It’s Pumpkin Time: Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

It’s that time again, pumpkin season!!! Things are cooling off here in Ohio and fall is quickly setting in.  I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year.  I love the fresh air, the flavors, the leaves changing colors… but I hate that winter will be here sooner than I’d like.

I tried to hold off on baking with pumpkin for as long as I could, but I just could not hold back any longer. Tomorrow night a friend is hosting a Lia Sophia jewelry party, so I used that as an excuse to bake.  These pumpkin cheesecake muffins are to. die. for.  Every bite is like a little party in your mouth, I’m not even kidding.  I got this recipe idea from the lovely Pinterest, of course.  The original recipe came from Annie’s Eats. 

If you are a pumpkin fan of any sorts, make these asap! Seriously.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.  🙂

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 8 ounces  cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoont flour
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

For the muffins:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbls vegetable oil

For the topping:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. flour
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Instructions: 

1. To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese, egg, flour and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. Set aside.

2. To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.

3. To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.

4. To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin about 2/3 full with batter. Add a dollop of filling on top. Sprinkle with topping. Bake or 15 minutes

 

Mediterranean Salmon

Any recipe that uses feta cheese in it, makes me a happy girl.  It’s the middle eastern inside of me that is always craving a little feta. Growing up feta cheese was practically it’s own food group in our household.  We always had a plastic container filled with it and somehow it seemed to work its way on to the table during every meal.  A little strange, right?  If you’ve never tried feta cheese before, it’s highly recommended! I even love sprinkling it on a fresh salad.

I am pretty excited about this dish because Husband used to be 100% anti seafood, until more recently. Now whenever I cook any type of seafood I hold my breathe hoping that we will like it.  I’m happy to report that I got a two thumbs up on this dish! We both loved the flavors of the salmon and I especially loved how quick it was to put together and cook!

Enjoy!

Ingredients: 

  • 4 filets of salmon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 gloves of chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

1.  Preheat oven to 425.

2.  Mix olive oil and vinegar in a bowl.  Place salmon filets in shallow baking dish.  Rub garlic in to filets and then pour oil-vinegar mixture over.  Add basil, a pinch of salt and pepper.  Top with feta cheese.

3.  Place in oven uncovered, bake for 15 – 18 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Serve with rice and salad.  (I made brown rice, seasoned with 1 tablespoon of cumin for extra flavor!)

 

 

Cheesecake Brownie Bites

I made these delicious bites of goodness a while ago and never got the chance to post the recipe.  The brownie batter had a hint of espresso flavor and the cheesecake was perfectly moist and not too sweet.  If you’re not a fan of espresso, its ok! Only a few people could actually taste the espresso in the chocolate.  I can’t wait to make these again, they were a huge hit.

Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients: 

For the brownie batter: 

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1¼ cups baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder, mixed with 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2¼ cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour

For the cheesecake filling: 

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk

Instructions: 

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, baking cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso mixed with water, and vanilla until well combined.

3. Stir in the sugar and melted butter until well combined, then stir in the flour. Set brownie batter aside.

4. In a separate bowl, prepare the cheesecake filling by stirring together the cream cheese, sugar and egg yolk until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag or plastic bag.

5. Grease a non-stick mini-muffin pan with cooking spray and then spoon a tablespoon of brownie batter into the greased cups. Pipe a generous amount of cheesecake filling atop the brownie batter, and then top off each cup with an additional teaspoon of brownie batter.

6. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

7. Let the brownie bites cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then transfer them to a cooling rack to continue cooling, or enjoy warm.

 

 

Source: From the blog Just a Taste

Crispy Ranch Chicken

Yesterday Husband and I went to a food truck festival, SO MUCH FUN.  Who would’ve thought such yummy food could come from a food truck?  As expected, my favorite food truck was the cupcake truck, duh. I got a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting and it was heavenly.  I will definitely be on the look out for future food truck festivals.

 

 

For dinner tonight I made this Crispy Ranch Chicken and it turned out delicious.  I love this recipe because it had a fried chicken crunch, but it was baked and relatively healthy!  I modified this recipe from LaLoosh.

Enjoy!

Ingredients: 

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (4oz each)
  • 1 cup cornflakes cereal
  • 1 packet dry Ranch dressing mix
  • 1/2 cup fat free sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • Oil spray (Like PAM)

Instructions: 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2.  In bowl mix together sour cream and dijon mustard.  Coat each chicken breast with sour cream-mustard combination.

3.  In a large Ziploc bag, add the cornflakes and Ranch Mix, and crush cornflakes well.  Place mixture in bowl .

4. One by one, put each sour cream coated chicken in the seasoned cornflake crumbs and coat chicken breast well with cornflakes mixture.

5. Place coated chicken in a 9×13 inch baking dish that has been sprayed with non-fat cooking spray. Mist chicken with non fat oil spray.  Place in oven uncovered for 30-35 minutes until thoroughly cooked.

 

 

Greek Yogurt Oatmeal Pancakes

I have been a bad blogger lately, somehow the time has just escaped me.  How is it already August? I have so many recipes that I have made over the past few weeks that I haven’t gotten around to posting, but I will catch up eventually!

It’s that time again for us dental students, final exams week. Yayyy.  Personally, I’m pretty burnt out from school and I am lacking some serious motivation,  I know I just need to make it through Wednesday.  3 days, 5 exams … not so bad compared to our usual exam schedule.  Let’s just get this over with. I am definitely looking forward to the few days we will have off before starting fall semester. Husband, Diesel, Leo and I are all heading to NJ to visit my parents, one big happy family!

I woke up this morning craving pancakes.  What’s the rush?  Studying can wait.  So I made some AWESOME greek yogurt pancakes.  Oh the things you can do with greek yogurt.   In my last post,  I used greek yogurt in my chicken recipe. It’s such a great cooking ingredient that I never really thought to use before. These pancakes were super easy to throw together and tasted awesome.  Not to mention, they’re healthy! Husband started a new diet recently so I’ve been really making an effort to cook healthier.  I hope you enjoy these as much as we did 🙂

Nutrition facts for the curious minds:  Serving: 1 pancake; Calories 124; Total Fat 5.2 g; Total Carbohydrate 14.0 g; Dietary Fiber 0.8 g; Sugars 4.6 g; Protein 5.5 g

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (I used strawberry and blueberry Chobani Greek Yogurt)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions: 

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, yogurt, oil and milk, then add the oats.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

3. Add flour mixture to oats mixture. Mix with a spatula, just until combined. Batter will be thick.

4. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter per pancake onto a heated griddle and cook over medium heat until puffed and lightly golden on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. I topped mine with some fresh strawberries and a little bit of syrup.  Yummm.

Now that my belly is all full and I have coffee in me, it’s time to start studying, unfortunately I can’t avoid it any longer. Happy Saturday! Hope everyone has a fabulous day.

Recipe from: Voskos.com

Parmesan Chicken Bake

The title of this recipe is a little deceiving,  I know I was expecting a traditional Italian “Parmesan Chicken.”  But instead, this recipe uses a great parmesan-greek yogurt mix.  It’s a super quick and easy recipe that really turned out great.

Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup  greek yogurt
  • 1/2 c fresh parmesan cheese, plus more for the top
  • 1 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Ingredients:

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray the inside of a 9×13 glass pan.  Lay the chicken inside the pan.

2.  Mix together the remaining ingredients and spread evenly over each piece of chicken, being sure to cover all the exposed raw meat (so it doesn’t dry out.)  Sprinkle on a bit more fresh parmesan over all the chicken.

3.  Bake for 45 minutes.

 

Mini Nutella Cups

A friend and I made these (Hi Nour!) and they turned out delicious! Love, love, love this recipe.  I have been on quite the chocolate kick lately and these certainly hit the spot! They are the perfect size to satisfy a sweet tooth.  I can’t wait to make these again!

Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Jar of Nutella (12 tablespoons per batch)

Instructions: 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your mini muffin tin (unless it is nonstick like mine).

2. Cream butter and both sugar in bowl until light, smooth and fluffy! Beat in eggs and vanilla until fully incorporated. Gradually add dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda) until all the flour is mixed in!

3. Roll dough into balls 1.5 inches thick. (If dough is too runny, place in fridge for 10 minutes until it is a moldable consistency).  Place in mini muffin tins and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

4. When done, remove from oven and let sit for about 1 minute. Then make wells for the nutella with a shot glass, a similar object or a spoon. Add 1 tbsp Nutella to each cup.  Let cool for 15-20 minutes.

Get creative with toppings! We topped some of ours with m&m’s and pieces of snickers! Yumm!  This recipe made about 3 dozen – so be ready to chow down!

Original source: Daisy Chubb’s

Here are a couple other recipes I have made using Nutella:

Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Balls

Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend! I have a big week ahead of me, tomorrow is my first official day in clinic! Pretty exciting.  My first rotation is in the pediatric dentistry clinic. Open wide kiddos! I’m pretty excited/nervous. I’ve worked so hard for the past two years to finally get to this point! Let’s do it!

I love the way these peanut butter balls turned out.  Delicious! I do need to work on my presentation a little bit though. My kitchen was super warm the day I made these and the balls started softening before I could even get them in the chocolate.  So some of them turned out a bit sloppy, but I progressively got better! I also love that these are bite size desserts, they hit the spot when you need something sweet after dinner.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups graham crackers crumbs
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup crushed nuts (I used almonds)
  • 1 – 1 ¼ cup chocolate (I used semi-sweet chocolate)

Directions:

1. Take your graham crackers and blend to crumbs in a food processor until you get 1 ½ cups. Add graham crackers crumbs to the 1 cup of peanut butter. Add powdered sugar. Mix well.  You want the mixture to be dry enough to be able to form balls. Add a little bit more peanut butter or cracker crumbs to achieve this consistency if need be.

2. Form 20 even sized balls with your hands and place on a wax paper covered plate, cutting board or baking sheet. Freeze for 30-60 minutes.

3. Melt the chocolate in the microwave until just melted (do not overcook!) or use a double boiler and stir chocolate until melted. Placed mini chips or crushed almonds in a small bowl. (You can use whatever topping that you would like, be creative!)

4. Using a toothpick or fork dip the peanut butter balls in the melted chocolate, one at a time, and then toss in the topping until covered. Refrigerate or freeze until firm.

Recipe from: Baby Gizmo Blog

Pizza Pie

There’s an entertaining story behind this recipe…

Of course I found this recipe idea on Pinterest.  It originally came from the Taste of Home website and was titled “Tim Tebows (moms) Pizza Pie Recipe.”  Just a little background, Tim Tebow is husband’s absolute least favorite football player (possibly his least favorite person ever!).  In fact, for Christmas I bought him a t-shirt that says I hate Tim Tebow. On the day that I was planing on making this, husband asked me what I was making for dinner and I didn’t even think twice about it.  I just sent him a copy of the link to show him what I was making… his response “I’m going to McDonalds.”  Then it occurred to me… it had the name Tim Tebow in it.  Oops! His hate for Tim Tebow is so strong that he almost refused to eat this for dinner! But I told him I’d change the name of it to “Laura’s Pizza Pie.”  Clearly his hate for Tim Tebow was not able to stand in the way of how great this recipe turned out, considering he ate if for dinner and lunch the next day!

Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 envelope Italian-style spaghetti sauce mix
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tube (12 ounces) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup sliced black olives (optional) – substitute for other favorite pizza toppings!

Directions:

1. In a large skillet, cook and stir beef and pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the sauce mix, tomato paste and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 7-10 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

2. Separate biscuits; press onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9-in. deep-dish pie plate to form a crust. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese; fill with meat mixture.

3. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese and remaining Parmesan cheese over top and any other pizza toppings you might like. Bake at 400° for 15-18 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

Brownie Cupcakes

Happy 4th of July! What’s everyone up to today?  We  are going out to celebrate a friends birthday (Happy Birthday Andrew!!)  at a new Brazilian Steakhouse, here in Columbus.  I’m pretty excited to check this restaurant out, I’ve never been to a Brazilian Steakhouse before.  From what I hear, I need to be ready to chow down.

In other news, I passed boards part I! Oh my goodness, what a relief. Thank you to everyone who supported and believed in me 🙂  It was a rough road! I think little Leo was my lucky charm. Check out Leo and Diesel napping together, so cute right?

I made these cupcakes for Andrews birthday and he told me to dye the icing blue, so I went full force patriotic! Two birds, with one stone.  This is a great recipe, they turned out so delicious.  I topped the cupcakes with a buttercream frosting and add a chocolate/caramel drizzle to half of them, just to switch it up a little.

Enjoy!

Ingredients for Brownie Cupcakes: 

  • 3/4 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 ounces of unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions for Brownie Cupcakes: 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In pot, melt butter and two types of chocolate tougher.  Stir until smooth and lump free! Remove from heat and whisk both types of sugars in to chocolate mixture.  Add eggs one at a time.  Blend in vanilla, flour, and salt.

3.  Line 10 muffin pans and divide batter in to muffin tins.  Place in oven for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Ingredients for Buttercream Icing:

  • 1 cup solid vegetable shortening*
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon clear butter flavoring
  • 2 tablespoons water (or milk)
  • 1 tablespoon merengue powder (optional)
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (approximately 1 lb.)

Instructions for Buttercream Icing: 

1. With an electric mixer, soften shortening.  Add vanilla, butter flavoring, water (or milk), and merengue powder.  Mix well.
2. Start adding powdered sugar, one cup at a time until well blended.  I like my buttercream frosting to be really sweet, so taste as you go and add more or less depending on your sweet tooth
3. Once cupcakes are completely cool, its time for the best part – decorating! Decorate as you wish 🙂 I added blue dye to the icing and used a piping bag to decorate the cupcakes.
 Happy Fourth of July!!!