Monthly Archives: May 2014

Soft Pretzels and Cheese Sauce

Happy Thursday everyone!

It’s Summer vacation!!! And that means loads of time at home with the kiddos. So what do you do with all that extra time with the kids? Start baking things that they can help with of course!

So yesterday afternoon we made these yummy soft pretzels and cheese sauce. These are super easy to do and the kids can help roll them out and shape them.


So without further adieu I bring you-

how to make soft pretzels with cheese sauce.

To make these you will need:

For the pretzels:

1 pkg yeast- or 2.25 tsp bread machine yeast- in the jar

1 c water heated to 110°- 115°

2 tbsp. butter- melted

1 tbsp. granulated sugar

2 c flour + enough flour to make a soft dough

1/2 tsp salt

For the cheese sauce:

8 ounces velveeta

8 ounces cream cheese

1- 2 tbsp. milk

And here’s how to make them:

First heat your water to 110°-115°- too warm will kill your yeast,  too cold won’t activate it:

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Then add your yeast to the water:


While that is sitting mix together the butter, sugar, salt, and 2c of flour in a medium sized bowl:

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Then add your yeast water to the flour mixture:

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Stir well:


Then knead in enough flour to form a soft dough:

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Then you want to take some oil- I use evoo, and add a small amount to a bowl. Coat the entire bowl with the oil:

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Then put your dough into the bowl and coat all sides of the dough with the oil.

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Then cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place till doubled in size- about 20 minutes:

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Then punch down your dough:

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Divide your dough into 12 pieces- try to keep them close to the same size:


This is where I got the kids involved. Either you or your helpers need to roll each piece of dough into “logs” about 15 inches long or so:

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Once you have all your dough rolled, you are going to want to start some water for the boil step. You’re going to need 4 cups of water and 2 tbsp. of baking soda. Just mix them together in a pot and put on to boil:

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While your water is boiling, go back to shaping your pretzels. First make a “U” shape with your dough:


Then double twist the ends:


And then just bring the ends back down and slightly pinch the bottoms to keep the shape:


Once your water is boiling you want to carefully drop one or two pretzels in at a time and boil them for only a minute each:

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Once all of your pretzels have been boiled you want to create an egg wash to baste each pretzel with:

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Then you want to spray a baking sheet with some cooking spray- you see here that I used some parchment paper, DONT- I didn’t pay attention and apparently parchment only works in an oven up to 420°, and your oven needs to be set to 475°. so whatever you do don’t use parchment under your pretzels. If you have a silpat you can probably use it safely though.

Once you have your egg wash on all the pretzels sprinkle them with some coarse salt. The amount is all based upon personal preference:

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Then you want to bake them at 475° for 10 to 12 minutes. If you have more than one sheet of pretzels you want to bake them for 6 minutes and then rotate the trays so that you can get an even bake on all your pretzels:

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They will be a nice golden brown when they are finished:


Now every pretzel needs a nice cheese sauce right? So to make your cheese sauce you will need:

Velveeta 8 ounces and Cream Cheese 8 ounces.

Simply put them in a microwave safe bowl, and on 1 minute increments melt and stir after every time. It will look like this when done:


Then add 1- 2 tbsp. of milk and stir till smooth. The amount of milk will vary depending on how creamy your sauce is, and how creamy you want it to be:

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And that’s it. Super easy, and a fun activity for the kids all at the same time:

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So if you are looking for a nice snack that you can make with the kids, or without the kids, look no further than these night soft pretzels and cheese sauce.

Until next time,

Happy baking!










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Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Recipe of the week


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On the go pasta salad

On the go pasta salad

Happy Thursday everyone!

Today I thought I’d share again with you one of my meals. An easy pasta salad, that you can put together in a canning jar the night before and take with you when you leave for work. Let me tell you I am in love with quick meals in jars. This is another just toss it in your bag and eat when you are hungry type meals.

It’s really easy to make. You’re going to need:


3/4 c rotini- I used garden, it’s my favorite. (and a sneaky way to sneak those veggies in if you have picky eaters.)

4 Tbsp. fat free ranch dressing

1/2 c diced carrots

4 grape tomatoes- I diced mine, but you can halve them if you prefer

and not pictured but 15 small shrimp with the tails removed.

All you have to do is cook your pasta to al dente, and then after you drain it run it under some cold water so that it stops the cooking process.

While that’s cooking cook your shrimp- I just did mine in a 400º oven for about 4 minutes.

Once everything is cool, because you don’t want to mix the cold and hot- it could break your jar, start layering everything in. First your dressing:


Then your pasta:


Then your veggies:


Then your shrimp, and I also chopped up a hard boiled egg, because I just can’t get enough of them in any of my salads, plus eggs are full of protein to keep you full:


And that’s it. The best thing about this is that there is still room in the top to just be able to shake the jar up and get every last bit covered in the dressing!

As I did with my last post I’m going to give you the caloric breakdown,

  • Calories: 454.6
  • Total Fat:5.6 g
  • Cholesterol:330.0 mg
  • Total Carbs:72.1 g
  • Dietary Fiber:3.8 g
  • Protein: 23.6 g

<!–See Full Information–>   Yes it does have more calories in it than normal, but still not too bad if you use it as your lunch- it’s got 23g of protein so it’ll help keep you fuller longer, and really do you need that much pasta in a meal?

You could make this with whole wheat pasta instead of white, and that would greatly drop the calorie count, but I’m not too much of a whole wheat person myself, so I’ll just suck it up and hit the treadmill extra hard tonight. 🙂

Do you have a great pasta salad recipe that you can use as a meal, eat on the go? If so share it below, I’d love to try it out!

Until next time,

Happy cooking!


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Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Recipe of the week


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