Cheesecake Bars with Chocolate Ganache

Cheesecake may be one of the most decadent types of dessert.  This cheesecake bar with chocolate ganache adds an additional layer (no pun intended) of richness and decadence.  If you are craving something sweet, creamy cool and chocolatey this will definitely not disappoint.

Is your mouth watering yet?

Start with using one and a half sleeves of graham crackers to make the buttery crumb crust.

I just love watching things whirl around inside my food processor and become transformed into something completely different.

Here’s the completely transformed cracker crumbs.

They look a little dizzy to me, poor things.

Yup, exactly one and a half cups.

The crumbs with my 3 brown sugar domes (shape made by my measuring spoon).  Drizzle in the butta!

Press the crust mixture into the bottom of the pan evenly.

Be sure to lick your fingers when this step is done.

Look at this creamy richness.  Good enough to eat with a spoon………but I resisted, barely.

Smooth everything out as evenly as possible.  I also threw the pan down on the counter top a few times to get air bubbles out.

Now for the chocolate ganache.  I used half and half instead of heavy cream as the original recipe indicated.  I figure it would help with my sweet tooth guilt.  Didn’t really…….

Here is the masterpiece after an overnight stay in the refrigerator.  I prepare my knife in a glass of hot water.  Wipe it dry and cut your bars out.  The hot knife makes it so much easier.  Make sure to dip the knife back into the glass and wipe clean before each new cut.  This will ensure nice clean cuts.

This picture kinda makes me wanna lick the screen.

But luckily I don’t have to, I still have some pieces left in the fridge.  If my kids didn’t get to them first.  Oh, I gotta go check!

Cheesecake Bars with Chocolate Ganache

Adapted from Bakerella

Crust
1 ½ cups crushed graham crackers (1 ½ sleeves)
3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
6 Tablespoons melted butter

  • Mix cookies and sugar together.
  • Add butter and stir until combined.
  • Press mixture into a 9 X 13 inch pan.

Cheesecake
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
3 eggs
8 oz. sour cream
1 Tablespoon vanilla

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Cream the sugar, cream cheese, and flour with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy.
  • On medium low, add eggs one at a time, mixing well with each addition.
  • Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until just combined.
  • Pour on prepared crust and bake for about 45 minutes.
  • Remove and cool.
  • Prepare ganache.

Chocolate Ganache
1 cup half-and-half
2 oz. butter
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate
¼ cup powdered sugar

  • Heat cream and butter on stove until just before boiling.
  • Remove from stove and pour over chocolate. Stir until completely combined.
  • Add powdered sugar and beat with a wire whisk until combined and smooth.
  • Pour over cooled cheesecake.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Cut into bars and serve.

Makes 24 bars.

Hummus Three Ways

Hummus one way is good, but hummus three ways is three times as good!

This weekend I had 25 college girls from my Christian Fellowship over at my house for a weekend retreat.  When you get that many girls in one place, there’s lots of candy, chocolate and junk food to be found.  What better way to balance that out than with some healthy and tasty hummus?  Is was good to see the girls digging in with their carrots and celery.

Of course they all still had ice cream and brownies afterwards, but I felt good that they at least had some veggies in them too.

I must give you a word of warning about eating this much hummus at once.  Make sure you are around people who love you even with the garlic breath you’ll have after this.

Here’s the beginning of the avocado hummus.  Combine the garbanzo beans, garlic, lemon juice and avocado.  Process with salt, pepper and olive oil until………..

You get this lovely mixture.  I know it’s not much to look at, but it makes it up in flavor.

This is the rosemary and garlic hummus.  The rosemary came from my backyard, so it was super fresh tasting.  I love fresh herbs in my cooking.  It just makes for a homey and rich taste in my opinion.

If you like guacamole, you will love this.  It’s got all the delectable flavor of avocado, but the scrumptious texture of hummus.  I found that I used less olive oil with this one because the avocado has plenty of oil in it.

A side note about this mini avocado: This baby hass avocado fell off my tree in the backyard as I was reaching for it.  It had completely black skin and felt ripe to the touch.  I opened it up and it was a normal looking avocado, but just 3 inches in length.  It was the cutest thing.  I had to use it in the picture.

This is the fresh rosemary and garlic hummus with it’s rich woodsy flavor.

With food this tasty and beautiful , it’s easy to forget that it’s good for you.  This roasted red pepper hummus has a beautiful color and the flavor is mild.  The red pepper lends its moisture and vibrant color to an otherwise plain looking hummus.

So, the next time you find yourself  having way too much sugar and junk food, think HUMMUS!

Hummus Three Ways

2 15-oz cans of garbanzo beans, drained

1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

For avocado hummus: add one whole avocado, diced and juice of half a lemon.

For rosemary hummus: add 1 tablespoon minced rosemary

For red pepper hummus: add 12 oz jar of roasted red peppers, drained and pieces patted dry and diced

In a food processor, combine the garlic, garbanzo beans, and olive oil and your additional ingredients of choice.  Process until smooth. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Spoon into serving dish and serve with crackers, raw dip vegetables such as carrots or celery, or with pita bread.

Makes about 3 cups.

Stromboli

I would be bold enough to say that I like stromboli more than pizza.  Technically they are the same thing, but with the stromboli you get more toppings.  And I am all about the toppings!

Stromboli is a made on a rectangular piece of pizza dough, filled with anything you would put on a pizza.  It’s then rolled up and baked until the dough is browned and crispy.

I also love how I can peek through the slits on top and see the filling all nestled up inside, bubbling away.



When I’m in a hurry for dinner, I usually go to my local mom and pop pizza restaurant and buy their premade dough balls.  So good and cheap.  I can get one large dough ball for $4.00 and make three stromboli from it.

Roll it out to a rectangular-like shape, spoon on your favorite pasta sauce and go crazy with your fillings.  Here I have spinach, cooked Italian sausage, artichoke and pepperoni.

And, what’s a stromboli without cheese?  Sprinkle on your mozzarella cheese.

Roll the whole thing up and lay it seam side down.  Make sure to pinch the ends closed so all the goodness stays inside.  I also sprayed a sheet of aluminum with oil to help with the sticking.

Make sure you cut some slits into the top of the stromboli to release the steam.  You don’t want this thing busting open in your oven!

If I had remembered, I would have taken a picture of this baked beauty cut open and shown you yummy inside.  But trust me, it was beautiful and just as delectable as it’s flat cousin, the pizza.

Stromboli

3 (10 ounce) pizza dough ball

1 (14 ounce) jar pizza sauce

1 (8 ounce) package sliced pepperoni sausage

5 links Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled

1 jar marinated artichokes, sliced thin

1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed squeezed dry

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

olive oil

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Roll out pizza dough flat into a rectangle on cookie sheet. Spoon on the pizza sauce on over the surface of the dough (some may be left over). Place your toppings as desired.   Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Fold dough over and place seam side down.  Pinch ends and sides together. Cut slits in the top and brush with olive oil.

Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Slice into individual sections to serve.   Enjoy warm, but watch that first bite.  It will be hot.

Bacon Egg and Biscuit Cups………The Breakfast of Champions

These bacon egg and biscuit cups are the ultimate in tasty and portable goodness.

Our family got together with 5 other families and went camping this past summer.  The fun thing about camping with friends is sharing the responsibility of making meals.  I signed up for breakfast and this is what I decided to make for everyone.   I figured it was a  good way for everyone to have a hot meal, without the mess of cooking eggs, bacon and biscuits at a campsite.  They reheated wonderfully wrapped in foil and popped on our portable bbq.


Don’t you just want to take a big bite out of this savory muffin?  I know you do……….

These are also wonderful to make for busy school mornings when you want the kids to have a nice hot breakfast, but don’t have the time for all the work and clean-up.

Here are the simple ingredients.

Start by greasing your cupcake pan.

Take each biscuit and flatten it out with your fingers.  Then cut each one into four even pieces.

My favorite way to cook bacon is to lay the pieces on some paper towels and pop them in the microwave, covered with some more paper towels to avoid splattering bacon grease.  Just cook until bacon is half cooked, but not crispy.

For toppings you can dice up some cooked ham.

And spinach.

Lay the pieces of biscuit in each cup and wrap the bacon around the top.

Par-bake the biscuit and bacon  for about 5 minutes, until the biscuit rises a little.

Pour in the scrambled eggs and other toppings.  Make sure to not fill too full because……….

………this could happen!

This was my first batch.  Luckily I thought ahead and placed the pan on a cookie sheet to catch the drips.  I also added some shredded cheese on top.

Regardless of the look, they still tasted amazing!

Here’s the lovely inside of the biscuit cup.  You will love the moist bread and egg, contrasted with the crunchy bacon all in one big bite.  These will be a hit with the family.  The best thing is you can make a bunch and leave them in the fridge to be reheated for breakfast all week.  I haven’t tried freezing them, but if you do and they work, let me know okay?

Bacon Egg and Biscuit Cups

15 eggs, scrambled

salt and pepper

½ pack of ham, diced

one pack chopped spinach, defrosted

biscuit dough

30 slices bacon

shredded cheddar cheese

 

Scramble the eggs in a large measuring cup with a spout.  Add salt and pepper.  Flatten out each piece of  biscuit dough with your fingers and cut into four pieces.  Place the pieces into greased cupcake pan.  Par-cook the bacon in the microwave then wrap the bacon around the top of the biscuit dough.

Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and pour in the scrambled egg mixture into each cup, only about 2/3 full.  Put on the toppings of ham, spinach, cheese or anything else you like.

Put the pan back into the oven for 10-15 minutes or until eggs are cooked.  Remove each biscuit cup and enjoy warm.

Makes  30 biscuit cups.