Tag: recipe

No-Bake Cheesecake Eggs

Easter eggs in all their pastel glory come to mind when pondering an important holy day on the Christian calendar. Easter eggs are great to hide and fun to find, but when they come in the form of a tasty dessert, celebrations become that much more festive.

“No-Bake Cheesecake Eggs” are a confectionary twist on the chocolate eggs that are popular come Easter. Home chefs can have fun decorating and playing with the flavors of these treats. Try this recipe, courtesy of “Jane’s Patisserie Celebrate!” (Sourcebooks) by Jane Dunn.

No-Bake Cheesecake Eggs

Serves 2

Base

1 medium chocolate Easter egg

35 grams unsalted butter

75 grams digestive biscuits

Filling

200 grams full-fat soft cheese (such as cream cheese or neufchâtel), at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons icing sugar

100 milliliters double cream

25 grams cocoa powder

Decoration

50 grams milk chocolate, melted

Easter chocolates

Sprinkles

Base

Carefully split the Easter egg into two halves.

Melt the butter in the microwave in short bursts or in a small pan over a medium heat. In a food processor, blitz the biscuits to a fine crumb, add the melted butter and pulse a few times until the mixture is well combined.

Divide the mixture equally between the two halves of the Easter egg, and very gently press down, without breaking the shell.

Filling

In a large bowl, whisk the cheese, vanilla extract and icing sugar until smooth. Add the double cream and cocoa powder and whisk again until smooth and thickened. Divide the mixture evenly between the two Easter egg halves and smooth over as carefully as possible. Chill in the fridge for an hour or so until set.

Decoration

Drizzle the melted milk chocolate over the two halves and decorate with some Easter chocolates and sprinkles.

Irish Soda Bread

Irish cuisine may not be as widely recognizable or familiar across North America as Chinese, Italian or Mexican fare. But that doesn’t mean Irish food lacks fans and flavor. As the world prepares to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on or around March 17, individuals who want to include some popular Irish fare in their festivities won’t want to exclude this recipe for “Irish Soda Bread” from AllRecipes.com.

Irish Soda Bread

Yields 1 1/2 loaf (20 servings)

Ingredients:

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup margarine, softened

4 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup buttermilk

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.

2. Mix flour, softened margarine, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on the prepared baking sheet.

3. Combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk in a small bowl; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an ‘X’ into the top of the loaf.

4. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Check to see if it is done after 30 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

Cherry Pie Bars

Tart, red cherries and Valentine’s Day seem to be the perfect pair. Not only do cherries align with a Valentine’s Day color scheme, they even resemble little hearts when hanging from their stems.

Celebrating Valentine’s Day involves many different traditions, and enjoying decadent desserts is among them. Purchasing ready-made treats from a local bakery is one way to indulge in a sugary confection, but crafting a recipe at home is another way to show that special someone how much you care.

“Cherry Pie Bars” are not exactly a pie, but a pound cake with a cherry pie filling swirl. They can be made for many different occasions, but make for something sweet on Valentine’s Day. Whip up this recipe from “Butter, Flour, Sugar, Joy” (Sourcebooks) by Danielle Kartes.

Cherry Pie Bars

Yield: One 9-by-13-inch pan

2 cups sugar

1 cup butter, softened

4 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 21-ounce can cherry pie filling

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with parchment paper.

2. In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream sugar and butter on low. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat until just combined.

3. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Spread a little over half the cake batter into the pan. Evenly spread the pie filling over the top, and spoon the rest of the cake batter over the pie filling. It’s fine if the cherries show through.

4. Bake 35 minutes or until the top has turned slightly golden. Do not overbake. Allow to cool and slice into squares.

Enjoy!

Blueberry Apple Pie

Pie is delicious any time of year, but especially when seasonal fruits are included in the recipe. When the weather cools down, mouthwatering apples are in season, making this an ideal time to enjoy some apple pie. Home chefs can use Peggy Brusseau’s, author of “The Contented Vegan” (Head of Zeus), recipe for “Blueberry Apple Pie” to create their own delicious dessert. This recipe is designed for those who adhere to a vegan diet, but bakers can substitute a traditional pie crust if desired.

Blueberry Apple Pie

Makes 1 large pie

Ingredients:

1 quantity Vegan Shortcrust Pastry (see below)

2 medium apples

2 1/4 pounds fresh blueberries

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

(Alternative: Use 1 tablespoon oat bran instead of the flour)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line an 11 1/4 inch pie dish with half of the pastry, and prepare the top crust.

2. Peel, core and slice the apples. Spread the apple slices over the bottom of the pastry base. Tip the blueberries into the pie dish, and spread evenly to cover the apples.

3. Mix together the sugar and flour in a small bowl, and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the berries.

4. Position the prepared top crust over the pie, seal together the edges of the pastry and pierce the top crust with a fork or knife.

5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp. Cool and serve.

Vegan Shortcrust Pastry

Makes top and bottom pie crust

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

2 3/4 ounces coconut oil

1/3 cup fine cornmeal

Directions:

1. Measure the flour into a large bowl. Add the coconut oil and ‘cut’ it into the flour, using a fork or table knife, to create an even texture throughout. Add the cornmeal, working it in the same way to create an even texture.

2. Add 1/2 cup ice cold water, and quickly work it into the dough with your fingertips. Shape the dough into a ball, cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, and up to 24 hours.

3. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator 20 to 30 minutes before use, and bring to room temperature. Lightly flour your work surface and a rolling pin. Keep a little extra flour to one side, to use as needed.

4. Divide the dough in two, and knead one portion on the work surface to ensure an even consistency. Roll out the pastry into a round or rectangle, as required, to a thickness of 1/4 inch.

5. Lift the pastry into the pie dish and press into place, trimming off any excess. Roll the remaining pastry in the same way, to make the top crust, or to line a second pie dish.

Pepperoni Pizza Dip With Breadstick Dippers

No matter which teams fans support, they’re sure to get hungry watching the action play out. That’s why game day hosts need to plan foods to keep guests satiated as they follow the scores.

Dips, small bites and other finger foods are staples when the game is on because they can be eaten easily in front of the big screen. Utilizing one or more slow cookers to prepare such items creates more time to watch the game, stock the cooler with refreshments and ready the home theater. Slow cookers also can keep meals warm on the buffet table.

This recipe for “Pepperoni Pizza Dip with Breadstick Dippers” from the Crock*Pot Kitchens makes a great game day meal. Adjust as needed for the game day crowd.

Pepperoni Pizza Dip with Breadstick Dippers

Serves 8

1 jar or can (14 ounces) pizza sauce

3/4 cup chopped turkey pepperoni

4 green onions, chopped

1 can (21/4 ounces) sliced black olives, drained

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened

Dippers

1 package (8 ounces) refrigerated breadstick dough

2 teaspoons melted butter

2 teaspoons minced fresh Italian parsley

1. Combine pizza sauce, pepperoni, green onions, olives, and oregano in a 2-quart slow cooker. Cover; cook on low 2 hours or on high 1 to 1/2 hours or until mixture is hot.

2. Stir in mozzarella and cream cheese until melted and well blended. Serve with warm Breadstick Dippers.

3. For dippers, bake breadsticks according to package directions. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with parsley.

Fourth of July Cookie Cups

July 4th celebrations are much anticipated each year. Whether they include an intimate barbecue with a close-knit group of friends or a massive block party with everyone from the neighborhood, there’s a strong chance that food will be part of the party.

As various menu items will hit the grill, hosts and hostesses may wonder which desserts to serve to make their events complete. While there is seemingly nothing more American than apple pie, cookies also can be sweet ways to help wrap up the festivities. Sugar cookies are a universal favorite, and in this recipe for “Fourth of July Cookie Cups” they’re shaped into cups filled with a buttercream frosting.

Enjoy this star-spangled showcase, courtesy of “Live Well, Bake Cookies” (Rock Point) by Danielle Rye.

Fourth of July Cookie Cups

Makes 24

Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing the pan

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Red, white and blue sprinkles, for topping

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream or milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. To make the cookie cups: preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 24-count mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar together for 1 to 2 minutes, or until well combined.

4. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract until fully combined, making sure to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

5. Mix in the dry ingredients until just combined.

6. Evenly distribute the cookie dough among all 24 cups in the mini muffin pan, a little more than 1 tablespoon of cookie dough per cup. Press each ball of cookie dough into the cups and smooth it out.

7. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, or until the edges of the cookie cups are lightly browned and the tops are set.

8. Remove from the oven, and make an indentation in each cookie using the back of a measuring spoon. Allow to cool in the muffin pan, then carefully remove from the pan and set aside.

9. To make the vanilla buttercream frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter for 1 to 2 minutes until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing in each addition until well combined.

10. Add the heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract, and continue mixing until fully combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Pipe the frosting into the cooled cookie cups and top with the sprinkles.

12. Store the cookie cups in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

A Perfect Dish For A New Year’s Day Brunch

The late-night revelry of New Year’s Eve has made New Year’s Day brunch a go-to tradition for millions of people. Staying up until the calendar officially turns from one year to the next at the stroke of midnight can make it harder to get out of bed on the morning of January 1, so there may be no better day to plan a brunch than the first day of the calendar year.

Many restaurants offer brunch specials on New Year’s Day, but people need not leave home to ensure their first meal of the new year is delicious. This recipe for “Pan-Fried Eggs and Mixed Mushroom Sauté on Toasted Sourdough Slices” from “Sunday Brunch” (Chronicle Books) by Betty Rosbottom can be just the dish to begin a new year.

Pan-Fried Eggs and Mixed Mushroom Sauté on Toasted Sourdough Slices

Serves 4

Mushroom Sauté

11/4 ounces mixed dried mushrooms

11/2 cups boiling water

3 tablespoons olive oil

8 ounces sliced brown mushrooms

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary (see tip)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Toast and Eggs

4 1/2-inch thick sourdough slices

Olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 eggs

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Rosemary sprigs for garnish (optional)

1. For the Mushroom Sauté: Place the dried mushrooms in a medium bowl and cover with the boiling water. Let stand until softened, 20 minutes. Strain in a sieve lined with a double thickness of paper towels and reserve the soaking liquid. Coarsely chop the mushrooms.

2. Heat the olive oil in a medium, heavy frying pan set over medium heat. When hot, add the brown mushrooms and sauté, stirring often, for 6 minutes. Add the reserved mushrooms, garlic, rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; stir for 1 minute. Add the mushroom liquid and cook, stirring, until it has evaporated, 4 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and several grinds of pepper. Remove the frying pan from the heat and cover with foil to keep warm. (The mushrooms can be prepared 1 day ahead; cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat, stirring, over medium heat.)

3. For the toast and eggs: Brush both sides of the bread slices generously with olive oil. Set a 10- to 11-inch nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, and, when hot, add the bread and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the toast and cover loosely with foil. When pan is cool enough to handle, wipe it out with clean paper towels.

4. Add the butter to the frying pan and set it over medium heat. When the butter starts to foam, break an egg into a saucer, being careful to remove any shell fragments., and gently slide it into the frying pan. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Immediately reduce the heat to low and cook, basting the eggs with some of the butter in the pan frequently, until the whites are firm and the yolks are still soft and runny, 3 minutes.

5. While the eggs are cooking, arrange a toasted bread slice on each of four plates. Mound the mushrooms evenly over the toast.

6. Remove each egg with a spatula and arrange on top of the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and, if desired, garnish each serving with a rosemary sprig. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Cookies Are A Sweet Finale To Thanksgiving Dinners

Holiday entertaining season begins on Thanksgiving. Anyone who has been tasked with hosting Thanksgiving understands the commitment required to prepare a delicious meal for guests, which often encompasses appetizers, several side dishes and, of course, turkey as the centerpiece. Guests attending a Thanksgiving dinner can give holiday hosts and hostesses a break by providing dessert.

Cookies are a popular treat. Thanks to their flavor, portability and relatively short preparation and cooking times, cookies are a smart choice when bringing dessert to a holiday gathering. This recipe for “Flourless Chocolate Cookies” from Danielle Rye’s “Live Well Bake Cookies: 75 Classic Cookie Recipes for Every Occasion” (Rock Point) offers the added benefit of being flourless. That means that even those with gluten allergies or intolerances can indulge.

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

Makes 24 to 36 cookies

3 cups powdered sugar

3/4 natural unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large egg whites, at room temperature

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift the powdered sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder together, then whisk in the instant espresso powder (if using) and salt until well combined. Set aside.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the egg whites, egg, and vanilla extract until fully combined.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir until the mixture is fully combined and smooth.
  5. Using a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets, making sure to leave a little room between each one.
  6. Bake for 11 to 14 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies are set. Remove from the oven, and allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheets.

Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Make a Household Favorite More Healthy

Many beloved dishes might be enjoyed more often if they were only a little healthier. Author and former personal chef Michelle Dudash was once asked by a client if the she could make a healthier version of chicken parmesan. The result of that request is the following recipe for “Skinny Chicken Parmesan with Spinach,” which Dudash ultimately included in her book, “Clean Eating For Busy Families” (Fair Winds). The recipe was a hit with Dudash’s client and will surely be a hit at home cooks’ dinner tables as well.

Skinny Chicken Parmesan with Spinach (Makes 6 servings)

For the sauce:

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 pinches salt
2 pinches freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon honey

For the chicken:

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
11/2 pounds chicken breast, cut into 6 pieces, pounded to 1/4 inch
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 cups baby spinach
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 6 medallions (or shredded)
6 cups cooked whole-grain thin spaghetti tossed in 2 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 F and coat the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan with olive oil spray.

To make the sauce: Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add oil and garlic and cook gently for 30 seconds. Do not brown. With your hand, squeeze each tomato into the pan and add basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and honey. Reduce to medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes, lowering the heat as needed.

To make the chicken: Combine parmesan cheese, flour, salt, pepper, and basil in a medium dish and coach chicken with cheese mixture. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. When oil is shimmering, add chicken, rounded-side down, and cook until golden on one side, about 5 minutes. Arrange chicken in a baking pan. Pour remaining 2 teaspoons of oil into skillet and add spinach. Cook spinach for 1 to 2 minutes until wilted and swirl in lemon juice. Gently press spinach to release water and divide spinach on top of chicken. Spoon sauce around and over the chicken, place mozzarella on top, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake for 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Serve over spaghetti.

Homemade Hummus With Truly Unique Taste

Hummus provides a delicious and healthy alternative to less nutritional dips. Versatile and available in various flavors, hummus can be whipped up at home for those who prefer to make their own dips. The following recipe for “Garbanzo-Carrot Hummus with Grilled Yogurt Flatbread” from James Campbell Caruso’s “España: Explore the Flavors of Spain” (Gibbs Smith) includes some Moroccan flavors that give this easy-to-prepare recipe a truly unique taste.

Garbanzo-Carrot Hummus with Grilled Yogurt Flatbread (Makes 2 cups)

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
Salt
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans, drained
4 teaspoons chopped cilantro plus 1 teaspoon for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
21/2 teaspoons ground cumin
11/2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chile flakes
2 teaspoons Moroccan Spice Blend (see below)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 batch Yogurt Flatbread (see below)

In a medium saucepan, combine the carrots with 2 quarts water and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until the carrots are tender. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the carrots to drain and cool in a colander.

Combine carrots and remaining ingredients, except for Yogurt Flatbread, in the work bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with the remaining cilantro. Serve with fresh, hot Yogurt Flatbread cut in wedges.

Moroccan Spice Blend (Makes about 2 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground smoked paprika
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

In a small resealable glass or plastic container, combine all of the ingredients.

Yogurt Flatbread (Serves 4)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
21/2 cups plain yogurt
Olive oil

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the yogurt and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Cover the work bowl and allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium. Scrape the dough from the work bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a long log and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and use a rolling pin or tortilla press to flatten it into a 1/4-inch-thick tortilla shape. Brush each “tortilla” lightly with olive oil. Grill each for about 40 seconds then turn and cook another 40 seconds.