Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chocolate Pecan Cheesecake Bars

Ok, these bars are delicious. Chocolate. Cheesecake. Pecan pie. If that doesn't get you salivating, I don't know what will. I cut the originally recipe down because it's really, really rich. I cut mine into very small bars because a little goes a long way. These are best the next day, so make sure you plan ahead if you want to serve these.
Chocolate Pecan Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Bake or Break

3/4 cup flour
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar, divided
1/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup pecan halves
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
3 medium eggs
2 oz semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3 Tb. butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 8 or 9 inch square pan with foil, leaving extra to hang over the edges. Spray foil with cooking spray.
2. With food processor or small chopper combine flour and 1/3 cup brow sugar. Add softened butter and pulse until crumbly. Add 1/4 cup chopped pecans and pulse several times until mixture is combined. Press mixture well into bottom of pan. Bake for 8 minutes.
3. Beat cream cheese and white sugar until smooth. Add 1 egg and beat until creamy and well combined. Gently stir in chocolate and vanilla extract. Pour over baked (uncooled) crust. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.
4. In medium bowl, whisk remaining brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, and 2 eggs. Stir in pecan halves. Pour over cheesecake and return to oven. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until center is set.
5. Cool one hour and move to fridge. Chill 4 hours or overnight. Cut into 25 bars. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Super Bowl Food

I have a confession to make. I've never-that's right, never-watched the super bowl. Not once. But, not being one to miss out on a good party, I usually make a lot of super bowl food and have my own party later in the week. Here's a round up of a few great recipes to make for your super bowl (or non super bowl party). I'm submitting the Southwestern Eggrolls, Coconut Chicken Bites, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes to The Ultimate Super Bowl Party Recipe Smackdown over on The Recipe Girl's blog (click to follow link). Wish me luck, maybe I'll win and then I can use the gift card for another fun party. Enjoy the recipes (click on the recipe title to follow the link to the recipe and pictures) and I hope your super bowl parties are great!

Southwestern Eggrolls
Ranch Cheeseball
Coconut Chicken Bites
Caramel Apple Dip
Better-For-You Deviled Eggs
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Rice Crispy Treats
Rocky Road Cookies
Bite-Size Brookies
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Monday, January 26, 2009

Blueberry Cream Cheese Tart

Here is the recipe for one of the pies I made for National Pie Day last week. I've made it a couple of times with a few tweaks, and this time it turned even more delicious than last time. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Blueberry Cream Cheese Tart

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup flour
2/3 cup butter, softened

Cream Cheese Filling
6 oz. low-fat cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Blueberry Topping
3 1/2 cups blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 Tb. cornstarch
2 Tb. water
1 lemon, zested and juiced

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix flour, powdered sugar, and butter with fork, two knives, or a pastry cutter until fine crumbs form. Press into 10 inch tart pan with removable bottom. Be sure to press it firmly up the sides of the pan and evenly along the bottom.
3. Bake crust for 10 - 12 minutes or until barely browned. Cool completely.
4. To prepare the cream cheese filling, beat whipping cream with granulated sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. In separate bowl beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth and creamy. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Spoon over cooled crust and spread evenly. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before topping with the blueberry topping.
5. To prepare blueberry topping, place blueberries in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes or until mostly thawed. Sprinkle with sugar.
6. Dissolve cornstarch in lemon juice and water. Add beaten egg. Pour over blueberries.
7. Cook blueberry mixture for 10 - 15 minutes or until bubbly and thick. Cool completely and spread evenly over cream cheese mixture.
8. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 2 days.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pie Crust

Did you know that today is National Pie Day? Don't feel bad, I didn't find out until yesterday. Which means that, naturally, I spent today making some delicious pies. I couldn't make just one, not for an exciting holiday like this. I'll post some of the other recipes over the next week, but I thought I'd start out with this recipe for pie crust. It's a family favorite that I've been making since I was...10 maybe? Maybe earlier, I'm not sure. But it's delicious and if a 10 year old can make it, so can you!

Pie Crust

2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup milk
1 T. vinegar

1. Mix flour, salt, and sugar in medium bowl.
2. Cut butter and shortening into dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or two knives until mixture forms small crumbs.
3. Add vinegar into milk and let sit for one minute. Add to other ingredients and mix until just combined.
4. Divide dough into two or three balls. Place one ball on lightly floured surface. Roll pie dough into circle about 1/8 - 1/4 inch (depending on how thick you like your crust). Fold in half, then in thirds, and move to pie pan.
5. Fill with your favorite pie filling and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, then decrease temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 45 more minutes. For an unbaked filling (cream filling, pudding, banana cream, etc.) prick the pie crust all over with a fork. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Yes, you read right. Cookie dough cupcakes. Could life get any better than that? I submit that it cannot! Just be sure you eat something really, really healthy for dinner the night you eat these because they're not exactly a health food and they're really, really sweet. Enjoy!

Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor

1 package yellow cake mix (I recommend Pillsbury low-sugar yellow cake mix)
1 package sugar-free vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup skim milk
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 package chocolate chip cookie dough
Your favorite frosting, enough to frost 24 cupcakes

1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake wrappers in 24 muffin pans.
2. Combine all cupcake ingredients (except cookie dough and frosting, of course) in bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low until combined, scrape bowl, then mix on medium for 2 minutes. Batter will be very thick.
3. Divide batter between cupcake pans (about 1/4 cup in each cupcake wrapper), each cupcake wrapper should be about 2/3 full. Roll cookie dough into 24 balls and place one on top of each unbaked cupcake.
4. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until tops spring back when touched. Cool 2 minutes and remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Frost with your favorite frosting (I used chocolate buttercream with a little extra salt to cut down on the super sweetness of the cupcakes) and garnish with a baked cookie, sprinkles, or toasted pecans.

Ok, I know this picture didn't turn out too great but I wanted to show the inside with the cookie dough. I promise, it tastes much more incredible than it looks!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Asian Inspired Pâté Sandwiches (The Cyclo Special)

I have something of an obsession with Vietnamese Bánh mì sandwiches (like the ones served at Dew in Provo, I will pimp this place any chance I can get). In fact, I'm craving on right this very minute (about 1:30 am). But I'm also cheap and pretty lazy. So I don't usually feel like going out and buying special ingredients, or even a sandwich. So when I had leftover pâté (which is a fairly common ingredient in the sandwiches) in the fridge from New Year's I took it as an opportunity to make my own lazy man's recipe for Bánh mì. I only used ingredients that I had on hand, which I'll admit are somewhat more eclectic than some people (I do love the Asian food after all), but none of them are especially weird.

The Cyclo Special:
I don't have a clue how many it serves

pâté de campagne cut into 1/4-inch thick slices (check the recipe here for help on this)
bread, toasted (a baguette is even better if you've got it)
cucumbers, thinly sliced
onions, thinly sliced into rings
fresh cilantro
dijon mustard
fish sauce (if you don't have this, it should be easy to find in an supermarket's Asian section)
vinegar (I used apple cider, but really whatever you prefer works)
hot sauce
salt and pepper

1. First things first, you want to make a dijonaise. Mix together the mayo, dijon mustard and some fish sauce in a small bowl. I did about a 50/50 mix between the mayo and mustard with just a couple drops of fish sauce. But that may be a little mustardy for some, so adjust accordingly. Set aside.
2. Put in the sliced cucumbers and onions in a bowl, covering them with vinegar a little fish sauce and just a dash of hot sauce. You want to get just a lightly pickled taste on them. It may sound odd now, but you'll thank me later.
3. Fry the pâté in a skillet over medium-low heat. You shouldn't need any oil or anything, it's super fatty as it is. You're just trying to get both sides brown and a little crunchy.
4. Put together the sandwich with the bread, dijonaise, pâté, cucumbers and onions (drained) and cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste.

It's a really simple recipe, and not completely authentic, but very, very tasty. Even for those that don't like pâté. I highly recommend it. If you don't want to go to the trouble of making a pâté, you could probably just cook some pork and bacon to substitute. I haven't tried it, but in theory it sound good.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pâté de Campagne

I love meatloaf. It's definitely one of my favorite foods. I also love pork (that's why the pig is my favorite animal, it's the tastiest) and mustard. So pâté de campagne is right up my aisle. It's full of meaty, porky goodness and you get to serve it with little pickles and mustard. I've eaten and enjoyed it before, but never taken a crack at making it. But when I saw this super easy recipe in Bon Appétit I knew that it was time to take a shot.

Pâté de Campagne
Serves a whole lot as a appetizer (around 20)

3/4 cup Cognac (my non alcoholic substitution for the non drinkers was cranberry-peach juice mixed with some lemon juice. Most juices would work, but make sure to add some lemon in.)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup minced onions
2 1/1 pounds ground pork
12 ounces bacon (8 to 10 slices), finely chopped, plus 14 slices (for lining pan)
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 6-ounce piece ham steak, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch-thick strips
course sea salt
Cornichons (tiny little French pickles, you'll probably only find them at specialty stores- I got them at Whole Foods)
Dijon mustard

1. Preheat oven to 350 with the rack in the lowest position.
2. Boil cognac (or non alchoholic substitute) until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 1-2 minutes). Cool.
3. Melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft and translucent (but not brown) about 8 minutes.
4. Combine ground pork and chopped bacon in large bowl. Mix together until well blended. Add sauteed onion, garlic, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, thyme, allspice, and pepper to bowl with pork mixture and stir until incorporated. Add eggs, cream and reduced cognac. Stir until well blended
5. Line 9x5x3-inch metal loaf pan with bacon slices, arranging 8 slices across width of pan and 3 slices on each side, overlapping pan on all sides. Using hands, lightly and evenly press half of meat mixture (about 3 1/4 cups) onto bottom of pan atop bacon slices. Arrange ham strips over in single layer. Top with remaining meat mixture.
6. Fold bacon over, covering pâté. Cover pan tightly with foil. Place pan in 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan and transfer to oven. Pour boiling water into baking pan until it comes halfway up sides of the loaf pan. Bake pâté until it reaches an internal temperature of 155 degrees F (about 2 hours 15 minutes).
7. Remove loaf pan from baking pan and transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Place heavy skillet or 2 to 3 heavy cans atop pâté to weigh down. Chill overnight.
8. Place loaf pan with pâté in larger pan of hot water for about 3 minutes. Invert pâté onto platter; discard fat from platter and wipe clean. Cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Serve with sea salt, cornichons, dijon mustard and sliced baguette.

It's a time consuming recipe, but quite easy and very tasty. Maybe not so much for people who don't like meat (or thyme), but for everyone else. I have a great Asian inspired sandwich recipe that you make with leftover pâté de campagne here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Homemade Salsa

In the middle of the winter I crave more fruits and vegetables more than any other time of the year, and there's not a whole lot that is in season. That's why I'm glad I discovered this salsa. I got the idea on The Sister's Dish, but wildly adapted it to my own tastes. It uses canned tomatoes, which seems a little strange for delicious salsa, but I promise you won't be disappointed. It's even more delicious than my favorite Jack's Salsa from Costco.

Homemade Salsa

1 - 2 Tb. lime juice
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 yellow onion
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with chipotle chiles
Salt & pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste, if desired

Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until salsa reaches desired consistency. Enjoy!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Lisa's Lemon Bars

This recipe is from my friend Lisa. She always makes the best lemon bars and since I couldn't get enough of them I begged her for the recipe. The only modification I made was to increase the lemon juice just a little for a more lemony taste. Thanks Lisa!

Lisa's Lemon Bars

1 ½ c flour
2/3 c powdered sugar
¾ c butter, softened
3 eggs, beaten
1 ½ c sugar
3 Tb flour
½ c fresh squeezed lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix 1 ½ c flour, powdered sugar, and butter with fork and press into a 9x13 pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Do not cool.
3. Meanwhile prepare lemon mixture by combining eggs, sugar, 3 Tb flour and lemon juice. Mix until frothy. Immediately pour over hot crust. Bake at for 20-25 minutes.
4. Cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into bars to serve.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Taco Soup

This is a perfect, filling, and delicious dinner on a cold snowy night, and we've had a lot of those lately! One of my favorite parts of this is that you can put it in the crockpot before work and come home to a nice warm dinner with no preparation after!

Taco Soup

1 lb. hamburger
1/2 large onion or one small onion, chopped
1 1/2 pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 can corn, undrained
1 can black beans, undrained
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes with chipotle chiles, undrained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce

sour cream
tortilla chips
avocado (optional)

1. Brown hamburger and onion in medium saucepan. Drain.
2. Combine all soup ingredients in medium to large crockpot. Mix well. Cook on low for 8 - 10 hours or on high for 4 - 5 hours.
3. Serve with sour cream, cheese, tortilla chips, and avocado. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Better-For-You Deviled Eggs

I love deviled eggs. I think they're amazingly delicious, but I've never made them because Corey can't handle the smell of them. This year Corey decided that he could handle the smell of them as long as he didn't have to eat any, so I whipped up a batch for our New Year's Eve party. I wanted to make them healthier, since we were going to be having so much other junk food, so here is the recipe I came up with. They taste as good or better as the original version, but with less fat and calories--and who doesn't want that?

Better-For-You Deviled Eggs

10 large eggs, hard boiled and cooled
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 tsp. yellow mustard
1 tsp. honey Dijon mustard
smoked paprika

1. Peel hard boiled eggs. Slice in half lengthwise and remove yolk. Place yolk in medium bowl and place egg whites on large plate or platter.
2. Add mayonnaise, yogurt, and mustard into bowl with yolks. Mix well until no longer lumpy. Salt and pepper to taste.
3. Place yolk mixture in large pastry bag fitted with flower tip. Pipe filling evenly into egg whites on platter. Sprinkle with paprika and serve immediately or refrigerate up to one day.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Caramel Apple Dip

I made this for a get together with Corey's family tonight. I wanted to have something a little healthier since we've been eating so much junk lately. It was amazing, and I can't wait to try it again! Enjoy!

Caramel Apple Dip

4 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
20 caramels, unwrapped
2 Tb. milk
1/4 cup Mrs. Richardson's butterscotch caramel ice cream topping (feel free to skip this if you don't have it on hand, it just adds a little more contrast to the dip instead of pure sweetness).

1. Whip softened cream cheese and brown sugar with electric mixer.
2. Melt caramels and milk in microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 minutes. stir until smooth. Add ice cream topping. Let sit in refrigerator for 20 minutes. Mix melted caramel and cream cheese mixture until smooth and well blended.
3. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 2 days. Serve with sliced apples, fresh pears, or graham crackers. (I also tried it with marshmallows and it was great. It would also be a great sauce for ice cream or apple cake. Yum, yum, yum).

Friday, January 2, 2009

Coconut Chicken Bites

I got this delicious recipe from my sister-in-law Becca and it has made many appearances at my table since then. It does take a little bit of time to make it, but once you taste it you'll know it's all worth it. Serve with dipping sauce for an appetizer or serve with rice, stir fry, and sauce for a complete meal. Either one is great!

Coconut Chicken Bites

2 cups flaked coconut
1 egg
2 Tb. milk
1/2 cup flour
dash each onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, chili powder
1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 tsp. celery salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cumin

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray large baking sheet with non stick cooking spray.
2. In a food processor or mini chopper process coconut until finely chopped. Place in pie pan. In another pie pan beat egg and milk. In another pie pan combine flour, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and chili powder.
3. Toss chicken in flour mixture, dip in egg mixture, then in coconut. Place in single layer on a spray baking sheet.
4. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the center. Place in large bowl and sprinkle with celery salt, garlic powder, and cumin. Toss to coat. Serve warm with your choice of dipping sauces (I recommend sweet & sour sauce, orange chicken sauce, or barbecue sauce).

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...