Monday, December 21, 2015

Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars


It's a cheesecake!

It's an apple crisp!

It's so much graham cracker crust!

Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars

For the crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick melted butter
1/4 cup sugar

For the cheesecake:
3 packages cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

For the apples:
3 apples, peeled, cored, finely chopped
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

For the streusel:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup butter, softened

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Mix together melted butter and graham cracker crumbs. Press into a 13x9 inch pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
2. Wipe out that bowl and mix cheesecake filling together until smooth.  Pour onto crust.
3. Wipe out the same bowl and mix the apples with cinnamon and sugar.  Spread evenly over cheesecake layer.
4. Mix the streusel ingredients together until it resembles wet sand.  Sprinkle evenly over the apples.  Bake for 40-45 minutes or until filling is set and streusel is browned.  Cool for at least 3 hours before slicing into bars.

This makes a ton of massive bars so your Christmas crowd will be stuffed for sure. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Brownie + Cookie = Brookie

It's time for the 3rd annual Christmas cookie party! You can see our previous parties here and here.

I baked up a massive batch of brookies to bring to the event. What is this mythical brookie I speak of? Why, it's when a chocolate chip cookie and a brownie come together in the words of Grayson from Top Chef "like sex in the mouth."

Yes, they are that good.

From Cookies and Cups


For the cookie dough:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups chocolate chips

For the brownie
1 box brownie mix, 18oz
1 1/4 cup flour
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
2. Add eggs and vanilla and mix. Mix in baking soda, salt, and flour until combined. Then stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.
3. Mix flour and brownie mix. Add in eggs and oil and stir until combined.
4. To assemble the cookies: Take a tablespoon full of each dough and roll together. Bake 2 inches apart for 9-10 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet. Cool for 3-4 minutes on sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

*Note: If you only have 1 cookie sheet to bake with, put the dough in the fridge while each batch bakes in the oven.

This recipe makes a ton of cookies and you will be glad because they are delicious!

We will definitely all be eating cookies for days. Excellent work everyone!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Green Tea Chocolate Cake

I got a free can of matcha powder from an Amazon seller a few weeks ago.  It was fine as a cup of hot tea, but I wanted to know what else this perplexing green powder can do.  A quick internet search led me to see I could bake with it!

And so I give you green tea chocolate cake!

Green Tea Chocolate Cake

1 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2-3 tbsp matcha powder

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8x8 inch pan. Beat butter and sugar until light an fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Slowly add in flour, baking powder, milk, and sour cream.
2. Take half of the batter into another bowl and mix in cocoa powder. Mix matcha powder to the first bowl. 
3. Place alternating dollops of the batter in the prepared pan.  Use a knife to swirl. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before serving.

I know this sounds totally weird, but it is delicious I promise. Try the batter with 2 tbsp of powder before you go and add another to the mix to see if you like the flavor.

This would be a fun addition to your Christmas baking...because it's green and it's delicious! Also, since it has tea in it you can totally eat it for breakfast.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Lomo Saltado, Peruvian Beef Stir Fry

I have only had this dish once at a restaurant in Manhattan about 6 months ago.  That night, I made sure not to eat the whole serving because I knew I needed my husband to try it.  Topping rice with french fries and beef? Incredible!  Here I attempted (successfully) to recreate that meal I have been dreaming of ever since.


Lomo Saltado

1/2 a bag of frozen french fries
white rice
1 lb stir fry beef
1/2 tsp cumin
black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced into thin strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tomato, sliced into wedges
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 cup cilantro

1. Prepare french fries according to package directions. Cook white rice as you see fit.
2. In a large pan heat oil on high heat.  Add steak and cook until browned. Add onions and garlic cook 2 minutes. Add tomato, soy sauce, and vinegar cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper as desired.
3. Mix in cooked french fries and stir on cilantro.
4. To serve: Place white rice in individual bowls and top with meat and vegetables.  Devour! 

Rice topped with french fries kids, those Peruvians know how to live it up! Oooooh baby this was a fantastic dinner.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Spiced Carrot Salad

How about something super simple and healthy for the week after Thanksgiving?  Maybe give your body some much needed relief?

Ok, I've got you covered with this spiced carrot salad.

Spiced Carrot Salad
Adapted From Plenty

1 lb carrots
1/3 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 small can chopped green chilies
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp preserved lemon*
1 1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped

1. Cut carrots into 1/2 inch disks and cook in salted boiling water, covered, until tender.  Approximately 10 minutes, you don't want them to be mushy. Drain in a colander while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
2. Heat olive oil in a large pan and cook onions until browned and softened. Add carrots and all remaining ingredients, reserving some parsley for garnishing. Season with salt and stir well.
3. Salad can be served hot or at room temperature. Garnish with reserved parsley.

*Don't go nuts in search of the preserved lemon.  I happened to have some and was excited to find a recipe that utilized preserved lemon.  Just give a squirt of some juice or perhaps a little zest to get some citrus flavor in the mix.

Vegetables without a cream sauce? No carbohydrates? Your tummy with thank you.

This was a perfect jazzy vegetable side dish. Yum!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Potato and Goat Cheese Tart

I have a new amazing cookbook in my possession, Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi.  I highly recommend you take a look at it.  Although it's filled with complicated recipes with ingredients you might not recognize, it is a beautiful collection of delicious vegetarian meals that I can't wait to try.

This potato goat cheese tart has you dirtying half a dozen pots and pans, gives you a mild panic attack midway through, but is worth every second you spent putting it together. You will be in awe that you crafted such a gorgeous and tasty dinner. I know I was.

Potato and Goat Cheese Tart
From Plenty

1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes (I used grape)
2 tbsp olive oil, plus a bit more for drizzling over tomatoes
salt and pepper
1 lb new potatoes
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp butter
3 oregano sprigs (I used dried oregano)
5 oz goat cheese
1 puff pastry sheet

1. Preheat oven to 275.  Halve the tomatoes and place on a sheet pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and  season with salt and pepper. Let dry in oven for about 45 minutes.
2. Boil potatoes in salted water for about 25 minutes.  Drain and let cool.  Trim off the rounded tops and bottoms of the potatoes and slice any larger ones so they are all about 1 inch thick.
3. Saute the onion with the oil and some salt for about 10 minutes, until golden brown.
Ok, now all the vegetables are done! On to assembly!
4, Preheat oven to 400. Brush a 9 inch cake pan with oil. Line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.
5. In a small pan cook sugar and butter on high heat, stirring constantly, to get a semi-dark caramel. Pour the caramel into the cake pan and try your best to spread it around.  This part was a disaster for me, but don't worry about spreading it perfectly.  It will work out in the end.
6. Arrange potatoes cut side down in an even layer on top of the caramel.  Mix tomatoes and onions and press that mixture in between your potatoes.  Season with oregano, salt, and pepper. Glob goat cheese on top of vegetables as evenly as you can.
7.  Lay pastry sheet on top of vegetables.  Carefully tucking in the edges around the potatoes inside the pan. Cook 25 minutes then reduce temperature to 350 and cook 15 minutes longer.
8. Remove from oven and let sit for 2 minutes. Invert tart onto a plate. Serve hot or warm,

YES! I couldn't believe it when it came out of the pan. Incredible!

 I cannot say enough about how delicious and interesting this was. So SO good!  Set aside some time to cook this tart up, I promise it is worth the trouble.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pineapple Pork Sandwiches

Pulled pork is one of those slow cooker dinners that last and lasts. I always make way more than I need for dinner.  It's on top of pizza the next night, then it's time for taco Tuesday, and then mixed into macaroni and cheese later in the week.

Pineapple Pork Sandwiches
Adapted from Pinch of Yum

2 1/2 pounds pork loin
2 cloves minced garlic
1 onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 can pineapple rings
sandwich buns

1. Dump pork, garlic, onion, jalapeno, pineapple juice, and soy sauce in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 450.  Shred cooked pork.  Place on a foil-lined baking sheet (don't dump the liquid on the baking sheet) and crisp in the oven for about 15 minutes. Drizzle pork with a little extra juice from the slow cooker.
3. Brown pineapple rings in a small nonstick pan for a few minutes on each side. Place pork and pineapple atop sandwich buns.

Enjoy a little tropical bbq flavor as the nights get colder.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Shrimp With Garlic Bread Sauce

I busted out the food processor for this one guys! I know, I was feeling brazen this evening. It was definitely worth the trouble.

There is really nothing challenging about this recipe, but who the heck wants to clean that food processor? AmIright? All those damn parts! Ugh.

Shrimp with Garlic Bread Sauce
From Pinch of Yum

1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 slice crusty white bread about 1 inch thick
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 cup almonds
2 cups vegetable broth
2 lbs shrimp

1. Heat oil in a large skillet (you will cook the shrimp in here later) to toast the slice of bread.  Place bread in a food processor and pulse to crumbs. Add garlic, parsley, almonds, and a few tablespoons of broth. Pulse until a paste forms.
2. Pour broth into pan and bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in the bread paste and mix until it looks like a cream sauce. Add the shrimp and cook until no longer pink, 5 minutes or so.
3. Serve this with something green as well as some nice crusty bread to sop up the sauce.

This is for a cold rainy night when you are thinking we don't really need nutrients, right?

Sunday, November 8, 2015


Hollllly shit these sliders guys! These are everything you ever dreamed you could eat a White Castle, but made right on your very home so you know it's actually beef.

From Better Recipes

2 lb ground beef, 80/20 ratio
3/4 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
12 small dinner rolls
American cheese slices, if desired
assorted slider toppings of your choice: ketchup, pickles, etc

1. Preheat oven to 400.  Mix ground beef, onion, bread crumbs, and salt in a bowl. Press into a 13x9 inch pan. Use the tines of a fork to poke a bunch of holes in the meat.
2. Bake for 30 minutes.  Beef will pull away from the pan and there will be lots of fluid in the pan. Place cheese slices on beef, if using and cook a few more minutes until it melts.
3. Cut meat into squares the size of the buns you are using.  Use a slotted spatula to remove sliders from the pan and place on buns.
4. Eat way more than necessary.

*I halved the recipe in an 8x8 pan for 2 of us with some leftovers and it worked out nicely.

You need these. Either as your next dinner or your next game day snack.  However you decide to enjoy them, just don't wait!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Double Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cookies

So I came upon these awesome pumpkin spice chips by Tollhouse during pumpkin mania at the supermarket.

Before we go any further can I just comment on the fact that pumpkin madness began before fall started and the supermarket has already deemed the season over before the end of October! What is this nonsense!? Pumpkin flavors have a least another month to go in my meal rotation.  I have a feeling no one is starting their Christmas baking yet, despite the stores encouragement.

Double Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cookies

1 package Betty Crocker chocolate chunk cookie mix
1 cup pumpkin spice chips
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
2 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 375.  Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Drop dough by the tablespoon-ful onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes.  Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing.

Here is a little bonus idea for you crazy kids out there: take some pumpkin gelato and sandwich it between 2 cookies!

Hellooooo fall chip-wich! 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bangkok Curry Noodles

Ok stop reading this right now. Skip to the ingredient list, and get cooking!

You need these noodles more than you know.  I am already planning my next noodle dinner because I need more of it and I can't wait!

I used carrots that I made ribbon-y with a peeler, no Vegetti necessary, onions, and broccoli.  Use whatever vegetables you have on hand.  Anything goes!

Bangkok Curry Noodles
From Adapted from Pinch of Yum


For the sauce:
1 tbsp oil
1 small onion, shallot if you're fancy
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp red curry paste
1 14 oz can coconut milk
1 ladle of pasta water
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp sriracha
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce

For the noodles:
1 lb spaghetti
2 carrots, peeled into ribbons*
1 cup chopped broccoli*
a bit of oil to cook the veggies
sesame seeds

*or assorted vegetables of your choice, anything goes!

1. Begin cooking spaghetti according to package directions.
2.  Heat oil in a medium saucepan.  Saute onions and ginger until onions have softened.  Add curry paste, coconut milk, sugar, sriracha, sugar, fish sauce, and soy sauce.  Simmer 15 minutes.
3. Cook up your veggies in a large skillet with some oil. I know, you now have 3 pans on the stove.  I promise you can do this.
4. When pasta is done, take some of the water to thin the sauce to your desired consistency.
5. Drain pasta and add it to the vegetable skillet.  Toss with sauce and top with sesame seeds.
6. Eat way too many bowls and be so exited for the leftovers.

YESSS! More more more! Enjoy!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Baked Potato Bar

Last night was our 3rd annual scary movie night!  As per tradition we went with another customize-able dinner.

2014: mac and cheese bar
2013: taco bar

This year baked potatoes were the blank canvas.

I used this recipe for making baked potatoes in a slow cooker by the Kitchn.  It's not much different than preparing baked potatoes for the oven.

Our toppings bar included:
sour cream
caramelized onions

bbq pulled chicken

cheddar cheese

The possibilities were endless!

I also made a very tasty cocktail, caramel apple cider sangria.

I hope you all have a great Halloween!

Monday, October 19, 2015

French Onion Tart

This French onion tart is one of those recipes that knows no bounds.  Eat it for breakfast or lunch or dinner. It will be delicious and hearty any time of day. 

You're going to take a whole giant pile of onions and cook them down to nothin'.  Well almost nothin'.

French Onion Tart
From Smitten Kitchen

1 pie crust, homemade or store bought, you decide (you know I sure as heck didn't make my own!)
1 1/2 lb yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of sugar
1 cup beef stock
black pepper
1/2 cup Swiss cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Melt butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions, toss with butter/oil mixture.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cover the skillet.  Cook for 15 minutes.
2. Remove lid and add salt, pepper, and sugar, saute 10-15 minutes longer.
3. Add stock, raise heat, simmer until broth nearly disappears. Let cool until warm.
4. In a medium bowl beat the eggs and cream together. Stir in onions.
5. Heat oven to 400.  Place pie crust in a 9 inch tart pan. Fill with egg mixture.  Top with cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes until filling is set. Serve hot or warm with a nice big salad.

This tart will warm you right up this fall.

Remember when it was a frightening thought to put that oven on just a few weeks ago? Not any more!

Yum! Tastes great leftover too!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Pizza Dogs

I'm sure you have all been drooling (or fighting the nausea) over Pizza Hut's hot dog crusted pizza.  I have been perplexed by it.  It just doesn't make sense to me because the hot dog and the pizza aren't coming together harmoniously.

Here I tried to bring pizza and hot dogs together in one perfectly harmonious bite.

Pizza Dogs

4 hot dogs, cut into 4ths
about an 8th of a block of mozzarella, cut into small rectangles
1 tbsp oregano
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1 can of crescent rolls
marinara sauce, for dipping

1. Preheat oven to 375.  Unroll crescent rolls and cut into 16 pieces, halving each triangle.
2. Mix oregano and garlic powder in a small bowl.
3. Place a piece of hot dog and a piece of mozzarella onto each small piece of dough. Wrap dough around cheese and dog, closing completely. Dip in oregano and garlic mixture.
4. Cook approximately 15 minutes, until dough is golden brown. Serve with marina sauce.

YES! Eat it Pizza Hut!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Cilantro Lime Rice

This cilantro lime rice is a great Chipotle copy-cat recipe.  I served it alongside some grilled tandoori chicken (yum!).

Cilantro Lime Rice
From Tide and Thyme

1 tbsp butter
1 cup basmati or jasmine rice
2 cups water
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
juice from 2 limes
salt to taste

1. Heat a saucepan over medium heat.  Melt butter and add rice, saute for about a minute.
2. Add water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cover, cook 18 minutes.
3. Remove from heat.  Stir in cilantro, lime juice, and salt.

Will it satisfy all of your Chipotle rice cravings? You decide!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Grilled Tandoori Chicken

This marinade is a great way to change up your usual grilled chicken routine.  It comes together in a flash, perfect for any night of the week.

Grilled Tandoori Chicken

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp cilantro
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1. In a small bowl mix ingredients from yogurt to cayenne.  Place in a Ziplock bag with the chicken.  Smush it around a bit so the chicken gets evenly coated.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
2.  Remove chicken from bag and grill it!  That's it!

Sprinkle the chicken with some more chopped cilantro when it's finished.  I served this with a cucumber riata and cilantro lime rice (recipe to come!).

I'm not ready to put my grill away just yet!