Friday, March 29, 2013

Avocado Egg Salad

A couple of weeks ago I realized that I had a lot of eggs in the fridge.  I decided to hard-boil some since I knew that during the week my husband would take some with him to work for breakfast.  I decided to make myself some egg salad for lunch with a few of them.  I remember seeing a post somewhere in blog land using avocado in egg salad.  So I searched allrecipes and found this one.  I thought that this was really flavorful with the addition of the red onion and sweet pickles.  It was a nice change from the traditional egg salad that I normally make.  Note that the ingredient amounts are kind of odd because I ended up halving the original recipe.  This made enough for me to have lunch for two days.

Avocado Egg Salad
Recipe from - courtesy of ANGELAANDJAKERS

3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
1 avocados - peeled, pitted, and cubed
1/4 cup minced red onion
1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped sweet pickles
1-1/2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste

Mash the eggs with a fork in a mixing bowl to break up. Add the avocado, onion, pickle, mustard, and mayonnaise. Gently smash the ingredients together until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

My Rating: 1 1/2 thumbs up.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Black Bean Turkey Burgers with Avocado Ranch Sauce

Every now and then, my almost seven year old daughter asks if she can help me cook dinner.  She ended up helping me make these burgers.  Almost every night I make a new recipe and I'm not always sure how it will turn out.  Once these were cooking in the pan, my mouth started watering and I knew that these were going to be great!  My prediction was confirmed when my daughter took a bite of her burger and said these were the best burgers she's had.  I only give the kids half a burger each but she asked for seconds and requested a burger to take with her for lunch the next day.  Definitely a winner of a meal!  Another plus is that this recipe makes 8 burgers, so we had plenty of leftovers for lunches for us all.  Although this burger is really flavorful in itself I thought that the sauce added another layer of deliciousness.  My picture does not do this burger justice!

Black Bean Turkey Burgers with Avocado Ranch Sauce
recipe from I Thee Cook, adapted from Paula Deen

Yield:  8 burgers

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1/2 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed, drained, and lightly mashed
1 cup crushed tortilla chips
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Avocado Ranch Sauce (recipe below)

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, beans, tortilla chips, chile powder, cumin, salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder. Use your hands to form the mixture into 8 equal sized patties. Cook the patties until no longer pink in the middle, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Serve on buns with avocado ranch sauce and some lettuce.

Avocado Ranch Sauce

2 ripe avocados
1 cup Ranch dressing
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Cut avocados in half; scoop pulp into a food processor or blender.

Add 1 cup Ranch dressing and remaining ingredients to food processor. Process until avocado mixture is smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.

Family Rating: 2 thumbs up!

This recipe is shared at:
Tasty Tuesdays @ 33 Shades of Green
Back For Seconds Social Link Party @ Back for Seconds
Time to Sparkle @ The Recipe Critic

Monday, March 25, 2013

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Although it's officially spring, the weather here in New York still feels like winter.  Cold enough that a casserole for dinner sounded good.  My kids have gotten used to me asking, "How would you rate tonight's dinner?" that my daughter often volunteers her rating before I even ask.  Another dinner that I made this past week (my Secret Recipe Club recipe which will be revealed April 8) was first rated 10 thumbs up!  But once my daughter tasted this she edited her previous rating.  "That one gets down a little to maybe 8 1/2 or 9 and this dinner gets 10 stars!"  This has all the flavors and components of Chicken Cordon Blue in a one dish meal.  This was a dinner that we all enjoyed....even my picky eater of a son!  A couple of days after I made this my dad came over to watch the kids so my husband and I could go out to dinner with my brother.  I had some of this leftover that I told him he could eat for dinner.  He enjoyed this so much that he's been asking me for the recipe.  A reminder to myself to read through a recipe in its entirety either the night before or earlier in the day.  If you don't pre-make some of this, it can take over 2+ hours.  I had some Tyson already cooked grilled chicken breasts in the freezer which I thawed in the microwave and then marinated while I finished prepping this.  So, it didn't get the hour of marinating time but it saved me about 30 minutes of chicken cooking time.  Plus, the chicken had a grilled/smoky flavor that added a nice touch to the dish.  I also bought the already diced cooked ham which saved chopping time.  With a pint of heavy cream this is not a "light" dish but it is really tasty!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
recipe adapted from I Thee Cook


2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cooked and chopped
1 cup Honey Dijon Salad Dressing
1/2 Pound diced ham
1 pound large pasta shells

Cheese Sauce:
1 pint heavy cream
1 tsp prepared Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt, and then to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
8oz Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
8oz Swiss Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Place chicken in a zip lock bag with honey dijon dressing and marinate for an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in a baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes.

While chicken is baking cook pasta according to package directions drain and set aside.

To prepare the cheese sauce add the heavy cream to a sauce pan and heat over medium low heat, whisk in the flour and add the rest of the ingredients in the order they are written. Continue cooking and stirring frequently until sauce is thickened and cheese is melted. Pour cheese sauce over pasta stir to coat. Add chicken and ham.  Mix into pasta.

Grease a 9 x 12 casserole dish and pour pasta mixture into dish. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the top and bake for 25-35 minutes.

Family Rating: 2 thumbs up.

This post is shared at:
Melt in Your Mouth Monday Recipe Blog Hop @ Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms
Recipe Sharing Monday @ Jam Hands
Making the World Cuter Monday @ Making the World Cuter
Motivate Me Monday @ Keeping it Simple

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Pork Chops with Maple Sauce

Almost every day I try making a new recipe.  As I was debating whether to purchase a dirt-cheap subscription to allrecipes magazine I looked at my collection of cookbooks and recipes torn out of magazines that I already get (not to mention the tons bookmarked from blogs to try!) and decided that I have enough recipes that I haven't made yet to last me for years!  On a side note, with the staggering amount of recipes out there, we both concluded, how can people say, "I always make the same thing!"????!!!!  Which made my husband also point out that the recipes in the magazine are already free on the website and do I really need another magazine??  I don't have enough time to read the tons I already get!  So in the end I decided not to order the magazine. 

I have to say that when I menu plan, I always keep in mind whether I think my son will eat it.  My daughter is really good about trying everything and eating enough to get a treat.  My 4 1/2 year old son is really picky though.  I knew that these pork chops were a winning dish when he told me how much he liked them and then finished all of his dinner.  I made these awhile ago, and it's hard to remember, but I think he even ate the onions! Caramelizing the onions is the lengthiest part of making this recipe, but well worth it! This was a dinner that we all enjoyed!

Pork Chops with Maple Sauce
recipe from For the Love of Cooking

3 tsp olive oil (divided)
1/2 sweet yellow onion, sliced
4 pork chops, 1/2 inch thick
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup of diced yellow onion
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/4 cup of water
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tbsp flour, to thicken

To make caramelized onions: Place 2 teaspoons of olive oil into a large oven proof Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook, stirring often, for 20-30 minutes, or until caramelized and golden brown. Season with sea salt, to taste.  If the skillet gets dry, add a tablespoon of water or two. Remove from the Dutch oven and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper.  Add the pork chops to the HOT pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown then flip; cook for 1-2 minutes then remove from the Dutch oven to a plate. Cover with a tin foil tent.
Add the butter and the last teaspoon of oil to the Dutch oven and add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes or until tender and golden brown; add the chili powder; cook stirring constantly for 1 minutes. Add the vinegar, maple syrup, water, Worcestershire sauce, and sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Stir well then add the pork chops back into the Dutch oven uncovered and place into the oven. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until the pork is cooked through. Remove from the oven.

Place the pork on a serving plate with a tin foil tent and let the meat rest for 5 minutes. If you prefer a thicker sauce, heat the sauce over medium high heat then whisk in the flour until well combined and thick. Drizzle the sauce over the pork chops then serve with the caramelized onions on the side.

Family Rating: 1 1/2 thumbs up.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Apple Brown Sugar Coffe Cake

Recently a friend came over to visit with her seven month old baby son.  She offered to stop at a local restaurant and pick up sandwiches for lunch and I made dessert for us.  I decided to make this coffe cake that I had bookmarked for awhile since I knew that there would be leftovers which would make a great breakfast treat.  This cake was nice and moist and I liked the addition of apples.  Like Edesia's my glaze didn't really glaze the cake, but ended up soaking into the cake.  When it hardened on the top it ended up giving the cake a little crunch which I actually enjoyed.  Luckily, I don't make sweets very often, because this recipe does use lots of sugar, with the cake, crumble, and glaze....but my friend and I (and the family!) both thought it was worth it!

Apple Brown Sugar Coffee Cake
recipe from Edesia's Notebook, originally from Emeril Lagasse

Yield:  24 servings


For the Cake:
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1½ cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
2 cups peeled, cored, and chopped apples

For the Crumble Topping:
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup flour
½ tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp butter, softened

For the Brown Sugar Glaze:
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9x13” glass baking dish with baking spray.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Fold in the apples. Pour into the prepared baking dish, spreading out to the edges.

To make the topping, in a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter, and mix until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the topping over the cake and bake until golden brown and set, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.

To make the glaze, in a bowl, combine the sugar, vanilla, and water and mix until smooth. Drizzle the cake with the glaze and let harden slightly. Serve warm.

Family Rating: 2 thumbs up!

This post is shared at:
Foodtastic Friday @ Not Your Ordinary Recipes
Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Tasty Thursdays @ The Mandatory Mooch
Showcase Your Talent Thursday @ What's Cooking, Love?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Eating the Alphabet Challenge: Tony's Breakfast Couscous

It's time once again for the Eating the Alphabet Challenge hosted by Brenda at Meal Planning Magic.  Each month we are given a set of letters and are challenged to make a dish using a fruit, vegetable, grain, or legume that begins with one of the letters.  This month's letters were C and D.  Last year I made this Roasted Cauliflower Risotto.  I thought that I'd try for "D" this year but then I found this couscous recipe that looked good, so I ended up making it instead.  The original recipe called for nonfat dry milk but provided substitutions so you could use fat-free milk instead.  Unfortunately, I cannot have dairy in the morning on an empty stomach.  I wouldn't call myself lactose intolerant, but feel the symptoms only if I have dairy in the morning on an empty stomach.  So I used soymilk in this recipe.  I also eliminated the walnuts that the original recipe called for.  I'm not a huge nut fan and walnuts are probably one of my least favorites.  I think pecans might be tasty in this though.  I made this over the weekend and it ended up being more like brunch for me by the time I got up and made it!  I was pleasantly surprised when my son, who is a pretty picky eater, tried this and liked it!  Normally he doesn't eat couscous when I make it.  But the cinnamon, brown sugar, cranberries, and raisins sweetened this up, and he likes sweet! He ended up having this for lunch with a cheese stick and a yogurt!  This was super easy to prepare and can be adapted to any ingredients that you want to add/take out.  This was a breakfast dish that I can see myself making again.  If you're interested in joining the Eating the Alphabet Challenge click here!

Tony's Breakfast Couscous
recipe adapted from Cooking Light, May 2006

1/4 cup water
1 cup vanilla soy milk
1/2 cup uncooked couscous
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

Bring water and milk to a boil in a small saucepan; stir in remaining ingredients. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand 10 minutes. (Mixture will thicken as it cools.)

Family Rating: 1 1/2 thumbs up.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Spicy Eggplant and Tofu Stir Fry

My sister is a vegetarian.  She was up visiting  from Maryland with her family several weeks ago.  My husband and I had planned an asian inspired dinner including spicy rice and pork tacos.  I wanted to have something for my sister to eat, besides side dishes, and knew when I found this recipe that it was what I was going to make.  Ashlee at Veggie by Season, where I found this recipe, was inspired by P.F. Chang's Chicken and Eggplant when she created this dish.  I've only eaten at P.F. Chang's a couple of times and have never tried that dish, so I have nothing to compare it to.  However, this recipe was really easy to make and had great flavor!  Everyone (including the non-vegetarians) enjoyed this.  Since my husband and I love tofu, this is definitely a dish that I'd make again for us....the kids, not so much!

Spicy Eggplant and Tofu Stir Fry
recipe slightly adapted from Veggie By Season

2 tsp. sesame oil
1 large eggplant, slightly peeled and diced in 1" chunks (about 2 lbs.)
Kosher salt
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. vegetable stock
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. sherry
1 tbsp. sriracha
1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
4 scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 block of firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1-inch cubes

Heat a pan over medium heat.  Add sesame oil and eggplant, season with salt and stir fry for 5 minutes, until caramelized and slightly softened.

In a small bowl whisk together the soy sauce, vegetable stock, sherry, sriracha, sugar, pepper, scallion, garlic and cornstarch. Pour over eggplant and turn heat to low.

Mix eggplant with sauce, bring to a low simmer. Gently stir in tofu, combining with eggplant and sauce.

Simmer mixture for another 5-8 minutes, until eggplant is tender.

If mixture gets too dry, add another splash of vegetable stock or soy sauce (in equal parts).

Family Rating: 2 thumbs up!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Blackberry White Chocolate Yogurt Muffins

Although it's been awhile I like to make muffins.  They are super easy to make, convenient for my husband to take with him to work, and freezable, so we don't have to eat them all in a couple of days before they go bad!  I found this recipe in an ad in a recent Cooking Light magazine.  I normally don't pay very close attention to those ads but this one caught my eye because it sounded so good!  I ended up adapting this recipe a little bit, only because frozen blackberries were on sale at the grocery store.  I also didn't use just egg whites.  I substituted two eggs.  I have to say that these muffins are definitely in my top five of all time.  The berries with the chocolate chips is a winning combo!  My husband wasn't as huge a fan as I was (more for me!).  The kids liked these as well but unfortunately only got one each because I ended up eating them all.  I will definitely be making these again.  Next time I may try using blueberries, like the original recipe called for.....but I really liked the blackberries!

Blackberry White Chocolate Yogurt Muffins
recipe adapted from AllWhites and Better'n Eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
6 ounces (1 container) low fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup frozen blackberries, do not thaw*
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon sugar

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper cup liners; set aside. In large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix well. In small bowl combine oil, milk, eggs, yogurt and vanilla; mix well. Add yogurt mixture to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Gently stir in blackberries and white chocolate chips.

2. Divide batter equally into muffin cups. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.

Family Rating: 2 thumbs up!

This post is shared at:
Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Tasty Thursdays @ The Mandatory Mooch
Foodtastic Friday @ Not Your Ordinary Recipes
Fabulous Fridays @ Real Housemoms

Friday, March 8, 2013

Black Bean Quesadillas with Goat Cheese

Last weekend we went down to NYC to attend a free Kids Food Festival in Bryant Park, which was sponsored in part by Cooking Light and the James Beard Foundation.  We could have bought tickets to see cooking demos, from chefs like Ellie Krieger and Jehangir Mehta.  Unfortunately, at $20 a ticket, I didn't think they were quite old enough to really appreciate seeing the chefs or eat what they were making.....maybe next year!  But we had lots of fun going to different booths and trying different snack foods, getting their booklets stamped, and dancing with "Baby Loves Disco."  I wish the weather was a little warmer because we would have stayed longer.  There were several free demonstrations and performances, but since the festival was outside, it was a bit chilly.  We ended up leaving after about two hours and met up with my brother-in-law, who lives down in the city and went out to lunch.  Before we left, we had watched a demo from cookbook author Katie Workman, who made tacos and edamame. Workman was pointing out that tacos are a great kid-friendly food because kids can help prepare the ingredients and then choose what they want to put on their own tacos.  My go-to quick Mexican type meal though is quesadillas.  There are so many different combos you can make, both with meat or without, like this version. 

I don't know if it's a texture thing or what, but I don't like most types of beans.  Only over the past year or so have I started liking black beans.  But have I mentioned how much I LOVE goat cheese?  I think I'd like these, even if I didn't like black beans, because goat cheese makes everything taste better!  Really though these quesadillas were super tasty!  My son loves all kinds of cheese and black he liked these.  My daughter on the other hand does not really like cheese.  She's usually really good about eating what she needs to to get a treat, and she ended up eating three pieces of this quesadilla.  I served this with yellow rice and some veggies to complete the meal.

Black Bean Quesadillas with Goat Cheese
recipe from Cooking Light, June 2001

2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup salsa
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (19-ounce) can black beans, undrained
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 (4-ounce) package goat cheese, crumbled
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup salsa

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and saute for 3 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup salsa, cumin, and beans, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes or until thick. Mash the bean mixture slightly with a potato masher. Remove from heat; stir in the cilantro and goat cheese.

Spread the bean mixture evenly over 4 tortillas; top each with 1 tortilla, pressing gently.

Heat 1/4 teaspoon olive oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 quesadilla, and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Repeat the procedure with the remaining olive oil and quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into 6 wedges. Serve with fat-free sour cream and 1/2 cup salsa.

Family Rating: 1 1/2 thumbs up.

This post is shared at:
Foodtastic Friday @ Not Your Ordinary Recipes
Tasty Thursdays @ The Mandatory Mooch
Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

I'm still really behind on my postings.  If you can believe it, I made this recipe back in January!  It's been a really long time since I used the slow cooker.  Since I've become a stay-at-home mom it's not so much of a necessity anymore as much as a convenience.  I actually ended up making this recipe on a Sunday when I knew we were going to be busy but wanted us to be able to eat dinner at home.  I've had this recipe saved for so long but had never made it because I knew the kids would never eat it.  I was really craving something buffalo chicken flavored though and decided to go for it.  I cooked up some leftover lasagna noodles for the kids and served them with butter and cheese.  My husband and I were both glad that I finally made this.  It was really easy to put together and tasted really good!  There's definitely a kick from the buffalo wing sauce!  With the tang from the blue cheese this lasagna was really flavorful!    

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Lasagna
recipe from Stephanie O'Dea's A Year of Slow Cooking

uncooked traditional lasagna noodles
4 already cooked chicken breast halves
jar of prepared pasta sauce
1 cup buffalo wing sauce
15 oz. tub of ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded cheese (mozzarella and cheddar blend)
1/2 cup bleu cheese crumbles
1/4 cup of water (add at very end)

In a large glass bowl, combine cooked and chopped chicken breast, the pasta sauce, and 1 cup of buffalo wing sauce.

Ladle a big spoonful of the sauce into the bottom of a 5 qt crockpot. Cover with a layer of uncooked lasagna noodles, breaking as needed to get a proper fit.

Add a smear of ricotta cheese to the top of the noodles. Sprinkle on a handful of shredded cheese.

Repeat layers until you run out of ingredients.

Add the bleu cheese crumbles, if desired. Put the 1/4 cup of water into your empty pasta sauce jar and shake. Pour the liquid over the top of the entire lasagna.

Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or on high for 4-5. When cooking time is complete, unplug and take off the lid of the crock. Let it sit for 20 minutes before cutting into.

Mommy & Daddy Rating: 2 thumbs up.

This post is shared at:
Tasty Tuesdays @ 33 Shades of Green
Totally Tasty Tuesdays @ Mandy's Recipe Box
Back for Seconds Social @ Back for Seconds
Work it Wednesdays @ High Heels & Grills

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Secret Recipe Club: Healthy Apple Oats Cheesecake Bars

Secret Recipe Club

I am excited to be participating in my second month of The Secret Recipe Club.  This month I was assigned Elana's blog, Cook Book of Trial of Error.  This blog is filled with lots of tasty-looking recipes. Unfortuantely for me, I have an aversion to baking with yeast and Elana likes to bake!  She had so many tasty looking breads and rolls, but I just wasn't ready to challenge myself to make them quite yet!  I like how Elana rates each recipe by taste and by difficulty (both out of 5).  Since I had just made Banana Chocolate Chunk Nutella Muffins last month I had to control myself not to make Crunchy Nutella Bites.  For savory dishes, this Red Curry Salmon with Coconut Brown Rice caught my eye, as well as Chicken with Pecan Cream & Mushrooms.  In the end though I decided to go with a sweet dish and made these Healthy Apple Oats Cheesecake Bars.  They had a rating of 4 out of 5 on taste and a difficulty of kind of recipe!  My family loves cheesecake and I just don't make it enough.  This was definitely an excuse for me to whip up a special treat for us but it isn't too bad, because "Healthy" is right in the title!  I made a few changes to the recipe on the blog.  The first one being that I used cream cheese instead of cottage cheese.  I don't make cheesecake enough for me to try to make it healthy!  Although I occasionally eat cottage cheese, when I'm on a healthy eating kick, it's not one of my favorite foods.  And I just couldn't see it being as tasty as cream cheese.  My daughter does not like nuts so I omitted the walnuts from the base/streusel.  Based on Elana's  afterthoughts I ended up using an 8"x8" pan.  I should have used less oat mix in the cookie base and saved more for the streusel topping.  The base was thick and I had barely any streusel topping.  While she thought the crust was a little salty I actually enjoyed it.  I might possibly cut it down to 1/4 teaspoon next time but I enjoyed the salty/sweet mix. I'm sorry for this not-so-stellar pic, but please don't let it deter you from making these great bars!

Healthy Apple Oats Cheesecake Bars
recipe slightly adapted from Cook Book of Trial and Error, which was adapted from Cooking with Chopin, adapted from The Pajama Chef


For the base / streusel:
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda + 1 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces

For the cheesecake layer
8 oz bar cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 cups apple sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8"x8" baking dish.

2. Prepare the cookie base in a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon to stir together the oats, flour, salt, and baking powder. Pour 1 tbsp or lemon juice over the baking soda, mix until bubbly and add to the bowl. "Cut in" the butter pieces with two knives or with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then stir in the honey with the spoon. Set aside 1/4 cup of the cookie base. Press the remainder of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes.

3. For the cheesecake layer, while the crust is baking, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add the other ingredients, except apple sauce and process until combined.

4. After the cookie base has baked for 10 minutes, remove it from oven. Spread cheesecake filling over the partially-baked crust. Then spread the apple sauce on top. It will most likely sink partially, so you will have swirls rather than 2 separate layers. Sprinkle the reserved cookie topping over the apple sauce and bake for 30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.

5. The cheesecake must cool down to room temperate (or even be refrigerated) before removing from the pan and cutting, otherwise it will break and sag.

6. Store in the fridge.

Family Rating: 1 1/2 thumbs up.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Marshmallow Crunch Brownie Bars

As I mentioned in yesterday's post our supper club theme this month was rice.  I picked dessert and yesterday posted this Rice Cheesecake with Praline Sauce.  Since I don't have much experience making cheesecake and wasn't sure how it was going to come out I wanted to have a back-up dessert.  Plus, our kids were at this dinner and even though my kids love cheesecake, not all children do.  So I wanted to also have a child-friendly dessert.  I saw these Marshmallow Crunch Brownie Bars and knew that if I didn't make them for supper club I was going to be making them at some point.  So I went for it.  Boy am I glad that I did! In Michelle's (Brown eyed Baker) blog post which you can find here she notes that the next time she made these she'd half the brownie recipe since the proportion of brownie to the other layers was too thick.  Since I hate doing math and trying to half recipes (especially when they're unequal amounts!) I decided to make the whole brownie recipe and split it up into two pans.  This meant extra brownies for us....yes!  This was definitely the right way to go and all the layers were evenly balanced out.  Just to note, the only slight change I made to this recipe was only using 1 1/2 cups of sugar in the brownie base.  Even that seemed a lot to me with all of the other sweetness going on with these bars.  1 cup of sugar could probably be enough.  These bars are so good!  Everyone at supper club loved them and I've been enjoying the leftovers for days.  My husband wanted to take them to work and I told him, "No way, I'm eating these!"  I do recommend chilling these bars.  I had left them out when we got to supper club and the chocolate top got pretty melty.  I've been eating the leftovers that have been chilled and refrigerating them helps the bar keep its shape and not become a gooey mess....and yes, they are just as tasty leftover! 

Marshmallow Crunch Brownie Bars
recipe VERY slightly adapted from Brown eyed Baker

Yield: 24 bars
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes

For the Brownie Base:
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2/3 cup unsalted butter
1¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Toppings:
1 bag (10½ ounces) miniature marshmallows
1½ cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup smooth peanut butter (don't use natural peanut butter)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1½ cups Rice Krispies cereal

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch pan.

2. For the brownies: In a medium saucepan, melt the unsweetened chocolate, butter and ¾ cup of the semisweet chocolate chips over medium heat. Stir occasionally while melting. Set aside and cool for 5 minutes.

3. In a medium bowl sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl , whisk the eggs thoroughly. Add the sugar and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Stir the melted ingredients into the egg mixture, mixing well. Stir in the dry sifted ingredients and mix well. Fold in the remaining ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with a spatula. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the corner of of the pan comes out with moist crumbs.

5. Remove the brownies from the oven and immediately sprinkle the marshmallows over them. Return the pan to the oven for 3 more minutes.

6. Meanwhile, place the milk chocolate chips, peanut butter, and tablespoon of butter in a medium saucepan. Melt over low heat, stirring constantly, until completely melted. Remove from heat, add the Rice Krispies and mix well. Allow to cool for 3 minutes.

7. Spread the mixture evenly over the marshmallow layer. Refrigerate until chilled before cutting.

Family Rating: 2 thumbs up!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Rice Cheesecake with Praline Sauce

Last Saturday was our supper club dinner.  This month's theme was rice.  Everyone had to make a dish using rice, in any form....rice, rice flour, etc.  I quickly claimed dessert and then jokingly said I'd make rice krispy treats.  I do love them but they're not quite supper club caliber material!  I didn't want to make rice pudding because I had made that for our Indian themed dinner a couple of months ago.  I found this recipe on the Riceland Foods website.  In the picture on their site it looked like the rice sunk to the bottom, almost like a crust, with the cheesecake on top.  In mine, the rice stayed mixed with the cheesecake which gave it a texture that I didn't like.  Everyone else seemed to enjoy the cheesecake and I did really like the praline sauce.  This was something different but I probably won't be making it again. 

Rice Cheesecake with Praline Sauce
recipe from

Yield:  16 servings


3 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup half-and-half
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups cold cooked Riceland Plump & Tender Medium Grain Rice

1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 cup pecan halves

Heat oven to 325F. Spray 10-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. In large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add sugar, beating until smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Add 1 cup half-and-half and vanilla; beat until smooth. Stir in rice. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 50-60 minutes or until set. (To minimize cracking, place shallow pan half full of hot water on lower oven rack during baking.) Cool cheesecake to room temperature on wire rack. Remove sides of pan. Refrigerate 1-2 hours. To prepare sauce, melt margarine in medium saucepan. Stir in brown sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil; boil 1 minute stirring constantly. Gradually stir in 1/2 cup half-and-half; return to a boil. Remove from heat; cool. Stir in pecans. Serve with cheesecake. (From our "Riceland Collection" cookbook)

Family Rating: 1 thumb up.