pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls.

I almost hate to say this for fear of jinxing myself, but today is day 7 of feeling like a normal human being and I could almost cry I’m so excited. The last 9 weeks or so have been fairly miserable to say the least and I think I’ve finally turned a corner, just in time for the holidays.

As soon as a I started feeling well last week I began to pour over all of my seasonal recipes in a desperate search for a delicious weekend breakfast. As most of you know, Saturday morning is arguably my favorite time to be in the kitchen. I love to have coffee brewing while I whip up something scrumptious in my pjs. It’s the best. Unfortunately, my Saturdays have been all about sleeping and doing as little as possible lately, so I’ve missed out on all of my fall baking. It had to be remedied.

This recipe was originally from Paula Deen, but it’s been tweaked to include a pumpkin filling because – duh, fall. I always get nervous when I find recipes for cinnamon rolls because they usually make enough to feed a small army, but this recipe only makes about 8 rolls in a cast iron skillet so it was perfect for just the two of us. It’s a really simple recipe to follow and the end result is out of this world. It’s like rolling up all the flavors of fall into a warm, gooey swirl of cinnamon bread…and then topping it off with icing.

You just can’t beat that.

pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls

Ingredients

Rolls

1/4 Ounce package yeast
1/2 Cup of warm water
1/2 Cup of warm milk
1/4 Cup of sugar
1/3 Cup of butter melted
1 Teaspoon of salt
1 Egg
3 – 3 1/2 Cups of flour

Pumpkin Filling

1 1/2 Cup of pumpkin puree
3/4 Cup of brown sugar
2 Teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 Teaspoons of cinnamon
1 Teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
1/3 Cup Diced Pecans optional

Icing

1/2 Cup of warmed milk
3 Tablespoons of butter melted
2 Cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions

Dissolve yeast into warm water to activate. While yeast is dissolving combine sugar, warm milk, melted butter, salt and egg into a large bowl. Mix in two cups of flour and then mix in yeast + water mixture.

Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. The dough should be elastic, but not sticky.

Sprinkle flour over a large surface, remove dough from mixing bowl and knead for 5-10 minutes. Place in a large well- greased bowl (I use butter) and cover with two clean dishtowels without touching the dough.

Place in an unheated oven for an hour to double in size.

While the dough is rising, mix together all the ingredients for the pumpkin filling (minus the chopped pecans).

Remove dough after an hour and preheat oven to 350º F.

Punch down the dough and roll out into a large rectangle. Spread pumpkin filling mixture evenly over rolled out dough and sprinkle with pecans (optional). Roll the dough and cut into 1-inch slices. Place into cast iron pan/casserole dishes close together. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Mix together powdered sugar, vanilla, and melted butter. Slowly add in milk until you have reached your desired consistency.

Pour icing over the rolls while they are still in the skillet. Remove and enjoy!!

simple fettuccine alfredo.

I’ll be completely honest – I haven’t been in the kitchen much lately. I certainly don’t like the fact that I’ve missed out on all of my usual fall baking, and I’m too embarrassed to tell you all how often we’ve been dining out lately, but the truth is…I simply haven’t felt like it. Everything seems to take too much energy and all I’ve really wanted is chips and queso anyway.

But the last couple of weeks have shown a glimmer of hope and the return of a bit of gumption, so I made it to both the market and the kitchen. (I must tell you, I congratulated myself profusely on this tiny accomplishment.) I didn’t want to try and tackle anything too time consuming and carbs have been a dear friend to me lately, hence this simple fettuccine alfredo. It really turned out to be what this pregnant mama needed and I can’t wait to make it again soon. It’s a bit healthier than your typical recipe because I didn’t use heavy cream, but the flavor is still perfectly rich and delicious. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

simple fettuccine alfredo

Ingredients

2 ounces fettuccine
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or butter
4 cloves garlic, pressed or finely-minced
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup milk (I always have whole milk handy, but you can use skim)
3/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
(optional toppings: chopped fresh parsley, extra Parmesan)

Instructions

Cook pasta al dente according to package directions, in generously salted water.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil (or melt butter) in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute one minute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Sprinkle with flour, and stir to combine. Saute for an additional minute to cook the flour, stirring occasionally.

Slowly add chicken broth, whisking to combine until smooth. Whisk in milk, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let cook for an additional minute until thickened, then stir in Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper until the cheese melted. Reduce heat to medium-low until pasta is cooked.

Drain pasta, then immediately add pasta to the saute pan with alfredo sauce. Toss to combine. Serve topped with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

one pot autumn herb roasted chicken with butter toasted wild rice.

This dish is by one of my favorite food bloggers, Half Baked Harvest. If you’ve never perused the culinary goodness of her site, do yourselves a favor and go there now! I freely give you permission to leave my page immediately…just promise you’ll come back ;).

This has become one of our favorite meals to enjoy during the autumn months and it felt like the perfect meal to christen our new kitchen with. I don’t have everything completely unpacked, so I needed something that required minimal equipment and would bring in those first flavors and scents of autumn. It didn’t disappoint. It never does.

Turning a new house into your home can take a bit of effort and a whole lot of patience, but I’m finding that the smells of a home cooked meal are really helping to speed it all up a touch. When we walk in the door it no longer smells like a stranger’s house, but of fresh rosemary , hot cider, and wild rice. And that’s never a bad thing.

one pot autumn herb roasted chicken with toasted butter wild rice

Ingredients

3-4 pounds bone-in chicken parts (breast, thighs + legs), pat dry
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon brown sugar
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons + 4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/2 cups wild rice
3/4 cup orzo pasta
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup of your favorite beer (I used pumpkin because, fall)
3 carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups button mushrooms
2 tablespoons dried parsley (or 1/4 cup fresh)
4 whole sage leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried), chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 head garlic, halved
1 sweet onion, peel + cut into fourths

Cider drizzle (optional)

2 cups apple cider
2 tablespoons butter

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat a large 3-5 quart brasier or dutch oven over high heat. Add the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place the chicken in a ziplock bag and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, thyme, rosemary, brown sugar, and a good pinch of both salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the hot brasier (or whatever you are using) and sear on both sides until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan. Repeat with any remaining chicken, remove from the pan.

Reduce the heat to medium and add 2 tablespoons butter. Add the orzo and cook about 1-2 minutes or until lightly toasted and golden, stirring often (watch this closely as it burns fast). Add the wild rice and toast another 1-2 minutes, stirring often. Toss in the carrots and mushrooms, cook 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, beer and another pinch of salt and pepper. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir in the parsley and sage. Remove from the heat.

Place the chicken right on top of the rice. Drizzle with lemon juice, season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the onion quarters and garlic (you can leave the skin on the garlic). Throw in a few sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary. Divide the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over the chicken pieces. Cover the pan tightly with a lid (or tin foil if you have to, but a tight fitting lid works best).

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked. During the last 5 minutes of cooking remove the lid and allow the chicken to brown a little more, if needed, add in 1/2 cup more chicken broth to keep the rice from getting dry.

To serve, plate the rice and chicken, if desired, drizzle with cider (recipe below).

If desired, make the cider drizzle while the chicken roasts. Add the cider to a sauce pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 15-20 minutes or until the cider is reduced and thick + syrupy. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.