Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Cheesecake of the Month – April 2019!

April 15, 2019

Here is yet another cheesecake recipe for the chocolate-lovers of the world!

Chocolate Cookie Cheesecake

2 cups of cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs (about 20 cookies)
2 Tablespoons of butter, melted
1/4 cup of packed brown sugar
4 (8-ounces each) packages of cream cheese, softened
1-1/4 cups of sugar
1/3 cup of whipping cream
2 Tablespoons of flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 cups of coarsely crumbled cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (about 14 cookies)
1 (16-ounce) container of sour cream
1/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of whipping cream
1-1/4 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Garnish: additional cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, coarsely crumbled

1.  Combine the first three ingredients in a medium bowl; press this mixture onto the bottom (and up the sides) of a 10″ springform pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for  12 minutes and set aside.

2.  Beat the cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add the 1-1/4 cup of sugar beating well.  Add the 1/3 cup of whipping cream, flour, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and beat well.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

3.  Pour 3-1/2 cups of the batter into your prepared crust.  Top with 2 cups of your crumbled cookies; then pour the remaining batter over the top of the cookies.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

4.  Combine the sour cream, 1/4 cup of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla; spread over the top of the cheesecake.  Bake at 325 degrees for an additional 7 minutes.  Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside for an additional 45 minutes.  Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.  Cover and chill for 8 hours.  Gently run a knife around the edge of the springform pan to release the sides of the pan and remove the pan.

5.  Combine the 1/2 cup of whipping cream and semi-sweet chocolate chips in a saucepan; stir over low heat until melted.  Stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla.  Remove from the heat and carefully spread over the cheesecake (allow some to drip down the sides).  Store the cheesecake in the refrigerator.  Garnish if you wish.

Source: Southern Living Little Book of Cheesecakes, p. 42.

Don’t Be “Chicken” To Try This One!

April 4, 2019

Here is yet another simple and delicious recipe for chicken (yes, garlic is involved).  Enjoy!

Garlic Mushroom Chicken Thighs

For the chicken
1-1/2 pounds of boneless/skinless chicken thighs (6-8 fillets)
1 teaspoon each of onion powder and garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon each of dried thyme and rosemary
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
2 Tablespoons of olive oil

For the sauce
1 Tablespoon of butter
8 ounces of sliced mushrooms
4 cloves of garlic, minced (or 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic)
1 Tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley
1/2 – 1 teaspoon each of dried thyme and dried rosemary (to taste)

1.  Pat chicken thighs dry with a paper towel and trim off any excess fat.  Combine the onion powder, garlic powder, herbs, salt and pepper.  Coat the chicken evenly with the combined seasoning.

2.  Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat and sear the chicken thighs in batches until browned on each side and no longer pink in the center (about 8 minutes each side depending on the thickness).  Add the remaining oil if needed for additional batches.  Transfer the seared chicked to a plate; set aside and keep warm.

3.  To the same pan or skillet, melt the butter and add the mushrooms (I’d add some white wine [1/3 cup?] as well).  Season with salt and pepper and cook until soft and volume is reduced by one-half.  Add the garlic, parsley, thyme, and rosemary and saute until fragrant (about one minute more).

4.  Return the chicken to the pan and heat through.  Add additional salt/pepper to taste and garnish with the fresh parsley.

“Steak” Your Claim to This One!

March 5, 2019

Have you been looking for an easy-to-make steak dinner?  Here is a versatile recipe (you can either pan sear or grill this one) that tastes just as good as anything you could get out of a restaurant. And, you can have this one ready and on your table in less than 15 minutes.

Garlic Shrimp and Steak

4 New York Steak strip steaks (Porterhouse steaks)
Salt and pepper to season
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Creamy Garlic Shrimp:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
8 ounces (250 g) shrimp deveined, tails on or off
4 cloves garlic (or 1 tablespoons minced garlic)
1/4 cup dry white wine or low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup heavy cream* (thickened cream)
1/4 cup fresh shredded parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped

1. Pat steaks dry with paper towel. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Heat a large cast iron skillet or grill over medium-high heat. Sear/grill steaks for 4-5 minutes each side until browned and cooked to desired doneness.

3. Transfer steaks to a warm plate; set aside.

4. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in the skillet (if using a skillet). Add shrimp to the skillet, season with salt and pepper and sear until just cooked and pink — about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.  (For grill: grill seasoned shrimp while  brushing  with  melted butter until done.)

5. To the same skillet, add the remaining butter, add the garlic, sauté until fragrant, about one minute.  (If grilling meats, you will need to grab a pan or skillet for this step.)

6. Pour in the white wine (or broth), and allow to reduce to half, while scraping any bits off of the bottom of the pan.

7. Reduce heat to low-medium heat, add the cream and bring to a simmer, while stirring occasionally. Add in the parmesan cheese; allow to melt through the simmering sauce. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

8. Add the shrimp back into the pan; sprinkle with the parsley, and stir through.

9. Serve with steaks.

Cheesecake of the Month — February 2019!

February 16, 2019

Here is a recipe that I have had for quite some time, but have not yet made.  Sounds a bit like a turtle cheesecake with some slight variation (toffee and orange).  Yummy!

Applause Cheesecake

1 (16-ounce) package of pecan shortbread cookies (about 22 cookies)
1 cup of pecan halves, coursely chopped
1/2 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons of orange liqueur, divided
1-1/3 cups of toffee bits
3 (8-ounces each) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup of whipping cream
1 Tablespoon of flour
1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups of semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1/4 cup of sour cream
1-1/4 cups of chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 cup of caramel topping

1.  In your food processor, finely grind the cookies, pecans, and brown sugar.  Add 1 Tablespoon of the orange liqueuer and grind until well blended.  Press this crumb mixture firmly onto the bottom and up the sides of a 10″ springform pan.  Sprinkle the toffee bits over the top of the crust and set aside.

2.  Beat the cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add the sugar and mix well.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the whipping cream, flour, and vanilla and beat for five minutes.  Pour your batter into your prepared crust.

3.  Bake at 325 degrees for an hour and fifteen minutes or until the center is almost set.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for fifteen minutes.

4.  Meanwhile, combine the chocolate morsels and sour cream in a heavy saucepan.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate melts.  Spread the chocolate mixture evenly over the  cheesecake.  Sprinkle the toasted pecans over the top of the chocolate.  Combine the caramel topping and the remaining liqueur; spread evenly over the pecans.  Cool to room temperature on a wire rack; cover and chill at least 8 hours.  Gently run a knife around the outer edge of the pan to release the pan and serve.

Source: Southern Living Little Book of Cheesecakes, p. 40.

Heavenly Pork Chop!

February 5, 2019

Here is a recipe that I ran across the other day that is positively delicious.  And, it is super quick and easy!  Enjoy!

4 pork chops bone in or out
Salt and pepper, to season
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water (or chicken broth)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar, or any white vinegar)

1. Preheat oven broiler (or grill) on medium-high heat. Season chops with salt, pepper and garlic powder just before cooking.

2. Heat oil in a pan or skillet over medium high heat until hot. Sear chops on both sides until golden and cooked through (about 4-5 minutes each side). Transfer to a plate; set aside.

3. Reduce heat to medium. Melt butter in the same pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Sauté garlic until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add the honey, water and vinegar. Increase heat to medium-high and continue to cook until the sauce reduces down and thickens slightly (about 3-4 minutes), while stirring occasionally.

4. Add pork back into the pan, baste generously with the sauce and broil/grill for 1-2 minutes, or until edges are slightly charred.

5. Garnish with parsley and serve over vegetables, rice, pasta or with a salad.


Cheesecake of the Month — January 2019!

January 15, 2019

For those of you who enjoy your coffee made by “forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans,” this dessert recipe is for you!  Enjoy!

Espresso Cheesecake

2-1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons of butter, melted
2 teaspoons of almond extract
4 (8-ounces each) packages of cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup of sugar
3 large eggs
8 (1-ounce each) sauares of semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1/3 cup of milk
2 teaspoons of espresso powder
Chocolate curls (garnish)

1. Combine the first three ingredients in a medium bowl and stir well.  Press the mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ springform pan.  Set aside.

2. Beat the cream cheese on high speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add the sugar, beating well.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add the melted chocolate and beat well.  Combine the milk and espresso powder and mix until the powder dissolves.  Add the espresso mixture to the cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth.  Pour the mixture into your prepared crust.

3.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the center is almost set.  Cool (in the pan) at room temperature on a wire rack.  Cover and refrigerate (at least 8 hours) until you are ready to serve.  Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen before removing the pan, then garnish and serve.

Source: espresso definition (wikipedia); and Southern Living Little Book of Cheesecakes, p. 37.

For Those Cold Winter Nights!

January 5, 2019

Sometime this winter, when you are looking for a hearty soup to serve, keep this one in mind.  It is “souper” easy to make and delicious to boot.  And, don’t let the title of this one scare you away, you can certainly control the amount of “heat” by seasoning to your specifications.

Spicy Potato Soup

1 Tablespoon of oil
1 pound of ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 cans (8-ounces each) of tomato sauce
1 can (4-ounces) diced green chiles
4 cups of water
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of parsley
1 teaspoon of tarragon
1-1/2 teaspoons of pepper
1 teaspoon of hot pepper sauce

Heat the oil in a large saucepan; stir in the beef, garlic, and onions, cooking until meat is no longer pink.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil and then reduce the temperature and simmer until the potatoes are tender (approximately 45 minutes to an hour).

Cheesecake of the Month – December 2018!

December 15, 2018

This month’s recipe (post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas), a pumpkin-based cheesecake, is ideally suited for the fall holidays.  I encountered several recipes with subtle variations.  So depending on the flavor you hope to achieve, take your pick.  The first recipe I found, courtesy of The Suburban Soapbox blog, is the Mini Bourbon Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake.  What is attractive about this recipe: the mini, muffin-sized cheesecakes; perfect for individual servings of this decadent treat.  The second recipe, and a variation on the first, courtesy of the Brunette Baker blog, moves the bourbon to the praline topping and adds maple (Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake with Maple Bourbon Praline Sauce).  The third recipe I found is a standard-sized cheesecake, courtesy of Epicurious, is the Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake.  All three sound marvelous . . . ah decisions, decisions.  Happy Holidays!

This One Sounds Gouda!

December 4, 2018

For all of you pasta carbonara fans out there, here is a variation that is sure to please.  Instead of using the standard Parmesan cheese, try making it with Gouda instead!  Yum!

Smoked Gouda Carbonara

1 pound of spaghetti
5 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 cup (4 ounces) finely shredded smoked Gouda (plus more for when you serve)
Salt and black pepper
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
6 ounces of slab bacon, finely chopped
3/4 cup crushed red pepper

1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente.  Drain, but reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.

2. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the whole egg, the Gouda, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 2 teaspoons of pepper.  Very gradually whisk in a 1/2 cup of reserved cooking water (tempers the eggs).

3. Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat the olive oil.  Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until cooked but not crisp (5 to 7 minutes).  Add the pasta, crushed red pepper, and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water.  Cook, tossing until the pasta is coated (1 to 2 minutes).  Scrape the pasta mixture into the large bowl and toss vigorously until creamy (1 to 2 minutes); add more cooking water if needed.  Season with salt and pepper.

Garnish with additional Gouda at the table (if desired).

Source: Food & Wine magazine, April 2017.

Cheesecake of the Month – November 2018!

November 15, 2018

Here is a tasty-sounding cheesecake recipe that was circulating on Facebook (courtesy of last summer.  Cheesecake is already decadent, but throw Butterfinger candies into the mix and wow, happiness for the taste buds for sure.  And, they are the perfect one-serving size (cupcake).

1 12 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
2 Tbsps. sugar, and 12 cup sugar
6 Tbsps. butter, melted
3 8-oz. packs cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
2 Tbsps. sour cream
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
34 cup white chocolate chips
2 tsps. shortening
1 34 cup crushed Butterfinger candies
8 oz. whipped topping
12 cup peanut butter chips

1. To make the crust, combine cracker crumbs, 2 Tbsps. sugar, and butter in a bowl, and mix until combined.
2. Spoon mixture evenly into 24 cupcake liners, and press down. Set aside.
3. To make the cheesecakes, beat 2 packs cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl, until fluffy.
4. Add in eggs, sour cream, vanilla extract, and beat well.
5. In a microwave-safe bowl, add white chocolate chips and 1 tsp. shortening. Heat for 30-second intervals, and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth.
6. Add melted chocolate to cream cheese mixture, and add 1 cup crushed Butterfingers. Stir well to mix.
7.  Fill each cupcake liner with cheesecake mixture. Bake in oven at 350 °F for 18 to 22 minutes. Remove and let cool for 15 minutes.
8.  To make the mousse, beat 1 pack cream cheese until creamy.
9.  In a microwave-safe bowl, add peanut butter chips and remaining shortening. Heat for 30 to 45 seconds, and stir until smooth.
10.  Add melted chips to cream cheese, and mix. Add in whipped topping, and fold mixture well.
11.  Spread 1 Tbsp. of mousse on top of each cake. Top with remaining crushed Butterfingers.
12.  Refrigerate for a few hours. Serve, and enjoy!