Monday, July 6, 2020

Ricotta Berry Tart

Some desserts are just so good they deserve a repeat performance. That's how it is with this tart. I made it two weekends in a row for two different parties because it's just that good. It's very impressive looking, and it's not too difficult to make. But you can pretend it is.

It's also a great way to take advantage of all the delicious summer berries that are abundant right now.

The ricotta filling is what really sets this tart apart. It's not cheesecakey, not super creamy, not really cakey either. It's unique. And since this tart will serve 10 to 12 people, you have enough for a crowd. I've also frozen a couple pieces that were leftover, and that worked really well. I love when you have a few pieces of dessert just waiting in the freezer for the right occasion, like a Tuesday!

The only "tricky" thing about this tart is getting it from the counter into the oven. It will be filled to the brim!

Here it is before it gets baked topped with the beautiful berries.

And here it is after it has cooled and the side of the tart pan has been removed.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! (do...)

Ricotta Berry Tart

1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. milk
1 1/2 cups flour

12 oz ricotta cheese (I use whole milk)
3 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. almond extract (or vanilla)
2 Tbsp. corn starch
1 pinch salt
1 1/4 cups berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)

For the crust, using an electric mixer, combine the egg and sugar until blended. Beat in the butter, salt and vanilla. Add the flour and milk and mix until combined. Pat the crust into the bottom and up the sides of a greased and floured 9" or 10" tart pan. You may want to grease your hands first - this will make it easier to work with the dough. (I spray my hands with nonstick spray, which works great!) Prick the dough with a fork a few times.

Wipe out the mixing bowl and add ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar, almond or vanilla extract, corn starch and salt. Beat until smooth and creamy. Carefully pour into the prepared crust. Top with the berries. Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes or until the top is set and edges start to become golden.

Let cool on a wire rack in the pan before removing the sides of the pan. Refrigerate until ready to serve. I like to have the tart sit at room temperature for about 1/2 hour before serving. Immediately before serving, dust with powdered sugar, if you like. Serves 10-12.

Recipe Source: Cooking with Manuela

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Creamy Hummus

Summer is the perfect time to eat more vegetables. And what better way to do that than with a delicious dip? This is probably the best hummus I've ever made, and I've made quite a few. But when I saw this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, I knew it must be special.

This version of hummus does require a little more work - you boil the canned chickpeas in an effort to get them to release their skins. It's not hard work, it just requires time basically, but the time is well spent. You will end up with super creamy hummus. Super is not an overstatement. This is really creamy and SO delicious.

Hummus and veggies (and pita chips! don't forget the pita chips!) make a great appetizer or cocktail hour snack. And the leftovers at our house were eaten for days plain old carrots. Plain old carrots feel decadent with a dip like this.

So get out in the sunshine, have some friends over, make some wine slushies and this hummus, and you'll have a perfect little get together.

And if you're just making this to get the kiddos to eat more veggies, that's ok, too. (But still make the wine slushies for yourself! ha!)

Find more great ideas at Fabulous, Inspire Me, Tasty Tuesday, Hearth and Soul, Full Plate.

Creamy Hummus

2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp. baking powder
4 cloves garlic, finely grated on a rasp
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus extra (2 lemons)
1/4 tsp. Tabasco
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup tahini, stirred well
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Combine the chickpeas, baking powder and 6 cups water in a large saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover, lower the heat, and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a small measuring cup, combine the garlic and 1/3 cup lemon juice and then set aside.

Drain the water and the chickpea skins that float to the top, leaving the chickpeas in the pan. Add cold water, stir vigorously to loosen more skins, and drain off the water and skins that float to the top, again leaving the chickpeas in the saucepan. Do this 5 or 6 times, until most of the skins are drained off. Drain the chickpeas, setting aside 2 tablespoons for the garnish and place the rest in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the garlic/lemon mixture, Tabasco, paprika, 1/4 cup warm water, salt and pepper and process until very smooth. Add the tahini and olive oil and puree for one full minute, until creamy. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of extra lemon juice (to taste), an additional 1 teaspoon salt, and enough warm water (1 tablespoon at a time) to make the hummus the consistency of thick yogurt.

Using a rubber spatula, spread the hummus on a large, flat, round serving plate, leaving a 2-inch border. Sprinkle the reserved chickpeas and drizzle with extra olive oil, sprinkle lightly with extra paprika, and serve with toasted pita triangles and crudite.

Recipe Source: Barefoot Contessa

Monday, June 1, 2020

Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake

Raspberries just scream "summer" to me. So when they were on sale recently, I bought some, determined to do something "fancy" with them. I made a danish from scratch (coming soon) and wanted to improve my skills at making a layer cake, so I thought this would be the perfect recipe.

It was. Not only is it chock full of raspberries, but the cake and the frosting both have lemon, another "summer" ingredient. This cake is SO delicious. It's not too heavy, but it's very impressive. It's the perfect late spring or summer dessert.

This cake received rave reviews from both family and friends, and I'm sure you'll have the same experience. The days are more reliably summer-like, so it's the perfect time to make a fantastic fruity cake.

Find more great ideas at Fabulous, Inspire Me, Tasty Tuesday, Hearth and Soul.

Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake

1 cup canola or vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/3 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. lemon zest
2 cups sugar
2 cups + 2 Tbsp. flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 8-ounce pkg. cream cheese, softened (low fat is ok)
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. lemon zest

additional raspberries
lemon slices

In a small bowl, carefully toss raspberries with 2 Tbsp. of flour to coat them. This helps to keep the raspberries from sinking to the bottom.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oil, eggs, buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Cream for 2 minutes. In a separate large bowl, combine sugar, 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir into egg mixture and fold.

Spray two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Divide batter into baking pans. Bake at 325 for 35-45 minutes. Cake is done when a tester comes out with few crumbs attached. Cool in pans on a wire rack.

For frosting, in a large bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl often. Add powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest and cream together. Chill.

To assemble cake:
Carefully remove cakes from pan. Spread frosting on top of one cooled cake layer. Place other cooled cake layer on top and spread frosting on top and around the sides to cover. Garnish with fresh raspberries and lemon slices. Chill for 20-30 minutes to let the frosting set up.

Recipe Source: Modern Honey

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Triple Coconut Donuts

There is not much better than homemade donuts. And baked donuts are really a great addition to breakfast, brunch or breakfast for dinner. I have lots of varieties already on this blog - cinnamon roll, chocolate, strawberry, pumpkin, caramel apple - but when I had some leftover coconut milk I knew I wanted to try a coconut version.

Because there is also not much better than toasted coconut - am I right? I ate quite a bit of it right off the sheet pan (true confessions).

These donuts have coconut milk and extract in both the dough and the icing, and then are topped with that amazing toasted coconut.

The dipping in icing and topping with coconut can get a little messy, so I put a paper towel (or a baking sheet) under the wire rack to catch all the drips. Bonus: you can then pick off the coconut laden icing treats and eat them. Ha!

Make your donut dreams come true with this amazing recipe.

Find more inspiration at Full Plate, Hearth and Soul, Inspire Me.

Triple Coconut Donuts

3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 tsp. coconut extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 large egg

Icing and topping:
2 cups shredded coconut, sweetened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. coconut extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup canned coconut milk

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, and nutmeg.

Using an electric mixer, beat together sugar, butter, coconut extract, vanilla extract, coconut milk, and egg until well-incorporated. Gently add the dry ingredients to the bowl of the stand mixer and mix until a soft & sticky dough forms.

Carefully spoon the dough into donut pans sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Carefully remove the donuts to a wire rack to cool completely.

Spread the shredded coconut on a baking sheet in an even layer and bake at 400 for 4-6 minutes. The coconut will not start to brown til several minutes in, but then it will brown quickly and could burn. After the first 3 minutes, shake the pan, and then check it every minute. Once it starts to brown, remove it from the oven.

In a medium bowl, big enough for you to dip the donuts in, whisk together the salt, extracts, coconut milk, and powdered sugar until smooth.

Dip the cooled donuts in the glaze, then let the excess drip off. Dip in the toasted coconut and return to a wire rack to dry. Repeat until all donuts have been topped. Makes 12-15 donuts.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Bacon, Broccoli and Hashbrowns Breakfast Bake

Since we've been spending so much more time at home, I've been trying to be creative about weekend breakfasts. During the week, everyone is on their own for breakfast, and actually our teens usually go right to lunch since they sleep in! But on the weekend I like to have breakfast (or let's be honest, lunch, but I call it brunch to be more fancy) together.

Waffles, french toast and pancakes are the usual standbys, but I made this casserole last weekend and it was a huge hit. I simply adjusted my recipe for Sausage and Potato Breakfast Casserole, and voila, another great version!

It also is so hearty that we had half leftover, so it became supper later in the week. Score!

It's easy peasy, too - just layer hash browns with bacon, broccoli and cheese and pour a seasoned egg mixture over the top. While it bakes, you can make a fruit salad or whatever else you would like to serve. I had a danish in the freezer from Easter (recipe coming soon) and made donuts when I served this for supper. However you serve it, I hope it's a new favorite in your house like it was in ours.

Find more great ideas at Inspire Me, Inspire Me 2, Fabulous, Hearth and Soul.

Bacon, Broccoli and Hashbrowns Breakfast Bake

8 - 10 ounces bacon
10 ounce package frozen broccoli florets, thawed but not steamed or cooked
1 (30-32oz) bag frozen shredded hashbrowns
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
8 eggs
2 cups milk

Cut bacon into small bite sized pieces. (I do this with a kitchen shears holding the bacon over the skillet and just snipping away.) In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until nearly crisp. Remove with a slotted spatula and then drain all but 1 Tbsp. fat. Return skillet to the heat and add hash browns to skillet. Cook until lightly browned.

Place hash browns in bottom of lightly greased 9x13 inch pan. Top with bacon and broccoli (if there are large pieces of frozen broccoli, cut them up smaller first!) and then cover with the cheese.

Whisk together eggs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and milk. Pour over hash brown mixture.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 8-10.

(If you want to make this ahead of time, after adding the egg mixture, cover and refrigerate. Add ten minutes to the baking time.)

Monday, April 27, 2020

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies {Gluten Free, Dairy Free}

These cookies. They are SO good. And so addicting. It's hard to eat just one; but why should you? Especially if you make them small enough, you won't feel badly about eating several! I used my small cookie scoop and the cookies are just adorable - 3 bites and they're gone!

And they're SO easy. They come together in a snap.

These cookies are naturally gluten and dairy free, but even if you don't have those dietary restrictions, you will really enjoy these cookies. Whip them up tonight and you will have a happy family on your hands. Just be sure you have tall glasses of milk to serve with these. I think I'm off to make more cookies!

Find more good things at Inspire Me, Inspire Me 2, Fabulous, Hearth and Soul, Tasty Tuesday, Full Plate.

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup peanut butter (not natural)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

In a large bowl of a stand mixer, beat peanut butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add egg, vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Mix for about a minute. Shape into balls, and if desired roll in additional sugar (about 1/4 cup will work). Flatten with a criss cross pattern with a fork, or simply flatten with the bottom of a glass. Bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes, don’t over-bake, and let them sit on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

Monday, April 13, 2020

Creamy Chicken Stuffed Peppers

This is a delightfully different dinner idea. And it was a huge hit at my house. Bonus: significant vegetable eating. When I serve these, my teenagers eat a whole bell pepper in one sitting.

The cream cheese makes these stuffed peppers delightfully creamy (as you would expect based on the title!) and the jalapeno, cumin and salsa contribute amazing flavors. These are so easy to make, and especially easy if you have cut up chicken on hand.

Change up your dinner rotation with these great stuffed peppers. You will be glad you did!

Creamy Chicken Stuffed Peppers

4 bell peppers
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
1 - 8 ounce package light cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded Colby jack cheese
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and finely diced
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup salsa
Fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish

Slice each pepper in half and remove the seeds. Set each pepper half in a greased 9x13 baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix together chicken, cream cheese, Colby jack cheese, jalapeno, cumin, salt, and salsa. Scoop mix into each pepper.

Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Remove the foil and broil the peppers for 3-4 minutes to crisp up the tops, if you like.

Garnish with cilantro and serve. Makes 4-6 servings.
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