Mini Apple Crumb Cheesecakes

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Happy Thanksgiving my friends!

Here I come again with another miniature food item. Soo surprising, isn’t it? What can I say? I’m small and I like small food. And I bet you’ll like this too.

Don’t let the photos fool you. I explain later why mine look the way they do, but trust me. They are delectable.

I broke the ingredient lists down into the different parts of the dessert. It’s easier than it looks. And let me tell you, the delicious aroma starts invading your kitchen from the very beginning.

This recipe yields 18 cheesecakes. Feel free to modify the quantity of ingredients if you need to make more or fewer. Let’s get started.

You’ll need:
fullsizerenderCrust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 9 sheets)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 7 tablespoons melted butter

fullsizerender_2Filling:

  • 16 oz softened cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • Apples

fullsizerender_1Topping:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Step 1:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Step 2:
Prepare the crust. Combine graham cracker crumbles, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter until moistened. I can’t even begin to describe how good this part alone smells.
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Step 3:
Line your muffin pan and fill each cup with a heaping tablespoon of the mixture. Use the back of the spoon to pat it down. You’ll see the cup in the middle of the photo is the before and the surrounding cups are after (for your reference).
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Step 4:
Bake the crust for 5 minutes.

Step 5:
Make the topping. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter. I think cutting your butter into small chunks will make this process easier. I cut mine into 1/2in cubes.
image2Step 6:
Fork the mixture until small crumbles form. You can also go in with your fingers if you are struggling with using a tool. Set this aside.

Step 7:
Filling time! Mix cream cheese and sugar on low-medium speed until just combined. Don’t do what I did and get distracted by HGTV; if you over mix the filling your cheesecakes will rise then fall when they cool. I mean, they’re just as delicious but not as adorable looking. Anyway, let’s continue.

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Step 8:
Combine the eggs (one at a time), vanilla, and sour cream. Set aside to rest while you cut the apples.image4

Step 9:
Apple time. Wash and peel your apples, then dice those babies up. I used two medium ones. However many you decide to use, make sure to cut them really small so they cook and get soft while in the oven.
image6Step 10:
Assemble!!!! Take a heaping tablespoon of filling and fill the cups. They should be about 3/4 full.
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Add a layer of apple pieces.
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Finally, spoon a tablespoon of topping on the top. This may get a little messy. Let it.image8

Step 13:
Bake for 23-25 minutes. Let them cool on a baking rack then refrigerate for a few hours. Serve chilled.
image11See? The middle parts fell, but maaaaaan, oh man are these so scrumptious.

And how wonderful to have such a great proportion of crust and cheesecake. That’s my favorite part.image13I hope all of my American followers have a wonderful holiday. I’m thankful for all of you! Gimme some oven lovin’.

Reese’s Cookie Dough Dip

photo 3It’s a rainy, gloomy day here in NJ and all I want to do is eat and watch movies. There’s no better treat than this dip to satisfy that desire and really make me feel productive in life.

As I’ve mentioned in prior posts, I am obsessed with Pinterest. I feel like I have gained so much knowledge and insight by browsing through the different categories. Not to mention, my creative juices have been on super mode. Today’s recipe is a rendition of a post that I saw that I am soo happy I found. It’s absolutely delicious and can be eaten with a variety of sides.

You’ll need:

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  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup Reese’s PB Cups, chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Steps:

1. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Once melted, whisk in brown sugar until completely dissolved. Remove from heat right away and add the vanilla. Set it aside and let it cool completely.

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2. In an electric mixer (or big bowl with hand mixer), beat cream cheese, peanut butter, and powdered sugar until creamy. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes.

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3. While you’re waiting for the butter/sugar mixture to cool, you can chop your Reese’s. You can also choose to buy the mini cups and save yourself from this step. You still have to wait until the newly formed caramel cools, though!

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4. Once it’s ready, add the caramel mixture to the bowl and mix on low speed until combined.

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5. Fold in the chocolate chips and Reese’s cups.

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You can eat it immediately if you want it as a dip, or chill if you want to eat it alone.

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photo 2Dip pretzels, graham crackers, vanilla wafers, teddy grahams, animal crackers, etc, or just use a spoon like I did.

photo 4I can’t guarantee that yours will come out as good as mine since I had help from my wonderful little cousins, but you can try. While you’re at it, gimme some oven lovin’.

Grape Goodness

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It’s summer and I don’t know where you are, but here in New Jersey, it’s as hot as my lovin’ oven. We’re going through a brutal heat wave and I’ve been trying to find various ways to keep cool. Today’s recipe is a refreshing, semi-healthy (kind of) snack that is perfect for this kind of weather.

You’ll need:

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  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 8oz Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups of red grapes, halved
  • 2 cups of green grapes, halved
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup walnuts, crushed
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Steps:

1. Wash and cut your grapes in half. Set aside.

2. In a bowl, manually mix together yogurt, cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar.

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3. Add the grapes and fold over gently to coat completely. If you plan on serving it in another bowl, pour the mixture into that now!

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4. In a separate bowl, mix together brown sugar and walnuts. This will be your topping. Sprinkle over the top of the grape mixture and pop in the fridge. I suggest chilling over night, although a few hours will do.

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Try not to eat all of it in one sitting (although I don’t blame you if you do).

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Gimme some oven lovin’.

Chicken and Mushroom Cream Sauce

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I feel like it was time to share an actual entree recipe since the last few posts have been mostly desserts. And even though I made chicken already this week, I think you can handle it once more. I eat it a lot, what can I say?

You’ll need:

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  • 1.5 lbs of chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cans of mushroom stems
  • 10oz of cream cheese
  • 1 cup vegetable Oil
  • Your choice of spices (suggestion: salt, pepper, paprika)

Steps:

1. Wash and cut your chicken breasts into thin cutlets. Mine were about 1/4-1/2in thick. Set aside.

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2. Beat the egg in a bowl and set aside.

3. Lay out a piece of tin foil and curl the edges so nothing can spill off of it. Pour your bread crumbs and spread out evenly. I set up a little assembly line at this point with the chicken, egg, and crumbs.

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4. Take a piece of chicken and coat it with egg. Then layer each side with bread crumbs until completely covered. Repeat steps for each piece of chicken.

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5. Pour oil into a frying pan and heat. I wait a few minutes then test the oil with a corner piece of chicken. If it starts frying, it’s ready to go. Be careful, though! You may get attacked by hot flying oil so put each piece in gently, slowly, and be prepared to lower your heat if necessary. After a few minutes, flip the pieces over to cook the chicken completely. Put a paper towel on a plate then place the cooked chicken on the napkin to soak up any excess oil. Repeat until all pieces are cooked.

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6. Open the mushroom cans and drain out any liquids. Then pour them into a pan and season with salt, pepper, paprika, and any other spices you enjoy. I like cinnamon and put it on almost everything, so I put a dash of that (it’s delicious, trust me).

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7. Once the mushrooms start browning, add in your cream cheese and fold in the mushrooms until everything is completely blended and creamy.

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Now you’re done and can eeaaat!

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 Gimme some oven lovin’.

Buffalo Chicken Ranch Cups

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Is it safe to say that one of the best food combinations ever created is buffalo chicken?  Why yes, I believe that is true. And while some may argue that bleu cheese is a good partner, I respectfully call those opinions dumb and reach for the ranch.

Today’s little appetizers are both delicious and filling. I’m not making any promises, but I would be greatly shocked if they lasted longer than it takes to make them (I know that’s not the case in my house). You’ll see.

You’ll need:

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  • 1 cup chopped chicken breast, cooked
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup American cheese, shredded
  • 2 tbsp Frank’s hot sauce (or another favorite of your choice)
  • 2 tbsp ranch dressing
  • Mini fillo shells

Steps:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Chop up your chicken into itty bitty pieces.

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3. Add the cheese, cream cheese, hot sauce, and ranch. Fold over the ingredients until everything is mixed completely and covered in each other. I like a little kick in my food, so I added an extra tbsp of Frank’s. Yum.

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4. Lay out your fillo shells on a baking sheet and fill each one with the chicken mixture.

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5. Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook for about 6-8 minutes, or until the fillo is slightly browned. If you want them to be crunchy, place the shells alone (without the filling) in the oven for 2-3 minutes before you complete step 4.

I still had about 1/4 of a cup of filling left over. I put it in the microwave for about 20-25 seconds and used it as a dip. You can eat it with crackers, pop chips, or anything else you desire.

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Quick, easy, and scrumptious. Sounds like my kind of meal.

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Gimme some oven lovin’.

Cookies ‘n Cream Truffle Pops

These are some big words to say, but I think I enjoy oreos more than I do s’mores. Actually, I don’t think. I know I absolutely do. So to stick to the pop theme that I said I would do this week, I decided to share an easy and, of course, delectable recipe for one of my favorite treats; cookies ‘n cream truffle pops.

The first time I ever had one of these, I was at a Thanksgiving feast party and one of the guests had brought them. While they were just truffles (and not pops), they were more delicious than you could even imagine! I asked her for the recipe and have since then changed it up to make it my own. I give you the same support to experiment and find ways to make it your own as well. Change the chocolate, add sprinkles/toppings, etc. I like simplicity but be creative!

As you will see, I made 9 pops with this recipe. You can easily make more but I made the truffles a bit bigger than I normally do, only for selfish reasons. I like to tell myself that if they are bigger, I will eat less of them and in turn feel better about myself. It’s completely foolish. Don’t judge me.

You’ll need:

  • 10 Oreos, crushed
  • 4 oz Cream cheese, room temperature
  • Wilton’s candy melts
  • Lollipop sticks
  • Styrofoam board/pop stand
  • serving size: 12 pops

Steps:

1. Crush your oreos! I found the best technique for me is to put them in a zip-lock bag then pound them with a meat tenderizer. It’s fast and crumbles them completely. Put them in a medium size bowl when you’re done.

2. Add your cream cheese. While it’s not essential that the cheese be room temperature, it does make the next step A LOT easier. Using a fork, blend in the cheese and oreos until it looks like chocolate cream cheese.

3. Using a teaspoon, spoon out a small amount and round it off with your hands to create balls. Place on a piece of waxed paper.

4. Once you have all the balls set, place your tray in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. The longer you have them in there, the easier the dipping will be.

5. Melt your chocolate in 30 second increments. Depending on how many truffles you made, estimate 3 candy melts per ball. You can use white chocolate, milk chocolate, mint chocolate, etc. I used both white and milk.

6. Now you’re ready for the last step! Hint — Dip your stick in the melted chocolate before inserting it into your truffle. This will help the truffle stay on the stick since the chocolate will harden. Then dip the pop into the chocolate and smooth with the back of a spoon. Place on your styrofoam board/pop stand and continue the process until all are finished.

If you want to add any other toppings, do so while the chocolate is still melted. You can crush more oreos and dip the pops in those or sprinkles if you wish. If you don’t want any other toppings, you can wait until the chocolate hardens then drizzle another flavor on top. Try white chocolate on milk chocolate pops or milk on white chocolate pops. It not only gives it a unique taste, but also looks pretty fancy!

Again, wrap in a lollipop bag and tie off with ribbon. It’s another great gift/favor! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some truffle pops to eat. Gimme some oven lovin’.

Greek Week: Tiropites

This has to be one of my favorite Greek foods and lucky for you, they’re available at most Greek stores/restaurants. They are so full of flavor but still light and refreshing. While tiropites are usually served as appetizers, many choose them as a meal and get stuffed by their deliciousness alone.

I think we all know what a pita is but if you don’t know Greek then you wouldn’t know that tiro comes from the word for cheese. In short, a tiropita is a cheese pie. The recipe that I have provided is my version of the popular dish, which has some similarities as well as differences from the traditional version.

You’ll need:

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry (mine is Pepperidge Farm but there are many other kinds of brands)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 oz of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup of feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon of dried mint, crushed
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of sugar
  • flour (to sprinkle for rolling out dough)

Steps:

1. Combine ricotta cheese, cream cheese, feta cheese, mint, cinnamon, and sugar in a medium size bowl. Mix thoroughly until all ingredients are well blended. Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a cookie sheet with foil. This makes for an easy clean up when you’re done!

3. Roll out your puff pastry sheet. Sprinkle some flour on your working area and your rolling pin to make sure the sheet doesn’t stick. You want the dough to be fairly thin, so work on it for a little while.

4. Once you’ve completed the rolling, cut out squares that are about 3 in x 3 in. I was able to make 9 squares, but you may get more, depending on how big your pastry sheet is.

5. Take about a tablespoon of the cheese mixture and put it in the middle of each dough square. Once you’re done, fold over one corner to its diagonal side to create a triangle and pinch the edges together.

6. Using a fork, press the pinched edges to create a secure seal and fancy design. Carefully transfer each triangle to your cookie sheet. Tip — grease the sheet beforehand! I use butter spray but Pam or any other cooking spray will do just fine.

7. Beat the egg in a small bowl and brush onto the triangles. This will give the tiropites a nice, crunchy texture.

8. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Some dough cooks faster while some ovens aren’t as powerful. Keep an eye out on them after the 15 minute mark. You want to take them out when they are gold and flaky.

That wasn’t so bad, was it? Let them cool off a bit then eat them right up! Gimme some oven lovin’ 🙂