make ahead meals

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SImple Clean and Homemade I Guiness Lamb Stew 3

When I heard about the doom and gloom of the coming storm last weekend, I just knew that a day stuck inside with snow meant comfort food. I can’t even believe we made it until March without making stew this year. It happens to be one of Pierre’s favorite things. I never really was a fan of it, but I am a fan of cooking dinner in my Dutch Oven most of the day. Instead of making my typical stew recipe, I wanted to make something new to us.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Guiness Lamb Stew 6

If you didn’t know, I really like lamb. I have never really been a big fan of most meats, but for almost my whole life lamb has been at the top of my list. Our favorite grocery store almost always has local lamb cubed and ready for stew. Plus, the butcher is awesome and would cut it for me if I asked.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Guiness Lamb Stew

Lamb stew needs hearty flavors to stand up to the gaminess of the meat. Guinness was the perfect accompaniment. It added a rich flavor that went well with the lamb.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Guiness Lamb Stew 2

If you notice, I did not put potatoes in the stew so we could enjoy the stew on top of a big pile of creamy wasabi mashed potatoes. It may have been the perfect storm meal, even if the storm never really came.

Guiness Lamb Stew

by Jessica

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours


Ingredients (6-8 servings)

  • 2 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 pounds lamb for stew
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 8-10 carrots, chunked
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 pint Guiness
  • 5-6 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons beef better than bouillon
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup peas


Salt the lamb on both sides.

In a 6 quart Dutch Oven over medium high heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Set aside,

Brown the lamb on all sides in batches. Do not over crowd the pan. Remove the lamb from the pan and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook the vegetables until tender. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with Guiness cooking until the liquid no longer smells like alcohol. Add the pepper, thyme, and bay leaves.

Bake without a lid in a 350 degree oven for about 3 hours or until most of the liquid has evaporated (you may need to add more water if too much water evaporates).

Remove from the oven when the meat is very soft. Add peas and heat on the stove to defrost (about 5 minutes).

Serve over mashed potatoes or rice.

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SImple Clean and Homemade I Braised Short Ribs 2

It FEELS like winter will never end, but last weekend we realized that we are only about a month away from the end of winter meal season. That means that we have to get in a little more braising before we go full force into salad season. While I absolutely do not like winter and I cannot wait until summer, I will miss braising. Have you ever tried braising? It makes meat basically the best thing in the whole wide world.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Braised Short Ribs 4

In order to fully enjoy the end of braising season, I wanted to make short ribs for the first time. We made a trip to the good grocery store that has everything and got some short ribs. It was so luxurious to not have to wait in line forever. I cooked them in the typical braising fashion. We browned the meat, cooked the veggies, deglazed the pan with a bottle of wine and then baked until the meat was falling off the bone.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Braised Short Ribs

I served this over wasabi mashed potatoes to cut the richness. When we were eating this, I declared that it was everything pot roast should be but wasn’t. If you haven’t tried short ribs yet, try them soon before braising season is over.

Braised Short Ribs

by Jessica

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Ingredients (5-6 servings)

  • 3 slices bacon, diced
  • 8 short ribs
  • salt
  • 2 onion, cut pole to pole
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 bottle dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 stem fresh rosemary
  • 3-4 stems fresh thyme


Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a 6 quart dutch oven, cook the bacon until crisp over medium heat. Remove the bacon from the pan and reserve.

Salt the short ribs and brown on all sides in the dutch oven using the bacon fat. Remove the browned short ribs and set aside.

Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic to the pan. Cook until tender. Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook until it no longer smells like alcohol. Add the beef stock and herbs. Return the bacon and short ribs to the pan.

Bake in the oven uncovered for 2-3 hours or until the meat starts to fall off of the bone. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes or until the fat separates from the sauce. Remove as much fat as possible.

This dish is excellent the second day. It is also easier to remove the fat after allowing the fat to solidify over night. Then, reheat them in the pan with the sauce. Serve over mashed potatoes or polenta.

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Simple Clean and Homemade I Eggrolls 3

Tomorrow is Friday. Friday is our most frequent day to get take out. Not this week. This week we are going to my parents’ house to get haircuts and get our staple groceries that we enjoy from their area.

I have a total love/hate relationship with take out. I LOVE that I don’t have to cook as soon as I get home from work but I HATE that the food usually gives me a stomach ache and isn’t as good as I anticipated. Therefore, I tend to make a lot of our take out favorites at home. One of those things is egg rolls. I grew up eating lots of egg rolls. My best friend’s dad always invited us over for wonton soup and egg rolls. It was one of my favorite meals. My homemade egg rolls bring back memories of those fun dinners. The big difference with theses is that they are baked, not fried.

Baking egg rolls gives them a different texture than fried egg rolls. I actually have grown to like the baked version much better. I like the crispy, aldente texture.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Egg Rolls 2

I start by browning my pork. Once it is brown, I add three bags of coleslaw. In the summer, I buy fresh cabbage and carrots from a farmer, but this is about a million times easier. I rarely buy packaged food, but this recipe is one of those times that I don’t mind a few short cups.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Egg Rolls 3

I think the hardest part of making this is judging the filing. You want to get as much moisture as possible out of the filling because you are baking and/or freezing these. This is what the filling looks like when I first start with all of the coleslaw.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Egg Rolls

This is what the finished filling looks like. I have to say, it is so good, you could just eat it like this. But the extra egg roll making step is totally worth it.

Simple Clean and Homemade I Eggrolls

I like to serve these with sweet and sour sauce and hot mustard. Sometimes we add a little hot chili oil for the extra spice. This is one of my favorite weeknight meals. It is so quick straight out of the freezer.

Baked Pork Eggrolls

by Jessica

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 20-30 minutes

Ingredients (28 eggrolls)

  • 2 pounds pork chops or loin, diced
  • 3 pounds bagged coleslaw (fresh cabbage and carrots)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 8 ounce cans water chestnuts, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 28 egg roll wrappers


In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat the oil and brown the pork. When the pork is brown, add the coleslaw and allow the coleslaw to cook down until most of the moisture is gone. Add remaining ingredients except the egg roll wrappers. Cook until the moisture is cooked out. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

When the mixture is cool, spread egg roll wrappers on the counter. Have a small bowl of water next to your work space. Put about 1/4 cup of the filling on each wrapper. Close the wrappers, sealing with water.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. On a baking sheet, spray all sides of the egg rolls with cooking spray. Cook about 15 minutes on one side. Flip and cook until both sides are crispy. Serve with Sweet and Sour Sauce and Hot Mustard.

To freeze: Wrap the uncooked egg rolls in plastic wrap. Place in a zip top bag and freeze. When ready to eat, follow the above directions with the frozen egg rolls.

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SImple Clean and Homemade I Shrimp Feta Bake

It has been so cold and I am so ready for winter to be over. You know what I realized? It isn’t even half over yet. Last week we installed some gas fireplace logs. I can’t even explain how much I am loving our gas fireplace logs. They make the living room so cozy and warm. It is making the below zero temperatures a little more bearable. That and warm clothes.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Shrimp Feta Bake 2

Today I want to share one of my brother’s favorite meals. He eats tons of this shrimp feta bake when I make it. Like almost the whole batch of it. At first, it was odd because he didn’t eat tomatoes. I think this dish was the gateway to full blown tomato eating for him.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Shrimp Feta Bake 3

This is a light and healthy dish. I like to serve it over whole wheat orzo.

Shrimp and Feta Bake

by Jessica

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30-45 minutes

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 29 ounce can diced tomatoes, about half liquid drained
  • pinch cayenne
  • 1 pound raw deveined peeled shrimp, defrosted
  • 1/2 cup chopped curly parsley
  • 3-4 ounces reduced fat feta cheese
  • juice 1 lemon
  • whole wheat orzo, cooked according to package directions


In a large skillet or work, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cayenne. Cook until about half of the moisture is reduced. Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp is slightly under done. Stir in the parsley. Pour into a 9×13 glass baking dish. Sprinkle with feta and lemon juice. Bake at 400 until bubbly (about 20 minutes).

Serve over whole wheat orzo.

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SImple Clean and Homemade I Wedge Salad

We have been working so hard on the house. I can’t believe we have lived here a whole month. We are in a strange place where it feels like home, all comfy and cozy, but we don’t know where all of the light switches are or where we put away some of our stuff. This week we installed some fireplace logs, painted the foyer, organized the garage to set up my treadmill and elliptical (YES!), and had a pet fence installed. Oh, and most importantly, I primed over the neon yellow paint in the third bedroom. That bedroom and the kitchen are the only rooms left to paint.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Wedge Salad 2

With all this work, it is nice to make a nice meal each week as a special treat. When I was a kid, because my mom didn’t really cook, twice baked potatoes were a special occasion side dish. We had them for any holiday where my mom cooked. They are creamy and delicious, topped with bacon, cheese, and green onions. I LOVED them and looked forward to leftovers. They are still one of my favorites.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Wedge Salad 3

The best thing about them now is that they are delicious and perfect to make ahead and bake later. That makes them great for holidays or entertaining. Or sometimes even a weeknight meal to prep the night before. They certainly feel fancy to me and they taste so rich and decadent it is a special treat.

Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes

by Jessica

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients (3-6 servings)

  • 3 potatoes, scrubbed and poked with a fork
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3-4 slices bacon cooked until crispy


Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Rub the potatoes with olive oil and salt. Bake 30-40 minutes or until fork tender.

Cut the potatoes in half for smaller portions (6) of cut the tops off for larger portions. Scoop out the inside of the potatoes and set the skin aside. Mash the potatoes. Add butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper to taste. Add milk until you like the consistency. It should be about the consistency of mashed potatoes. Stir in half of the green onions.

Fill the potato skins with the potato mixture. If serving immediately, bake with cheese for 15-20 minutes. To use later, bake for 20-30 minutes at 400 degrees, adding cheese and baking for an additional 10 minutes. Top with bacon and green onions.

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SImple Clean and Homemade I Canadian Bacon Strata

I wanted to invite you over for brunch. Because it is impossible to invite all of you to my home, I made you brunch instead. I LOVE brunch. I know it gets a bad rap, but man is it good. You can pick breakfast or lunch and it is stuff I would not normally eat. I don’t think I told you how OBSESSED my mom was with breakfast casseroles for like an entire decade. Especially that one that uses cream of mushroom soup and seasoned croutons. To me it tastes like salt, but I guess for her it is all delicious.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Canadian Bacon Strata 2

If you haven’t noticed, I steer clear of processed foods, so seasoned croutons and cream of mushroom soup are two things that I do not put in my shopping cart (I am fairly certain they have more than 5 ingredients). In order to feed her cravings for breakfast casserole and stick to my 5 ingredient rule, I had to figure out how to make a lighter, less processed breakfast casserole. To do that, I made a strata.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Canadian Bacon Strata 5

Stratas are just like breakfast casseroles. They are really just the fancy term for our old favorite. Aside from how fancy it sounds and custardy and creamy it tastes, I love how easy and flexible stratas are. I stick to a general recipe to make a strata, only changing the protein and cheese, sometimes adding some low moisture vegetables. I like to make a small batch (1/2 baguette, 4 eggs, 1 1/2 c milk, 1 tsp mustard, 1 tsp hot sauce, 1/2 lb protein, 4 oz grated cheese, 1/4 c parmesan), but it also works really well doubled.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Canadian Bacon Strata 4

I like to make it on Saturday night to bake on Sunday for brunch. Then, we eat the leftovers for a few days for breakfast. I love this quick weekday breakfast.

Canadian Bacon Strata

by Jessica

Prep Time: 15 minutes active Overnight in

Cook Time: 40-60 minutes

Ingredients (6 servings)

  • 1/2 pound Canadian bacon
  • 1/2 baguette, cubed
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (I use Frank’s)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 4 ounces grated cheddar cheese


In a medium skillet, brown the Canadian bacon. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk egg, milk, mustard, and hot sauce. Set aside.

In a 2 quart baking dish, add the bread and green onions. Toss with the Canadian bacon. Pour the egg mixture over the bread. Sprinkle the cheese over the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Bake at 350 for 40-60 minutes or until set in the middle. If the cheese becomes too brown, cover with foil. Allow to sit 10 minutes before serving.

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SImple Clean and Homemade I Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Shells 6

I have wanted stuffed shells for weeks. They sounded so delicious, but I just couldn’t make them because we were spending so much of our time moving, painting, packing, unpacking, and celebrating the holidays in between, that I ran out of time to cook. We ate too much take out and my tummy felt it. We even hit a point where we were eating Easy Mac. I hadn’t had Easy Mac since college. The worst part? It wasn’t even Easy Mac, it was the Target brand which is sort of soupy. It is so nice to be getting settled and have a little time to cook actual meals, menu plan, and grocery shop. It makes me feel like a normal person again.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Shells 3

Making stuffed shells is pretty easy. Stuffing them takes a little time, definitely less than layering a lasagna. Plus they are already in servings. You don’t have to wait for it to cool like lasagna. It could just be one of the best entertaining meals ever. They seem super fancy AND can be made in advance.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Shells 2

And I seriously packed them with spinach. I might even add more spinach next time. Because I love it.

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Bake them and serve with your favorite salad or vegetable.

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

by Jessica

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

Ingredients (6-8 servings)

  • 2/3 box jumbo shells
  • 1 15 ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1 10 ounce bag frozen spinach, defrosted and excess water squeezed out with a clean towel
  • 10 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded medium sharp provolone cheese
  • 2 pints marinara sauce


Cook the shells about 9 minutes, until slightly less than ardent. Strain and spread out on a baking sheet to cook.

Mix ricotta, parmesan, egg, spinach, basil, and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese in a medium bowl.

Spread a thin layer of sauce at the bottom of a 9×13 baking sheet. Stuff the shells with the ricotta mixture and place in the pan. Cover with more sauce and bake for 30-40 minutes. Serve hot with your favorite salad.

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SImple Clean and Homemade I Pierogi 9

One of the reasons I started a blog was because I was bursting with excitement to share all of the cool things I taught myself how to do in the kitchen. For New Year’s I decided to make something that I have wanted to try for a really long time. Pierogies seem to me like they are a staple. Living in Pittsburgh, they are a popular food served at restaurants as well as churches. If you are unfamiliar, they are dough filled with some kind of filling (often potato), boiled and pan fried. I knew they would take some work but would be well worth the effort, and boy was I right.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Pierogi 5

I started by baking the potatoes. I decided to bake the potatoes because of the same logic I used when I made gnocchi. Baked potatoes reduce the amount of water, intensifying the potato flavor which is what I wanted. While the potatoes baked, I made the dough. It is a super easy dough to make and roll. It is pretty forgiving and does not rip easily. Because I am not fancy, I used a regular drinking glass to cut the dough into circles.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Pierogi 2

I made the potato mixture and used a scoop to put it on the dough. Then, I dipped my fingers in water and ran them along the outside edge. I pulled the dough around the potato filling. I found that it was easiest to do that part when I was holding it in my hand.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Pierogi 3

I sealed the dough by using the tongs on a fork.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Pierogi 4

And took the finished perigees and placed them on a cookie sheet to freeze.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Pierogi 6

Making homemade pierogies is time consuming but oh so rewarding. I have a giant bag of homemade pierogies in my freezer right now that I could use to make dinner in less than 20 minutes. They are organic and I know exactly what is in them. I served them along side some roasted broccoli (my current favorite side dish).

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Oh and with tons of slightly browned onions.

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For the creamiest, most delicious pierogies that I have ever had. If you were scared to try making them, don’t be.

Sour Cream, Cheddar, and Chive Pierogies

by Jessica

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 10-15 minutes


Ingredients (48-58 pierogies)

    For the Filling

    • 8 potatoes, pierced with a fork
    • 3 tablespoons sour cream
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
    • 2 chopped green onions
    • salt and pepper to taste

    For the Dough

    • 4 tablespoons melted butter
    • 1 16 ounce container sour cream
    • 2 eggs plus one yolk
    • 4 1/2 cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons salt

    To Serve

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 3 onions, cut pole to pole
    • salt
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 9-12 pierogies


    For the Filling

    Bake to potatoes at 450 degrees until tender on the inside (30-40 minutes). Cut in half and scoop the inside of the potatoes into a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher. Add the sour cream, butter, milk, cheddar cheese, and green onions. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

    For the Dough

    Combine the butter, sour cream, and egg until well mixed. Add the flour and salt and mix until it forms a dough. Divide the dough in half. Working with half of the dough at a time, roll the dough out on a floured surface. Using a biscuit cutter or a glass, cut the dough into circles.

    Scoop the potato filling onto the dough circles. Moisten your fingers with water and rub the outside edge of the dough circle with water. pull the dough over the potato scoop . Press to seal with a fork. Place finished pierogis on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place in the freezer until frozen solid. Store in a zip top bag in the freezer.

    To Serve

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt to the water and add boil until the pierogies float. Continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes. Drain.

    In a large skillet, cook the onions until translucent in the butter and oil, salting the onions so they cook faster. When the onions are just starting to brown, add the cooked pierogies. Sauté for a few minutes until they are slightly browned. Serve with a leafy salad or your favorite veggie.

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    Pork Adobo

    Simple Clean and Homemade I Pork Adobo 4

    I am so sorry I have been gone for over a week now. I have really missed all of you and am really excited about some things that I want to share with you in the next few weeks. We have been super busy. Like, Monday I realized I bought two Christmas presents and had not made any plans or ideas to find any more. Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to the Justin Timberlake concert with my best friend. It was so good. He is a phenomenal entertainer. Seriously, he can sing, dance, play the guitar, and play the piano. Wow. Today, because we did not spend the day at my parents’ house, we finally got tons of errands crossed off our list including almost all Christmas shopping.

    Simple Clean and Homemade I Pork Adobo 5

    After our snowy trip home on Saturday, I have come to realize that it really is going to be winter in just a few days. Hibernation mode is in full swing. Hibernation mode means more comfort food. Stuff that roasts in the oven most of the day, filling the house with yummy smells. Pork Adobo does just that. I have to warn you, this is not done in the traditional manner. I did it how I like to cook pork, but with the same spices as the traditional Filipino dish. One of the unique ingredients is palm vinegar. It can be found in Asian grocery stores and is very inexpensive. It really adds that special something.

    Simple Clean and Homemade I Pork Adobo 3

    I like to make this the day before we are going to eat it. I heat it in a skillet over medium heat with about 1/4-1/2 cup of water. To add some spice for this of us who like heat, I add a small amount of hot chili oil. Then, I heat it until it has a nice sauce and serve it over rice. I use brown rice which is not traditional, but what we enjoy in our home. Then, I sprinkle a little cilantro over top. It freezes well and can be reheated in the same manner once it is defrosted.

    Pork Adobo

    by Jessica

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook Time: 2-3 hours

    Ingredients (6-8 servings)

    • 3 pound pork shoulder, cubed and salted
    • olive oil
    • 1 light colored beer
    • 6-10 cloves garlic, smashed
    • 1/3 cup soy sauce
    • 2/3 cup palm vinegar or white distilled vinegar
    • 1 cup whole peeled tomatoes, squeezed with your hands
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
    • 2 medium onions, sliced
    • 2 green onions, diced


    Cut the pork shoulder into large chunks. Sprinkle with salt.

    Allow the meat to come to room temperature.

    Heat oil in a dutch oven (at least 5 quarts). Brown the meat on all sides. This may need to be done in batches, depending on the size of your pan.

    Remove the pork and set aside.

    Deglaze the pan with the beer. Simmer for 2-3 minutes and then scrape the brown bits off of the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Add the bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, tomatoes, soy sauce, and vinegar. Return the pork to the pan.

    Heat the oven to 350. Place the dutch oven in the oven without a lid for about 3 hours stirring every 30 to 60 minutes. When most of the moisture is gone, add the sliced onions and green onions. You may need to add 1/2 cup of water. Return to the oven until the onions are fully cooked and most of the water is gone.

    Serve over rice.

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    Simple Clean and Homemade I Salted Caramel Monkey Bread with Toasted Pecans 4

    Holy monkey bread. I thought I never had monkey bread until I was an adult. Then, where I was making this, I realized that we actually had it all the time when I was a kid. There were two small grocery stores in my town when I was a kid (now there is only one). The one that closed had a hot foods section with a bakery. Mom mom bought monkey bread all the time. Except it wasn’t called monkey bread. I thought it was dry as a kid and never really ate it. I hate when any kind of sweet breakfast food is dry (cinnamon rolls, stickies, etc).

    Simple Clean and Homemade I Salted Caramel Monkey Bread with Toasted Pecans

    This is so unbelievably good. The caramel makes it not dry. The nuts give it a toasted flavor. The salted caramel adds the salty sweet component. Plus all that cinnamon. Wow. So. Good.

    Simple Clean and Homemade I Salted Caramel Monkey Bread with Toasted Pecans 3

    I think it is best within the first hour, but it is good when reheated the next day, too. I think this is the perfect Christmas morning breakfast. Everyone can pick at it when they want to and enjoy yummy tidbits of salted caramel, fluffy cinnamon bread, and toasted pecans.

    Salted Caramel Pecan Monkey Bread

    by Jessica

    Prep Time: 3 hours

    Cook Time: 40 minutes

    Ingredients (20 servings)

      For the Dough

      • 1 tablespoon sugar
      • 3 cups water (105-115 degrees F)
      • 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
      • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
      • 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour

      For The Caramel

      • 1/4 cup butter
      • 3/4 cup brown sugar
      • 1/4 cup heavy cream
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

      For the Monkey Bread

      • 1 cup cinnamon sugar
      • 1/2 cup melted butter
      • 3/4 toasted pecan pieces
      • 45 dough balls (from half of the dough recipe above)


      For the Dough

      In the bowl of a stand mixer, add sugar and warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 10 minutes or until foamy.

      With the stand mixer on low, add the flour and salt. Mix to combine, about 3-5 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 2 hours in a warm place.

      If using later, break into four dough balls and place in a plastic bag. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. You will use two dough balls for this recipe. You can use the rest for pizza or breadsticks.

      For the Caramel

      In a 3 quart sauce pan, add the sugar, butter, and cream. Heat over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes . Do not stir while it is cooking. Remove from the hat and stir in the salt and vanilla.

      For the Monkey Bread

      Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with nonstick spray. Sprinkle with half of the pecans. Drizzle in half of the caramel.

      Coat the dough balls in butter then roll in cinnamon sugar, only a few at a time. Line the bottom of the bundt pan with 20 dough balls. Add the remaining nuts and caramel. Add the remaining dough balls coated in butter and cinnamon sugar. Pour remaining butter and cinnamon sugar over the top.

      Set on top of the stove, making sure the burners are off. Allow to rise for an additional 30 minutes. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Allow to cool and remove from the pan.

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