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Cinco de Mayo – Nacho Cheesecake

Posted by on May 2, 2012 in For Dessert, Recipes | 2 comments

A few months ago I made this for my husbands birthday.  It was in the Food Network Magazine for January.  It was absolutely amazing and really fun to make.  It does take a good hour and half to make from start to finish, but you could break it up into two days to make it easier too!  The best thing I loved about it was the flavor of the cheesecake.

If you are looking for a dessert recipe for Cinco de Mayo (although it’s not really a mexican dish) this one is festive and fun!


Nacho Cheesecake – From Food Network Magazine


For the cheesecake:

  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • Yellow and red food coloring
  • Cooking spray, for the pan
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

For the chips:

  • 1 roll refrigerated pie dough
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

For the salsa and garnishes:

  • 8 red Swedish Fish (I used red licorice, cut diagonally)
  • 1 cup low-sugar strawberry jam
  • 3 strands green licorice twists (I used green gummy bears, diced)
  • 6 black licorice dots (I couldn’t find dots so I cut black licorice to look like sliced olives)
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • Yellow and red food coloring (To make the orange color I used 10 drops of yellow and 2 drops of red) 
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate-covered raisins


Make the cheesecake: Beat the cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Add 2/3 cup sugar, the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla; beat well. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Tint the batter orange with yellow and red food coloring.

Spray a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. Pour in the batter; bake at 350 degrees F until puffed and almost set, 25 to 30 minutes. Mix the sour cream and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar; spread over the hot cheesecake and bake 5 more minutes. Let cool, then chill 2 hours.

Make the chips: Unroll the pie dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out to flatten slightly. Brush the dough with the milk and sprinkle with the sugar. Cut the dough into 2 1/2-inch-wide strips.

Cut each strip into as many 2 1/2-inch triangles as possible. Place the triangles about 1 inch apart on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake in batches at 450 degrees F until lightly golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool completely.

Make the salsa and garnishes: Cut the Swedish Fish into 1/2-inch pieces and toss with 2 tablespoons strawberry jam. For the chiles, cut the green licorice on the diagonal into 1/8-inch-thick slices.

For the olives, cut the black licorice dots into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Use a straw or pastry tip to remove a circle from the center of each round.

Tint the sour cream orange with yellow and red food coloring to look like melted cheese. Spoon the orange sour cream into a resealable plastic bag. Press out the excess air and seal.

Press the pie chips into the cheesecake. Add the black licorice, chocolate-covered raisins and some green licorice and jam-coated Swedish Fish.

Snip a small corner from the bag of orange sour cream and pipe a few dots on the cheesecake for the melted cheese. Serve with extra chips on the side, and make extra salsa by mixing leftover candies and jam.

*Please note: this is the exact recipe from The bolded comments in this recipe is what I did different.

Do you have any fun recipes to share that you’ll be making for Cinco de Mayo? If so, please share in the comments! 


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Freezer Cooking – Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Cookies

Posted by on Mar 28, 2012 in For Dessert, Freezer Cooking, Recipes | 1 comment

The last 3 weeks I’ve been sharing with you freezer cooking staples which I hope are helping to make your dinners a little faster.  Today I’m going share what my husband loves to have in the house on demand :)  It’s a sweet treat, and I’ve found it very nice to have them on hand in the freezer. Having cookie dough in the freezer makes making these favorite cookies very easy. Try making these for yourself, or tweaking the recipe to your favorite, while using this simple process. I’m sure your family will love it!

 Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour  (you could substitute for regular whole wheat flour or all purpose flour if you’d like)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup butter (softened at room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Oil (melted – I used unrefined coconut oil so it did have a hint of coconut flavor, which I love.  If you don’t have coconut oil on hand just increase the butter a 1/4 cup)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup  sugar (I used Turbinado)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice (or 2 tsp orange flavoring)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 1/2 cup of dried cranberries

In a large bowl combine: flour, baking soda, salt and oats and set to the side. Next, in a stand mixer combine: butter, coconut oil, sugar, eggs, orange juice and zest.  Mix together on med-low speed until all is well incorporated.  Then add dry ingredients.  Once cookie dough is mixed well.  Fold in cranberries.

Freezer Cooking Directions:

If you are just planning on storing cookies for a later date.  Divide batter into 3 portions.  Take each portion and make into a log shape. Wrap in plastic wrap and place into freezer bag.  When ready to use, thaw out on the counter for 30 to 40 minutes (or use the defrost feature on microwave, very briefly 1 to 2 minutes). Each cookie roll will make approximately 12 cookies.

Bake them now (because you and your family can’t resist):

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  On a lined cookie sheet, place 1 inch balled cookie dough on sheet.  Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until done.

If you are not a huge fan of cranberry orange cookies thats okay, substitute 1 tsp of vanilla instead of orange juice and add chocolate or peanut butter chips to your cookies instead of cranberries. Or add other favorite dried fruit such as blueberries.

 What are your favorite cookies to make? What ways do you use to make them simply?  Share in the comments! 



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Irish Cream Trifle – Happy St. Patricks Day

Posted by on Mar 17, 2012 in For Dessert, Recipes | 3 comments

My grandfather use to always make a  joke with my grandma about her birthday.  Since she is from France, he would comment, “A Frenchmen born on an Irish Holiday.”  And although, my grandfather is with our heavenly Father now, his words ring in my head clearly.

My gram is very dear to me.  She comes to visit often and there is one thing I can always remember growing up.  Every Christmas she would make an English Trifle. In spirit of St. Patty’s Day and my Gram’s birthday I created this fun trifle recipe for her.

Here is what you need:

For the Cake

1 box of French Vanilla Cake Mix

Green Food Coloring

3 tablespsoons of Irish Cream (I used Bailey’s)

Cake Filling

3/4 cup Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (I used Nutella) warmed in the microwave for 30 seconds or until melted.

Irish Cream Pudding

2 cups of 2% milk

3/4 cup Irish cream

3 tablespoons corn starch

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

Whipped Cream

4 oz of whipping cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Decoration Icing

Wilton Cake Icing – Kelly Green

First, make the cake as directed on the back of the box.  To that mixture add Irish cream and 12 drops of green food coloring (optional) and mix together thoroughly. Divide the batter between two 8×8 square pans or use two 8 inch round pans.  Use baking directions from the back of your cake box.

While the cake is cooking, lets make the pudding.  Its really fast!  

Pour two cups of milk, 3/4 cup Irish cream, 3 tablespoons of corn starch and 1/4 cup of sugar to a medium sauce pot. On medium heat, wisk together until it begins to thicken (roughly 3 to 5 minutes).  In a small dish crack egg into the bowl and add a couple tablespoons of the pudding mixture to the egg.  Stir together and then return the egg mixture to the pot and continue wisking pudding until it becomes thick (another 3 to 5 minutes).  Remove from heat and let cool for at least 20 minutes.

Time to assemble the cake! 

After cake is baked and cooled, gently cut the two in half horizontally.   Nutella is usually the consistency of peanut butter but you want to make sure it is warmed in the microwave and has the consistency of melted chocolate chips.  This helps it spread on the cake easier. Apply half the chocolate hazelnut spread over one side of the divided cake, and repeat on second cake.

Next, place the top piece on top of the bottom and cut cake to make small 1/2 inch piece.  This doesn’t need to look fancy.  Its meant to be crumbly.

In a trifle bowl place first layer of cake on the bottom.  If you don’t have a trifle bowl, find a bowl in your kitchen that is roughly the measurement of 8 to 9 inches in diameter and about 4 to 5 inches high.

Add half of the cooled Irish cream pudding to the top of the first layer.  Then add the second layer of cake on top, followed by the remaining Irish cream pudding.

Making the Whipped Cream

Pour 1/2 pint of whipping cream and 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar into a stand mixer.  Mix on high until whipped cream has soft peaks.

I know this looks like a lot of steps and time consuming, but it really wasn’t.  The way I broke up the process was, while Little Buddy was eating breakfast, I made the cake and pudding (15 minutes). I put the cake in the oven and then sat down with him to read and finish breakfast together.

After breakfast, he played with the toys while I assembled the cake (another 15 minutes). I placed the trifle in the fridge to sit over night. I made the whipped cream topping the day I was going to serve the trifle. Making the whipped cream and decorating took another 15 minutes.

Voila! Irish Cream Trifle.

Have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Happy Birthday Gram! :)

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Happy Valentines Day

Posted by on Feb 14, 2012 in For Dessert, Holidays | 2 comments

I love what  Myra at made last year for Valentines Day and I had to try it this year. You can follow her step by step directions here

I can’t recall ever making Rice Krispie treats. I know you’re probably wondering, what?! But I can’t remember ever making them.  I found a peanut butter Rice Krispie recipe from Kellogg’s website yesterday morning and decided to give it a try.  I should have added more marshmallows to make them a little bit more gooey, but for my first time they tasted great!

It took me about an hour and half from making the rice krispies, letting them cool, cutting them out, decorating them, wrapping them up and cleaning up.

I found that my plastic heart shaped cookie cutter is going to get replaced really soon with a metal one.  I love the plastic Wilton cookie cutters for cookies, but not very much for Rice Krispie Treats.

One pan of Rice Krispie Treats made four 3-inch hearts and sixteen 2 inch hearts.  I liked the bigger size better.  They were easier to decorate and looked better all wrapped up.


Here is my finished product.  My little guy and I will visit a few of our friends today and share these yummy treats with them!

I hope your day is filled with lots of love today on Valentines Day.

Did you make anything for Valentines Day?

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