Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Can you really go wrong with a shortbread crust topped with a creamy lemon cheesecake layer? No, you can't! These bars are delicious and will be made again and again!


Lemon Cheesecake Bars
Recipe from Baking and Boys!

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened, cut into pieces
8 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
2/3 cup fat free evaporated milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
juice of one lemon
zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, salt and powdered sugar in bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse just until crumbly. Press onto bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch baking pan (ungreased).

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Place cream cheese, evaporated milk, granulated sugar, flour, lemon juice, zest and food coloring in a food processor an blend until smooth. Scrape sides of bowl, add eggs and blend again until combined and smooth. Pour into partially baked crust.

Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes (mine took 23) or until set. Cool in pan on wire rack to room temperature, then refrigerate. Cut into bars.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TWD: Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

I am not a huge shortbread fan. I don't dislike it but I don't go out of my way to make it or eat it. It may be a crunchy thing... I prefer soft cookies.

I wanted to give these a try, though. I thought the addition of cornmeal made them interesting and I couldn't pass them up.

I did make a few changes. Well, not changes exactly. More like mistakes. :) I didn't realize I was out of cornstarch until I started making these, so I omitted the cornstarch. I added a little extra lemon zest (did this on purpose because I LOVE lemon zest). Finally, I added orange extract in place of vanilla. I accidentally grabbed the wrong bottle and poured it in before I realized. Luckily the extra citrus worked well!

My family and I enjoyed these cookies. They were really good! However, I don't see myself making them again just because we aren't crunchy shortbread people. If you are, though, then make these.... it is a fantastic shortbread recipe!

Thanks to Valerie of Une Gamine dans la Cuisine for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at her blog.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Chicken with Rice and Beans

Make this NOW! This dinner was AMAZING! The rice has to be one of the best, if not THE BEST, rice dishes I have ever had. The chicken wasn't bad, either! :) Plus, it is all cooked in one pan on the stove... doesn't get any easier than that!


Chicken with Rice and Beans
Recipe from My Fabulous Recipes

2 large chicken breasts, thawed (or 4-6 small chicken breast halves) and cut to 4-6 smaller and thinner pieces
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup long grain rice (I used Jasmine)
1 14 1/2 ounces can diced tomatoes
1 can diced green chilies
1 14 1/2 ounces can chicken broth
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup shredded Mexican or Cheddar cheese

Season chicken with garlic salt and black pepper.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Place chicken in the skillet and cook it until browned over medium high heat about 7 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from the skillet.

Save the chicken juice and add rice ad brown over medium heat, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add tomatoes, green chilies, and chicken broth. Blend well. Place chicken and black beans on top of rice. Bring to boil.

Reduce heat, cover, simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender.

Sprinkle the cheese on top.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Baked Donuts

I've made homemade donuts before but did it the old fashioned way - fried. While I don't mind eating a fried donut (they are SO good), I have wanted to try baked donuts.

I received a donut pan for Christmas and was excited to use it. Of course, I kept forgetting about it and didn't end up making donuts until last weekend.

Let me tell you... these are SO good! Very easy to prepare and incredibly delicious. Anya and I decorated them with Nutella, melted white chocolate, cinnamon/sugar, and sprinkles. It was a sweet Sunday breakfast!

Baked Donuts
Adapted from All Recipes

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 TBSP butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease a donut pan.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Stir in milk, eggs, vanilla and shortening. Beat together until well blended.

Fill each donut cup approximately 3/4 full. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until doughnuts spring back when touched. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan.

Glaze/decorate as desired.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Banana Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting

Delicious, moist banana cake topped with a creamy, sweet vanilla bean frosting. PERFECT!

Banana Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting
Recipe from ButterYum

2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 mashed super ripe bananas (about 3/4 cup)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or equal amount of pure vanilla extract)
1 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar

To make cake (easily mixed by hand):
Preheat the oven to 375F (see note below). Cream together sugar, sour cream, egg, and 2 tablespoons softened butter. Add mashed bananas and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add flour, salt, and baking soda; mix well. Pour into greased pan. Bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting:
Cream butter and confectioner's sugar together until smooth. Slowly add the heavy cream; stir until smooth. Stir in the vanilla bean paste until fully incorporated. Spread on cooled cake.

Note - Bake at 350F if using a glass pan. Recipe doubles well (9x13 pan).

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies... with a twist

These look like normal chocolate chip cookies, right? Well they have a different ingredient that makes them PERFECT for Easter when everyone has plenty of hard boiled eggs.

Hard boiled eggs? That's right! The hard boiled eggs are crumbled into the dough and I promise you, you can't taste it at all. I actually made these a while ago but wanted to wait until close to Easter to post. If you get tired of plain hard boiled eggs, egg salad, etc, then make these cookies. :)


Amazing Hard Boiled Egg Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe from Cookie Madness

1 1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoon (180 grams) all purpose flour
4 ounces (114 grams) cold unsalted butter – unsalted European style works well
1/2 (.5 ml) teaspoon salt
1/4 (1 ml) teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (70 gram) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (56 grams) brown sugar
1 hard boiled egg, shell removed
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) vanilla extract
handful of chocolate chips

Combine flour and butter in food processor. Pulse until mixture is mealy and coarse. Add the salt and baking soda and pulse to mix. Add both sugars and hard boiled egg. Pulse again until mixture is mealy looking. Add in the vanilla and pulse until mixture just begins to come together.

Dump mixture into a bowl, add chocolate chips and shape into two balls. You will see egg whites in dough – they’ll disappear as the cookies bake.

Bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes or until cookies appear lightly browned around edges. Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to rack to finish cooling.
Important: Let cool completely before serving. The texture gets better as the cookies cool. It’s even better if you cool the cookies, freeze them, then thaw them.

Makes 4 big cookies

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

TWD: A Tourtely Apple Tart

Oh my goodness.... It is 630 PM and I JUST realized that it is Tuesday! Then I log in to put up this blog post and realize it has been 13 days since I posted last! Whoa... I didn't realize I had neglected the blog! I have recipes to be posted but just haven't had the time to post. OOPS!

A tourte is basically a double crusted tart. This tart was so amazing... warm, room temperature, and cold. It is a slimmer version of an apple pie and oh so good. The apples are cooked almost to applesauce softness before being added to the tart. I omitted the raisins from the filling and added slivered almonds instead. We loved it and it didn't last long around here.

Thanks to Jeanette of The Whimsical Cupcake for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at her blog!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

I love blueberries. I love breakfast. I love cake. So, really, this recipe was a no-brainer! YUM!

Blueberry Breakfast Cake
Recipe from The Changeable Table

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup flour
pinch of salt
zest of one fresh lemon
6 Tbs butter, softened
3-4 drops of lemon oil, or 1/8 tsp lemon extract

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, well drained.

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 9” x 13” baking pan, or two 8” x 2” round pans.

For the streusel - whisk together the sugar, flour and salt. Add butter and lemon peel, cutting in with a pastry blender as shown until it resembles granola - some larger chunks, some smaller. Sprinkle on the lemon oil (or extract) and toss again to combine. Set aside.

For the cake - cream butter and sugar until light colored and fluffy. Add the eggs, beating well. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). Mix until combined. Avoid overbeating, or the cake may be tough. Gently fold in blueberries until well distributed throughout the batter, taking care not to overmix and mash berries as you do so.

Divide batter between the two pans (or place it all in the 9” x 13” pan). It’s helpful to use a food scale, if you have one. Sprinkle with the lemon streusel until evenly covered. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Yield: one 9” x 13” cake, or two 8” round cakes.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Chicken Pesto Stuffed Shells

Where to begin? These shells are AMAZING! They are filled with a mixture of cream cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic, chicken and pesto. Little bites of heaven. They will definitely be made again and again. We LOVED them!

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells
Recipe from Joelen's Culinary Adventures

12-16 jumbo pasta shells water for boiling pasta
4oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese + 1/4 cup for topping
3 tablespoons prepared pesto (homemade or store bought)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over high heat, boil water and prepare pasta shells as directed on package. Cook pasta shells only until al dente. The pasta will finish cooking when the dish is baked. Drain the pasta shells and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except the 1/4 cup of cheese for the topping. Fill the pasta shells with the filling and place in a baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over filled shells.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 30 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts.

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