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Monday, October 28, 2013

Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake

I don't know who invented the cheesecake but gosh all mighty I would just LOVE to give that person a big hug of gratitude for such a creation.  What a truly brilliant and delicious concept of a dessert! So versatile.  So elegant. Completely the best.  And always at the top of my list for dessert, a treat or even for breakfast for that fact.
Each month, receiving my assignment from the Secret Recipe Club is like opening a gift.   I have no idea what will be inside the link (a present in my eyes) that has been provided to me. And then with a quick click of my computer suddenly "the gift" of my assignment is revealed.  EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I discover the blog I am to treasure for the next month I feel honored and excited.  I not only get introduced to amazing people who also share their love and passion for food but I also get free rein to pick ANY recipe of my liking from their collection of recipes.  And yes, most often it is a dessert of some kind as I tend to always steer towards such a option.  This past month I stayed true to my usual path and choose a recipe for a cheesecake from the beautiful Bobbi of Bobbi's Kozi Kitchen.  A Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake.  A gift of a gift! 
I loved having the opportunity to explore Bobbi's blog.  She shares her incredible journey of weight loss and teaching herself how to make delicious, healthy and quality food straight from her own kitchen.  She is a hero in my eyes! She has a great out look in life and her taste in food is completely divine.  I drooled over her Pumpkin Applesauce and salivated over her Grilled Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Cream and I even whipped drool off my lips for her Blackberry Custard Pie but yet my love for cheesecake won over all the above recipes when I discovered the recipe for Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake.  I had never seen such a recipe for a cheesecake! I had to make it. 
What a gem of a cheesecake recipe! DELICIOUS!!! Yes, there are quite a few steps to make this cheesecake come alive but nothing that you can't handle.  I enjoyed every moment of this recipe.  I took my time, read the recipe to the "T" and finished with a unique and scrumptious dessert.  My family loved it and complimented me over and over again.  At one point I heard Jeff say, "wait is this a cheesecake or is it a cinnamon roll?"  That's right Honey Pie, it's BOTH!!! Oh, and the cream cheese frosting was also a huge hit!  Yummy raves from everyone!
Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake
      (recipe from Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen)
Ingredients for -
Cinnamon Roll Batter
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
1 egg, at room temp
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Ingredients for -
Cheesecake filling
16 oz. (2 8oz. packages) cream cheese, at room temp
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp flour
3 eggs, at room temp
Ingredients for -
Cinnamon Filling
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp ground cinnamon
Ingredients for -
Cream Cheese Topping
2 oz. cream cheese, at room temp
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar
milk (if needed to thin out the topping)
1. Preheat oven to 350.  Spray 9" spring form pan with non-stick spray.  Line bottom with parchment paper if you wish (as I did).
2. Make Cinnamon Roll Batter - cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in egg, vanilla extract and milk.  Beat well all together. In a medium size bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Gradually add flour mixture into the wet ingredients until combined.  Batter will be thick.
3. Carefully spread 1/2 of the Cinnamon Roll Batter into the bottom of the prepared spring form pan.  I used an off set knife for this process as it takes a little patience to spread the thick batter.  Set pan aside.
4. Make Cheesecake Filling - Beat together cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add in eggs, one at a time. Add in vanilla extract and flour - beat all together for a good minute.  Pour filling into pan.
5. Make Cinnamon Filling - Mix together melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Drop filling by the spoonful evenly over filling.
6. Drop remaining 1/2 of Cinnamon Roll Batter  by the spoonful over the Cinnamon Filling and then swirl together with a serrated knife. It will feel thick to swirl but just do your best, it will be fine! :-)
7. Bake cheesecake for 50-55 minutes.  Cake will be puffy and lightly browned when done.  Cool cake completely before refrigerating for at least 4 hours - over night is best. 
8. Make Cream Cheese Topping - beat together cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.  Add in lemon juice, vanilla extract and powdered sugar.  Beat all together for at least 1-2 minutes. If topping is too thick add in 1 Tbsp of milk at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Spread over cooled cake and serve.  Refrigerate any left over cheesecake.

Happy Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake Baking!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Risotto and Beef Stuffed Tomatoes

All year long I wait patiently for FRESH garden tomatoes out of my mother's garden.  There is nothing better than a beautiful, ripe, red tomato!  Popped right into my mouth from the vine or sliced thickly on a piece of homemade bread with cheddar cheese makes my taste buds sing with happiness.  I also LOVE a good stuffed tomato.  Comfort food at it's best in my book! 
  It takes time and patience to prepare stuffed tomatoes.  A true recipe from the heart as it is a deliciously comforting dish that only requires simple ingredients.  I chose to make my stuffing with ground beef to accompany the risotto.  Ground chicken, pork, turkey or sausage could be easily put in place of the beef. 
I found this recipe to be a perfect weekend meal as it does take a little time to prepare with the use of Arborio rice in the filling.   But the risotto is a perfect addition to the tomatoes and meat as it has such a lovely texture and is full of flavor.
 So grab those last garden tomatoes, your favorite ground meat and some lovely risotto so that you can whip up a batch of stuffed tomatoes for this coming weekend.  It's truly the right thing to do!
Risotto Stuffed Tomatoes
(recipe from Ms. enPlace)
2-4 large tomatoes
1 lb ground meat of your choice (I used ground beef)
1 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling \
2 Tbsp chopped garlic - about 2-3 cloves
1/2 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup reserved tomato juice from tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chicken broth, warmed
1/3 cup loosely packed chopped basil or parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1. Cut off top 1/3 of each tomato and set aside.  Remove insides of each tomato with paring knife/spoon and reserve what you scoop out.  Be careful not to puncture the walls of the tomatoes as you work.  Drain reserved tomato pulp over a bowl in a strainer.  Breaking up the tomato pieces will help this process along.
2. Place tomatoes in a medium greased baking dish.  Propping the tomatoes up against one another may need to happen in order for them to stay upright.
3. Using a large skillet heat 1 Tbsp olive oil to sauté your meat over medium heat.  Saute meat until lightly browned.  Add in garlic and then lower your heat, cooking a few minutes more.
4. Add rice into the skillet with the ground meat/garlic mixture.  Saute until the rice is translucent - about 5-7 minutes.  Add in 1/2 cup of the reserved tomato juice - stir until almost all absorbed.  Add in warmed broth - 1/2 cup at a time, each time stirring after each addition until adsorbed.  Test rice for "doneness" after about 15 minutes.  If rice is still hard add in more liquid - 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until almost absorbed each time.  If rice is chewy, remove skillet from heat. Stir in herbs along with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Preheat oven to 400. Spoon mixture into prepared tomato shells (most likely you will have extra filling left over that you can use for another meal/dish - we made burritos out of our extra filling). Place tomato tops over the stuffed tomatoes and then drizzle with olive oil.  Bake for 35-40 minutes - tomatoes will be soft and the rice tender when done.  Remove your lovely stuffed tomatoes from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Happy Risotto and Beef Stuffed Tomato Making!


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