Fall, schmall. It might be mid September but here in So Cal it’s 97 degrees. And honestly, even if it was cooler, I believe ice cream is a year-round treat. Are you with me?
I’m always looking for simple ways to add a fun touch to things and that’s how I came up with these easy ice cream cone wrappers. In under 5 minutes you can transform an ordinary ice cream cone into a unique one! All you need to do is print them, cut them out, and wrap them around the cone. Simple :) They would also be fun if you’re hosting an ice cream party! (more…)
This post is sponsored by Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
I have a little confession: I was always scared to bake a cheesecake. I am not sure why, really. I guess I just assumed it was tricky, required a special pan, and was going to taste bad. But none of those things are true. This simple recipe for mini cheesecake bites is my proof. I am so glad I decided to develop this recipe because it was easy and the reward was delicious!
I wanted to come up with a creative dessert that was easy to make but would impress guests at our recent family dinner party. I like being able to serve bite-sized desserts on a platter so guests can take one (or two) and pass them around. This also works out really well for the dishwasher, because there is less to clean up after everyone has gone home.
Gather a few ingredients and get ready to bake (you’ll find the full recipe below). Don’t be intimidated (like I was) at the idea of making your own cheesecake from scratch. I promise it wasn’t difficult and it tastes way much better than the no bake-versions I had tried in the past. The star is the Philadelphia Cream Cheese which is made with, fresh milk, real cream, and no preservatives – nothing else tastes like it.
See, no special pan! I simply lined an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. You’ll want to let it overhang about 2″ on each side so you can later “lift” the baked cheesecake out of the dish. If your parchment paper isn’t big enough, just use two pieces that criss-cross the pan. The bottom part of the dish will be your graham cracker crust layer. Then, you’ll pour in the creamy cheesecake mixture on top before putting it in the oven.
It bakes low and slow for about 30 minutes at 325 degrees. This ensures your cheesecake top doesn’t crack. But don’t worry too much about it even if it does because you’re going to top it with drizzled chocolate and candy bar pieces so no one will even notice.
While it’s baking, cut your favorite candy bars into bite-sized pieces. You’ll use these for your cheesecake toppings. You’ll need about 48 pieces.
After it comes out of the oven, let it cool for about 15 minutes and then place it in the freezer for another hour, (be sure to cover it with plastic wrap first). This cools it down so it can harden a bit, which will help you cut the cheesecake into nice 1-inch pieces.
Once you have cut your pieces, add a drop of chocolate sauce or fudge to each piece and then place a candy bar on top. That’s it. Easy, right?
Place them on a platter or use a cake stand. I promise, they won’t last long!
Serves: 16 Servings when a serving equals 3 pieces
For the crust
1½ cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, melted
For the cheesecake filling
2 eggs at room temperature
2 8-ounce PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Bricks, softened, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup granulated sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For The Topping
5 Tablespoons chocolate sauce
48 Candy bar pieces
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with overhung parchment paper.
For the crust. In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter, and mix until all of the crumbs are moistened. Press the mixture in the pan and press firmly into an even layer.
For the filling. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese (I used the paddle attachment in a stand mixer but you could also use a hand mixer) until it is light and fluffy. Next, add in the sugar, salt, cornstarch, eggs and vanilla, beating to combine well after each ingredient is added. The mixture should be very smooth. Pour the filling into the prepared pan on top of the crust. Place in the center of the oven and bake until just set (about 30 minutes). You’ll know it’s set when it doesn’t jiggle in the pan. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before covering the pan with plastic wrap and placing in the freezer for an additional hour to harden up.
To Make The Bites. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, uncover and remove from the pan using the overhung parchment paper to “lift” it out. Using a sharp knife, slice into about 48 1-inch squares. Top each bite with a drop of chocolate sauce, then place a piece of candy bar on top of each one.
For all of your entertaining needs, turn to Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Always have it on hand to create fun appetizers and desserts that pop. I had a great time developing my mini cheesecake bites for family dinner party. For more creamy, delicious recipe ideas, click here.
This post is sponsored by Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
Setting up a build-your-own bagel bar might be the best idea I’ve had in a long time. It’s the perfect breakfast or brunch spread when entertaining (think book club, bridal shower, baby shower), or when hosting out of town guests. Imagine your in-laws waking up to this spread! The whole thing really looks and feels so fancy when in reality it all takes only about ten minutes to set up (and requires zero cooking!). But, you don’t have to tell anyone that.
Plus, with a variety of toppings, there is sure to be something for everyone.
I like the idea of using mini bagels because then you can make a few different versions and get creative with your toppings without having to commit to a full bagel and be too stuffed to go back for another.
I also opted not to toast the bagels (if you can’t get on board with that I totally understand) because I like them a little soft and not warm when I pile my toppings on. You can set a toaster nearby if you want to give guests the option to toast theirs.
The secret to a good build-your-own-bagel creation is a good base of Philadelphia Cream Cheese. It’s Spread it on the bagel before you add your toppings. Made with fresh milk, real cream and no preservatives, nothing else tastes like Philadelphia Cream Cheese so be sure to be generous with it.
In the next step you just can’t go wrong–add as many or as few toppings as you’d like.
My advice is to make a couple different creations and experiment with the flavors. My favorite combo ended up being topping my bagel and cream cheese with smoked salmon, cucumber, red onion, and chives. YUM. You really can’t ever go wrong with avocado either if I’m being honest.
What do you think? Ready to impress guests with this easy bagel bar idea?
Serves: 8 Servings (One serving equals one mini bagel or two halves)
8 Mini bagels
8 oz PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Brick, softened
1 Avocado, sliced
18 Cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
½ Red inion, thinly sliced
1 Cucumber, thinly sliced
8-ounce Smoked salmon
Fresh dill and chives for garnish
The purpose here is to have guests create their own bagels adding their favorite toppings. So, you’ll want to set out all the ingredients in a nice spread. Remove the softened PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Brick and place it in a bowl so guests can easily spread the cream cheese on their bagels. If the bagels are not already pre-sliced, you’ll want to slice them ahead of time. Set all of the other ingredients out in small bowls or on platters.
For all of your entertaining needs, turn to Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Always have it on hand to create fun appetizers and desserts that pop. I had a great time developing my build-your-own bagel bar
for out of town guests. For more creamy, delicious recipe ideas, click here.
This post is sponsored by Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
If you’re looking for a simple appetizer to make this summer, try these cream cheese stuffed peppers. You’ll need just a few ingredients, they require no cooking, and (I promise) you can’t mess them up! Easy, foolproof, and delicious? Cheers to that!
Another reason that I love this recipe? These peppers are so colorful which means they look gorgeous on a platter. This makes them perfect for entertaining. Whether it’s hosting game night or a family dinner, this appetizer looks as good as it tastes. I also love that you can make these up to a day ahead of time (if you’re expecting guests) but can also whip them up in ten minutes (should you have impromptu guests). I recently made this for a family game night and they were gone in a flash!
The first step is gathering your ingredients: mini sweet peppers, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, fresh dill, and fresh chives. Don’t grab the dried herbs here, fresh is the way to go. The flavors of the fresh herbs pop so well in the cream cheese.
I love when recipes are easy enough to remember without pulling out a cookbook or opening up Pinterest, don’t you?
Once you’ve gathered all of the ingredients, it’s time to whip them up. First, I start by making the cream cheese mixture. Philadelphia Cream Cheese is the base (and it’s delicious because it’s made with fresh milk and real cream and no preservatives), then you mix in the fresh dill and chives (see recipe below). Next, cut the sweet peppers by removing the stem and cutting them in half. Be sure to remove any seeds as well.
The final step is to simply spread the cream cheese mixture into the sweet pepper halves. Serve them on a platter and you’ve got yourself the perfect (and easiest) summer appetizer!
16 Sweet Peppers, halved with stems and seeds removed
8-ounce PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Brick, softened
2 Tbs Fresh dill, finely chopped
2 Tbs Fresh chives, finely chopped
In a medium bowl, combine softened PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Brick and fresh herbs.
Cut sweet peppers in half and remove stems and seeds.
Spread ¼ oz of cream cheese mixture onto each pepper.
Serve on a platter.
You can make these up to a day in advance, just store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
For all of your entertaining needs, turn to Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Always have it on hand to create fun appetizers and desserts that pop. I had a great time developing my cream cheese stuffed peppers for family game night. For more creamy, delicious recipe ideas, click here.
This post is sponsored by DOLE® Canned 100% Pineapple Juice.
If you’re looking for a new summer-go-to drink recipe, frozen drinks are the perfect choice! This vodka slush is perfect for a crowd and is so pretty guests will love the bright summer colors!
Summer is here which means my mind is on frozen cocktails. I love how versatile they can be (and how simple they are to whip up). I recently made these pineapple and peach slushes for a day lounging poolside. When the temps rise your mouth will be watering for one of these tropical drinks, trust me!
The exotic flavors in this drink are so refreshing which makes it great for sipping on a hot day. I topped it off with a big splash of DOLE® Canned 100% Pineapple Juice which was just that perfect added touch. Bring out a couple pitchers or serve individual glasses on a tray. No matter how you bring them out, guests will be very happy. (more…)
About three months ago, I completely revamped my eating habits and daily diet. The truth is, I was eating out way too often and finding myself grabbing whatever was on hand from the fridge or in the pantry when hunger would strike (which often wasn’t a very healthy choice). One of the biggest changes I made that has helped me eat much healthier is to prepare meals and snacks on the weekend for the upcoming week. If this sounds familiar and you want to eat out less, eat in more, and feel healthier overall, I encourage you to check out The Great American Cook In Challenge (don’t worry there are lots of tips and recipes to make it simple!).
I’m eating in a lot and I never skip breakfast anymore. It really is the most important meal of the day (duh, I was totally ignoring that little fact).This recipe is much healthier and much more delicious than grabbing a pastry at the coffee shop or running through a drive-through on the way to work. Trust me!
In fact, it’s almost too delicious to call breakfast. Which is great because it makes a great snack any time of the day. The ingredients (see them below in the recipe) are easy to keep stocked. Having versatile staple ingredients on hand in the kitchen is really the best tip I have for becoming better at eating in. (more…)