Friday, February 26, 2016

Cherry and Chocolate Cheesecake Cups

Within the last few months my cravings for sweets have dramatically increased... thanks pregnancy!


I have definitely indulged in the dessert category of Pinterest a little more than usual, including this delicious No Bake Cherry and Chocolate Cheesecake recipe that I found on the blog "Cravings of a Lunatic." As usual, I made a few modifications based on what we had in our pantry and it definitely hit the sweet cravings spot!

Cherry and Chocolate Cheesecake Cups

Ingredients for the base:
  • 28 Oreos (crushed into crumbs)
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
Ingredients for cherry filling:
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 12 maraschino cherries (chopped)
  • 2 tsp juice from maraschino cherry jar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
Ingredients for chocolate filling:
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 4 tbsp semisweet chocolate (melted)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 oz semisweet chocolate (grated)
Optional garnishes:
  • Whipped cream
  • Grated chocolate
  • Maraschino cherry

Directions for the base:
  1. Crush the Oreos and combine with sugar.
  2. Melt the butter and combine with Oreos. 
  3. Set aside.
Directions for cherry topping:
  1. Whip the heavy cream until it is fluffy then set aside.
  2. Mix the cream cheese with the powdered sugar.
  3. Mix the chopped cherries, cherry juice, vanilla extract, and salt into the cream cheese mixture.
  4. Fold in the whipped heavy cream until it is combined with the cherry cream cheese mixture. 
  5. Set aside.
Directions for chocolate topping:
  1. Whip the heavy cream until it is fluffy then set aside.
  2. Melt the chocolate - be careful to not burn it, melt it until it is smooth. 
  3. Mix cream cheese with powdered sugar. 
  4. Mix in melted chocolate, vanilla extract, and salt into the cream cheese mixture. 
  5. Fold in whipped heavy cream and grated chocolate until it is combined with the chocolate cream cheese mixture. 
  6. Set aside.
Directions for combining it all together:
  1. Find small cups or glasses to put the mixture in (the number you will need will depend on the size - I made most of mine in small mason jars and made about 6-8). 
  2. Put about 2 tbsp of the Oreo base in the bottom of the cups. Push down evenly against the bottom.
  3. Next put the cherry topping into the cups - fill up so that the cherry filling takes up about 1/3 of the cup. 
  4. Then put the chocolate topping into the cups and once again, fill up so that the chocolate topping takes up about 1/3 of the cup. 
  5. Garnish with whipped cream, grated chocolate, and a maraschino cherry. Enjoy!




Friday, January 1, 2016

French Toast Bake

Happy New Year! We had some leftover french bread from doing fondue on NYE so I was looking for a recipe to use it up and found this one from All Recipes. It was perfect! Easy to make and a delicious use of the rest of the bread.

French Toast Bake


Ingredients: 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • Approximately 8 ounces of french bread, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon (to sprinkle over top)
  • Brown sugar (to sprinkle over top)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Grease a 11" x 7" baking dish
  3. Put the 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup of brown sugar in a small saucepan on medium-low heat. Stir until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved into the butter.
  4. Pour the brown sugar butter mixture into the bottom of the baking dish.
  5. Whisk milk, eggs, and vanilla extract together in a medium bowl. Add the bread to the mixture and stir so that every piece of bread has been soaked in the mixture. 
  6. Put the bread (and any remaining milk-egg-vanilla mixture) in the baking dish. 
  7. Sprinkle cinnamon and brown sugar over the top.
  8. Bake until browned and bubbling, between 25-30 minutes. 
  9. Serve with fruit or whipped cream or just eat by itself.  

Monday, November 23, 2015

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Skewers

My husband gets the credit for coming up with most of this recipe. It was very simple but amazing!!

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Skewers


Ingredients:
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 lb of bacon
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
Directions:
  1. Heat your grill to approximately 400 degrees
  2. Dice the chicken while you soak wooden skewers.
  3. Put the pieces of chicken on the skewer while wrapping the bacon around the chicken
  4. Brush the skewers with maple syrup
  5. Use a fork to push the minced garlic into the chicken
  6. Grill for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Chicken Pad Thai

We were looking to try some new recipes and found this one on Pinterest and modified it slightly to fit the ingredients we had. The flavors turned out great!

Chicken Pad Thai


Ingredients for sauce:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 oz fish sauce
  • 2 oz soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Thai peanut sauce
Ingredients for chicken:
  • 2-3 chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 oz soy sauce
Ingredients for stir-fry:
  • Rice noodles
  • Frozen vegetable mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup crushed peanuts 
Directions:
  1. Soak the rice noodles for 30 minutes in cold water.
  2. Boil a large pot of water. 
  3. Steam the frozen vegetables over the boiling water. 
  4. Once water is boiling, add rice noodles and turn off the heat. Allow the noodles to soften for 5 minutes then drain and rinse with cold water.
  5. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce.
  6. In a medium bowl, slice the chicken and combine with corn starch and soy sauce. 
  7. Add a small amount of oil to a large wok and add minced garlic for a couple minutes. 
  8. Next, add the chicken to the wok and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until chicken is cooked all the way through. Remove chicken from wok.
  9. Whisk milk and eggs together. Then add egg mixture to the wok and stir until scrambled. 
  10. Finally, combine everything to the wok: chicken, sauce, noodles, and eggs. 
  11. Serve with crushed peanuts on top. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Summer Salmon Packets





I spent some time cleaning out parts of the garden today and decided to use the produce as inspiration for dinner.  It wasn't your usual salmon dish, but i combined a couple other ideas and came up with my own recipe.

Ingredients

 4 salmon pieces
1 cup tomato diced (or 1 15 ounce diced canned tomatoes)
4 sprigs of thyme
12 basil leaves
1/2 lemon, sliced
1 clove garlic diced
1 small summer squash
1 small eggplant
1 teaspoon your favorite mixed seasoning (I used Spicy Honey Habaneno for a little bit of a kick!)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
First cut 4 cookie sheet size pieces of parchment paper.  Fold in half and cut into a  big heart shape.
Next place 3-4 slices of summer squash on the parchment paper, close to center, but on one side of the fold.
Place 2-3 slices of eggplant on top.
Next place one piece of salmon on top of the eggplant.
Make 3 slits in the salmon fill the slits with diced garlic and 1 rolled basil leave for each slit.
Spoon diced tomatoes on top, then drizzle olive oil, balsamic vinegar, your favorite seasoning and salt and pepper and a sprig of thyme.
Top with a slice of lemon
Fold parchment paper in half and crimp the paper all around your salmon and veggies
Repeat the process on the other three salmon pieces
Place on cookie sheets and bake for 20 minutes.  Allow to rest out of the oven for 5 minutes.  Be careful when opening the packets so that you are not burned by the steam.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

Oiled parchment paper




Summer Squash and Eggplant placed on parchment
Add caption
Salmon placed on top with garlic and basil put in the slits
Tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and thyme added on top



Lemon placed on top

Parchment folded and then crimped around the edges





Bake at 400 for 20 minutes and then Enjoy!






Sunday, September 6, 2015

Panzanella




With all the great available produce at this time of year.  I looked at a few panzanella recipes where I could take advantage of the fresh produce in the garden.  I combined a couple different recipes to come up with one that fit the bill for my family.

Ingredients
2 cups day old bread cubed - I used sour dough bread
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 tomatoes, cut into one inch pieces
2 cobs cooked corn, sliced off the cob
1 cucumber sliced
1 can white beans, rinsed
2 green onions, sliced - white and green parts
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and  fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh basil

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan,  add bread cubes and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with garlic powder.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the cubes are slightly browned.

In a large bowl combine tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, onions, and thyme.  Drizzle 3 tablespoons of oil and the vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to coat.

20 minutes before serving, add toasted bread and tear basil leaves.  Toss to incorporate.

Enjoy!

Ingredients (plus corn and garlic powder)


Toasting Bread Crumbs with EVVO and garlic powder

Finished Salad - Great for a hot day!







Monday, July 20, 2015

Chicken and Veggies


With all the wonderful summer vegetables starting to come in, I decided to take the "treats" I got from my parents garden and turn them into some kind of dish.  I really liked the taste and would make this one again.  We had it as a main dish alone.  I could see this as a nice sauce over either pasta or rice as well.  Thanks Mom and Dad for the ingredients for a delicious dinner!

Ingredients:

2 chicken breast, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1  small zucchini, sliced
1 large tomato, diced
1 small bunch of broccoli, cut into small sections
1/2 cup baby carrots, quartered lengthwise
6 tablespoons Greek Salad dressing
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper


Dressing
Mix Greek Salad dressing, balsamic vinegar, honey, and red pepper flakes  - whisk together and set aside.

Add olive oil to a skillet and heat over medium high heat.  Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. 
Add half of the dressing to coat chicken, then take remove chicken from pan and keep warm.

Stir fry all veggies with remaining dressing until carrots are al dente.  Add chicken and warm.

Serve and enjoy - as I said earlier, this dish would be delicious over rice or pasta.