Tag Archive | "Baking Tips"

Noel’s Best Kitchen Tips: Roll Out The Parchment Paper!

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Noel’s Best Kitchen Tips: Roll Out The Parchment Paper!

Posted on 22 June 2012 by noelskitchen

Parchment paper — also called baking paper or baking parchment — is a heavy-duty paper sold on rolls in boxes, like aluminum foil and plastic wrap. It is moisture-resistant and grease-resistant, and has several uses in the kitchen.

I prefer the Reynolds Genuine Parchment Paper brand sold at Raley’s; however, you can use any brand, including generic, to make your life a little easier in the kitchen.  Nothing sticks to it, which eliminates your need to use non-stick bake ware and of course the best part, it means little-to-no clean-up!  You can use one single sheet for a full batch of cookies, so you’re getting good use out of one sheet.

I also love to use it to make disposable pastry bags and to bake foods “en papillote”, a cooking method in which foods and seasonings like fish or vegetables are cooked together inside an envelope made with the parchment. On occasion, when I run out of baking cups, I have been known to cut the parchment paper into small squares and place in my muffin tins when baking muffins, cornbread, and cupcakes as it’s much cheaper than those foil liners.

I found that by using cooking sprays on your bakeware or griddles, they start to develop this yellowish-brown film. Even after scrubbing and soaking, that awful color doesn’t go away. So I started using parchment paper to save my pans and griddle. Stop buying foil and using Pam all the time to ensure everything you cook and bake comes out perfectly every time… Roll Out The Parchment Paper!

Never use parchment paper under the broiler in your oven as it will burn!

For more of my best kitchen tips, visit Noel’s Best Kitchen Tips page.

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How To Plan A Easy Thanksgiving Dinner

Posted on 16 November 2011 by noelskitchen

It’s a crazy time, the holiday season. Our expectations rise and our schedules swell in a swirling activity that, for me, reaches a comforting feeling when family and friends take their places at our Thanksgiving table.

Thanksgiving Planning

For the smoothest, easiest time of it, spread your Thanksgiving preparation over several days. By planning ahead, you can be sure to have an easy Thanksgiving dinner and you’ll have more time with friends and family.

Thanksgiving Planning Made Easy

Up to 3 weeks ahead

  • Check supply of chairs, serving dishes, glasses, etc. Arrange to rent or borrow any needed items.
  • Shop for nonperishables, such as canned goods.

Up to 1 week ahead

  • Plan your cooking day.
  • Make pies and any other desserts like strudels, but don’t bake them. Instead, wrap tightly and freeze. If you’re making any kind of glazes, make these too, let cool and refrigerate.
  • Bread rolls can be made ahead of time and frozen.

3 days ahead

  • Get out your china or holiday dishes, serving dishes and serving utensils. Polish and clean if necessary.
  • Shop for perishables.

2 days ahead

  • If you don’t have an ice maker, start making ice. When ice is ready, remove from trays and store in zip-loc freezer bags.
  • Cook up those fresh cranberries for your cranberry relish. Cool, cover and refrigerate.  They will be much better the next day anyway after setting.   
  • Mix up the stuffing for the turkey and put into bowl and store in fridge.
  • Defrost all those baked goods you froze the weeks prior to now.

1 day ahead

  • Buy flowers for table decorations or create your centerpieces, name cards, and fold napkins.
  • Set the table.
  • Chill beverages.
  • Remove bread rolls from the freezer and thaw.
  • Bake up those pies you froze. If you like to eat your pies warm, place them in the oven at 325 degrees to warm while you’re eating Thanksgiving dinner.

And Finally Thanksgiving Day! Your turkey is in the oven. The morning of, make any last minute arrangements to setting the table, organize serving dishes and setting out appetizers for your guests to enjoy while the meal is being prepared. While your turkey is resting, pop the bread rolls in the oven to warm.

 Snacking is an important part to hosting a party. This is a must when holiday entertaining. So set out the appetizer trays and mingle with your guests because you have planned for this day and you will now enjoy it too!

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Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Posted on 29 March 2011 by noelskitchen

Summary: Imagine an easy breakfast bread that tastes like cinnamon rolls. It is delicious warm and doesn’t need butter. The bread can be assembled the night before, then left to rise in the refrigerator overnight.

Recipe: Cinnamon Swirl Bread


1 1/4 cups milk
1 1/2 Tablespoons butter
4 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon bread machine yeast
2 Tablespoons very soft butter
6 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
6 Tablespoons raisins (optional)
4 Tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)


  • Put first six ingredients in bread pan in order listed. Set bread machine to dough cycle. Press Start.
  • Remove butter from refrigerator to soften it. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together. Butter a 9 1/2 inch loaf pan.
  • Remove dough from bread machine and punch down. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to form a rectangle about 8 inches wide and about 16 inches long. Spread the butter with a silicone basting brush, then sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the surface of the dough. Roll it into a fat 8-inch-long cylinder.
  • Loosely cover and put in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the loaf until the top is golden and a skewer  inserted in the bread  comes out clean, 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Remove the bread from the pan and put it on a wire rack. Let it cool at least 30 minutes so the hot sugar does not burn you.

Noel’s Notes: The bread can be assembled the night before, then left to rise in the refrigerator overnight.

Variations: Raisins, Chopped Nuts or Diced Fruit can be added after the first kneading or when beep sounds ( first resting period of dough cycle.) Drizzle warm cream cheese frosting over the top for an extra special taste.

Makes: 1 1/2 pound loaf

Cooking Time: 25 to 30 minutes

Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes dough cycle (includes first rising time); 1 hour second rising time or overnight in refrigerator.

Total Cooking Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Meal Type: Breakfast, Brunch

My Family Rating: 4



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Classic Apple Pecan Crisp

Posted on 19 September 2009 by noelskitchen

Fast Cooking Recipes For Family

It was also baking day. He loved seeing his mother bent over the enormous kitchen table, elbow-deep in dough, moving to the measured rhythm of making bread…Before, in times of plenty, she had put aside a bit of dough, added milk, eggs, and cinnamon, and made buns that were stored in a tin-one for each child for each day of the week. ~Isabel allende, Eva Luna, 1988

Of all the foods that spur memories of childhood for me, few are as instantly memorable as old-fashioned classic desserts. Apple pies were an all time classic in our household. 

I read somewhere as I was researching in one of my books, the author describes that a friend was telling her a story of how she had watched her grandmother prepare a favorite fruitcake many times and wanted to try making it herself. When it came to add the flour, she put in a cupful, just as her grandmother told her to do. When she tried to re-create the recipe, the cake was a failure. When she asked her grandmother why, the older woman opened her cupboard and pulled out an old cracked tea cup. “A cupful, yes-but it has to be this cup!” How many times has this scenario happened to all of us in the kitchen?

Think of a recipe as a trusted guide, it can tell you only so much. If your trying out a new dessert recipe, trust your instincts. If it doesn’t turn out exactly like it says, don’t worry, your oven may be off; temperature may need a slight adjustment. Your apples may be larger, smaller, tarter or drier. Trust your instincts. Experiment with a different fruit, another spice, a different crust, a different topping.

Cooking, after all, should be a great adventure. Recipes are only a guiding tool. One recipe is created and another one is created using a personal touch.

The following dessert recipe has been created over and over again. This dessert is very yummy and a perfect treat for the family or your guests. It is also a very economical dessert and won’t cause a pinch in your budget.

Apple Crisp Deep Covered Baker

Classic  Apple Pecan Crisp


5-6 Granny Smith Apples (can substitute with your choice of apple)
1 package (9 ounces) yellow cake mix
1-2 Tablespoons sugar (adjust sugar depending on sweetness of apples)
1 Tablesppon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or your choice of nuts)
Vanilla ice cream or whipped topping

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Peel, core and slice apples. Place apples in bottom of baking dish.
2. In a bowl, combine cake mix, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and butter. Mix until crumbly. Sprinkle mixture evenly over apples. Chop pecans and sprinkle over the top of mixture.
3. Bake 35-40 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping if desired.
Yield: 10 servings
This is a very versatile dessert. Apples may be substituted for blueberries, cherries, pears or peaches. *Pictures show pecans omitted from ingredients.

 Apple Crisp Slice


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