Mustard Roasted Potatoes

My kitchen is ALMOST done.  For any of you who have been through this process, you know that the last few weeks are TORTURE!  Everything looks to be in place and functional, but it’s really not, because all the finishing touches take so long to complete.  Grouting the tile on the backsplash, getting all the electrical and lighting switches up and running, installing the accent lighting, touching up the paint, etc.  I hope that my kitchen will be officially complete by the end of this week… if not, then surely next week.  Stay tuned for the big reveal…

So, even though it’s not totally complete, I am semi-functional and so I am ready to start posting more delicious food on LJB.  Last week was my middle son’s 14th birthday.  When my kids have a birthday they get to pick to go out to their favorite restaurant or have Mom cook their favorite meal.  He wanted me to cook Flank Steak, Skip’s salad, and these mustard roasted potatoes.  It was the first meal I cooked in the new kitchen, and it was SO GOOD to have homemade fresh hot food again.

These bite sized flavorful potatoes are the perfect complement to steak, chicken, or pork.  You find you make these over and over again, because they just go so well with everything, and yet are so simple to make.  Roasting them at high heat makes them crisp on the outside and tender inside.

Bite Sized Mustard Roasted Potatoes

2 ½ pounds baby red or gold potatoes

2 medium yellow onions

3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard

Course Sea Salt, to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Wash and thoroughly dry the potatoes.  Cut the potatoes into halves or quarters, depending on the size, and place them on a sheet pan (jelly roll pan).

Quarter the onions and slice about ¼ inch thick to create ½ moon slices of onion.  Toss the onions and potatoes together on the sheet pan.

In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, mustard, 2 teaspoons salt and pepper.

Bake for 50 minutes to an hour until potatoes are lightly browned on the outside and tender on the inside.  Toss the potatoes from time to time with a metal spatula to ensure even browning.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with more sea salt, to taste, and the parsley.

Cheesy Skillet Corn

I often find myself in the same old dinner dilemna. We have a meat, a veggie, maybe a bread, maybe a starch, maybe a fruit. So the dilemna becomes coming up with something different, unexpected and delicious. This is one of those side dishes that can help cure the same old dinner blues. It is a yummy cheesy corn that all family members will love. And it is a keeper, folks! Feel free to play with it. ( I added some Tapatio hot sauce tonight, yum!)

Cheesy Skillet Corn


4  Tablespoons butter
2/3 cup crushed Ritz Crackers

Cheesy Sauce:

2  Tablespoon butter
2  Tablespoon flour
1 3/4 cup half and half
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
salt and pepper, to taste (I personally like about 1 teaspoon of salt, but I am a salt lover!)

1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
2  (11 ounce) cans corn with red and green bell peppers, drained
1  (11 ounce) can white shoepeg corn, drained
2 green onions, thinly sliced

For the crumb topping, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter to melt, then add the crushed crackers. Cook and stir about 3 minutes, or until light brown. Remove crumbs to a plate to cool.

In the same skillet, prepare the cheese sauce. Turn the heat down to low, then melt the 2 tablespoons butter. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the half and half. Turn heat back up to medium and whisk fairly constantly until mixture is thickened and bubbly hot. Add shredded cheese, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted throughout.

Add all the corn to the cheese sauce, stirring to combine. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring a few times, to warm thoroughly. Stir half of the crumb topping into the cheesy corn and then transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle the remaining half of the crumb topping on top of the corn, followed by the sliced scallions.

Yields 8 servings

Shannon’s Famous Cinnamon Rolls

Alright people, I’m about to let you in on a huge secret!  These rolls are coveted in my community… people pay gazillions of dollars for these little honeys  (ok that’s an exaggeration, but I do sell a TON of them thru the holidays).  And, the truth is, they are easy.  Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!  All it takes is a bread machine, a little time, and roll pin.  See.. easy!  All you have to do is plop the ingredients into your bread machine and set it to the dough setting and let it do all the work for you!  Have more than one bread maker, as I do?  You can produce these en mass, as I have done in the picture above.  And truly, it takes the same amount of time to make 2 dozen or 10 dozen… just depends on how many bread machines you can get working for you.

I’ve also included the options to make the basic roll recipe into orange rolls, dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, or an apple braid.  As you can tell, this recipe is super versatile.  You pretty much fashion them into whatever bread item you want to make.  I also use this recipe to make buttery white bread, cinnamon pull aparts, cinnamon raisin bread, monkey bread… the options are endless.  So, here’s just a few to get you started.

Make these throughout the holiday season and you will become the star of each and every dinner party, Christmas breakfast, Thanksgiving celebration, or family event!  Seriously, and you’re welcome!

Shannon’s Best Ever Rolls

Basic Roll Recipe

  • 1 2/3 cups Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 2/3 cups Flour
  • 2/3 cup Sugar
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 rounded Tablespoon yeast

In the chamber of a bread maker add all ingredients except the yeast.  Stir around to blend sugar into mixture.  Add yeast.

Set bread maker to “dough” setting… wait for cycle to finish (should take about an hour and a half)

When cycle is complete, turn out dough onto a board sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, and shape to desired type of roll.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon mixture:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cinnamon
  • ½ cup flour

Mix the above ingredients in a bowl

In a separate bowl melt 1 stick butter

Divide dough into 2 even sections.  Roll out one section(using Pam) into a rectangle.  Brush with butter.  Sprinkle with ¼ cup cinnamon mixture.  Roll up and cut into rolls.  (Should make about 9 pieces)  Repeat with second section of dough (So entire batch makes 18 rolls)

*At this point dough can be frozen or baked.  See baking instructions.

Dinner Rolls

Divide dough into 3 equals parts.  Roll into circles and cut into 8 crescent shaped pieces.  Roll into crescents.  *At this point dough can be frozen or baked.  See baking instructions.

Orange rolls

Follow basic roll recipe, except add the zest of one orange to the dough ingredients.

Then divide dough into 2 equal parts.  Roll into rectangles, and cut into 12 strips, vertically. Tie strips into knots, tucking ends under to form rosettes.  *At this point dough can be frozen or baked.  See baking instructions.

Apple Braid

Divide the dough into 2 equal parts.  Roll each part into a rectangle, keeping the middle section of the rectangle at double the thickness of the side sections.  Brush middle with butter, and sprinkle with ¼ cup cinnamon mixture.  Then top with sliced, peeled apples.  Cut the sides diagonally and fold over each other in a braid.  See illustration.  * At this point dough can be frozen or baked.  See baking instructions.

Glaze for Cinnamon rolls and Apple Braid

1 stick butter, melted

8 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

milk to desired consistency

Glaze for Orange Rolls

1 stick butter, melted

8 cups powdered sugar

orange juice to desired consistency

* both of these glazes can be poured into plastic bags (in 1 cup portions)and frozen with the rolls, then left on the counter to defrost while the rolls are baking.  Then just snip a corner off the plastic bag and pipe onto rolls.

Baking Instructions for Rolls:

Place rolls onto a jelly roll pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Allow rolls to rise for a couple of hours or longer, covered by a dish towel until the desired volume is achieved.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned.

If you have chosen to premake the rolls and freeze them, there are 2 baking methods:

Quick Method

  • Remove rolls from freezer & place in a 9×13 pan that has been sprayed with a non-stick spray (Pam.)
  • Leave on counter to rise for 1 hour.
  • Leave bag of glaze on the counter to thaw.
  • After an hour, place the rolls in a 200 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  • Remove rolls from oven and reset temperature to 375 degrees.
  • When oven reaches 375, put rolls back in and bake for

12 minutes for dinner rolls or orange rolls

15-18 minutes for cinnamon rolls or apple  braid,

until tops are golden brown.

  • For rolls with glaze (orange, cinnamon, apple braid.  Snip the bottom corner off the glaze bag, and pipe glaze onto warm rolls

 Overnight Method (this is what I prefer):

  • Remove rolls from freezer & place in a 9×13 pan that has been sprayed with a non-stick spray (Pam.)
  • Leave on counter to rise overnight.
  • Leave bag of glaze on the counter to thaw.
  • Bake rolls at  375 degrees for

12 minutes for dinner rolls or orange rolls

15-18 minutes for cinnamon rolls or apple braid,

until tops are golden brown.

  • For rolls with glaze (orange, cinnamon, apple braid.  Snip the bottom corner off the glaze bag, and pipe glaze onto warm rolls.

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Sweet Cornbread

Cornbread is one of my husband’s all time favorites.  He grew up calling it Johnny Cake, a term I had never heard, but one which now is common in our home, too.  He loves it with soup, or with chili, or with baked beans, or just smothered with butter and honey.  It took a while for me to come up with a recipe that we both loved, because truth be told, I am not the biggest cornbread fan.  It can be gritty and crunchy (why crunchy?) and lack depth and texture… but this recipe is so good.  It’s light and fluffy but dense, sweet but not too sweet, delicious!  A cornbread that my whole family loves!  We go through batch after batch of this… yum!

Sweet Cornbread

  • 2 cups stone-ground cornmeal
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ sticks butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a 9×13 baking pan, or 20 muffin cups.  Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Combine the milk, butter and eggs and gently stir into the cornmeal mixture.

Pour the batter into the baking pan or muffin cups (about 2/3 full).  Bake for approximately 25 minutes for the pan or 20 minutes for the muffins… until the top is lightly browned.

Look for our post tomorrow for the perfect complement to this yummy cornbread and a fantastic fall meal!

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Nothing says comfort food quite like Mac N Cheese. And that was the kind of  mood I was in this weekend. I have been craving the familiar taste of homemade macaroni and cheese. And not the orange powder stuff I lived on in college. The creamy, cheesy, milky, yummy, totally bad for you homemade macaroni and cheese. So I made it! It somehow brought the fall season into my home. It almost motivated me to make some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, but we will save that for a different post my dear friends.

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 1 quart (4 cups) whole milk
  • 1 stick of butter, cut into Tablespoon portions
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 4 c. grated cheddar/colby mix cheese
  • 2 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg (OPTIONAL)  Shannon and I both prefer without!
  • 1 1/2 c. plain bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook the macaroni in a large pot of boiling water, according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.

Heat the milk in a microwave safe bowl or cup measure for about 4 minutes, until hot, but not boiling.

Then in a large stockpot, melt 6 Tablespoons of the butter. Add the flour and stir with a whisk for 2 minutes, over low heat. Continue whisking and add the hot milk. Cook for a minute or two more until mixture becomes thickened and smooth. Remove from heat. Add the cheeses, salt, pepper. (add nutmeg here also if you like) Stir. Add the macaroni and stir until combined. Pour into a 9×13 baking dish. Combine bread crumbs with the remaining 2 Tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the sauce is bubble and the macaroni is browned on top.

Sauteed Rosemary Polenta

Ok, so I know that polenta is one of those food items that you either love or hate.  I happen to be a lover.  I love it sautéed, creamy, on the side, as an appetizer or with a roasted chicken breast arranged a top it!  I love the texture, and the flavor.  So, for all you polenta lovers out there… this is for you!  This is the best sautéed polenta I’ve ever had.  Make some for yourself and tell me if you agree!

Sautéed Rosemary Polenta

  • 1 stick butter
  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon minced rosemary
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups half & half
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter (used in 1 Tablespoon increments)
  • flour to dust cooled polenta triangles

In a large stock pot heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat until the butter has melted.  Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and rosemary and sauté for 1 minute, until the garlic is cooked.  Add the chicken stock, half & half, and milk, turn up heat and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, remove from heat.   Add the cornmeal slowly, while whisking.  Return to heat and cook on low until thick.  Remove from heat and add the parmesan cheese, stir till melted.

Pour into a 9×13 pan & refrigerate till cold.

Once cold, make a cut down the center of the pan length wise., and divide into 3 portions width wise. Then proceed to make cuts on the diagonal  until you end up with triangles, as shown in the picture.

In a large skillet, melt 1 Tablespoon butter with 1 Tablespoon Olive oil.  Dust several pieces of the polenta (as many as will fit on your skillet) and put in skillet.  Sauté lightly on each side, until edges are crusty, and polenta is heated through.  Replace the butter and oil as need, as the polenta soaks it up!  Remove to a plate, and serve with your favorite marinara sauce.

Makes 12 servings.

Roasted Asparagus


I tried roasting asparagus for the first time a couple of years ago and it turned out so delicious. I was getting tired of the same old butter and salt for flavor. This is a yummy way to give some more flavor to the veggies you serve. And the best part is that it is quick and easy.  Well the best part may be that you won’t have to bribe your kids to eat their veggies! My kids absolutely love this! You can do it with cauliflower, peppers, broccoli, and of course, asparagus.

Roasted Asparagus

  •  30 or so spears of fresh asparagus
  • ½ tsp. Kosher salt
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ c. grated Parmesan cheese

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

 Wash and trim asparagus. Lay them in a single layer on a 11×17 rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 12 minutes, until tender. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and return to the oven for one more minute. Serve hot!