Monday, February 27, 2012

Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies


For the Filling:

1 c chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips

¼ cup heavy cream

½ lb. cream cheese, room temperature

1 egg

2 teaspoons flour

For the Brownie Batter:

9 ounces (18 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature; more for buttering the pan

1 1/2 cups sugar

5 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

For the Icing:

Approximately 12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (about 2 cups)


FOR THE FILLING: Slowly melt half the chopped chocolate and cream together in a microwave or a double boiler. Set aside to cool. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and egg together until fluffy. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and mix well. Add the flour and the remaining chocolate and mix until incorporated. Chill the filling while you assemble the brownie batter.

FOR THE BROWNIE BATTER: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking pan. Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure that each one is fully incorporated before adding another. Occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and almond extracts. Sift together the flour, cocoa, and baking powder and gently blend them into the batter.

TO ASSEMBLE: Using an offset metal spatula, spread half the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Spread the filling over the batter. Spoon the remaining brownie batter over the filling and gently spread it into an even layer. Bake for 35 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center of the brownies comes out clean.

FOR THE ICING: As soon as you remove the brownies from the oven, sprinkle about three-quarters of the chocolate on top. Let sit about 5 minutes, until the chocolate has melted. Gently spread the soft chocolate into a thin, smooth layer. If it isn’t enough chocolate, sprinkle a few more pieces on top and spread again, but be careful not to make the icing too thick.

TO SERVE: Let the bars cool before cutting.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cheeseburger Soup


  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups diced peeled potatoes (1-3/4 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces process cheese (Velveeta), cubed
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup sour cream


  • In a 3-qt. saucepan, brown beef; drain and set aside. In the same saucepan, saute the onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 1 tablespoon butter until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the broth, potatoes and beef; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt remaining butter. Add flour; cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly. Add to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in the cheese, milk, salt and pepper; cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from the heat; blend in sour cream. Yield: 8 servings (2-1/4 quarts).

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Outback's Honey Wheat Bread


1 1/4 cups warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups bread flour
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
2 Tablespoons molasses
1 1/4 teaspoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon yellow food coloring
1 teaspoon blue food coloring
cornmeal for dusting

1. Mix sugar with warm water, then dissolve the yeast in the solution for five minutes.

2. In the meantime, mix the flours, cocoa, and salt in a large bowl. Mix butter into the dry mixture with your hands. Make an impression in the middle of the dry mixture. Add the honey and molasses into the well. Mix the food coloring with the yeast solution, then pour the solution into the well. Stir from the middle bringing the dry mixture into the wet stuff, slowly at first, then quickly as you incorporate all the ingredients. You will eventually have to use your hands to combine everything. Knead the dough with a mixer for about 5 minutes. Then roll the dough into a ball and place it into a covered bowl in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until it has doubled in size.

3. When the dough has doubled, separate it into 6 even portions. Roll each dough portion into logs that are 6 inches long and 2 inches wide. Pour cornmeal onto your rolling surface. Moisten your hands then rub water onto each dough log and roll it in the cornmeal. Arrange the rolled dough on a baking sheet and cover it with plastic wrap. Set the dough in a warm spot to rise for another hour or so until the loaves have doubled in size.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Uncover the dough and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes in the hot oven. When the bread is done, take it out of the oven and let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

Makes 6 small loaves.

* If you decide to leave the color out, just add an additional 1 tablespoon of warm water to the recipe.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Southwest Chicken Stew

3 large chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2-2 lbs.)
2 tsps, ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbls. olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup salsa
2 tsp. minced garlic
3 large sweet potatoes, peeked and cut into chunks (about 2 pounds)
1-2 cans (15-oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 jar (12-oz) roasted red bell peppers, cut into thin strips or fresh pepper
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
fresh lime wedges

1. Sprinkle Chicken with 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, 1;8 tsp black pepper. In skillet heat olive oil and brown chicken for about 10 minutes.
2. Add sweet potatoes and beans and peppers. Top with broth and salsa mixed together with paprika, garlic, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper.
3. Cover and cook on low about 1/2-2 hours. Spoon onto platter or deep bowl and garnish with fresh cilantro and fresh lime wedges to be squeezed on each serving and serve with rice or quinoa.