Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake

This was one of the few left over slices available to photograph after Nick's birthday. He requested this cheesecake and it did not disappoint. While the caramel flavor is subtle (especially considering the work it takes for it!) it is detectable and makes it all the more decadent. 


1 crumb crust (recipe below)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
8 oz. fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract


1. Make crumb crust as directed. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Cook sugar in a dry heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring slowing with a fork, until melted and pale golden. Cook caramel withouts stirring, swirling pan until deep golden. Remove from heat and carefully add heavy cream (mixture will vigorously steam and caramel will harden). Cook over moderately low heat, stirring until caramel is dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until smooth. Stir in sour cream.

3. Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy, then beat in chocolate mixture on low speed. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions. 

4. Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust and bake in baking pan (to catch drips) in the middle of the oven 55 minutes, or until the cake is set 3 inches from the edge but the center is still slightly wobbly when the pan is gently shaken.

5. Remove cake from oven and place on a cooling rack. Run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.) When completely cool, chill cake, loosely covered, at least 6 hours. Remove sides of pan and transfer cake to a plate or platter. Bring to room temperature before serving. 

Cheesecake keeps, covered and chilled, 1 week.

{I can't remember if I did a 'bath' this time, but I usually do for cheesecake.}

Crumb crust (I made double the crust as suggested. I had ample for the crust and some left to add on top- you might be able to get by with 1.5 the recipe)
1.5 cups finely ground cookies such as chocolate wafers (impossible to find! use choc. Teddy grahams)
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt

Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and up the sides of a buttered 24 cm sprinform pan. Fill right away or chill up to 2 hours.

Cheesecake Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com crust recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine, found on Smitten Kitchen

Peach Mango Pineapple Salsa

Oh dear. Why do I do this to myself! I wait months and months to type a recipe up and by the time I want to use it again I can't find the paper I scribbled it on. This recipe was inspired from one I had at a church event but when I went to make it I didn't have the right ingredients. The alternative was also delightful so that was how we made it all summer. It was all done by approximation, so have at it.

tomatoes (fresh from the backyard!)
fresh pineapple
lime juice
jalapeño (original used Serrano peppers)
red onion or green onion
bit of salt

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate. Serve with tortilla chips, grilled chicken/fish/pork, quesadillas, enchiladas etc.

Citrus and Soy-Marinated Pork

This is something my sister-in-law made a while back that we enjoyed. The pork isn't the star of the picture because this was the following day, but this gives a better idea of portion anyway. We enjoyed it with soba noodles and steamed veggies.


2-3 lbs pork tenderloin
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)

1. Combine all the ingredients except pork and mix well. Pour the marinade into a ziploc bag or baking dish and add the pork tenderloin, making sure the marinade completely covers the pork. Mariade for 8-10 hours.
2. Preheat grill. Remove pork from marinade and grill about 3-4 minutes on each of the 4 sides (exact time will depend on temperature of grill) or until the internal temperature is 150-155 degrees. Remove from grill, tent with foil, and allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Citrus Green Smoothie

The oranges on our trees are starting to beckon to me! Truthfully I don't love oranges straight up-too much pulp. But, I love freshly squeezed orange juice (thankfully Santa gave us a juicer last Christmas) and I love incorporating oranges into our smoothies. This isn't a recipe so much as an idea, but we all love it! Just eyeball the amounts and play with the flavors until you find your favorite ratio. All of the citrus pictured above was from either our yard or family/friend...one very nice perk of Arizona living.

Citrus Green Smoothie

fresh orange juice
orange segments, seeds removed
fresh pineapple
frozen banana

Mix well in a blender and enjoy!

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

We made these festive pancakes for breakfast on Halloween- I even added a couple of chocolate chips for Siena. I know, crazy. On Halloween I tried the recipe as written, but for regular non-holiday mornings I'll use the modifications below- omitting oil, using all whole wheat flour, using a whole egg instead of egg whites (b/c I can crack an egg one-handed with a baby on my hip, but I am not talented enough to separate egg whites from yoke with only one hand) and adding a little extra pumpkin. Calvin Boy wasn't a huge fan of dinner last night and ended up eating 5 pancakes this morning (plus fruit!). This recipe makes a decent amount too, so we have extra for tomorrow and a couple to throw in the freezer.


2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
2 Tbsp applesauce (in place of oil)
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
2 Tbsp sweetener (honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, etc.)


1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and cinnamon.

2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine egg, milk, applesauce, pumpkin, and sweetener. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture and stir until just moistened. If batter seems too thick, add a bit of milk to thin it to the desired consistency.

3. Heat griddle on medium heat. Pour batter by 1/4 cup onto greased griddle. Flip pancake when bubbles appear at the top.

adapted from The Recipe Critic

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Black Forbidden Rice with Peaches and Snap Peas

Let's pretend this picture doesn't really look like this. Oh well. It was a fun and colorful dish. Calvin ate it enthusiastically...so enthusiastically that despite sweeping I was still finding little rice grains all over (which just so happen to look exactly like little bugs when they are on the floor.) Appetizing picture and appetizing description, right?

3 1/2 cups water
2 cups forbidden rice
1 (1.5 inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. oil (I used grapeseed)
2 1/2 cups snap peas, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 peaches, pitted and sliced

1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
3 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. soy sauce

1. To make the rice, bring water, rice, ginger, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pan, and cook until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and place in a large serving bowl. Add peas and peaches.

2. For the dressing, whisk together vinegar, oil, honey and soy sauce in a medium bowl, until smooth. Pour dressing over rice mixture and toss well. Serve warm or at room temperature.

adapted slighlty from Giada

Grilled Lemon and Rosemary Chicken

Nick made this chicken for us (he even chose the recipe on his own!) and we paired it with sweet potato gnocchi with fried sage and massaged kale salad for a truly delicious dinner. (It was our anniversary!) It was especially fun to get the herbs and kale from our drooping-in-the-heat garden and spend the afternoon cooking together.


1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1-2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or other cut of choice)
1 lemon, sliced in half (optional)
baby arugula (optional), as a bed for the grilled chicken


Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, rosemary, garlic and a big pinch of salt and pepper in a measuring cup. In a large zip-loc bag or a glass dish combine chicken and marinade. Turn to coat and allow chicken to marinade up to 30 minutes at room temperature (or longer in the fridge for even more flavor).

Cook on a greased grill over medium-high heat, discarding left over marinade. Cook about 6 minutes per side for chicken breasts. (Optional- place lemon halves cut-side down on the grill grade and grill until charred, about 4 minutes.)

from Food Network

Whole Grain Pancake Mix

Well, here I am trying to play catch up and post some of the recipes that have been floating around on my computer. I'll admit, I haven't been trying many new recipes. The past year of residency was a loooong one. It was Nick's busiest year and having a new baby didn't leave me much motivation to be adventurous in the kitchen. I was ever grateful for this little spot where I could quickly find recipes that we've tried and enjoyed-making my grocery shopping and meal planning so much easier.

I saw this recipe for pancake mix a few months ago and immediately tried it out. I made a double batch and froze it and had great results. As always, I adapted it to what is usually in my fridge (i.e. probably no buttermilk, maybe no eggs- other eggless recipes are already drafted.) It is simple and great on it's own (or drizzled with something extra delicious) and my kids absolutely love it. Win win.

 3 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
4 cups white whole-wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. salt
3/4 cup canola oil*

1 cup mix (above)
3/4 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup greek yogurt + 1/4 cup milk)
1 large egg, lightly beaten (or a few Tbsp. of applesauce)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. lemon zest, optional

 Pulse oats in a food processor until finely ground (but not a powder). Transfer oats to an electric mixer and add in flours, sugar, baking power, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low speed to combine. Drizzle oil in bowl slowly while mixer is still running. Continue to mix until evenly combined and mixture clumps slightly.

Transfer to an air-tight container and store up to 1 week at room temperature or long term in the freezer.

 Combine 1 cup of pancake mix with buttermilk (I always use the yogurt/milk mixture), egg (or applesauce), vanilla extract, and optional lemon zest.  Allow to sit for about 15 mintues while the whole grains absorb liquid.

Heat skillet over medium heat and pour 1/3 cup batter onto greased skillet. Cook until bubbles form and flip over, allowing other side to cook until lightly golden brown.

-For my two kids who LOVE pancakes, I prepare 2 cups of mix at a time. We usually have a few pancakes left over for the following morning.

*I put way less than 3/4 cup of oil, just a drizzle to get it to stick together a bit. I may try coconut oil next time.

slightly adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Clearly, some of these recipes have been waiting since summer to be put up. Oops.


1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice of one lemon
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.
3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

from Smitten Kitchen

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

 My sister-in-law, Mandy has a huge lemon tree in her yard. I mean huge. Seriously, there are hundreds of lemons on it. So, there will be lots of lemon recipes to try. Too bad most recipes don't call for very many lemons!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 whole egg
1 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice- I just used one entire lemon, zest + juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease light colored baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. {I used a baking mat}
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Whip in vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and juice.  Scrape sides and mix again.  Stir in all dry ingredients slowly until just combined, excluding the powdered sugar.  Scrape sides of bowl and mix again, briefly. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate.  Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in the powdered sugar.  Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.
Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte (not melted or shiny).  Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.
*If using a non-stick darker baking tray, reduce baking time by about 2 minutes.
from Aunt Cindy

Coconut-Curry Chicken Soup


1 3 lb. whole chicken (or 1 lb. chicken breast), cooked, and shredded
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1/4 cup shallots, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced or grated
2 tsp. red curry paste
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
6 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
1 (14 oz.) can light coconut milk
3/4 cup long grain brown rice OR 6 oz. soba noodles
1/2 cup green onions, sliced + extra for garnish
1 tsp. organic cane sugar
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped + extra for garnish
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
lime wedges, for serving


 1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the shallot and carrots and saute several minutes until tender. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for 1 minute. Stir in the curry paste, curry powder, cumin, and coriander and cook spices for another minute. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, and rice (or noodles) and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the rice is tender (reduce the time if you're cooking noodles).

2. Stir in the shredded chicken, green onions, sugar, fish sauce, cilantro, and red pepper. Simmer just long enough to heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with extra green onions and cilantro and garnish with a lime wedge.

from A Hint of Honey, (Adapted from Cooking Light

Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping


streusel topping

4 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp flour

2 tsp melted butter
large pinch of cinnamon

2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1. Preheat oven to 350º. Lightly grease a muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper muffin liners. Prepare streusel topping by whisking together sugar and flour. Add butter and mix together until texture is crumbly, and butter is fully mixed in.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and buttermilk. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined.
 Gently stir in blueberries.
3. Divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle muffins with streusel topping. Bake at 350º for 20 to 25 min, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool slightly before eating.

 adapted from Barbara Bakes via The Baker Chick

Spaghetti Squash with Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

The best part of blogging for my own keeping of recipes is not feeling like I have to post. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy sharing recipes...but the sole reason this blog exists is to have a reference while I plan meals and to help me have a little extra motivation to try new recipes. Cooking for a three year old and myself doesn't always encourage creativity, but, I am proud that our dinners do not consist of frozen chicken nuggets or canned O's swimming in mystery sauce. Do we have breakfast for dinner often? Yep. Does a quesadilla qualify as the entree almost once a week? Yep. But we do our best and find some recipes worth repeating between nights of omelets or waffles (not of the frozen variety).


For the Spaghetti Squash
1 medium spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
2 red bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion,chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
dash of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup packed fresh basil, coarsely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used Chobani 0%)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush cut sides of squash with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place squash on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes.
2. While the squash is baking, make the creamy roasted red pepper sauce. Roast red peppers over gas flame, under the broiler, or on the grill. Roast for about 10 minutes, or until peppers are completely black. Place peppers in a paper bag to allow to sweat. Peel the charred skins from the peppers and remove the seeds. Chop the peppers and set aside.
3. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the red peppers and diced tomatoes. Add oregano, red pepper flakes, fresh basil, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer on stove for 10 minutes. Stir in the Greek yogurt. Purée the sauce in the pan, using an immersion blender. You can also transfer the sauce to a blender or food processor, but be careful. Make sure the sauce is not super hot so you don't get burnt. Puree until smooth, with some texture remaining.
4. When the squash is done baking, let it cool for a few minutes-until you can touch it. Scrape the squash with a fork to remove flesh in long strands. Place in a large bowl or on individual plates. Top spaghetti squash with the creamy roasted red pepper sauce and serve warm.

From Two Peas and Their Pod

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Guacamole Chicken Salad


2 cups leftover cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
1/3 cup whole plain Greek yogurt
2-3 T salsa verde (optional)
1 green onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (feta works well)
1/2 an avocado, diced (I used more)
juice from 1/2 a lime
generous pinches of salt and ground cumin


  In a medium bowl combine the chicken, yogurt, salsa verde, onion, cilantro, and Cotija cheese. Mix thoroughly. Gently fold in the avocado. Add the lime juice, salt, and cumin and stir again gently. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Serve wrapped in a tortilla, in a pita, with chips, or over salad greens. Or by itself.

from Perry's Plate