Baked goat cheese strawberry spinach salad (clean eating)

In the latest Clean Eating Magazine I fell I love with most of the recipes. The mag is full of fresh springtime ideas and they are fabulous. One of our favorites was the baked goat cheese salad. I made a few changes but none to make any hugh difference. Here’s my recipe based on the clean eating recipe!

Enjoy!!

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Ingredients:
1-2 tbsp evoo
Gluten free bread crumbs
1 tsp chopped thyme
Fresh gr salt and pepper
2 egg whites whisked
4 oz goat cheese
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Garlic powder and dried thyme to taste
3 tbsp chopped toasted pecans
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 cup strawberries
6 oz grilled chicken breast roughly chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425. While heating mix lemon juice, mustard and garlic powder and dried thyme to taste. Whisk well. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and whisk well. Set aside.
On a small bowl place egg whites in one and bread crumbs thyme and salt and pepper in the other. Take goat cheese one ounce at a time and make a small patty. Dredge in egg whites then in bread crumbs. Continue for all 4 patties. Freeze for 20 mins.
While patties are freezing chop spinach, chicken, pecans, and strawberries. Toss well with dressing.
Bake goat cheese in oven 6 mins per side.
Let stand one minute. Top salads with patties and serve immediately!

Enjoy!


Lemon cream cake with vanilla bean frosting

We were invited to my aunt and uncle’s Derby party and needed a dessert. I thought a lemon dessert would be nice and refreshing. I had recently seen this recipe and thought it would be perfect for the party! It was a hit. The cake is quite moist, the filling is to die for and the frosting is perfect. Definitely make this for your next get together. It’s impressive and delicious!

Enjoy!

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Ingredients:
For the cake:
3 cups cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
Zest of ½ a lemon
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1¼ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tbsp. lemon extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the filling:
4 oz. mascarpone or cream cheese, cold
2½ tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¼ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tsp. lemon extract
Zest of ½ a lemon
1 cup heavy cream, chilled

For the frosting:
1½ cups plus 2 tbsp. (3 sticks plus 2 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. heavy cream

For the candied lemon slices: I omitted this
1-2 whole lemons, preferably organic
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Directions:
To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter and flour the edges of 3 8-inch round cake pans and shake out the excess. Set aside. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together and set aside. Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the lemon zest to the bowl of the mixer with the butter. Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.
Add the sugar to the butter mixture, ¼ cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Mix in the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Combine the buttermilk and the lemon and vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.
Divide the batter between the prepared baking pans. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Let cool in the pans about 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
To make the filling, combine the mascarpone and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and well combined. Mix in the confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed until incorporated. Blend in the lemon extract and lemon zest. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and set aside. Wipe out the mixer bowl and fit with the whisk attachment. Add the heavy cream to the bowl and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form, being careful not to overbeat. Mix about a third of the whipped cream into the lemon-mascarpone mixture to lighten. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until no streaks remain and the mixture is evenly blended.
To make the frosting, add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar to the bowl and mix on medium-low speed just until incorporated. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean pod into the bowl and add in the salt. Continue to beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract and heavy cream on low speed just until incorporated. Increase the mixer speed and whip on high speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed, about 4 minutes.
To make the candied lemon slices, wash and dry the lemons thoroughly. Use a sharp serrated knife to make very thin slices of lemon. Poke out any seeds in the slices with a toothpick. Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon slices to the mixture so that they are in a single layer (none overlapping), reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer about 20 minutes, turning the slices at least once so both sides are candied. Remove from the heat. Store in a container with the syrup until ready to use.
(Level cake layers if necessary.) To assemble the cake, place one of the layers on a serving platter. Top with half of the lemon-mascarpone mixture and smooth in an even layer. Place a second cake layer on top of the filling and top with the remaining filling. Place the final cake layer on top. Frost the top and sides of the assembled cake with the vanilla bean frosting. Use a pastry bag with a decorative tip to pipe accents on the cake. Garnish with the candied lemon slices.


Sesame encrusted salmon

I’ve seen many many recipes like this all over online. After reading many of them, I came up with this recipe based in what I had on hand. This was excellent and very easy to make!

Enjoy!

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Ingredients:
2 6-7 ounce boneless, skinless salmon fillets
approx. 3-4 Tbs sesame seeds
olive oil for sauteing fish
1 bunch asparagus chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 generous Tbs minced garlic
olive oil for sautéing veggies
1 cups grape or cherry tomatoes

Directions:
Heat oven to 400.
Prepare salmon. Season as you enjoy and sprinkle with sesame seeds on skinless side and press in well. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in an oven safe skillet and sauté most of the garlic (save just a bit for the veggies). Place salmon seed side down and cook 3-4 minutes.
While fish is cooking heat oil in small pan and add a small bit of garlic and heat. Once warm add veggies and balsamic vinegar and sauté veggies til tomatoes are about to burst. Season with salt and pepper.
After fish has cooked on one side, flip and finish in oven for 5-7 mins.
Once all fish and veggies are done, serve immediately.


Cake mix cookies

Need a quick and easy dessert? These are it. I had another dessert I had planned to bring to our Easter party, but that one flopped big time. So, I had to find another quick and easy dessert and these came to mind. Not sure who’s recipe it is, but it’s everywhere online!!

Enjoy!

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Ingredients:
One cake mix
1 stick butter softened
1 egg

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients at low speed until dry ingredients are moistened and dough is thoroughly mixed. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2″ apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 9-12 minutes. Cool two minutes on cookie sheets, then remove to wire racks to cool.
If using chocolate cake mix, add 2 tbsp water along with egg. You can stir in chocolate chips, coated candy pieces, chopped nuts, or oatmeal. Frost the cookies, using canned frosting, or make sandwich cookies by spreading frosting between two cookies. These Cake Mix Cookies should be stored tightly covered at room temperature so they stay soft.
***I topped each cookie with a white chocolate piece to add just a bit more fun and flavor. I added them right as the cookies came out if the oven.***


Funfetti cheesecake cupcakes with cake batter cream cheese frosting

The title says it all. This dessert has cheesecake, cream cheese icing, cake batter and cake all in one. It’s awesome! I needed some desserts for our Easter celebrations and knew there’d probably be a lot of fruit flavored ones as spring always brings, so I’d thought I’d go in the other direction. Glad I did! These are incredible.

Enjoy!!

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Ingredients:
Confetti (or Funfetti) cake batter, use your favorite homemade or boxed version)-I used homemade
8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 and line 24 muffin tins with liners.
Spoon cake batter into each tin until it is about 1/2 full. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla on medium speed until smooth. Spoon one spoonful over the top of each cupcake. Bake for about 15 minutes or until set.

Cake Batter Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 stick salted butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon Baker’s Mystery Flavor (you could omit this, I omitted as my bottle I ordered didn’t arrive in time. Darn you smart post!!)
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup white cake mix (MIX–NOT BATTER)

Directions:
In the bowl of a mixer, beat butter, cream cheese and extract(s) on medium speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar and cake mix and beat on low until just combined. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes. If frosting is too thick, mix in a bit of heavy cream or milk until desired consistency is reached.
Once cupcakes are cool, frost generously. And decorate as you wish!


Chocolate orange pound cake

Yum yum yum! This pound cake is crazy good. I tried a bit of it to make sure it was ok for guests and omg so good. This was easy to make and was perfect for a breakfast treat or snack for our guests visiting! Definitely a hit!

Enjoy!

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Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate pieces

Directions:
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9×5-inch baking pan and dust with flour. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
On a clean cutting board or counter, place the granulated sugar. Add the orange zest. With a bench scraper or the back of the spoon, work the zest into the granulated sugar, creating a fragrant and orange flavored sugar. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together softened butter and cream cheese. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the bowl and make sure that the butter and cream cheese are evenly mixed. Add the citrus zest to the butter and cream cheese mixture, and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.
Stop the mixer. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. On medium speed, beat in one egg at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in vanilla extract.
Add dry ingredients all at once. Beat on low speed until dry ingredients are completely incorporated. Fold in the chocolate pieces.
Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, rotating once or twice during baking. Bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, or with just a few crumbs.
Cake will last, well wrapped at room temperature, for up to four days.


Balsamic glazed chicken with pine nuts and scallions

Well, grilling season is here! We recently grilled great turkey burgers and tonight, chicken. Chicken can get boring very quickly! So when I see interesting ideas like this one, I’m always eager to try them right away. This recipe uses ingredients already on hand, so it makes this dinner even easier. We paired with grilled asparagus and potatoes for h and it was a perfect meal!

Enjoy!

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Ingredients:
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 (4 ounce) chicken cutlets
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 to 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Directions:
Whisk together balsamic vinegar, garlic and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Drizzle evenly over chicken cutlets in a large shallow dish. Let stand 15 minutes.
Combine green onions, pine nuts and parsley in a small bowl; set aside.
Cook chicken, discarding marinade, over medium high heat on a grill or sauté pan 4 minutes on each side until desired degree of doneness. Top with pine nut mixture.

Note: This can also be made on a grill.—we made ours on the grill. It was great!


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