Monthly Archives: April 2012

Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

Katie:  I knew that my parents might have a hard time coming back to Wisconsin after enjoying warm, sunny weather on the beaches of Florida.  Fortunately, the snow from Friday melted before they returned, but it’s still pretty chilly here.  I decided that something delicious and sweet might help ease the transition.  This recipe for Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars from My Baking Addiction looked like the perfect combination of sweet indulgence.  I followed the recipe as written, beginning with a graham cracker crust, then a creamy cheesecake layer, and topped with chocolate chip cookie dough.  Although the cookie dough layer was a bit tricky to spread, these bars turned out great.  I’d like to try these again with peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough!

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Roasted Garlic and Beet Soup

Katie:  Since I’m on my own for meals this week, I decided to take the opportunity to try a few new recipes. It was chilly here today, so I decided to make some soup.  I found this recipe for Roasted Garlic and Beet Soup from Martha Stewart.  It took awhile to roast the beets, but otherwise this soup was really simple to make.  I forgot to add the lemon juice, but it still tasted great.  I ate it with a dollop of ricotta, which was the perfect accompaniment!

Roasted Garlic and Beet Soup (slightly adapted from Whole Living)

  • 3 medium beets
  • olive oil
  • 6 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 1 large leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian herbs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Drizzle beets with olive oil and roast in parchment-lined foil for 1 hour or until tender.  Drizzle the garlic cloves with oil (I roasted a whole head), wrap in foil, and roast for 30-40 minutes.  Unwrap beets, let cool, peel, and quarter.  (Be careful not to get the juice on your clothes!) Squeeze garlic from skin. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the leek and cook, stirring, until tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add beets and garlic, the herbs, the bay leaf, and 3 cups water.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Let the soup cool slightly, then transfer to a blender and puree.  Adjust the seasonings to taste.  Serve with ricotta cheese or sour cream, as desired.

To go with my soup, I decided to use some leftover salmon in quesadillas.  I followed this recipe for Salmon and Kale Quesadillas, which turned out great!  If I made them again, I might try added other spices or some tomatoes, but I really enjoyed this combination of flavors.

Homemade Strawberry Salad Dressing

Katie:  After realizing how many artificial ingredients and how much sugar (8 grams per serving!) were in the low-fat salad dressing I’d been using, I decided to make my own dressing.  I used this recipe from Cooking Light, which was super quick to make.  I ended up with a delicious and healthier dressing that tastes great, especially with spinach.  Since it was so easy to make, I think I’ll definitely experiment with other homemade dressing in the future!

Strawberry Salad Dressing  (from Cooking Light)

  • 2 cups whole strawberries
  • 1/3 cup champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Blend everything in a blender or food processor.  It’s that simple!