Saturday, April 9, 2011

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream



Before anything else, I have to give a shout out to my older brother, Greg, down on Long Island in NY who is celebrating his birthday today! Love & miss you bro!

My future daughter in law, Jenn is visiting this weekend from college. She goes to Perdue in Ft Wayne, IN and is taking a breather as she finishes up her senior year in a few weeks and graduates. She heard through the grapevine that we got an ice cream maker and I had to promise to make her some ice cream the next time she was here. One of her most favorite things is cheesecake...strawberry cheesecake to be exact, so I set out to make an ice cream with those flavors. I made sure to have a whole cheesecake and extra homemade strawberry sauce for her too.

Please note that you really should make the strawberry sauce the day before you make the ice cream so that it has enough time to cool and thicken up...I actually did, but not intentionally, so it's a good thing that I just happened to so that I could share this wisdom with you. Here's the recipe:

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Ingredients:

Strawberry Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen Strawberries
  • the juice and zest of one lemon
Graham Cracker Mixture:
  • 2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
Ice Cream:
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant cheesecake or vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 quart heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Directions:

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch.
Gradually stir in water until smooth.
Stir in strawberries, lemon zest and lemon juice.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

In a large bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, sugar and cinnamon.
Stir in butter.
Pat into an ungreased 15-in. x 10-in.x 1-in. baking pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cool completely on a wire rack.
Crumble the cooled mixture and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the ice cream ingredients.
Fill ice cream freezer cylinder; freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

In a large container, layer the ice cream, graham cracker mixture and strawberry sauce three times; swirl. Freeze.

Here is Jenn enjoying her ice cream OVER a piece of cheesecake with extra strawberry sauce!



And here she is with her fiance, my younger son, Nick. (aren't they gorgeous?!?)



This ice cream is soooo good! I hope you'll make it!

Enjoy!
Christina

Friday, April 8, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup



Spring has finally arrived here in New England! My Daffodils are blooming, all the snow has melted, and the thermometer is getting above 50 F! This doesn't mean I'm going to stop hauling out the crock pot and making warm and spicy soups, stews and chili! This one is a recipe I adapted from one I found on allrecipes.com. Here's my version:

Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound shredded, cooked chicken
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
  • 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chili peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • tortilla chips
  • shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chilies, and garlic into a slow cooker.

Pour in chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf.

Stir in corn and cilantro.

Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours.

Serve with tortilla chips and cheese.

Enjoy!
Christina


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

White Chocolate Cranberry Granola Bars



I was finally able to start exercising this week since I'm still recovering from surgery. It will be at least a month before I'm back up to my 2 hour dance workout, but it feels good to be up and moving again, even if it's just for a half hour a day. After my workout and shower I'm usually starving and love to have some kind of homemade bars around for a quick, nutritious treat. These granola bars that i found on Allrecipes are a little on the chewy side for my tastes, but they are still good. I'll work on tweaking the recipe so I like it, but in the mean time, here's the original recipe:

White Chocolate Cranberry Granola Bars:

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons reduced fat peanut butter
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon fat-free evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 1/3 cup vanilla or white chips
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts


Directions
In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients; mix well.
Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and allspice; add to the sugar mixture.
Stir in the remaining ingredients.
Press into a 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan coated with nonstick cooking spray.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Score the surface with shallow cuts, making rectangular bars.
Cool completely on a wire rack.
Cut along score lines.

Enjoy!
Christina