Monday, June 15, 2015

Vanilla Cheesecake with Graham Cracker Crust

After you go camping and you have leftover graham crackers...what to do?? So far I've made Martha Stewart's Key Lime Pies and now these yummy mini cheesecakes!

I've adapted this recipe from Tyler Florence's Ultimate Cheesecake recipe. Overall I halved the recipe. Instead of 1.5 eggs I used 2 eggs. Instead of 1 cup sour cream I used 1 cup of vanilla Greek yogurt. I omitted the lemon zest and vanilla extract. I reduced the sugar from 1/2 cup to 1/4 cup after reading a bunch of other recipes.

I didn't have any blueberries or fresh fruit to turn into a sauce to drizzle over the top so I put a little Strawberry Jam on mine.

These came out very soft unlike traditional cheesecakes. They freeze well. They are also delish out of the freezer and defrosted for about 10 minutes!

Vanilla Cheesecake with Graham Cracker Crust
makes 8 mini (6 oz ramekin) servings

2 cups finely ground graham crackers
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 (8oz) block, softened cream cheese
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a food processor pulse the graham crackers, cinnamon, and melted butter.
Spoon into the glass bowls and use another bowl to press the crackers in. Put it to the side.
Using an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute until smooth and free of any lumps. 
Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined.
Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy, for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add vanilla yogurt, scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. 
Pour the filling into the crust-lined pan. 
Put the ramekins on the cookie sheet and then place in the oven. 
Place a large pan of water in the bottom rack of the oven. 
Bake for 30 minutes. The cheesecake should still jiggle (it will firm up after chilling). 
Crack the oven door and let the cheesecake sit for another 30 minutes. 
Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Irish Soda Bread Recipes x3

I had some leftover buttermilk from the Broccoli Slaw and I was thinking of what else I could make... Irish Soda Bread! It is a little late past St. Patrick's Day but it is a recipe I've been waiting to try!

Since I don't do this in parts and I couldn't decide which recipe to make, I decided to make all 3!

I adjusted each recipe for 2 cups of flour and updated all the ingredient measurements. I did not use caraway seeds or the chocolate chips for a more even comparison.

I baked Recipe 1 and Recipe 2 as suggested. I baked Recipe 3 at 350 for 40 minutes. Recipe 1 follows an authentic Irish Soda Bread recipe. Recipe 2 was sweeter and moister. Recipe 3 was similar to a biscuit texture.

For a different variation use chocolate chips for the raisins.

If you give them a try let me know what you think!

Below are the original recipes:

Recipe 1
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp Caraway seeds (Optional) or 1/2 cup chocolate chips (Optional)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Put the dough on a well floured surface and knead until no longer super sticky. Place on a cookie sheet and slice the top lightly with an "X"

Bake 10 minutes at 375 and then 40 minutes at 350.

Recipe 2 followed Recipe 1 without the salt but the addition of sugar, eggs, and melted butter. I didn't use the caraway seeds. However, the recipe called for "T" and "t" which I didn't realize until after that "T" means Tablespoon and "t" means teaspoon. So the recipe wasn't followed as closely as planned, at least I can't remember. At any rate...

Recipe 2

3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups raisins
2 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp melted butter
1 tbsp Caraway Seeds (Optional) or 1/2 cup chocolate chips (Optional)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Grease and flour the cake pan. Pour batter into the pan.

Bake 45 minutes at 350.

Recipe 3 follows closely to Recipe 2 but calls for the butter to be cold instead of melted and for 1 egg instead of 2 eggs and no baking powder. There is also a difference in the flour to buttermilk ratio. I didn't use the orange zest.

Recipe 3

4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup raisins
1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk
4 tbsp sugar
1 egg, beaten
4 tbsp cold butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp grated orange zest (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Put the dough on a well floured surface and knead until no longer super sticky. Place on a cookie sheet and slice the top lightly with an "X"

Bake 45 minutes at 375.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Chicken Fajitas

I was looking for ways to change up our regular grilled chicken and this is one of the new recipes that I tried!  This recipe is adapted from Simply Recipes.

It was nice that this whole meal could be prepared on the grill since it has been so hot outside! 

I made a couple substitutes based on what was available in the house. I used lemon juice instead of lime juice, garlic powder instead of garlic cloves, and red pepper flakes instead of jalapeno.


Chicken Fajitas
Serves 4

1 pound of chicken breast
3 peppers, sliced into stripes
2 small onions, sliced into stripes

2 tbsp lime juice or lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced or 1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder or 1/4 tsp of cayenne powder and 1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced or 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Butterfly the chicken breast. Put into a pie plate.
Combine all marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over chicken.
Marinade for 1 hour at room temperature or in the fridge for 4-6 hours.

While grill is preheating, put the veggies on a large piece of tinfoil, fold the foil in half. Fold the edges in to form an envelope/packet. Put on the grill for 10 minutes while grill continues to heat.
Grill the chicken for 3-6 minutes per side. Once cooked remove from heat and onto a plate to rest. 
Continue to cook peppers and onions until charred.
Slice chicken and serve on a tortilla.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Mild Taco Seasoning

This mild taco seasoning was adapted from The Daily Meal and was kid approved (at least this time!). It was determined to be not too spicy and not too bland. I did a heaping scoop for the cilantro and oregano but then to make it less green and more red I added a few more sprinkles of paprika until it looked like the packet stuff. 

Mild Taco Seasoning
for 1 pound of meat

1 tbsp chili powder (or 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper + 1/2 tsp paprika)
1 pinch of ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.

When our container is out here is our refill:
2 tsp cayenne
4 tsp paprika
8 pinches ground pepper
6 tsp oregano
2 tsp salt
4 tsp cumin
4 tsp garlic

Monday, June 1, 2015

Lemonade Yogurt Popsicles

Another stolen recipe from Angela! She made these the other night and I had to make them at home! These are very refreshing and tangy!

If you use an ice cube tray: Pour mix into the wells. Cover the top with tin foil and put popsicle stick into each cube hole.

Variations: try using substituting limes or oranges for the lemons!

Lemonade Yogurt Popsicles 
makes about 5 pops

2 lemons, about 1/2 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 vanilla yogurt  (regular or Greek style)
Honey (optional)
Popsicle mold or ice cube tray

Zest the lemons, use only the color part and not the white part underneath.
Juice the lemons.
Mix juice and zest into the yogurt.
Taste, if it is too tart add 1 tbsp of honey until it tastes how you want.
Carefully pour into the molds and freeze 6+ hours

To remove from the popsicle mold: place pop under warm running water for 15-20 seconds and then try to remove. If it doesn't come out put under water and repeat.