May – Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Chocolate and peanut butter are my favorite flavors, separate or together.   The first time I posted this recipe was May 2014.  That was the last time I baked this delicious combination for a cheesecake.  Brought this into work today for our Spa Day.  We all enjoyed this and hope you will too!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake
(compliments Food Network)

Ingredients

Be sure all your ingredients are room temperature before you start.  The ingredients will blend together much better that way.  Also, if you have a food processor it will mix together to a wonderful, creamy mixture – no lumps!

Base:

1/2 (14-ounce) box graham crackers (2 cups crumbs)
1/2 cup salted peanuts
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons soft unsalted butter

Filling:

2 (8-ounce) bars cream cheese
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup creamy peanut butter

Topping:

1 cup sour cream
1 cup milk chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons light brown sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Process the crackers, peanuts, bittersweet chocolate chips, and butter in a food processor. Once it comes together, turn it into a 9 inch springform pan and press into the bottom and up the sides to make the crunchy crust.
  3. Put it in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
  4. Add all the filling ingredients to a food processor and pulse until it becomes a smooth mixture.
  5. Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 1 hour. The top, only, should feel set and dry.
  6. Take the cheesecake out of the oven and set aside while you make the topping.
  7. Warm the sour cream and milk chocolate with the brown sugar in a small saucepan over a low heat. Gently whisk to blend in the chocolate as it melts, then take the pan off the heat.  This takes 5-10 minutes.
  8. Spoon and spread the topping very gently over the top of the cheesecake.  Put it back in the oven for a final 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and cool.
  9. Slice and serve.  (I think it tastes better after being refrigerated at least 4-6 hours, overnight preferably.)

Enjoy!!

Pasta Primavera – Simple and Delicious

It is almost Summer.  That means veggies!  I wanted to make a nice and easy meal this Sunday with veggies.  No meat I said to myself.  I told the crew I was going to avoid a meat dish this Sunday.  We will have Pasta Primavera, Israeli Salad and rolls – from Costco, I guess I was a little lazy! 🙂  Well, I did make what I wanted but I also grilled some chicken.  Eric loves chicken. I offered chicken and he accepted.  So much for no meat.  I marinated the chicken using some of the mint that I am growing.   I checked a few different recipes for the Pasta Primavera.  I ended up doing my own thing and it turned out quite delicious.  Here goes;

 

Pasta Primavera

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Ingredients

1 1/2 cups broccoli florets, cut into bite sized pieces – As you can tell from the photos my veggies were cut a bit large.  Eric did suggest next time making pieces smaller. Thus, bite sized pieces! He loved it thought!! 🙂
6-8 asparagus spears (depends on the size.  I had some thin ones and used 8), sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 carrots, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup chicken (or veggie) broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half and half
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 Tablespoon basil, chopped (fresh from my herb garden)
Olive Oil
Butter
Salt and Pepper
1 pound pasta.  I used Rigatoni.  Next time I will use a shell or large elbows.  You can use whatever you want.  (get that pot of water boiling for your pasta.  Don’t forget to add salt to the water.  I add 1 Tablespoon to 8 cups water)

Directions

1.  I ended up roasting the broccoli, asparagus and red pepper.  Preheat oven to 425.  Put the cut up veggies in a bowl, add 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Mix together.  Put in oven for 10-15 minutes.  You want them firm not mushy.  10 minutes was my limit.June 1 2014 040
2.  If you haven’t done so, get the water boiling for the pasta.  Cook pasta while you are preparing veggies and cream sauce.
3.  Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil and melt 1 Tablespoon of butter to a frying pan. ( I used my stainless steel frying pan.)
4.  Add the onions to the olive oil and melted butter.  Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the carrots and cook about 5-8 minutes. Throw in garlic last couple of minutes.June 1 2014 041
5.  When onions, garlic and carrots are done set aside in a bowl or plate.
6.  To the same frying pan add 1 cup of chicken broth and 1 Tablespoon butter.  Heat through until butter melted.
7.  Add 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup half and half to chicken broth mix.  Stir together.  Add 1 cup Parmesan cheese.  Stir until heated through.  The sauce thickens as it is heated through.  About 5 minutes. Just before you add the veggies to the cream sauce, add 1 Tablespoon basil. Mix together.June 1 2014 042
8.  Add all veggies to the cream sauce and mix together.
9.  Add above to the pasta.  Mix together and serve!June 1 2014 043

We all loved this dish.  Martin2 and Rachel were working but I sent them a care package.  They both text to let me know this was delicious.  I will definitely make this again soon.  The farmers market will inspire me to use some different veggie combos next time. It did take some time, but I love my kitchen time!  I say cut your veggies and grate your parmesan the night before.  That way you will be good to go the next night to make this simple and delicious meal.  Served with Israeli salad, marinated chicken for those who wanted it, our favorite Costco rolls and for dessert – cheesecake!  Enjoy!!

Mango Pudding

Martin’s birthday is today.  His request was for cheesecake with mango pudding and raspberries.  Cheesecake is one thing I make quite frequently.  Mango pudding – never.  I really wasn’t sure about this one.  Martin sent me a recipe and I thought this is just too easy.  I also wasn’t sure how mango pudding and cheesecake would taste together.  He wanted to use the pudding to put on top of the cheesecake along with fresh raspberries.  He comes up with different flavors to blend together and I generally think he is crazy.  Only problem is his ideas usually work quite well together.  Go figure!   Here is this simple and delicious recipe.

Mango Pudding

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Ingredients

2 medium to large ripe mangoes (I picked up 2 mangoes which did not have any brown but I could press my thumb and it left an imprint)
3 teaspoons gelatin (1 1/2 packet)
1/2 cup hot water
1/3 cup white sugar
1 cup coconut milk

Directions

1.  You mangoes should be ripe.  I peeled the skin off and cut around the pit.  Put the flesh in a food processor.  Blend until pureed.
2.  In saucepan, heat up water until it reaches a rolling boil.  Take off heat and add the 3 teaspoons of gelatin.  Constantly whisk so lumps do not form.  Add the sugar and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
3.  Add above to food processor, along with coconut milk.  Blend until ingredients are combined. (30-45 seconds)
4.  Pour into dessert bowls.  Place in refrigerator until set.  Takes about 1-2 hours.  You can make a day ahead.
5.  Serve and enjoy!

IMG_0650After a delicious dinner at Nakashima’s, a sushi restaurant in town, we went to the Martin’s place for dessert.  We had our cheesecake with mango pudding and raspberries tonight. IMG_0651 It was quite delicious and the flavors went together perfectly!  Happy Birthday Martin!!

Cheesecake!

I have made this cheesecake for years.  Everyone loves this cheesecake especially Kent (my hubby), and two of my sons Eric and Martin.  Oh and me too 😉  Here is the recipe.  Enjoy!

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Ingredients

1 3/4 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/3 cup melted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 packages Cream Cheese (I use Philadelphia Cream Cheese.  Take it out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you are ready to make the cake)
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs (cold, take them out when you are ready to use them)
1 cup sour cream

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  I use a springform pan for my cheesecakes.  .
2.  Mix graham cracker crumbs, butter (I only use butter) and 1/4 cup the sugar.  Press firmly onto bottom and up the side of the pan.  Put in 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.  Take out to cool.
3.  Beat cream cheese, remaining 1 cup sugar and the vanilla in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.  (I use my stand up mixer)
4.  Add cold eggs one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended.
5.  Add sour cream and fold in to mixture with a spatula or wooden spoon.   Pour into crust.
6.  Bake 1 hour 10 minutes or until center is almost set.  Turn off oven – Don’t try to make a shortcut and skip this step. Just saying 🙂  Leaving door slightly ajar, leave cheesecake in oven 1 hour.
7.  Remove from oven; cool completely and the refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.  Remove from pan and top with your favorite topping.

We like a plain cheesecake.   This cheesecake is simple, although it takes time, and extremely delicious.