Red Velvet Cheesecake: Get Emmmm

I found this recipe almost exactly a year ago. I was searching for Valentines Day theme food and I come across these little devils. Chocolate? Check. Cheesecake? Check. Cookie Crust? Check. Festive colors? Check. Homemade Whipped Cream? Check. I’m sorry…..but does anyone see a single thing wrong with anything listed above. NO, you know why? Because it’s everything good in this world wrapped into one. These could be perrywinkle blue and I’d still scarf them down not giving one thought to what they’ll be doing to my thighs.

It’s like… Heaven opened up their gates and beamed down glorified light in the form of dessert. Everyone knows I’m a sucker for cheesecake, and these individual portions just make them all the better. When I originally found this recipe, I made them….loved them, then lost the recipe. It took me probably a month to find it again online. I’m not gonna lie…I’m not posting this one for takers. I’m keeping it my little secret as long as I can. If you find it on your own, give yourself a pat on the back- but in the meantime these suckers are under lock and key.  Otherwise these custom made little delicious devils can be bought and ordered from yours truly.

Until next time…enjoy the pics.

I have two tips for this recipe if you so find it yourself….1. Make them really, really….really fast. Every part of the batter is addicting and you’ll just start spooning it into your mouth.

2. Using oreo’s for the crust makes them even sweeter (if you can stand it) otherwise chocolate or nilla wafers are perfect!

Adding a chocolate accent makes them all the more appealing…not that they need it!

Oopsie Balsamic Chicken w/ Cream Sauce

So this dinner was 100% accident in absolutely every way possible. As often as possible can, I purchase the bone in thighs at the store when they blow them out for $2 bucks. You need to cut and pull off the fat…but shoot…for two bucks, how can I say no to 8 chicken breasts. I thawed this frozen package out and then left them in the fridge for a few days…. coming home from work one day it was ‘use or throw away’ time as per it was pushing the date of edibility. Of course I didn’t think dinner over real well before getting home realizing that I had nothing fresh or planned out to combine this with. Although I try to be organized, sometimes some of my best creations come from me running around the kitchen with my head cut off. No plan, just using up stuff in the fridge and see what happens!

For the chicken: After taking about 15 minutes to remove and cut out the skin and fat I s/p them and tossed them in my nifty cast iron. I started scrumaging in the fridge for stuff to make this interesting. Left over tomatoes (from taco night!) sliced bella mushrooms, crushed red pepper, ginger, and diced onion. Thinking it needed just one more splash of yum, I reached for the spice cabinet one more time. Ooooo Balsamic Vinegar! I actually don’t like it very much, but a slash or sploosh here or there always adds an extra savory aspect that I do like.

               Let’s talk: Why isn’t there a smaller pour, or a plastic cover that guards it like soy sauce so you don’t dump the entire flippin’ bottle in? Really? Really? Tell me someone else feels this way!

While I meant to add just a tablespoon or two, I swear I dumped about a 1/4 of the bottle in the darn thing. S***.  Whelp, too late now. Guess we’ll see where this goes later me hoping I wouldn’t have to toss it or ‘fix’ it so I could actually stand to eat it post baking.

I threw the combo of crap in the oven on 250 slow cooking till it was cooked thru. In need of something to combine with the questionable protein, I decided to lean on my steadfast linguine winking its eye at me from the cabinet. For the cream sauce I used a little chicken broth, some of the balsamic ‘extra’s from the pan of the chicken, flour, and a splash of half/half to simmer for about 10-15 minutes then sprinkle of basil to top it off. 

Take the pasta cooked al dente, and toss with the sauce for about 2 minutes on low heat letting it absorb some of the starch to make the sauce stick to the noodles.Bowl, pasta, chicken, sprinkle of Italian cheese, fork…MOUF!  Turns out a heavy balsamic hand led to balsamic chicken with balsamic cream sauce. When bad things go good! 🙂

Flautas Flautas! : No Amigos Here!

Everyone that lives in Nebraska is aware of Amigos right? Anyone that has ever attended UNL definitely knows what Amigos is. Before D’Leon’s was a household name, everyone’s favorite late night food after the bars was Amigos.  When I hear taquito, all I can envision is Amigo’s week old questionable ‘beef’ (if that’s what they want to claim it is) put in a tortilla and fried until it’s hardly edible. Give me a soft taco any day there, but I wouldn’t serve an Amigos Taquitos to a dog. So once I saw this recipe for Taquitos my first thought was to run and hide. BUT  Annie’s Eats (who took the recipe from Our Best Bites hasn’t let me down yet… AND it’s baked not fried. The best part….they look for more edible than the local version I’m used to seeing! Here’s the game changer… I’ve been told these are actually called Flautas….so lets keep it accurate. 

I have made these twice now, the first time I was in a late week night hurry at the store, so for the chicken I just bought the dayold (save $1) and cold not warm (save another $1!) rotisserie chicken.  $3 bucks is a steal for about 5 cups of shredded chicken that’s already been cooked and ready to go! When I made these again last night, I when out to the farm and slow cooked some chicken at 200 degrees for a couple hours. It was good but the rotisserie one was better. I think the next time I’ll try to make shredded chicken by throwing it in a crockpot all day.

Best thing about this recipe is that if you already have the chicken prepared it’s a super easy dinner to throw together that’s ready from start to finish in 30 minutes. Another added bonus for anyone who has a busy schedule is that you can make these ahead of time and throw the pan in the freezer and bake them out of the freezer! Just bake for about 30-40 minutes instead of the 15.  So why not make a double batch and bake one now, and save the other for another week!

                   Two key pieces of advice on these. 1. Rolling them as tight as you can is key, I found that the best way is to fold it in half over the mixture and roll from there. 2. Lay out all your tortillas on the table, place the mixture on all of them at the same time before you roll them. That way you know visually they all have equal amounts in them and will bake more evenly. 

The Best Bites link shows a pretty good step by step with photos, but I used the directions from Annie’s Eats.  I’ll repost my adapted recipe as well. Little bit of cumin goes along way in my book, I’m not a huge fan so I almost always cut whatever is listed in half….at least.  The first time I tried pouring the remaining salsa from the can over the top of the flautas and you really couldn’t taste it…I would suggest dumping more in the mixture or just saving it for after to dip them in if you don’t want to toss it since the recipe doesn’t call for it all. These are great to just pick up and go, or with refried/black beans and/or spanish rice on the side as well.

Baked Creamy Chicken Flautas
½ tsp. paprika 
(3 oz.) cream cheese, softened
half can of the green salsa or about a 1/3 cup. Add as much as you want depending on your taste preference.
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice, plus more to taste (I actually like lemon juice better after trying both. Your call!)
¼ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. garlic powder
3 tbsp. chopped cilantro, plus more to taste
2 green onions, sliced
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 cup shredded cheese
10 small corn or flour tortillas
Kosher salt
cooking spray

Another added ingredient that makes these even better is black beans, or making a cheese cream sauce and pouring it over the top too!

Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it’s soft and easy to stir. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder and mix well. Add cilantro, green onions, chicken and pepperjack cheese and combine well. It’s about 2tbsp per tortillas. Make sure to place them seam side down in the pan (I line a 9×12 cake pan with parchment paper) then spray them with cooking spray and sprinkle Kosher salt over the top and bake for 15-20 min or until the edges start to turn golden brown.

BAKED Donuts

In my rotating Saturday weekends where I need to lug myself in for weekend shifts always brings lots of breakfast ideas to mind. Who doesn’t love breakfast right? But the challenge comes to making a transportable one. Not sure where this idea came from other than I know I’d heard of them before….BAKED DONUTS!

I love me a chocolate cake donut any day…my waistline however hollers and hoots at the fact. The thought of being able to have a baked donut at least made me feel like it was ok- and in attempts to justify it, I went on a search to attempt and find the origin of this recipe without success.  I did however, find that somewhere along the line someone cut out about half the fat by removing buttermilk, whole milk, and about a stick of butter… so I feel like this is justified as healthy–ish….right?!

I was a little hesitant because of the pumpkin in fear that it would be super-pumpkin-y…but it was really subtle surprisingly enough. The pumpkin in it acted like sour cream does to cakes… does nothing….but make everything fluffy, moist, and tender! 

Speaking of breakfast twang…if anyone needs a great list of oatmeal combinations that will blow your mind….I can direct you the right way. A very lovely person in life is an absolute pro! I can only hope he sells it to Quaker and makes bank 🙂 Please make these, and please eat them…all. Love these!!!! They were just amazing! These can be served warm or room temperature. Both were great, but served pipping hot definitely added an extra bang…almost dessert-like ironically enough! These will for sure be finding a concrete place in my ‘keep’ list. I can’t wait to play with it even more to come up with other ingredients and fun combinations for extra schwag. The only thing I did different apart from the recipe I followed the first time thru was adding in a Tbsp of cocoa powder for extra twang.  Best part of this whole deal besides the taste testing? Start to Cinnamon Sugar finish…took less than 45 minutes!

Ingredients

For Donuts             1 TBSP COCOA POWDER

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoons ground cloves
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup low-fat milk

For Coating

4 Tbsp butter, melted
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven 350°F. Spray each cup in a 24-cup mini muffin tin with baking spray or butter generously.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and spices (through cloves). In a separate, large bowl whisk together oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined – do not over mix!

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. (Using a 2-tablespoon scoop will ensure uniform size.) Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While the muffins bake, melt butter in one bowl and combine granulated sugar and cinnamon in another bowl. Remove muffins from oven and cool for 2 minutes, or until just cool enough to handle. Dip each muffin in melted butter, then roll in cinnamon sugar to coat.

Breakfast in France: Eggs Florentine

Baked Eggs/Florentine & Cinnamon Toast

So after a well rested evening and weeks in waiting to make the perfect breakfast that’s  been on my to-do list for far too long…has now arrived!! I love being able to make something different and a maybe even a little time consuming for breakfast on the weekends. I’ve had this thing for Eggs Florentine for a long time but have never made the time to do it.  The quick recipe search this morning was accompanied by my new favorite tea by Celestial that you have to at least consider. It’s technically green tea (tastes nothing like it…I swear) but it’s Raspberry. It’s light, not too overpowering, and just perfect lightly flavored and delicious! As much as I love my coffee…..tea actually give me more of a jump.

HISTORY: When Catherine de Medici of Florence married Henry II of France, she brought with her several master cooks.  Soon they were introducing France to new foods such as artichoke hearts, truffles, sweetbreads, and ice cream. When Catherine’s cooks served up dishes with the unfamiliar spinach, they were referred to as a la Florentine, after the queen’s birthplace.

To be fair this ins’t totally eggs Floretine… I didn’t want to make a special trip to the store this morning for every correct ingredient and we all know it’s pretty hard for me to follow exact step by step recipes without throwing my own twang on it… BUT it’s definitely my version of such. No spinach or ham here, but parsley, cilantro and pork sausage were the players of choice. I would say this is more a combination of the best parts of Baked Eggs, and Eggs Florentine in one dish–for yo mouf.

Ok here we go…ready for how not-hard this is?! Ramekin, eggs, butter, cream.  These are really the basics to this entire dish. I just threw in some extras for an added bang! In a sauce pan on high, I threw in diced tomatoes, garlic, diced mushrooms,green onions, s/p, red pepper, and took a slim pork sausage out of the link and threw it in as well.  Cook maybe 1-2 minutes. Meanwhile in the ramekin place a 1/2 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of cream (i used 1/2n1/2) and put in the oven on broil until it begins to bubble.
I would also recommend placing your ramekin on a pan of some sort so it’s easier to move in and out of the oven when you check on it. Once the cream/butter starts to bubble take it out and dump you mixture in it. Then carefully crack two eggs over the top, not breaking the yokes. I also threw in just a sliver of cream cheese in between each yoke…seriously….just sliver, like  maybe a teaspoon worth.

Pop it in the oven fro 5-6 minutes depending on the intensity of your broil setting…Mine is out of control and was done at a little over 4. I topped with mozz and cilantro after pulling it out for some added color/flavor.  Make sure you wait at least 1-2 minutes to dive in after it because it’s still cooking after you remove it from the oven. While the eggs were resting I threw in a piece of toast topped with my cinnamon/sugar sprinkle shaker and viola….BREAKFAST!

 

Easy peasy in under 15 minutes!

ENJOY!

My New Addiction: Taco Taco Taco!

So for the past…three months give or take, I’ve been officially addicted to tacos. A few years ago I was introduced to chorizo tacos. Simple with hot sauce, toasted tortilla, light cheese, and covered in cilantro. Ever since, I’ve had a new appreciation for the little devils. As of recent, in effort to cut back on time and fat content (in chorizo) I’ve been messing around with different combinations opposed to my normal time consuming meals. I think skirt steak, cilantro, cheese, hot sauce, and a fried egg is my current favorite.  I had purchased some ‘sweet deal’ pork cutlets and they needed to be made tonight…or tossed tomorrow.

Speaking of goals… So whilst driving to work last week they were talking about new years resolutions on the radio…and one of the hosts mentioned that her and her girlfriend decided their goal was to make a monthly goal…and to follow it. So mine is to try and be as gluten free as possible for the remainder of the month in hopes of learning new techniques, tastes, and styles. My dad possibly has celiac’s so this is something that could prove to be noteworthy later on.

In efforts of  trying to really watch what I eat due to lack of gym time after throwing out my back last week, and an awesome fun vacation planned with some friends for my birthday…I need to watch what I put in my grill AND be as gluten free as possible for the remainder January goal.

!Anyway…food. Pork. Cast Iron Skillet (new favorite kitchen toy). Balsamic Vinegar. S/P. Crushed Red Pepper. Chili Sauce. Splash of red wine at the end. Super easy and no maintenance. I seared it for about 30 seconds on each side then put it in the oven at 150 for an hour+, then brought it out, let is rest, sliced it, put it back in the skillet, drizzled red wine over it and then back in the oven at 300 for 25 minutes. Super flavorful and delicious. My intention here was just to have something to make nice little wraps (corn and whole wheat artisan style) or salads for the week at work.

Well it’s Sunday night…SNMC. Sunday Night Movie Club. My two devil monkeys and I are cardholders…the couch is the host. So we’re going to wrap up in a blanket, eat this wrap, and watch my ever so favorite genre -Victorian Era- theme’d “Possession”. Another unrelated side note. I want to make this…b/c I love hot chocolate…so why not have it cold?!! ta-ta

It Ain’t Monkey Jerks:It’s Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread

Roll Out!

So Friday was yet another food day at work.  I was trying not to make something dessert again or possibly even healthy (this did not work). Annie’s Eats http://annies-eats.com/ has become my new favorite site to follow, and in her recent end of the year 2011 favorites I found this recipe. Cinnamon PullApart Bread. Turns out everyone I told this about apparently calls it monkey bread. Guess what jerks….it ain’t… I checked. This one is ‘prettier’ and less chunk looking. From what I gathered the only real difference is that this one doesn’t have pecans or any kind of glaze that covers it. So I guess not all that different! 🙂 So I’ll just claim it’s more healthy than monkey bread because it makes me feel better.

I haven’t done many breads other than throwing together some ingredients in the breadmaker and letting it go. For whatever reason, I’m not delicate enough with active yeast. It usually takes me two times to get it to activate…so I always buy the three packs! 🙂 This time around I nailed it the first time thru, so maybe I’m making slow progress…ha! Although this recipe isn’t incredibly difficult, it does take some time and patience to put together.

I followed the recipe pretty close besides waiting another 45 minutes for it to rise after places the cinnamon’d pieces in the pan. It was late and I waited about 15 then threw it in. The strips were definitely thinner and flaky compared to the photos on Annie’s Blog…but I think I made a good choice…I’d much rather have it the way mine turned out anyway. Who doesn’t love flaky delicious! 

Reminds me of croissants…..that needs to happen  too ASAP!  On a side note…I’ve decide the remainder of January I want to put an effort into trying as many gluten free recipes as I can… we’ll see how that works out/tastes!

Here’s her recipe!http://annies-eats.com/2011/03/23/cinnamon-sugar-pull-apart-bread

Flaky, delicious, cinnamon, sugar….you take one piece and can’t fight but go back for another! Get in your mouf!