Friday, October 31, 2014

New York Style Cheesecake






New York Style Cheesecake 
from AllRecipes.com 

I used Chantal's New York Cheesecake from All Recipes. I changed up the recipe, but I advise sticking to the original!


Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Ready In: 6-7 hours


Ingredients:
  • Graham Cracker crumbs 
  • 2 tablespoon melted butter
  • 8 ounce cream cheese 
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour


Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix graham crackers and butter. Spread evenly on a greased 9 inch circular pan.
  3. In another mixing bowl, mix cream cheese, white sugar, milk, eggs, sour cream, vanilla extract, and flour. Pour on top of the previous mixture on the pan.
  4. Bake for 1 hour. 
  5. After an hour, turn off oven and leave the cake inside for 5-6 hours. Store in the refrigerator until serving.

Enjoy!


Notes:
  • There's a reason why the original recipe asks for 1.5 cup white sugar! Although it may seem excessive, too little sugar makes the resulting cheesecake bland and tasteless.
  • Make sure you have the correct cream cheese to sour cream ratio (8 oz:1 cup)! Too much cream cheese in this ratio will give a more chewy, pudding-like texture. The sour cream gives a more soft and delicate texture.
  • Leaving the cheesecake inside the oven after baking for 5-6 hours to prevent it from cracking.
  • Overcooking causes the cheesecake to crack.
  • Overbeating causes air bubbles and a less creamy texture.
  • Remember to grease the side of the pan to prevent the cake from cracking.
  • Room temperature ingredients prevents lumpy batter.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Cookie Brownie Bars with Sweet Chocolate Chips

The cookie brownie bars

Betty Crocker's Supreme Bar Mix: Cookie Brownie

Instructions on how to make it.

The final product! 

Cookie Brownie Bars with Sweet Chocolate Chips

Saw these on the shelf at the supermarket and had to try them. I've only heard of the brownie-cookie, where a part of the cookie is made of a brownie, but I've never seen a cookie-brownie before. I love unique and interesting foods that combine some of my favorite foods together, and this was definitely one of my favorite creations! It's as crispy as a cookie, and as chewy as a brownie. Perfect! 

Ingredients:
  • For Brownie Batter:
    • 2 tablespoon water
    • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter (melted)
    • 1 egg
  • For Cookie Dough:
    • 1 tablespoon water
    • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter (softened)


Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325F and line a 15x10 pan with foil.
  2. Using a medium mixing bowl, combine the Brownie Mix, water, butter, and egg and mix well. Pour the batter in the pan.
  3. Using another medium mixing bowl, combine the Cookie Mix, water, and butter and mix well. Pour drops of cookie dough in the pan.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes. 

Enjoy!



Tips:
  • Use a plastic knife and use short sawing motions to cut the bars if they are still hot.
  • They don't need to be refrigerated, but you should store them in a tightly sealed container.
  • They retain freshness for days!
  • A larger pan is recommended for flatter bars.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Tomato, Beef, Mozzarella, & Ricotta Cheese Lasagna




Tomato, Beef, Mozzarella, & Ricotta Cheese Lasagna

Ah! Nothing beats a more fulfilling and hearty homemade dish than lasagna! Five layers. Showered in tomato sauce. Two kinds of cheese. And grounded beef to top it off. Yum!



Ingredients:

-1 lb box of lasagna
-1 lb ground beef
-1 purple onion
-2 jars if tomato & basil sauce
-1/2 lb mozzarella cheese
-1/2 lb ricotta cheese


Directions:

1. Use a 15x10 glass pan and line the bottom with the first layer of lasagna.
2. Add a generous layer of ricotta cheese, making sure to cover the entire bottom layer.
3. Add the next lasagna layer.
4. Add ground beef and onions.
5. Layer with lasagna.
6. Mix the ricotta and mozzarella cheese together over it.
7. Add another lasagna pasta.
8. Repeat 6 & 7.
9. Pour the rest of the tomato & basil sauce and mozzarella cheese over it. 
10. Bake for 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.


Enjoy!


Tips:
The outer top layer lasagna pasta was less cooked even after 45 minutes in the oven. The bottom layers were perfect: soft and tender and easily sliced with a fork. Next time, I'll probably soak the upper layers of pasta in water before I put it in the oven. If you try this out, let me know how it turns out! Good luck!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Organic African Nectar Tea


Trying out a new tea and I'm loving it so far! This is Organic African Nectar tea from Mighty Leaf. It's made with African Rooibos leaves, rose petals (marigold flowers), hibiscus leaves, mallow blossoms, and spices. All ingredients are organic. This is my first time trying rooibos tea (or red tea) and it definitely has a unique flavor that I'm not accustomed to. I usually drink green tea, and will occasionally have black, white, or herbal tea. The African Nectar is unique in that it has an exotic, light, smooth, and rich flavor that's lacking in the other teas. It's an herbal tea so it doesn't have any caffeine (not meant as morning pick me up!). There's a stark contrast compared to the herbal teas I've tried before which have more of a stronger fruity taste that can become too sour for my liking (the Bigelow herbal teas). This tea is meant for a quiet night in, as it promotes calmness and is known to protect the heart and prevent stress. You can find this tea at your local drugstore or online at Amazon. You can even find it at Paris Baguette Cafe! :)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Spinach & Chive Linguine Pasta


Topped with Parmesan Cheese. Looked a little simple, so added...

Tomatoes!

Okay, so it still looks pretty simple. But I think the tomatoes add an extra little something something! If anything, it adds color to the otherwise all-green ensemble. The reason why it's mainly pasta (and carbs) is because I'm carbo-loading for a race tomorrow!
Ingredients:
  • Spinach & chive linguine pasta 
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of salt
  • Tomatoes

Directions:
  1. Boil water in a pot and add a pinch of salt in the water.
  2. Pour in the pasta when the water is steaming.
  3. Continue to stir every minute or so.
  4. Cook until al dente, and drain the water.
  5. Add parmesan cheese and tomatoes.

Done!


FYI: I've heard you can make your own spinach pasta. One day, I will attempt to do that! :)