Monday, January 31, 2011

Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes

My team is in charge of "snacks" at work on Wednesday. I'm making some sweets to go with what others are bringing. I saw these on Annie's Eats website and thought they would be perfect.

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Cupcakes

Recipe from Annie's Eats.

Yield: 32 cupcakes


For the crust:

1½ cups graham cracker crumbs

4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

3 tbsp. sugar

For the topping:

6 oz. fresh raspberries

2 tbsp. sugar

For the filling:

2 lbs. cream cheese, at room temperature

1½ cups sugar

Pinch of salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

4 large eggs, at room temperature

Here's how to make them. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Place baking cups into cupcake tins.

In a bowl combine crust ingredients (graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar) and mix with a fork. Spoon 1 tablespoon of mixture into each cup and press down firmly. Bake for about 5 minutes. Let cool before filling.

Make the puree. Place raspberries and sugar in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain mixture to remove seeds. I didn't have a "sieve" or whatever she called it. I just used a wire colander and it worked out okay. I had to press the puree through and it removed most of the seeds.

Make the filling. Beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add sugar and mix well. Add salt and vanilla. Then add one egg at a time and mix thoroughly until well blended.

To assemble spoon in about 3 tablespoons of the cheesecake mixture. I used my tablespoon I was already using. It worked out okay.

Then place 3 drops of puree on top. I used the 1/4 teaspoon to scoop it out and place on top of the cheesecake.

Now take a toothpick and swirl the raspberry into the cheesecake to make a decorative design. (This was the fun part!)

Bake until the filling is set and rotate about halfway through. I baked them for 22 minutes as she suggested. I'm not sure that was enough for my oven.

Place on cooling racks or you can do a water bath to cool evenly. I tried both and they still started to sink in the middle! I hope they are good because they aren't as pretty as hers! Place in the refrigerator for 4 hours to chill. These pictures were taken before they collapsed!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Oreo Cupcakes

I have been wanting to make these Oreo cupcakes for awhile, and finally got around to it. They were a little time consuming to make, but they're so yummy!

For the cupcakes:
24 Oreo halves, with cream filling attached
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped (I quarter them)

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. heavy cream

For garnish:
Oreo cookie crumbs
24 Oreo cookie halves(I didn't use these, just sprinkled the crushed Oreos over top)

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line the wells of two cupcake pans with 24 paper liners. Place an Oreo halve in the bottom of each liner, cream side up. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir together with a fork to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Add the milk and beat just until combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated, being careful not to over-mix.

Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Blend in the vanilla extract. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add the heavy cream to the bowl and beat on medium-low speed just until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium-high and whip for 4 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired. Sprinkle with Oreo crumbs and garnish with Oreo halves.

Source: Annie's Eats

~Kiss The Cook

Friday, January 28, 2011

P.F. Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps....SERIOUSLY!

These came out seriously good, and seriously close to the real thing.  All I've done is copy and paste this recipe from Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps.  There was nothing to adapt!

  • tablespoons oil
  • boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • cup water chestnut
  • 2/3 cup mushroom
  • tablespoons chopped onions
  • teaspoon minced garlic
  • 4 -5 leaves iceberg lettuce
Special Sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • tablespoons soy sauce
  • tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • tablespoons ketchup
  • tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
  • tablespoon hot mustard
  • teaspoons water
  • 1 -2 teaspoon garlic and red chile paste
Stir-Fry Sauce
  • tablespoons soy sauce
  • tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

  1. Make the special sauce by dissolving the sugar in water in a small bowl.
  2. Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil.
  3. Mix well and refrigerate this sauce until you're ready to serve. 
  4. Combine the hot water with the hot mustard and set this aside as well.
  5. Eventually add your desired measurement of mustard and garlic chili sauce to the special sauce mixture to pour over the wraps.
  6. Bring oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan.
  7. Saute chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes per side or done.
  8. Remove chicken from the pan and cool.
  9. Keep oil in the pan, keep hot.
  10. As chicken cools mince water chestnuts and mushrooms to about the size of small peas.
  11. Prepare the stir fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.
  12. When chicken is cool, mince it as the mushrooms and water chestnuts are.
  13. With the pan still on high heat, add another Tbsp of vegetable oil.
  14. Add chicken, garlic, onions, water chestnuts and mushrooms to the pan.
  15. Add the stir fry sauce to the pan and saute the mixture for a couple minutes then serve it in the lettuce"cups".
  16. Top with "Special Sauce".
The bib lettuce I had gotten to use for this went bad, so I ended up just using romaine.  Still turned out really good!

If you are in any way a fan of P.F. Chang's Chicken Lettuce have to try making these!  

~Chef Val

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Spicy Shrimp and Angel Hair Pasta

This a quick weeknight recipe that I got from Real Simple. The whole thing is done in 15 minutes. If you like a little more heat (like my husband does), feel free to up the red pepper flake, but I thought this was just right. I drank the same wine I used for the sauce with dinner.

Spicy Shrimp with Angel Hair Pasta

12 oz angel hair pasta
1 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 lb. peeled deveined shrimp
3/4 c. white wine
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flake
2 T. butter

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute (do not let it brown).

Add the shrimp, wine, red pepper and 1/2 t. salt. Simmer until the shrimp are opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the butter. Toss the pasta with the shrimp mixture.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Turkey Pie with Potato Topping

Another new crockpot recipe that I found tastey.  It only takes 5 ingredients to make this one!  I found this recipe in a 5-ingredient slow cooking mini book.

12 oz. turkey breast tenderloin or skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 10-oz. pkg. frozen mixed vegetables
1 12-oz. jar turkey or chicken gravy
1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1 24-oz. pkg. refrigerated mashed potatoes

1. Cut turkey into 1/2-inch strips.  Place frozen vegetables in a 3 1/2-4 quart slow cooker.  Top with turkey strips.  In a small bowl stir together the gravy and thyme; pour over turkey.

2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6-7 hours or on a high-heat setting for 3-3 1/2 hours.  If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting.

3. Using a spoon, drop eight small mounds of mashed potatoes on top of turkey mixture.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes more.

Yankee Doodle

Pot Roast with Mushroom Sauce

I've been experimenting with various crockpot recipes and this one turned out to be quite tastey.  I LOVE mushrooms, so I even added additional sliced fresh mushrooms as well.

1- 1 1/2 lb. boneless beef eye round roast or round rump roast
Nonstick cooking spray
4 medium potatoes, quartered
1 16-oz. pkg. peeled baby carrots
1 10 3/4-oz. can condensed mushroom soup
1 1/4 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon or basil, crushed

1. Trim fat from meat. Lightly coat a large skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat.  Add meat; cook on all sides until brown.

2. Place potato and carrots in a 3 1/2-4 quart slow cooker.  Place meat on top of vegetable.  For sauce:  In a small bowl stir together soup, sliced mushrooms, and tarragon; pour over meat in cooker.

3. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 10-12 hours or on high-heat setting for 5-6 hours.  Transfer meat and vegetables to a serving platter.  Stir sauce; spoon over meat and vegetables.

Yankee Doodle

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lactation Cookies

I made these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies to help increase my milk supply and they were delicious enought that even my husband snuck a few (after I reassured him that he wouldn't start lactating!).  I couldn't find Brewer's Yeast locally and it is the most important ingredient to stimulate milk supply in this recipe, but I still noticed an increase in supply thanks to the whole oats and flax seed. 
Recipe found on courtesy of poster "Meganesota".
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons flax seed meal
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups oats
1 cup chocolate chips (I added closer to 1 1/2 because I love chocolate!)
2-4 tablespoons brewer's yeast

1. Mix the flax seed meal and water and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
2. Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar well.  Add eggs and mix well.
3. Add flax seed mix and vanilla; beat well.
4. Sift together flour, brewer's yeast, baking soda, and salt.  Add dry ingredients to butter mix.
5. Stir in oats and chips.
6. Scoop into baking sheet in tablespoon size balls.
7. Bake for 12 minutes (I found I had to bake closer to 15-18 minutes).
8. Let set for a couple minutes then remove from tray.

I stored my cookies in a ziplock freezer bag, but you can also freeze them.  This recipe makes about 4 dozen.

Yankee Doodle

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Soup Mix in a Jar

I wanted to make some of my Christmas gifts this year and thought how neat it would be to give soup mix in a jar as gifts to those family and friends of mine that cook.  They turned out really beautiful and were a huge hit.  I even gave one to my boss!

1/3 cup beef bouillon granules
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1/2 cup dried split peas
1/2 cup uncooked twisted macaroni
1/4 cup barley
1/2 cup dry lentils
1/3 cup long-grain white rice
1 cup uncooked tri-color spiral pasta

1. Use a canning funnel or any funnel that has about a 2-inch neck.  This will make it easier to fill the jar with the ingredients.  (I didn't have a funnel and it was still pretty easy to fill the jars and get the layers I was looking for.)  Be sure to use a wide-mouth, 1-quart canning jar.

2. Layer ingredients in the order given: bouillon, onion flakes, split peas, small shape pasta, barley, lentils, rice, and enough tri-color spiral pasta to fill jar.

3. Attach tag with cooking instructions: In large kettle, brown 1 pound ground beef or stew beef cut into bite-size pieces in a little olive oil.  Remove tricolor pasta from top of jar and reserve.  Add the rest of the jar contents to the kettle with 12 cups water.  Let come to a boil and simmer 45 minutes.  Add tricolor pasta and simmer 15 minutes more.  Serve with your favorite bread or rolls and a tossed salad.

One thing you may want to add to the recipe is to soak the peas first for a few hours.  One of my friends made the recipe and her peas were hard, but another made the recipe with no problems.  Enjoy!

Yankee Doodle

Thai Basil Stir-Fry

I got the original recipe from but made a few of my own small changes.  Below, is my version of the recipe, but the one I linked, is the original.  It's spicy, and delicious and really easy to make.  We make this on the weekends instead of getting take-out.  I'd say it makes about 4-5 servings, so it's pretty pocket friendly too.  Be sure to make your rice ahead of time and refrigerate it.  Hot rice does not make good fried rice!  It gets too gummy.

  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • sesame oil for frying
  • 4 cups cooked jasmine rice, chilled
  • 6 large cloves garlic clove, crushed
  • Sriracha hot sauce (comes in a big red bottle) or crushed red pepper
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen bell peppers
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups basil (remove leaves from stem, but don't chop)
  1. Whisk together the oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sugar in a bowl.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat until the oil begins to smoke. Add the garlic and serrano peppers (or crushed red pepper), stirring quickly. Stir in the chicken, bell pepper, onion and oyster sauce mixture; cook until the chicken is no longer pink. Raise heat to high and stir in the chilled rice; stir quickly until the sauce is blended with the rice. Use the back of a spoon to break up any rice sticking together.
  3. Remove from heat and mix in the basil leaves.

Sorry for the lack of a picture.  Totally forgot to snap one!

- Pastry Princess

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Let me start by saying my hubby is a little apple crazy?! He eats apples every day like they are going out of style! Well, he went a little overboard at the market last weekend and then accidentally left the apples in the car and they froze. :(

Anyone know what happens to frozen apples after they thaw??? 


So, it was either a pie or applesauce. Neither of us are sweets kinda people but our little guy loves applesauce! 

A lot of our recipe variations start with stuff we find from - love that site - so that's where I went to find my applesauce recipe. The recipe that I went off of was Sarah's Applesauce Recipe. I did however halve the sugar because it was for little man so I didn't want him getting too much sugar. I'm glad I did cause it's still pretty sweet.


  • 4 apples; peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar (like I said, I halved this)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Ingredients all ready to simmer!

  1. In a saucepan, combine apples, water, sugar, and cinnamon. Cover, and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. Allow to cool, then mash with a fork or potato masher.  
  2. That's it! :)

No wine pairing obviously this week since it's for my little man but I hope you enjoy! 

Till next time!
~Vino Vixen~

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Homemade Wonton Soup

This weather is perfect soup making weather. My favorite soup to make lately is Wonton's better than anything you'll get at any Chinese food delivery, or at least I think so.  This soup is going to take a couple of hours to make but there are plenty of left-overs, probably making enough for 7-8 people or freezes up nicely for future meals. Since I know some people may have some problem getting some of the ingredients, I provided alternatives.
Wonton Soup 

3 bunches green onions/scallions
4-inch piece of ginger root
8 cloves of garlic
1 medium yellow onion
1/2 tbl Shao Xing (Chinese) Cooking Wine or dry sherry cooking wine
2 tbl Chicken Base + 6 qts water OR 48 oz Chicken Broth + 4 qts water
2 lbs ground pork
1/2 lb boneless pork chop
1 bunch of chives or 1 cup if sliced napa cabbage
1 lb of box choy or napa cabbage (optional)
One egg
1 teasp Sesame oil
1 tbl oyster sauce
1/2 teas of  cracked black pepper
large pinch of kosher salt
One package of wonton wrapper

I do all my chopping first, & placing them into small bowls, you will need to:
- mince 4 cloves garlic (wonton filling), leaving 4 peeled whole cloves (broth)
- rather than peeling ginger I cut off sides of ginger using them for the broth, leaving a skinless rectangular piece of ginger from the center of the root, I mince this piece of ginger making ~approximately 1/4 cup minced ginger for the filling
- Cut one bunch of green onion into 3-inch sections, with the other two bunches, cut off ends from green onion (saving them for broth), thinly slice green onion forming ~approximately 1 cup of little green rings
- Peel skin off of yellow onion, slice in half

Cut up pork chops into thin strips, approximately 1/8" wide, 2" long, leaving fat trimming to side momentarily.
Place the fat trimming in your stockpan on medium heat, cook fat down slightly this will add a little flavor to pan and create a little grease, then add pork strips, toss slightly for about 2-3 minutes (pork should not be cooked completely), remove pork strips, put aside.
Begin broth by adding chicken broth & water (well I use chicken base, since it's easier to have on hand than gallons of chicken broth) in the stockpot you used to cook the pork strips with washing the pot (those tasty pork bits cook to the bottom of the pan will make for a delicious soup.
 The broth should taste like a diluted (weak) chicken broth. Add in the whole garlic cloves, yellow onion, inger scraps & the green onion. Bring broth to boil. Add in Chinese cooking wine. Now lower broth to a simmer for about 1-1.5 hrs, stirring occasionally. Season with black pepper & salt to taste.

While broth is cooking, prepare Wonton filling by combining ground pork (which can be purchased by asking the butcher at a grocery store to grind a piece of pork shoulder), egg, Sesame oil, osyter sauce, black pepper, salt, and chives or napa cabbage (or both).
I like to use my hands to mix the filling even though a spoon would probably be sufficient.
Now prepare your workstation for folding your dumplings:
You will need a large plate to for finished dumplings, a cup of warm water, and a working surface like a cutting board.
Now take a wonton wrapper (can be purchase at most grocery stores in the produce section) and place about half a tablespoon of filling in the center of the wrapper.
Wonton Step 1
Use warm water to moisten all four sides of the wrapper, fold wrapper in half forming a triangle, be sure to remove any air within the wrapper & filling.
samosa wonton twist
Wonton Step 2
Moisten the two long corner of the triangle with the warm warm, now pull the two corners together, pressing them to seal them. (it helps to push the center slightly to get the two corners together)
samosa wonton twist
Wonton Step 3
Before long, you'll have several dumpling ready to cook!
Once you have started to make two or three dozen dumplings, you can start cooking them. To cook them, in a large sauce, bring ~about 4 cups of water to a boil, place about 6-8 dumpling for 8 minutes, (during this time I continue to fold more dumplings, remove all the broth vegetables from the broth & put pork slices into the broth), when the dumplings are finished they will float, place them into broth, continue to cook & fold all the dumplings until you run out of either Wonton wrapper or filling.

About 5 minutes before serving the soup, I like to add in additional vegetables (boy choy or napa cabbage) using heat to slightly wilt them. 
Serve 5-6 dumplings with each bowl & garnish with the sliced green onions.

~Homemade Goddess

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mexican Casserole

Obviously, I have a thing for Mexican food lately! I made this casserole for dinner tonight and it was a big hit. The only thing I did differently was that I didn't know what ranch style beans were, so I used re-fried beans. It actually turned out awesome and I personally will continue to make it that way in the future.

Source: Sing For Your Supper

1 pound lean ground beef
1 can Ranch Style beans
1 10-12 ounce bag tortilla chips, crushed
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 package taco seasoning
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup water
sour cream and salsa for serving

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large skillet, brown meat and drain off fat. Stir in beans, tomatoes, onion, taco seasoning, soup and water. Simmer over medium-low heat until everything is well combined and heated through.

Grease a 9×13 casserole dish. Put down a layer of crushed tortilla chips, followed by a layer of the meat/bean mixture, then half of the cheddar cheese. Repeat layers. Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until bubbly.
Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. Top with sour cream and salsa.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Quick and easy turkey meatballs

These are super easy, and if you roll them small enough, they only need 25minutes to cook.

  • 20 ounces ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • salt, pepper & crushed red pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat glass baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Mix all ingredients in large bowl with your hands, until evenly combined.
  3. Use a cookie scoop to make small sized meatballs and place in the dish.
  4. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes, turn meatballs over, and bake an additional 10 minutes. Make sure they are above 165 degrees before serving.
We like these with whole wheat pasta and vodka sauce. They also freeze really well. Bake them first, cool completely, then store in freezer containers for up to 1 month.

- Pastry Princess

Monday, January 3, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

We had these for dinner last night, and they were awesome! I was a little worried they would come out tasting too ranchy, but I probably wouldn't have guessed that was what was in them if I didn't know. I actually liked that they weren't soaked in enchilada sauce like the other recipe I use.

Chicken Enchiladas
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 cup Ranch salad dressing
Flour tortillas
Salsa to taste
Shredded cheese(I used a mixture of fiesta blend and sharp cheddar because it is what I had)

Cook chicken breasts(I tossed mine in the oven, but cook any way you want) and shred chicken after it has cooled a bit.

Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.

In a large bowl, mix half of the ranch and sour cream. In a smaller bowl, mix the other half of the ranch and sour cream. Add the shredded chicken to the large bowl and mix well. Spread about a tablespoon of the plain mixture over the tortilla to cover evenly. Add some of the chicken mixture to the center of the tortilla, and then as much salsa and cheese as you would like. Roll up tortilla, and place seam side down in prepared baking dish. Bake 25-30 minutes. I made 8 large enchiladas but the recipe says you should be able to make 10-15.

I also sprinkled a little salsa and cheese on top before I baked them because we prefer it that way.

Source: Annie's Eats

~Kiss The Cook

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Salsa-Fied Turkey and Rice

This dinner originally from Salsa-Fied Turkey and Rice  
This dish is great for evenings where you don't have a lot of time and it makes enough to have left overs or create future microwave dinners!  Now, it uses ground turkey.  I know...but, wipe that look of disgust off your face!  It's a great, healthy alternative to ground beef, and you can't even tell it's ground turkey with everything that is in it.

  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 cup of red kidney beans
  • 1 (7 ounce) can of corn kernels 
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth 
  • 1 1/4 cup of chunky salsa 
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  1. Heat up olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and start boiling water for rice in a small saucepan.  
  2. Add ground turkey to skillet and cook until lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes.  During this time, you should be able to add rice to sauce pan and cook until ready.  Set rice aside if ready early.
  3. Once turkey is nicely browned, drain excess oil, then add the rice, beans, corn and chicken brother.  Stir to combine.  Cover and Simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  4. Add salsa to turkey mixture and stir to combine.  Top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese!
Super yummy and versatile! Serve as is in a bowl, in a tortilla, or scoop it up with tortilla chips!   How ever you and your fellow gobblers like it.

~Chef Val