The easiest dessert I’ve ever made.

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It’s been a while! I won’t make any excuses. Let’s just get on with it.

I had one of those really, really difficult days today. The kind where you eat your feelings.

Crème brûlée… it just sounds hard, doesn’t it? I thought so too. But nothing makes a bad day better like a well orchestrated dessert.

S’mores crème brûlée (serves exactly two, thank you very much).

Smores Creme Brulee

Ingredients:

½ cups half and half.
½ cup whipping cream.
2 ounces chocolate of your liking, finely chopped (I used milk chocolate from Lindt).
2 egg yolks.
Graham cracker crumbs for garnish.

Mini marshmallows for garnish.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour half and half and whipping cream into a small saucepan and heat on low until it begins boiling.

Once it comes to a boil, add chocolate and mix until fully combined – it should look a little like a pot of hot chocolate.

Remove saucepan from stove.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolks until they are fully combined. Add yolks into the chocolate mixture slowly, stirring as you add.

Whisk together until contents are blended.

Divide between two custard cups.

Place custard cups in a baking pan and fill with hot water until they are about half submerged.

Bake in oven for fifty minutes, and once done remove them from the pan and chill in the refrigerator for two hours.

Top with mini marshmallows and caramelize using a culinary torch. Top with graham cracker crumbs, add whole pieces as garnish if desired.

*Feel free to double (serves 4) or quadruple (serves 8) this recipe to serve more as needed.

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Cream cheese stuffed strawberries (lovingly dipped in graham crackers) – perfection.

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I’m still on a cream cheese and strawberry kick this week and Dan isn’t complaining a bit. I made cream cheese stuffed strawberries (dipped in graham crackers and sprinkled with chocolate shavings) and they were all gone within five minutes. I ate two. Dan ate – and I kid you not – fifteen. In five minutes.

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That has to be a record. By the time I got comfortable on the couch there were only three left. Only men get this kind of freedom without seeing it add on to their weight a mere hour later. Luckily he saved me from that by eating them!

Cream cheese stuffed strawberries.

Cream Cheese Stuffed Strawberries

Ingredients:

One (small) package of strawberries

8 oz. cream cheese (low fat if it makes you feel better, like it did me).

3/4 cup powdered sugar.

2 oz. honey graham crackers (3 whole crackers)

Chocolate (for shavings).

Mix cream cheese and sugar until fully blended.

Cut ends of strawberries so that they can balance upright without falling.

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Remove leaves.

Hollow out strawberries – try to avoid cutting straight through and creating a hole.

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Fill strawberries with about 1/2 a tsp of cream cheese.

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Dip strawberries in graham cracker crumbs.

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Top strawberries with chocolate shavings.

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Mini strawberry chocolate cheesecake bites.

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Chocolate, graham crackers, fresh strawberries, and cream cheese.

Need I say more?

Dan ate 11 – yes, 11 – in one sitting.

Maybe I shouldn’t have made them so deceivingly small…..

Mini Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake Bites

Crust:

2 oz. graham crackers (3 full sized ones), crushed.

2 tbsp butter, softened.

2 tbsp white granulated sugar.

 

Filling:

8 oz. cream cheese (room temperature).

1 egg.

¼ cup white granulated sugar.

1 tsp vanilla.

9 dove chocolates.

8 small, fresh strawberries.

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Blend together graham crackers, butter, and sugar by hand.

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Fill mini cupcake liners with a tsp of the graham cracker crust.

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Bake for 5 minutes, then set aside.

Mix cream cheese, egg, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy – be sure that no lumps remain.

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Place ½ of a dove chocolate in each cupcake liner. I cut mine into strips to distribute the chocolate evenly, but it’s not necessary.

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Top chocolate with about 1 tsp of the cream cheese mixture, filling the liner to the brim.

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Bake for 10 minutes.

Top with a slice of strawberry and chocolate shavings.

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Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

 

Additional Information: This recipe makes about 16 mini cheesecake bites. Baking times and serving size will change depending on the size of cupcake liners you use. Because I used the smallest ones, they baked much faster.

Gorgonzola garlic butter – even better than it sounds.

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This evening, before the downpour began, I had a serious craving for some steak. I have to be completely honest with you, I’ve never been that great at steak, but this one turned out pretty phenomenal. Maybe it had something to do with the Gorgonzola garlic butter I whipped up while waiting for the potatoes to boil. Maybe it was all that butter I used in general. Either way, here’s a recipe for a quick fix that will make your meal taste that much better.

Gorgonzola Garlic Butter.

Title - Gorgonzola Garlic Butter

Ingredients:

3 garlic cloves.

3/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola.

1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature).

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Peel garlic cloves and wrap in aluminum foil.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Blend Gorgonzola, butter, and baked garlic cloves (should be mushy now) together.

Chill in refrigerator for at least 10 minutes, preferably 30. I only waited about 15.

Add a dollop of the Gorgonzola garlic butter on top of a steak while it’s still hot.

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Suggestions: I served this on grilled filet mignon (unseasoned), with mushrooms sauteed in garlic butter and garlic mashed potatoes. It sounds like a lot of garlic, but I swear it’s amazing!

Mushrooms

Steak and Mushrooms

Pizza Smothered Chicken.

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I love pizza. I could eat pizza every day. In fact, a couple of weeks ago I did eat pizza every day. Dan and I ordered $67 worth of Pizza Hut in one day. For a moment there, I felt like I may not be able to, in fact, sustain my love for it, but the feeling of disgust quickly faded. Now I’m back to needing it in my life once again.

 Here’s a little different take on chicken that somehow managed to satisfy my craving for pizza, and finally added a little variety to my week.

Pizza smothered chicken.

Pizza Smothered Chicken

Ingredients:

Olive oil (for frying).

Fresh mozzarella cheese (about 3 ounces).

¾ cup pizza sauce.

1 cup mushrooms.

1 garlic clove.

1 tbs butter.

½ of 1 tomato (on the vine type preferred).

3 small boneless chicken breasts, about ½ lb total.

1 egg.

½ cup panko breadcrumbs.

½ cup parmesan cheese + 1 tsp for topping.

2 tablespoons Italian seasoning.

1 tablespoon basil.

Heat up olive oil in frying pan on low-medium heat.

Mix breadcrumbs, ½ cup parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and basil in small bowl.

Stir egg in separate bowl to combine yolk and white.

Dip chicken breasts in egg and then in the breadcrumb mixture.

Fry for ten minutes or until cooked through, flipping breasts every 2 minutes or so.

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In the meantime, sauté mushrooms in garlic and butter for about 4-5 minutes, until softened. Set aside.

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Turn oven (or toaster oven, my preference) on broil.

Top each chicken breast with a slice of fresh mozzarella, about 1 ounce. I use the big mozzarella balls sold in the cheese section of grocery stores.

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Put in oven for 4-5 minutes, only until cheese softens and melts over the chicken.

Top with 1/4 cup pizza sauce (warmed will taste better), tomato (cubed or sliced), mushroom, fresh basil, and mozzarella cheese.

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Enjoy.

Garlic and Parmesan Crushed Potatoes

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Sorry for my lack of posts the last few days. I got stuck with a flat tire at 10pm at night in the middle of the ghetto and, ever since, life has been hard without a car- even if only for a couple of days. I am here to tell urge you to buy something incredibly essential – an AAA membership. I can‘t believe I let myself be the fool without it during an emergency!

Anyway, now that things are back to normal, there are very few things better in the world better than potatoes. Mashed, smashed, baked, grilled – they taste amazing every which way.

If you are cooking for a man in your home, you know how much they enjoy their side dishes, and mine especially loves his potatoes. This dish is perfect for you, but your man will love them even more.

I hope you –and him – enjoy this potato recipe as much as we do.

Garlic and Parmesan Crushed Potatoes.

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Ingredients:

15 small, red potatoes.

Olive oil spray.

1/2 cup olive oil.

1 tsp Italian seasoning.

1/4 tsp dried basil.

2 garlic cloves, diced or crushed.

Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste.

2 tbsp fresh Parmesan cheese.

Boil small, red potatoes for 10 minutes or until soft.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 400 degrees, spray baking sheet with olive oil spray, and dice or crush the garlic. I use my small Ninja whenever I need something crushed.

In a small bowl, mix olive oil, Italian seasoning, and garlic.

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Once cooked, drain potatoes and place evenly on baking sheet, about 4-5 inches apart depending on your sheet.

Using a potato masher, press down on the potatoes so that they are flattened, but not so much that they are not in one piece anymore.

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Using a brush, generously coat the potatoes with the olive oil mixture.

Sprinkle salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes over the potatoes lightly, or to your preference.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. I like to bake mine until they the garlic has browned and the potatoes are just a little crispy. You can also choose to warm them up a bit and removing them sooner, or, on the other hand, bake longer them until they are really crispy. Up to you.

Once done, sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese and serve.

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To mix things up a bit, in the past I have omitted the Italian seasoning and Parmesan, and instead topped the potatoes with bacon, chives, shredded cheddar cheese, and sour cream. I will be sure to post the altered recipe the next time I make them.

Five Minute Tomato and Basil Bruschetta Appetizer.

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Eat Pray Love has ignited the joy of cooking in me this evening! Later this week, I’ll be sure to cook something fabulous, but tonight I’m thinking light and quick.

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Tomato and Basil Bruschetta Appetizer.

Prep time: 3 minutes.

Cook time: 2 minutes.

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Ingredients:

1 tomato, chopped.

6 fresh, large basil leaves, chopped.

1 ounce fresh mozzarella, chopped.

2 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette.

2 tsp fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano (not pictured).

10 pieces of a french baguette.

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Set toaster oven on “toast” setting – or, alternatively, the bread can be grilled as well.

Toss tomato, basil, mozzarella, and balsamic vinaigrette in small bowl.

Place french baguette pieces in oven, toast for 2 minutes or until crispy.

Place about 1 tsp of earlier mix onto each piece of bread.

Cover each with a dash of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Serve and enjoy.

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A 5 Minute Maple Sugar Granola & Raspberry Parfait and a Comedy

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I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do more this Saturday night, make an elaborate dessert or lounge on the couch in my pjs. Both sounded equally appealing. Then I thought to myself- why can’t I do both?

I put Bridesmaids in – what a funny movie – and got to work.

…..Five minutes later I was done.

And the best part? The previews hadn’t even finished.

Maple Sugar Granola & Raspberry Parfait

Maple Sugar Granola & Raspberry Parfait

Prep time: 5 minutes.

Serves: 2

Ingredients

2 cups Greek yogurt – vanilla or other preferred flavor.

1 cup maple sugar granola

1 cup raspberries

Step one: Fill dessert glass with 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt.

Step One

Step two: Sprinkle about 1/4 cup maple sugar granola (found in the nut section of your local grocery store).

Step Two

Step three: Cover granola with 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt.

Step Three

Step four: Top with 1/2 cup of raspberries and sprinkle another 1/4 cup granola on top as garnish.

Final product

Step five: Repeat above steps in second dessert glass.

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Note: Different kinds of granola, yogurt, and fruit can be substituted as desired. I also recommend adding some grated chocolate on top 🙂

The Unhomemade Pizza Instructions

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Unhomemade Pizza Instructions

I’m going to completely honest with you here. Nothing in this recipe is homemade. In fact, it’s not really a recipe. More like a set of instructions. This isn’t the best pizza you’ll ever have. Wait – I take that back. After being awake for nearly 16 hours, this may actually taste like the best pizza you ever had. I’m not promising loads of organic ingredients and homemade deliciousness. No time for that today.

Maybe that’s a bad thing. I think not. With so little time on my hands these days, I’m a huge fan of anything fast and easy. After leaving for work at 7am and returning home at 11pm this week, the only thing I could think was:

1) FOOD and 2) SLEEP.

So here’s what I made.

The Unhomemade Pizza

Prep time: 5 minutes. Cook time: 10 minutes.

Ingredients:

1 premade pizza crust.
1/2 cup of pizza sauce.
2 tablespoons garlic spread.*
1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning.
~2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese.
~ 2 0unces fresh mozzarella cheese (I used a log, but mozzarella balls would be easier)
1 tablespoon fresh Romano cheese.
1 tablespoon fresh Parmesan cheese.
Fresh basil or other top+ping as desired.
Italian seasoning.

*Can be found at most grocery stores- Stop and Shop, Wegmans, Trader Joe’s to name a few.

Preheat oven per pizza crust recommendations. Don’t forget to place your pizza stone in the oven to heat up!

Spread garlic butter over the top of the pizza crust, making sure to cover the edges.

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Spread pizza sauce across crust – use less or more as desired.

Lightly cover with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Evenly distribute Parmesan and Romano cheeses.

Sprinkle Italian seasoning on cheese.

Place mozzarella balls evenly on pizza crust, leaving about 2-3 inches in between. If using cheese log, break pieces apart and spread evenly. Try to avoid the center to ensure easier cutting once baked (the cheese has a tendency to spill off).

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Bake for recommended time.

As the pizza is baking, trim and wash the fresh basil.

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Oh, and clean up that kitchen of yours.

Once it’s ready and hot off the press – erm, oven – spread basil across pizza and….. hmmm…. what’s that word? Oh right – enjoy!!!!!

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