Perhaps you may think there is no earthly way to improve upon a Cinnabon.
But I’m hear to tell you it’s possible and I’ve done it, too!
How could I improve on what could be the most decadent food on the planet–the Cinnabon? By adding bacon, of course!
Tell me who doesn’t like bacon? Or maple flavoring? By combining bacon and maple with my already over-the-top Cinnabon-style Buns I have managed to create the perfect mashup!
And the cool thing is this recipe doesn’t require that much extra work! Just sprinkle crumbled bacon on the filling before rolling and substitute maple for the vanilla.
The results are simply divine!
ICYMI (In case you missed it) I posted my original Cinnabon-style recipe on my blog before. You can find it here: Cinnabon-Style Cinnamon Buns
The recipe below includes the additions that make them Bacon-y and Maple-y. But, hey, if you don’t like bacon…just leave it out!
For the dough:
1 packet (or 2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
4 cups of flour (I like King Arthur the best!)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
For the filling:
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Six slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
For the cream cheese icing:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened (half of a regular sized brick)
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon maple flavoring or maple syrup (the flavoring gives a more intense maple flavor, but the syrup does fine, too!)
1/8 teaspoon of salt
Dissolve the yeast in the room temperature milk. Allow it to proof about 5 minutes; proofing occurs when you see some little bubbles in the milk.
In a large bowl, combine 1/3 cup of softened butter and 1/2 cup granulated sugar and mix with your hand mixer until incorporated. Add the two eggs and mix. Then add the salt plus the yeast milk. Once your wet ingredients are well mixed, begin adding in the flour one cup at a time, mixing after every cup until all four cups are incorporated.
Remove the dough from the bowl and kneed lightly to make sure all the ingredients are well incorporated. Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover it with a moist cloth. Allow it to rise to double the size, which will take about an hour.
Make the filling by combining the brown sugar, cinnamon and softened butter together. The filling will be grainy, which is fine.
Once the dough has doubled in size, remove it to your work area and roll it out to about 12 by 16 inches. The dough should be somewhat stiff, not doughy like bread and about 1/2 inch thick.
Spread the filling on top of the dough, leaving a one inch end of just dough and about 1/2 inch edge on the other sides.
Sprinkle the bacon crumbles all over the cinnamon filling.
Begin rolling the dough from the short end and rolling somewhat tightly until you reach the dough only end. Expect some of the filling to spill out on either side, but it might be good to keep the ends even when rolling. Do this with your hands. (You can roll them lengthwise, but when I did that my buns didn’t have room to rise and they practically jumped out of the pan.
Cut the rolled dough in half and line both halves up side by side as a guide. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 1/2 inch slices. I ended up with 8 Cinnabon-sized slices when rolled from the short side, which was perfect. Make sure they are not crammed into the pan!
Place the slices–cut side up–into a well greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Cover with a towel and allow to rise for about 30 minutes.
Put your risen buns in a 350 degree preheated oven and cook for about 25 minutes. Check them after 20 minutes to make sure they do not over bake. You want them to be golden brown and you want to be able to smell the baking cinnamon. They will be a bit puffed up, but they will deflate a bit when cooled.
While the buns are in the oven (haha!), assemble the icing by first mixing the butter with the cream cheese and maple syrup or flavoring. Then add the confectioner’s sugar slowly, mixing and then beating until light and fluffy. Do make sure you use a hand mixer for this…I made my icing both ways and the mixer icing was much creamier!
Allow the buns to cool for about five minutes then spoon a heaping portion of icing on each of the buns and use a butter knife or cake spatula to spread it out across each of the buns. This is an easier way to ensure all the buns get the same amount of icing.
Beef & Barley Soup–if you don’t count chowder–is quite possibly the quintessential New England soup.
But nowadays finding a good version can be difficult to find, except maybe in a can. And even the best canned soups are still too salty and tinny for regular consumption.
So, I set about making a healthy and easy Beef & Barley that would rival the ease of warming up a canned version and I think I’ve done it. Of course, I used my trusty Dutch Oven, but I also used my Instant Pot to make ready the beef.
I started with a small piece of meat that was intended as a small roast. I got it on sale for less than $4 and it weighed just under two pounds. Because I froze it when I bought it, I first defrosted it and then cooked it with a small amount of beef broth and some salt and pepper in the Instant Pot on the beef setting. Couldn’t be easier, but note that you could use a portion of roast beef leftovers if you have that.
Once the beef was cooked and had rested, I chopped it up in small pieces and tossed it into the Dutch Oven along with some tomato sauce, a box of beef broth and the drippings from the Instant Pot. I added a can of peas and carrots, but you could use fresh or frozen. It’s up to you, of course.
The Barley was cooked separately from a dried bag of the grain. If you’re wondering where you find dried Barley, check the dried beans section of your grocery store. Once cooked, add the Barley to the soup toward the end of the cooking to keep it from getting too soggy.
Small oyster crackers are the only thing you need to complete this wonderful, homey meal, which is perfect for a cold late Autumn supper.
One small points:
This soup is exceptionally economical. I figured the entire recipe cost me under ten dollars for ten servings!
Small cut of roast beef, prepared either in an oven or Instant Pot, about 1 1/2 pounds
Box of beef broth
Small can of tomato sauce
Can of diced carrots and peas
About two cups of water
Salt and pepper to taste
Barley, 1 cup, dried and cooked separately with 2 1/2 cups water and salt to taste
Cook beef in Instant Pot with a small amount of beef broth and allow to rest OR use precooked cut of roast beef
Slice and then dice the cooked beef and place in Dutch Oven with any pan drippings from the cooking of the beef
Add tomato sauce, beef broth and water to the Dutch Oven and bring contents to boil on the stovetop
Reduce heat to allow the soup to slowly boil off some of the added water and thicken, about 1 hour
Meanwhile in a separate pan, bring the dried Barley to boil with 2 1/2 cups water and salt to taste; cook for 45 minutes
After cooking off some of the liquid, add the can of peas and carrots and the Barley
Allow soup to simmer for an hour or more so that all the flavors meld together
In honor of the upcoming Cinco de Mayo holiday, here is an amazingly delicious and fresh Skinny Black Bean Burrito recipe!
They are easy to prepare and so satisfying!
One yellow, orange or red Bell Pepper, coarsely chopped
One medium or half large sweet onion (such as Vidalia onion), coarsely chopped
One medium jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and chopped
Handful of grape or cherry tomatoes, coarsely chopped
Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
Two cloves of garlic, pressed (feel free to use minced!)
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup fat free Greek-style yogurt
Shredded low-fat Mexican style cheese
Salsa for garnish
Low-carb wraps, such as Tumaro’s “Skip the Sandwich” Wraps
Spray a medium non-stick frying pan with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat.
Toss in Bell pepper, onion, jalapeno pepper, tomatoes, garlic and cilantro and fry until softened and onion is translucent.
Season with salt and pepper or Adobo seasoning.
Fold in black beans and cook for an additional minute or two until beans are warmed.
Remove pan from heat and mix in yogurt. Do NOT do this while the pan is still on the heat or it will curdle! You can also use low-fat cream cheese, but I found the Greek yogurt gave a “fresher” taste and also had less WW points.
Spoon the mixture into preheated tortillas. Sprinkle with a bit of Mexican style cheese and top with salsa, if desired.
This recipe makes 4-6 fully stuffed burritos and–if prepared as above with fat free yogurt and low-carb wraps–they are only 2 Weight Watcher points!!
Anyone who has followed my blog for a while knows that I just adore food…especially the gourmet variety!…so when I contemplated joining Weight Watchers with my sister, I gave serious consideration about how I would go forward with my blog without stuff like heavy cream, butter, pasta and rice. I simply cannot abandon my favorite foods and have success at losing weight, because sooner or later, I’ll fall off the wagon and eat something Italian or French or Mexican…I could go on and on.
Instead I decided that I had to look at joining Weight Watchers as a challenge instead of as some sort of torture. In fact, you can eat anything and EVERYTHING on WW and still lose weight (it’s really true!), but you just have to be creative about it and utilize the tools they give you, which includes their fabulous App that scans barcodes right in the grocery store and tells you how to track your points!
Today I am presenting a completely satisfying and truly, truly delicious chicken dish and you won’t believe it only has 3 (yes, you heard me correctly…THREE!) points, thanks to the new Freestyle WW plan. The recipe does require a few specialty items, but everything should be available in your local market. The sauce makes this dish amazing, so don’t skip items unless you really don’t care for them or can’t find them.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (I use FROZEN Perdue individually flash frozen kind and they are perfect for this dish), sliced or chunked into bite sized pieces
1 cup of frozen broccoli florets
1 tablespoon minced garlic (you can use fresh or the prepared garlic)
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and minced
4-5 green onions aka scallions, chopped, including the green parts
1/2 of a red or orange bell pepper, cored and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Weight Watchers Sesame Chicken and Broccoli
Place the broccoli in a bowl with a little water and cover with plastic wrap. Pierce the wrap a few times and microwave for about 5 minutes. Drain water and set aside.
Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium high heat.
Toss in the green onions, garlic and ginger and cook for about two minutes. Keep an eye on your pan to avoid burning.
Add the bell pepper and sauté for a minute or two.
Toss in your chicken pieces and sauté for about five minutes or until the chicken is white and cooked through.
When the chicken is thoroughly cooked, toss in the broccoli florets and mix in to the chicken.
Carefully drizzle the sesame oil over the entire thing. Then add the oyster sauce and soy sauce. Stir to incorporate all the ingredients.
After cooking for about a minute, push the chicken and broccoli out to the sides to make a little well of the liquids. Add the cornstarch and stir it into the liquid. The cornstarch will thicken the sauce. Once the sauce has thickened, push the chicken and broccoli into the well and mix to combine everything.
Divide into two dishes and sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy!
For those on Weight Watchers, half of this recipe counts for 3 points. One point each for the cornstarch, sesame oil and seeds. The oyster sauce–which really gives the dish depth–is free in this quantity. Obviously if you eat this with rice, you need to add the points for it. If you are going to use rice, I would recommend serving steamed jasmine rice.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! If you do, come back and tell me about it. And, please, feel free to spread the word!