Friday, September 19, 2014

No Bake Cheesecake with Kiwi Berry

If you haven’t been able to tell, I am a HUGE fan of dessert. I’ll try pretty much anything and am constantly experimenting with new flavors for a new combination.  Recently we were given Kiwi Berries in our CSA delivery.  I wasn’t really sure what they would taste like and what they could be cooked in.  After a little bit of research, I determined that mostly Kiwi Berry is a fruit that’s made into jam or eaten raw when ripe.  I’m not a fan of jam and after trying one of them, I looked for a new way of incorporating them into dinner.  I considered slow roasting them with meat, but frankly just wanted dessert that night.  You can certainly substitute a different kind of berries or fruit to go with this.

No-Bake Cheesecake w/Kiwi Berry

4 servings
30 minutes to prep

·       1 cup of Kiwi Berry
·       ½ granulated Sugar
·       1 cup Confectioner’s Sugar (divided)
·       1 pint Heavy Cream (about 2 cups, divided)
·       3/4 cup of water
·       1 package of Cream Cheese (8 oz.)
·       2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract (divided)
·       3 Graham Crackers (crumbled)
·       2 Tsp. Butter (melted)

Add the Kiwi Berries, water, and granulated sugar to a small pan and gently heat up on the stove top.  You’ll need to mash them as they cook.  Allow it to cook down, about 10 minutes or so.  Set aside to cool.

While that is cooling begin the cheesecake filling.  Whip together ½ cup of Confectioner’s Sugar, Cream Cheese, 1 Tsp. of Vanilla Extract, and ½ of the pint of Heavy Cream in a large bowl.  It should create heavy fluffy mounds of awesomeness.

Melt butter in a small bowl and add graham cracker crumbles to it.  Mix until thoroughly combined.   

Empty rest of Heavy Cream into a bowl and add 1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract and ½ cup of Confectioner’s Sugar.  Whip together until firm peaks form.  Pull out 4 small bowls or containers.  Begin to layer dessert.  Graham cracker crumbles on the bottom, a layer of cheesecake, a layer of berries, a layer of cheesecake, and lastly a layer of whipped cream on top.  

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup

This time of year, it’s easy to have a hodge podge of ingredients in your refrigerator.  This is an easy soup recipe to break them all down into a quick meal.  I made this for lunches and it turned out great.  If you don’t have the exact veggies that I featured, feel free to throw in ones that you may have lying around.  Like extra spinach, mushrooms, wax beans, or patty pan squash.  Just maybe stay away from starchy veggies.  

Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup

6 servings
10 minutes to prep
4 hours to cook on high

·       1 14 oz can of tomato sauce
·       6 Cups of Water
·       1 cup of fresh corn (about 2 ears worth)
·       3 fresh tomatoes (diced)
·       ½ cup of fresh basil (chopped
·       1 cup of green beans (chopped)
·       2 cups of Spinach or Kale
·       1 teaspoon of Salt
·       3 cloves of garlic (minced
·       1 cup of Zucchini (chopped
·       1 large Red Onion (chopped
·       1 cup of small Pasta (macaroni or small shells)

Chop all vegetables and herbs.

Add all ingredients except for pasta to a slow cooker.  Set slow cooker on high and allow cooking for 4 hours.

After 4 hours, add pasta.  Cook for 20 minutes, test pasta for doneness and serve.  
I put the soups in little microwavable bowls for work.  It made an easy meal for me to eat at work or heat up at home if I was far too tired to cook.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Rosemary Peach Chicken

I know, I know, two chicken recipes right in a row, but both are super yummy! 
I love peaches, but we’ve received a lot of peaches from our weekly CSA deliveries.  After 5 bags of peaches in less than a month, I’ve now started vigorously searching for recipes to use up our peaches.  I came across this one, which sounded great but the initial recipe called for apricots and roasting in the oven.  Since I was making this on a day when I didn’t have a great deal of time and I needed to use up all of these peaches, I made a few substitutions. I utilized a slow cooker instead of roasting the items in the oven and added carrots as another vegetable to the bottom of the slow cooker.  Because you always to want to add as many veggies to a dish as possible.  The dish turned out great with a side of sauteed zucchini. 

Rosemary Peach Chicken in Slow Cooker


4 servings
20 minutes to prep
7 hours to cook on low heat
4 hours to cook on high heat

·       2 cups of carrots chopped
·       1 Red Onion sliced
·       4-5 Chicken thighs
·       2 Tsps of Olive Oil
·       3 Peaches, skinned and chopped
·       3-4 sprigs of Rosemary, chopped
·       3 Tsps of White Balsamic
·       2 Tsps of regular Balsamic
·       1 teaspoon of Salt
Layer the carrots and onions as the two bottom layers in the slow cooker.

Brown the chicken thighs in Olive Oil on the stovetop.

Layer the chicken thighs on top of the veggies, then layer diced peaches and sprinkle rosemary on top. Drizzle both Balsamic Vinegars on top.

Cook on low for 7 hours or so.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Spicy Coconut Chicken

Roast chicken is one of my favorite dishes to make, but every once in awhile I look for a new approach with it.  I found this recipe and gave it a try.  It didn’t turn out quite as expected but packed a wallop of spicy flavor in a deceptively calm looking dish.  This is a great dish to serve with veggies and rice.  It also made for great packed lunches for the rest of the week.

(note: If you're not a huge fan of coconut, don't worry, it's not an overwhelming flavor.  It mostly adds richness to the chicken.)

Spicy Coconut Chicken

8 servings
2 hours to prep
2 hours to cook

·       4 whole Chicken legs
·       1 cup of Coconut Milk
·       ½ cup of Cilantro (chopped)
·       3 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce
·       1 teaspoon Cumin
·       4 small Jalapenos (chopped)
·       1 teaspoon of Salt
·       ½ teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
·       ¼ cup of Vegetable Oil
·       3 Tablespoons of Sugar

Put Chicken Legs in a bag and set aside.  Whisk the remaining ingredients in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.

Pour marinade in bag, seal and refrigerate for 1.5-2 hours.

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a large baking dish.  Lay out chicken skin up in dish.  Drizzle a little of the marinade on each Chicken Leg.  

Roast for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Bast it with the juices as it cooks.  Allow resting for 10 minutes after roasting.  Serve with rice or mixed vegetables.  

Friday, August 22, 2014

Cinnamon Blueberry Muffins

I'm pretty currently obsessed with the taste of cinnamon.  Cinnamon buns, cinnamon raisin toast, cinnamon crunch bagels... So I was looking for a delicious cinnamon breakfast for each morning.
Also we have received an obscene amount of blueberries from our CSA.  My goal this week has been finding new and exciting ways of creating fun things to eat involving them.  While I like regular blueberry muffins, I really liked this recipe because of the addition of cinnamon.  It makes for a melt in your mouth pastry.  They also freeze well and you can pop out a couple every morning. 

Cinnamon Blueberry Muffins

20 min prep time
20 min bake time
Makes 12 muffins
·       2 Cups of Flour
·       ½ cup of butter
·       1 cup of granulated Sugar (plus more for coating)
·       1 teaspoon of Vanilla
·       2 teaspoons of baking powder
·       1 teaspoon Cinnamon (I added another ½ teaspoon)
·       ½ teaspoon Nutmeg
·       ½ teaspoon salt
·       2 Cups of blueberries (frozen or fresh
·       ½ cup of milk
·       2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and add paper cups to your muffin tin.  

Cream butter and sugar together in a mixer.  The add eggs, one at a time and beat into the mixture.  

In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients except for the blueberries together.
Slowly add the dry ingredients and milk in parts to the mixer.  Beat until mixed together and fluffy.

Slowly fold in blueberries and spoon into muffin tins. 

Sprinkle extra sugar on top of each muffin.

Bake for 20 minutes, muffins should look slightly browned and blueberries should be bursting.  
Holy Smokes Batman these were awesome.  Some came out a little lopsided but the taste was incredibly good.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Lemon Zucchini Muffins

We're still getting boatloads and boatloads of zucchini! More and more are delivered every week.  I'm always looking for new recipes on how to use it up! Today I bring to you yet another magnificent Zucchini recipe!   
I'm also on the lookout for new zucchini recipes and ideas!! Please let me know what your favorites are! 

Lemon Zucchini Muffins

15 Muffins
20 minutes to prep
16-18 minutes to bake

·       1 Zucchini grated (6 oz)
·       1 Cup of Sugar
·       2 Cups of Flour
·       ½ cup of Milk
·       2 Eggs
·       2 teaspoons of Baking Soda
·       Zest of 1 Lemon
·       Juice of 1 Lemon
·       ½ Cup of Vegetable Oil
·       ½ teaspoon of Salt
·       2 teaspoons of Vanilla

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.  Ready a muffin tin with papers.
Begin to whisk 2 eggs in a large bowl, add milk, oil, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and vanilla.  Beat it together.

Add Zucchini, lemon zest and baking powder, combine thoroughly.  Begin to add flour a ½ cup at a time to the mixture until all flour has been added.

Pour an even amount into each cup, you may need a second muffin tin, this will make about 15 muffins.

Bake for 16-18 minutes.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Summer Salads

I love this time of year.  The warm weather helps to bring in lots of great veggies and fruits.  This week I’m bringing a couple different examples of salads to try out.  I tested these both out at home and my husband Tom’s favorite was the Peach Caprese Salad.
Peaches are in season right now and it's very easy to get sucked into buying an entire bag of them at the farmers market.  A different way to incorporate them into your weekly mealtime is it create a salad.  This is a twist on a traditional caprese salad.

Peach Caprese Salad

Serves 2
10 minutes to Prep
·       4 medium Peaches
·       ½ of a Mozzarella Ball (it’s about a ½ cup)
·       6-10 leaves of fresh Basil
·       3 cups of baby Spinach
·       3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar (I used a cranberry walnut balsamic vinegar)
·       3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil 

Slice up the peaches and the mozzarella.  Pull out your serving platter and add baby spinach as the first layer. Then make a pattern of adding a slice of peach, slice of cheese, and a leaf of bail, alternating each in a circular pattern.  Drizzle balsamic vinegar and olive oil on top and serve.

So yes I’m bringing you yet another Kale recipe, but I promise it’s super good.  It’s also a great side dish to serve for a barbecue or just with sandwiches. 

Roasted Beet, Tomato, and Kale Salad

Serves 2
10 minutes to Prep
45-50 minutes to bake
·       3 medium Beets (I used Golden)
·       1 ½ cups of Cherry Tomatoes
·       4 Cups of Kale
·       3 coves of Garlic (chopped)
·       3 Tablespoons of White Balsamic
·       5 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Peel Beets, drizzle with 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil and wrap in foil to bake in oven.

After 20 minutes or so add a pan with Kale, Garlic, and Tomatoes, Drizzle and toss with White Balsamic and Olive Oil and bake for 25 minutes.  Pull everything out and allow cooling for 15-20 minutes.  

Slice beets and add on top of Kale mixture. Serve as a main course or a side dish.