Layered Milano Cheesecake

First of all I want you to know, that before this week I have never laid my taste buds on a Pepperidge Farm Milano cookie. Second of all I want you to know that that, has all, changed. I never knew, I’m telling you I never knew, that those things were so good! Who knew that a buttery sandwich cookie with chocolate ganache in the middle could be so delicious!?! I promise you that you will see my personal recipe for those wonders here on this blog sometime in the near future. But for now, you must be satisfied with this no=bake cheesecake containing said delights. My family loves cheesecake, we’ve made more variations of cold desserts than the colors in Joseph’s coat. I would always choose a no-bake cheesecake over the traditional, you know why? The no-bake is creamier, uses less ingredients, and takes half of the time. So without further ado, I give you, Chocolate Milano Cheesecake.

The Crust: 21-27 Milano cookies, 4 cinnamon graham crackers (optional).

Break all but nine of the cookies in half and line the bottom of a casserole pan with them. If using, break the graham crackers into fourths and fill in the gaps.

Classic Cheesecake Layer: 8 oz. plain cream-cheese, 8 oz. whipped topping, 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar.

Make sure the whipped topping and cream-cheese are at room temperature. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of your food processor, pulse until smooth and creamy. Spoon the mixture atop the cookies, being careful not to disturb the loose crust. Break the remaining cookies into small pieces and sprinkle evenly atop the classic cheesecake layer. Place the cheesecake into your refrigerator while you make the next layer.

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Layer: 8 oz. cream-cheese, 8 oz. whipped topping, 1/2 to 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1/2 to 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.

Make sure the whipped topping and cream-cheese are at room temperature. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of your food processor, pulse until smooth and creamy. Spoon the mixture atop the first layer, being careful not to disturb the cookie bits underneath. Refrigerate for several hours or until thoroughly chilled. Before serving, grate three chocolate wafer cookies over the top for garnish (optional).

Just look at that cake!

DSC08944

 

Advertisements

Mexican Rice Quesadillas

Quesadillas have become a new family favorite for us, and now that I have established a basic recipe for them, we have decided to branch out to new flavors and combinations. So here’s the skinny: We had leftover One-Pot Chili (posted a while ago, eaten frequently), we had cheese, we had tortillas. So, we made quesadillas. Queenbee came up with the idea to mix rice with the chili, and it was delicious! Let’s just say you were lucky to get to see a picture of these at all. I love that quesadillas can really be made with any substance, rice is really good, veggies are healthy and awesome, cheese is a must, chicken is a good idea that I need to try….. See how these things happen? While writing about food I get new ideas about food because I’m thinking about other food things while I’m typing these blog posts. This Episode of Delicious Food 101 features Friar Tyst and La Critico.

The Chef: “Friar Tyst, do you like quesadillas?” Friar Tyst: “Oh yeah, did you taste this rice mixture, it’s real good.” The Chef: “No, (tastes it) 

The Ingredients: 8 whole wheat tortillas, 1 1/4 cups of cooked brown rice, 1 cup of Sargento Mexican Blend shredded cheese, 1 to 2 cups of leftover One-Pot Chili (or you could mix together a small version of the chili base and use it: 3/4 to 1 cup of tomato sauce, 1 small can diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup black beans, 1/2 cup red beans, 1/2 cup corn, 1/2 cup cooked ground turkey, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, and 1/2 tsp. cumin) , 3 to 4 tbsp. butter.

Mix together the leftover chili or the chili base and the cooked rice. Spread two generous tablespoons of the mixture evenly across half of the tortilla, top with one to two tablespoons of cheese. Fold over. Repeat as needed. Place two of the prepared tortillas in a large buttered skillet, cook for two minutes on each side. Repeat until you have used all of the ingredients. Half the finished tortillas before serving. If you finish them before dinnertime, put them in the oven over low heat until you are ready to serve them.:)

And here they are! In all their half-eaten glory! Those are parsley flakes, not mold.;)

DSC08941DSC08942

 

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Potatoes, sigh, the word is comforting, delicious sounding, and familiar all rolled into one. Okay, let’s be serious, mashed potatoes are one of the most versatile side dish. They pair well will meat, poultry, fish, any vegetable, breakfast, lunch, dinner…… We eat them at least once a week, or twice! I know everybody has their own special way to make mashed potatoes, so I’m sharing our way with you. Aren’t you happy? Now you can enjoy them too! This episode of Delicious Food 101 features La Critico and Queenbee.

The Chef: “Queenbee, do you like these potatoes?” Queenbee: “I like the consistency but would prefer for you to leave out the garlic.” The Chef: “Note to self, leave out garlic powder. Thanks for your input!” Queenbee: “Anytime.”

The Chef: “La Critico, how to you rate this dish?” La Critico: “Well it’s one of the better things.” The Chef: “What a careful answer, anything else?” La Critico: “….eating potatoes…..” The Chef: “All right then!”

The Ingredients: 6-8 red potatoes, 4-6 cups of water, 4 tbsp. of butter, 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1/2 to 3/4 cup coconut milk, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp. no salt seasoning, 1/4 tsp. garlic, 1 vegetable bouillon.

Peel (optional) and dice potatoes, add water to a large pot and bring to a boil, add the potatoes and the vegetable bouillon. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until very tender. Drain three-fourths of the water from the pot. Slice the butter and add it and the sour cream, mash them by hand until pureed. Slowly add the milk until it reaches a very creamy consistency, add the spices and mix well. Return to the stove top over low heat until you are ready to serve them.

And it’s a simple as that! The road to destiny is not always complicated! Please ignore the potato peels, please ignore that this picture is blurry. I promise this is not some type of gruel, it is delicious mashed potatoes taken in the dark with a smudged lenses. There, that should take care of the disclaimers!

20160217_181424

100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

For quite some time now I have been experimenting with whole wheat cinnamon roll recipes. Sadly, the majority of the experiments have turned out dry and hard. But….at last I have found the BEST homemade, healthy-ish cinnamon roll. These are soft, moist, and have a gentle, natural sweetness on their own, but when you combine them with icing, well, dangerous things happen. I would like to take a moment to talk about types of whole wheat flour. White Whole Wheat flour works best with homemade dinner rolls and loaf bread, it also does well in pies. Whole Wheat Pastry flour (emphasis on pastry, emphasis on my favorite) is excellent for biscuits, gravy, cinnamon rolls, cookies, brownies, anything sweet and soft. Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour can be used for any type of baked bread, but should be sifted once or twice before use or the finished product could be tough. Now that we have clarified wheat flour types, let us bake!

Cinnamon Rolls: 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour, 1 cup coconut milk, 1/4 cup light brown sugar, 3 tbsp. coconut oil, 1 pkg. Fleischmann’s rapid rise yeast.

Melt the coconut oil over medium low heat, add the coconut milk and sugar, stir until the sugar is dissolved. When the mixture is warm to the touch, remove it from the heat and pour in the yeast. Let sit for five minutes. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Add the wet mixture and half of the flour to the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix until just combined. Add the remaining flour, mix for 3 minutes until the dough is very elastic. When the oven is preheated, turn off the heat, cover the mixing bowl with foil and place it into the oven. Let it rise for 40 minutes.

Filling: 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 3 tbsp. melted butter, 1 tbsp. cinnamon.

Mix together the ingredients and refrigerate until the cinnamon roll dough has risen. When the rising time is up, remove the dough from the oven and roll it out to a half inch thick. Evenly spread the filling across the dough. Roll it into a log and pinch the ends and the seam closed. Slice the rolls and place them in a large pie dish. There should be an even dozen. Bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes.

Icing: 1 cup powdered sugar, 3 tbsp. almond or coconut milk, 3 tbsp. softened butter.

Combine all of the ingredients, mixing well. Refrigerate it while the rolls cook. As soon as you take them out of the oven, pour the icing over the top and let sit for ten minutes. Serve while warm.

These will barely be on the table before they are gone, this picture was hastily snapped after I iced them. There were NONE LEFT. Making these again!:)

DSC08898DSC08897

 

 

 

Icebox Peanut Butter Pudding Dessert

Happy un-birthday to me! Yesterday was my birthday, and as the creator and editor of this blog, I decided to make myself a delicious little dessert to celebrate. But first I would like to thank my wonderful family for being so supportive and encouraging of this blog and all of my other pursuits in life! I have been blessed with the best family on the planet and I am so thankful for them. Another huge blessing is having parents who love each other, I know that not everybody does, and this is why I am especially thankful for this blessing. Thank you Queenbee, El Gastronomo, La Critico, The Health Inspector, Friar Tyst, and my sweet, special little sister for being so amazing! Yesterday was special because you all were there to celebrate it with me.:D

The Crust: 2-3 dozen chocolate cookies, 1/4 cup melted butter.

In the bowl of your food processor, pulse together the cookies and butter until it reaches a fine crumb consistency. Press into a large, deep dish pie pan or a large, deep dish baking dish. Refrigerate for several hours or until firm.

The Pudding Layer: 4 cups coconut or almond milk, 1/2 to 1 cup creamy peanut butter,  1/2 cup pastry flour or cornstarch, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 3 egg yolks, 3 tbsp. butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 cup peanut butter powder (on the same aisle as peanut butter in the grocery store).

Mix one cup of the milk, flour, cornstarch, and egg yolks together in a small bowl. Set aside. Heat the remaining milk, sugar, and butter over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed pot until the mixture begins to bubble, remove it from the heat (if this doesn’t make sense, google how to scald milk). Add the flour mixture and whisk constantly until combined. Set a strainer atop a medium sized bowl and pour the pudding through it. When all the pudding has dripped through the strainer, discard the leftover lumps. Refrigerate the pudding for four hours or so, stirring occasionally. When the pudding is thick and chilled, spread it evenly atop the crust and return to the refrigerator to chill.

The Whipped Topping: 1 8 oz. tub Cool whip, 3 tbsp. of chocolate syrup, 3 tbsp. of peanut butter powder.

Defrost the whipped topping at 30 second intervals in your microwave until it is soft and pliable. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. Spread atop the dessert and chill for another 30 minutes, serve whenever you wish. These desserts will last in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!

Look at that creamy goodness!!! Can you see the peanut butter pudding peeking through that delicious topping?

20160217_185144

Cheddar Vegetable Chowder

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love soups and stews. Especially when they have a potato base. Potatoes add a creaminess and richness to every single soup that you put them in. This soup is comprised of four classic vegetables, potatoes, carrots, celery, and yellow onion. Every vegetarian has or should have these staple veggies in their refrigerator, so why not combine them to create awesomeness? This episode of Delicious Food 101 features The Chef, Queenbee, and La Critico. First we will hear from Queenbee.

The Chef: “Queenbee, what did you think about this delectable delight?” Queenbee: “It was a nice, soothing blend of vegetables and flavors. Cheddar Vegetable chowder was pleasing to the palate and satisfying overall.” The Chef: “Glad to be of service!” 

Now we will prepare ourselves for the critic’s rating:

The Chef: “La Critico, please elaborate on your opinions of these dish.” La Critico: “That was a real good soup, I liked it.” The Chef: “What? No sarcastic commentary?” La Critico: “I like soups with potatoes in them, adds a real nice texture, not watery like the other one you made.” The Chef: “Let us not speak of that travesty.” 

The Ingredients: 6 red potatoes, 5 carrots, 3 stalks celery, 1/2 yellow onion, 15 oz. red beans, 4 cups vegetable broth, 2 cups chicken broth, 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, 1 tbsp. sour cream, 2 tbsp. butter, 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. thyme, 1 tsp. basil, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp. garlic, 1/2 tsp. no salt seasoning, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp. salt.

Dice potatoes, carrots, celery, and onion. Saute potatoes in the bottom of your soup pot with butter and olive oil for ten minutes. Add the remaining veggies and saute for another five minutes. Add the broths and spices, put the lid on the pot and simmer for twenty minutes. Puree the soup in the bowl of your food processor (you’ll probably have to do it in three batches). Return to the pot and add the cheese, red beans, and sour cream. Stir until the cheese melts. Turn off the heat and let it sit until you are ready to serve it.

Ah, just looking at it makes me hungry….

DSC08889

 

Pink Velvet Cupcakes with Cream-cheese Icing

Happy Valentine’s Day! Pink Velvet Cupcakes are my last, but not least, Valentine’s Day dessert. If you liked the Butter Cookie Hearts, you will love these. Now, there are two ways you can go about this. One: You can make cupcakes and icing from scratch and feel proud of your accomplishment. Two: You can unashamedly use a Pink Velvet cake mix and make homemade cream cheese icing to balance out your sin. I for one chose to use a cake mix as I have no desire to regularly make cakes and cupcakes from scratch. Someday I shall remedy this problem, but why start now? Anyway, I am including a recipe for cupcakes from scratch and cupcakes from a mix.;)

Homemade Pink Velvet Cupcakes: 2 sticks softened butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 2 1/2 cups cake flour, 1 cup buttermilk, 3 eggs, 1/4 tsp. pink gel food coloring,  1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt.

Using the whisk attachment, cream together the butter and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. In a separate mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add half of the dry ingredients and half of the buttermilk, mix until combined. Add the second half of each and mix until combined. Lastly, add the food coloring and mix until the batter is pink. Bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cake Mix Pink Velvet Cupcakes: 1 Pink Velvet cake mix, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 3/4 cup coconut milk, 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1-2 tsp. apple cider vinegar.

Add the vinegar to the coconut milk, let sit for five minutes. When the time is up, combine all of the ingredients, mix until there are no more lumps. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Cream cheese Icing: 4 oz. softened cream-cheese, 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 3 tbsp. softened butter, 2 tbsp. almond milk.

Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of your food processor, pulse until smooth. Add the frosting to a ziploc bag, twisting it into the shape of a pastry bag. Cut off one of the corners of the bag and decorate the cupcakes however you wish.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

DSC08905DSC08906