Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

I don’t care how basic it is. I love pumpkin everything. There, I said it and there’s no shame in my game. Lattes, bread, cookies, pasta, you name it and chances are I’ve made it and devoured it. But of all of the pumpkin treats I’ve made, these mini pumpkin cheesecakes are by far my favorite.

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Unlike traditional cheesecake that is labor intensive, requires a water bath and takes forever to bake, these mini cheesecakes take 30 minutes in the oven, have a super simple ingredient list and bake in cupcake tins. So easy!

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We were having friends over for the Steeler’s game on Sunday so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make a batch.

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I’ve been making these for years with all sorts of flavor combinations using different fillings and cookies as the crust. For this batch, I used Goodie Girl’s seasonal Caramel Apple flavored cookies with pumpkin spice filling and whipped topping. They were to die for and the Goodie Girl cookies worked wonderfully. They had great crunch, and the caramel apple flavor added a really nice tart kick.

If your store doesn’t carry the caramel apple flavor, I think their toffee crunch or even chocolate chip cookies would work well also.

If you are looking for an easy fall treat that is perfect for parties, give these a try!

Ingredients (Prep Time: 15 min. TotalTime: 50 min. Serves: 15):

For the Crust:

  • 1 box Goodie Girl Caramel Apple Cookies (about 2 cups of crumbs)
  • 4 tbsp butter (melted)

For the Filling:

  • 12 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree

For the Whipped Topping:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners (you will need 15).
  2. In a food processor, pulse cookies until they are fine crumbs. Add in melted butter and pulse until well incorporated.
  3. Distribute cookie mixture among cupcake tins (about 2 tablespoons per tin) and press into the bottom. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes until they just start to brown.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, greek yogurt, sugar, egg, vanilla and pumpkin puree until smooth.
  5. Distribute cheesecake mixture evenly among cupcake tins. Bake for 25 minutes until the middle isn’t jiggly and the top has browned a tiny bit. Once removed from oven, let them cool completely.
  6. In a medium mixing bowl, whip heavy cream until peaks just start to form. Then, mix in cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and pumpkin spice until they are well incorporated and smooth.
  7. Serve cheesecakes with a generous dollop of whipped topping and enjoy this delicious, seasonal treat!

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Inspired Skillet Chicken Pot Pie

Fall Inspired Skillet Chicken Pot Pie

Fall weather is officially here and I’m excited because I get to share the fall recipes I’ve been working on. As much as I love summer and warm weather, I also love the comfort food that comes with the season change.chebe-1.jpg

In my opinion, chicken pot pie epitomizes comfort food but can be a bit heavy. I decided to play around with a typical chicken pot pie recipe, lighten it up, and add in some fall flavors.

The filling is full of vegetables and is flavorful without being overly creamy. The crust is slightly more chewy than a typical pie crust, but I enjoy it because it feels more substantial and isn’t super oily.Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

This recipe is low mess since I made the filling in a large (12 inch) cast iron pan and threw the crust loosely on top before tossing it in the oven. If you don’t own a cast iron pan, you can still make this recipe by transferring ingredients into a pie dish and baking it.

I mentioned in a recent post that I’m working with Chēbē to create a few recipes using their baking mixes. I absolutely love their products because they’re versatile, grain free, and they taste great. I used their all purpose baking mix for the crust in this recipe and it worked wonderfully.

It was easy to work with and didn’t fall apart or crumble like some of the other crusts I’ve tried in the past. I have seen Chēbē products in Whole Food’s or you can order boxes through their website.

If you are looking for the perfect recipe to kick off fall with, give this a try!

Ingredients (Prep Time: 35 min. Total Time: 90 min. Serves: 6)

For the Crust:

  • 1 package Chēbē All Purpose Baking Mix
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into tiny cubes
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  1. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together Chēbē All Purpose Baking mix and baking soda.
  2. Using a fork, mash the butter into the flour mixture until it is crumbly and well incorporated.
  3. Add in eggs, milk and water and mix until stretchy and smooth. Form mixture into a ball. If the dough is a bit dry, add in more milk 1 Tbsp. at a time.
  4. Cut two large pieces of parchment paper and lay dough between them. Roll into a 12 inch round and place it in the freezer while you finish the filling portion of the recipe (leave it in between the parchment paper).

For the Filling:

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh sage, minced
  • 3 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4 cups shredded kale
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free flour (I use cup4cup)
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (about 3 cups)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add in onions and sauté until they  start to soften, about 5 minutes. Once softened, add in garlic, sage, carrots, celery, and squash. Sauté until the celery begins to turn translucent, about 5 more minutes.
  3. Add in kale and sauté until it just starts to wilt. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables, stir until combined.
  4. Pour in chicken broth bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir constantly until it  the mixture begins to thicken up, about 5 minutes.
  5. Once thickened, turn off the heat and add shredded chicken.
  6. Remove dough from freezer and peel off parchment paper. Lay dough round over the top of the filling mixture in the skillet.
  7. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 35 – 40 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.
  8. Remove from oven and allow the pie to cool for 15 minute before serving. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Crust Veggie Quiche 

Sweet Potato Crust Veggie Quiche 
There is nothing quite like a piece of buttery, delicious quiche. However, it’s generally a more heavy dish and I’ve found making a gluten-free pie crust to be fairly difficult. I fixed that by making a naturally gluten-free crust made of sweet potatoes.
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It turned out wonderfully and the sweet potatoes were a great substitute for a regular pie-crust. I am sure that you could experiment with this and try using potatoes as a crust instead of sweet potatoes. You can also be flexible as far as what you want to add to the egg mixture. Just try to keep the veggie ratios somewhat similar. I hope you like this recipe as much as I did!

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Ingredients: (Prep Time: 30 min. Total time: 90 Min. Serves: 8):

  • 1.5 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp. olive oi
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves diced garlic
  • ½ cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped zucchini
  • ½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cups chopped kale (remove stems)
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar (I used reduced fat)
  • 3 tbsp skim milk
  • ¼ tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a pie dish with ½ tbsp olive oil.

2. Wash and peel the sweet potatoes. Then cut them into very thin slices, around 1/8 in. thick and layer them in the pie dish so that the bottom and the sides are covered. Place in the oven for 15 min until the sweet potatoes have softened slightly.

3. While the sweet potatoes are in the oven, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion, garlic and red pepper until slightly softened (about 3 minutes).

4. Then add the kale, mushrooms and zucchini to the pan. Sauté them very briefly (about 1 min), remove the pan from the heat and allow the vegetables to cool to about room temperature.

5. Whisk together eggs, milk, cheese, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

6. Add cooled vegetables to the egg mixture and stir until combined. Pour the mixture into the pie dish with sweet potatoes.

7. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees and bake the quiche for 45 minutes or until the middle of the quiche does not jiggle.

8. Remove from oven, allow it to cool slightly before serving (about 15 min). Enjoy!

Spicy Veggie Soup

Spicy Veggie Soup

Veggie soup is always such an easy, flexible meal to throw together and it’s especially nice because you can basically make it with any veggies you have in the fridge. I really nailed it with this combination of vegetables and spices but you can easily swap out anything I used for another veggie you may have laying around.

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This recipe makes a ton of soup so I would anticipate to have a lot of leftovers if you make it. The good news is, it keeps really well in the fridge and re-heats nicely because I didn’t add any noodles or rice directly into the soup when cooking. I would highly recommend making noodles, rice or quinoa on the side and adding them in when you reheat the soup. That way, they won’t get all soggy and break down in the fridge.

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetI made this last Sunday and we had it for lunches and dinners throughout the week. It’s a very hearty soup and isn’t super brothy, which I prefer because it’s more filling. It was amazing with a bit of pesto and vegan cheese or nutritional yeast on top.

Spicy Veggie Soup (Prep Time: 30 min. Cook Time: 30 Min. Serves: 8)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 roma tomatoes, diced or one can diced tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 cup asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 leek, diced
  • 4 small yellow potatoes, cubed
  • 3 cups, kale cut up, stems removed
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 8 cups vegetable broth*
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped (optional)
  • Cooked noodles, rice or quinoa (optional)
  • Pesto sauce, vegan cheese or nutritional yeast for topping (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, head olive oil over medium high heat. Add in onion, carrots, and celery and sauté for a few minutes until they start to sweat and soften a bit. About five minutes.
  2. Add in garlic, diced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and sauté two or three minutes until tomatoes cook down a bit.
  3. Add red and green peppers, and leek and sauté one or two more minutes.
  4. Pour in broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add potatoes, asparagus, and both cans of beans.
  5. Reduce heat to medium, medium-low and simmer until potatoes are soft. About fifteen minutes.
  6. Turn off heat and stir in kale and basil.
  7. Pour over cooked rice, quinoa or bullion and top with pesto, nutritional yeast or cheese. Enjoy!

For broth I use vegan bullion and dilute it according to the package’s instructions, it tends to be much cheaper.*

Thai Curry Soup

Thai Curry Soup

Thai Curry is one of my favorite foods. I love how rich it is and how all of the spices give it a great depth of flavor. It’s my go-to every time I go out for Thai Food and I especially love it in the winter.

Last week, Chicago got hit with a ridiculous amount of snow. It gave me a good excuse to hang around the house and have a lazy weekend. It was also perfect Curry weather so I decided to trudge over to the grocery store and try to perfect a recipe I have been working on for a while. Good news is, hauling 3 huge bags of groceries (I got a bit carried away at the store) home in an unshoveled mess was worth it because I absolutely nailed this recipe! I am really excited to share it since it is so delicious.

Nutritionally, this soup is also slightly more balanced meal than traditional Curry. Adding broth stretches out the coconut milk and lightens things up a bit. Coconut milk is full of healthy plant-based fats, but I think everything is best in moderation. There are also tons of vegetables in here and rice noodles add some carbs to the meal. If you want to add a bit of protein to it you could totally throw some baked tofu in as well or add it on top at the end.

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Thai Curry Soup (Prep Time: 15 min. Cook Time: 30 Min. Serves: 6)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup red curry paste
  • 2 inch chunk ginger, peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic, skin removed
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce (gluten-free if you have an allergy)
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 6 cups vegetable broth*
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans of full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 baby bok choy bunches, sliced
  • 2 green peppers, julienned
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced thin (save a bit as garnish)
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 (8 oz) package vermicelli rice noodles
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a food processor or high speed blender, blend together curry paste, ginger and garlic until combined.
  2. In a large pot, over medium heat, melt coconut oil. Once melted, add in curry paste mixture and sauté until fragrant, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add in soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and lime juice. Stir until combined and then add in vegetable broth and coconut milk and allow it to come to a simmer.
  4. Once simmering, add in sweet potato, onion and green pepper, cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add in baby bok choy, and mushrooms and simmer for another 2 minutes until they are slightly softened.
  6. Add in uncooked noodles and boil according to package instructions (usually 2 or 3 minutes) and stir in cilantro and basil.
  7. Top with extra basil, cilantro, red onions or green onions and enjoy!!

For broth I use vegan bullion and dilute it according to the package’s instructions, it tends to be much cheaper.*