Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mini Peanut Butter Cheescakes

Saturday, totally opted out of a 5k I was thinking of running (Hey, it was at 8:00 a.m. in a town 30 min away and it was 20 stinkin' degrees outside!). I made my wal-mart run at about 7:45 a.m.. 'Twas a nice long, enjoying-not-being-trampled-on-by-crazy-weekend-shoppers trip. Seriously. I was there for like  1 1/2 hours. I still managed to spend way too much. Darn walmart. Darn it. Gets me every time. Pretty confident of other Americans feel the same way.

Afterwards, I came home to make this yum-tum dessert. I had been searching for a non-chocolate, easy-to-eat, widely liked, yet with a twist, dessert to take to a Christmas party on Saturday. Hmmmm........What shall that be? To be honest, sometimes (okay, usually), I tend to "over-think" what to make for others. I want it to be something people will like, yet pretty...Oh the pressure!*wink*

It started when I remembered this Caramel Drizzle Pie recipe I had seen (I know Caramel Pie=PB Cheesecakes...HOW? Hang in there with me). I was 'surfin' the net' for my recipes. Then, I thought, maybe not caramel pie, maybe caramel cheesecake. Most people really like cheesecake, right? (Well, it's only "okay" for me. I'd rather have gooey chocolate-y-ness or cake). I thought of doing a traditional cheesecake, too. Wanted different, but not too different where people would be scared to try-hard to believe that not everyone is such an adventurous eater like me :). Found this good ol' Paula Deen recipe per Perfect-o -a "normal" dessert, with a small twist, and the bonus of individual servings!

The recipe is a traditional cheesecake with a mini Reese's cup inside. Like a little happy golden nugget. Imagine receiving THAT happy suprise.

The only 2 drawbacks to this recipe:
1) It was that it was not "pretty" after it cooled. I could see little divets where the the pb cups were. Grrr. Think think. Got it! So, I topped with nuts and graham cracker crumbs.
2) I think I needed to pack my crust a little better. Crust was a bit crumbly. Duly noted.

Turns out, there were a few cheesecake lovers at the party! It went with the roast chicken, mashed 'taters, broc-n-cheese casserole, baked beans, crescents, and apple spice cookies. We all enjoyed a night of the game "True Colors" (I lost) and Wii. Also, heard some good funny stories!

Oh, and even though I missed my 5k, a friend called and we went for a 4 mile walk-jog (10 min mile each). Yeppers.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I LOVE Ooey-Gooey Flat and Chewy {Cookies}!

Behold the Yum.

Chocolate Chip Cookies. Something people may be specific about. Thick, Thin, Chewy, or Crispy? Me, I like 'em thin and chewy. Yep. Mine are intinially thin-promise! My mom-in-law makes the BEST chocolate chip cookies-which are thin and chewy. *Sigh* I try to strive to make my cookies just like hers. These were pretty close!
oh. yeah.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lemon Chicken Piccata - An Attempt to be Fancy-ish

Idea: Me. Chef Hat. Cooking with my Fancy white wine, adding capers, wisking my sauce to completion as I seemlessly saunter around my cooking station....

Reality: Me, in PJ's, with an icky cold & feeling like doo-doo, using my whole $8.00/bottle wine, not-so-gracefully following step-by-step cooking instruction hoping to goodness this recipe is as great as I had hoped, with hubby in the background peering over my shoulder in anticipation.

Well, like I said this recipe was my attempt  to be fancy. Probably my reality is the same as many. I like the term, "Real-Life Cook." Can I get a what what?

I eyed this recipe in Granny's "Cuisine At Home" recipe booklet. Lemon Chicken Piccata, eh? Always wanted to try it. Totally had purchased some wine to cook with. Oh, what the hay. Let's give it a go.

The "go" went. The verdict of my fancy-smance meal? Just so, so. Not bad, but not Uber-great. Little bland for us-'course we like lots of flavor. This would be a recipe for the "safe" (i.e. boring) eater. So, if you ever have one of those guests over. Maybe you should make this *wink wink*.

Here's the Recipe:

Chicken PiccataSource:  Cuisine at Home, complimentary issue
ingredients:2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded into cutlets
salt and black pepper
all-purpose flour
nonstick spray
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. drained capers
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
fresh lemon slices
chopped fresh parsley
instructions:1.  Season cutlets with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour.  Coat a saute pan with nonstick spray, add oil, and heat over medium-high.
2.  Saute cutlets 2-3 minutes on one side.  Flip cutlets over and saute the other side, covered, 1-2 minutes.  Transfer cutlets to a warmed platter; pour off fat from the pan.
3.  Deglaze pan with wine and add minced garlic.  Cook until garlic is slightly brown and liquid is nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes.
4.  Add broth, lemon juice, and capers.  Return cutlets to pan and cook on each side for 1 minute.  Transfer cutlets to warm plates.
5.  Finish sauce with butter and lemons.  Once butter melts, pour sauce over cutlets.
6.  Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve immediately.

Makes:  2 servings

Nutritional Information:  calories 449, fat 28g (10g. saturated), protein 41, carbohydrates 3, fiber 0g, cholesterol 129mg, sodium 259mg

P.S. Totally apologize for the crummy pics. My camera was stolen a few months ago. Maybe Santa will bring me a better one?