because what is life without good food?

Posts tagged “Cream cheese

Crab Artichoke Dip with Asiago & Bacon

Crab Artichoke Dip with Asiago & Bacon ~ www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com

My latest creation … please go over to my blog’s new “home” www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com for the recipe!


Whipped Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream Cheese

Whipped Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream Cheese ~ click for the recipe on my NEW site!

I have blogged this delicious spread before, but I have decided it deserves its own post. After all, I’ve made it three times now, and everyone that has tasted it has raved about it … and I keep missing it when it’s gone and having to make more.

Whipped Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream Cheese ~ click for the recipe on my NEW site!

I hope you will zip over to my new site for the recipe … and while you are there, make sure to enter your email address in the right sidebar and click the “Get Recipes by Email” button. Eventually I won’t be posting over here anymore and I would really really hate to lose you …

Whipped Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream Cheese ~ click for the recipe on my NEW site!


Chipotle Black Bean Quesadillas with Avocado Cream

Black Bean Chipotle Quesadilla with Avocado Cream

I have some exciting news for you! Well, it’s exciting to me, anyway, and I hope you find it exciting too … Sumptuous Spoonfuls is teaming up with Swiss Diamond International. I will be crafting some recipes for Swiss Diamond International using their cookware. They are not paying me to do this, but they are giving me samples of their cookware to use in developing their recipes.

I was really excited when Swiss Diamond International contacted me, and even more excited after I read about their cookware.  I was intrigued by the use of diamonds in cookware. This is from Swiss Diamond’s web site:

  • Diamonds are durable - As the hardest material known to man, diamonds give the coating additional strength and resilience.
  • Diamonds are a better heat conductor than metal - Four times more conductive than copper, diamonds create even heat distribution across the pan’s surface. Diamonds also allow the pan to brown food like stainless steel, creating a “fond” that can be used for gravy – or easily washed away with warm soapy water.
  • Diamonds are naturally nonstick - One of the most valuable properties of diamonds in a nonstick coating is that very little sticks to them. Coupled with their durability, this creates a lifetime of superior performance.

So I was curious to see if it really works … and I have to say I absolutely love these pans! They cook like a dream … the heat distributes across the pan so well. The food cooks faster and so evenly. And nothing sticks to the pan … with no cooking spray or butter. I tried some of the stickiest, most difficult things (like fried rice) and nothing stuck. And they’re so easy to clean too. (By the way, while Swiss Diamond did give me the pans, they did not pay me to say that … this is my honest experience.) I’m curious to see how well they retain that magic nonstick surface … I guess time will tell.

Black Bean Chipotle Quesadillas with Avocado Cream

For this recipe, I used the crepe/omelet pan. This little pan is by far my favorite so far. It has a low lip so that it’s easy to flip crepes, omelets, and pancakes. (Even the IHOP-style pancakes that have always been a struggle for me to flip … I found I can even make giant  pancakes – bigger than IHOP’s! – in this pan and they cook and flip SO nicely.) Anyway, I was craving a quesadilla the other day and thought this pan would be perfect for that. I wanted to try making it without any oil or cooking spray and see if the tortilla got properly crisped and browned on both sides. And you know what? It did.

You don’t have to have a crepe / omelet pan to make these quesadillas … any frying pan will do. But it sure makes cooking a pleasure.

Black Bean Chipotle Quesadilla with Avocado Cream in Swiss Diamond International Crepe/Omelet Pan

 Chipotle Black Bean Quesadilla with Avocado Cream

For each quesadilla:

  • 1/2 of a ripe avocado
  • 1 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • juice from 1/4 – 1/2 of a fresh lime
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons plain nonfat yogurt (optional)
  • 2 tortillas that fit the size of your pan. I used some whole wheat “wraps” that were a little smaller than my crepe pan.
  • Refried black beans (homemade or canned)
  • About a Tablespoon of finely chopped onion
  • About a Tablespoon of finely chopped chipotle pepper (a jalapeno roasted on the grill would also work)
  • About 1/2 oz. of finely shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • For serving: your favorite salsa. A fire-roasted salsa is especially nice with this quesadilla!

Directions:

  1. First, make the Avocado cream by mashing the avocado in a bowl, then mash in the cream cheese, onion, garlic and lime juice and stir until everything is mixed well and the mixture is fairly smooth. Add a teaspoon or two of plain nonfat yogurt if you like to get it to a nice spreadable consistency.
  2. Take one tortilla and spread it with a layer of refried black beans, then spread on a layer of avocado cream. Sprinkle the onion and chipotle pepper over, then sprinkle evenly with the shredded cheddar and top it all off with the 2nd tortilla.
  3. Heat your pan over medium heat. If your pan needs it, spray the pan with cooking spray, then slide the quesadilla into the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, then check to see if the bottom is nicely browned and crisp. Once it’s brown, flip the quesadilla over with a spatula and cook until it’s brown on the other side and the cheese is melted. (The bottom half is crisp by now so the quesadilla is fairly easy to flip, but if you are making a large quesadilla, you may need to slide the quesadilla onto a cutting board and then flip it over back into the pan.)
  4. Slide the quesadilla onto a cutting board, cut into wedges, and serve with the salsa.

Black Bean Chipotle Quesadillas with Avocado Cream

If you would like to purchase Swiss Diamond cookware, visit http://www.swissdiamond.us/.

This recipe was shared at Show & Share WednesdayCast Party WednesdayThursday’s TreasuresGala Dinner PartyFit & Fabulous FridaysFriday Food Fight, Weekend Potluck and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Pumpkin Swirl Bread with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Spread

My daughter, her friend and I went up to my friend’s lake house this weekend for a “girls” weekend. I wanted to bring along some fun “girly” things to eat, so I made up some chocolate mascarpone spread so we could make chocolate strawberry bruschetta, and while I was at it, I made a pumpkin maple spread too. But then I needed something to put the pumpkin spread on, so, despite the fact that it was a crazy busy day, on a total whim I started up some dough in my bread machine to make pumpkin cinnamon swirl bread. I wasn’t really sure that I would be home long enough on Saturday to bake it before we left, but somehow I managed it. And I was SO glad I did. This bread, with the pumpkin mascarpone spread is pure bliss to eat. You can just close your eyes and lose yourself in the lovely taste of it. My friend said she felt like she could just keep eating it till she exploded. I told her I wasn’t going to share that on my blog, but now here I am sharing it LOL. The young teenage girls loved it too.

We had such a fun weekend. We went for a LONG walk along the lake, then we had tea and hot chocolate and a lovely dinner … I made the salad, my daughter’s friend made cajun chicken pasta, my friend made green beans and we had rotisserie chicken and chicken sausages too, then we listened to funky music and my friend and I had wine and chatted while the girls danced their hearts out in the living room.

My friend who has three boys and has rarely (if ever?) had a girls weekend, wanted to take some of the bread home to her boys. I couldn’t let her have it ALL (my daughter wanted some!), but I did give her the smaller loaf to take home  … so the boys could try it too. I think she loved the girls weekend, but I could also tell she felt a little lost without her boys. I was craving some male energy too. Girls’ weekends are great, but … well, we need our boys, too. However, I do have to tell you my daughter and I were awfully tempted to buy this lakefront house we saw, move to the lake and leave our “city” life behind.

Yeah, that’s not going to happen. It is tempting, though …

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Spread

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Adapted from King Arthur Flour. If you don’t have a bread machine or bread attachment for your mixer, see King Arthur Flour for traditional bread-making instructions.

  • 1 package (1 tablespoon) active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup puréed pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • To make the swirl: Cooking spray (or melted butter) + cinnamon sugar

Directions:

  1. Dump all the ingredients except for the “Swirl” ingredients into your bread machine and set it on the dough setting.
  2. When the dough is ready, roll it out into a rectangle, spray with cooking spray, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and roll it up. (I rolled it up lengthwise, and the dough was long enough to make one loaf pan plus a smaller loaf.)
  3. Spray your loaf pans with cooking spray and carefully transfer the dough into them, tucking under the ends to form a nice loaf shape. Spray the loaves with cooking spray, cover with a clean towel and set in a warm place to rise.
  4. When the dough has risen to a big, puffy state (roughly double the size), bake at 375 F. for about 30 minutes or until the loaves are a deep golden brown on top and the loaves sound hollow inside when you thump them.
  5. Let the bread sit for about 5 – 10 minutes, then slice and serve with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream.

Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream

  • 3 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3/4 – 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (if you don’t have any on hand, here’s a quick recipe to make your own)
  • 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Let the cream cheese warm up a bit at room temperature, then in a small mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese with the rest of the ingredients until it’s all smooth and very well mixed. You can use a spoon or a mixer does the job quickly and gets the spread all nice and fluffy. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Pumpkin Swirl Bread with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Spread

This recipe was shared at Scrumptious Sunday, Melt in your Mouth MondayTotally Tasty TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowTasty TuesdayWonderful Food WednesdayNewlyweds Recipe LinkyShow & Share Wednesday, Cast Party Wednesday , Full Plate Thursday and All my Bloggy Friends.


Eggplant Parmesan Layer Dip

Eggplant Parmesan Dip

I had a big beautiful purple eggplant that was starting to fade, so I had to find a good use for it fast. I decided to make it into a dip … at first I was going to make some more baba ghanoush, but then I thought perhaps I could make something different with it … perhaps something with the flavors of Eggplant Parmesan … except creamier. Something you could spread on little toasts and munch on with a good glass of wine.

Eggplant Parmesan Dip

We finished the A-Z Health Challenge on facebook on Saturday … I still need to make my way through all the Zucchini recipes everyone shared, but I was busy with my Mom and Dad’s Anniversary party this weekend. The party turned out well, but I’m exhausted. I need a day off. How nice that we have a holiday today so I have a day just to rest. Although I won’t really be resting. We’ll be harvesting tomatoes and other garden bounty, packing and driving and unpacking, assembling my new chairs that my aunt and uncle brought up for me.

Eggplant Parmesan Dip

Eggplant Parmesan Layer Dip

  • 2 1/2 cups roasted eggplant (I used 1 large globe + 1 small Japanese eggplant)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup fat free greek yogurt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Your favorite marinara or pasta sauce (I used my crock pot garden marinara sauce)
  • Shredded asiago (or parmesan) and mozzarella cheese (maybe a cup of the two cheeses, mixed? I didn’t measure the cheese … use enough to cover the sauce)
  • Fresh garden tomato, chopped fine
  • Fresh herbs for garnish
  • Thin slices of toasted ciabatta or french bread

Directions:

  1. To roast the eggplant on the grill, poke the pretty purple fruit all around with a fork, then grill on a hot grill until the outside is black and charred and the eggplant is sagging a LOT … that means it’s fully cooked.
  2. Pull off the peel and discard, then chop the pulp roughly and measure it. You will need about 2 1/2 cups for this dip (or you can scale down the other ingredients to match the amount of eggplant you have). Put the eggplant, garlic, herbs, and cream cheese in a food processor or handi chopper and blend till smooth. I had to do this in batches because my handi chopper wasn’t big enough to hold it all! Pour the creamy mixture into a bowl and stir in the greek yogurt, then add salt to taste.
  3. You can serve the dip in individual ramekins or in a larger pie or tart pan. Smear a good thick layer of the creamy eggplant mixture on the bottom of the dish, cover with a layer of marinara or pasta sauce, then top with shredded cheese and some chopped tomato on top. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with thinly sliced toasted ciabatta or french bread.

Eggplant Parmesan Dip

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckMelt in your Mouth Monday, Manic MondayTalent Show TuesdayTrick or Treat Tuesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Cast Party WednesdayThursday’s Treasures and Fit & Fabulous Friday.


Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream

and a Mushroom Cherry Tomato Quinoa Pilaf

Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream

Ever since I made Baba Ghanoush, I’ve been wondering: what else could you do with eggplant puree? And then I picked up these HUGE chicken breasts at the store and was marinading them in buttermilk for my daughter and I for dinner … and it occurred to me that these babies would be really good stuffed with something wonderful and creamy. Eggplant puree, with cream cheese! and fresh tarragon and basil! Ah yes! How wonderful would THAT be?

Um yeah, completely wonderful … especially when you serve it over a pilaf of nutty quinoa with garlicky sauteed mushrooms and fresh garden cherry tomatoes.

Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream

Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Marinade: buttermilk + seasonings

Eggplant Tarragon Cream Filling:

  • 3/4 cup chopped roasted (or grilled) eggplant
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 oz light cream cheese
  • About 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped mixed basil & tarragon leaves

Directions:

  1. Put the chicken breasts in a bowl and add enough buttermilk to cover them completely. Add seasonings as you like: I added a couple teaspoons of Mrs. Dash and a couple teaspoons of a basic rub seasoning I like to use. Let the chicken marinade in the buttermilk for at least an hour … I left mine in there overnight.
  2. To cook the eggplant, I took a couple of the little purple tender eggplant from mom’s garden, sliced them lengthwise, sprayed them with cooking spray and set on a baking sheet that I’d sprayed with cooking spray. (If you’re using a larger eggplant, you probably want to peel it and slice into 1/4 inch slices.) Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant is soft and tender. Chop the eggplant roughly and toss them into a handi chopper with a couple cloves of garlic, the cream cheese and some fresh tarragon and basil leaves. Pulse to mix it all well and make a good creamy filling.
  3. Now, take the chicken breasts and slice into them horizontally with a small knife, not cutting all the way through so you make a little pocket in each chicken breast. Fill each pocket with half the filling, then close the open end with a toothpick.
  4. Heat up your grill and sear both sides of the chicken breasts on the hot part of the grill, then move them to the cooler part of the grill to cook until they are cooked through.
  5. Serve over a bed of the mushroom cherry tomato quinoa pilaf (recipe below), garnished with a few fresh basil or tarragon leaves.

Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream

Mushroom Cherry Tomato Quinoa Pilaf

  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of mushrooms sauteed with red wine, garlic, and bruschetta seasoning (see my Chardonnay Mushrooms recipe for instructions)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • Roasted sunflower seeds

Sautee the mushrooms with a couple cloves of garlic and a splash of red wine like I did with my Chardonnay Mushrooms. Add the hot, cooked quinoa, then the cherry tomatoes and stir gently to mix. Cook for just a few minutes to let the cherry tomatoes heat up. Serve the pilaf sprinkled with a couple tablespoons of sunflower seeds for a nice salty crunch.

This recipe was shared at Cast Party Wednesday, Weekend Potluck1 Month of Fun and Talent Show Tuesday.


Raspberry Cream Brownie Truffles

Raspberry Cream Brownie Truffles

One of my girlfriends, when she tasted these truffles, told me (in a quiet voice so the “boys” wouldn’t hear) that these truffles are almost better than sex. I laughed, and she said, “I’m serious!” … since then, a couple of my other girlfriends have confirmed her opinion … and I’m quite curious to see what my male friend says about them. He better hurry though, or he is totally going to miss these truffles!

There is a story behind this recipe … I started out to make brownie bites for the party, baking them in my mini-muffin tin. The first batch I put raspberries in the middle of the brownies and I undercooked them. They tasted really good, but they were just too gooey to eat. I didn’t want to throw them out … what a waste of good chocolate that would be!

So I decided to make my brownies into truffles. And while I was thinking about how to do this, I was chatting with my friend online … he had just gone to the vending machine to find something to eat:

Me: so what did you find to eat?
Him: Peanuts and Coke.
Me: lol peanuts are good
Him: I needed some fluids and sugar. I was getting the shakes really bad.
Me: Shakes are not good …
… unless they’re chocolate
Him: Chocolate and raspberry

Something about him saying “chocolate and raspberry” in the context of a milkshake while I was in the midst of figuring out how I was going to make my chocolate/raspberry truffles made me think “raspberry cream” … and that’s how they got the raspberry cream center.

Raspberry Cream Brownie Truffles

Raspberry Cream Brownie Truffles

  • 1/3 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen … if you are using fresh, pack them into the cup a bit … thaw out the frozen ones before adding them)
  • 8 oz light cream cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon rose vodka or Chambord (raspberry liqueur) … (optional)
  • 2/3 cup good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
  • 1 2/3 cups brownie “crumbs” (about 10 brownie bites) … mine wouldn’t exactly make crumbs. I just broke them into small pieces as best I could. I do recommend you undercook your brownies just a bit so they are a little soft and gooey for the truffles.  Here’s the brownie recipe I used.
  • 1 1/3 cups crushed chocolate graham cracker crumbs, ground into a fine powder in a handi chopper or food processor (if you can’t find chocolate graham crackers, just crush up some chocolate cookies)
  • For dipping: 2 high quality chocolate bars (4-oz. each) … (I used Ghirardelli)

Directions:

  1. First, make the raspberry cream: mix the raspberries with the cream cheese, honey, vanilla and liquor. Divide this creamy berry mixture in half, putting half of it in a container in the fridge for later.
  2. In a small microwave-safe bowl or double boiler, melt the chocolate chips. (Microwave on high for one minute, stir, then microwave 30 seconds, stir … repeat until you can stir out all the lumps of chocolate.)
  3. Mix the rest of the cream mixture with the melted chocolate chips, the brownie “crumbs”, and the chocolate graham cracker crumbs. Cover the bowl and set in the freezer for an hour or so to chill or in the fridge for several hours.
  4. When the chocolate “dough” is good and cold, it’s time to form the truffles! Choose a cookie sheet or other flat pan that will fit in your freezer. Take a small spoonful of the dough and shape it into a little cup in your hands. Put about 1/2 teaspoon of the raspberry cream mixture into the cup, then add a little more chocolate “dough” on top to cover the cream and form it into a ball shape. Set the ball on the pan and repeat until you’ve used up all the dough. Somehow I came out just about right … there was enough cream and chocolate to make a bunch of truffles (I’m not quite sure how many there were, though.) Don’t worry if the cream isn’t covered all the way or if some of the balls are bumpy. We’re going to dip these in chocolate anyway.
  5. Put the balls into the freezer and let them chill for several hours or overnight.
  6. When you are ready to dip your truffles, prepare an area to set them by laying out some waxed paper. I like to put them on a cookie sheet so it is easy to move them or stick them in the fridge if I need to (which is sometimes necessary on a hot day like it was the day I was making these!).
  7. Break the chocolate bars into pieces and melt in the microwave or over a double boiler, taking care to melt just till the chocolate is smooth and no longer. Dip each ball in the chocolate, rolling it around with a spoon to cover all the sides. I then stuck a toothpick in the ball and shook it a little (so there’s some chocolate left for the rest of the truffles!) and then put it on the waxed paper, sliding the toothpick out when quickly before the chocolate sets up. You can use the spoon to remove it too, or your fingers … no matter how you do it, it’s going to be a little messy (but hey, who doesn’t like to be covered in chocolate?).
  8. Once you’ve dipped all the truffles, let them sit until the chocolate is set. You may need to put them in the fridge to get the chocolate to set up … once it is set, transfer the truffles into a covered container to store in the fridge.

Raspberry Cream Brownie Truffles

This recipe was shared at Foodie FridaysScrumptious Sundays, and Made it by Monday.


Blueberry Gooseberry Ginger Yogurt Cheesecake

Lowfat Blueberry Gooseberry Ginger Yogurt Cheesecake

It’s hard to choose, but I think this is my favorite of all the recipes I made for my party last Saturday night. It’s a rich, decadent, creamy no-bake blueberry gooseberry mini-cheesecake made with nonfat greek yogurt and light cream cheese. The graham cracker crust is made with candied ginger, egg white and just a bit of butter.

Well, okay, you do bake the crust, but the creamy ginger yogurt filling is not baked. The gooseberry sauce is cooked on the stove and it’s quite simple to make. Then you mound fresh, sweet blueberries over top.

This cheesecake is the most Bohemian, Ally-style cheesecake I have ever made. If you have ever run across my friend Ally from Ally’s Kitchen, you know exactly what I mean when I say that. She has this bold style of cooking, food styling, and photography that transcends amazing. So I’m dedicating this recipe to my dear friend Ally.

Each part of this recipe is quite simple, so I suggest making this in steps. I made the crust and the gooseberry sauce one evening, and set the yogurt to drain overnight, then mixed up the filling in the morning. This was done days before the party, so at party time, I just pulled it out, put on the sauce and the berries, and cut little slices for the friends who wanted to try the cheesecake. Seriously, serve this in little slices. It’s really rich.

Lowfat Blueberry Gooseberry Ginger Yogurt Cheesecake

Blueberry Gooseberry Ginger Yogurt Cheesecake

a.k.a. Bohemian Blue Goose Cheesecake

Adapted from Food & Wine. Makes a 7-inch cheesecake with a pretty thick crust. If you want a larger cheesecake, double the yogurt filling recipe. There will be enough of the crust (although the crust will be thinner) and plenty of gooseberry sauce to make a normal-size cheesecake.

Crust:

  • 10 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces, or 1 1/2 cups plus 2 1/2 tablespoons of crumbs
  • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped (if you want to make your own, here’s a recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger sugar (the sugar that falls from the ginger pieces when you make candied ginger … you can substitute white sugar)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg white

Filling:

  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 4 oz. light cream cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated  ginger
  • Juice and zest from 1/2 of a lemon

Gooseberry sauce: (makes more sauce than you’ll need for the cheesecake)

  • 1 3/4 – 2 cups of gooseberries, cleaned (snip off the tough stems of the berries)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds

Topping:

  • Fresh blueberries
  • Mint leaves, for garnish (if desired)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 7 inch springform pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray.
  2. In a handi chopper or food processor, process the graham crackers with the candied ginger, sugar and salt until finely ground. Add the butter and egg white and blend until the crumbs are evenly coated. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the crust is light brown. Set the crust aside to cool.
  3. While the crust is baking, set the gooseberries and brown sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and smashing a few of the gooseberries with a spoon to release the flavor. Remove from heat and stir in the chia seeds (they will thicken the sauce). (If you don’t have chia seeds, you can use cornstarch or tapioca to thicken the gooseberry sauce–chia seeds are just a very quick, healthy way to thicken things.)
  4. Now for the filling! First you will make a “cheese” out of the greek yogurt. Take a coffee filter and place it in a strainer or funnel over a tall mug or something to catch the juices. Put the yogurt in the coffee filter and set it in the fridge to let it strain overnight.
  5. In the morning, mix the yogurt cheese with the cream cheese, honey, ginger and lemon zest & juice till smooth and well mixed. You might need to use a blender to get it smooth. (I did!) Pour the filling into the crust and smooth it out to cover the crust. Cover and store in the fridge till serving time.
  6. Just before serving, spread the cheesecake with a layer of the gooseberry sauce, then add a tumble of blueberries (as many as you like). Serve in small slices because the taste is really rich, and garnish with a mint leaf or two, if you so desire.

Lowfat Bluberry Gooseberry Ginger Yogurt Cheesecake

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s MealsMy Sweet PartyScrumptious Sunday, Crazy Sweet TuesdayHearth & Soul Bloghop, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, and Cast Party Wednesday.


Creamy Lemon Artichoke Dip

Creamy Lemon Artichoke Dip

I joined a new cooking challenge group called Eating the Alphabet. Each month we make a recipe featuring a fruit, vegetable, or bean/legume from a different set of letters. This month’s letters are K & L. Kale or Lemon was the first thing that popped into my mind. I asked my son and he gave me all sorts of K’s and L’s, and it’s funny I can’t even recall what they were now, but it was great fun thinking of them.

In the end, I went with Lemon because, well, lemon is so lovely and I needed a good dip for my Blog-iversary party last night. I think artichokes and lemons go splendidly together, and after making and sampling this creamy dip, well, I had a hard time saving it for the party.  I had to hide it from myself in the back of the fridge and wait till the day of the party for the photo shoot. The lemon flavor really shines through and compliments the artichoke really well.

I lightened up the recipe by using light cream cheese, light mayo, and nonfat greek yogurt and adjusting the proportions–I also added a bunch of sweet onions and some herbs for extra flavor. I don’t think you’ll miss the extra calories.

Eating the Alphabet: Creamy Lemon Artichoke Dip

Creamy Lemon Artichoke Dip

Adapted from WebMD. WebMD says to bake it and serve it hot, but it was so hot last night, I decided to just serve it cold. It’s delicious either way.

  • 1 – 14.75 jar of marinated artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
  • About 2 Tablespoons of the marinade from the artichokes
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped (about 1 heaping cup)
  • 4 small cloves of garlic, peeled & chopped
  • 8 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons gourmet prepared mustard (I used green peppercorn garlic, but dijon would be good too)
  • 1 teaspoon wortcestershire sauce
  • 2/3 cup (very loose) finely shredded Dubliner cheese (or other sharp cheese such as Asiago)
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped fine
  • The zest & juice of 1/2 of a fresh lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce

Directions:

  1. Drain the artichoke hearts, reserving the marinade. Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and heat to medium. Add the onions and garlic and sautee just briefly, then add a couple tablespoons of the marinade and cook until the juice from the marinade has evaporated and the onions are soft and translucent.
  2. Mix the hot onions with the cream cheese until well blended. (The heat soften the cream cheese and make it easier to mix.)
  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix well. At this point you can cover and store it in the fridge till serving time. It
  4. If you want to serve it hot, put it in a square baking dish or pie pan and bake at 400 for about 20 minutes or until it’s hot and bubbly. If it’s too hot to turn the oven on, this dip is great cold, too. (Admittedly, though, it IS better warm!)
  5. Serve with pita chips … or slice up a baguette into thin slices and toast them.
Creamy Lemon Artichoke Dip
Eating the Alphabet Challenge

This post was created for the Eating the Alphabet Challenge.

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This recipe was also shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Skinny Bloghop, Everyday Mom’s Meals, Scrumptious Sunday and Manic Monday.


Chocolate Chia Brownie Bites

Chocolate Chia Brownie Bites

It’s my one-year blog-iversary today. I am having a party in the real world tomorrow to celebrate. I’ll have a party in cyberspace too and I’ll invite all my foodie friends to bring wonderful things. There will be much revelry and champagne (with watermelon sorbet!) and good food shared.

I made these brownies for the party. I suppose you could say I made these brownies for both parties because this I will surely bring them to my virtual party too. I have to thank my sweet foodie friend Robin from Knead to Cook for the recipe for these … she made hers with raspberries. I started out doing that, too, but dropped the raspberries after the first batch because it just took too much time. I am a bit rushed this week …  (by the way that first batch turned out bad because I undercooked that batch … ooops! so I turned them into something else … another post coming soon about that … )

I also substituted some low fat cream cheese for some of the butter. I was running low on butter but had plenty of cream cheese, and besides, it just sounded good. And I used chocolate chia pudding in place of the eggs. I had some in my fridge that I needed to use up to make room for party food! Chia pudding does make a nice substitute for eggs. It even rises like eggs! Those little chia seeds are magic, I tell you.

A year ago I didn’t even know what chia seeds were … things have changed a LOT in a year. I’ve learned so much, met so many wonderful people, shared so many wonderful foods. It’s been a fantastic journey so far … and I plan to continue this journey for a long, long time. Because food is meant to be shared. It’s the most basic human connection.

Chocolate Chia Brownie Bites

Chocolate Chia Brownie Bites

Adapted from Knead to Cook

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter (or light butter spread … I actually used a mixture of both)
  • 4 oz light cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chocolate chia pudding (recipe here … or substitute 2 eggs and add a little extra cocoa + 1 teaspoon cinnamon)
  • 1/2 cup of non fat greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup of dark or Dutch processed cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli cocoa powder)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • if you want: fresh raspberries (make sure they are very dry, not wet … put one or two berries in the middle of each brownie bite)
  • for the top: mini chocolate chips (or other little candies or sprinkles)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line 3 mini muffin pans with mini-cupcake liners or spray them with cooking spray (or spray an 8×8 pan if you prefer). (I only have one mini muffin pan, so I ended up doing this 3 times.)
  2. In a mixing bowl, blend the sugar with the cream cheese and the butter until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla, chia pudding and greek yogurt.  Blend well.  Add the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and stir till everything is mixed together well.
  3. Pour the batter into your mini muffin pans, filling them about 2/3 – 3/4 full and sprinkle each one with a few mini chocolate chips. (If you are using raspberries, put a small spoonful of batter in the bottom, add a couple berries, then top with more batter.) Bake at 350 for 15 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the biggest one comes out mostly clean.

Chocolate Chia Brownie Bites

This recipe was shared at Foodie Friends FridayMy Sweet PartyFit & Fabulous Friday and Crazy Sweet Tuesday.


Berry Cherry Cream Crepes with Pecans

Berry Cherry Cream Crepes with Toasted Pecans

My daughter was hungry for crepes the other day, but it was in the middle of my work day, so she decided to make them herself. I thought I would have to help her because she usually gets frustrated with the cooking of the crepes, but she cooked them all herself, with no help from me (except for a little whisking of the batter)! I was so totally proud of her.

There were several left after she had her own personal crepe fest which she stuffed with caramel apples (just chunks of apples that she stirred into in a caramel sauce), so I put the remaining crepes in a tortilla bag in the fridge for another day. And then yesterday I thought I might have one of her crepes. I offered to make my girl one, but she wasn’t in the mood for a crepe. I guess her crepe craving was done. Good thing, because mine has just begun.

Berry Cherry Cream Crepes with Toasted Pecans

Berry Cherry Cream Crepes with Toasted Pecans

  • Crepes (recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup berry basil sauce (the sauce left from making Italian Cream Sodas … or cook up some fresh berries with a bit of sugar and fresh basil, then blend to make a sauce)
  • 3 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • Sweet cherries, pitted and chopped
  • Toasted pecans
  • Whipped cream or sweetened yogurt (either fruity or vanilla), for the top

Mix the berry basil sauce with the light cream cheese and greek yogurt till it’s pretty well combined. I couldn’t get the cream cheese to completely blend with the fruity sauce, but I got it pretty well mixed. Heat the crepe a bit in the microwave if it’s been chilled (like mine was) … 15 – 30 seconds should do it, then spread a good thick layer of the creamy berry sauce down the middle, leaving a little space on the ends. Sprinkle with cherries and toasted pecans, then fold over the ends and roll up the crepe.

Add a dollop of whipped cream or yogurt on top and sprinkle with berries and cherries and a few nuts.

Enjoy!

Berry Cherry Cream Crepes with Toasted Pecans

Crepes

from the Betty Crocker Cookbook

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs

Mix all the ingredients together to form a thin batter. You may need to whisk it a bit to get the batter smooth.

Spray a 6 to 8 inch frying pan with cooking spray and pour in 1/4 cup of the batter. Roll the pan around to coat the bottom of the pan with a very thin layer of the crepe batter. Cook until the bottom side is light brown, carefully lifting the edge of the crepe to check for brown-ness. When it’s ready, gently lift the edge of the crepe and slide a spatula under it, then flip it over to brown the other side. Stack the completed crepes on a plate. Betty says to put waxed paper between them to keep them from sticking, but I’ve never had a problem with my crepes sticking together.

Don’t get discouraged if you break a few crepes in the process … they are delicate pancakes and they can be a little tricky to flip. Just munch on your ‘mistakes’ with a bit of powdered sugar (or just eat them plain, like my daughter did) … and try again.

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s MealsManic MondaysTotally Tasty Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tastetastic Thursday, Thursday’s Treasures, Foodie Friends Friday and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Chocolate Peanut Butter BonBons

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bonbons

Craving. Chocolate. Peanut butter. Nagging, nagging. Helllooooo. Chocolate. NEED Chocolate! Peanut butter. Mmm. Peanut butter. Nagging. Craving. Peanut Butter. Chocolate. CHOCOLATE!

Bonbons … Mmm. Bonbons. Yes. Chocolate. Peanut butter. Yes, yes, yes. Ah! Better.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bonbons

I feed my cravings with high quality ingredients and then I also try to lighten up my favorite decadent treats.  If they taste really good, I find I don’t need to eat large quantities of them. These are sort of like a Reese’s peanut butter cup, except they’re healthier.

Chocolate Peanut Butter BonBons

Heavily adapted from Baby Gizmo Blog. To reduce the fat, I used PB2 in place of half of the peanut butter, which is a powdered form of peanut butter with 85% of the fat removed. If you can’t find it at your local grocery store (in the health food section), you can order it online.

  • 1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (chocolate or regular … whatever you prefer/have on hand … I used a mix of both)
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 1/2 cup PB2 (chocolate or regular or a mix of both … I used half chocolate/half regular)
  • 1/4 cup fat free half & half
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup light cream cheese
  • For dipping: good quality dark chocolate and mini chocolate chips … I am not sure how much I used because I grabbed some bar chocolate then added chips to it, but I would guess it would be about 1 – 1 1/2 cups of dark chocolate chips plus a cup of mini chocolate chips
In a handi chopper or food processor, grind the graham crackers into fine crumbs. Pour them into a bowl and mix with the remaining ingredients. Form the mixture into balls (makes about 24 or so), set the balls on a tray and set in the freezer for an hour or longer.
Set the mini chocolate chips in a separate bowl, then melt some dark chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler. To melt it in the microwave, microwave on high for 1 minute, then stir, then microwave 30 seconds longer and stir again. If it’s still not melted, microwave another 30 seconds and stir.
Lay out a section of waxed paper on a baking pan to set the chocolates on once you’ve dipped them.
To dip the bonbons: roll a ball around in the melted chocolate with a spoon, then poke it with a toothpick and shake gently to remove some of the chocolate. Hold the ball by the toothpick over the bowl of mini-chops and sprinkle with mini chips, then set on the waxed paper. Let the bonbons sit until the chocolate is set (in the fridge, if needed). Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bonbons

This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth MondaysManic Mondays, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, Foodie Friends Friday and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Mocha Frangelico Surprise Truffles

and How I (almost) Killed My Ninja Chopper

Mocha Frangelico Date Surprise Truffles

I had a funny naming conversation with my (male) friend about these truffles … it went something like this:

Me:  Hey what do you think I should name those truffles?
Him:  Bob … or Robert
Me: LOL, you’re funny
Him: Wait, I guess they really should be called Hazel … but that seems contradictory …should be a boy’s name
Me: because they have nuts?
Him: Yep

The conversation deteriorated from there … we ended up with this name: “Surprise, Hazel has Nuts!” … which I thought was funny good. But then I had a thought afterwards … perhaps they could be “Date with a Nutty Monk” Truffles? … they are a bit like a Nutty Monk (the cocktail) and they have dates in them … so I’m going to let you choose whichever name you like.

I bought the Frangelico (a hazelnut liqueur) several weeks ago, intending to make some truffles. But I didn’t make them. I don’t know what was stopping me, maybe some other things just got in the way. Maybe it’s just too summery out there to think about things like truffles.  Maybe I had other sources to satisfy my chocolate cravings. I’ve got to be in the right mood to make truffles.

But then my chocolate supplies ran low. My chocolate peanut butter granola bars dwindled, my Godiva truffles were gone, my Dove chocolates disappeared … there was some chocolate cake …  but really, when I need chocolate, I need something more intense than cake.

So I set about to making my truffles finally. But I went about this all wrong. If you want to put dates in your truffles, you should SOAK the dates first so they are soft. If you don’t soak them, they could gum up your chopper and stress the motor and make you truly believe it died. My poor little chopper died that day … it wouldn’t whir at all, wouldn’t do anything. It came back the next day and has worked ever since, but I don’t think I really want to do that to it again … poor thing.

Mocha Frangelico Date Surprise Truffles

Mocha Frangelico Surprise Truffles

a.k.a. “Surprise! Hazel has Nuts!” Truffles,  “Bob”, or “Date with a Nutty Monk” Truffles

This is a slightly revised method from mine, so that you don’t kill your chopper like I did.

  • 1/4 cup frangelico (hazelnut) liqueur
  • 1/4 cup Kahlua (or homemade coffee liqueur)
  • 14 large dates
  • 8 chocolate graham crackers, crushed into a fine powder (about 1 1/2 cups crumbs)
  • 4 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 2 squares dark chocolate, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon high quality vanilla extract
  • About 27 whole hazelnuts, toasted (You will need 1 for the center of each truffle … so the number of nuts you need depends on how big you make your truffles)
  • 3/4  – 1 cup good quality dark chocolate chips (or a dark chocolate bar, broken into pieces), for dipping
  • Chopped hazelnuts, for dusting the tops

Chop the dates into hunks and soak them in the liqueur for 15 minutes or until the dates have softened up. Then put the mixture into your handi chopper or food processor and process until the dates are a fine paste. Mix the date/liqueur mixture with the crushed crackers, cream cheese, dark chocolate, and vanilla until smooth. Chill the mixture in the fridge or freezer until it’s stiff enough to form into balls.

Spray your hands with cooking spray, then take a nut and a small spoonful of the mixture and shape the chocolatey goodness completely around the little nut. Set on a baking tray sprayed with cooking spray. When you have formed all the mixture into balls, set the tray in the freezer to chill for at least a couple hours.

Melt the dipping chocolate and take the chocolate nut balls out of the freezer. Set out a sheet of waxed paper on a flat surface. Using a spoon, swirl each little truffle around in the melted chocolate, then set on the waxed paper and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts. Let set in a cool place until the dipping chocolate has set. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.

Share with your sweetie or your friends … or take them on a date with a nutty monk. ;)

Mocha Frangelico Date Surprise Truffles

This recipe was shared at I’m Lovin’ It and Weekend Potluck.


Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Basil

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Fresh Basil

It’s a dreary, wet morning in South Dakota. Everything is very green and growing fast … I need to get out and pull weeds and tend my little garden. And I have some MORE grocery shopping to do … but first, I think we need a little color to brighten the day.  Just looking at these little toasts makes me happy.

This is a little fruit crostini I whipped up last week for a snack. I was very pleased with it overall, but I have to be honest with you, I didn’t like the french bread as the base for this little toast. I think it would be much better on blueberry bagels or maybe some sugar cookies or snickerdoodles? Something that goes better with the juicy fruit. But I do have to say the maple, ginger, and basil in the cream cheese is oooh so good. The fruit mixture is just perfect with the sweet creamy cheese. You could toss on some toasted nuts as well. I think that would be nice. I’m not sure why I left off the nuts … ah well, you get the idea.

If you are serving this at a party or get together (they’d be marvelous for a brunch, don’t you think?), rather than making them all up like this, you could also serve the bagels with the cream cheese and bowl of fruit on the side and let the guests do the work of putting them together. But if you’re making them for a big crowd, you’ll need to double or triple the recipe …

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Fresh Basil

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Basil

  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 oz. light cream cheese
  • Blueberry bagels (or other fruity bagels), sliced & toasted (or sugar cookies or snickerdoodles … just please, don’t use French Bread like I did …)
  • 3 cups mixed fruit, chopped into little pieces (I used honeydew melon, blueberries, pineapple, and strawberries)
  • A few fresh basil leaves, for garnish
  • Toasted nuts, if you like. I think walnuts or pecans would be nice on these …

Mix the maple syrup, ginger and basil together. Take 2 Tablespoons of the syrup mixture and mix it in with the cream cheese. Mix the rest in with the fruit.

Toast the bagels, spread with the sweet ginger basil cream cheese, and top with fruit. (If you’re using cookies, I suppose there’s no need for toasting …)  Garnish with fresh basil leaves and a few toasted nuts (if you’ve decided you want nuts).

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Fresh Basil

P.S. You might notice I added a watermark to my images … I will be doing that from now on, just because, well, they are my images and I work hard on them. I really love it when people share my pictures and recipes, but I don’t like it when people post my words and/or pictures as if they had taken / written them. If you like my photos or recipes, please share, but just mention that it’s from  Sumptuous Spoonfuls and give me a link back to my blog, okay? Thanks for understanding …

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s MealsScrumptious SundaysWeekend Potluck, Moosewood Monday, Tuesday Talent Show and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.


Asparagus on Green Garlic Crostini

Asparagus on Green Garlic Crostini

It’s spring! Everything is turning green … that means it’s time for my favorite spring vegetables. Like asparagus. And spinach. I’m in heaven whenever I can have fresh asparagus and spinach from the garden.

And this year I have one more wonderful thing to harvest from the “garden” … garlic. I snagged a couple clumps of garlic from my mom and dad’s garden and planted them in a pot to bring home. Now I have a big mess of delicious fresh garlic ready anytime I want them. I love that. I love garlic.

Asparagus on Green Garlic Crostini

And I really, really love these little green toasts. Aren’t they pretty?

Asparagus on Green Garlic Crostini

Asparagus on Green Garlic Crostini

Inspired by the Full Belly Sisters’ Green Grilled Cheese Sandwich

  • 15 – 20 fresh asparagus spears
  • 6 fresh cloves of garlic (the whole plant … complete with scapes … if you don’t have fresh garlic, you can substitute garlic cloves
  • 2 cups packed full of fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 oz light cream cheese
  • French bread slices
  • Freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • Pinon nuts (pine nuts)

Directions:

  1. Wash the asparagus and set it on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Roast in the oven at 450 for about 5 – 7 minutes or until the asparagus is barely crisp tender (and still bright green). Chop into about 1 to 2 inch slices. Set aside.
  2. Clean the garlic, chop off the roots and any bad peel, and toss it into a handi chopper or food processor with the fresh spinach leaves. Whir until it’s all chopped fine.
  3. Mash the avocado in a bowl, then cream in the cream cheese to make a smooth blend.
  4. Stir the chopped spinach & garlic into the avocado/cream cheese to make a wonderful luscious green paste.
  5. Lightly toast the french bread slices, then spread each toast with a liberal amount of the pretty green creamy paste.
  6. Arrange the asparagus on the toasts (I arranged them in a fan shape … not that you can really tell …), then sprinkle lightly with parmesan and a few pinon nuts.
  7. Put the toasts on a baking sheet and bake at 450 for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the pinons are lightly toasted.
  8. Serve immediately.

Asparagus on Green Garlic Crostini

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe LinkyTastetastic Thursdays, and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Ham & Asparagus Rollups with Dijon Dill Cream

Ham & Asparagus Rollups with Dijon Dill Cream

It’s my favorite time of year. Asparagus season. I adore asparagus. It’s beautiful. It’s elegant. It’s delicious. It’s versatile. It’s the perfect vegetable.

I suppose I could go buy it at the store just about any time I want it, but I don’t. I wait for spring. I wait to go to my parents’ house where they have this HUGE asparagus bed and I can pick and pick and pick to my heart’s content.

And then once asparagus season is over, I don’t cook with asparagus till next spring. Don’t ask me why. That is just how it is.

Ham & Asparagus Rollups with Dijon Dill Cream

Ham & Asparagus Rollups with Dijon Dill Cream

I made 8 rollups. I have seen this type of thing done with store-bought crescent rolls. I suppose you COULD do that, but being the freakazoid make-my-own-bread fiend that I am, I just used my bread machine to make the dough. It’s so simple … why not?

Dijon Dill Cream

  • 3 Tablespoons light cream cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Several little sprigs of fresh dill, snipped
  • 1/2 cup shredded Havarti cheese

Rollups

  • Fresh bread or crescent roll dough (I used this bread dough)
  • 16 – 48 asparagus spears (just the top 3 – 5 inches of each spear)
  • 8 Slices (or chopped) lean ham (I used chopped ham, but I think thin slices wrapped around the asparagus would be prettier)

Directions:

  1. Make the bread dough. I used my French bread dough and made it in my bread machine on the dough setting. I made a whole recipe of the dough, then used about 1/3 of the dough for this recipe and made the rest into a small loaf of French bread. If you want to make all of the dough into rollups, just make about 3 times as much Dijon Dill Cream and adjust the amount of asparagus accordingly.
  2. Make the Dijon Dill Cream. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, yogurt and mustard until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the dill and havarti cheese. Set aside.
  3. Place the asparagus spears in a microwaveable dish, add a little water, then cover and microwave for a minute or three until the asparagus is just crisp tender.
  4. Roll out the bread dough into a large rectangle. Cut out half as many 4 inch squares as you will want for rollups, then cut each square in half diagonally to make a triangle.
  5. Spread each triangle with dijon dill cream, then lay the asparagus and ham on the triangle, with the tips of the asparagus poking past the tip of the triangle. I used 2 sprigs of asparagus per rollup but I wish I had put in more! I think 3 or 4 per rollup would be just perfect.Ham & Asparagus Rollups with Dijon Dill Cream
  6. Roll the bread dough around the ham and asparagus, then carefully lift and place on a greased baking sheet.Ham & Asparagus Rollups with Dijon Dill Cream
  7. Spray the rollups with cooking spray, cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for about 20 – 30 minutes.
  8. Bake at 350 for about 10 – 12 minutes or until they are lightly golden brown. Let sit for just a few minutes before serving and serve while they’re still warm. If you have any leftovers, keep them in a bag in the fridge then reheat for a few seconds in the microwave.

They really don’t need any dipping sauce … they are SO good just like this, but if you like, you can serve them with avocado ranch dressing … or thin out some of the dijon dill cream with a little milk to make it into a dipping sauce.

You could serve this as an appetizer or alongside soup or salad for a lovely lunch or light dinner.

It needs a little more than 2 spears per rollup, don’t you think?

Ham & Asparagus Rollups with Dijon Dill Cream

If you want to see what they would look like with slices of ham wrapped around the asparagus, check out this beautiful post from The Fresh Fridge.


Salmon, Havarti, Blue Cheese & Veggie Omelet

Salmon, Havarti, Blue Cheese & Spring Vegetable Omelet

I still had some salmon in my fridge from the other night when I made it for my daughter (I made extra just for times like this … salmon is such a fun fish to “play” with!) and a bit of Havarti and blue cheese, some cucumber, red onion, tomato, and dill … sounds like a fantastic omelet … It was.

You see, Wednesday night was yogilates night. It’s a tough workout. Usually after yoga on Wednesdays, we go out for wine. I never eat after that … I just roll into bed. So I tend to wake up on Thursday mornings just STARVING … time for an omelet.

Salmon, Havarti, Blue Cheese & Spring Vegetable Omelet

Salmon, Havarti, Blue Cheese & Spring Vegetable Omelet

Blue Cheese Dilled Salmon Spread:

  • 1 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon or so of blue cheese
  • A sprig of fresh dill, snipped
  • Garlic scapes, snipped … or a bit of fresh garlic, chopped
  • A bit of finely chopped onion … or green onion
  • A small fillet of salmon, grilled or smoked

Omelet:

  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • Dabs of the Blue Cheese Dilled Salmon Spread
  • Chopped red onion
  • Chopped tomato
  • Chopped cucumber
  • Snipped dill
  • Shredded Havarti cheese
  • Flakes of cooked or smoked salmon
  • Tomato slices and sprigs of dill for garnish and toasted french bread

Directions:

  1. Mix up the Blue Cheese Dilled Salmon Spread by mixing all the ingredients together in a small bowl. This will make more than enough for an omelet, so use the rest for salmon cucumber toasts or serve it as a spread with crackers. It’s lovely that way.
  2. Prepare your chopped vegetables and shred the cheese.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, egg white, and 1 tablespoon of water till fluffy. (Use water to keep the eggs moist without sticking to the pan.) Season with salt and freshly ground pepper (and/or my favorite: Red Robin seasoning).
  4. Heat a skillet or omelet pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Arrange your omelet toppings close by so you can work quickly once you start cooking.
  5. When the pan is hot, add the egg to the pan, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan, then quickly sprinkle with dabs of the salmon spread, the chopped vegetables, dill, salmon, and Havarti cheese. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for a few minutes or until the cheese is melted and the egg is cooked. The omelet should be just lightly browned on the bottom.
  6. With a spatula, carefully fold over one side of the omelet onto the other, then slide it out of the pan onto a serving plate.

Salmon, Havarti, Blue Cheese & Spring Vegetable Omelet

This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck, the Egg Blog Hop and Talent Show Tuesday.


Tulip & Violet Salad with Salmon Cucumber Toasts

a.k.a., Tiptoe through the Tulips with Me Salad

Tulip & Wild Violet Salad with Salmon Blue Cheese Cucumber Toast

I have been wondering what beautiful blossoms in my yard are edible? There must be something besides dandelions and wild violets …

So I did a little research and it turns out there is a reason the deer chomp off the tulip blossoms so quickly … they’re delicious! Tulips have a faint taste sort of like asparagus, but with a lighter, more flowery taste.

Tulip & Wild Violet Salad with Salmon Blue Cheese Cucumber Toast

I have planted a lot of tulips, but I don’t get to see very many of my sweet tulip blossoms, thanks to the deer that visit my yard so frequently. I welcome the deer as a magical presence in my life … and at the same time I get frustrated with them for killing my trees, eating all my tulips, lilies, strawberries, hostas, apple and apricot trees (will I EVER have apples?) … it’s very hard to garden with deer around.

I had just three surviving tulip flowers  … I figured I had better pick them before the deer got them.

Please do not try eating your tulips if you use chemicals on your tulips or on your lawn anywhere near your precious tulips.

Tulip & Wild Violet Salad with Salmon Cucumber Toast

Tulip & Wild Violet Salad with Blue Cheese and Pinons

  1. Find some greens. I snipped some “volunteer” greens from my garden. Make a bed of greens on your salad plate or bowl.
  2. Arrange tulip petals and wild violet greens and blossoms (whatever you have) on top of your greens.  (Just please make sure there aren’t any nasty lawn chemicals on your flowers!)
  3. Sprinkle your beautiful salad with crumbled blue cheese and toasted pine nuts (pinons) … or other nuts of your choosing.
  4. Drizzle with your favorite vinaigrette. I was sure I had some berry vinaigrette in my fridge, but I couldn’t find it and settled for my maple cranberry vinaigrette. It worked out beautifully anyway.

Salmon Cucumber Toasts

  • French bread
  • 1 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon or so of blue cheese
  • A sprig of fresh dill, snipped
  • Garlic scapes, snipped … or a bit of fresh garlic, chopped
  • A bit of finely chopped onion … or green onion
  • A small fillet of salmon, grilled or smoked
  • Cucumber slices and basil leaves, for the top

Directions:

  1. Toast the french bread lightly
  2. Mix the cream cheese, blue cheese, scapes or garlic, onion, dill and salmon in a small bowl till mixed well.
  3. Spread the french bread toast with the cheese mixture and top with cucumber slices and basil leaves.

Tulip & Wild Violet Salad with Salmon Cucumber Toast

This recipe was shared at Full Plate Thursdays, Tastetastic Thursdays, Katherine Martinelli’s Easter Blog Hop, Fit & Fabulous FridaysEveryday Mom’s Meals and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.


Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Confetti Pizza

Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Fiesta Pizza

Yesterday was another dance competition day. Dance competition days are always SO busy … I’m surprised I had time to do anything with food. But I did! While my daughter was getting ready, I had a little time to make myself some lunch. I pulled out a pizza crust from the freezer (one of my sunflower rosemary flatbreads) and started topping it. I went a little crazy with the toppings, but it was fun. And filling. And delicious. A fiesta on a pizza. I had to stop in the middle of it to go help my girl with her hair. Then I had to get my sewing machine out to fix the strap on her costume. But somehow I managed to get my belly happy and full before we left, and that was good.

I even found time to make lunch and a little food care package for my daughter to eat at the competition … they never seem to have any healthy food at dance competitions. I packed her a PB&J on a fresh bun, a package of strawberries and an apple … it was a VERY good thing to have along. Everyone else was eating greasy, over-salted popcorn, donuts, candy, soda and brownies — or fast food they ran out and bought. Some of these dancers were there for over 12 hours. Next time we decided we need to bring a cooler full of food so our kids have something good to eat.

Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Confetti Pizza

Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Confetti Pizza

Makes one individual-sized pizza. If you want a bigger pizza, double the ‘sauce’

  • 1 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/4 of a ripe avocado
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of salsa
  • 1 pizza crust
  • Black beans, cooked
  • Corn, cooked
  • Red onions, thinly sliced
  • Finely chopped jalapeno (or bell pepper, chopped, if you don’t want it so spicy)
  • Chopped fresh tomato
  • Goat cheese crumbles
  • A few slices of sharp cheddar cheese
  • Slices of avocado
  • Green onions, snipped

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, smash the avocado with a fork, then mix with the cream cheese and salsa. Spread it all over the pizza crust. If you have any left, use it as a dip with corn chips (oh SO good … Or you could just make extra for dip).
  2. Top with black beans, corn, red onions, jalapeno and tomato.
  3. Dot the pizza with goat cheese crumbles, then add bits of cheddar cheese here and there.
  4. Bake (on a pizza stone, if you have one) at 450 for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the pizza is nice and hot all the way through and the cheddar cheese is melted.
  5. Top with slices of avocado and green onion … and cilantro, if you have it. I didn’t. I wanted some, but they were all out at the store.

Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Confetti Pizza

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s Meals, Talent Show TuesdaysThursday’s Treasures and Recipe of the Week-Secret Ingredient: CornKatherine Martinelli’s Bean Blog Hop and Cinco de Mayo Fiesta.


Hot & Cheesy Seafood Spinach Dip

Post #2 of 5 in my Five Favorite Things for my Five Thousand Foodie Friends series …

Hot & Cheesy Seafood Spinach Dip

I have to combine some of my favorite things or I’m not going to fit them all in five posts!

I am quite taken with appetizers … little bites … dips … party food! Also I looove seafood … although I don’t cook it that often, since we are quite land-locked and it is difficult to get good seafood here. Unless you count walleye, silver bass, northern pike … THAT is quite attainable in these parts. But I made an exception for this special occasion and splurged on some seafood. Shrimp and crab … ah yes!

This yummy dip also features wine. And cheese. Another two of my foodie flavor loves. And a few veggies, because veggies and I are buddies too.

Hot & Cheesy Seafood Spinach Dip

Let’s put this all together, shall we? Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you … it’s really quite a simple dip. You will be popping it in the oven to heat up in no time … it’s also great as a make-ahead-and-pull-it-out-and-bake-at-serving-time dip.

Hot & Cheesy Seafood Spinach Dip

  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons of Chardonnay (or other dry white wine)
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup frozen spinach, thawed, with the moisture squeezed out of it
  • 1/2 cup white beans (great northern or cannelini beans)
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup freshly shredded Romano cheese (or other sharp, hard cheese like Parmesan)
  • 1/3 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese (or other soft, melty cheese like Swiss)
  • 1 Tablespoon (or more) of fresh snipped dill weed (or 1 teaspoon of dried dill)
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 6-oz. can of crab meat, drained (or 4.25 oz. of fresh crab meat)
  • 1/3 cup of pre-cooked shrimp, chopped fine (I used medium frozen shrimp, but you could use any size … if yours are fresh, pre-cook them a little before adding them)

Toppings: a bit of extra shredded Romano and/or gouda cheese, some crushed crackers or breadcrumbs, and some chopped fresh chives and/or dill

Directions:

  1. In a frying pan or cast iron skillet, cook the onion, celery and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until the onion is translucent and soft. Add the wine and worcestershire sauce and sautee until the liquid evaporates. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, combine the spinach, white beans, light mayonnaise, and light cream cheese. Whir until well pureed and everything is a fine paste. If the mixture is too thick, add the lemon juice as well and maybe even the yogurt.
  3. Now in a medium-sized bowl, mix the sauteed veggies, the pureed mixture, and the remaining ingredients except for the toppings.
  4. Spray an oven proof bowl or small casserole with cooking spray and pour the dip into the bowl. Spread it with a spatula till it’s flat, then sprinkle with extra cheese and crushed crackers or bread crumbs.
  5. Bake at 400 for 10 – 20 minutes or until everything is hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted. Top with the fresh chives and/or dill before serving. It is good to put a shrimp on top to clue everyone in on what they can expect from this luscious dip!

Serve with crackers, toasted pita or bagel chips or vegies. (You can also put it in a mini-crockpot at a party to keep it warm.)

This is even better if you make the dip ahead of time and let the flavors meld overnight (or longer) in the fridge, then pull it out, top it and bake it just before you serve it.

Hot & Cheesy Seafood & Spinach Dip

This recipe was shared at Midweek FiestaCast Party Wednesday, These Chicks Cooked Whole Foods Recipe Swap, Tastetastic Thursdays,  Full Plate Thursdays, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, Fabulous FridaysWeekend Potluck, and Strut your Stuff Saturdays.


Chocolate Cherry Cabernet Talking Truffles

Chocolate Cherry Cabernet Talking Truffles

These truffles are very noisy. They keep talking to me. Waking me up in the middle of the night. Interrupting me while I’m trying to work.

Maybe they got lonely after I dipped them in chocolate on Friday evening, then we went away for the weekend, but my gosh, now they won’t STOP talking!

Hush you noisy things. Let me work. No, I can’t eat truffles all day long. I must have lunch sometime. And in the deep dark depths of night I should be SLEEPING for gosh sakes! I have to work in the morning!

No, I haven’t time for a truffle now … I have to run to the store … can’t you wait?

Gosh such pester-some truffles these are. So insistent on making me eat them! Are you sure you want them in your kitchen?

Chocolate Cherry Cabernet Talking Truffles

Yes, you do. You really do. With a nice glass of red wine. Honestly, right now I feel like I never want to live without them. I am savoring every little bite, slowly, deliberately, holding it on my tongue to make that creamy dark chocolate cherry taste last as long as I possibly can … they can just keep on talking …

Chocolate Cherry Cabernet Talking Truffles

Truffle Filling:

  • 2.5 oz. of good quality dark chocolate, melted (I used Ghirardelli 70% dark chocolate for the filling)
  • 5 chocolate graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup sour cherries, pitted (I thawed some cherries that my dad had frozen from his cherry tree … so they were kind of soft and small and squished down into the cup a lot. I suppose you could use sweet cherries as well, but I like the tartness with the dark chocolate … if you use fresh ones, you may want to increase the amount.)
  • 3 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup cabernet (I think it would also work well with shiraz or merlot or malbec or some other dark, dry red wine)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (yes, trust me, the cayenne adds just a tiny bite that goes SO well with the chocolate, the wine, and the cherries …)
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 teaspoons of dark unsweetened cocoa powder

For dipping:

  • 1 and 1/4 bars of good quality dark chocolate, for dipping (I used Green & Black’s Organic 70% chocolate bars.)

Directions:

  1. First make the filling. Put the graham crackers in a handi chopper or food processor and process until they are powdered. Add the cherries and process until the cherries and crackers form a paste.
  2. Put the cherry mixture in a bowl and stir in the remaining filling ingredients. Cover the bowl and set it in the refrigerator (or set it outside if it’s frigid outside like it is here!) for a couple hours to chill well.
  3. Spray your hands with cooking spray and form the sticky mixture into balls. This is a little tricky and sticky, and you may have to wash your hands and re-apply the cooking spray a few times. (I am thinking I may have to invest in some truffle molds one of these days … ) Set them on a tray as you finish the balls.
  4. Chill the truffle filling balls in a freezer (or outside!) for at least a couple hours or overnight.
  5. Time for the dipping! Line a tray or baking sheet with waxed paper. Melt the dipping chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave. To melt it in the microwave, break the chocolate into small chunks in a bowl. Microwave on high for 60 seconds. Stir. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. A lot. If it’s not melted yet, microwave another 30 seconds, then stir again.
  6. Carefully roll the truffle balls in the melted chocolate with a spoon, then set them gently on the waxed paper, leaving a little space between your truffles.
  7. Once the chocolate has set, transfer the truffles into a covered containers and store in the fridge, somewhere in the back. Set something in front of them to hide them because you might have a hard time resisting these little chocolates.

Chocolate Cherry Cabernet Talking Truffles

This recipe was shared at Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Totally Tasty TuesdaysIt’s a Keeper Thursdays, Tastetastic Thursdays and Full Plate Thursdays.


Bailey’s Irish Cream Chocolate Valentine Truffles

Bailey's Irish Cream Valentine Truffles

The story of a love is not important – what is important is that one is capable of love. It is perhaps the only glimpse we are permitted of eternity.”

~ Helen Hayes

Bailey's Irish Cream Valentine Truffles

Bailey’s Irish Cream Valentine Truffles

Makes 25 – 30 truffles. If you can’t find chocolate graham crackers, use chocolate cookies. These are dark chocolate truffles … if you prefer a lighter chocolate, eliminate the cocoa and cappuccino powder and use milk or semi-sweet chocolate in place of the dark chocolate.

For the Filling:

  • 9 chocolate graham crackers (4.8 oz.), crushed and finely ground into a powder
  • 4 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of Bailey’s Irish Cream (or homemade mocha cream liqueur)
  • 2 teaspoons of good quality vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons of dark (dutch process) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla cappucinno powder
  • 2 squares of dark chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate … each square is 0.375 oz. or 10.6 g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 2 Tablespoons Nutella

For dipping and hearts:

  • White almond bark or white chocolate chips & pomegranate seeds (optional)
  • Good quality dark chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 60% cocoa … one 4 oz. chocolate bar plus an extra square or two)

Directions:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, mix together all ingredients for the filling until well blended. Cover and chill in a freezer for 30 minutes or longer or until the mixture has firmed up enough to form into balls, but it’s not yet frozen hard.
  2. Spray a cookie sheet and your hands with cooking spray and form the filling into balls about 3/4 inch in diameter, setting the balls on the cookie sheet with some space in between them so they don’t stick together. If your hands start getting sticky, rinse off all the gooey chocolate mixture, spray your hands and start again until you have all the filling formed into balls.
  3. Set the cookie sheet in the freezer on a flat surface … or, if you happen to live in the frigid north and it’s a particularly cold day outside  like it is here today, you can just set them outside to chill for a couple hours.
  4. (This step is optional … you can do a white chocolate drizzle much easier than the hearts, but I thought hearts would be nice for Valentine’s Day.) To make the white chocolate hearts, line another cookie sheet with a sheet of waxed paper. Melt a square of the white almond bark and put it in a ziploc bag. Snip off a small corner of the bag and pipe the white chocolate into heart shapes on the waxed paper. If you want, you can stick pomegranate seeds onto the hearts while they are still wet.
  5. Wait 15 – 30 minutes or so till the white chocolate has hardened, then carefully put one hand under the waxed paper and loosen the hearts from the paper, lifting each heart off the paper with your other hand and placing them on a plate.
  6. Set the waxed paper back on the cookie sheet.
  7. Once the chocolate truffle balls are cold and fairly firm, melt the dark chocolate in a bowl or double boiler. Using a spoon, swirl one ball at a time in the melted chocolate to cover it completely, then set carefully onto the waxed paper, taking care not to touch them with your hands. Immediately “glue” one of the white chocolate hearts onto the chocolate-covered truffle before dipping the next one (because the melted chocolate will harden fairly quickly). Set the cookie sheet in the refrigerator (or other safe cold place) until the chocolate is firm.
  8. Store the truffles in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Bailey's Irish Cream Valentine Truffles

This post is for #chocolatelove … powered by Linky Tools

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This recipe was also shared at Fabulous Valentine’s Ideas, a Valentine’s Day Blog HopEveryday Mom’s Church Supper, These Chicks Cooked Recipe SwapWeekend Potluck, and Katherine Martinelli’s St Patrick’s Day Blog Hop.


White Wine Mushroom Cream Sauce on Angel Hair

with fresh parmesan and basil leaves (and shhhh! … it’s kind of even  … almost … healthy)

White Wine Mushroom Cream Sauce over Angel Hair Pasta with Parmesan and Fresh Basil

There is a bit of a funny story surrounding this dish … we like to joke around a lot in my office. Normally this doesn’t extend to our clients, but today something came across the email trail and our client jokingly said “10 lashings for Mike” … which my boss responded to with “with a wet noodle … al dente”. I was sooo tempted to respond with “and a white wine mushroom cream sauce”.

Because I wasn’t sure how the client would react, I held my tongue and just went into the kitchen and made this. It’s a very quick dish to prepare …  You could have it for lunch or dinner just like this as an elegant vegetarian meal … and it is so amazing just like that! … maybe with a salad on the side? I didn’t have the patience to do that today … I was SO hungry. If you are a meat eater, I think it would be lovely to add chicken, shrimp, or a luscious grilled hunk of salmon … or some broccoli or asparagus or maybe a bit of chopped tomato.

I honestly could not think or wait to eat this for even a moment longer. It was SO hard to refrain from inhaling this while I took the pictures …

White Wine Mushroom Cream Sauce over Angel Hair Pasta (low fat, healthy!)

White Wine Mushroom Cream Sauce on Angel Hair Pasta

Serves one hungry person or perhaps as a side dish for two … multiply the recipe for the number of mouths you have to feed!

  • 1 serving of angel hair pasta (I recommend using whole wheat pasta or something like Smart Taste that has more fiber in it … )
  • 1 heaping cup of sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Bruschetta seasoning and Red Robin seasoning (recipe here)
  • 1 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of fat free half and half
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese (or a mix of both)
  • Fresh basil leaves, sliced (or not)

Directions:

  1. Start the water for your angel hair pasta heating.
  2. Spray the pan with cooking spray, then add mushrooms, onion, & garlic. Sautee briefly, then add the white wine and sprinkle on some of the seasonings. Sautee for a while and adjust the seasonings to taste.
  3. When the water starts boiling, throw your pasta into the water. The rest of this isn’t going to take long …
  4. To the pan with the mushrooms, add the light cream cheese and the fat free half and half. Cook and stir on medium to medium-low heat until the sauce starts to thicken a bit, then add most of the shredded cheese (saving a bit for the top).
  5. Check if the pasta is done. Throw it in the strainer.
  6. Once the cheese is melted and the sauce is thickened to the consistency you want, put the pasta on a plate, pour the creamy mushroom sauce all over it, then sprinkle with your fresh basil leaves.
  7. Try to slow down and savor it … I really wouldn’t recommend the inhalation method I used …

White Wine Mushroom Cream Sauce over Angel Hair Pasta ... a lower-fat, healthified recipe ...

This recipe was shared on Talent Show TuesdaysCast Party Wednesdays, Newlyweds Recipe LinkyTastetastic Thursday and Full Plate Thursday, {Fusion Friday}, Weekend Potluck, Meatless Mondays and Katherine Martinelli’s Pasta Blog Hop.

This recipe was FEATURED on Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays.


Pan Seared Basil Mushroom Bruschetta with Rosemary Cream

Pan Seared Basil Mushroom Bruschetta with Blue Cheese Rosemary Cream

I am obsessed with little toasts. They are just so beautiful and tasty … just look at these gorgeous little things! I simultaneously want to gobble them up or just sit and gaze at them forever. I feel so torn …

Pan Seared Basil Mushroom Bruschetta with Blue Cheese Rosemary Cream

The Realistic Nutritionist started this obsession when she posted her beautiful pictures of Pan Seared Bruschetta … I just longed to make them from the moment I saw them … and the sad thing was she couldn’t even taste the pretty little toasts because she was sick. I hope she makes them again because while they are lovely to gaze at, they are even better to taste.

Pan Seared Basil Mushroom Bruschetta with Blue Cheese Rosemary Cream

Are you tempted yet?

Pan Seared Basil Mushroom Bruschetta with Rosemary Cream

Adapted from the Realistic Nutritionist. This recipe doesn’t make a lot, so if you are making these for a large party, you want to double or triple the batch. It was just about the right size for a lunch for little me.

  • 8 slices of french bread (whole wheat preferably)
  • Rosemary cream cheese (recipe below)
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • About 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 -3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • a small sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of finely chopped mushrooms
  • Several basil leaves, chopped
  • 3/4 cup tomato, finely chopped
  • Crushed red pepper & sea salt to taste
  • To garnish: toasted almonds and basil flowers and/or leaves

Directions:

  1. Mix up the rosemary cream and set aside.
  2. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.
  3. Add onions, garlic, rosemary and mushrooms and cook about 2 -3 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and cook until vegetables are soft, about 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and add spices, salt, pepper and basil. Stir until just mixed.
  5. Toast the bread lightly, then spread with rosemary cream. Place the little toasts on a baking sheet and sprinkle a bit of mozzarella on top of each toast. Bake or broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  6. Top each toast with a scoop of the mushroom/tomato mixture, then sprinkle with toasted almonds and basil flowers. Serve immediately.

Pan Seared Basil Mushroom Bruschetta with Blue Cheese Rosemary Cream

Once I started eating them, I inhaled them. I should have slowed down and savored them, but I lost all control.

Rosemary Cream

  • 3 ounces of light cream cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons blue cheese (optional … for those that like blue cheese! I do, but I think the flavor would be a little too intense for some)
  • 1 small sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped (about 1/2 teaspoon)

Cream together ingredients until fully blended.

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous FridaysFabulous Friday, Midnight Maniac Meatless Monday, Talent Show Tuesday, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.


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