cheesecake stuffed strawberries with milk chocolate.

I have no idea where I first saw this recipe, but I know it’s been circulating around the interwebs for a many years. It’s one of those recipes that looks super impressive when served, but it is amazingly simple to make. Whoever came up with this originally: You are a genius.

Here’s how I made mine:

Cheesecake stuffed strawberries

– 1 pint of strawberries

– 1 bar of your favorite milk or dark chocolate

– 4 oz. cream cheese

– 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream

– 1-2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar (more if you want a sweeter cheesecake filling)

– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring (or the inside of 1 vanilla bean)

Directions:

1. Melt your chocolate, either over a double boiler, or in the microwave, stirring every 15-30 seconds to prevent scorching.

2. Wash and gently pat dry your strawberries. Cut off the tops and a small part of the tip of each. (This will allow your strawberries to stand straight up when served.)

3. Carefully hollow out the top of each strawberry.

4. Dip the bottom of each strawberry in chocolate and place on a foil or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Place in the freezer to let set for about 5 minutes.

5. While your strawberries are setting, whip your cream cheese, cream, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla until fluffy.

6: Fill each strawberry with about 1 teaspoon of cheesecake filling. (I piped mine into the strawberries using Ateco #30 tip)

6. Garnish with sprinkles, or drizzle with remaining chocolate.

7. Chill until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

smokey sweet corn gouda dip.

Today’s experiment came out of sheer necessary. It may not be Tuesday, but it is certainly Taco night.

In the back of the refrigerator sat a beautiful jar of gourmet salsa, waiting to be eaten. And I figured tonight would be as good a day as any – so I served it up with some corn chips.

Bad idea.

That salsa was, apparently, of the devil. Straight from the fiery pits of hell. As evidenced by my beau’s unfortunately scorched tongue. Whoops.

So, of course, I tried to make an alternative dip to put out the fire:

Smokey sweet corn Gouda dip.

2/3 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1.5 tablespoons cream cheese

3-5 dashes Tapatio hot sauce

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1-2 teaspoon garlic

1 can whole kernel corn, drained

1/3-1/2 c. Gouda, shredded

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Heat sour cream, heavy cream, cream cheese, Tapatio and seasonings over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.

2. Once heated through, add corn and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in Gouda cheese.

3. Cool and serve with tortilla chips.

Enjoy!

impromptu rotisserie chicken and garlicky golden mashed potatoes.

So, about this Instant Pot situation. I’m a bit hooked:

The beau came home with a beautiful 6 lb chicken and a bag of golden potatoes, so of course I had to see what this beautiful appliance could do.

Rotisserie Chicken

Ingredients:

-1 6-lb. chicken

-1/4 c. olive oil, plus more for drizzling

-1.5 tablespoons smoked paprika

-1 tablespoon ancho chili powder

-1 tablespoon garlic powder

-1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

-1-2 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt

-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

-1/4 teaspoon black pepper

-1 small onion

-3 tablespoons parsley

-3 carrots, chopped in quarters

-1 celery stock, chopped

-2 garlic cloves, chopped fine

-3 cups water

– 1-2 tablespoons parsley

Directions:

1. Wash and dry your chicken, making sure to remove and giblet packets.

2. Make rotisserie rub by combining olive oil through black pepper. Rub chicken with olive oil mixture, placing some under skin and inside cavity.

4. Place half of the carrots, celery, parsley and garlic inside chicken cavity.

5. Place the other half of the chopped vegetables in the bottom of Instany Pot with water.

6. Put stuffed chicken on steam rack, lower into Instant Pot. Seal cooker, pressure cook on high for 25 minutes. Do a natural release.

7. Place cooked chicken in a greased pan and drizzle with some olive oil. (You can also add extra smoked paprika, ancho chili powder and salt).

8. Put under broiler on high for about 2-4 minutes. Watch closely as skin crisps up quickly!

9. Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Enjoy!

Garlicky Golden Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

-2.5 lbs golden potatoes, washed and chopped in half, skin on

-1/4 yellow onion, chopped fine

-2 cloves garlic, smashed

-2 c. water

-3 tablespoons butter

-1/2 cup whole milk

-1/4 cup cream cheese

-salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Place 2 cups water in instant pot. Followed by steam rack. Place potatoes, onions and garlic on rack.

2. Seal Instant Pot, Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. Do a natural release.

3. Unseal Pot, drain potatoes, onions and garlic and place in large bowl.

4. Using a hand mixture, whip potatoes, garlic and onions with butter, whole milk, cream cheese to desired thickness.

5. Season with salt and pepper.

spicy garlic beef ramen.

One of my fondest memories from college was getting together with my friends and cooking all day. We would throw on some music, maybe a movie in the background and pull together some concoction, part-gourmet-part-we’re-broke-part-oh-dear-god-this-is-actually-delicious.

We would all meet at Kendrick’s apartment down the street from school and use a combination of cheap ingredients we bought from the store and the amazingly tasty dumplings and buns that Kendrick’s mother made and dropped off earlier in the week.

***

Recently, my beau’s family blessed us with a brand new Instant Pot AND Crock Pot for Christmas. Please know, when I say that my life is forever changed, that is not hyperbole. I am a new creation. My culinary powers grow by the day.

Thus, in honor of old traditions and new appliances, today’s culinary experiment is:

Spicy Garlic Beef Ramen.

(Recipe below)

I started off by making a little Spicy Garlic Chili Oil that we’ll use as an optional garnish for the ramen at the end.

And then prepared and set aside a few ramen garnishes for later:

Then I decided to make a quick marinade for my sirloin tip steak with a little beef broth, rice vinegar, ginger and soy sauce:

*At this point, I’m nervously sweating and hoping to god that I know what I’m doing. But I’m brave. So I forge on.*

For the broth, I spiced up some standard beef stock with a little sriracha, soy sauce, garlic and ginger and placed all that yummy goodness in the Instant Pot, with the beef sexily laid across the vegetable tray:

Finally, as I anxiously wait for my beef to cook, I made a couple soft boiled eggs to place on top:

Can’t forget the ramen either…

And somehow…some way… in the end, dinner was not ruined!:

Spicy Garlic Beef Ramen Recipe

Makes 4 servings

Marinade:

1.5 lb sirloin tip steak

1 c. Beef stock

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar

1/4-1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Broth:

32 oz. Beef stock

2 c. water

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, loosely chopped

1-2 teaspoons Sriracha

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

Ramen garnish:

1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley

2 carrots, shredded

Fresh broccoli, lightly steamed

1 bell pepper, sliced thinly

2 soft/medium boiled eggs

Ramen:

4-5 packages of your favorite ramen noodles (cooked accordingly, without seasoning packets)

Directions:

1. For the marinade, combine all ingredients in a ziplock bag, removing all air and sealing tightly. Marinade at least an hour.

2. Place all broth ingredients in Instant Pot, then lay beef on steamer tray and lower into the broth. Pressure cook on high for 30 minutes. After cooking, do a natural release.

3. Serve broth, ramen, and beef with soft boiled eggs, ramen garnishes. Season to taste with extra sriracha, white pepper and soy sauce.

Enjoy!