Monday, March 28, 2011

Peanut Buttercup Cheesecake

So my brother in law came into town. I love when he comes into town because it allows me to make something I would not normally make. My brother in law loves cheesecake. So instead of making my chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake I decided to make something new. I decided to make Peanut Butter Cup cheesecake. I used the same recipe as I did for the chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake and instead of making the cookie dough I chopped up the Reese cups and mixed them in the batter and added a scoop of peanut butter to give it a little extra peanut butter taste. I also saved some peanut butter cups for the top of the cheesecake when it was done. I put the pieces on top when it was still hot so it melted a little on top. I did have some mixed reviews on this cheesecake. My husband thought it did not have enough peanut butter flavor while my brother in law said it had too much peanut butter flavor. HAHA you can never win. Below is the recipe let me know what changes you make and how it turns out. Original Recipe Yield 1 - 9 inch springform pan Ingredients 1 1/2 cups finely crushed chocolate wafer cookies 1 cup white sugar 1/4 cup melted butter 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, diced 2 cups sour cream 3 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Mix the chocolate wafer cookie crumbs with 2 tablespoons of the white sugar, and the melted butter. Press firmly into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of one 9 inch springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 8 minutes. To Make Cheesecake: In a food processor or with a mixer beat 1 cup of the white sugar, and all the cream cheese. Add 1 cup of the sour cream, the eggs, and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla. Mix well and pour into prepared crust. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 40 minutes. Cake will jiggle slightly in center. Spread topping over hot cake. Let cake cool than chill in a refrigerator until cold, at least 4 hours.

Picture of the crust, there is so much you can do with some teddy grams.

A picture of the finished cheesecake.

A close up of the cake. It was so delish.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dinner Planning

I am very busy. I work a lot, I love my job (sometimes). I also love my husband very much and would never let my job hinder me from taking good care of him. So when I knew that I was going to have to travel for two weeks I wanted to make sure that I prepared enough meals for my husband to have a choice and not have to eat the same thing every night. Not to mention I did not want him to be going out everyday and buying breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Like I said I started to look for items that I could make and freeze and would keep for two weeks. I settled on chili, cheddar and broccoli soup and sauce with meatball and hot sausage. You will see the chili and cheddar broccoli soup in later posts.

The one thing I always make sure that I have in the kitchen is Pyrex. You can freeze it, microwave it and put it in the fridge. Not to mention it is dishwasher save so there is not a lot of clean up afterwards. We all know that I am a planner so I thought that if there is anyone else out there who needs to do something along these lines they can use this as a model.

All the Pyrex stacked up before placing it into the freezer. This was one of the best ideas I have had.

All the Pyrex in the freezer. It was an ENTIRE day of cooking. Using all the pots in my house and running the dishwasher 5 times. It was all worth it to know that my husband had lots to eat.

Browine pudding

One of the best things about making brownies is the batter. I always loved the batter. So when I decide to make brownies from scratch I did a little research to see if I could find a recipe that undercooked the brownies. This would allow the mixture to have the texture of batter.

I found a recipe called brownie pudding. This is one of the best dessert I have found in awhile. The pudding had the nice hard crust on the top as brownies do. Then the center was nice and soft. The best thing to do is to heat it up in the microwave and top it with vanilla ice cream. You have not tasted anything like it before until you try it.

Below is the recipe I found on foodnetwork from Barefoot Contessa. Enjoy this great dessert.

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature 2 cups sugar 3/4 cup good cocoa powder 1/2 cup all-purpose flour Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean 1 tablespoon framboise liqueur, optional Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Directions Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter a 2-quart (9 by 12 by 2-inch) oval baking dish. Melt the 1/2 pound of butter and set aside to cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow. Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.

When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla seeds, framboise, if using, and the cocoa powder and flour mixture. Mix only until combined. With mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined. Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan.

Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish and bake for exactly 1 hour. A cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out 3/4 clean. The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.

Here is a picture of the crust on top. Probally one of hte best parts of this dessert. A picture of the dessert with some ice cream. You will notice two spoons in the picture. One was for me and the other one was for the hubby. This is one of our favorite desserts.

Friday, March 18, 2011


I got this great book called Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. It has a ton of great recipes in it, so I was super excited to have some free time to try out one of the recipes. Imagine my disappointment when I went to Whole Foods looking for fresh yeast and they had none. Not only does Whole Foods not have fresh yeast they don’t carry it. So after I went to three other stores I came to the determination that no one sells fresh yeast.

I was very disappointed but I decided to flex my cooking muscles and alternated the recipe so I could use dry yeast.
5 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour (I’ve used all-purpose with great results)
1 tbsp coarse kosher salt
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
2 cups warm water


Prep Day: Combine all ingredients in bowl of mixer, set with paddle attachment, and mix on lowest speed for 1 minute until well blended and smooth. Let rest, uncovered for 5 minutes. Switch to dough hook and mix on medium-low speed for 2 minutes. Dough should be smooth and tacky but not sticky. Knead dough by hand on lightly floured work surface for 1 minute, and then transfer to a large clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and immediately refrigerate overnight or up to 4 days.

Baking Day: Remove dough from refrigerator 2 hours prior to baking. Gently transfer to lightly floured work surface, taking care to release as little gas as possible. Divide dough into four equal portions. You can also do as I have by removing just enough dough to make one baguette and have a fresh baguette everyday for the next four days from one single batch of dough.

Form Baguettes: Pat each piece of divided dough into a thick rectangle.

Fold the bottom half to the center and seal the seam. Fold the top half to the center and once again seal the seam.

Roll the top half of the dough over the seam to create a new seam on the bottom of the loaf.

With seam side underneath, gently rock loaf back and forth, with hands moving out toward and increasing pressure at the ends, to slightly taper the loaf until baguette is the length of baguette pan (or baking sheet).

Place the formed baguettes on a baguette pan or a baking sheet that has been oiled or covered with parchment. Mist top of dough with oil, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and proof at room temperature for about 1 1/2 hours, or until increased to 1 1/2 times its original size

Baking: About 45 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a sheet pan, which will serve as steam pan, with a 1-inch rim on shelf under which baguettes will be baked. Remove plastic wrap from the dough 15 minutes prior to baking. Just prior to baking, score the dough 1/2 inch deep with a serrated knife or razor. Transfer dough to the oven, pour 1 cup hot water into the steam pan.

Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate pan and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the crust is rich golden brown, the loaves sound hollow when thumped, and the internal temperature is about 200 degrees in the center. Cool on wire rack before slicing or serving. Best eaten the same day, or heated briefly in the oven the next day if crust loses its crispness

While the process is very long and time consuming it is so worth it in the end. The best part is it makes four loaves of bread. It is probably one of the best bread recipe I have made.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Missing my Husband

I have been traveling for work last week and this week. We are currently staying in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Being away for this long really makes me realize how much I miss my husband and my house. Even though both things cause me stress all I want to do is lay in bed with my husband next to me.

The worst part for me is at night. I am so used to having my husband by my side at night. I like to feel him next to me either holding my hand or breathing next to me. It is harder to fall asleep without having him next to me. I am missing my best friend and it is killing me. I don’t like being away from my husband for so long. I am happy that the person I am traveling with is nice and we get along really well but he is certainly no substitute for my husband.

I know my husband never reads my blog but just in case he does, I want him to know I love him, miss him and can’t wait to see him on Friday afternoon.

This is a picture of me and my husband from our wedding. He is spinning me around on the dance floor. I love how my dress loooks and our intials in the backround.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Vegetable Bolognese

I know with the new year many people are trying to eat more veggies and eating better. So one of my favorite meals to make and it is great to make ahead of time is Vegetable Bolognese. When I don’t have time to make pasta sauce I take a short cut and buy store tomato sauce. The worst and best part of this recipe is the amount of vegetables. You can add a ton of vegetables but you have to chop them all. So the good news is your husband is eating veggies but you have to cut them all up, and if you husband is anything like mine the veggies MUST be chopped in very very small pieces. If he can recognize the veggies he will not touch them.

So I added onions, mushrooms, celery, carrots, zucchini and peppers. I use my food processor to cut the veggies down as much as possible. Once they are at the right size I place them in a super hot Dutch Oven and sauté them in very hot oil. Because the pot is going to be full of veggies you will not be able to sauté all of them at one time, it is just to give the veggies some extra flavor. Once the veggies have been in there for awhile add the sauce. Once the sauce has been added I let it simmer for at least 5 hours that way you know that the veggies are soft and pliable.
Once I am ready to serve the sauce I add one container of mascarpone cheese. This allows the sauce to gain an extra depth of flavor and makes the sauce a lot creamier. This is a house favorite.

The bowl of veggies before I chopped them up.

The veggies in the pot before I had the sauce

The sauce is complete now the last step is to add mascarpone cheese.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

White chocolate covered Oreo Balls

My husband loves Oreo cookies, but as people know who have read my blog I don’t like to buy cookies. When I have time I try to make cookies for my husband from scratch. This week I did not have any time. It was super busy with work so I need to take a little bit of a short cut.

I bought a package of Oreo cookies and made what my husband calls Oreo balls of deliciousness. They are super easy to make and something that would be great to make if you children.
The only ingredients you need are a package of Oreo cookies and an 8oz package of cream cheese. Make sure that you bring the cream cheese up to room temperature. Use your food processor to crush up the Oreo cookies. It is important to grind up the cookies as finely as possible because you are going to have to mix in the cream cheese.
Once you have the crumbs mix in the cream cheese. Make sure that the cream cheese is incorporated well into the cookie crumbs and place bowl in the fridge. You want the mixture cold so you can handle the dough. I use a melon baller to form the cookies then place the cookie balls on a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the baking sheet in fridge. While the cookies are chilling in the fridge start to melt the chocolate to cover the cookies. I use white chocolate but you can use dark or milk. Please see blogs for white chocolate pretzels to see how I melt chocolate.
Dip the chilled balls in white chocolate and let cool on parchment paper in the fridge for 2-3 hours and enjoy.
The cookies ready to be ground up.

Finished cookies.

What the cookies look like on the inside, thanks to my hubby for helping out with this picture. He volunteered to take a bit out of one of the cookies.