Easy Chips

Chips for snacking on can get expensive, and a lot are not very good for you.  You can make your own at home with leftover tortillas, warps and pita bread.

Grab any leftover type of flat bread that you have left over.  Preheat your oven to 375f.  Cut into triangles or any other shape that you might want and brush with olive oil.

At this point you can sprinkle on salt and herbs for flavoring.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15minutes until crisp.

You can enjoy your new tasty treats with hummus, salsa or any other dip.

Raising Frozen Dough

Sometimes you like to buy frozen bread dough from the grocery store, but it takes so long to thaw before you can use it.  And if you forget to take it out in the morning, it will never be ready by dinner time.  Here is a quick method for raising most frozen bread dough.

Grab a large crock pot. I have a 6 quart oblong that works great.  If you have a smaller crock pot it might require a bit more time or you might have a slightly misshapen loaf.

If you are using a loaf pan, grease the loaf pan and place the frozen dough in the pan and place in the crock pot.  Set to low and cover with the lid. Your dough should be doubled in bulk and ready for baking in about 2 hours.  Just remove the pan from your crock pot and place in preheated oven and bake according to package directions.

If you are not using a bread pan or are making rolls, grease the interior of the crock pot well.  Place some oil on your hands and generously grease the outside of your rolls or bread and place in the crockpot, leaving as much space between rolls as possible.  Cover with the lid and set to low.  Bread should be ready in about 2 hours, rolls should be ready in about an hour and a half.  Gently remove from the crock pot and place in well greased pan and pop in the oven to finish off in the oven according to package directions.

If you want to bake rolls directly in the slow cooker, this can be done in about 2 hours also.  Generously grease the inside of your slow cooker.  Place enough rolls in the bottom of your slow cooker that they cover the bottom, leaving about 1″ of space between the rolls.  Smaller crock pots can be as few as 4-5, larger crock pots can be as many as 10-12.  Cover and turn the heat onto high and let cook about 2 hours.

The tops will not be brown like if you baked in the oven, so be careful not to over cook or the bottoms can become dry and crunchy.

Raising Yeast Bread

You need to raise your bread, but you don’t really have a warm spot that you can use right now. Here is a tip for people who have a cooking stone.

While you are making your bread, preheat your oven to 350. When you have your bread ready to rise, turn off your oven and remove the stone. Place the stone on a rack or a pad and cover with a thick towel.

Now place your pan of bread onto the stone and let rise as normal. The heat from the stone will continue to radiate to rise your bread.

Square Biscuits

You love to make biscuits, but when you are making them round, toward the end they are fairly tough because you had to rework the dough so many times to make all the little circles.

You can easily make biscuits perfect every time by patting your dough out as normal, except grab a pizza cutter or a sharp knife.

Cut your biscuits into squares and transfer to your baking sheet and bake as normal.

Savory Pancakes

When you are making breakfast for your family, have a little bit of fun.

Fry up some bacon and break into small pieces.

Now just before adding your pancake batter to the griddle, drop on some bacon bits.

Pour on your batter and cook according to your recipe.

These make a savory treat in the morning for even the pickiest of eaters.

When is it Doubled?

When you are preparing your recipe, you see that it tells you to let the bread double in bulk.  How can you tell when it is doubled?

Find a large translucent container and drop your dough into it.  Using a grease pencil or a rubber band, indicate where the top of the dough is in the container right after placing it in.

Now after an hour or so, check on it and you should be able to easily tell when it is twice as bag as it was when you started.

Pizza Crust Creation

Your family loves pizza, and it is actually one of the healthier things that you can bake for dinner, but what can you do to make it tastier and healthier?

When making your own homemade pizza crust, try substituting one cup of wheat flour for your regular flour.  This will add a great texture and taste to your crust.  Your family will love it!

Self Rising Flour Expired

You have some self rising flour, but you notice that it is past the expiration date. Is it still good? Can you still cook with it?

Self rising flour has a leavening agent in it already. It is typically baking powder. If the flour is expired, there is a good chance that it will not perform as you would expect.

If you need to cook with it, be prepared that you may not get the results that you want. if you do not get the results that you are used to, you can use the flour in the place of regular flour in baking recipes, or you can try adding an extra teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of flour to give it a boost.

Stewing Over Stew

You want to make a stew but you don’t have any beef stew meat ready to go.

You can sometimes save some money by making your own. The best cut for stew meat is usually a roast or round steak. When you go shopping browse the sales and see what is available.

When you get it home simply cut off any extra fat or marbling and cut the meat into 1 inch squares. I will place appropriate servings into tightly sealed bags and freeze. Now when I am ready to make up a stew, I just grab a bag and it is ready to go.

Fortunately you can use almost any cut of beef, chicken or pork for a stew. If you have unexpected company it is a great meal to serve as it tastes great and it extends supplies that you already have.

For an even more impressing meal, locate some bread bowls or “cannon ball” style bread. Cut out off the top 1/4 of the bread, hollow it out, serving the bread that you remove from the bowl with spinache dip as an appetizer. When ready to serve, just spoon stew into the bowl and serve piping hot.

Croutons

You are making up a fabulous salad and you want to throw on some croutons. Don’t go out to the store and buy the stale ol’ box of croutons, make your own fresh, it is really simple.

Take out a few pieces of fresh bread, and using your pizza cutter or a sharp knife cut it into 1/2 inch cubes. Spread them out onto a shallow baking pan and bake in a 350ºf preheated oven for 30 minutes or so until they are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on wire racks.

If you want to spice it up a bit, melt a tablespoon of butter for each slice of bread and toss your bread cubes in it before baking.  Then toss in 1/4 tsp garlic powder and a dash of salt for each slice of bread.

If they got a little soggy, you can perk them up a bit before each use.  Reheat in a preheated 300º oven for 5-8 minutes until crisp again.

I allow about 2/3 piece of bread for each serving because I just love croutons!