Saturday, July 2, 2011

Strawberry Cheesecake

For Father's Day I got a request from my Dad for a cheesecake. He always makes me laugh because he asks me "I want you to make me a good cheesecake." Of course it is going to be good--why wouldn't I give you something that tastes great? That's my Dad...

So I did some research on different recipes to see what common ingredients were used in each. I also read through the comments that other foodies posted about these recipes they made. After all that, I finally picked the cheesecake I wanted to try. It looked beautiful with a technique I have always wanted to try, the ingredients were easy and it had strawberries in it which my dad wanted. The only thing I would do differently next time I make this is not to make so much strawberry sauce--I would make a 1/3 of it. I only used the strawberry sauce on the top of the cheesecake and that was plenty. This recipe came out great though and it is definitely a keeper!

Strawberry Cheesecake
Serves 12 (I made 2 cheesecakes with this 1 recipe)
Recipe courtesy of


1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen sweetened strawberries, thawed
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons white sugar -- my addition
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon water

Directions: Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press onto the bottom of an ungreased 9-in. springform pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. In a blender or food processor, combine strawberries and cornstarch and 2 Tablespoons white sugar; cover and process until smooth. Pour into a saucepan; bring to a boil. Boil and stir for 2 minutes. Set aside 1/3 cup strawberry sauce; cool. Cover and refrigerate remaining sauce for serving. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in milk. Add lemon juice; mix well. Add eggs, beat on low just until combined. Pour half of the cream cheese mixture over crust. Drop half of the reserved strawberry mixture by 1/2 teaspoonfuls onto cream cheese layer. Carefully spoon remaining cream cheese mixture over sauce. Drop remaining strawberry sauce by 1/2 teaspoonfuls on top. With a knife, cut through top layer only to swirl strawberry sauce. Bake at 300 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove side of pan. Thin chilled strawberry sauce with water if desired; serve with cheesecake. Store in the refrigerator.

Graham cracker crumb mixture pressed into bottom of one of my cheesecakes.
Strawberries, cornstarch and sugar after boiling.
Cream cheese mixture. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature to avoid lumps.
Cheesecake mixture goes into prepared pan.
Decorated and ready to go into the oven.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Grilled Zucchini and Bean Salad

I love watching the Food Network channel on Saturday mornings. Being able to watch the chef prepare their meal makes it so much easier when you are finally ready to cook the dish. I recently watched the show Mexican Made Easy and discovered this delicious salad recipe. When I saw how easy and delicious this recipe was I immediately printed it out and tried it. It is not only simple and delicious, it is healthy! So I hope you enjoy this recipe because it is a keeper!

Grilled Zucchini and Bean Salad
Makes 4-6 servings
Recipe from Food Network chef Marcela Valladolid

2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice, from about 1 lime
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped (I used half a jalapeno pepper)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce) can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained (I used garbanzo beans)
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (I used the small red kidney beans)
3 zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick slices

Directions: Prepare a barbecue or grill pan to medium-high. In a medium glass bowl, whisk the lime juice, vinegar and oil until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Add the red onions, cilantro, serrano chiles and garlic and toss gently until the vegetables are coated. Add the beans and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Brush the zucchinis on both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the zucchini on a lightly oiled grill rack until tender, turning over once, about 4 minutes per side. Cut the zucchini crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Add the zucchini to the bowl with the dressing and beans. Toss to combine and serve.
Zucchinis ready to go on the grill.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Creamy Feta Shrimp Scampi

Although I consider myself a foodie, it saddens me to say that I don’t enjoy eating fish too much. Don’t get me wrong, I love fried clams, a good shrimp ceviche and sometimes salmon but that is really the extent of it. However my hubby really loves seafood and since I am the chef of the house, I try to accommodate every request. So I put all feelings aside and gave this creamy feta shrimp scampi recipe a try and let me tell you, it is a keeper! I was really impressed how yummy it was. I hope you enjoy it too!

Creamy Feta Shrimp Scampi
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of Glamour magazine

1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1/3 cup white wine
1/4 tsp kosher salt
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and prepared
2 oz crumbled feta cheese
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used 3 Tbsp)

Directions: Combine butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add the garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant, about one minute. Add the wine, salt and pepper flakes. Simmer the mixture until it is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until almost opaque, 2 minutes. Crumble in feta; add parsley and lemon juice. Simmer, stirring until the cheese melts and the shrimp is cooked through, about one minute. I served with whole wheat spaghetti which I topped with some of the sauce and parsley.

Butter, olive oil with garlic, white wine and red pepper flakes.

Shrimp goes in and 2-3 minutes you have...