Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cherry Oreo Cheesecake

I had the opportunity to have the big family Christmas celebration at my house this year (first time for me!). Since I love desserts, in addition to the ham, I assigned myself the pies. Now, my husband's family usually has 2 pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving and 2 pumpkin pies for Christmas (and that's it!). So at Thanksgiving, I asked some of the cousins what their favorite desserts are. I heard cheesecake and anything with chocolate. I saw this lovely recipe for cherry cheesecake and decided to make it with an Oreo crust to incorporate the chocolate aspect and it was delicious and visually stunning. Enjoy!

Cherry Oreo Cheesecake
Serves 12

1 Oreo Crust, see below
3 8-ounce bars cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ cup cherry preserves

1. Heat oven to 350° F. 

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and 1 cup of the sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in ½ cup of the sour cream and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla.

3. Pour the mixture into the crust and bake until just set, 40 to 45 minutes. (I recommend putting foil on the shelf below the spring-form pan in case it leaks – yes, this happened to me.)

4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 ½ cups of sour cream, ¼ cup of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Spread over the hot cheesecake and bake until set, 3 to 5 minutes more. Let cool in the pan, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake before unmolding.

5. Spread the preserves over the cheesecake before serving.

The cheesecake can be baked up to 2 days in advance; refrigerate loosely covered. Before serving, unmold and top with the preserves.

Oreo Cookie Pie Crust Recipe
24 whole Oreo cookies
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter

In a medium-sized bowl or a food processor, add the Oreo cookies and blend until the texture of coarse meal or crumbs. Add the melted butter and blend until well combined.
Place the ground crumb mixture into a 9-inch spring-form pan and press onto the bottom and up the sides evenly with a straight-sided dry measuring cup. Try to make the crust about 1/8 inch (1/3 cm) evenly all around.
Makes 1 pie crust.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chicken Marsala

Third time's a charm, right? I made Chicken Marsala the other night in honor of me not being sick and being able to actually cook. I made a whole extra plate so that after dinner, I could take a picture of it (thus practicing the use of all artificial light for the food photo), and my husband would have leftovers to take for lunch the next day. So when he was at lunch, a coworker asked for the recipe, and my husband told me that he directed her to my blog. Blerk! I hadn't yet posted my photo (or recipe) of Chicken Marsala, but (to my horror), my husband told me that I've actually already posted the recipe (and picture) of Chicken Marsala twice before. He also informed me that the picture I took this past week is way better, so here it is. I guess it's good to know that I'm improving! (Use the search engine at the top left if you want to see my progression of food photo-taking skills throughout the years. Simply search for "chicken marsala.")


Chicken Marsala

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup pre-sliced mushrooms
½ cup Marsala wine
½ cup fat-free less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound each piece to ½-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle both sides of chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour, turning to coat; shake off excess flour.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add mushrooms, wine, broth, and juice to pan; reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 2/3 cup. Return chicken to pan, turning to coat well. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until chicken is done. Sprinkle with parsley.

*Special notes: you’ll notice that I have used canned mushrooms (that way I can make Chicken Marsala whenever, despite the fact that I don’t have fresh mushrooms, but it really is better with fresh mushrooms. And, I obviously forgot to use the parsley.

Recipe Source: Cooking Light magazine