Monday, May 18, 2015

Rhubarb Cheesecake Square

A while back I created a Cherry Pie Cheesecake Tart (recipe HERE) out of some leftover ingredients. I stumbled over it again when it showed up in my Pinterest feed. I was like - "oh yeaaaaaaaah, I remember making that. That was tasty!" so I decided to re-make it but change it up with some rhubarb and whipped cream. 
I also decided to make the cheesecake layer a little thicker because...well.... CHEESECAKE! I don't think I really need to explain that any further...
Anyway... if you like cheesecake and you like rhubarb and you like pie.... I'm going to make a huge leap here and say you will most likely enjoy this too. 

Rhubarb Cheesecake Square

Bottom Layer
1/3 recipe of our NEVER FAIL PIE CRUST (HERE)
(or your own double crust pie dough recipe)

Rhubarb Layer
3/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
4 -5 cups rhubarb, chopped

Cheesecake Layer
1 1/2 bricks (12 oz) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temp
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Top Layer
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 400.
Bottom layer - Roll out pie crust to cover the bottoms of a 12x8 AND a 14 x4 tart pan. Set aside.

Rhubarb Layer - In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar, cornstarch, and rhubarb.

Place over medium heat. Cook and stir constantly until mixture comes to a boil and is thickened. About 8 - 12 minutes.

Pour into prepared pie shells.

Place pans in oven and bake 10 minutes.
While this is in the oven, prepare the cheesecake layer.
Cheesecake Layer - In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping sides as necessary. Beat in sugar and eggs and vanilla until well combined. 
Pour over the rhubarb in the pans.

Turn oven down to 350.
Place back in oven at 350 until cheesecake is set, about 20 - 30 minutes.

Let cool completely.
When cool, prepare top layer.
Top Layer - In a large mixing bowl, beat whipping cream together with the sugar and vanilla, until stiff peaks form. Spread over cheesecakes.

Chill until ready to serve. (At least 2 hours)

Store any leftovers in the fridge. (If you have any!)

You can make this in a 9 X 13 pan if you prefer or even a 10 inch pie plate if you want it thicker.
You will just have to adjust your cooking times accordingly!
This is a perfect summer dessert and can be made with frozen rhubarb if you don't have fresh. 
The flavors and textures make this a wonderfully different square to bring to a potluck or to share with the family. 
Looking for tons of fun and tasty links? Check out these fab linky parties - Hun... What's For Dinner?, New Mrs Adventures, Lou Lou Girls, Dizzy Busy & Hungry, Nap Time Is My Time

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Mars Bar Cake

I came across this recipe a little while ago and thank goodness I scribbled it down on a scrap of paper because I went to find it again and couldn't. I apologize for not being able to give credit to the proper person that created this. 
That being said.... this cake is super-de-duper tasty. It's a bit heavier - almost like a pound cake but not quite, yet is still crumbly and moist with crunchy bites of pecan. 
You would think with all the chocolate and sugar it would be ridiculously sweet but I was surprised it was not. I was expecting it to taste much more chocolaty than it was. It is a mild chocolate that is perfect for dessert or tea time. 
It's right in the middle between a chocolate cake and a vanilla cake. 

Mars Bar Cake

5 full size Mars chocolate bars
1 cup butter (room temp), divided
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup Skor bits

Preheat oven to 325. Lightly spray a 10 inch bundt pan with cooking spray, set aside. 
In a small pot over medium/low heat, stir the Mars chocolate bars and 1/2 cup of the butter together.

Stir until melted and smooth. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream remaining 1/2 cup butter together with the sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Beat in the melted Mars bar mixture.  
Beat in the egg yolks. 
In a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda in the buttermilk. Beat into the Mars bar mixture. Slowly add in the flour and pecans until well combined.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff and then gently fold into the batter.

When mixed in, pour into prepared bundt pan.

Bake at 325 for approx an hour and 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it, starting at about 50 minutes. A toothpick inserted near the center should come out clean.

Let cool for about 10 minutes in the pan then gently run a knife around the cake and invert it on to a wire rack to cool completely. 

So, it's already a pretty nice looking cake, right?
But let's bring it up another notch, shall we?
Melt the chocolate chips in a heavy duty plastic baggie in the microwave - start with 20 seconds, squish the bag, then microwave another 20 seconds, squish. Keep going until chips are melted and smooth. Clip a small corner off of the baggie and use it to drizzle the chocolate over the cake.

Sprinkle with the Skor bits.
Slice and serve.

Who wants a piece?

It is a little bit more involved than a regular cake but, trust me, when you are diving into a piece of this - you won't mind the effort at all. 
We're sharing at these fun linky parties. Be sure to check them out! - The Chicken Chick, Joy Love Food, Simple Life of a Fire Wife, Memories By The Mile, Adventures of Mel,

Monday, May 11, 2015

Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Scones

So apparently today is National Eat What You Want Day. It's totally a thing. Google it.
Anyway... yeah, I know it's just a day someone made up for no reason.
Here's the thing though.... it's an opportunity to eat what you want. 
Who doesn't want to celebrate that? 
Weirdos... that's who.
I'm celebrating with these healthified pumpkin scones with vanilla glaze. Pumpkin doesn't have to be a fall thing. Especially on National Eat What You Want Day. 

Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Scones

1 cup 1% buttermilk
2 eggs
1 vanilla bean, scraped & pod discarded
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/4 cup Stevia for baking (I used Krisda)
2 cups almond flour
2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp butter, chilled & cut into small cubes

4 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk, vanilla
2 cups icing sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped & pod discarded

Preheat the oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
In a mixing bowl, Whisk together buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin.
In a separate bowl, whisk together Stevia, almond flour, AP flour, baking powder, and spices. Cut or rub in the cold butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. 

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just mixed. Do not over mix or your scones will be tough.

Drop by the spoonful (I used a medium cookie scoop) onto the prepared cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.

Bake at 375 until bottoms are golden brown and scones appear dry on top, about 15 - 20 minutes. 

While scones are still warm, prepare glaze.
Prepare glaze - In a small bowl, whisk together almond milk, icing sugar, and vanilla bean until smooth.  

Dip the tops of all the warm scones into the glaze. (You can also spoon the glaze on top of the scones if you prefer)

Serve warm or at room temp.
I figured out the nutritional counts on Myfitnesspal. A serving is one scone and I got 46 scones with the medium cookie scoop. (If you don't have a medium cookie scoop I guesstimate the amount of dough as about 2 Tbsp.)
88 calories, 12 carbs, 4 fat, 2 protein, 1 fiber.
These are snack size scones but you can definitely make them bigger if you are having them with tea, or just on their own. 
Be sure to stop by Feeding Big, My Turn (for us), Cookin and Craftin,   for some fabulous links!!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Shrimp Cobb Salad With Light Buttermilk Dressing

I know I've done a chicken Cobb salad in the past (Click here for Cobb Salad (Jo's Version) With Avocado Garlic Dressing) but this one is different enough that it needs its own post. 
Cobb salads are a fantabulous idea when you are looking for something healthy, hearty, and filling. I mean... it's a salad (can't get much more healthy than that) and it's got egg, shrimp, bacon, avocado.... all sorts of of yummy things that also happen to be pretty darn filling.
The buttermilk dressing only takes 2 seconds to whip up and is SO SO SO good. I'm definitely adding this to my favorite dressings list. 
According to Myfitnesspal, one serving of this (recipe makes 4 servings) is:
Salad - 400 calories, 21 carbs, 24 fat, 30 protein, 7 fiber
Dressing (2 Tbsp) - 43 calories, 2 carbs, 3 fat, 1 protein, 0 fiber. 
All together = 443 calories, 23 carbs, 27 fat, 31 protein, 7 fiber.
Feel free to change up the veggies according to your own taste, just keep in mind that it will change the nutritional counts.

Shrimp Cobb Salad With Light Buttermilk Dressing

Light Buttermilk Dressing
1/2 cup light mayo
1/4 cup 0 fat, plain, Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
sprinkle salt & pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 pkg Stevia (or other sugar replacement)
1/2 cup 1% buttermilk

16 cups baby spinach/lettuce mix 
8 slices bacon, cooked and diced
24 grape tomatoes, halved
1 medium cucumber, diced
32 shrimp, cooked
4 boiled eggs, diced
3/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1 medium avocado, diced

8 Tbsp light feta, crumbled

Prepare the dressing - In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients EXCEPT buttermilk. When smooth, slowly whisk in the buttermilk, a little at a time, until all of it is incorporated.

Chill until ready to use.
Prepare salad - Place 4 cups of the mixed greens on a serving plate. Place 1/4 of the rest of the ingredients, in lines across the top of the greens, in order of the ingredient list. (2 slices of the chopped bacon, 6 halved grape tomatoes, 1/4 of the cucumber, 8 of the shrimp, 1 chopped egg, scant 1/4 cup of the onions, and 1/4 of the chopped avocado.) 
Repeat 4 more times.

Sprinkle each plate with 2 Tbsp of the crumbled feta.

Lastly, drizzle each plate with 2 Tbsp of the light buttermilk dressing.

Serve immediately.
Note - the dressing make about 1 cup's worth. You will have some left over because you are only using about 1/2 cup to make the 4 salads. Use it as a veggie dip or on your own favorite salad. 
It's sooooo tasty! (Plus only 43 calories for 2 Tbsp. Yay!) Again, feel free to use more on the salads but it will affect the nutritional counts.
You can also toss this all together in a large mixing bowl but it won't look quite as fancy. :)
FYI - The dressing improves if it has time to sit so the flavors can blend BUT it is also good if you make it and use it right away. The first time I made it, I prepared it at the same time as the salad. The second time I made it a few hours ahead. It was definitely a much stronger flavor after it had sat. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Hearty and Healthy Eggplant Stew

We've never really cooked with eggplant around our house because our parents were never big fans of it. I can honestly say I have NO memories of it being served... none.... at all when we were growing up. Which is really odd because our parents were big advocates of cooking all sorts of different things. 
Oh well... it's never too late to try something new.
I have dived into the realm of eggplant and - so far - I've been pretty happy with the results.
This stew, for example, is amazing. It's healthy, low cal, filled with nutrients, is delicious, smells soooo good while it is cooking, is filling, and easy peasy to put together. Plus, the serving sizes are humongous. Which is always a plus in my books. 
According to Myfitnesspal 1 serving (recipe makes 6) is - 
360 calories, 36 carbs, 14 fat, 25 protein, 10 fiber. 

Healthy And Hearty Eggplant Stew

2 Tbsp sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb extra lean ground beef
12 oz mushrooms (about 2 cups), sliced
2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 eggplants, cubed
1 tsp dried cilantro
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
salt & pepper
1 large zucchini, cubed
1 medium acorn squash, cubed
1 (540 ml) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Using a very large pot, over medium/high heat, heat oil, garlic, onion, and ground beef. Cook and stir until meat is no longer pink. 
Add in mushrooms.

Cook and stir for about 5 - 10 minutes (until mushrooms have reduced). 
Add in tomatoes.

Bring to a boil then add in eggplant.

Reduce heat and simmer, stirring every once in a while, for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, add in spices.

Stir in and then add in the zucchini, squash, and chickpeas.

 Let simmer, stirring every so often, for another 20 - 40 minutes or so. Until veggies are tender. 
Serve hot.

Like any stew recipe, this one is easily adaptable to fit your favorites. Change up the spices or add and subtract veggies as desired - just keep in mind that will change the nutritional counts. 
FYI - There is no added liquid to this stew. It is extremely thick. The only liquid is what is released from the veggies as they cook down and the little bit from the tomatoes. 
This may not look pretty BUT it is very tasty and will fill you up when you are needing something hearty. Our mom wasn't even going to try it as "it just didn't look like something she'd like" but she gave it a go and ended up loving it. You can see where we get our "pretty food" snobbery from,...
Anyways... it's delicious. You should try it.  
Be sure to visit these fun linky parties - The Chicken Chick, Joy Love Food, Simple Life of a Fire Wife, Memories By The Mile,

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Philly Cheesesteak Salad

Now you can make a salad even your hubby will approve of. 
Oh, yeah, and mushrooms and onions and green peppers and cheese. 
Sue was the one who came up with this salad and was a telling  me about how good it was and how much even her hubby (salad hater!) LOVED it. She even sent me this photo from her phone to torture me...

Looks ridiculously tasty, am I right?
Anyway... she gave me her list of ingredients and I went from there. She used cucumber and a bit of ranch dressing but I decided to use a bit more "pure" Philly cheesesteak ingredients plus add my favorites. The recipe below is my take on Sue's salad. Sue gets full credit for this one. (P.S. - she told me to tell everyone that. I quote, "you aren't allowed to steal this one.")

Philly Cheesesteak Salad (a la Sue)

2 cups lettuce, chopped
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 slice tomato, diced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 small onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 lb (250 gr) lean steak, sliced and diced
1 slice Armstrong Cheese Melts (ie: processed cheese)
Salt & Pepper

Place lettuce, spinach, and tomato on a serving plate. Have mushrooms, onions, and green pepper cut and ready to go. 

Spray a large frying pan with cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat.
Take your sliced steak....

Cook until steak is almost at your desired done-ness level.
Throw in the mushrooms, onions, and green pepper. Cook and stir until vegetables and steak are done to your preference, about 5 minutes for me...
Tear the cheese into pieces and place in random spots on top of the mixture in the pan.

Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for about 2 minutes - until cheese has melted. 
Scoop the meat/veggies on to your lettuce/spinach on the plate, season with salt & pepper, and serve immediately.

As I mentioned above, Sue drizzled a little ranch dressing over the lettuce and spinach before putting the meat and veggies on top. I didn't find it necessary. The juices from the meat and veggies plus the fact that the heat wilts the greens a little adds up to enough "dressing" for me. 
Now, of course you can add more veggies and more cheese if you prefer. I used the amounts above to calculate the nutritional info.
(One serving - recipe counts as one serving - is 435 calories, 23 carbs, 10 fat, 63 protein, 4 fiber)
You can also switch out the processed cheese slices for either shredded cheese or even heat up some cheese whiz and drizzle it on top. 
I counted this as one serving because I eat it as a meal. If you were serving it as a side dish you could probably get 4 servings out of it. It is very filling!