Vanilla Extract!

The tandem post will be up later this week. I told Nance to just back off, because I’ve been meaning to put up a post about making your own vanilla extract for a really long damn time, and I need to just get it DONE. But making your own vanilla extract is so so so easy, you need to do it! Like, right now!

What you need:


You need to ignore how shitty these pictures are, for one. I threw my bottle of vanilla extract together in 5 minutes this morning, and wasn’t very careful about making things look pretty, so. Just deal with it.

I make my vanilla extract in bulk because I have plenty of room to store it, making it in bulk ensures that I’ll always have some on hand, and if I make it in bulk, I don’t have to do it again any time soon. So I use a 750 ml bottle of vodka, and a 375 ml bottle of dark rum. I got Absolut vodka and Bacardi rum. Are these good brands? I have NO clue. It wasn’t overly expensive, and that’s what matters – those are the brands I always use, probably because I recognize the names.

Also, obviously, you need vanilla beans. They don’t show up in the picture very well, but I got my beans – they’re Madagascar Vanilla Beans – from Olive Nation. They shipped quickly, arrived in a vacuum-sealed bag, and were nice, big fat vanilla beans. You can find perfectly good vanilla beans for less if you Google around, I’m sure, but that’s what I used and who I plan to use again in the future. You need 12 vanilla beans per 750 ml bottle. (Penzey’s is also a good place to get your vanilla beans.)

First thing, although I didn’t get a picture of this, you’re going to need to make room in the vodka bottle for the vanilla beans. So I dumped about 1/2 cup of the vodka into a (clean) canning jar which I covered and put in the cabinet, because I didn’t want to toss it or use it for cleaning (did you know you could use vodka for cleaning? That’s what I hear!) or give it to the cats (oh, cool your jets. I’m not feeding alcohol to my cats. They’re mean drunks.)

Next thing, using a sharp knife and a cutting board, cut your vanilla bean down the center, leaving it attached at the top.


Then pop it in the bottle.


Do the same with the remaining 11 vanilla beans.


If you want to (and don’t want to buy the bottle of rum), you could stop here. I like adding a bit of rum to the bottle, though, because it makes it a bit darker. I mean, your extract is going to get dark on it’s own as it ages, but it doesn’t hurt to have the rum add a bit of color to the whole shebang. All I did was fill the bottle the rest of the way up with rum. How much you add is up to you, but I’d guess that I added around 1/4 c, maybe a little less.


Then shake your bottle, mark the date on it (I use a sticker on the bottom), and put it in a cool, dark place. Every time you happen to catch sight of the bottle (or every few days), grab it, shake it up, and put it back. In two months, you’ll have the perfect bottle of vanilla extract! You can leave it in the big bottle (like I do) or you can divide it up into smaller bottles. Whatever works for you works for me!

This is the bottle I’m currently using, and according to the sticker on the bottom I made it in February 2011. I go through vanilla fairly quickly, though, so I’m sure the only reason I’m still using a bottle I made 3 years ago is because I made several bottles at once.


So, there you go. That’s how I make it – you don’t have to use vodka and rum, you could use bourbon or brandy or even just all rum. The vodka/rum combo is what I always use, because it’s what I like.

I’ll include the proportions so that you can make a 2-ounce bottle of vanilla extract, if you prefer. I know not everyone goes through vanilla as quickly as I do!

Vanilla Extract!
: Extract!
  • Making a 2-ounce bottle:
  • ¼ c. (less 2 T.) vodka (use the full ¼ c. if you're NOT using the rum)
  • 2 T dark rum (optional)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • ---------------------------------
  • Making a 750 ml bottle:
  • 750 ml vodka
  • 375 ml (or less) dark rum (optional)
  • 12 vanilla beans
  1. Making the 2-ounce bottle:
  2. Pour your vodka into a small jar or bottle
  3. Cut your vanilla bean in half, leaving it attached at the top
  4. Place cut vanilla bean in jar with vodka
  5. Add rum (if you're using it)
  6. Shake well, keep in a dark, cool place, and shake every time you see/think of it. Let age for about 2 months before using.
  7. --------------------------------------------------------
  8. Making the big bottle:
  9. Remove ¼ - ½ c. vodka from the 750 ml bottle, to make room for the vanilla beans; set aside.
  10. Cut all 12 vanilla beans down the center, leaving them attached at the top.
  11. Place the vanilla beans in the bottle of vodka
  12. Fill the bottle the rest of the way up with dark rum, if you're using it. Otherwise, fill it up with the vodka you set aside.
  13. Shake well, place in a dark, cool place, and shake it every time you see the bottle, at least every few days.
  14. Let age for 2 months before using. (When it's done aging, you can leave the extract in the big bottle or separate it into smaller bottles.)


Woohoo Chicken Tortilla Soup – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Woohoo Chicken Tortilla Soup. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.  The recipe was submitted by reader Kim, who lurks at us from Illinois.

Robyn’s Take:

This recipe, as mentioned above, was submitted by reader Kim in Illinois, who told us she’s a longtime lurker. The recipe came from her mother (Carolyn), who got it from someone she worked with. So basically, we don’t really know where it originated. Kim knows that if the copyright people come after us I’ll roll over on her so fast she won’t know what hit her, and she’s okay with that.

This recipe looked simple enough, and y’all KNOW I AM ALL ABOUT THE SIMPLE. Also, it’s on the Mexican side of the menu. Fred loves Mexican food the way I love Asian food, so I didn’t even have to ask him if he’d be interested. It was an automatic “HELLS YES.”

Your ingredients:

Chicken Tortilla Soup (1)

Cooked chicken, shredded. Chicken broth, Ro-tel, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn, zucchini, onion, garlic, cumin. Salt and pepper. Monterey Jack cheese (I couldn’t find pre-shredded, so had to buy the block and shred it my own damn self.)

A note on the chicken – Kim mentioned that this would be a good recipe to use my canned chicken with. And it certainly would – but I ran out of canned chicken some months back, and haven’t gotten around to canning more. Luckily I had plenty of whole chickens in the freezer, so the day before I made this, I roasted a whole chicken, and used all the meat off of that. You could also buy a rotisserie chicken, or just use the 4 – 6 chicken breasts that the recipe calls for.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (2)

Saute your onion and garlic in a large dutch oven/pot until the onion is translucent. While that was going on, I took the opportunity to dice my zucchini.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (3)

I could have diced it a bit smaller, I suppose, but WHATEVAH.

Then just dump everything (except the cheese and chips) into the pot. Stir, and simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Kim mentioned that she likes her soup soupy rather than stewy. We’re more of a stew-loving household, so I only added one carton of chicken broth to the pot.

This is what it looked like before it started simmering.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (4)

While it simmered, I shredded my cheese. I didn’t shred any of the skin on my hand, which I’m pretty sure must be a Christmas miracle.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (5)


Then I went and snorgled Chef Tony until he smacked me and told me to let him snooze.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (6)

When the soup is ready, dump it into bowls, top with chips and cheese, and eat.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (8)

The verdict? Thumbs way, way up. We ate it for dinner twice, and then Fred claimed the leftovers for lunches for the better part of the week. We’ll definitely be making this again. Thanks for the submission, Kim!

PS: The recipe called for 2 teaspoons of cumin. I only used one, because cumin is a stinky, stinky spice. The fact that the soup was good despite the presence of cumin means that either I’m outgrowing my cumin hatred or it was a really good recipe. Probably both.


Nance’s Take:
I have a recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup that I seldom make because it’s full of calories and fat grams.  When I saw the word zucchini in this recipe I just assumed it would be a whole lot healthier than my cheese laden one.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
This is what happens when you see the word zucchini and don’t bother to read the rest of the recipe.  I figured throwing grated zucchini in there would make it gross so I left it out.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
I love a one pan/pot meal.  Well, one pot and a baking sheet.  Close enough.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
I baked my chicken (425 for 30 minutes) and it was hand shredded on-site. Don’t you just love pretentious snobby cooking blogs? I’ve been reading some lately and OHMYGAWD, what a bunch of bitches! Seriously. I know that they are trying to make a career out of whatever it is they feed their family, but Oy to the Vey. I bet Amanda just loves the shit outta them because they can make a production out of a piece of toast.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
I tossed everything in and walked away so it could do it’s thing.Chicken Tortilla Soup
Blurry picture, but it definitely shows the purpose of a dog. Who else is going to pick up what lands on the floor? The Beagle was hoovering big time.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Waldo is always in the middle of everything. He even stands behind my mom with the 3 dogs while she gets their food ready. Poor little guy is so slow he has no idea what’s going on…he just knows he doesn’t want to miss it.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
I thought it looked fabulous.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Chicken Tortilla Soup
I didn’t have any tortillas so I had to improvise.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
The Beagle is hopeful, but I can’t even give her a Frito since she’s grain-free. Don’t feel bad. Shirley scrambles eggs for them (with cheese) and they get chicken and other meats. It makes my husband crazy because we buy special (expensive) food for them and Shirley can’t just give that to them. They have to have a little something to go with it. And I should probably note that Alex (her grandson) was here this week and she did not cook anything for him. Animals are winning.

The verdict?  Well, we didn’t care for it.  But…

My son, Trey ate the hell out of it and finished off all of the leftovers!  I remember reading that Kim’s son loves it so it must be some kind of crack for teenage boys. I’m keeping this recipe.

Woohoo Chicken Tortilla Soup - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
: Entree
Cuisine: Souplandia!
Serves: 6-8
  • 4 - 6 cooked chicken breasts, shredded (or the meat from 1 small chicken)
  • 2 32 ounce cartons chicken broth (use less if you prefer a thicker soup; I only used one carton)
  • 1 10 ounce can Ro-tel diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 1 14 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 12 ounce cans corn, drained
  • 2 - 3 medium zucchini, cut into large dice
  • 1½ c. chopped onion
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 2 tsp cumin (use less, if preferred)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Crushed tortilla chips
  1. Saute onion and garlic in a large dutch oven/pot until onion is translucent.
  2. Dump everything except the cheese and chips into the pot. Stir, and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
  3. Ladle into bowls and top with cheese and chips.


Simple Spinach Salad

The tandem post will be up later this week.

To tide you over, I’m sharing the recipe for a salad that we have pretty much every year at Christmas. We always spend Christmas Eve at Fred’s father and stepmother’s house (we spend Christmas Eve morning with Fred’s mother and stepfather at our house for breakfast), and we usually have spaghetti and meatballs or lasagna (I grew up eating a turkey dinner type meal for Christmas, so this was kind of weird to me the first few times). We almost always have this spinach salad with that meal, and since I’m a fan of raw spinach (forget the nutritional benefits – I just LIKE it; I know, I’m weird), I finally asked for the recipe so we could occasionally have it through the year.

It’s a salad you make ahead, and it’s even fairly good (though wilted) the next day. You can’t save it for longer than that, though – it gets way too shriveled and wilted to eat, though I guess you could always pick out the mushrooms and eat those (okay, you CAN do that – I don’t know why I’m acting like I’ve never done that.)

The ingredients:

Spinach Salad (1)

Sliced mushrooms (you could always buy whole mushrooms and slice them, if that’s what floats your boat), spinach (I use baby spinach), red wine vinegar, minced garlic, spinach, salad oil (I use olive oil). Not pictured: salt and pepper.

First, whisk the red wine vinegar, salt, garlic, and pepper together in a plastic dish.

Spinach Salad (2)

Add the mushrooms, toss, and let marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so.

Put your spinach in a big plastic container, toss with the olive oil.

Spinach Salad (3)

Add the marinated mushrooms (including any marinade left in the dish) to the spinach, toss, and then chill for a couple of hours.

Spinach Salad (5)

This stuff is so good and so easy, I hope you give it a try and like it as much as we do  – I’m looking forward to having it again next week!

Simple Spinach Salad
Prep time
Total time
: Side dish, Salad
Cuisine: Italian? (We always eat it with Italian food, so that's what I'm guessing)
Serves: 4
  • 3 T. red wine vinegar
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic (or more, if desired), minced fine
  • freshed cracked black pepper to taste
  • 8 oz (or more) sliced mushrooms
  • 1 lb spinach (I recommend baby spinach), washed and dried (or just dump it into the bowl from the bag. I won't tell!)
  • ¼ c. salad oil (I use olive oil)
  1. Whisk red wine vinegar, salt, garlic, black pepper together in a plastic dish with a lid. Add mushrooms, toss, and let marinate in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Toss the spinach and oil together in a large bowl with a lid. Add the marinaded mushrooms and marinade. Toss, chill, and serve.
  3. The amounts of oil and vinegar can be adjusted to taste; the amounts listed in this recipe are just our personal preferences.


Carrot Cake

The tandem recipe will be up later this week!

Back in the early part of this year (before his birthday in May), Fred saw a recipe entitled “Best. Carrot. Cake. Ever.”, and sent me the link to the recipe at Baby Gizmo, asking me to make it for his birthday. I did, and we both agreed that this cake is SO FRIGGIN’ GOOD that we (and by “we” I mean “I”) would be making it many more times.

Of course, the first time I made it I failed to take pictures of it, so y’all have been without this fantastic recipe due to my inadequacies as a food blogger (I almost referred to myself as a “food blogger” without rolling my eyes. ALMOST, I say. Okay, I didn’t even come close – I rolled my eyes so hard I got dizzy and almost passed out.) Last week was Thanksgiving, and when we were tasked with the job of bringing dessert to Thanksgiving, this is the cake that came immediately to mind.

(We also brought Sweet Potato Casserole and sauteed kale. I don’t have a recipe for the sauteed kale. It’s kale. You saute it. DUH.)

Firstly, gather your ingredients. These are just the ingredients for the cake part itself – there’s a whole other picture of the ingredients for the buttermilk glaze, and then a kind of half-assed picture of the ingredients for the frosting. (Why whole-ass it when you can half-ass it, I always say!)

Carrot Cake (2)

Flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, buttermilk, vanilla, shredded carrots, crushed pineapple, flaked coconut, chopped walnuts.

But wait! Before you make your cake, you must line two round 9-inch cake pans with wax paper, then lightly grease them. I don’t know if y’all know this, but the best and easiest way to line cake pans with wax paper is to lay the cake pan on top of the wax paper, trace around it with a pencil, and then cut just inside the line. Voila! Perfectly sized! I greased the pans with Baker’s Joy spray, because it’s easy.

Stir your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon) together in a bowl and set it aside.

Carrot Cake (3)

Then beat your eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla together until you have a smooth batter. Add the flour mixture (beat it on low, because you don’t want that shit to scatter everywhere). Fold in the carrot, coconut, pineapple, and walnuts (by the way, I expect that pecans would work pretty well in this recipe, too.)

Divide the batter between your two prepared pans, and bake. Now, here is where I ran into an issue. The recipe says to bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean. It took 43 minutes for my cakes to be done. Checking the comments of the original recipe, other people ran into that same problem, so the printable recipe at the bottom is going to tell you to bake your cakes for 40 – 45 minutes.

While your cakes are baking, it’s time to make the buttermilk glaze. The ingredients:

Carrot Cake (5)

Sugar, baking soda, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup, vanilla.

Carrot Cake (6)

Throw everything but the vanilla in a heavy pot over med-high heat. Bring it to a boil, stirring every now and then. Once it’s boiling, boil for 4 minutes, stirring often. It’ll get all bubbly and turn a golden brown color.

Carrot Cake (7)

When the four minutes of boiling is up, remove it from the heat, and stir in the vanilla.

Carrot Cake (8)

When the cakes come out of the oven, pour the buttermilk glaze over the cakes. I used about 2/3 of the glaze – just cover each cake with a nice, thick glaze but don’t flood them.

Carrot Cake (9)

Leave the glazed cakes in the pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Then remove the cakes from the pans and let them cool completely on the wire racks.

Now here’s a tip from me to you – when you dump the cakes out of the pans, immediately turn them back over so that they’re top-side (sticky-side) up. Otherwise, the top of the cakes are going to stick to the wire racks and you’re going to be SO annoyed.

Carrot Cake (10)

If I had flipped this over, there would have been 75% less cursing in my kitchen when it came time to frost the cake.

*Note: the original recipe has you slice each layer in half, so that you end up with 4 layers. I didn’t do that, because I didn’t think it was necessary. You can do it if you want to, but I don’t really see the point. Ordinarily I’d be like “you get more frosting in each piece that way!”, but no. It’s pretty perfect with two layers.

Once the layers are cool, time to make the frosting! Ingredients:

Carrot Cake (11)

Softened butter, softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla.

Carrot Cake (12)

Beat the cream cheese and butter together until they’re creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Add more sugar if need be – I ended up adding about another 3/4 cup of sugar before it was at the consistency I wanted.

Slap down one layer and frost it…

Carrot Cake (13)

Then the second layer.

Carrot Cake (14)

Fred was in charge of the frosting because I had other shit to do. I suggested that he color the frosting and pipe a little carrot on top to show everyone how fancy we are, but he didn’t do it. Hmph.

Carrot Cake (15)

So. Friggin’. YUMMY. And it was a hit at Thanksgiving dinner!

Carrot Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cuisine: Is carrot cake a Southern thing? It might be!
Serves: 12
  • Cake:
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 lg eggs
  • 2 c. sugar
  • ¾ vegetable oil
  • ¾ c. buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 c. grated carrots
  • 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 3½ oz flaked coconut
  • 1 c. chopped walnuts
  • Buttermilk Glaze:
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ c. buttermilk
  • ½ c. butter
  • 1 T light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • ¾ c. butter, softened
  • 12 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 c. powdered sugar
  • 1½ tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Line 2 9-inch round cake pans with wax paper; lightly grease and flour (or use Baker's Secret spray.)
  3. Stir together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl; set aside.
  4. Beat eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk and vanilla at medium speed until smooth. Add flour mixture (beating at low speed) until blended. Fold in carrot, coconut, pineapple, and walnuts.
  5. Divide batter between prepared cake pans.
  6. Bake at 350ºF for 40 - 45 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.
  7. WHILE CAKE IS BAKING, make Buttermilk Glaze. Bring sugar, baking soda, buttermilk, butter and corn syrup to boil in heavy pot over med-high heat. Boil, stirring often, for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  8. When cakes are done baking, drizzle Buttermilk Glaze evenly over the top of the two cakes. Use about ⅔ of the glaze.
  9. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 15 minutes. Then remove from pans and flip over so that they are sticky-side up (so cake won't stick to racks as they cool). Cool completely.
  10. Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat butter & cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. Add more sugar, if needed, to reach desired consistency.
  11. When layers are completely cool, spread with cream cheese frosting.


Kung Pao Chicken

The tandem post will be up later this week!

A few weeks ago, Paula submitted this Kung Pao Chicken recipe (original recipe can be found at All Recipes; printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post) as a possible future tandem post. Since I think we ALL know that Nance is pretty much over Asian recipes at this point (she’s a hater), I snatched it up for myself, and told Nance she was excused.

I think y’all have come to know that I am ALL ABOUT the Asian food.

I have no picture of all the ingredients for this post, because I kind of tossed it together in a half-assed manner, as I am wont to do. So here’s a picture of the marinade.

Kung Pao Chicken (1)

And here’s a picture of the marinade being poured over a pound of cut up boneless skinless chicken breast pieces.

Kung Pao Chicken (2)

See that bottle or Sriracha sitting over there to the right? Well, see, the recipe calls for “hot chile paste.” The problem is that although we have a pretty decent “ethnic foods” section at our grocery store, I could not find one single bottle that was labeled “hot chile paste.” Paula told me that she ended up using Sriracha instead, and since the bottle of Sriracha is labeled “hot chile sauce”, I figured it was good enough.


After we had the Kung Pao Chicken (spoiler: we both liked it), Fred did some looking around online and found that the Kikkoman Sriracha is like 100 times hotter than the Huy Fong Foods version. The next time we were in the grocery store, we bought the Huy Fong Sriracha, and that’s the kind I’ll use next time we have Kung Pao Chicken, because the Kikkoman Sriracha – even though I used half of the amount called for in the recipe – was WAY too hot for my delicate self and in fact was a bit too hot for Fred, who is a lover of hot foods.

While my chicken was marinating, I mixed up the sauce and chopped the green onions.

Once the marinades and sauces are made and the chicken is done marinading, it all comes together pretty quickly. In one pan you cook your chicken, in the other you heat your sauce slowly until it’s aromatic. This is what the sauce looks like as it’s heating:

Kung Pao Chicken (4)

Once the chicken is cooked through, you add it to the sauce (assuming the sauce is “aromatic” by the time the chicken is cooked through, and I will be honest, I’m not exactly sure my sauce was all that “aromatic”, all I can tell you is that it was well heated, and I wasn’t up for sticking my face in the pan and taking a big sniff, so I called it good enough). Then you let it simmer until the sauce thickens.

Kung Pao Chicken (5)

And then you spoon it over rice and eat it.

Kung Pao Chicken (6)

Like I said up there, we liked this a LOT and will absolutely be eating it again. Next time I make it, I’ll cut my chicken pieces smaller (that’s just a personal preference on my part), and I’ll likely double the amount of sauce because I like it saucy.

A++, will eat again, thanks for the submission, Paula!

PS: The original recipe calls for chopped peanuts, which I left out because when I mentioned it to Fred, he made the “That sounds gross” face.

Kung Pao Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
: Entree
Cuisine: Asian (DUH)
Serves: 4
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast halves - cut into chunks
  • 2 T white wine (I used chicken broth instead)
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 2 T Sesame oil, divided
  • 2 T cornstarch, dissolved in 2 T water
  • 1 oz hot chile paste (I used Sriracha, and used ½ ounce)
  • 1 tsp distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 T chopped garlic
  • 1 (8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts
  • 4 oz chopped peanuts (optional)
  1. To make marinade: combine 1 T wine (or chicken broth), 1 T soy sauce, 1 T sesame oil, and 1 T. cornstarch/ water mixture and mix together. Place chicken pieces in dish or bowl and add marinade. Toss to coat. Cover dish and put in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  2. -------------------------------------------------------
  3. To make sauce: in a small bowl combine 1 T. wine (or chicken broth), 1 T soy sauce, 1 T oil, 1 T cornstarch/ water mixture, chili paste (or Sriracha), vinegar, and sugar. Mix together and add green onion, garlic, water chestnuts, and peanuts. In a medium skillet, heat sauce slowly until aromatic.
  4. ----------------------------------------------------------
  5. Meanwhile, remove chicken from marinade and saute in a large skillet until meat is white and juices run clear. When sauce is aromatic, add sauteed chicken to it and let simmer together until sauce thickens.


Cheesy Bacon Chicken Casserole – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Cheesy Bacon Chicken Casserole. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.  The original recipe can be found over at The Coers Family.

Robyn’s Take:

This week’s recipe was submitted by Jai. (We have so many reader-submitted recipes in the queue that for the time being we’re going to do reader-submitted recipes every week. That might change in the future, we’ll see how it goes.)

Your ingredientses:

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Bake 1

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, bacon, cream of chicken soup, Monterey Jack cheese, spiral pasta, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.

The first thing you need to do is make your bacon. Luckily, there’s a simple step-by-step instructional post on the easiest way to make bacon in the oven. You don’t have to make your bacon like that, if you don’t mind walking around with spatters of bacon all over your shirt front and tiny little burned-oil spots on your hands and arms, then you go on with your bad self and make your bacon on the stovetop. You could also make it in the microwave. Whatever works for you works for me. You do what you feel is right (even if it’s wrong.) No judgement here! Who am I, Amanda? As long as you don’t make me clean up the grease spatters, I don’t care how you make your bacon.

(But if you’re making your bacon in the oven, these cooling racks are perfect. I actually got that cooling rack as part of a package – a “value pack” – but I like that cooling rack way more than the stackable ones I’ve had forever and which are kind of flimsy. Also, what’s the point of having stackable cooling racks when you never actually stack them?)

While the bacon is cooking, chop your chicken into bite-sized pieces.

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Bake 2

Raw chicken! Is there anything less appetizing? I don’t think so.

Also, at some point, make your pasta using the directions on the back of the box. I think I waited ’til the bacon was done to put the pot on, but then I was stuck waiting for the pasta to be done cooking. Kitchen timing: I suck at it.

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Bake 3

When your bacon is done, put it on paper towels to cool so that you don’t burn your fingers when you crumble it, and then dump all (or at least some) of the bacon fat from the cookie sheet you baked the bacon on, into a large skillet. Let it heat, and then toss your chicken in there.

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Bake 4

While the chicken is cooking, once your bacon has cooled, crumble it into smallish pieces. Try not to cram it all in your face instead, because then you won’t have it for the casserole and then everyone will be very very sad.

When the chicken is cooked through and your pasta is cooked and drained, then throw everything (chicken, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, cream of chicken soup, pasta) except the bacon and 1 cup of the Monterey Jack into the pot you used to make your pasta. Mix it together well.

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Bake 6

Once it’s well mixed, dump it into a 9×13″ baking dish, which you have already sprayed with cooking spray.

Sprinkle the top evenly with your crumbled bacon, and then top with your remaining 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese.

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Bake 7

Bake until the cheese is melted and starting to brown on the top. I might have let mine bake a little too long.

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Bake 8

While it’s cooling enough to be eaten, go snuggle with your resident ham-hog kitty.

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Bake 9
“I know you gots bacon in there.”

Annnnd then eat it.

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Bake 10

The verdict? I wasn’t crazy about it, and I don’t know why. I like all the components that went into it, but just didn’t really care for it all together. IT IS A MYSTERY. Fred said it best when he said that it was “Edible, but not memorable.” In other words, he’ll eat it if it’s put in front of him, but he’d never ever ask for it.

I won’t be making it again (and the way things usually go around here, Nance will be all “OMG BEST THING EVER, A++++!” Damn her.)


Have a recipe you want us to make? Check out this page (there’s also a link to that page up there under the banner) and follow the instructions to submit a recipe!


Nance’s Take:

Everybody in the house loved this recipe.  Oops…Spoiler!

Come on. We knew this recipe would not be a fail since it had bacon, cheese, chicken and pasta in it. My bitch was not with the taste, but the fact that your ass will be stuck in the kitchen for a while making it.  Casseroles are suppose to be EASY.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

You have to fry the bacon in a skillet. I didn’t do it because Shirley is the queen of frying bacon. Had Shirley not been around I would have used Robyn’s baken method. And if it would have messed up my stove I would have made Robyn fly up here and clean it. She needs to come visit anyway.  We’ve got things to talk about. Like how to avoid the fucking Food Blogging Illuminati and shit.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

This part upset me because I am trying to watch what I eat and damn, frying chicken up in bacon grease just got to me. Shirley didn’t drain the bacon grease out before she did this so those motherfuckers were deep fried in bacon grease. If I have a heart attack, MOM.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

My mother drives me ape-shit because she never uses the right tools when she’s cooking. Here she is frying chicken with a bowl scraper/spatula that you use for cake mixing and such. I have no idea how I learned to cook when I have a mother like this. Thank God for cable and cooking shows.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

Shirley was handling the casserole because I was busy doing other things. Rick came home from a work trip with goodies! A massive amount of pretzels from a pretzel factory in Reading, Pa.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

I don’t have a banana for scale, but I do have the husband. That’s a lot of motherfucking pretzels, man! And oh my God, so freaking good.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

I suppose it should be noted that I once again over-cooked the pasta. Remember that kitchen trick where people say to throw spaghetti at the wall? WTF? I never understood it. If I threw food at the wall, Shirley would kick my ass. No throwing food, dammit.

I know those aren’t Rotini. I have 10,000 boxes of pasta back on my shelf and not one of them was Rotini (we call them springs).  I made an executive decision to USE WHAT I HAVE because The Beagle killed my money tree* this summer.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

Here’s a little secret nobody knows about me. I have never crumbled bacon in my life. I have always used kitchen scissors. I cannot even fathom what crumbling bacon is like and I don’t want to find out.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

Uh-oh, a cat creeping up on my bacon!  KILL IT.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

You throw everything into a bowl and mix it together. Shirley used her bowl scraper/spatula again. GAWD.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

And then you throw it into the casserole dish. That’s not hard at all.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

Bacon and another freaking cup of cheese go on top.  Now toss that bad boy in the oven for 20 minutes.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

Beagle is always appalled at how much bacon is wasted on The Humans. This picture was snapped while she was trying to get that bacon-creeping cat to play with her.  It did not end well and feelings were hurt.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

Everybody got really excited when this came out of the oven. Rick was especially excited because he loves it when the cheese gets brown. Yes, those are more bags of pretzels back there.  I wonder when I’ll start craving potato chips.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

It’s not a pretty dish, but it tasted really good (of course!). My problem is that this reminds me of a dish Pioneer Woman would make and that pretty much sums up why it’s not going into our rotation. It’s just too much for me to be comfortable serving on the regular.  My family drives me crazy, but I wanna keep them around for at least a little while longer.


* Vet bills are a bitch so I’ve been staying at home and window shopping via the Internet.  As I come across things that I think are interesting or unique, I’ll post them as an affiliate link here.  Robyn and I want beach mansions so feel free to shop till you drop, baby!  

Flexible measuring cups – They’re microwaveable (melting butter or cheese). And I love the idea of having control when I’m pouring something.  Okay, honestly.  I want these because I think they’ll be perfect to drizzle butter all over my popcorn. I really like popcorn.

This Breakfast Sandwich Maker is the shits!  I would totally get this for Trey if he would ever decide what he wants to do with his life.  Trade school, college…COME ON, man!  Perfect gift for that male (or female) that doesn’t have much of a clue in the kitchen.  I just think it’s neat.

If you’re making a sandwich without a spreader, you’re doing it wrong.  Look, I spent 40 years making sandwiches and smearing butter all over my toast with a butter knife and dammit, they are useless.  Get one of these and you’ll realize how pathetic your life really was before I told you what to do.  Make sure you buy two because you’re going to be pissed if one’s in the dishwasher when you’re wanting to make a sandwich.

Chop and Drop Silicone Cutting Boards.  Where have you been all of my life? God, I’ve had Shirley dropping raw chicken all over my hands while trying to put it in freezer bags for years.  I had no idea, but you can bet your ass I’m asking Santa for this.

Bwahaha.  The Squatty Potty.  Robyn told me about this one because we both listen to Keith and the Girl and The Girl talks about how she uses a waste basket to lift her feet up when she goes to the bathroom.  And this is where you have to ask yourself the most important question of all.  Do you throw your pride out the window in order to take a better shit?   Hmm.  What Would DCEP Do?


Cheesy Bacon Chicken Casserole - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
: Entree
Cuisine: Casserolandia
Serves: 8
  • 4 - 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 16 oz dried spiral pasta
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook bacon. While the bacon is cooking, cut chicken into small bite-sized pieces.
  2. When the bacon is done cooking, set aside to cool. When bacon is cool, crumble it into small pieces.
  3. Cook the cut-up chicken in bacon drippings (if you made your bacon in the oven, just dump the grease from the baking pan into a large skillet.)
  4. Add garlic powder. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. While the chicken is cooking, prepare pasta according to the directions on the back of the box.
  6. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot you cooked it in.
  7. Add chicken, both cans of cream of chicken soup, 1 cup of cheese. Stir together well.
  8. Spray 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray; pour chicken mixture into dish. Top with crumbled bacon and then with remaining 1 cup of cheese.
  9. Bake at 400 for 15 - 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and beginning to brown on top.



There’ll be no tandem post this week. To tide you over ’til next week, let’s talk about bacon. BACOOOOOOOOOOON.

Until we had our first pigs processed, I was never a fan of bacon. I mean, I’d eat a piece now and then, but if given the choice, I always preferred sausage. Preferably in the form of links. Also, I thought that I preferred my bacon on the chewier side rather than on the crisp side.


We had our first pigs processed, and we got all these packs of bacon. And I was like “What the what am I supposed to do with THIS SHIT? Are we supposed to CURE this shit? I DON’T EVEN LIIIIIIKE BACON, WAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” (Jesus, what a whiny bitch.)

And then Fred was all “Well, the guy said that uncured bacon is THE BOMB, just cook it like you would regular bacon, and let’s try it!”

I was skeptical – I am ALWAYS skeptical, it should be my middle name – but I gave it a try. I fried up some bacon, and LO. It was AWESOME.

Then someone suggested that I cook it in the oven, under the broiler, and I liked that a LOT because I hate it when bacon grease spatters all over the stove top and the floor in front of the stove. I swear, I can scrub up the bacon grease with all kinds of grease-cutting cleaners, and we still go skating for weeks when we hit the spot in front of the stove.

The problem with making the bacon in the oven under the broiler is that the grease that is no longer spattering all over your stove top and floor is now splattering all over the inside of your oven. AND YOUR OVEN DOESN’T LIKE IT. I didn’t actually set off the smoke alarm while making bacon under the broiler, but it was only because I would run the ceiling fan on high and open the kitchen windows.

AND. THEN. I was browsing around on Pinterest as I am wont to do, and I saw a post someone did. I would be VERY happy to provide a link to that LIFE SAVING post, but the piece of paper I printed it out on was PEED UPON by a GODDAMN CAT, and so I have zero clue where it came from. If it was yours, let me know and I’ll credit you! (I did do an “oven bacon” search on Pinterest, and found 75 zillion posts, so apparently I’m the only one in the entire world who didn’t know about this method of making bacon.)

I’ve been making bacon this way for a couple of months now, and I consistently get the BEST BACON EVER this way. The bacon in these pictures is actually store-bought bacon (I needed to make it for an upcoming recipe), because that’s when I thought to take pictures, so that’s what you get.

Ready? Here we go!

Get out a cookie sheet, and cover it with tinfoil (this makes for easier clean up. If you prefer not to use tinfoil because you’re an earth-hugging hippie, then you go right ahead and skip this step. SOMEONE has to look out for Mother Earth, don’t they?)

Put a cooling rack or whatever kind of wire rack you have, on top of the tinfoil. If you don’t have a rack, it’s no problem – I just like to use a rack because it keeps the bacon out of the grease, and you don’t have to worry about blotting the grease off the bacon. (Bacon with grease blotted or drained off is actually a health food. IT IS KNOWN.)

If you use a rack, it might behoove you to lightly spray the rack with cooking spray. It’s not a definite necessity, but sometimes bacon will stick to the rack as it cooks, and if you don’t want to spend the rest of the day picking stuck bacon off the rack with your teeth, then this is a time-saving step.

Lay your bacon on the rack.


Did you notice that at no point have I mentioned needing to turn the oven on and let it preheat? This is because you put your pan o’ bacon in a COLD OVEN.

Let me repeat this:


When your pan of bacon is in the COLD OVEN, turn the oven on to 375ºF.

Now, the time your bacon sits in that oven is going to vary. The store-bought bacon I made took 20 minutes to get to the crispy perfection I needed. The home-grown (uncured) bacon I usually make takes about 35 minutes. I recommend you check your bacon at 20 minutes, and then decide from there. If it’s nowhere near done, check it in another 10 minutes. If it’s close but not quite there, give it another 4 – 5 minutes. I cannot give you an exact time to let your bacon stay in the oven (and believe me, it’s killing me not to be able to do so, because if God wanted us to stand around the kitchen peering in the oven to see if our food is done, he wouldn’t give us SO MUCH OTHER SHIT that needs to be done RIGHT NOW. Who’s got the time for hanging around the kitchen all “Oh, is it done yet? Nope. Now? Nope. How about now? NOPE.”? I know it ain’t NONE OF US, am I right?)

This was my bacon after 20 minutes:


Note that the grease has drained away in a non-spattering way, all calmly collected in the bottom of the pan. NO smoke. NO need to turn the ceiling fan on high and open the windows and call the local fire department to let them know you’re making bacon. SO easy, SO mess-free, and SO DAMN GOOD.

(Hey, who sounds like an infomercial right now? Is it me? Send me three easy payments of $9.95 and you get a BONUS of SIX TINY KITTENS!)


I had to crumble this bacon up for my recipe, and I had a hard time not cramming it all directly into my mouth.

So there you go. Go make yourself some bacon. BLTs for dinner tonight? Scrambled eggs and bacon rolled up in a tortilla? THE WORLD IS YOUR BACON-FLAVORED OYSTER.

Oven-Baked Bacon
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Original Source/Author:
: BaconBaconBaconBacon
Serves: 1 pc bacon per person HA HA HA HA
  • Cooking spray (such as Pam)
  2. Line a cookie sheet or roasting pan with tinfoil (or not, you hippie).
  3. Place wire rack on top of tinfoil (rack is not strictly necessary, if you don't have one, don't sweat it, you can lay the bacon directly on the tinfoil; you just need to blot the bacon (or not) when it's done to remove some of the grease).
  4. Lightly spray wire rack with cooking spray.
  5. Lay your bacon in single slices along the wire rack (or on the tinfoil). Leave a little space between the slices of bacon so the bacon won't stick together.
  6. Place pan o' bacon in A COLD OVEN. Turn oven on to 375ºF.
  7. Depending on the thickness of your bacon, it may be done at 20 minutes, or might take as long as 35 - 40 minutes. Check the bacon at 20 minutes, and decide from there.


Memaw’s Poppy Seed Cake

There’ll be no tandem recipe this week; hopefully this’ll hold you over ’til next week!

Several years ago, my daughter flew to California to visit her father’s parents. When she came back, she brought this recipe with her. I was skeptical – poppy seeds? Really? Meh. – but she was so sure that Fred and I would love it that I finally gave it a try.

Oh my god, you guys. It is SO GOOD. It’s simple to make (most recipes that start with a cake mix – HI AMANDA! – are pretty simple), but SO GOOD. Did I mention that it’s SO GOOD? Because it IS. Fred likes it almost as much as I do, but I swear I could eat the whole thing myself. The crunch of the cinnamon sugar combined with the moist cake is perfect. Also, it’s fairly light and not particularly filling, so watch out – you might find you’ve eaten half the cake and only feel slightly full.

I don’t know where the original recipe came from (a Google search shows the same recipe all over the internet with a zillion different names), but as far as I’m concerned Danielle’s Memaw gets all the credit.

Your ingredients:

Memaw's Poppy Seed Cake (1)

Cake mix with pudding in the mix, a 5.1 oz. box of instant pudding mix, 3 eggs, water, oil, poppy seeds, and cinnamon sugar.

First thing, preheat your oven to 350ºF. Then grease a Bundt pan – you can use Crisco if you want, but I just use Baker’s Joy spray. It’s less messy.

Memaw's Poppy Seed Cake (2)

Then you “flour” your pan with the cinnamon sugar. I use a mix of 1 T. cinnamon to 8 T. sugar, but you can use more or less cinnamon, depending on your preferences. This part can get messy because you’ve got to sprinkle the cinnamon sugar in the pan and then shake it around to evenly coat the entire inside of the pan. I usually do this over the sink (also, don’t use all your cinnamon sugar – you’re going to need some later on!)

Memaw's Poppy Seed Cake (3)

Throw your cake mix, instant pudding, eggs, water, oil, and poppyseeds into a bowl and mix that stuff together. It takes me about three minutes on medium speed to get everything mixed together well. Scrape down your bowl, and then mix for about 30 seconds longer.

Pour the batter evenly into your Bundt pan.

Memaw's Poppy Seed Cake (5)

Bake the cake for 20 minutes, then remove it from the oven and sprinkle the top of the batter with your reserved cinnamon sugar. I generally use a small spoon to sprinkle the sugar; you can use a spoon or your fingers or whatever works for you. Just try to sprinkle it evenly so that the entire top (bottom) of the cake is covered.

Memaw's Poppy Seed Cake (6)

Continue baking the cake for another 20 – 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. While it’s baking, go snuggle some kittens.

These kittens are The Sopranos. They’re a month old and they are killing me with how damn CUTE they are. Look at that attitude they’re giving me, because I woke them from their nap. Brats.

This is what the cake looks like when it’s done baking.

Memaw's Poppy Seed Cake (7)

I let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack. That can be messy (you lose a lot of cinnamon sugar off the top/bottom), so I usually do it over the sink.

The hardest part of this recipe, by far, is waiting for the cake to cool. It takes FOREVER, or so it seems. On the up side, it doesn’t have to be completely cool before you eat it – just as long as it’s not hot enough to burn your mouth, you’re good to go.

Memaw's Poppy Seed Cake (8)


The rumor is that you can also make a chocolate version of this cake using chocolate cake mix and instant pudding. I imagine you could do lemon as well – really, the possibilities are endless. I’ve never done anything but yellow cake/ vanilla pudding because I love it so much that I’ve never felt the need to experiment. I think YOU should, though, and report back to me.

Memaw's Poppy Seed Cake
Original Source/Author:
: Dessert
Cuisine: The land of cinnamon and sugar. I want to live there.
  • 1 cake mix with pudding in the mix (yellow or chocolate; you could also try lemon)
  • 1 5.1 oz box of instant pudding mix (vanilla or chocolate; lemon if you're making a lemon cake)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c. water
  • ½ c. vegetable oil
  • 2½ T. poppy seeds
  • Cinnamon sugar - I use 1 T. cinnamon and 8 T. sugar, but you can adjust according to your preferences.
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Grease (with Crisco or Baker's Joy) and "flour" a Bundt pan with cinnamon sugar.
  3. Mix cake and pudding mixes, eggs, water, oil, and poppy seeds for 3 - 4 minutes; scrape down bowl and mix an additional 30 seconds.
  4. Pour evenly into Bundt pan.
  5. Bake 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven, evenly sprinkle the top of the partially cooked batter with more cinnamon sugar, and return pan to oven. Cook another 20 - 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then finish cooling on a rack.


Oh My Asian Thighs – Submitted by AlyInGA

Aly in GA submitted this recipe for us to make in tandem, but Nance was pretty much over the Asian recipes, and so I said I’d do it. Y’all know how much I love that soy sauce!

The original recipe came from The One-Armed Cook. Aly reports that she makes this recipe at least twice a month during soccer season. She also says:

I renamed my take on it “Oh My Asian Thighs (and Breasts)!!” because that’s what my husband said the first time he tasted this dish. 

*Disclaimer: “The One-Armed Cook” is all about the shortcuts – frozen pre-chopped onions and peppers, bottled minced garlic, bagged and pre-cut veggies …basically everything to make a new Mom’s life easier when trying to get dinner on the table, while balancing a baby on your hip (metaphorically speaking, or not.) Therefore, if you WANT to harvest, wash, peel, cut, and mince garlic out of your own garden – go for it! Me, I’m going to reach in my fridge and grab the jar of already-did-that-for-you stuff!

Yes. Yes, we did JUST make an Asian chicken recipe a few short weeks ago in the form of Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken, but shaddup. This one looked easier, and you KNOW how I am. The easier, the better! And everything in this recipe is stuff I already had on hand, so I didn’t have to go out and buy anything. I love it on the rare occasion that that happens!

Your ingredients:

AsianTHighs (1)

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs, low-sodium soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and tomato sauce.

Let me just say here that Aly uses a pack of boneless, skinless chicken thighs AND a pack of boneless, skinless breasts. I have sworn to never ever put another boneless, skinless chicken breast in my crockpot and you cannot make me do it, Aly! So I just used the thighs. The more adventurous of you out there may certainly give it a try with the breasts, with my blessing.

Put your chicken in the crock pot.

AsianTHighs (2)

I counted out 12 thighs so that we could get several meals out of it, and they fit perfectly in the bottom of the crock pot.

Mix the rest of your ingredients together (I used a measuring cup to make pouring easier), and then pour it over your chicken.

AsianTHighs (4)

AsianTHighs (5)

Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.

I served mine over rice.

AsianTHighs (6)

The verdict? It was pretty good! And you certainly can’t beat the ease. We ate it for dinner three nights in a row, and enjoyed it.

But to be honest, I prefer the Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken and will probably opt for that over this one – unless I need an easy meal and don’t want to go to the grocery store!

Thanks for the submission, Aly – it was very little work to get three meals worth of food for each of us, and that’s nothing to shake a stick at!

Oh My Asian Thighs - Submitted by AlyInGA
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Original Source/Author:
: Entree
Cuisine: Asian!
Serves: 12
  • 1 pkg boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 pkg boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or a second pkg of thighs)
  • 10 oz bottle low-sodium soy sauce
  • ⅔ c. brown sugar
  • 1 T bottle chopped garlic
  • 16 oz tomato sauce
  1. In the bottom of a 3.5 quart or larger crock pot, place your chicken.
  2. Mix together the rest of your ingredients and dump over the chicken, then stir the chicken pieces to make sure they're all coated.
  3. (Alternately, you could mix together everything but the chicken in the bottom of the crock pot and then add the chicken and stir to coat. Whatever works for you!)
  4. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.
  5. Serve over rice.


Hawaiian Rolls – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Hawaiian Rolls. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.  The original recipe can be found over at Seeded at the Table.

Robyn’s Take:

This week’s recipe was Nance’s choice. It was originally titled (in the email she sent to me), “Crockpot Hawaiian Rolls.” Except – and this is key – when I was looking at the recipe last week, I found that there was NO crock pot involved. In the comments over at Seeded at the Table, someone asked where the crock pot instructions were, and Nikki said she’d never made them in a crock pot, so apparently somewhere, someone added “crock pot” to the title for reasons known only to them. Because I am such a nice person (YES I AM), I alerted Nance to the fact that there was no crock pot involved. Now I’m kind of wishing I hadn’t told her, because I’m sure the swearing would have been EPIC.

I was worried that this recipe was NOT going to work out for me, because no sooner had I gotten all my ingredients lined up on the counter when one of the eggs bellowed “BANZAIIIIII!” and rolled off the counter and smashed on the floor. Cleaning up broken egg with one hand while holding off kittens with the other is NOT my idea of a good time.


So anyway, your ingredients:


Pineapple juice, dry yeast, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, salt, flour, and a very old jar of ground ginger.

Why is it, can someone tell me, that recipes often call for “instant yeast”, but there is NOTHING on the shelf that is labeled instant yeast? There’s “active dry” and “rapid rise”, but NO “instant.” (Google tells me that rapid rise IS instant, and when I typed in “Is rapid rise”, it auto-filled in the rest for me. So either recipe posters need to get their shit together, or yeast makers need to add a line of text that says “Yes, dumbass. Rapid rise IS instant!” to the packet.)

That pineapple juice was going to be an ISSUE for me, by the way. I was at the grocery store looking for the damn stuff and ALL I could find was this tiny bottle of pineapple juice that cost almost $7. And I was like “SERIOUSLY?” and then I was like “Oh, I am going to give Nance SOME KIND OF HELL FOR THIS”, but then I saw the big-ass can of pineapple juice for less than $3, and all was well. Crisis averted!

I took no pictures of the first few steps because I am a slacker. Basically beat your sugar and butter together, add the yeast and pineapple juice. Add in 3 eggs, the vanilla, salt, and ginger that is so old it could probably register to vote. Toss in 3 cups of flour and beat ’til smooth, then stir in another 2 1/2 cups of flour to make the dough easy to handle.

Then get out your hook attachment for your mixer and knead that dough! What do you do if you don’t have a hook attachment? Well, I guess you knead that dough by hand. SUCKS TO BE YOU.

While it’s kneading, add up to 1/2 cup of flour if you need to. How do you know if you need to? Well, you want your dough to be tacky, but not sticky. Which is to say that you don’t want your dough to be so sticky that it’s sticking to your hands and making a big-ass mess. I actually ended up adding all the flour, but I was just being an impatient asshole, as I am wont to be.

Kneady dough.

When the dough is done, place it in a large greased bowl and turn the greased side up. I greased my bowl with olive oil – dumped a healthy squirt of it in there, then spread it around with a piece of paper towel. Put the dough in, then turn it over. Voila, greased side up!


Cover the bowl with a (clean!) kitchen towel and put it somewhere warm and draft-free until it’s doubled. I put my bowl in the microwave, because it tends to be warm in there – draft-free, too. Unless someone turns the microwave on (don’t turn the microwave on, dummy.)

An hour and a half later, I had this:


You know it was ready for the next step ’cause I poked it and it didn’t giggle like Poppin’ Fresh. It also stayed indented.

Deflate the dough by punching it down (also known by me as “burping the dough.”) (the dough doesn’t actually burp. But it should!). Then divide it in half and divide each half into 9 equal(ish) pieces.

Close enough to equal sizes, as far as I’m concerned.

Roll each piece of dough into a ball, and then pull the surface tight by tucking the dough in at the bottom of the ball. I am sorry to report that I didn’t take a picture of my tucked-in dough.

Place 9 pieces of dough in a greased 9-inch round cake pan (I greased mine with butter), tucked side down. Repeat with a second cake pan and the other 9 pieces of dough.


Cover the rolls and let rise about an hour or until they’re doubled. Back in the microwave mine went!

Here they were, an hour later:


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly beat an egg in a small bowl and brush over the rolls. Sprinkle with a pinch or two (I used two) of sugar. Bake!

Inspector Arya, inspectin’.


I didn’t get any pictures of the rolls once I pulled them apart, sorry. I was a real slacker this week, huh? Also, my pan is ugly and stained and I bet that goddamn Nance is going to use some BEAUTIFUL piece of pottery to bake hers in, damn her. Always showing me up! (Granted, it’s not hard to do so.)

The verdict? They were good… BUT. They were kind of dry. I don’t think that’s the recipe’s fault, I think it was my fault. I think I added too much flour, and I cooked them a little too long. I only cooked them for 30 minutes, but I’m pretty sure they could have come out a few minutes earlier.

We both liked them, but Fred LOVED them and even said that I should make them for Thanksgiving. We put the second pan of rolls in the freezer to eat in the future (probably with Sunday dinner!) I also froze the leftover pineapple juice in freezer-safe ziploc bags, 1 1/4 cups in each bag. I got enough to make the rolls three more times!

Also, I don’t know enough about the King’s Hawaiian rolls you can buy at the grocery store (I think I’ve only had them twice), but I think that the ones from the store are lighter and sweeter than these turned out to be (though if I hadn’t added as much flour, they may not have turned out as dense as they did!), so keep that in mind.

PS: Fred reports that the rolls are particularly good when eaten with Muscadine (grape) jelly.


Have a recipe you want us to make? Check out this page (there’s also a link to that page up there under the banner) and follow the instructions to submit a recipe!


Nance’s Take:

This recipe was supposed to be for dinner rolls that were made in a crockpot. And then I got an email from Robyn telling me that my happy ass is making Hawaiian Rolls and there is no crockpot involved.  WTF?

What do you think happened?  Personally, I think Robyn changed the link because she was craving something with Polynesian flair this time. Please recall: The multitude of Asian inspired recipes on this site. Ahem.

I also think she didn’t want to go with the crockpot recipe because she’s worried about Amanda’s approval.  Trust me, this recipe should get the Amanda C. (see you next tuesday!) Recipe Award for sure.  So much time involved.  Way too much time involved. Right up Amanda C.’s alley.

Hawaiian Rolls

Peace heard there was cooking going on in the kitchen and she is all about the food. During our vet visits we have met two beagles and they were both overweight. At the time I would have loved to see Peace weigh as much as they did. Now? I’m starting to worry that she’ll eat herself into morbid obesity quicker than shit. I had to say no.

Hawaiian Rolls

She does not appreciate that word.  At all.

Hawaiian Rolls

Hey, I bet you’ve never seen butter mixed with sugar on this site before, huh? It happens.

Hawaiian Rolls

The fat chick inside my head (and on my ass) is screaming at this nonsense. Why would anybody want to destroy the beauty that is creamed butter and sugar with something like fruit juice? You might as well pour in a V-8, for chrissakes!

Hawaiian Rolls

Around here we buy our yeast in bulk. I use it to make dough for grilling pizzas and this family loves grilled pizza. We’re fancy that way. If you’re nice, maybe we’ll invite you out for one of our hootenannies. There are corn-hole games and shit-talking involved.  Be jealous.

Hawaiian Rolls

I had my doubts about this one. Juice + butter = gross.

Hawaiian Rolls

The recipe said, “Blahblahblah, whateverthefuck” so I figured this was about the right time to shut that shit down in order to switch to a dough hook and add more flour. I don’t know. I pretty much picked this time based on how loud the mixer was and when it started to get on my nerves.

Hawaiian Rolls

Just passing through and looking for a hand-out. See also: Sad, disappointed, verklempt.

Hawaiian Rolls

This is when I had enough of making this freaking bread. I went through a phase when I first got this mixer where I was making a shit-ton of bread for our family. The result? Really good bread, we all gained a lot of weight, and it turned out to be cheaper to just buy regular bread from the grocery store. Now I get pissed off at anything that has to do with waiting on bread to rise, etc. I know it’s hard to believe that I don’t have patience for this kind of stuff.  Especially when that’s pretty much what I’m known for.

Hawaiian Rolls

This is what it looked like when I knew it was ready.

Hawaiian Rolls

It said something about your finger leaving an indentation. Yes, I stabbed that bitch.

Hawaiian Rolls

I was ready to rock and roll. But then I saw something that made my brain seize right the fuck up.

Hawaiian Rolls

This is one of my biggest PET PEEVES IN THE WORLD. Someone was frying potatoes the other day and I don’t want to name names, but they damn well better cut the shit.  You know that patience I bull-shitted about up above?  Yeah, RIGHT.  I have a zero tolerance policy in effect when it comes to stupid shit like this.  Just ask my kids how I deal with peanut butter that ends up in jelly.

And please tell me that you guys have assholes at home that do these kinds of things, too.  I don’t want to be the only one.

Hawaiian Rolls

When it came down to halving that shit and then making 9 different sections and OHMYGAWD, it’s ROLLS, NOT SURGERY! I hacked through it the best that I could with a pizza cutter and called it done.

Hawaiian Rolls

I will not be shocked to find out that Robyn’s are all perfectly shaped. I hate her.

Hawaiian Rolls

I consider these to be raised high enough and ready to bake.

Hawaiian Rolls

Oh, pretty! But I have to admit that my brain could not wrap itself around pineapple and ginger being inside a roll that has been egged and sprinkled with sugar.

Hawaiian Rolls

Something went wrong here. I think I might have done too much of the egg wash and it dripped down and baked the buns right to the pan.

Hawaiian Rolls

As soon as they cooled, I threw them in a ziploc bag. The ones that I let sit out longer got hard as hell and had to be pitched. Here’s the thing. They’re not bad. I can’t taste pineapple and I can’t taste ginger. I can taste a sweet roll and I’m thinking that I might just try this recipe again, but with some cinnamon and brown sugar rolled up in it. Just a thought.

Hawaiian Rolls

I let this one wear me down and I gave her a bun. An entire bun. She paid me back by shitting in my kitchen. Not once, not twice, but three times. I’ll keep the recipe, but I won’t be fooled by this little knucklehead again.  Thank God I woke up in the early, early AM or Shirley would have stepped out of her bedroom into a steaming pile of poo. That would have ended badly for all of us.

Hawaiian Rolls - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
: Side Dish
Cuisine: Hawaiian, DUH
Serves: 18
  • 1¼ c. pineapple juice
  • 2 pkgs Rapid Rise (instant) dry yeast
  • ⅓ c. sugar
  • ½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 4 lg eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 5½ - 6 cups flour
  1. In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter together with electric mixer. Beat in the packages of yeast and pineapple juice (keep mixer on low or your pineapple juice will splash everywhere.)
  2. Beat in 3 eggs, vanilla, salt, and ginger until well combined. Add three cups of flour and beat until smooth, then stir in 2½ cups of flour to make the dough easy to handle.
  3. Switch to the hook attachment on your mixer, and knead the dough until smooth and elastic (around 3 minutes), adding the last ½ cup of flour IF NECESSARY (dough should be tacky but not sticky enough to stick to your hands and make a mess).
  4. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning greased side up. Cover with a (clean!) dish towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, 1½ - 2 hours. You know the dough is ready when you poke it and the indentation stays.
  5. Deflate the dough and divide in half. Divide one half of the dough into 9 equal(ish) pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then pull the surface taut by tucking the dough in at the bottom of the ball. Place in a greased 9-inch round cake pan, tucked side down. Continue until all 9 pieces of dough are in the pan. Repeat with the other dough half and another cake pan. Cover the rolls and let rise until doubled, about an hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg. Brush lightly over the rolls and sprinkle with a couple of pinches of sugar. Bake 30 - 40 minutes, until golden brown (but check them around 28 minutes, just in case!)