Monthly Archives: August 2011

Snickerdoodle Cheesecake Bites

Holy. Crap. Balls.

(Yeah…I said crap and balls on a food blog.)

These might be the most ridiculously delicious things I have ever made.

All I can say is that Snickerdoodles may be my new obsession.

And here is a little trivia fact about me. I had my very first Snickerdoodle about a month ago.

Crazy huh?

Ok here is the deal. Now I would never say that I don’t have a sweet tooth, but it is very specific. And the specificity is that I want chocolate baked goods. If you have chocolatey cookies, brownies, cakes, or pies, I am there. All that other stuff I just ignore while wiping chocolate crumbs from my chin.

So here is what always happened in my mind every time I was offered a Snickerdoodle:

OMG yum! A cookie with Snickers in it?? I can’t wait to try that!

Oh wait what?

It’s just some sort of janky sugar cookie with cinnamon on it?

Ummmm…what kind of sick joke is that to play on somebody?

Ugh! Now I am sooo craving a cookie with Snickers.

And so continued my unfair prejudice towards Snickerdoodles, and the reason I never tried one.

But it’s cool now.

Snickerdoodles and I have kissed and made up.

Oh boy have we.

I mean, can you imagine?

Soft, rich sugar cookie covered in spicy-sweet cinnamon sugar. A slightly tangy, velvety layer of cheesecake. All combined into one perfect, scrumptious bite, after being nearly sprinkled to death again with more cinnamon sugar.

You can almost taste it can’t you?

Oops. Hey. You got a little pool of drool on your keyboard there.

Here. Let me just give you the rundown on this recipe so you can have some for real.

It all begins with a basic sugar cookie dough: flour, sugar, butter, egg, and leavening stuff.

Cream together the sugar and butter. Then add in the egg. And then the flour and baking soda that you stirred together.

When this is combined, plop it into a greased pan. The dough is super soft and and sticky, but don’t worry about it. Just use the back of a spoon to gently work it down and around the pan.

Now I know that you are thinking that this is the perfect job for The Dude and you are figuring you are about to get a picture of her with messy hair and a giant spoon, pushing on the dough.

Well, normally you would be right, except that she was playing sooooo nicely by herself while I was making the crust.  I’m not entirely sure what the game was, but I heard a lot of  “Yayyyy!!! Super slide!!!” coming from the den.

You know that old saying, “Let a sleeping dog lie?” Well, I have one a like to say: “Let a playing Dude play.”

…and speaking of dogs, did I ever mention that I have one? Yeah. Her name is Tela, and she apparently enjoys the sugar cookie dough because she definitely came sniffing around when I was putting the dough into the pan.

Sorry girl, no dough for you.

But back to the cookie crust. It’s time to pour on the delicious cinnamon sugar!!!

Bake this for 20 minutes.

While it bakes, clean out your mixer and prepare the cheesecake portion.

Beat together the cream cheese and sugar. Then add in the egg, vanilla, and Greek yogurt. Now, I swear that I am not trying to pull anything on you here. Yes, Greek yogurt is a healthier choice than sour cream, but lets be honest, we are making a cookie and topping it with a cheesecake. This is not a time to think about being healthy. I just don’t keep sour cream in the house. But Greek yogurt is a staple and pretty much tastes the same. If you wanna use sour cream, you definitely should.

Of course, just as I was scraping the sides of my bowl down, The Dude (she already has a highly sensitive batter radar) meandered back through the kitchen.

“Mommy can I have a taste?”

“Sorry, baby, this has raw egg in it.”

“Awwwww man!”

And off she ran to play again.

When the cookie comes out of the oven, gently poke it all over with a fork, just to help it not be so puffy, and let it sit for about ten minutes or so, just to let it cool down a little bit before you pour on the cheesecake batter.

Now spread the cheesecake batter over the cookie.

Sprinkle on the remainder of the cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Let it sit on the counter to cool for about an hour and a half, and then cover it and transfer to the fridge to chill for at least three hours before serving.

Now, I know that these four and half hours are going to be tough (especially considering the warm cinnamon sugar smell that will have permeated every corner of your house), but you can make it through.

Trust me. I’ve been there.

But one thing you can do to distract yourself, is to head over to YourWeeklyPicks.com to decide which teams you are pickin’ for this weekends’ games. Go sign up! It’s gonna be fun!

And don’t forget to check back here on Saturday. My first Saturday Selection is easy, tasty, and themed after my alma mater.

Intrigued?

Well you are just gonna have to wait.

But it’s cool, ’cause you have Snickerdoodle Cheesecake to eat anyway.

Snickerdoodle Cheesecake Bites

For crust:

1 stick of butter softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cinnamon sugar mixture (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium size bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt.

Beat butter and sugar together in mixer on high until well combined.

Stir in egg.

Add in flour mixture until well combined.

Turn out onto a greased 8″ square pan and smooth into pan with a spoon.

Sprinkle on cinnamon sugar mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Poke holes with a fork to reduce puffiness.

For cheesecake:

12 ounces softened cream cheese

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 egg

1/2 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cinnamon sugar mixture (recipe below)

Cream together cream cheese and sugar until smooth and fluffy.

Stir in remaining ingredients until well combined.

Pour onto cooked crust and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 35 minutes (also at 350).

Let cool on counter for about an hour and half (to room temperature). Then place in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

Cut into 1 inch cubes with a serrated knife, wiping off frequently.

For cinnamon sugar topping:

1 tablespoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons sugar

Stir to combine

Um….you’re droolin’ again….

Tex Mex Fried Rice

Well hello there, friends!

Before I get started telling you about this week’s recipe, I have some very exciting news to share.

My friends over at YourWeeklyPicks.com have asked me to post a recipe every Saturday during the college football season. I will be offering up little appetizers, snacks, and sweet treats that are perfect for game day noshing with friends and tailgating. The first weekend of the season is coming up on September 3rd. I will be posting my first “Saturday Selection” then. I have already been coming up with some pretty fun things that I can’t wait to share with you guys.

If you enjoy the college football thang you should head over to Your Weekly Picks and sign up to play. Each week they choose five big games and you place your bets on the winners and losers. It is a free site, so even if you are just a casual football watcher, you aren’t really losing anything by signing up. I will warn you though, it becomes seriously addicting. And if you can get a big group of your friends and family playing, the bragging rites alone really put a lot at stake. I will definitely be pickin’. Come see if you can beat me!

So on to today’s recipe.

The Hubs and the Little Dude are big time rice eaters.  So naturally, fried rice has been a major supper-staple at our house for some time.

…until The Hubs confessed that he hated the little green peas I put in….

…oh and the carrots.

::sigh::

So I got mad and didn’t cook fried rice for a while. (not really sure what this proved, but whatever…)

Then the other day I was trying to figure out what kind of quick healthy supper I could whip up and fried rice popped in my head, but then I remembered that The Hubs wouldn’t want it the way that The Little Dude and I wanted it, and I started getting all irritated with him all over again. So in an effort to calm myself down, I started to imagine ways to strangle him in the night change up our little fried rice supper to better suit his precious little picky taste buds.

And what can I say, the man loves him some Tex Mex cuisine. I could probably slap black beans and salsa on tofu and put it on a tortilla chip and he would eat it.

…hmmmm…

Wait.

No.

Probably not.

See, Darling Hubs?? I love you after all.

(…please don’t strangle me in the night….)

First, saute up some onions and peppers.

When both are starting to get soft and the onions are starting to become translucent, add in some minced garlic and freshly grated corn.

Now, in this picture you see that I had already added the black beans. I would suggest waiting a bit to add them in though because by the time we were eating, the beans were mush. Still tasty, but mush. Boo.

After a few more sizzling moments, add in the rice and seasonings.

Once these are combined, make a little well in the center of your pan (or wok if you are cooler than me!) and crack in the eggs. Gently scramble these up in the center, trying not to let too much of the rice fall in. I suppose you could do this in another pan if you are feeling particularly fastidious when you make this, but I don’t really want to wash more pans than I have to. Ya feel me?

How freaky is this picture? I swear it was only three eggs, but that broken yolk really makes it look like I used four.

Once the eggs are firmly scrambled, chop it up into little pieces and fold it into your rice along with the avocado, black beans, and chopped cilantro.

Now by the time you grab the plates out of the cabinet, holler for the fam to come to the table, and find The Little Dude’s sippy cup that she has left somewhere in the house, even though you swore to yourself last night (and the night before that) that you were going to pay attention to the last place you saw her with it, the beans and avocado will be heated through, and it will be time for you to sit down and eat. And thank goodness, because this stuff looks and smells fab!

We all started out with forks, but about half way through, The Dude abandoned hers and started shoveling her fried rice out with a tortilla chip.

The Hubs and I followed her lead, and I have to say it was pretty tasty like this. (I am just gonna go ahead and admit that I am guilty of scooping the cold leftover rice onto a tortilla chip the next day) I would definitely recommend serving it up “Dude Style” with a few tortilla chips on the side.

Tex Mex Fried Rice

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup fresh corn

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 cups cooked white rice (1 cup dry)

1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon oregano

3/4 cup salsa

1 tablespoon lime juice

3 eggs

1/2 cup black beans

1 medium avocado chopped

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Melt butter and oil in a large pan or wok over medium high heat. Add onions and peppers and saute until peppers are soft and onions translucent.

Add in corn and garlic and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in cooked rice, soy sauce, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, salsa, and lime juice. Stir well to combine.

Make a well in the center of your pan by pushing all of the rice mixture up onto the sides. Crack the three eggs into the center, season with salt and pepper, and scramble. When the eggs are done, chop them into small pieces with your spatula and fold back into the rice.

Gently fold in black beans, avocado, and cilantro. Cook until the beans and avocado are just warmed through. About 3 minutes.

Avocado Banana Bread

One of the things that I try to accomplish as a Mom, is to pack in as much healthy stuff into my kids (and on the happy, rare occasion, the Hubs) as I possibly can with any bite of food that goes into their mouths. Muffins and breads are a good resource for this purpose because you can sometimes hide things that would otherwise remain uneaten on plates.

Here is what I can tell you about the health benefits of avocado. (Because I am a Mama and I know these things…and because I know how to look up stuff on the internets. Be impressed.)

It contains a large amount of the healthy fats that you always hearing about. You know, the ones that are good for your heart, that can help reduce cholesterol, and can fight crime and such.

It contains more potassium than bananas.

It is high in fiber, and vitamins K, B, and C.

And you know what else? It tastes freaking awesome with bananas.

I started feeding mashed up avocados to the Monkey Mode about a month ago and on the days that I would mix it in with mashed bananas, I realized that I was having a hard time keeping myself from sticking my pinky finger in to sample another bite.

So naturally, my mind started wandering to the various ways I could add more avocado into what we are eating.

This is sooo yummy, ya’ll.

Moist, soft, sweet. You are going to want to lock yourself in a room away from screaming children, sit down with a cup of coffee, and savor each morsel.

And just in case avocados aren’t your bag, don’t worry. You definitely don’t take a bite and smack yourself in the forehead, screaming “AVOCADO!” It is really just more of a textural thing that happens here. It makes the banana bread even more moist and tender.

(And may I mention again, the lovely health benefits that the creamy, green fruit provides?)

You start off with basic quick bread ingredients: whole wheat flour (Oh yeah, that’s right. Whole wheat. And the bread is still delicious, and I bet if I hadn’t told you it was in there you wouldn’t have even noticed. So get over it!), baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and sugar. You mix them up in a medium bowl and set aside.

Then pour your Little Dude a little snack because baking makes her hungry.

Now you get to do the fun part. Mash up the banana and avocado (or “appocado” if you want to be more like the Dude) together.

“Soylent Green is people!!!!”

…yeah…sometimes I wish I cooked with people who are old enough to get that joke.

As it is, I cook with people who are more interested in Dora toys, than Mommy’s amazing wit and tireless knowledge of popular culture. As evidence, I give you exhibit A:

Dude and Map

Whatever.

Once the banana and avocado are well blended, add in the oil, vanilla, eggs, and honey. Mix until just blended, scraping the sides once.

Dump in the dry ingredients and gently mix together.

Pour this mixture in to a well greased loaf pan and bake for 65-70 minutes. I started watching mine around the one hour mark just to make sure I didn’t over bake it.

Wanna see a behind the scenes shot?

The steamy, fresh banana bread was understandably too much for the Dude to take so she begged me for a piece pretty much the entire time I was taking pictures. And once I felt satisfied with my images of the loaf I gave her a piece (don’t you feel bad that because of you, I made my child wait to eat??). Then, someone got jealous and tried to come snag a piece too….not yet my Monkey Mode…you have to wait a few more months.

But you, friend, you get to go bake this up and eat it today.

I’ll leave you it.

Avocado Banana Bread

2 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (about 2 small to medium) mashed, ripe bananas

1/2 cup (about 1 medium) mashed avocado

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup canola oil

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, bakind soda, cinnamon, and salt.

In mixer, beat together banana and avocado.

Blend in honey, oil, eggs, and vanilla, scraping the sides once.

Stir in the dry ingredients.

Pour in to well greased loaf pan.

Bake for 65-75 minutes, until toothpick or knife comes out clean.

Black Eyed Pea Falafels

I am thinking about maybe changing the name of this site to amylikestomakeuprecipeswhilecleaningouthefridge.com

or crapiliketodowithleftovers.net

or shestoocheaptothrowanythingout.org

No?

Keep the title I already have for now?

OK.

It just occurred to me that pretty much every recipe I have shared on this site starts with me saying, “so…I had a little leftover fill in the blank in the fridge and just hated to throw it out…”

Humor me and pretend that this is more charming and clever than it is anal and annoying.

Oh wow! What was that?

You guys just love how resourceful I am with odds and ends in the fridge?

Dude, seriously, that is sooo nice of you to say that.

And you know, it is really interesting that you suddenly felt the need to compliment my leftover using skills because it just so happens that that is what today’s recipe uses!

….

Sooooo I had some leftover black eyed peas in the refrigerator, and I just hated to throw them out.

I have used black eyed peas as a chick pea stand in for hummus before so I had a pretty good idea that this was going to be excellent.

And guess what? It is now one of our all time favorite suppers. In fact, just last night I was cooking up some flat breads for dinner and the Little Dude asked, “Is this for falafels?” I think she was a little dissapointed when I told her that it wasn’t.

(Side bar…ummm yeah…how cool is my three year old that she asks for falafels?)

These bad boys are super easy, cheap, healthy, and crazy tasty.

Simply take your leftover black eyed peas, drain off most of the liquid, pulse them up in the food processor for a couple of seconds, and then dump them into a bowl.

Next place half an onion, garlic, parsley, and an egg and give them all a few pulses together. Then pour them on top of the peas.

Now here is my shpiel on parsley. I personally feel that a little bit of parsley goes a looooong way. I know that falafels should be green from all of the parsley that you are supposed to put it in it, but this to me does not taste good. So if you are one of those people who enjoys a great deal of parsley flavor in your food then by all means, knock yourself out, but I am going to keep things moderate over here if that is OK with you.

Next up stir in the remainder of your ingredients: baking powder, cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, and bread crumbs. You may need to sprinkle in a few more bread crumbs if it looks a little more moist than you would like. This just kind of depends on how much liquid you left in your peas.

Murphy’s Law of Cooking with Kids Around #73 states that as soon as you get your hands covered in something, somebody is going to fall down, or grab a pair of scissors off the counter, or pee on themselves. So while I love to get my hands all up in my food as much as the next cook, it just isn’t a good idea most days. I discovered that an ice cream scoop is one of the best ways to form up the little patties. Plus it gives them all a uniform size, which means they will cook up evenly. Hooray!

You are totally feeling the vibes from that subliminal messaging there aren’t ya?

Flatten out your little mounds of falafel with the back of a spatula. (I tried to get a picture of this but apparently there was an earthquake or something because all of my pictures are pretty blurry)

Bake ’em up, and check it out! The South just met the Mediterranean in your kitchen!

I like to serve mine up on homemade flat breads with sharp feta, crisp baby spinach, juicy tomato slices, and a tangy little mixture of tahini and lemon juice.

So. Freaking. Good.

The Hubs and the Little Dude like to keep there’s a little more simple and a little less traditional with cheddar cheese only. Here is The Hubs modeling his that he so expertly rolled up like a burrito.

And while I do like mine better, I will tell you that this is actually pretty darn tasty too.

Black Eyed Pea Falafels

2 cups cooked black eyed peas, drained

1/2 onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 cup fresh parsley

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 heaping teaspoons cumin

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

salt to taste

pepper to taste

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup bread crumbs (place extra if needed)

Preheat oven to 425.

Pulse peas in a food processor. Pour into a large bowl.

Pulse onion, garlic, parsley,and egg in food processor. Add to peas.

Stir in remaining ingredients.

Form into patties and place on a well greased cookie sheet. Spray the tops with cooking spray.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Serve on warm flat bread or pita with your choice of toppings.

Carrot Cake Blondies

I heart carrot cake.

I sort of discovered my love for it when I made it for the Little Dude’s first birthday. At the time, I wasn’t really obsessed with the moist, spicy goodness topped with rich cream cheese frosting (Mouth = Watering). I really just picked carrot because it felt a little healthier than just a plain white cake.

….yeah…I know…I said it felt healthier OK??

Awwwww! How cute is that?!

ahhhh memories….

So basically, ever since then I have made her carrot cake for her birthday. And I am gonna do the same for the Monkey Mode. And I am gonna keep on doing it until they ask me for some other kind of cake. And even then, I may pretend not to hear them and go ahead and make carrot anyway.

Hey look. I gave birth to these kids! I keep them alive all year! Shouldn’t I be the one who celebrates with cake??

….anywho…

So, I enjoy carrot cake.

I also enjoy a good blondie.

A few weeks ago, I happened to have a little leftover shredded carrot from the Little Dude’s latest birthday in my fridge and I thought, “Hey, you know what would be good? Carrot Cake Blondies!”

Here’s how I did it.

First off, get out your usual baking suspects and put them in a bowl together: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Then stir them together with some carrot cake spices: cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.

In the bowl of your mixer, blend one stick of melted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla.

Greasy, sweet goodness.

Then, stir in the eggs until they are just incorporated, and cut off your machine.

We wants to be gentle with our eggs. No tough blondies!

Add in the dry ingredients, but again only let the mixer go until it has just stirred everything together.

Then, fold in the carrots.

Now, I didn’t do this, but all of my taste testers agreed that these blondies would be even more exceptional with a generous amount of white chocolate chips all up in here too. So now would be the time to toss in a handful should you choose to do so. And I think you should.

Pour it into a well greased pan. Then bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

When it has fully cooled, cut into squares and drizzle with melted white chocolate and/or caramel sauce.

Yums.

Carrot Cake Blondies

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/2 cup melted butter

2 cups brown sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups shredded carrots

white chocolate chips (optional…sort of…)

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.

In a mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla.

Stir in eggs until just combined.

Stir dry ingredients into wet until just combined.

Fold in carrots and white chocolate chips.

Spread into a well greased 9×13 pan and bake for 30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Cut into squares and serve with drizzled melted white chocolate or caramel sauce.