Wednesday, December 09, 2009

mini Cheesecake Cookie Cups

Last year, I posted the original recipe for these awesome Cheesecake Cookie Cups. At the time I thought they were great, but this year I wanted to play around with the size of them. I really like the idea of mini, bite-sized cookies...which allows me to justify eating 2 or 3 of them without feeling *too much* guilt.

Of course, making things minature means that you spend a little more time on baking the buggers. Something to keep in mind if you have a life. Obviously, since I made 250'ish of these little delights...well, we won't go there.

Cheesecake Cookie Cups (the mini version)

1 package Nestle Toll House Refrigerated Mini Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar Dough
2 packages of cream cheese, room temp
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Paper-line mini muffin trays. Place 1/2 piece of mini chocolate chip cookie dough in each muffin cup, and press down slightly. Bake for 8-10 minutes of until cookie has spread to the edge of each cup, but is not fully cooked through. (If it doesn't spread to the edge, don't sweat it...they will still be delicious, and I promise no one will notice.) Let cool in mini muffin tray until they collapse slightly.

Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth. Pour about 1 tbsp of the mixture over each cookie in cup. Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until set. Cool completely on a wire rack. Top each cheesecake with pie filling. Keep refridgerated.

So cute! You can substitute the chocolate chip dough with sugar cookie dough, or use a traditional graham cracker crust.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Chicken with Mustard'y Mandarin Orange Sauce

Around this time of the year, I look in the refridgerator and say "Man. I have way too many jams, jellies and preserves in this place." Most are left over from The Great Cookie Bake-Off of (insert year here).

I was trying to think of when I actually purchased the peach preserves that were staring back at me. I'm pretty sure I was still with Nathan, which means that the jar and it's contents are at least 9 months old. I examined the insides of the jar, from the outside. No fuzzy stuff. I opened it. No odd smell. I tasted it and it didn't make me gag! We were in the clear!

If you like sauces that contain mustard, you will love this. I used a grain mustard, but honey mustard would be lovely. Dijon would work too. I loved the way the grain mustard made little speckles in the sauce though.


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup of either orange marmalade or peach preserves (I hate orange marmalade!)
2 tbsp grain mustard
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 small can of mandarin oranges, drained
1 tsp grated orange peel
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, heat oil and butter together until butter is melted and sizzling. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken on both sides. Meanwhile, combine OJ, preserves, mustard and thyme in a small bowl. Don't fret if the preserves do not dissolve into the juice...they will when the mixture hits the heat. Lumps are fine! Pour mixture over chicken. Bring to a boil and continue cooking for another 5-8 minutes or until the juices from the chicken run clear and sauce thickens. Gently stir in oranges and orange peel. I plated over steamed white rice cooked in chicken stock for added flavor.

Sweet and sticky. Just like Madonna's last tour. I promise that people - adults and children alike - will be licking their fingers.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Creamy Pasta with Shrimp

Friend: "Do you have anything to eat in this house?"

Me: "Ummmm..."

I had frozen pre-cooked shrimp, a green pepper, half a pint of grape tomatoes and cream - plus some pickles, yogurt and a couple Balance Bars. There was some serious potential in my *seriously* understocked kitchen pantry/fridge!


Pasta of your choice - I used plain spaghetti
6 tbsp butter
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 lb pre-cooked shrimp, de-veined and de-shelled
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved - if desired
2 tbsp fresh basil, or 1 tsp dried basil
Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Cook pasta as usual.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic and green pepper. Cook until onion is translucent and fragrant. Add shrimp.

Combine cream and flour in a small glass - mix well to form a slurry. Pour cream mixture over shrimp and cook until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Add pasta, tomato and basil and combine. Grate a little fresh parmesan cheese just before service.

Dinner was done in about 12 minutes, tops. The leftovers were pretty tasty as well - still creamy, which surprised me!

Plus, I got to break out the pasta bowls I've been sitting on for 2 years, which made me very, very happy.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Coffee Cake

This coffee cake recipe is so good, and so easy, that I have already made it 5 times! It's moist and light, and the crumb topping is to die for.


1 stick butter, softened
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries (thawed and drained, if frozen)
1 cup streusel (recipe below)
powdered sugar glaze (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 or 9 inch tube pan, set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add 1 cup of flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and beat until combined. Add 1/2 cup of sour cream, mixing well. Repeat process with the remaining flour and sour cream.

Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange the blueberries in a single layer on top of the batter - making sure to keep them away from the sides of the pan so they don't burn. Top with remaining batter, making sure it is evenly distributed. Sprinkle the streusel over the top.

Bake for 60 minutes, or until cake is golden and center is completely set. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan, and let cool completely. Before service, spoon the glaze over the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Dig in!


2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp coarse salt
1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Cut in butter using a pastry fork until large, moist clumps form. Makes 4 cups.


1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tbsp milk

Whisk sugar and milk together until completely smooth. Immediately drizzle over cake.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Marinated Flank Steak

Hooray for the first post of 2009! I won't say that increased blogging is my New Year's resolution, because you know how those things go...but I have taken an oath to myself to cook for *me* more and this blog will most likely reap the benefits.

I now find myself looking for ingredients that will do double (or triple) duty for me. For example - flank steak. I can cook it once - then use the leftovers to make a whole new meal of fajitas with just the addition of some grilled peppers and onions! No waste, and my taste buds still can rejoice.


2 1/2 pounds flank steak, trimmed, excess fat removed
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tsp black pepper*
4 tsp salt*
2 garlic cloves, bruised
2 tsp paprika
*or to taste

In a large plastic food storage bag, combine all ingredients, with beef. Marinate at room temp for 30 minutes, or longer if desired. Preheat broiler to 400 degrees. Using a meat thermometer at the very center of the steak, broil until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees - medium rare. (The ends will be more well done.) It took about 10 minutes.

Allow the steak to rest for 3-5 minutes before slicing to redistribute juices. Hold a very sharp knife at a 45 degree angle and slice the steak across the grain into thin slices. Carving this way makes the steak extremely tender!

I served the steak with some basic roasted fingerling potatoes and my own raw vegetable salad (recipe below). Of course, if you have a grill working during these winter months, go ahead and grill the steak instead of preparing it in the oven/'ll probably taste better too.


1 large pepper, any color (or combination), julienned
1 small red onion, sliced
1/4 cup frozen corn, thawed and drained
1/2 cup green beans, thawed and drained
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh parsley, finely chopped

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and let chill at least 3 hours prior to service. Wonderful color!