Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Banana Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt

It's already mid July and this is the first time I've brought out my ice cream maker this summer. For the shame. But now I've got the bug again and you can be sure there will be some more recipes yet to come this summer. I found a great deal on banana greek yogurt at the store recently, and bought a bunch to eat and bake with. As you know, there's never a shortage of frozen bananas in my freezer, so I decided to use some of them along with the yogurt to make frozen yogurt!

I was really pleased with the results here. If you like yogurt-y frozen yogurt, this will be right up your alley. We especially liked it topped with caramel sauce to add a little more sweetness.

Find more inspiration at Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Tasty Tuesday, Fabulous, Show and Share, Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking, Wow Me, Wow Us.

Banana Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt

4 oz. light cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup whole milk
3 - 6 oz. containers banana greek yogurt
2 medium bananas, mashed

In a large batter bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, sugar and whole milk until smooth. Add in the yogurt and stir until smooth. Stir in the mashed bananas.

Pour the mixture into an ice cream machine and churn for 15-20 minutes or until soft serve stage. Transfer to a freezer safe container. Cover and freeze for several hours or overnight. Makes 1 quart.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Peach and Almond Loaf Cake

As usual with summertime, I have been loving all the fresh fruit! We're eating tons of raspberries, cherries, blueberries, strawberries and peaches...and loving every minute of it! Last week I made fruit crisp for a weeknight dessert and the whole pan was devoured! The whole pan. But I didn't have to feel too badly about it since it was FRUIT after all. I think you could make that case for any dessert with fruit in it. It's fruit! So let's bake a cake with fruit.

This delicious cake is courtesy of Helen's blog, Casa Costello. The subtitle of her blog is "cakes, cooking, kids" and I noticed she takes part of a lot of challenges or clubs that are cake related, not to mention having her own cake business. So, I thought one of her cakes would be a terrific pick for this month's Secret Recipe Club.

I was right - it was a terrific pick! This is a wonderful pound-cake like cake, without the pound measurements! Studded with peaches and almonds, it is a wonderful summer dessert. We only had vanilla ice cream on hand, but I think it would amazing with a blueberry or raspberry ice cream - the more fruit the better!

Peach and Almond Loaf Cake

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. almond extract
3 Tbsp. milk
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup sliced almonds
2 small peaches, peeled, pitted and diced

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating continually and scraping down the sides of the bowl so that the batter is thoroughly mixed. Beat in the almond extract.

Reduce the speed to low and alternately add the milk and flour mixture. Stir in the peaches and almonds.

Scrape batter into a greased 9" loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes until a toothpick comes out completely clean. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes then carefully remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack completely.

Serves 8-10.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps with Quick Pickles {Crock pot!}

Wow - two beef recipes in a row, and not only that, two beef crock pot recipes in a row so you can stay cool in the summer heat. We love lettuce wraps at our house (the kids call them lettuce tacos!) and enjoy the chicken variety regularly. (We love the shrimp variety too, just not as often for some reason!)

I saw this recipe in a recent Cooking Light magazine and knew immediately I would have to try it. BEEF Lettuce Wraps! With quick pickles! I knew this would be a great summertime dinner and I was not disappointed. This recipe does have a long list of ingredients but don't let that scare you off. You probably have many of these condiments in your fridge/cupboard already if you make Asian-inspired dishes. I had never bought miso paste before so that was new for me - you can find it in the dairy section of your supermarket (it's refrigerated) near the egg roll wrappers and such.

All the many condiments in this list combine for wonderful flavor. The deep, savory flavor is a wonderful contrast to the quick pickles, which you make simply by covering your cut up veggies in a vinegar/sugar/water concoction. Genius! A technique that was new to me is crisping up the beef slightly after it has cooked all day. This gives the beef wonderful texture so don't skip it!

I am not exaggerating when I say that this is ONE. AMAZING. DINNER. It's also easy, healthy and leftovers are just as good, if not better, the next day.

Get more inspiration at Create, Link, Inspire, Clever Chicks, Tasty Tuesday, Fabulous, Show and Share, What's Cooking, Wow Me, Wow Us, Hearth and Soul, Full Plate.

Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps with Quick Pickles

1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
8 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (2-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed
1/2 cup beef stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp. rice vinegar, divided
2 Tbsp. sesame oil, divided
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. white or red miso
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3/4 cup thinly sliced English cucumber
3/4 cup julienne-cut carrot
1 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
16 Bibb lettuce leaves
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Coat bottom and sides of a 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Layer onion slices in bottom of slow cooker; top with garlic. Place beef on top of onions and garlic.

Combine stock, soy sauce, 3 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, brown sugar, tomato paste, miso and red pepper in a measuring cup, stirring with a whisk. Pour mixture over beef and onions in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

When meat is done, place cucumber and carrot in 2 shallow bowls. Combine remaining 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 cup water, and sugar in a small saucepan over high heat; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; divide vinegar mixture evenly between cucumbers and carrots. Let stand for 15-20 minutes; drain well.

While pickling the vegetables, transfer beef from slow cooker to a large platter; shred with 2 forks. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat; add shredded beef to pan, pressing into an even layer. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, without stirring. Turn off heat. Sprinkle evenly with salt and 1/4 cup cooking liquid from slow cooker; toss to coat. Discard remaining cooking liquid, onions, and garlic.

Divide beef and pickles among lettuce leaves; sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Cooking Light

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Asian Beef Short Ribs {Crock Pot or Instant Pot!}

I love using my crock pot and my instant pot, especially in the summer so I don't have to turn on the stove or the oven. And I love short ribs. And I love Asian flavors. So you can imagine my joy in finding this recipe! I have made this several times now, and I love it more and more each time. It's SO easy to put together in the morning, and turns out wonderfully each and every time.

The flavor of these ribs is nothing short of spectacular. The first time I made them, my husband and I ate the WHOLE PLATTER by ourselves. True confessions. This beef would also make a great base for an Asian chopped salad, or for a noodle bowl, or anything else that your heart desires. It's just SO good. Please make it.

Get more great ideas at Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Fabulous, Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking, Wow Me, Full Plate.

Asian Beef Short Ribs

1/4 cup beef broth
3/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 to 4 green onions, sliced (plus save some for garnish)
1 Tbsp. chili garlic sauce or Sriracha
1 tsp. honey
2 to 3 lbs. beef short ribs, bone-in or boneless

Whisk together the beef broth, hoisin sauce, diced scallions, chili garlic sauce and honey in the slow cooker. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper on both sides and nestle into the slow cooker ensuring the sauce mixture is covering the beef.

Cover and cook until beef is tender, for about 7-8 hours on low or 4 to 6 hours on high.

Transfer short ribs to serving platter. Skim off any excess fat (if any) from the surface of the sauce and pour the sauce over the short ribs and garnish with more sliced green onions. Serve with white rice, noodles or roasted or steamed cauliflower.

For the instant pot: Place sauce in bottom of pot and add seasoned beef. Cook on high pressure on the manual setting for 45 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. If ribs are not tender, pressure cook again for 10 minutes.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Hip Foodie Mom

Monday, June 27, 2016

Cherry Almond Coffeecake

One of the most frequent questions I get is "when do you have time to bake?" I've always thought that was a funny question, because it really doesn't take that much time. Even this recipe, which has several layers and steps, only took me 20 minutes to put together. That's practically how long it takes my oven to heat up!

Now, granted, I could be doing something like sit ups or squats during that 20 minutes - maybe the people who ask me that question are doing that.

Clearly I'm not.

But seriously, baking really isn't that time-intensive. And it's so worth it on so many levels - you know what's going in your food cause you're making it yourself, it's better for you because you are controlling the ingredients, and it's cheaper than buying bakery-made stuff. If you can get your kids involved, it's even better!

A coffeecake like this one is a wonderful weekend breakfast/brunch idea, and super impressive to share with others. I got the cherry preserves at Trader Joe's but I'm sure they're readily available. And you can even swap out cherries for whatever fruit you like best. I chose to go with the cherry, as that's how this recipe caught my eye. Cherries and almond are two of my favorite flavors so when I found this recipe, I knew I would have to try it. And you should, too!

Find more great stuff at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Tasty Tuesday, Fabulous, Show and Share, Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking, Wow Me, Wow Us, Full Plate.

Cherry Almond Coffeecake

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (plain or cherry)
2 eggs, divided
1 tsp. almond extract
1 - 8 oz. package low fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup cherry preserves
1/3 cup sliced almonds

In a large bowl, mix flour and 3/4 cup sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Reserve 1/2 cup crumb mixture for topping. Add baking powder, baking soda and salt to remaining crumb mixture. Stir in sour cream or yogurt, 1 egg and almond extract until blended.

Spread batter onto bottom of a greased 9-in. springform pan. Set aside.

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and remaining sugar until smooth. Add remaining egg; beat on low speed just until blended. Pour into pan; spoon preserves over top. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture and almonds.

Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack 15 minutes. Loosen sides from pan with a knife; remove rim from pan. Serve warm or cold. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 12 servings.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Taste of Home

Monday, June 20, 2016

Blueberry Baked French Toast

True confessions: until now, I have never made baked french toast, french toast casserole, overnight french toast, whatever you want to call it. I've pinned several recipes, but just never did anything about it. So when I was assigned to Tara's Multicultural Table for Secret Recipe Club and I found this recipe, it was just the push I needed to actually make this dish.

And I'm so glad I did. We had it for brunch this past weekend, and my family ate the whole thing, and then asked if there was more. It was a huge hit. It's extremely easy to put together and can bake while some of the family is sleeping in. (Someone will have to get up to turn on the oven and put in the dish, but only one person. Maybe you won't draw the shortest straw on that one.)

Tara's recipe used strawberries, but I had a lot of blueberries on hand and so used those instead. I think this would be amazing with any berries, or with any combination. I'm already thinking of other great adjustments, like apples and cranberries, or apples with a caramel syrup, or pumpkin! There's lots of baked french toast in my future.

Be sure to check out all the other great recipes on Tara's blog, too...I am kind of ashamed that I was assigned Tara's Multicultural Table and I chose a decidedly American breakfast... although in my defense, French is in the name. She has a ton of really fascinating recipes from all over the globe. There's lots of inspiration there.

Get yourself some French bread and have a wonderful breakfast!

Find more good ideas at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up.

Blueberry Baked French Toast

4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon, divided
pinch cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla
6 cups cubed day old French bread (less than a 1 pound loaf)
1 cup blueberries, divided

In a large bowl or batter bowl, combine eggs, milk, cream, 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Whisk until well combined. Fold in the bread and 3/4 cup of blueberries. Pour into a lightly greased 9" round baking dish, cover, and refrigerate 8 hours to overnight.

Remove casserole from refrigerator =lace remaining blueberries evenly over top of casserole.

Bake at 350 until set and top begins to turn golden, 35-45 minutes. During the last 10 minutes in oven, sprinkle the top with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

Let sit 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Serves 6-8.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa and Cilantro Lime Crema

We love tacos at our house. Any fillings, any combos, flour or corn, hard or soft shell - it's all good. Shrimp tacos are one of our favorites. These Chipotle Shrimp Tacos have been my go-to for a long time, but there are so many great shrimp taco recipes and ideas out there that I decided I had to try another variety. This one is GREAT.

I love food that is colorful and this fits the bill. But it also has to be tasty. And it is. I love the combo of flavors AND textures here. Crunchy cabbage, ripe mango, creamy sauce, shrimp with a simple chili powder rub - they all combine to make a GREAT dinner. This recipe is also perfect for summer because it involves having a burner on for precisely one minute. (A few more minutes for the tortillas, too, I guess....but certainly not more than 5 minutes total!)

I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

There's more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Tasty Tuesday, Fabulous, Show and Share, Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking, Wow Us, Full Plate, Foodie Friday, Friday Frenzy.

Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa and Cilantro Lime Crema

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound large cooked shrimp
chili powder and salt to taste

Mango Salsa:
1 cup mango, finely diced (about 1 medium mango)
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 of a jalapeno pepper, minced
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, finely chopped

Cilantro Lime Crema:
1 cup sour cream (light is ok)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
2 tsp. lime juice
1 1/2 tsp. honey
1/4 cup salsa verde

1 cup shredded purple cabbage or regular coleslaw mix
8 corn or flour tortillas

For the shrimp: Heat the olive oil over high heat in a large pan. Season both sides of the shrimp with chili powder and salt to taste. Place the shrimp in a single layer in the pan and saute for one minute.

For the mango salsa: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, add salt to taste. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, up to 4 hours for the flavors to blend.

For the cilantro sauce: Place all ingredients in the food processor; process until sauce is smooth and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve: Warm the tortillas. Add a spoonful of sauce, a handful of cabbage and place the shrimp on top of the cabbage. Top with mango salsa and serve immediately.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Dinner at the Zoo
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