February 23, 2010

Mini Cheesecakes

During my retail therapy expedition to the kitchen store, I also picked up a mini cheesecake pan that I've been drooling over for some time. Basically, it looks like a muffin tin with 12 wells, but the bottom of each is removable - making for painless extraction of the little cheesecakes. Since Civic Orchestra is having a little dessert social tonight, I set out on the cheesecake quest. I made two kinds, cookies and cream and blackberry. Both recipes are here, with thanks to Bake or Break for the first.

PS: Don't worry if you don't have a nifty little pan like mine - use a regular muffin tin with liners.

Cookies and Cream Cheesecake


8oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c sugar
1/2 t vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 c sour cream
pinch salt
6 oreos, crushed
12 oreos, whole

Preheat oven to 325. Beat the cream cheese with a mixer until smooth, then blend in the sugar. Still mixing, add in the vanilla, eggs, sour cream and salt. Stir in the crushed oreos. Place a whole oreo in the bottom of each well of the cheesecake pan. Spoon in cheesecake mixture nearly to the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Chill before removing from pan.

Blackberry Cheesecake


8oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 c sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1 eggs
pinch salt
1 T blackberry jam
12 nilla wafers

Preheat oven to 325. Beat the cream cheese with a mixer until smooth, then blend in the sugar. Still mixing, add in the vanilla, egg, salt and jam. Place a nilla wafer in the bottom of each well of the cheesecake pan. Spoon in cheesecake mixture nearly to the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Chill before removing from pan.

Poach Pods

Not really a recipe, but still pretty neat. I found these at the kitchen store. I've always been strangely afraid of poaching eggs, after hearing so many horror stories. These babies make it a cinch though! Just spritz them with cooking spray, heat up some water, crack an egg into the pod, and watch it float around in the bubbles for a few minutes until it's done. Voila!

February 13, 2010

On Chicken Goop and other things to eat when you are sick...

When you're sick, the last thing you want to be doing is cooking. And when you're alone and sick, food is just not going to happen if you don't do it! Since I've spend the weekend in this position, I thought I'd post some of the staples that I must have in the house in the event of a sudden illness. No pictures today, because that is also not high on my list of things to do when I cannot leave the bathroom for more than five minutes at a time.

1) Sparkling jello

This is great to have around. The only downside is how long it takes to set, but it's definitely worth it. All you need is a package of your favorite jello and some ginger ale. Boil the water as directed on the package and stir in the jello mix. DO NOT ADD COLD WATER. Instead, refrigerate for 10 minutes, then instead of cold water, add the same amount of cold ginger ale. Refrigerate until set.

2) Chicken Goop

Once I've gotten past the jello stage, I need some real calories - but nothing too hard on my stomach. Chicken Goop is where it's at. All you need is a package of Uncle Ben's 90-second Roasted Chicken Rice and a can of Campbell's Soup at Hand Creamy Chicken. Microwave both according to the directions on the package and stir together in a bowl. The only downside is that you may have to defend this meal rather vigorously against a feline companion.

Dijon Chicken

Some days, you just need something quick and easy for dinner, especially when you're cooking for one. This is my go-to recipe for a quick, easy, and tasty chicken. Preparation is fast, less than five minutes, and it only takes 20 minutes or so to cook. The best part is that it very versatile. Don't like Dijon? Switch it out for some BBQ sauce. Bored with that? How about ranch or Italian dressing? Really, any sauce works!


1/2 chicken breast
1 T melted butter
1 T Dijon mustard
1/4 c bread crumbs
1/4 c Parmesan cheese

Combine the bread crumbs and cheese in a bowl or baggie. Stir together the butter and mustard in a second bowl. Dip the chicken into the mustard mix, then coat in bread crumbs. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

February 6, 2010


Having become a recent fan of hummus, the next logical step was to try my hand at pitas. My first attempt was an utter failure - my second, a success. I'm not sure if the success was due to the changes I made in the recipe, or just experience, but who cares? They're delicious! Especially fantastic when stuffed with spicy hummus and baby spinach! As an added bonus, this is probably one of the most fun breads to make, since you get to watching it puff up in the oven. Thanks to the Fresh Loaf for the basic recipe.


1 c wheat flour
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c bread flour
1 1/2 t salt
1 T honey
1 packet yeast
1 1/2 c water

If using active dry yeast, activate it in warm water.

Meanwhile, mix the flours and salts together, then add the honey, water, and yeast. Stir until a loose ball forms. Remove to a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Form into a boule. Grease a bowl and roll the dough in it to coat the dough with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, approximately 90 minutes.

Gently degass the dough and divide into six even pieces. Shape each section into a small boule, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, place a stone or an upside down cookie sheet in the oven and preheat the oven to at least 500. Hotter is better!

After the dough has relaxed, gently roll each section into thin circles. They should be between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick.

Bake pitas 2 at a time on the stone or cookie sheet. They should puff up in 3-5 minutes. Remember, opening the oven allows heat to escape, so wait several minutes between batches.