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No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

I was really craving cheesecake the other day but didn’t want to go through all the trouble of baking and refrigerating something so I decided to whip up a version of the low-sugar cheesecake I used to make for my grandmother who had diabetes. The vanilla version is made with just  the Dream Whip and cream cheese poured over a graham wafer crust. I’ve seen a chocolate version using whipped cream or Cool Whip, Nutella, and cheese so I figured it would work with chocolate chips as well. I was right! I ate a bowl of the filling right away as a mousse and it was lovely. If you like your desserts a little sweeter, beat a 1/4 cup or so of sugar into to the cream cheese. You could also experiment with sweeteners. Truvia is my favourite.

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No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients:

1 package of Dream Whip, prepared ( calls for 1/2 milk and tsp vanilla)

1 package of cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup or more of semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 Tbsp. of milk

Oreo cookie crumb crust

Directions:

Prepare the packet of Dream Whip. Melt the chocolate chips and the milk together in the microwave, at 20 second intervals until melted and stir until smooth. Mix into the softened cream cheese. Mix this chocolate mixture into the Dream Whip. Pour over the crust and chill for at least 2 hours.

 

Meatball Casserole

As I mentioned in my last post, I haven’t been cooking much because I’ve been so busy, so yesterday I decided to go through my Pinterest folders to see if I had saved any super easy dinner ideas. I found this recipe for meatball casserole which is so quick and easy it’s almost embarrassing! I used frozen, store bought meatballs and sauce, but made my own drop biscuits from Betty Crocker and topped them with the garlic butter recipe I found for a copycat Red Lobster biscuits. OMG!  The garlic butter biscuits are soooo good! I couldn’t stop eating them. They really make the dish. The original recipe makes a lot of spread so I only made half and I still had lots left over.  This casserole recipe is great because you can tailor it to your family’s taste. You can experiment with different meatballs, sauce, and biscuits to see which one you like best.

Instead of posting the whole recipe I will include a link to the original blog. Basically you need a package of meatballs, a jar of spaghetti sauce, a container of frozen biscuits and some shredded cheese. You cook or heat the meatballs, cover with sauce, top with cheese, and finally the biscuits. Pop it in the oven at 450 until the biscuits are golden brown. If you’re using the garlic butter, spread that on after the dish is cooked. It’s that easy. http://roxanashomebaking.com/upside-meatball-casserole-recipe/

 

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Garlic Spread

1/2 cup melted butter

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon dried parsley

{I didn’t have any parsley on hand so I just left it out}

Combine the ingredients. Brush baked biscuits with the garlic topping.

Butterscotch Brownies with Brown Sugar Frosting

I haven’t been trying many new recipes this month. Last week I took a mini vacation of sorts between contracts, but I also started another contract on the side, AND I’ve been running around getting things for Easter, doing some spring cleaning, as well as getting some images printed. I’ve barely cracked the surface of any of it. I’ll be working on one contract for 2 days a week and other contract at home for 3-4 days a week so it’s going to be nuts for the month of April. I’m going to try some crockpot recipes soon because I want to start running again as well once all the puddles have dried up in the park. Stay posted!

In the meantime, Mr. M came over yesterday so I made grilled panini sandwices and these Butterstoch Brownies. I only put them in the oven for 20 minutes and they ended up a little too brown :( I’m not sure if my oven was a little too hot or perhaps it’s because I baked them in a silicon pan. I think I’ll only bake them for about 16 minutes next time in hopes they will be a little gooey in the middle. The icing on the other hand was easy to make and I should warn you, it’s quite sweet. I left mine cooling a little too long and it firmed up too quickly so I added about 1/2 tsp milk and it turned out just fine.

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Butterscotch Brownies with Brown Sugar Frosting

Makes an 8 x 8 pan*

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
2 tablespoons milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Brown Sugar Frosting

1/2 cup pecans, large chopped for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Heat oven to 350. Spray the bottoms and side of an 8 x 8 baking pan.

Melt butter in a medium sized saucepan over low heat. Removed from heat and stir in brown sugar, vanilla, maple, milk and egg (yes, just add them into the saucepan).

Stir in remaining ingredients and spread in prepared pan.

Bake 20- 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

While the brownies bake, wash out your pan to use for the frosting. When the brownies come out of the oven, mix the frosting.

Brown Sugar Frosting
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/8 cup milk
1 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Sift powered sugar (or else your frosting might be lumpy).

In a sauce pan, melt butter over low heat and add the brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to boil for 2 minutes stirring constantly. Add the milk and return to boil. Remove from heat and let cool until lukewarm.

Gradually add sifted sugar and continue to mix in the sugar with a wire whisk until smooth (if it gets to thick add a little hot water). Immediately spread onto butterscotch brownies – it thickens fast.

Sprinkle with pecans if desired and pat them in gently so they stick.

*Note: to make a 9 x 13 pan double the recipe (bake 350 for 25 minutes) and double the frosting.

Source: Betty Crocker

Peanut Sauce Chicken and Pasta Bowl

I didn’t do much cooking this past week because I’ve been trying to eat all the leftovers that have been accumulating in my freezer. Last night I found some poached chicken breast so I defrosted that and made a peanut sauce to go with. (I went easy on the spices so that my toddler could eat it.) Then I sautéed some onion and garlic, added the chicken, mixed up the sauce,  added it to the pan to heat, and served the mixture over small pasta shells. It turned out quite well. My 2.5 year old loved it and that’s saying a lot because she’s been very fussy as of late! It’s a versatile recipe that can be used to dress up just about anything but is especially good with chicken and noodles.

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Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne), if desired
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Directions

In 1-quart saucepan, mix all ingredients with wire whisk. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth and warm.
Use sauce immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 2 months.

Source: Betty Crocker Big Red Cookbook, 11th edition

Classic Dinner Rolls

Oh my, yet another adventure is parenting this past week. My daughter’s ear infection came back on Monday morning and I had to go pick her up from daycare. She had a fever for another 3 days so I missed more work to the point I have 6 days to make up now. I don’t think I can do it so it will have to be leave without pay :( On the upside, I had more time to cook. I was in the mood for Newfoundland and Labrador comfort food – toutons (fried bread dough)! I was curious to try a new bread recipe so I decided upon this one for dinner rolls. The dough is actually too soft and sweet for toutons but the dinner rolls turned out great! I almost forgot to add the egg and did so only after I had started mixing the dough, but it seems like it didn’t affect it at all. The rolls were super soft and almost milky on the inside, and the crust was just slightly crisp on the outside. They were melt in your mouth delicious, warm from the oven and slathered in butter! Mmmmm! A great choice for a special family gathering.

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Gold Medal Classic Dinner Rolls

Ingredients:

3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour or Better for Bread® bread flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter or margarine, room temperature

1 teaspoon salt

1 package regular or fast-acting dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup milk

1 large egg

Cooking spray to grease bowl and pan

1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted

Additional butter or margarine, room temperature, if desired

In a large bowl, stir 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, 1/4 cup butter, salt and yeast with a wooden spoon until well mixed. In a 1-quart saucepan, heat the water and milk over medium heat, stirring frequently, until very warm and an instant-read thermometer reads 120°F to 130°F. Add the water mixture and egg to flour mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, stopping frequently to scrape batter from side and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula, until flour mixture is moistened. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, stopping frequently to scrape bowl. With a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until dough is soft, leaves side of bowl and is easy to handle (dough maybe slightly sticky).

Sprinkle flour lightly on a countertop or large cutting board. Place dough on floured surface. Knead by folding dough toward you, then with the heels of your hands, pushing dough away from you with a short rocking motion. Move dough a quarter turn and repeat. Continue kneading about 5 minutes, sprinkling surface with more flour if dough starts to stick, until dough is smooth and springy. Spray a large bowl with the cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size. Dough is ready if an indentation remains when you press your fingertips about 1/2 inch into the dough.

Spray the bottom and sides of a 13×9-inch pan with the cooking spray. Gently push your fist into the dough to deflate it. Divide dough into 15 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball; place in pan. Brush with melted butter. Lightly spray sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray; cover the pan loosely with the plastic wrap, sprayed side down. Let rise in a warm place about 30 minutes or until dough has doubled in size. Remove plastic wrap.

Move the oven rack to a low position so that top of the pan will be in the center of the oven. Heat the oven to 375°F. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a cooling rack. For a softer crust, brush tops of rolls with room-temperature butter, using a pastry brush. Serve warm or cooled.

Makes 15 rolls

Do-Ahead
After placing rolls in pan, cover tightly with foil; refrigerate 4 to 24 hours. Before baking, remove foil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place about 2 hours or until dough has doubled in size. If some rising occurred in the refrigerator, rising time may be less than 2 hours. Bake as directed.

Variation
Cloverleaf Rolls: Grease 24 regular-size muffin cups with cooking spray. Make dough as directed–except after pushing fist into dough to deflate it, divide dough into 72 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Place 3 balls in each muffin cup. Brush with butter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place about 30 minutes or until dough has doubled in size. Bake as directed. Makes 24 rolls.

How-To
For dinner rolls, shape each piece of dough into a ball, pulling edges under to make a smooth top. Place balls, smooth side up, in greased pan.

How-To
For cloverleaf rolls, shape each piece of dough into a ball, pulling edges under to make a smooth top. Place 3 balls, smooth side up, in each muffin cup.

Nutrition Information:
1 Serving (1 Roll)Calories 160(Calories from Fat 40),Total Fat 4 1/2g(Saturated Fat 2 1/2g,Trans Fat 0g),Cholesterol 25mg;Sodium 190mg;Total Carbohydrate 26g(Dietary Fiber 0g,Sugars 4g),Protein 4g;Percent Daily Value*:Exchanges:1 Starch;0 Fruit;1/2 Other Carbohydrate;0 Skim Milk;0 Low-Fat Milk;0 Milk;0 Vegetable;0 Very Lean Meat;0 Lean Meat;0 High-Fat Meat;1 Fat;Carbohydrate Choices:2;*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Irish/British Style Buttermilk Scones

St. Patrick’s Day is upon us and I wanted to make something Irish themed but something simply green. I was considering making Irish soda bread but was in the mood for a light dessert. Scones, which are popular in Britian and Ireland, fit the bill. Unlike the heavy, sweet baked goods you find in many coffee shops, these are a slightly sweet, fluffy version of an American biscuit. In Britian, and also in Labrador where I’m from, the word biscuit usually means a hard, dry, sweet cookie. But these scones are soft and light on the inside, and crisp on the outside. Perfect served warm, slathered in butter, jam, or clotted cream.

I couldn’t any clotted cream at my local grocery but I found Devon custard, which was fairly good even though I’m not a custard fan at all. Mr. M liked it. Clotted cream has a high fat content of about 65% and could be classified as a butter in the US. I have tried in and it’s worth the hunt if you’re hosting afternoon tea. It’s very similar to Fussel’s canned cream which is very popular in Newfoundland and Labrador. My grandfather loved it and would use it to top pies, tarts, and berries – especially cloudberries. As a side note, I found a fun little article on the popularity of Fussel’s in NL. apparently there are often shortages because of laws related to imported diary products. Apparently, “every time a Newfoundlander downs a can of Fussell’s, they are eating the cream ration of roughly 15 Canadians.” (National Post, September 19, 2013) LOL

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Buttermilk Scones

Prep time 15 minutes, Total time 30 minutes Portion size 12 scones

Ingredients:

2-1/2 cups (625 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp (30 mL) granulated sugar
2-1/2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) cold butter, cubed
1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk
1 egg

Preparation:

In bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until in coarse crumbs with a few larger pieces. Whisk buttermilk with egg; using fork, stir into flour mixture just until dough forms.

Turn out onto lightly floured surface; knead gently 10 times. Pat out to 10- x 7-inch (25 x 18 cm) rectangle; trim edges to straighten. Cut into 6 squares; cut each diagonally in half.

Place, 1 inch (2.5 cm apart) on parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.

Change It Up

Apricot Almond Scones
Sprinkle 3/4 cup chopped dried apricots over ingredients just before stirring together. Shape and bake as directed; let cool completely. Stir together 1 cup icing sugar, 2 tbsp milk, dash almond extract and up to 1 tsp water, if necessary, to make thin icing; drizzle over scones. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds.

Dried Fruit and Lemon Scones
Add 2 tsp grated lemon zest to dry ingredients. Sprinkle 1/2 cup dried currants, raisins, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, chopped dried cherries or chopped prunes over ingredients just before stirring together. Shape and bake as directed.

Lemon Poppy Seed Scones
Add 1 tbsp grated lemon zest and 4 tsp poppy seeds to dry ingredients. Shape and bake as directed; let cool completely. Stir together 1 cup icing sugar, 2 tbsp lemon juice and up to 1 tsp water, if necessary, to make thin icing; drizzle over scones.

Nutritional Information Per scone: about cal 189 pro 4g total fat 9g sat. fat 5g carb 23g fibre 1g chol 37mg sodium 289mg
% RDI: calcium 6 iron 9 vit A 8 folate 26

Happy Pi Day!

This one snuck up on me. I’ve been meaning to pay more attention to food related holidays and this one would have been a great excuse to make a chocolate cream pie perhaps. Alas, my lack of attention to detail and penchant for procrastining has foiled me once again. I did make a lite flourless chocolate cake/ pie a little while ago. Here’s the link if you’re interested in giving it a try. Light Flourless Chocolate Cake Any suggestions for what I could make next? “Crack Pie” from bon appetit has been calling my name but I’m so afraid I’ll eat it all in one sitting and go into a diabetic coma. lol

Just pulled this from the net. The source is included at the bottom. Great job!

 

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