Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Monday, April 30, 2012

When I saw a picture of these on Pinterest, I wanted to make them right away.  Seriously, fresh strawberries filled with cheesecake?  Why had I never thought of or seen this?  Unfortunately, I didn't have the ingredients and it took me months to remember to get them.  Recently I was invited to a girl's night and needed to bring a treat.  I immediately thought of these.  So, off to the store I went to get my strawberries and cream cheese, and let me tell you, they did not disappoint!

Recipe Source: The Sweets Life
Click here for printable recipe.

Posted by Katie.

The Ingredients:

1 lb. strawberries
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4-6 Tbsp. powdered sugar (just sweeten it until it is to your liking)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
graham cracker crumbs

Rinse strawberries and cut out the leaves.  There is naturally a little hole in there, but you can make it a little bigger to make more room for filling.

In a bowl, beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until creamy and smooth.

If you don't have a piping bag, take a baggie, put it over a cup with the edges over the sides, and put all the filling inside.

Close the bag and cut a small hole in the corner.  Squeeze some filling into each strawberry.

Dip the top in graham cracker crumbs.

Cover and keep refrigerated until ready to eat.



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Stuffed French Bread

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Everyone at my house LOVES French Bread.  The best store bought bread we have found is at Walmart and we get some just about every time we are there.  It is always warm and so soft!  I usually make it into garlic bread, and maybe add a little cheese in, and when I saw this idea I had to try it!  If you like mustard and cheese and French bread, you will love this.  The concept is great too.  We served it with Grilled Bruschetta Chicken and I was thinking that the tomato/cheese topping on that would be yummy stuffed in this bread.  So many possibilities and so delicious!

Recipe Source: Monster Mama
Click here for the printable recipe.

Posted by Katie.

The Ingredients:

1 loaf  unsliced French Bread
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. minced onion or onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used Colby Jack)
1 1/2 Tbsp. mustard
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (or parsley flakes)

Preheat oven to 375.  Cut "X" slices in your bread, not cutting all the way through, to make little squares you can stuff stuff around.  Wrap bottom of bread in foil and set aside.
In a small bowl, melt butter.  Mix in lemon juice, onion, garlic powder, and mustard.  Whisk well until combined.
Using a pastry brush, or spoon, spread butter mixture evenly throughout all the little crevices in your bread.
Stuff cheese around in the same way.
Place in oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is well melted and a little bubbly.

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How to do a Buttercream Transfer

Monday, April 23, 2012

It's your child's birthday soon and they're asking you to make the impossible.  But, I'm here to tell you that it may NOT be impossible.  My children are always asking for the random cake design and they know that Mommy will try her hardest to deliver what they ask for.  I have learned how to create Buttercream Transfers in order to make that perfect picture that I know I can't draw freehand.  So this year when my son asked for an Angry Birds birthday cake, I thought I'd take advantage of also teaching you all how to do a buttercream transfer.  It is a way to decorate a cake and make it look like anything you want.  It's so much easier than freehand piping.  All you need is a picture of what you want on your cake and a few other decorating items and you get a near professional looking cake.  Just make sure your picture isn't too involved or has too many lines.  This angry bird was a perfect design.  I learned how to do this years ago at a cake decorating class at a church activity.  Here is another tutorial on how to do it .  (This is the one I learned from).  So this is for you all who want to create a wonderful birthday cake that will make your child smile.
Click here for printable recipe/directions. 

Post by: Jen


White buttercream* (recipe follows)
Food coloring
Flat portable surface (like cutting board)
Wax paper
INVERTED picture print out of your design 
Piping bags (I would recommend these because buttercream is thick and your Ziplock baggies will burst)
Piping tips (plain holes, but not too small)
Coupler (to hold your piping tips in place)

*Buttercream decorating frosting recipe:
1 c butter, softened
1 c shortening (regular white shortening) 
1 tsp butter flavoring (Wilton makes a good one)
1 tsp vanilla (use clear vanilla to keep the frosting more white)
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 lbs powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Cream butter, shortening, and salt until smooth.  Add flavorings and mix together well.  Add about 1 lb of powdered sugar and mix until smooth.  Add 1/2 c powdered sugar at a time and keep mixing until desired consistency.  Add a little water* (tsp at a time) to make it smoother or thinner if desired.  You do want this one a little thin to make it easier to color in your lines.  *Yes, you could use milk instead but then you'd have to refrigerate any leftover frosting.

**Important note:  DO NOT use the store bought frosting in a container to do this and think that it will save you time.  It will NOT freeze and therefore you will not be able to peel off the wax paper.  I know this because I tried it one year and was seriously disappointed and had to end up piping the picture freehand at the last minute.  Just thought I'd let you know.

Print out your picture in reverse.  I guess for this Angry Bird it didn't really matter which way he was facing, but if you have words then you want it reversed.  This is because we are going to flip the end result onto the cake and whatever you see now, will end up on the bottom.  Tape your picture to the cutting board.  Now tape wax paper over the top of the picture.  Make sure the wax paper is smooth.

The first thing you want to do is trace ALL your outlines, most likely in black, although it would really depend on the picture you're doing.

After doing your outline, think about your layers.  If there are small areas to color in, do those first.  Or if there are parts of your picture that you need to "pop" out more than others, do those first as well.  Here I did the cheeks first because it was a small area.
Next I filled in the eyes, completely covering the eyeballs.  Make sure that you fill in all the gaps and smooth out your frosting inbetween layers.  Otherwise you'll have a bumpy looking picture.

After doing the small areas, fill in your larger areas.  Again make sure to smooth it out as much as possible and fill in all the little gaps (especially next to the neighboring lines) 

I also traced around the picture in the same color that the cake is going to be frosted.  That way we will be able to blend in the transfer a little better onto the cake. (you'll see what I mean in a minute)  Now cover your picture with the same color frosting as your cake and smooth it all out so it is flat.

Cover your picture with another piece of wax paper and place in the freezer for a couple hours.  Although I have easily left it in there for a few days.  (In fact I still have one in there from a few months ago and I'm sure it will still be fine.  IF you do leave it in the freezer for a while, just make sure that it is protected, as your transfer is fragile. *See last picture on this post for an example of what I'm talking about)

After your cake is frosted and the top of your cake is smooth, then remove the transfer from the freezer.  Remove it from the cutting board and if you look at the bottom you should see a perfectly colored picture of your design.  Take the bottom (white layer in the above picture) and place it flat on the top of your cake.  Carefully remove the wax layer from your top.
You may see some bubbles or bumps where it didn't get smoothed before freezing.  No problem.  Just take a flat metal knife and heat it under some hot water.  Dry off your warm knife and carefully use the warm tip to smooth out your bumpy parts.  Using a warm flat knife helps melt the shortening thus creating a smooth surface.  

Now you may notice how thick your transfer is and that it's not blended in very well onto your cake.  Just take a warm knife again, and begin to smooth the edges into the surface of your cake.  You may need to add more frosting to make it all blend in well.
 Yes, this does create a bit of a thick top on your cake, but let's face love frosting.

Finish with the decorating or any other piping of borders you want to do.   Watch you child smile as he sees that you created exactly what he wanted for his birthday!

Here are some other examples of transfers I have done: 
The General Grievous cake was a bit of a pain because there were so many little lines to trace.  
This was for an anniversary celebration of a women's group at a church activity. This is an example of where you definitely want to print the picture in reverse so that your end result has words going the right direction.  (Yes, it is in french, because I live in France.  But it says "Charity never faileth"
This is an example of what the transfer looks like when you take it out of the freezer.  I couldn't decide which General Grievous picture to do so I did two of them.  This has been in my freezer for months.  

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Dijon Chicken

Friday, April 20, 2012

This recipe has been a "go to" favorite of mine for years. I forget where I found this recipe, but I know it was a clipping out of a magazine or something. You probably have all these ingredients stocked in your kitchen most of the time, so this is a great last minute, yummy dinner. And it's ready in about 1/2 hour, from start to finish.

Click here for printable recipe. 

Post by: Jen


4 boneless chicken breasts (for 4 servings)
2 Tbsp olive oil (or vegetable oil)
4 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning

(Yes, I know that there are not 4 chicken breasts in the picture. I forgot to take the picture before cooking them, and therefore replaced them with a turkey breast. Although I don't see why you couldn't also use turkey breast in this recipe as well. Just adjust the baking time.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a shallow bowl or plate, mix all the ingredients except for the chicken.

Mix well.

Cover the chicken with the Dijon mixture.

Place in baking pan. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes or until done.
Half hour later you can serve a delicious and easy meal to your family or guests!

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Wedding Soup

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It's Spring break time and unfortunately it's cold and rainy. So, today is a great day for soup. I recently came across this recipe in a Mediterranean cookbook. And as usual, I searched around on the internet for various Wedding Soup recipes and decided to do it this way. It's super easy and rather versatile. You could add more or less of whatever you want. (Like carrots? Then add them!) I ended up adding bow-tie noodles to mine, which was good because my son said, "You know the best thing about eating this? Avoiding the green stuff to get to the noodles!" Um, OK. But at least he ate it. Well, except for the "green stuff".

                                       Click here for printable recipe.

Posted by: Jen

2 cans chicken broth
about 1/2 bag already cooked meatballs (or cook them previously)
1 c. raw spinach leaves (or a couple good handful)
small handful of chives (about 1/4 c chopped)
2 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese (the real stuff)

The Directions:
Make sure meatballs are cooked. Either in the microwave or the oven. Heat chicken broth to boiling. Meanwhile, chop the chives into tiny pieces (about 1 cm in length)
Add the meatballs and the chives. If desired add other vegetables or small pasta.

At the last minute add the spinach greens and heat until wilted.

Serve with crusty bread (check out this recipe for a great Peasant bread), and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top before serving.
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Fast and Fabulous Asian Chicken Salad

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tis the season for the arrival of main dish salads onto the dinner menu again!  We loved the way the Asian flavors and crisp wholesome veggies combined into this "fast and fabulous" salad.   Chopping the red pepper and green onions were the only prep work, so it would make for a great, healthy weeknight meal.

Recipe Source:  Taste of Home
Click here for printable recipe. 

Posted by Lara.

The ingredients:

1 pkg. (16-ounces) coleslaw mix
1/3 cup sesame ginger salad dressing (Mine was called "Asian ginger dressing" and had sesame oil listed as an ingredient)
3 cups cubed cooked chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken)
3/4  cup Thai peanut sauce (found in the international aisle with other Asian foods)
1 medium sweet red pepper, julienned
1/2 cup chow mein noodles
2 green onions, chopped

In a large bowl, combine coleslaw mix and salad dressing.  Transfer to a serving platter or bowl.  Combine chicken and peanut sauce ; place over coleslaw mixture. 

Top with red pepper, chow mein noodles and onions. (or just toss it all together)  Serve immediately. 

Makes 4-6 servings.  Enjoy! 

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About This Blog

My name is Lara and while I'm definitely not a gourmet cook, I do love preparing tasty, healthy meals for my family. Finding new recipes to try and sharing the ones we've already fallen in love with is a passion I've had since college and the reason why I've started this blog! With five kids, I'm usually in a hurry, so you'll find most of these recipes kid friendly and simple to make.

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