Going to the salad bar at Ruby Tuesday is a treat for us. Luckily, there’s a Ruby Tuesday right down the street from our house. They always keep the salad bar super-duper cold and super-duper stocked. Never have I gone up with my plate and said “oh no! there’s only one pea left!” (I love peas on a salad). When I get to the end of the salad bar, I find my two favorite things: Ranch dressing and pumpernickel croutons. Now, there’s an art and an order to putting them on your salad, mind you. You do NOT put the dressing on first. I used to think you had to to keep the croutons from sliding off. No, the croutons go first, and lots of them. Make sure you kinda wedge them in any nooks and crannies so they don’t fall off. Then drizzle with the dressing, getting half of the croutons nice and Ranchy while leaving the rest naked. Trust me on this. Do it next time you hit up the Ruby Tuesday salad bar.
I used a fresh loaf of pumpernickel bread when I made copycat Ruby Tuesday croutons. Fresh bread takes longer to bake but I think it makes for a better duplicate of the original: a little crunch but mostly soft and tender crouton. You do not want a hard, dry crouton that bursts into a billion pieces when you bite into it. If you do use older or stale bread, keep an eye on them while baking because they won’t take as long.
Also try my fried goat cheese croutons. Oh yeah. They’re very good.
Copycat Ruby Tuesday Croutons
Servings 4 cups
- 4 cups pumpernickel bread cubes cut into 1/2" cubes
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus a bit more
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Place breadcrumbs into a large bowl.
Place butter into a small bowl. Stir in the garlic powder and salt.
Pour butter mixture over breadcrumbs and toss gently to coat.
Pour bread out onto a large baking sheet (or two) and spread out evenly.
Bake for 10 minutes and check for crispness. Bake longer if needed, but check every minute or so.
Remove and let cool before using. Sprinkle with more salt if desired.
Only 1 in every 5 of my attempts to bake from scratch comes out successful. That’s up from 1 out of 6 a few years ago, but still not anything to brag about. So, the more I can use my bread machine, the better. And it’s even better when what I make comes out fantastic, like these southern biscuits. They have a great buttery flavor, light texture and smell absolutely divine. Now, they aren’t super light and flaky like dough you’d make by hand (if you weren’t me that is) but they are a great substitute for those biscuits you get in a tube, that’s for sure!
You can substitute maple syrup for the honey and end up with the perfect biscuit for a sausage breakfast sandwich. And of course, bread machine southern biscuits are perfect for the best thing ever made, deep fried biscuits. Oh yes!
Slather these bad boys with some bacon jam and you’ll be in for a real treat!
Bread Machine Southern Biscuits
Servings 10 -14 biscuits
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons yeast
Place in the ingredients into your bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. For mine, I begin with the wet ingredients and then add the dry.
Process on the dough cycle until done.
Remove dough from bread machine and roll out until 1/2" thick. Try to not over-work the dough.
Cut into desired sizes and transfer to a buttered sheet pan.
Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Bake biscuits for 15 minutes or until lightly golden in color.
Until 15 minutes ago, our gotta-have-it-garlic bread was our favorite garlic bread. This chipotle garlic cheese bread is similar in that, boy, is it ever packed with flavor, but oh does it ever bring the cheese. It reminds me of the garlic cheese bread Pizza Hut used to have on the menu but with ten times the flavor and cheese (which reminds me… be sure to check out my copycat of Pizza Hut’s pan pizza). It’s seriously over the top, but really, when you make garlic cheese bread are you thinking ‘healthy’? It’s an indulgence. And then some.
You can make this chipotle garlic cheese bread ahead of time. Just wrap it in foil (loosely, so that the cheese doesn’t stick to the foil) and keep it in the fridge. When you’re ready to reheat it just toss it in a 350 F oven for 10-15 minutes until hot. Let it cool slightly before slicing or the ooey gooey cheese will run all over the place.
Also try my buttery garlic herb knots and my super-easy garlic-cheese crescent rolls.
Chipotle Garlic Cheese Bread
Servings 8 servings
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 2 teaspoons or more chipotle chili powder
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 3/4 cup green onions chopped
- 1 tablespoon parsley chopped plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 large loaf French bread halved horizontally
Combine the butter and chipotle chili powder in a large bowl. Add more seasoning if you want it spicier.
Add the remaining ingredients except for the bread (and parsley garnish). Gently fold to combine.
Place bread halves onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
Spread the cheese mixture onto the bread. Don't be shy. If you have leftover mixture consider yourself lucky (not all loaves are the same size, so it happens!).
Place bread under the broiler until starting to brown, 3-5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before garnishing with parsley and slicing for serving.
I’ve been using my bread machine more and more lately. I’ve had it for years, and probably like a lot of people’s bread makers, mine spends a lot of time in the back of the pantry sitting quietly. That’s kind of sad, because it makes great stuff, like this Italian herb bread from the bread machine. Now my loaves don’t always turn out perfect like the perfect loaves I can get at the locally-owned bakery shop. But they’re mighty darned good and they leave the house smelling delicious.
This Italian herb bread has a tremendous aroma and taste. It made for the perfect sandwich bread. A nice light crust and soft insides, but not so soft that it can’t hold up to a mound of sandwich meat and cheese.
Any leftover ends or less-than-perfect pieces of this Italian herb bread from the bread machine got turned into fantastic croutons. Great croutons. So good in fact that I wouldn’t hesitate to make a loaf just for croutons.
Also try my bread machine jalapeno cheese bread and my garlic herb pepperoni bread.
Italian Herb Bread from the Bread Machine
Servings 1 loaf
- 10-12 ounces lukewarm water
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley crushed
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons dried onion flake
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeat
Add ingredients to your bread machine in the order listed (check with your bread machine maker if it requires a different order for the dry and wet ingredients).
Select the French bread setting and start the bread cycle.
Let cool slightly after baking before slicing.
I woke up one morning and said “That’s it. I am not ignoring my bread machine any longer”. Like a lot of folks, I keep my bread machine at the back of the pantry. Way in the back. Well, no more. I’ve been using it to make fantastic po boy bread dough and since Anita requested French toast, I also made a great loaf of bread machine brioche bread. My first time. And yeah, though it’s not like I worked the dough by hand, it still feels homemade and boy, was the French toast out of this world!This bread machine brioche is so soft and eggy inside. The crust is thin but a little crunchy. It holds up well for making French toast.
The key to this bread is determining when to add the butter. You’ll be adding 8 tablespoons (a stick), one tablespoon at a time at 1 minute intervals, during the last kneading cycle. For our bread maker the second (last) kneed cycle ends 35 minutes after starting the machine. That means I add the first tablespoon of butter after 27 minutes. You’ll want to consult your bread machine manual to know when the kneading cycle ends.
Bread Machine Brioche
Follow the measurement amounts exactly to get the proper texture.
Servings 1 loaf
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
- 2 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk lightly whisked
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons bread flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into tablespoon-sized pats, softened
Add all ingredients except for the softened butter to the bread machine in the order specified by your bread machine maker. I have listed the ingredients in the order for my older model Regal bread maker.
Set your bread machine to 'sweet' or 'regular' if yours doesn't have a 'sweet' setting and begin processing.
minutes before the second kneed cycle is completed start adding the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, 1 minute between adding each one. NOTE: My bread machine book has a chart showing the various cycle times. For mine, making sweet bread, the 2nd kneed begins after 15 minutes and last 20 minuets. So, I began adding the butter 27 minutes (15 minutes + 20 minutes - 8 minutes) after starting the bread.
Let machine finish and then open the top. Let the bread cool 20 minutes before removing to slice.
It’s pumpkin time! And that means quick, easy pumpkin pull-apart bread. Moist, pumpkiny, cinnamony, and guaranteed to disappear very, very quickly. I made a ‘loaf’ for Anita to take to work (you don’t have to reheat it and it doesn’t require refrigeration if you devour it within two days, which you will) and share. It was gone in no time at all!
The only tricky part when making this pumpkin pull-apart bread is if your bread pan is bigger than the bread. Like mine was. Your bread will fall and you’ll end up with a loaf of sadness if you let it. The solution for me was to grab a piece of foil, wad it up into a ball, and place it in the space between the end of the ‘loaf’ and the end of the bread pan. No bread sadness here, just great fall-flavor yumminess!
Love pumpkin? Me too. And I love my triple-layer pumpkin spice pie too!
Easy Pumpkin Pull-Apart Bread
Servings 16 servings
For the pull-apart bread
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup white sugar divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1 can 8 count Pillsbury Grands Homestyle Biscuits (do not use the flaky style)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Aluminum foil depending on the size of your bread pan
For the glaze
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
For the pull-apart bread
Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Spray a bread pan with non-stick spray. Note: I used a non-stick bread pan and did not have to spray it.
In a bowl, stir together the pumpkin puree, 1/4 cup of the sugar, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and egg.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and the cinnamon.
Open the can of biscuits and separate them. Cut each one in half, horizontally.
Sprinkle each side of each biscuit half with the sugar and cinnamon mixture.
Take a biscuit and liberally brush one side with the pumpkin mixture. Place into the bread pan on edge, with the non-pumpkin side towards the end.
Keep adding brushed biscuits into the pan, packing them in on end. They'll look like a row of hockey pucks when you are done. When you are done, if there is extra space in your pan wad up a piece of foil and add it to keep the 'loaf' from falling.
Place into the oven and bake 20-25 minutes or until the outside is done. The internal temperature should be 190 F or more, but the insides will be gooey and soft, thanks to the pumpkin puree.
Let the bread cool completely before drizzling with the glaze.
I love jalapeno poppers. Jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese are a great thing. The peppers mellow a bit. The creamy cheese cools the heat. So, why not put those same great tastes together and make a jalapeno popper cheesy garlic bread? Yes, why not!
I made two ‘versions’ of this bread. The top one was a little lighter on the jalapenos in case they would scare people off. The bottom one was loaded and loaded good. They were both fantastic and disappeared in no time at all.
Substitute Asiago or Swiss cheese for the mozzarella for a totally different taste. No matter what you use, you’re going to end up enjoying some great cheesy hot (and I mean hot) bread.
Also try my olive cheese bread.
Jalapeno Popper Cheesy Garlic Bread
Servings 8 -10 servings
- 1 loaf Italian bread
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder divided
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup pickled jalapeno slices chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 and 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup pickled jalapeno slices whole
Preheat your oven to 400 F.
Cut bread in half lengthwise.
Brush the insides with the melted butter and sprinkle with the garlic powder.
Bake for 5 minutes to get the bread a little crispy.
Meanwhile, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, chopped jalapenos, salt and pepper.
When the bread has cooked spread both sides with the cream cheese mixture.
Sprinkle with cheese and add the jalapeno slices.
Bake for another 4-5 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
Slice and serve.
Chez John (aka Fat Johnny) turns out some mighty darned good grub (check out his awesome blog at Fat Johnny’s Front Porch). Like his Fat Johnny’s cheesy cornbread. We absolutely love the addition of sweet corn to cornbread. The cornbread cooks up perfectly. Soft and moist with an incredible cheesy flavor.
Just about anything can be added to Fat Johnny’s cheese cornbread. Try finely chopped cooked Mexican chorizo. Or ham or bacon. Or broccoli. Really, anything.
We cooked the cornbread in round pans, but of course you can use muffin tins instead. The cornbread might cook quicker in tins, so keep an eye on it after about 15 minutes of cooking.
Fat Johnny's Cheesy Cornbread
Servings 6 -8 servings
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup corn kernels fresh or canned, drained
- 1 egg beaten
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1/4 cup fine diced sweet onion
- 1 cup plus more, buttermilk
- 1 cup shredded cheddar
Preheat your oven to 375 F.
Set out two medium bowls.
In one bowl, gently stir together all of the wet ingredients.
In the other bowl stir together the dry ingredients.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, forming a batter. If it's too clumpy add more buttermilk, a little at a time, and stir.
Pour batter into a muffin tin or pie pan.
Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Yummy, buttery, garlicky, herby bread. All good things. And very easy to make since I used pre-made pizza dough. I’m not that great at tying knots into raw dough strips, it would seem. But that didn’t matter a bit. These buttery garlic herb knots came out tasting perfect.
For the marinara I used my absolutely go-to homemade pizza sauce. It has the perfect pizza sauce flavor. I make it by the gallon (well, it seems that way at least) and freeze it in small portions so I always have it on hand. It’s perfect for dipping a few buttery garlic herb knots.
Also try my easy cheesy breadsticks.
Buttery Garlic Herb Knots
Servings 16 knots
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves minced (or 1 teaspoon dried, crushed)
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves minced (or 1 teaspoon dried, crushed)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan divided
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- All-purpose flour
- 2 tubes refrigerated Pillsbury thin pizza crust
- Marinara or pizza sauce warmed, for dipping (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 F.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter.
Stir in the thyme, rosemary, 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan, and the garlic powder.
Lightly dust a work surface with flour.
Remove pizza crusts from tubes and unroll onto the surface. Roll out into rectangles.
Brush tops of dough with butter mixture. Fold dough over on top of itself.
Using a pizza cutter, cut each dough in half, then repeat until you have 8 strips about an inch wide. You don't have to get too particular in how wide they are on how straight they are cut.
Grab ends of each strip and 'tie' them into a knot. Gently, don't pull on the ends real hard or the dough will break.
Lay knots onto a baking sheet (you'll need two pans) sprayed with non-stick spray. Fold the tips of the dough under the knots so they don't cook too fast.
Bake 18-20 minutes or longer depending on how golden brown you want your knots.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Brush with remaining butter and sprinkle with remaining cheese and serve hot with warmed marinara sauce for dipping if desired.
Well, it doesn’t get much easier than these easy cheesy breadsticks. In about 15 minutes you’ll have a nice batch of crunchy, tasty breadsticks. This recipe makes enough breadsticks for a small crowd, perfect for a large family meal.The pre-made dough is what makes this so simple to make. You can also use fresh pizza dough, but you might have to adjust the amounts of the other ingredients.
I served these easy cheesy breadsticks with our homemade pizza sauce, but you can use jarred if you want. They’d also be great served with marinara sauce, warmed.
Also try my chipotle garlic cheese bread.
Easy Cheesy Breadsticks
Servings 8 -12
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Unroll pizza dough onto a greased cookie sheet and press out until thin.
Combine garlic salt and butter and brush over top of the dough.
Sprinkle cheeses and basil over the top of the dough.
Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 12 strips, and then cut them in half. Do not pull the strips apart.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown.
Re-cut the strips and pull them apart.
Serve sticks warm with warmed pizza or marinara sauce.