Post #7: Crumbly Ricotta Cheesecake

I had the inspiration to make this cake the other day when I opened my fridge and saw a tub of ricotta cheese in there from the last time I made lasagna.

I can't remember the last time I made lasagna.

Don't worry, the expiration wasn't until March, but I figured there was no time like the present.  Like my orange chicken, this recipe was adapted from the original that I did a keyword search for on

This cheesecake it not like a traditional cheesecake.  It has crust on the bottom and top, and instead of being thick and rich, it is more light and fluffy in the middle. The recipe for the crust was a little much - I still have about 1/3 of it in my fridge waiting to be made into tarts or squares or something!  It could easily to halved - making it more ass-friendly.  ;)  Also, I used lowfat ricotta cheese, sparing at least some calories.  I also don't own a springform pan (sad day, I know!), but a well greased round cake pan worked like a charm!

Crumbly Ricotta Cheesecake



  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 cup cold butter, thinly sliced


  • 14 ounces fresh ricotta
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I used peanut butter milk chocolate ones!)


Prep Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 1 1/2 hrs
  1.  Preheat oven to 320°.
  2. Grease and flour a 9" springform pan.
  3.  For the crust, in a large bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, egg, and milk.
  4.  Add the slices of cold butter to the mixture working it in gently, but not so much that everything blends together.
  5. Take half the crust mixture and press it gently into the bottom of the pan.
  6. In a medium size bowl, mix the ricotta and sugar well.
  7. Add the chocolate chips mix again.
  8. Spread the filling evenly over the top of the crust.
  9. Crumble the remaining crust mix over the top of the filling.
  10.  During the baking process the butter melts to form a nice crust.
  11. Bake 50 to 60 minutes.


Post #6: Orange Chicken, a Panda Express copycat

 I love Panda Express.  Love it.  No, really.  I could eat there every day!  My wallet, however, does not love Panda Express, and when it costs me and the Mr. almost $20 to go there, we pass more often than not!   

What that being said, this recipe is not 100% exactly like the deliciousness you can find at Panda Express, but it hits the spot, is tangy, spicy, orangey, and a heck of a lot more "ass friendly".  I credit this recipe to a user on what was once, and through the years, I have adapted it for my tastes, but it is incredibly easy to adapt it to yours!  

A few things I change:
1. MORE GARLIC!  1 tsp?!  WTF?  No way.  I need more. 
2. I juice the orange too.  The peel makes it slightly orangey, the juice just brings the business. 
3. More hot pepper flakes.  
4. I always double the sauce.  I like a little more for my rice.  ;) 
5. I put some rice vinegar in the water for my rice.  It gives it some zing!
6. If you don't have fresh ginger, ginger powder will work in a pinch too.

Also, a few helpful hints working with this recipe in particular.  It happens fast.  I get my mise en place like no other.  The garlic is crushed, the ginger is microplaned, the orange sauce already sitting to the side.  I mean everything is done.  That way all you have to do is toss it together.  It saves tons of time and stress.  Trust me!  Plus, it keeps the kitchen way cleaner.  

Orange Chicken


  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • white pepper
  • oil (for frying)
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch, plus
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon gingerroot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red chili pepper
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1/4 cup water

Orange Sauce for Stir Fry

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 orange


Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
  1. Place chicken pieces in large bowl. Stir in egg, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil and mix well.
  2. Stir cornstarch and flour together.
  3.  Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour/cornstarch until coated.
  4.  Heat oil for deep-frying in wok or deep-fryer to 375 degrees.
  5. Add chicken, small batches at a time, and fry 3 to 4 minutes or until golden crisp.
  6.  Remove chicken from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; set aside.
  7. Put the hot oil aside and in a fresh pan, heat 1 tbsp. oil.
  8.  Add and stir-fry crushed chiles, ginger and garlic, and green onions.
  9. Add rice wine.
  10. Add Orange Sauce and bring to boil.
  11. Stir water into remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth and starting to thicken.
  12. Add cooked chicken, stirring until well mixed


Post #5: Shrimp Cakes with Peach Jalapeno Salsa

Last night I got to do one of my favourite things in the world: cook dinner with my mom and little sister.  They had already picked out the wonderful shrimp cake recipe, so I just came along for the ride. 

In the original recipe, the corn that is used is just plain raw corn.  My mom had the brilliant idea to jazz it up with a quick saute.  Also, the peach salsa doesn't call for cilantro, but we added some anyway, and it made all the difference!

Now, without further ado...

Shrimp Cakes with Peach Jalapeno Salsa


  • 1 pound large peeled, deveined cooked shrimp, diced
  • 2 cups corn
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded (if you like spice, leave some seeds!)
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Dash hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Peach Jalepeno Relish, recipe follows


In a food processor, pulse shrimp. Place into a large bowl. Pulse corn, pepper, onion and jalapeno. Remove and drain through a sieve to get rid of extra water that the vegetables may release. Add to bowl along with 1 cup bread crumbs, hot sauce, chili powder and eggs. Stir well together. Form into cakes about 1-inch thick. Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm up.
Heat a large skillet with vegetable oil over medium heat.
In a shallow dish, add the remaining 1 cup of panko; add salt and pepper. Bread the cakes in the panko. Add the cakes in batches to the oil, cooking about 4 minutes per side. Remove to a paper towel lined sheet tray. 

Peach Jalapeno Salsa

  • 3 ripe peaches, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno (about 1 1/2 teaspoons), seeded and diced
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • A small bunch of cilantro, finely chopped. (Our addition!)
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Chill until ready to serve.

Adapted from the Neely's original recipe.


Post #4: Goals

I manage a restaurant, and if you have ever had the opportunity to do so, you know the hours are long and the schedule is all over the map!  Therefore, I have decided to set some goals for this blog.  Most of the time, when I run an 11 hour shift, I don't feel much like cooking when I get home - I've decided not to let that stop me!  From now on, there will be a food/photo entry in here at least once a week!

Another goal is to get some followers, that way I can start some open ended posts. you know, to gather ideas, information share, Q&A...

Oh yes...these are my goals, lofty as they are.  Stay tuned... :o)


Post #3: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Let me start this post off by saying that I am not a baker.  Baking is one area of the kitchen that I really need to work on.  I prefer preparing the entrees, and then enjoying someone else's desserts!  With that being said, in the fall and winter, I can't help but bust out the pumpkin puree and create something delicious!  The recipe you are about to enjoy is something I try to make at least once every fall season - sometimes more (but they are very rich, so I have to hold back!)  Enjoy, y'all!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Yield: 24 muffins


For the filling:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
For the muffins:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1¼ cups vegetable oil
For the topping:

½ cup sugar
5 tbsp. flour
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth.  Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1½-inches in diameter.  Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil.  Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours.

To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line muffin pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil.  Mix on medium-low speed until blended.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.
To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend.  Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.  Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.
To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons).  Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces.  Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well.  Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely.  Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.  (It may be hard to resist immediate consumption, but the cream cheese filling gets very hot!)

Recipe from
Annie's Eats


Post #2: Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Well, I wanted to break in my blog, and I saw the browning bananas on my counter and knew my obvious choice.  The only thing about banana bread that I don't like, is that it always looks ugly.  I have to say that this version of banana bread is possibly the best I have ever tasted, but the photos were all so boring.  The one posted is the best I could come up with!  Ha ha.  Maybe I will make that my mission: finding a way to make banana bread look appealing in a photo.  Anyway, enjoy the recipe.  This is the first time I have ever put peanut butter in my banana bread, but I have to tell you, it is amazing!  Peanuts and bananas go so well together!  Give it a try!

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas
  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • A generous handful of milk chocolate/peanut butter morsels (optional) 


Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 1 1/4 hr
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2.  Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  3.  Cream brown sugar and butter until fluffy.
  4. Add egg, bananas, peanut butter, and buttermilk. 
  5. Gradually add flour and baking soda to the creamed mixture.
  6.  Pour batter into greased pan.
  7.  Bake for 1 hour, or until it tests done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool in pan for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Post #1: The Welcome

Hello, and welcome to my blog!

If you are here right now, you have stumbled in at a bad time.  I'm just getting started, so bear with me.

Why I started a blog:

Peer pressure.  Just kidding.  My sister has a successful blog (Drop Dead, Gorgeous), which is less about food, and more about makeup - something she is passionate about.  So I said "hey!  I like food!  And I like gawking at food blogs!  Maybe I can make this happen!"

And here I am.  Lucky you!

I don't have a fancy camera for photos, nor do I have a huge kitchen or expensive gadgets (aside from the KitchenAid mixer you see in the photo...Merry Christmas 2010! *smile*)!  Also, my blog editing skills are slim to none... But I have been a long time foodgawker, and have always enjoyed cooking and eating, baking and eating, etc..., so I figured that maybe I have something to add to your lives!

Oh, thanks for stopping by.  :o)