Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Marble Cheesecake Squares

I decided to try my hand at making cheesecake. I have never ventured into this before and have done very little baking in my time. I have to say these turned out pretty darn tasty. They were all gone at the party in no time!

Marble Cheesecake Squares
12 servings
5pts per serving
1 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs (about 9 cookie sheets)
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 (8-ounce) blocks fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large egg whites
1 large egg
1 ounce semisweet chocolate
Preheat oven to 325°.
Place crumbs in a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray; drizzle with butter. Toss with a fork until moist. Press into bottom of pan. Bake at 325° for 8 minutes; cool on a wire rack.

Place cheeses in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until smooth. Add sugar and flour; beat well. Add vanilla, egg whites, and egg; beat until well blended. Pour cheese mixture into prepared pan.

Place chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl; microwave at high 1 1/2 minutes or until soft, stirring after 45 seconds (chocolate should not completely melt). Stir until smooth.
Drop melted chocolate onto cheese mixture to form 9 mounds. Swirl chocolate into batter using the tip of a knife.
Bake at 325° for 35 minutes or until almost set. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill at least 4 hours.

Halloween Party!

I know I am a few days behind on posting this but better late than never, right? Here are some of the fun things I made for this years Halloween bash. The party was a hit and so was the food. There was nothing left! I had a great time making some of these creative items. Some were Halloween based and some just the traditional party foods we always have.
Here is a picture of the full spread.
I had Jalapeno Bacon Poppers, Queso, Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Balsamic Bruschetta.......

Marble Cheesecake Squares (recipe to come)
Dead Man Spinach Dip (served with veggies)

& Mummy Dogs!

Skillet Chicken Pitas

I got this recipe from Marin's Creations blog and it was a hit. I think my husband worded it best, it is nice, fresh and light-yet filled him up. I enjoyed it because it was healthy and low in points. It was fairly easy to make and great for leftovers!

Skillet Chicken Pitas
6pts per serving

1/3 cup cilantro
1/4 cup Asian sweet chili sauce
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" strips/chunks
1 large red bell pepper, sliced into bite size strips
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp. lime juice
8 pita rounds
8 leaves of lettuce

In a ziploc bag combine 1/3 cup cilantro, chili sauce, 2 Tbsp. lime juice, garlic, oil, and salt. Add Chicken, seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Heat a large skillet over med-high heat. Add chicken mixture and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add red pepper and continue cooking until chicken is no longer pink. Transfer chicken to a large bowl, cover, and refrigerate 1-8 hours.

For dressing, combine mayo, 1/2 cup cilantro, and 2 Tbsp. lime juice.To serve, top each pita with a leaf of lettuce, spoon chicken mixture over half, and drizzle with dressing.

Baked Shells with Pesto, Mozzarella, and Meat Sauce

We really enjoyed this dish. I am a huge lover of pasta so am always on the lookout for new, fun recipes. My husband isn't the biggest fan of pesto, but with the combination of the tomatoes, it wasn't strong and he really enjoyed this one. I did make the adjustments that were suggested by Cooking This and That as noted below. Enjoy!

Baked Shells with Pesto, Mozzarella, and Meat Sauce
amounts adapted from Food & Wine
Makes about 8 servings
**Probably should half recipe
**Add some tomato sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 package (usually about 1.25 pounds) ground beef
28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup store-bought or homemade pesto
1 pound medium pasta shells
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat either a 15 x 10 baking dish or two 8 x 8 baking dishes with cooking spray.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until it starts to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook until meat is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Drain off any excess fat.

Add the tomatoes and salt to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook until most of the liquid evaporates, about 10-12 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and stir in pesto.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente as directed on package, about 7-8 minutes. Drain and toss with the sauce.

If using a 15 x 10 dish: Put half of the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with one cup mozzarella and 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan. Repeat with the remaining pasta, mozzarella, and Parmesan.

If using two 8 x 8 dishes: Put 1/4 of the pasta mixture in each of the prepared dishes. Top each with 1/2 cup mozzarella and 1 1/2 tablespoons Parmesan. Repeat layers in each dish.
Bake until bubbling and slightly browned on top, about 15 minutes.