 5 ounces graham crackers (9 whole crackers), broken into large pieces
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted


  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar (10 1/3 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese , cut into 1-inch chunks and left to soften at room temperature, about 30 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • 5 large eggs , left at room temperature, about 30 minutes
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan evenly with nonstick cooking spray. Pulse crackers, sugar, and spices in food processor until evenly and finely ground, about fifteen 2-second pulses. Transfer crumbs to medium bowl, drizzle melted butter over, and mix with rubber spatula until evenly moistened. Turn crumbs into prepared springform pan and, using hand, spread crumbs into even layer. Using flat-bottomed ramekin or drinking glass, press crumbs evenly into pan bottom, then use a soup spoon to press and smooth crumbs into edges of pan. Bake until fragrant and browned about the edges, about 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.


  1. Bring about 4 quarts water to simmer in stockpot. Whisk sugar, spices, and salt in small bowl; set aside. To dry pumpkin (see illustrations below): Line baking sheet with triple layer of paper towels. Spread pumpkin on paper towels in roughly even layer. Cover pumpkin with second triple layer of paper towels and press firmly until paper towels are saturated. Peel back top layer of towels and discard. Grasp bottom towels and fold pumpkin in half; peel back towels. Repeat and flip pumpkin onto baking sheet; discard towel.
  2. In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat cream cheese at medium speed to break up and soften slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape beater and bottom and sides of bowl well with rubber spatula. Add about one third of sugar mixture and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute; scrape bowl and add remaining sugar in two additions, scraping bowl after each addition. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat at medium speed until combined, about 45 seconds; scrape bowl. Add 3 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 1 minute; scrape bowl. Add remaining 2 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 45 seconds; scrape bowl. Add heavy cream and beat at low speed until combined, about 45 seconds. Using rubber spatula, scrape bottom and sides of bowl and give final stir by hand.
  3. Set springform pan with cooled crust on 18-inch-square doubled layer heavy-duty foil and wrap bottom and sides with foil; set wrapped springform pan in roasting pan. Pour filling into springform pan and smooth surface; set roasting pan in oven and pour enough boiling water to come about halfway up side of springform pan. Bake until center of cake is slightly wobbly when pan is shaken, and center of cake registers 145 to 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1 1/2 hours (see note). Set roasting pan on wire rack and use paring knife to loosen cake from sides of pan. Cool until water is just warm, about 45 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath, discard foil, and set on wire rack; continue to cool until barely warm, about 3 hours. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.


  1. Slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cake onto serving platter. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.

Source: Cook’s Illustrated

Thanksgiving Wrap Up

Tomorrow, most of us will be surrounded by family and friends for Thanksgiving and telling each other what we are grateful for. One of the things I’m very grateful for is this blog and my readers. This year has been especially tough for my family. Some of you already know what has been going on and some don’t. For those who don’t, my husband lost his job back in March, which is why we have moved to be back around family. For that I’m also grateful for. I created this blog to keep me focussed on something other than the other things happening in my life. It’s been an amazing ride so far and I can’t wait to share more recipes and what is going on in my life with you. The feedback I’ve received has meant so much to me and it helps keep me driven to do better, not just for you the readers, but also for me. Thank you to all my readers!

If you have any questions, requests or anything you would like to see please email at I would love to hear from you!

Now for the Thanksgiving Wrap Up. I’ve compiled links to my favorite recipes for Thanksgiving. I truly hope you have a beautiful day this Thanksgiving.  If you are going shopping Friday morning for Black Friday like I am, good luck!

Baked Corn

Italian Style Stuffing with Sausage and Fennel

Green Rice

Sweet Potatoes with Apples

Apricot-Ginger Cranberry Sauce

Goat and Cheddar Cheese Ball

Pumpkin Mousse

Apple Crisp

Apricot-Ginger Cranberry Sauce

I love finding new ways to make cranberry sauce. A few weeks ago I picked up the Holiday Entertaining magazine by Cook’s Illustrated and saw this one. I was very excited to try it with the apricots and ginger.

At first the only thing that sorta freaked me out was that it called for cayenne pepper. Luckily, after trying it I didn’t have to worry. The cranberry sauce turned out really good, Cook’s Illustrated has never failed me. To grate the ginger use a microplane or the small holes in a box grater.

If you have never tried making cranberry sauce before, this is the one you must try. It’s very easy to put together and you can make it in advanced, which makes this even better.

Apricot-Ginger Cranberry Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped fine
  • 1/4 sugar
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 Cups apricot preserves (I used sugar free)
  • 1 12oz bag cranberries, picked through for stems
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  1. Bring water, apricots, sugar, salt, cayenne, and apricot preserves to boil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add cranberries, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer mixture until slightly thickened and two-thirds of berries have popped open, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add ginger and stir mixture to combine before transferring to serving bowl and cooling completely. Serve.

Source: Holiday Entertaining by Cook’s Illustrated

Goat and Cheddar Cheese Ball

Holidays are upon us and that means getting together with families and going to parties. One of the more popular things to serve at these gatherings are cheese balls. Instead of buying the processed kind at the store, make your own. It tastes better and doesn’t take long to make. This one combines some of my favorite cheeses, goat and sharp cheddar. You can use either the white or the orange cheddar, I used white. Make this at your next gathering, your guests or hosts will thank you.


Goat and Cheddar Cheese Ball:

  • 2 10oz blocks extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 4oz goat cheese logs, softened
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  1. Stir together all ingredients. Shape mixture into a ball. You can then shape the ball into a pumpkin, if desired. Use your fingertips to make the vertical grooves of the pumpkin. To make the stem use a braided pretzel and flat leaf parsley works well for the leaves. Serve with crackers.

Source: Southern Living Magazine

Sweet Potatoes and Apples Casserole

It took me till I was an adult to really enjoy what the sweet potato has to offer. When I was little I wouldn’t touch the sweet potato casserole even if it had marshmallows melted all over it. The first time I really tried the sweet potato casserole was when my mother-in-law made it. She put apples in it and I figured I’d go ahead and try it.

I was very happy I did, and surprised at how yummy it was. The apples, brown sugar and spices took it to another level. I’ve been making it this way ever since.

This recipe is very forgiving. I rarely go by a strict a recipe for this one. I tend to buy more canned yams than I need. One year I didn’t have enough to my liking but it still turned out ok. I use 3 apples and found that’s a good ratio to 2-3 large cans of canned yams. You can adjust the amount of yams as you make this.

Sweet Potatoes and Apples Casserole:

  • 2-3 40 oz cans Canned Yams, drained
  • 3 Apples, peeled and cored and diced in 1 inch cubes. I use Gala or McIntosh
  • 1/4 packed brown sugar ( I use splenda brown sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground or fresh nutmeg
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 bag small marshmallows
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a deep, medium size baking dish, set aside.
  2. Mix the brown sugar, Cinnamon, nutmeg, and apples together in a small bowl, set aside.
  3. Slice the yams into 1/2 inch rounds or cut the larger pieces into smaller pieces. Layer half the yams into the baking dish. Add the apple mixture and top with the remaining yams. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.
  4. Just before serving, pour as many of the marshmallows on top that you want, and bake for another 5 minutes or until the marshmallows get a golden brown. Serve.

Baked Fontina

I got the new Ina Garten “How Easy is That?” cookbook a couple weeks ago. When I saw this recipe I knew it would be perfect for the cheese party we were having with my sister-in-law and her husband. This would make a great appetizer for your Thanksgiving get together.

The next time I make this I might not add as much olive oil as the recipe calls for. We felt there was a bit too much. I will leave the recipe as is because some might be ok with that much oil. I used a shallow baking dish instead of a cast iron pan and it worked just fine. I don’t think there anything better than melted cheese and crusty bread to dip into it.

Baked Fontina:

  • 1 1/2 lbs Italian Fontina, rind removed and 1 inch diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbs minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 crust French baguette
  1. Preheat broiler and position oven rack 5 inches from the heat.
  2. Distribute the cubes of Fontina evenly in a 12 inch cast iron pan or shallow baking dish. Drizzle on the olive oil.
  3. Combine the garlic, thyme, and rosemary and sprinkle it over the cheese and olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place the pan under the broiler for 6 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling and starts to turn brown.
  5. Serve with the crusty French baguette

Source: How Easy is That by Ina Garten