Posts Tagged ‘cream cheese’

Lighter Chicken Bellagio

Oven-fried chicken with prosciutto, arugula and a guiltless pesto-asiago cream sauce aka a lighter version of the popular dish “Chicken Bellagio”.

Lighter Chicken Bellagio 2

Yesterday’s interview for an adjunct teaching position went very well. In fact they were quite impressed with me! The down-side is that they may only have one class for me to teach in the upcoming term (which translates to a small paycheck). But they might have more next term which starts in December, so getting my foot in the door now could pay off. I have lots to think about and if you know me at all you are aware of my very pensive mind. Which is a nice way of saying I think too darn much, especially when it involved life decisions.

Lighter Chicken Bellagio 1

In an effort to not over-think things let’s soothe the mind, body, and soul with some comfort food that’s been lightened up. I first had Chicken Bellagio at an Italian restaurant in Rochester, NY but apparently it is also a very popular dish at the Cheesecake Factory. Either way, after experiencing it I decided I needed to make a homemade version that is slightly healthier. The chicken is oven-fried and served over whole wheat pasta tossed in a light pesto-asiago cream sauce with prosciutto. Top it off with some fresh arugula and it’s a sight for sore eyes!

One year ago: Jalapeno Cheddar Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

Three years ago: Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Basil Roasted Peaches
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Raspberry-White Chocolate Icebox Pie

Is it a pie or is it cheesecake? Whatever it is, the combination of raspberry and white chocolate is undeniable. The vanilla wafer crust is worth attention as well.

Raspberry-White Chocolate Icebox Pie 2

(After I point it out, please ignore the chip in the plate pictured above. It saddens me but not enough to dispose of the plate.)

Two pies in one week, what is this madness?! But just wait this one is different. I thought that after heating up your oven making the peach pie you would not be keen to turn it on again for a prolonged period of time so how about a pie where all you have to bake is the crust? A delicious, vanilla wafer crust which blows graham cracker crusts out of the water pie. The filling requires no baking and actually reminds me more of a cheesecake than a pie. Raspberry-white chocolate cheesecake/pie or whatever you want to call it, just make it.

Raspberry-White Chocolate Icebox Pie 1

One year ago: Honey Pecan Milkshakes

Two years ago: Blueberry Walnut Oatmeal Pancakes with Vanilla Maple Glaze
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Pass the Cook Book Club: Emeril’s Almond-Poppy Seed Pound Cake with Lemon Neufchâtel

Slices of dense and flavorful almond-poppy seed cake coated with a lemon glaze and sandwiched around a lemon-Neufchatel. Hold on to your taste buds!

Almond-Poppy Seed Pound Cake with Lemon Neufchatel 1

PtCBC 2014

This month for Pass the Cook Book Club, Julie (White Lights on Wednesday) picked three recipes from Emeril’s Kicked-Up Sandwiches: Almond-Poppy Seed Pound Cake with Lemon Neufchatel, Turkey Waldorf Sandwich, and Beef Shwarma with Tzatziki Sauce. The shwarma originally struck me but when I looked more closely at the pound cake recipe, the slices sandwiched around lemon-Neufchatel seemed like a fun presentation.

Almond-Poppy Seed Pound Cake with Lemon Neufchatel 2

The cake itself is an almond-poppy seed pound cake but is infused with lemon flavor by a lemon glaze brushed on all sides and served with lemon-Neufchatel (or cream cheese). Unfortunately I did not think to reduce the temperature for baking in a glass loaf pan and the outside browned while the inside was just short of being fully cooked. But it did not deter my taste buds for one second. I even served it with freshly picked blueberries! My dad picked 9 pounds of blueberries the other day – we might have an addiction.

Almond-Poppy Seed Pound Cake with Lemon Neufchatel 3

One year ago: Birthday Cake S’mores Cookies

Two years ago: Corn Chowder with Zucchini and Orzo
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Blackberry Swirl Cheesecake

Creamy cheesecake with a sweet swirl of blackberries makes for one decadent and delicious summer dessert. Top it off with fresh blackberries and whipped cream.

Blackberry Swirl Cheesecake

This post has been a long time in the making. I made it Easter weekend and finally planned to share the recipe back in May only to discover that the images had magically disappeared from my camera’s memory card. With blackberry season upon us I figured it was a good time to try again. Thankfully it was good enough to warrant a second appearance and was gobbled up just as fast as the first time. The only thing I did differently the second time around was using chocolate graham crackers in the crust instead of regular. It was a most excellent substitution.

One year ago: Gluten-Free Caramel S’mores Bars

Three years ago: Butterbeer Ice Cream
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Sour Patch Kids Cake

Get a serious sweet-and-sour fix with this Sour Patch Kids Cake. Lemon cake, lemon frosting and a ton of Sour Patch Kids!

Sour Patch Kids Cake 1

More new nephew (newphew?) news! His name is Griffin Watson, born at 10:46 pm on 7/1/14 (at least in California), and weighed in at 6lbs 11 oz, 20.5 inches. Here’s another cute picture my brother shared (CLICK HERE). I cannot wait to see a picture of Luke and Griffin together! To celebrate I am giving you cake. Sour Patch Kid covered cake to be exact. The cake itself is lemon flavored, as is the frosting, and is decorated with Sour Patch Kid gummies and covered in any remnant Sour Patch sweet-but-sour sugar that collected at the bottom of the bag. “First they’re sour, then they’re sweet” indeed. Hopefully Griffin will be mostly sweet rather than sour, just like his big brother :-).

Sour Patch Kids Cake 2

This cake was actually made for a friend’s birthday. As you can guess when he told me he loved citrus things and Sour Patch Kids I took him at his word and made a lemony-Sour Patch covered cake. And he loved it! The inside was actually rainbow colored just like the surprise-rainbow lemon cake I shared awhile back (the method for creating that design ends up making 2 full cakes) which made it even more fun. The recipe here however does not reflect that method as I have left that secret to be discovered in the Surprise-Inside Cakes cookbook. If you haven’t checked it out yet you must!

One year ago: Fruit & Yogurt Popsicles

Two years ago: Shortbread Cookies
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Caramelized Onion Dip

Sweet and tangy caramelized onions shine in this dip. Pair with you favorite vegetables or chips for a perfect party appetizer. 

Caramelized Onion Dip 1

A few weeks ago some friends and I stayed at a cabin in the Smoky Mountains and for dinner we put together some homemade pizzas. As topping for one we were caramelizing onions – or so we thought. As I took a turn stirring the onions I noticed that they were pretty dry and had a chalky white residue. A couple more stirs and the end of the spatula broke off. Evidently it was not a heat proof spatula and it had been melting into the onions the entire time. I have not seen a non-heat proof spatula in years and it didn’t occur to any of us to check it to be sure. Alas those onions were tossed out but we still made some amazing pizzas.

Rest assured that when I cooked the caramelized onions for this dip, I used the proper tools. Thank goodness too because this dip was so much more than I has imagined. It knocks the pants off of any dip you could buy from the grocery store. Dare I say, the best onion dip I’ve ever had.

Caramelized Onion Dip 2

One year ago: Vanilla Bean-Nutmeg Shake with Blackberry Swirl

Three years ago: Nutella Waffles with Raspberry Syrup
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Red, White & Berry Hand Pies

Red, white & berry hand-held pies are stuffed with cream cheese, strawberries, and blueberries. Perfect for any patriotic event!

Red, White & Berry Hand Pies 2

Today’s another big day for the USA soccer team, taking on Germany this afternoon in hopes of continuing on into the knockout round of 16. There are several scenarios in which this could happen: (1) USA beats Germany, (2) USA ties Germany,(3) USA loses to Germany while Portugal and Ghana tie, or (4) USA loses to Germany, Portugal or Ghana wins (therefore tying the USA) and USA scores enough goals to win the goal point differential tiebreaker. In other words the odds are decent but not solid enough to breathe easy. To make matters worse I have to DVR the game and somehow avoid all commentary from the outside world before getting home to watch it myself. I should just go ahead and stuff cotton into my ears now.

Red, White & Berry Hand Pies 3

But if you could care less about soccer or futbol, or whatever it is you want to call it, don’t worry I have a fun mini dessert for you today. These hand pies were made using a star-shaped mini pie press and are stuffed with cheesecake, strawberries, and blueberries which is why they are called red, white and berry hand pies. The star shape of the pie may have blended while baking but there’s also a star-shaped vent cut into the top and that same piece of star-shaped crust is placed on top of the crust for more flair. Patriot enough for the fourth of July, Memorial Day, or for cheering on our nation’s soccer team!

Red, White & Berry Hand Pies 1

One year ago: Creamy Chicken and Herb Skillet
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Funfetti Stuffed Chocolate M&M Cookie Cake

This double chocolate M&M cookie cake has a surprise in the middle – a Funfetti truffle layer! Top with Funfetti frosting and this cookie cake is perfect for any celebration.

Funfetti Stuffed Chocolate M&M Cookie Cake 2

I graduated with my PhD in microbiology almost 6 months ago and still have yet to solidify a big-person job. Although this fact is quite unsettling, I have to admit that time off from the real world has been incredibly nice especially after all that hard work. I’ve spent a lot of time with my dad and step mom, been able to travel around a bit to see family and friends, and can pretty much bake/cook, workout/hike/kayak/play pickleball or tennis whenever I want. There’s so much to do with all the events and activities in the village and then the Smoky Mountains are just an hour away.

To help pay the bills however (such as student loans and storage for all my stuff still in Memphis) I did pick up a part-time job working at the gym in town. I check people in, sell memberships, answer questions, and tidy up the place. It’s kind of related to microbiology – I’m killing a bunch of germs on all that equipment! Not quite what a PhD is useful for but at least it’s something in the meantime. The best part is that 99% of the patrons are incredibly friendly. People here seem genuinely happy and I can only hope that not only a place this this village will exist when it’s time for me to retire (it’s never too early to plan for retirement right?) but that I will also still be as active and happy as they are here.

Funfetti Stuffed Chocolate M&M Cookie Cake 3

However none of that has anything to do with this cookie cake, other than the fact that it has the potential to smack a smile on your face and celebrate life. This double chocolate M&M cookie cake isn’t just any old cookie cake, it also has a Funfetti truffle layer in the middle and Funfetti frosting. You guys know how much I love stuffing cake batter/cake balls into everything in sight and this cookie cake is no exception. I love how well the bright M&Ms and sprinkles contrast with the rich chocolate color. You don’t need a special occasion to make this cookie cake but it certainly would be a great birthday cookie cake! (It does happen to be my good friend Becky’s birthday today!)

Funfetti Stuffed Chocolate M&M Cookie Cake 1

One year ago: Everything Bagel Bites with Bacon-Scallion Cream Cheese Dip

Three years ago: Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
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Greek Hummus Dip with Homemade Pita Chips

Dig into this layered Greek hummus dip with a cream cheese-Greek yogurt layer, hummus, and chopped tomatoes, red onions, cucumber and feta. Served with homemade pita chips.

Greek Hummus Dip with Homemade Pita Chips 1

The other day I was mailing out a bill and needed a stamp. I found a sheet of old Easter stamps on my parents’ desk and sent it on it’s way. Later that day, Sherrill asked me if I had any stamps for the letter she needed to mail and I pointed her in the direction of the sheet I used earlier. They weren’t stamps, they were stickers. Stickers that looked just like stamps with the ridged edges and everything but were not legal stamps. Of course the mailman had already pick up my letter which meant my bill would likely be late by the time it was returned and properly stamped. I waited a week and finally decided that it was time to call up the credit card company to see if I could reason with them, but first I got the bright idea to check my checking account. Guess what? The check was cashed which means the post office accepted the sticker as a stamp! Glad I wasn’t the only one who was duped.

Greek Hummus Dip with Homemade Pita Chips 2

This dip may seem complicated with the long list of ingredients but is pretty easy to throw together. The hummus is pureed in a food processor, the cream cheese and Greek yogurt are blended together, and then the two layers are topped with chopped veggies and feta. The homemade pita chips take a little more effort but if you are not up for the task feel free to skip and serve with store-bought pita chips, tortillas chips or vegetables.

One year ago: Breakfast Stromboli

Three years ago: Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Cookies
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Pesto-Feta Dip with Roasted Red Pepper

This quick and flavorful dip is perfect for crackers or any of your favorite vegetables. Feta, cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and pesto are blended together and topped with roasted red pepper.

Pesto-Feta Dip with Roasted Red Pepper 2

Yesterday was the grand opening ceremony for the new pickleball courts. There was music, hot dogs, cookies, lemonade, ice cream, clowns and a lot of pickleballs flying around. But beforehand I played pickleball on the old courts and actually some tennis too! It had been a very long time since I last played tennis and it was completely disorienting. I felt like a miniature person because pickleball really is a miniature version of tennis - everything felt huge. Tennis courts are much bigger, the net is a little higher, the racket is bigger than a paddle, and tennis balls bounce a lot higher than pickleballs. Of course the worst part was realizing I am no longer as good as I was in highschool and college. Apparently not playing for a few years will have that effect, who knew? I wonder if I can keep up with switching back and forth between the two sports though. May be difficult if only for time constraints.

If you couldn’t tell I am not having a hard time enjoying all this time off post-grad school. I did start working part time at the gym to help pay the bills but otherwise I am still living the retired life. Another perk of this situation is all the opportunities to cook. If I am not cooking dinner for my parents, I am whipping up a dessert or appetizer for their friends who come over for various game-nights. Since healthy options are always welcomed with this crowd I dished out this feta dip served with veggies.

Pesto-Feta Dip with Roasted Red Pepper 1

One year ago: Wheat-Oat-Flax Buns
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