Friday, June 26, 2015

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars

These gluten free Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars have mass appeal.  If you want to be the one everyone is raving about at the next potluck, leave the ambrosia home and whip up an easy batch of these cheesecake bars.

Their smaller size not only makes them easier to serve, it also makes it easier for you to stay in your skinny clothes since one or two isn’t really too much of an overindulgence.  At least that’s what I tell myself.

Just remember, whenever there’s a potluck or picnic, most of the guests will remember who brought the cheesecake.  And you’ll be remembered for all the right reasons. 

Happy summer.     

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars
Prep Time: 15 min
Bake Time:  50-55 min

Crust Ingredients:
  • 7 oz gluten free chocolate chip cookies or graham crackers
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips

Batter Ingredients:
  • 4 cups cream cheese, softened (4 bars)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips

Ganache Ingredients:
  • 2 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup heavy cream

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 °F (or 165 °C) and line a 9 x 13 inch pan with parchment sprayed with nonstick spray.  
  2. For the crust, place the cookies into a Ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin until they look like coarse crumbs.
  3. Combine the cookie crumbs, melted butter, sugar and mini chocolate chips and stir until the mixture looks like damp sand then spread it evenly along the bottom of the pan being careful not to disturb the parchment.
  4. Refrigerate the crust for about 10 minutes while you prepare the batter. 
  5. Beat together the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla until smooth and lump free.    Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically with a rubber spatula.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time allowing each egg to fully incorporate before adding the next.  Add the chocolate chips and beat until incorporated.
  7. Pour the batter onto the prepared crust and spread evenly over the bottom.   
  8. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until set.  Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool to room temperature before garnishing.
  9. To make the ganache, in a microwave safe bowl combine the semisweet chocolate and heavy cream then microwave it at 80% power in 30 second increments stirring after each session until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
  10. Let the ganache cool for 5 minutes then load it into a Ziploc bag with a small corner snipped off and drizzle it over the bars. 
  11. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but overnight is even better.  

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Breakfast Burritos Made With Aldi's Gluten Free Wraps

Gluten Free Breakfast Burritos

Have you been to Aldi’s recently? 

Their gluten free section is phenomenal.   I guess I shouldn’t really call it a “gluten free section” since the products are interspersed throughout the store mingling in with the other groceries. 

So I’ll rephrase it …  Aldi’s gluten free line is PHENOMENAL.

They’ve got all sorts of mixes, including corn bread, pizza crust, yellow cake mix and brownies just to scratch the surface.  There’s pasta with shapes including fusilli, penne and spaghetti.  There’s frozen food items like ravioli, lasagna and pancakes.  They’ve got a cracker and cookie line and their own line of gluten free breads.  

And it’s all much cheaper than most other products out there.

Today I was excited to stumble upon their gluten free wraps.  They’re very large with each measuring in at around 9 inches.  Before now I had been using Mission’s corn tortillas but there’s only so much you can do with their smaller size so I was limited to quesadillas, tacos or taquitos.

Today we conquer the burrito.  The breakfast burrito that is.
Breakfast Burritos
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Servings: 2

  • (2) 9 inch gluten free wraps (I used Aldi’s)
  • ½ potato, peeled and diced
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • ½ red bell pepper, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 strips apple wood smoked bacon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 slices pepper jack cheese
  • 1 ounce cheddar cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper

Video Tutorial: 

  1. To make the hash, saute the potato, onions and red peppers together in the olive oil with some salt and pepper just until tender then set aside to cool.
  2. Slice each strip of bacon in half then pan fry until crispy and drain on paper towels.
  3. Scramble the eggs then add them to a nonstick pan over a medium low heat with the butter then add the heavy cream and some salt and pepper and cook them low and slow stirring frequently until the eggs are just set.
  4. To assemble the burritos warm the wraps on a dry medium heat skillet for 15 seconds per side to make them more pliable.
  5. Add a slice pepper jack cheese to the bottom third of the wrap and scatter a little grated cheddar over the rest of the surface to act as a glue once these are folded and grilled.    
  6. Add half the hash then top with half the eggs, two half strips of bacon and a little more cheddar cheese.
  7. To roll it up, start with a fold on the bottom then fold in the sides and continue to roll.
  8. You can either eat them as is or place the burritos onto a hot grill pan for about a minute per side so the cheese will melt and glue the burrito together.  Slice it in half and serve.

  • To freeze these I like to individually wrap them in plastic wrap then foil.
  • To reheat in the microwave, unwrap the burrito and place it onto a microwave safe plate then microwave on high for 2 minutes.  Flip it over and microwave for 30 seconds on the second side.  

Friday, June 12, 2015

Dagwood Sandwich South Philly Italian Style

Dagwood Sandwich

In my last post I made a batch of banana peanut butter blondies and in the comment section of the Youtube video, Jim from the TOS Tinman’s Easy Cooking channel left a note saying I needed to make a Dagwood sandwich to go with that Blondie. 

Why didn’t I think of that.

Encase the Blondie comic strip was before your time, Blondie’s husband Dagwood had a knack for concocting  huge multi-layered sandwiches that contained everything but the kitchen sink.  In my interpretation of the Dagwood, I focused more on the flavors you’d find in a South Philly Italian sandwich.

I pair the finest meats and cheeses I could get my hands on with a fresh grape tomato salad and some garlicky greens to add some freshness and acidity to juxtapose the richness of that charcuterie.

This turned out so well I’ll be having Dagwood daydreams for days.

Dagwood Sandwich – South Philly Italian Style
Prep time: 15 min
Assembly time: 5 min
Servings: 1-2

  • 4 slices gluten free bread
  • provolone cheese
  • pepperoncino cheese
  • hot dry cured capicola
  • prosciutto
  • genoa salami
  • tomato salad (quartered grape tomatoes, quartered gaeta olives, capers, basil, olive oil)
  • chopped kale (sautéed with garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes)

Video Tutorial: 

  1. To construct the sandwich start with a slice of bread, layer on the garlicky kale, provolone, Genoa salami and tomato salad then top with another slice of bread.
  2. For the second layer continue with more kale, capiciola, pepperoni cheese, and more tomato salad before topping with the third slice of bread.
  3. For the third layer top with more kale, provolone, prosciutto, and more tomato salad the finish with the last slice of bread.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Banana Peanut Butter Blondies

Banana Peanut Butter Blondies

Sometimes recipes are inspired by necessity and this recipe killed three birds with one stone. 

I had some people coming for dinner and needed a quick easy dessert.  I also needed a dessert that didn’t require refrigeration since the fridge was packed to the gills with an over ambitious load of groceries occupying every square inch.  And then there was those seemingly ever present over-ripe bananas in the fruit bowl that were ruining the whole aesthetic of the arrangement on my coffee table.

The dessert I’d create needed to utilize the offending bananas without requiring refrigeration when it was done.  Also keeping in mind the half gallon of chocolate peanut butter swirl ice cream nestled in the freezer I tried to think of something that might compliment that ice cream. 

And so the notion of these banana peanut butter blondies was born.  If the warm chewy blondies wasn’t enough, I knew that a scoop of that chocolate peanut butter ice cream would elevate both humble desserts to new levels of deliciousness. 

And with the overripe bananas are gone from my fruit bowl this turned out to be an all-around winner for sure. 

Banana Peanut Butter Blondies
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 35 min
Servings: 12-24

  • ½ cup butter
  • ¾ cup peanut butter
  • 1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 2 cups gluten free flour that contains xanthan gum (I used Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 baking blend)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips

Glaze Ingredients:
  • ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 heaping tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (or 175 °C) and line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment sprayed with nonstick spray.
  2. In large microwave safe bowl add the butter and peanut butter then microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each session until the butter is melted and the two ingredients are stirred together well.
  3. Add the brown sugar, vanilla and eggs and mix until combined then stir in the mashed banana.
  4. Stir in the flour and salt and mix until the batter is smooth then stir in the mini chocolate chips until evenly dispersed throughout.
  5. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes or until the center looks set.
  6. Let the blondies cool in the pan for 5 minutes then lift them from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. To make the glaze stir together the confectioner’s sugar, cocoa, and milk until you have a smooth glaze.  Drizzle the glaze over the blondies and allow it to set for about a half an hour then slice into desired sizes and serve.

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