Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lemon Crunch Cheesecakes with Caramel Apple Topping

Lemon Crunch Cheesecakes with Caramel Apple Topping

8 Lemonades Girl Scout Cookies; 5 crushed, and 3 broken into small pieces
4 teaspoons melted butter
1pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup finely chopped apple
1/3 cup caramel flavored topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place 6 foil baking cups in muffin pan. Combine crushed cookies and butter. Press crumb mixture into bottom of each foil cup. Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Add egg; beat on low speed just until blended. Stir in cookie pieces. Spoon batter evenly over lemon crunch crust. Bake 20 minutes or until centers are almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. Just before serving remove cheesecakes from foil cups. Top each cheesecake with chopped apple. Drizzle caramel topping over cheesecakes. Serve immediately.
Makes:6 servings

Shortbread Cookie Olde English Trifle

This is another wonderful recipe from Executive Chef Jason Koppinger of the Outrigger Keauhou Beach Resort in Hawaii.

Shortbread Cookie Olde English Trifle

3-5 ounces day-old sponge cake broken into bite size pieces
1 box (10ounces) Girl Scout Trefoils shortbread cookies
3 cups sherry 2 tablespoons brandy
3 cups fruit such as berries or peaches
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup toasted almonds siced
strawberries for garnish
toasted coconut for garnish (optional)

4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons caster (extra fine) sugar
1 cup whipped cream
3 drops vanilla extract

Instructions: Serves 6 to 8

To make custard:
Whisk egg yolks and sugar together. Bring cream to a boil. Pour over yolk mixture, Whisk together and return to saucepan, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Set aside to cool.

Soak cake pieces with brandy and sherry. In martini glasses, place a layer of cake and cookies and top with custard, repeating once more to form 2 layers. Then top whipped cream and garnish with strawberries and if you like, toasted coconut.

Thin Mint and Macadamia Nut Roulade

On my search for more recipes using Girl Scout cookies, I cam across this scrumptios sounding recipe. It was developed by Executive Chef Jason Koppinger of the Outrigger Keauhou Beach Resort in Hawaii. I can not wait to try it out. Anything mixing Thin Mints and Macadamia nuts has to be good!!

Thin Mint and Macadamia Nut Roulade

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons Kona coffee
5 eggs, separated
1 cup caster (extra fine) sugar
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces macadamia nut puree
6 tablespoons confectioner's sugar, plus extra for dusting
whipped cream to serve
1 box (10 ounces) Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies
Instructions: Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line and butter a 13 x 9 inch pan or jelly roll pan. Use non-stick baking/parchment paper.

Melt chocolate (use the link for instructions if you are new to this, it can be tricky) in a bowl over a double boiler and stir in the coffee. Set aside to cool.

whisk egg yolk

In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites to stiff peaks in a separate bowl, add a little to chocolate mixture then fold in the rest.

Pour mixture into prepared baking pan/sheet and spread to an even level. Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven, and cover with a dish towel and leave to cool for several hours.

Whip cream until stiff peaks form and add macadamia nut puree and crushed Thin Mints.

Dust a large sheet of parchment paper with confectioner's sugar. Turn the roulade out onto paper. Spread whipped cream/macadamia nut/Thin Mint mixture onto roulade and begin to roll using parchment paper for leverage, keeping it tight. When complete, refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut into slices.

Twelve Boy Curry with Ginger Glazed Carrots

12 boy curry with Ginger glazed carrots- I know it sounds odd and not like it would be much of a family favorite, but my kids LOVED it. I am not sure if their favorite part was that there was a ton of different "mix-ins" to try or that the carrots tasted like candy. Honestly, I don't care why they liked it since they ate without complaint!

The Twelve boy curry had nothing to do with 12 of anything or boys of any kind, so I have no idea where the name came from. It consisted of strips of chicken breasts sauteed in butter with garlic,onions and celery. Then a mixture of curry and other spices were added along with beef broth and half and half. I had frozen the chicken at this point and just reheated it in a large saucepan.

I served it on rice with raisins , slivered almonds and oranges. The kids thought it was great to sprinkle in their favorite toppings and stir it into the chicken and rice.

The carrots were extremely fast and easy to make. First, I started by steaming some baby carrots until they were crisp-tender. I mixed melted butter with ground ginger, brown sugar and a bit of garlic. The mixture was poured over the carrots and then I microwaved them for 2 more minutes to finish off the carrots.

I think they came out looking pretty good!

The finished dinner- very colorful and full of flavor. Definitely a keeper recipe!

Chicken To Go

This is an amazing recipe that would be great to take to new mom or on a picnic. It is delicious chicken strips served in a bread bowl. The kids loved the presentation and the flavor was amazing!!! Seriously, I can't go on enough about how good this meal was.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts were cut into strips, dipped in egg and then rolled in a mix of flour, sesame seeds, thyme and tarragon and poppy seeds. Next the chicken strips are browned in skillet with a little oil. Then, the browned chicken was laid on a plate lined with paper towels to cool before being bagged and frozen. A yummy compound butter was made out of the same spices that flavored the chicken and frozen with the chicken until baking day.

On cooking day, I cut the center out of a round loaf of bread and spread the butter mixture inside the hole and on the lid from the bread bowl. The chicken strips were placed inside the bread bowl and the entire thing was baked for 30 minutes.

At first I wasn't sure if we all loved this recipe because of the clever presentation, the fact that we have been going low carb and bread of any kind is amazing right now, or the flavors of the spice mix. Honestly, the flavors were wonderful. I would definitely make this again even without the bread bowl. Of course, that bread bowl sure was tasty!!

February Freezer Fill-up

This month I did a great freezer fill-up. I am really excited. In fact I have so many meals, that I had to take some to friends house to store! For around $400 I have meals prepped for the entire month of February and about half of March.

First, I went through several cookbooks and picked out meals for the month. Our meal plan looks something like the one below. Several of these meals were made at my batch cooking with friends day as well. I know we will eat out a couple times because my birthday is this month, but this gives a rough idea. Meals for those nights are prepped and ready, so they can just be moved to next month.

1 leftovers
2 Chicken to go
3 Pork scallopine
4 kids meals - mac and dogs
5 Out
6 Chicken and sausage gumbo
7 Adobe chicken
8 Santa fe chicken
9 Gnocchi with turkey ragu
10 Meatball sub casserole
11 Ham and winter veg pot pie
12 Penne in cream sauce with sausage
13 Easy spaghetti sauce
14 Teryaki pork tenderloin
15 Honey Lime Chicken
16 Spicy Korean pork bbq
17 Swiss steak
18 Upside down fettucine bake
19 Orecchiette with Tuna
20 Sicilian meat roll
21 Craig and Debbies easy fixins
22 Indian Chicken
23 Pork roast with apples and mushrooms
24 Red mesa tacos
25 Tilapia filets
26 Corn soup with basil avocado and crab
27 White wine and herb pork tenderloin
28 Sweet mustard grilled pork

Next, I put together a huge grocery list and headed out to the stores. Luckily boneless skinless chicken breast were on sale for only $1.77 which was wonderful since I had to get 17 pounds of them!!! The van was stuffed, but that was nothing compared to my fridge.

What a months worth of meal makings looks like

When I start to put the meals together, I usually start with chicken, then seafood, then pork and beef. I am not sure why, but that always works for me and helps me get the big bulky trays of chicken breast out of the fridge quicker. Most of the recipes have been new for us this month. Honestly, everything has been really good so far. The "Chicken to go" from my Once a Month Cooking book has definitely been a favorite so far. It raced right to the top of my family's make again list.

So, after I shopping day and one day of cooking, I have about 40 meals set to go for my family. Crazy weeknight meals will be less stressful and the temptation to just grab something out should be gone. I will keep you updated on how each of the meals turn out.