Monday, September 29, 2014

Cake Mix Cinnamon Rolls

This is a recipe that I often come back to.  The cake mix adds a nice lightness to the dough.


  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast 
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C) 
  • 1 (9 ounce) package yellow cake mix or half of a regular cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour 


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened 
  • 3/4 cup white sugar (I prefer to use about 1/2 cup of brown)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 


  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar 
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk 


In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.   (If using instant yeast, decrease amount of yeast by 25% and you can skip the proofing step).

In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the cake mix, salt and vanilla; stir well to combine. Stir in the flour; beat well. Cover bowl and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. 

Deflate dough and turn it out onto a well floured surface. Roll dough out into a rectangle and spread with butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Roll up dough and cut into 3/4 inch thick rolls. Place rolls in two lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.   (Or cover and let rise in the the fridge overnight.  Bring to room temperature 30-60 minutes before baking the next morning).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 

Bake rolls in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes. While rolls are baking, prepare the frosting. In a medium bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar, 1/3 cup butter, vanilla and milk. Let rolls cool slightly then spread with frosting.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Shredded Beef Tacos

This was a super simple and delicious way to make shredded taco meat.

3-4 lb. chuck roast
2 T oil
garlic powder
fresh ground pepper
kosher salt

1/4 cup taco seasoning
2 T of Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute
1/2 cup water
1 small diced onion or 1/2 a large onion

Heat oil in large skillet over medium to medium high heat until glistening.  Sprinkle garlic powder, salt and pepper generously on both sides of roast.  Brown and sear all sides of the roast (a couple of minutes on each side).

Transfer roast to crockpot.  Sprinkle on onion, taco seasoning, 21 Seasoning Salute, and water.  Cover and cook on low 8-9 hours or high for 5-6 hours.

Shred apart, and remove any fat.  Serve with your favorite taco toppings.  We like black beans, guacamole, spinach, tomato, sour cream, and queso fresco.