Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lime Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

Summertime. Of my favorite summer desserts. One of the blogs I follow is Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. Her recipes are impressive, photography is great, and I enjoy her writing. She posted a recipe recently that from the photo alone, I just had to make. So, hats off to Peabody and thanks for sharing.

I love the taste of these bars, and there's nothing like fresh raspberries, is there?  Give them a try. They are so delicious.

Adapted from Culinary Concoctions.

Ingredients and Method:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon lime zest
4 tablespoons sugar
7 tablespoons butter, melted
pinch of salt

2 packages cream cheese, room temperature
2 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice or key lime juice
1 tablespoon lime zest

Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, lime zest, and salt in a bowl. Pour the butter over the mixture and mix well. Scrape crumb mixture into greased 9 x 13 baking dish, press down evenly,  and bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and  set aside.

Combine cream cheese and sugar and combine with a mixer. Add egg yolks, and beat until well blended. Add lime juice and zest and mix thoroughly.

Pour cream cheese mixture into prepared graham cracker pan and spread evenly.

Raspberry Mixture
1 pint fresh raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice

Combine raspberries, sugar and lime juice  in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until the berries juice and the sauce has thickened. Stir occasionally. Bring to a boil, stir, and turn off heat. Let cool until warm.

Prepare a square of cheesecloth, spoon raspberry mixture into center, (you may have to do twice, depending on the cheesecloth size) pull together four quarters, and begin turning cheesecloth to squeeze out the raspberry sauce into a bowl, leaving the seeds behind. Yeah, it's going to get all over your hands but it's worth it. I find this way to much easier than using a strainer.

Drop the raspberry mixture onto the top of the filling randomly. Using a knife or spatula, swirl the raspberry mixture into the cheesecake filling.

Bake for 35 - 40 minutes until it is set in the center and starting to brown around the edges. Let cool
completely, and cut into bars. Using a knife dipped in hot water, and dried, will aid the cutting of the bars.

Store in refrigerator.

I took these to work and they "vanished"

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Savings by the Chopstickful: Send Your Taste Buds to China

Anyone who has ever lived on a student’s or otherwise restrictive budget knows that eating out can be a real luxury. The remedy for any student’s dietary blues is often Chinese food, which uses inexpensive ingredients and is filling. Here are three recipes that cut out the middleman and let you take control of the Chinese food you eat:

Chinese Boiled Chicken

Spark People provides us with this method for preparing a truly versatile dish:

  • 1 chicken or chicken cutlets, boneless or otherwise
  • Chicken bullion

Preparation is easy: bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop the chicken into it once it reaches a rolling boil. When the boiling stops, remove the chicken and cover the pot. When boiling starts again, replace the chicken in the pot. Cover the pot again, remove heat, and leave for one hour. This easy preparation method readies your chicken for anything with minimum hassle!

Wonton Soup

Everybody is familiar with wonton soup, and now your wallet will love it as much as your kids! This recipe comes to us from the Food Network:

  • Meat from 1 spare rib, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 12 wonton wrappers
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 cup broccoli

Once you’ve got these items together, mix the meat, carrot, and scallions in a small bowl. You can make the wontons by filling a wrapper with a tablespoon of filling and sealing the edges with dampened water. Then, bring the chicken broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan, add the wontons and broccoli and cook for three minutes.

Chinese Fried Rice

Rice is so inexpensive and comes in such a high quantity that it practically pays for itself! Doctor up your plain white rice with this cheap recipe for fried rice. You’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 drops soy sauce
  • 3 drops sesame oil
  • 8 ounces cooked, lean boneless pork or 8 ounces chicken chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot 
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 4 cups cold cooked rice, grains separated
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups bean sprouts (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce

To start, heat one tablespoon of oil in a wok, add the onions and stir-fry until onions brown. Mix your egg with a few drops of soy and sesame oil and cook quickly in the wok. Once your egg is cooked, chop and set aside. Oil the wok again and add your choice meat along with carrots, peas, and cooked onion. After two minutes add the rice, green onions, and bean sprouts. Once these are cooked, add your egg to the rice mixture, heat, and serve!

These fun recipes will wow your guests and keep your wallet plump!