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!

Whole 30 Compliant Curry Chicken Salad

I am currently about 1/3 of the way through my first Whole 30. At the end of the month, I am going to post a bunch of tips as well as more about my experience with the challenge. For now, I have a recipe that I came up with last week for a curry chicken salad.

Chicken Salad

I made a big batch of it last Sunday and had it multiple times during the week. It was a nice break from some of the more plain meals I have been making and was very flavorful and filling.

This recipe makes about 8 hearty servings and is completely compliant. Just make sure you check the labels on all of your ingredients. If you prefer, you can easily swap the almonds for cashews or pecans. This would also be delicious with fresh grapes instead of raisins I just didn’t have the patience to cut a bunch of grapes in half.

If you’re not doing Whole 30 this is still a great dinner idea, you just don’t need to be as worried with the mayo that you use.

Ingredients (Serves: 8):

  • 2.5 lbs chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 ½ cup compliant mayo (either primal kitchen or homemade)
  • 3 Tbsp. mild curry powder
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • 2/3 cup diced celery
  • 2/3 cup diced carrots
  • 2/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1 ½ medium apples chopped (I used gala)
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • Salt to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Toss chicken breasts with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake, depending on thickness, for 12 – 15 minutes until cooked through. Set aside and allow to cool off.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine mayo and curry powder. Add in raisins, celery, carrots, red onion, apples, and almonds.
  3. Once chicken has cooled off, either shred or cut into small cubes. Mix in with vegetables and mayo until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Refrigerate at least 3 – 4 hours or overnight before serving.
  5. Serve with lettuce cups of either romaine or butter lettuce to make wraps.

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!