Thursday, November 24, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

I would like to think of myself as a good cheesecake maker. Cheesecakes can be a very tricky desert. You have to have patience to make this desert because it takes time but, is totally worth it in the end. Cheesecake has got to be one of my favorite deserts because it can be so versatile. There are many different types of cheesecakes too. I like to keep it pretty simple or else it takes away that amazing creaminess!! I love that melt in your mouth feeling of cheesecake. I decided for Thanksgiving this year I was going to make chocolate chip cheesecake.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake


  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, butter and cocoa. Press onto bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch spring-form pan. Set crust aside.
  2. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add sweetened condensed milk; beat well. Add vanilla and eggs, and beat on medium speed until smooth. Toss 1/3 of the miniature chocolate chips with the 1 teaspoon flour to coat (this keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the cake). Mix into cheese mixture. Pour into prepared crust. Sprinkle top with remaining chocolate chips.
  3. Bake at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 1 hour. Turn off oven (do not open oven door) and leave the cake in the oven to cool in the oven for another hour. Remove from oven and cool completely. Refrigerate before removing sides of pan. Keep cake refrigerated until time to serve.

Like I said earlier you must have patience when making a cheesecake. First off having the ingredients at room temperature helps everything mix together and be the same temperature when cooking. Also when the cheesecake is in the oven do not jump around or open the door at anytime. The cake can fall and when the door is constantly opened it really screws up the temp and can ruin the cheesecake. Another tip is patience!! I have a hard time not opening the spring form pan right away. The best thing you can do is just leave it!! Take it out of the oven let it sit on the counter for a bit and put it right in the fridge for overnight chill. Once the cake has chilled overnight take a knife around the edge to loosen and carefully open the spring form pan. I usually carefully run a knife under the crust to loosen it if I want it off the pan. When cutting the cheesecake it is very helpful to have a glass of hot water you can dip your knife in and a towel you can also wipe off excess on. This is if you want a clean cut cheesecake like me! 

Try and have just one of these creamy sweet decadent pieces of cheesecake!! Goes great with coffee.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Quinoa pronounced "keen-wa" is a high quality protein grain. This is the first time I have made anything with this grain and it turned out wonderfully. Quite nutritious also with 6 grams of protein for 1/4 cup. I am always looking to try new ingredients not that this is new because it has been around for some time just never ventured out to far. It is also quick and easy to prepare.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Servings 8


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed ( I put 3 cloves because I like garlic)
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  1. Bring the water, bouillon cubes, and garlic to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the quinoa, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard the garlic clove and scrape the quinoa into a large bowl.
  2. Gently stir the , onion, bell pepper, olives, feta cheese, and chives, into the quinoa. Drizzle with the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Stir until evenly mixed. Serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold.

Chop all the veggies while Quinoa is cooking so you can just throw it together when it is done. I chose to make mine a cold salad. 

The salad has so many different tastes and textures it will really keep your taste buds working. You may also add some chicken to add a little more flava and texture. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

My sister finally became a follower of my bog and she told me I needed a vegetarian recipe?? So, I just happen to have this fabulous mac-n-cheese recipe that I can put on here. I love mac-n-cheese but it doesn't usually like the figure. I found this recipe that used a few different ingredients and was great for the figure and delicious. It may seem a little time consuming but totally worth it in the end. There are some short cuts you can take for this recipe like buying frozen pre cut squash. You can also change up the cheese selection if you would like. The first time I made it I used Smoked Gouda for one of the cheese selections and it was amazing!

Creamy, Light Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 8 (1 1/3 cup per serving)

  • 3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 [1-pound] squash) (Can also buy frozen)
  • 1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth 
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk 
  • garlic cloves or more if you like garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free Greek yogurt 
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) finely grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 1 pound uncooked cavatappi ( I used Rigatoni)
  • Cooking spray 
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  • 1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  • 2. Combine squash, broth, milk, and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • 3. Place the hot squash mixture in a blender. Add salt, pepper, and Greek yogurt. Remove the center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Place blended squash mixture in a bowl; stir in Gruyère, pecorino Romano, and 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir until combined.
  • 4. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well. Add pasta to squash mixture, and stir until combined. Spread mixture evenly into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  • 5. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add panko, and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Sprinkle evenly over the hot pasta mixture. Lightly coat topping with cooking spray.
  • 6. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.
  • As you can see I did not use the panko crumbs on top of this recipe. It still tastes just as amazing. I like to portion out servings and freeze them for an easy quick supper. Hope you enjoy this amazingly creamy recipe!