Category Archives: Recipes


Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls

About 15 years ago, I started cooking in cast iron. The cinnamon rolls are one of the first recipes I ever attempted, and they have become our Christmas morning tradition. I like cast iron because your cooking ware goes from stovetop to oven every time. My skillet not only makes scrambled eggs but also serves as a cinnamon roll baking dish.

Over the years, I’ve made a number of variations on this recipe including adding peanut butter, walnuts and even cherries or strawberry jam to the inside and top of the rolls.

These cinnamon rolls are easy to make when traveling or visiting family. They looked like you slaved in the kitchen but your work can be spread out over 2 days. You will need to use a rolling pin, however, an empty wine bottle works well in a pinch.

This cinnamon roll recipe can be halved easily. The recipe below feeds a family of 6-8. I will typically halve the recipe and save the remaining cake mix and flour in a separate bag for use another time. You can also freeze the remaining cinnamon rolls for later baking.

Iron Skillet Cinnamon Rolls

1 yellow cake mix (not pudding)
5 c. flour
1 pkg. dry yeast
2 1/2 c. warm water
3 sticks butter, room temperature
1/2 c. white sugar
1 1/2 c. brown sugar, divided
1 c. pecans pieces
cinnamon, as desired

In a large bowl, combine cake mix and flour. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add dissolved yeast to cake mix/flour mixture. Mix with wooden spoon and hands. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.

On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 1/2-inch thick. Butter dough. Combine 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar and cinnamon to taste. Sprinkle over buttered dough. Roll long-ways and cut into 24 rolls.

Butter bottom and sides of two 10-inch cast iron skillets, approximately 1 stick per pan. Sprinkle buttered skillets with remaining brown sugar and pecans. Put rolls in skillets and let rise 1 hour.

Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately turn rolls out of skillets onto plates. Scrape out any caramel that remains and spread on the cinnamon rolls.

Recipes Review

Breville Centrifugal Juicer Review & Recipes


For Christmas, my husband gifted me a new Breville Centrifugal Juicer. I’ve been juicing religiously for a year and a half. This is our second juicer. The first was a masticating juicer called a Bella Pro. You can read more about the different types of juicers by clicking here. My video review of the Breville Centrifugal Juicer is below.

The Breville Centrifugal Juicer takes time a little time to set up and unpack but it proves to be easy to use once you understanding the juicing settings and basic construction. We juice a lot of spinach and wheat grass at our house. I did some initial testing and guessing to understand what settings to get the most juice out of them. I suggest operating on a 5 with wheatgrass, kale and spinach. Otherwise, you will have to run the leafy greens several times through the juicer, and that is time consuming and messy.

What I like most about the Breville Juicer is the fact that I can add an entire apple, orange or other vegetable to the juice. No more cutting, chopping or peeling in order to use the juicer saving you valuable time and nutrients. Last year we spent hours upon hours peeling oranges. The hours spent peeling is no more with the centrifugal juicer from Breville.

It’s also important to note that the Breville is solidly made. I like mesh surrounding the sides of the blade.  They are of high quality. Unlike our Bella Pro, we had no problem with the fruit getting caught or jammed. The juicer is still loud but quieter than the Bella Pro. The Bella Pro Juicer would make a horrible thumping noise if the fruit was getting jammed. The Breville doesn’t have that problem because centrifugal juicer blades operate at a very high rate.

Make sure you turn the juicer on first before you add the fruit or vegetables. Otherwise, it won’t extract the juice from your foods on the fruit try. The cleanup is pretty easy. I normally compost the pulp from the juice but recently I have also begun using it to create vegetable, beef and chicken stock. Only the blade and mesh according to the instructions is dishwasher safe. We have successfully run everything through the dishwasher and it has come out just fine.

Our family normally spends 30 minutes on Sundays preparing our juice for the week. I like to purchase my vegetables in bulk, juice them and place them in large canning jars. I’ve mentioned previously, I will freeze my canning jars and most recently with my vegetable stock and all my excess juice too. Just remember that you shouldn’t be defrosting it in the microwave especially with the canning jar lid. I like to thaw my frozen juice and stock in canning jars slowly in a large pot in hot water over time.


One of the reasons we purchased a Breville is because it is a brand name, I was under the impression that it is easy to order replacement parts which we were unable to do with our Bella Pro. I don’t want to have to invest another $200 on a juicer every 12 months.

I love my Breville Juicer and am having a blast continuing to experiment with new vegetables, fruits and recipes. Check out my Juicing and Smoothie Pinterest Board for more juicing recipe inspiration.

More Juicing Recipes & Resources


How to Make the Mosting Amazing Red Chili Enchilada Sauce



One of my favorite dishes which I’ll include the recipe at a later time is my enchilada casserole. About three years ago, I tried my hand at making enchilada sauce canning a small batch with great results. Once or twice a year, I now spend the weekend canning seemingly hundreds of tomatoes which I pick up from my local restaurant food supplier. This weekend I picked up 80 lbs. of tomatoes. My husband and I spent part of the weekend making tomato paste, tomato sauce and enchilada sauce. I can them and store for later use making for a quick, healthier and more customized dinner.


Amazing Red Chili Enchilada Sauce

This recipe doesn’t require you to make everything homemade, however it does incorporate a tomato paste recipe and the stock recipe. These two pieces inject amazing flavor into the enchilada sauce.

This recipe will make you 10 quart sized  (32 oz) cans of enchilada sauce.


120 dried red chiles

15 cups of water

15 cups of pork stock (Chicken or beef stock also works, however my preference is pork.)

3 cups tomato paste

25 cloves of garlic

1  cups of olive oil

5 tablespoons of oregano

3 tablespoons of cumin or corriander

3 tablespoons of paprika

3 tablespoons of chile powder

3 tablespoons of onion powder


Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Using a sheet pan, lay your chilis on them and place in the oven for 4 minutes. Remove from oven and remove chili tops and seeds adding them directly into your water and pork stock mixture in your large stock pot. Let them sit for 2 hours to hydrate and absorb flavor.




Add your remaining ingredients including your garlic directly into your stock pot. Save time by not chopping them tossing them directly in the pot. You are welcome to use store bought tomato paste, however, I recommend making your own which can be cooked and canned in advance. Click here to access my tomato paste recipe. Using your immersion blender mix them directly in your stock pot.

Bring your your enchilada sauce to a boil and let it cook down for 2 hours to absorb and the flavor. Follow the process of sanitizing and preparing your quart jars for canning. Your enchilada sauce can also be frozen if you have room in your freezer. Make sure you make room in your jars when the frozen enchilada sauce expands. I like to can them because my cooking time for meals like my enchilada sauce is reduced because I don’t have to dethaw my sauce.

Enjoy your enchilada sauce.


More Canning Recipes and Resources

For more canning recipes check out the following:

I took inspiration from this enchilada recipe which I love and recommend if you are looking to cook in smaller increments over at Cooking with Curls.


How to Make Basic But Delicous Tomato Paste



I was surprised the first time I tried my hand at making tomato sauce on my own how pink it was even though I thought I took enough time to cook down and prepare my tomato sauce. Tomato paste provides your a flavor charge that also allows you to retain the traditional red color you come to know in your tomato sauce.

Ingredients for Your Basic But Delicious Tomato Paste

Don’t be intimidated by tomato sauce. It’s easy to make outside of the preparation of the tomatos. To purchase tomatoes in bulk, I recommend visiting your restaurant supply store, grown them yourselves, or work with your supermarket or farmer’s market to purchase them in bulk. Leaving the tomato skins your tomatoes will make them bitter. I like to save my tomato skins for later use in seasoning and flavoring my stock. You can find my recipe by clicking here.


60 blanched, cored and peeled large tomatoes

3 tablespoons salt

3 tablespoons cracked pepper

10 cloves of garlic

1 1/2 cups of fresh lemon juice

3 bay leaves


Make sure you blanch, core and prepare tomatoes. Add them to a large stock pot. Add ingredients to your pot with the exception of the bay leaves. Use your immersion blender to blend. Add your bay leaves and bring your pot to a boil. Let it cook and simmer down for 3-4 hours until it is extremely think. This recipe will make 64 ounces or 9 cups of tomato paste.

I like to use the tomato paste immediately in my tomato sauce or enchilada sauce. However, this can be canned, refrigerated and frozen for later use.


More Tomato and Canning Recipes

This recipe has taken inspiration from the Tomato Paste recipe in the “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving” edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine. 


How to Make the World’s Most Flavorful Tomato Sauce



My tomato sauce is very multi-purpose. It’s our almost weekly staple for our homemade pizza. You can click here to see my pizza dough recipe. I like to can the tomato sauce in advance as it’s great to use in spaghetti, casseroles and other recipes. I generally spend two weekends canning a year working on making tomato paste, tomato sauce, and enchilada sauce for use for the rest of the year. I’ll include links to the recipes at the end of the post.

This tomato sauce  recipe should make 10 quart size jars. I recommend canning these and sealing them instead of freezing just because they stay fresh longer. Special note, if you are not including the tomato paste in your sauce, make sure to include a 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice in each of your quart jars. This makes sure that your sauce remains flavorful and fresh.




Flavorful Tomato Sauce Recipe


60 peeled, blanched and cored tomatoes

3 celery stalks chopped

1 1/2 cups of carrot juice (This makes your sauce sweet.)

4 medium sized yellow onions chopped

12 garlic cloves

2 cups of red wine (I prefer pinot noir or merlot.)

3 tablespoons oregano

3 tablespoons salt

3 tablespoons cracked pepper

1 1/2 cups of basil

3 cups of tomato paste

3 bay leaves


The tomato sauce will have a bright red color from using the tomato paste. Add all your ingredients with the exception of the bay leaves. Using your immersion blender, blend everything together. Add your bay leaves and bring your sauce to a boil. Stir frequently. Let it reduce on medium high for 2-3 hours until it reaches the right think consistency and red color. Add additional spices and flavors to suite your taste and customizations.

Follow the basic canning rules sanitizing your jars, lids and rings. Add your sauce and then seal them. Make sure they are cooled before storing them in a cool and dry location.


More Tomato and Canning Recipes

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