Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan-Gingersnap Crust

Oh my goodness!  This was delish!  I can't say that I have personally made it but a friend made it recently and it was to die for.  In fact, I also had a slice of the Cheesecake Factory pumpkin cheesecake this weekend and this Our Best Bites version was so much yummier!  Love those OBB ladies!

Cilantro Lime Pesto Tacos

This has become a favorite at our home...mostly because of the radio-active green color!  It is super yummy!  We pair it with black beans and cilantro lime rice.

Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos
original Joelen recipe

cooking spray for sauteeing
2-3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in bite sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup cilantro lime pesto (recipe follows)
flour or corn tortillas
preferred taco garnishes (salsa, sour cream, cheese, etc)

Season chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder. In a skillet sprayed with cooking spray, saute chicken over medium high heat and cooked through. Toss cooked, seasoned chicken with the pesto. Fill tortillas with chicken and top with preferred garnishes.

* To make ahead/freezer meal - Cook chicken as directed as above and cool. Place chicken in freezer bag. Prepare cilantro lime pesto as directed below. Place a 1/2 cup of pesto in a small storage bag then place inside the freezer bag with the chicken. Freeze. When ready to prepare, defrost and heat chicken. Toss chicken with defrosted pesto. If desired, heat chicken and pesto together before filling tacos.

Cilantro Lime Pesto
recipe adapted from Food Network

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (do not include stems)
2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sliced, toasted almonds  (I haven't actually added the almonds)
3 tablespoons chopped, fresh garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 cup shredded asiago (Parmesan or Romano can be substituted too)
1  teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup chicken broth

Using a blender, mix together the cilantro, olive oil, almonds, garlic, lime juice, asiago, salt and chicken broth on low speed for 2 minutes. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cherry Almond Torte

Normally when I post recipes I am just giving you links to recipes that I've come across and loved. But this one is genuinely my own. Well, mine and Kari's- my friend who worked on the recipe with me. Back in April we went to the Native American Museum and they were serving a new item in the Mitzam cafe called cherry almond torte in honor of the cherry festival. Andrew ordered one and we both thought it was incredible. I can honestly say it was the best dessert I've had in a very very long time- maybe the best ever. I tried to recreate it over the summer break in Louisiana without success. I was tempted to give up but decided to give it another shot with my friend Kari who is really great with baking desserts and we nailed it! They're actually not that hard to make either.

Pastry Puff
almond paste- in the baking isle near the canned pumpkin and canned pie fillings
frozen cherries
1 c sugar
juice from half a lemon

Over medium heat stir sugar, lemon juice and cherries together. Bring to boil and let simmer for about 20 minutes of so.

Roll out your pastry puff crust (there are usually 2 sheets in a box) and cut evenly into 9 squares (you'll have 18 squared total). Spray a muffin pan with oil, put one square in each muffin cup, add a small amount of almond paste (you can divide it up into 18 equal peices and shape them into a flat circle), then top with 4 or 5 cherries and a little of the juice. Seal up the edges- you may need to use a little water to do this- and then bake at 400 for 15 or 20 min (I don't remember how long we baked it so just watch it). They are best when hot (but not too hot) out of the oven. Please make these and call to worship me.

Roasted Acorn Squash Quesidillas

I got a bag of acorn squash from a friend last week. Uh, thanks. Actually (can you tell it's Mandy will all my "actually"s?) it led to one of my most recent cullinary obsessions. I started looking around for ways to use it up and came across this one on Smitten Kitchen. I didn't follow her recipe exactly but they turned out so wonderfully. I didn't know I liked acorn squash. No, I love it. It was delicious just roasted but added to the mixture for the quesidillas and it was heavenly. I used red pepper instead of pablano and just sauteed them in the pan with the onion and garlic. I did not add the jalapeno. I used whole wheat tortillas and a small amount of mexican cheese. I didn't even make the salsa to go with it- although I'm doing that this week (when I make this dish for the third time in 7 days). It was so healthy and had such a great flavor. Fox loved it. I loved it. Andrew thought it was pretty good and Eden hated it but ate every bite. I made it the next day and regrettably shared my leftovers with my neighbor who abslutely loved it. I made the whole thing again the next day just for myself and had leftovers the following day. I'm looking forward to making it again this week.

Creamy Tomato Soup

I can't believe I've never shared this recipe! It's the best tomato soup I swear it. It's also incredibly healthy- although it begs to be eaten with a grilled cheese sandwhich. They sortof balance each other out. Now that the weather has gotten a little chilly all I want to do is make soup. Fox calls this the dip for his grilled cheese sandwhich.


I posted this on fb but I wanted to put it on the blog as well. She has a whole site devoted to healthy desserts. I know right? What a waste of time and ingredients. I would never have tried these if my friend had not already made them and let me taste test a couple. They taste divine, rich, not healthy at all...but they are. After making one of two you can create your own combinations of nuts and dried fruits. All she does is grind walnuts, dates, and unsweetened cocoa powder with a little salt and vanilla (and yes a few chocolate chips if you so fancy...we do). We roll them into little balls of goodness and wrap them up in wax paper (cuz really now, what else is wax paper really good for?) and store them in the freezer. I love this one:
I really want to try this one:
But my absolute favorite is a combination my friend came up with. 1 c cashews, a handful of dates, zest of one lemon, some dried cherries and a few white chocolate chips. Oh, and a pinch of salt. Wow! These are amazing. It's great to wrap them up individually so you can just take one out as a quick treat whenever you want. And you don't feel bad about it b/c it's just nuts and dried fruit. Make them! Do it! You'll become an addict like me.

I'm back!

HeeelllllllOOOOO OOOUUUT THERE!!!! Do my siblings still come here? I've wanted to add so many yummy things I've discovered and just keep forgetting. No, actually I do remember. I'm actually just lazy. Here are a few of my favorite recipes from the past couple of months.