Monday, March 26, 2018

Chocolate Cheesecake Easter Eggs

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

I'm celebrating Easter with these cheesecake-filled chocolate Easter eggs! I initially wanted to buy chocolate eggs and cut the tops off, but I couldn't find chocolate eggs in stores. Well, I should say I couldn't find them for under $5 which is ridiculous, and you should absolutely not pay that much money for a hollow egg.

So I made the chocolate egg all by myself using a balloon because I'm an I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T woman. It is incredibly easy to do, all you need is a water balloon and melted chocolate. But before you move onto the recipe I have a very important tip! And if you're tired of my rambling and you've already move onto the recipe PLEASE COME BACK! What I'm about to say is very important for the well-being of the state of your kitchen, your clothes, and your sanity. You absolutely must wait for the chocolate to cool completely before you dip these balloons! If you don't wait, the balloons will pop causing the melted chocolate to fly everywhere. Each time you heat up the chocolate, you should wait until the bowl is not warm to the touch, or about 10 minutes. You may only get a few dips out of it before it starts to harden again, so you'll need to reheat it and wait until it cools again. But that's okay. Do what I do while I'm waiting and "rest your eyes."

Also, if you don't like the way one of your bowls turned out, you can always remelt it and try again. There will be no wasted chocolate in the making of these Easter eggs!

Another tip: If you find that the water balloon is sticking to the inside of the chocolate egg, it's because you didn't let it cool off long enough. Refrigerate your eggs a little longer and try again.

Chocolate Cheesecake Easter Eggs
Yield: Makes about 6 chocolate eggs
  • 8 ounces chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 8 ounces Challenge cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • About 1/2 cup lemon curd or lemon pie filling, just enough to make yolks
  • Also: Water balloons
  1. Dip balloons in chocolate so bottom portion and part of sides are completely covered. Set on baking sheet covered in wax paper and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make cheesecake filling by beating together cream cheese, powdered sugar, heavy whipping cream, and vanilla.
  3. Pull balloons out of refrigerator and pop balloons. Peel balloon away from inside of egg.
  4. Fill eggs with cheesecake filling. I recommend putting the filling in a large plastic bag, cutting off one corner, and piping it in.
  5. Add a dollop of the lemon curd to look like a yolk. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Ravioli Nachos

Today is National Ravioli Day, but I'm sure you already knew that... right?! I'm sharing a very unique recipe on FOX59 News​... ravioli nachos! I already know some people are thinking, "What the heck. Why would you do this? Nachos are already delicious." But you know what, ravioli is also delicious. And if you toast them in the oven, you basically have the equivalent of a cheese-stuffed chip, and I never turn down anything stuffed with cheese.

Nachos are, of course, a very popular game day snack, and this ravioli version is just a little heartier and a little carbier (not a word, but it should be). With the NCAA tournament currently going on, this would be a great snack to watch your favorite team.

I started by toasting the ravioli to make ravioli "chips." There are a couple of ways to do this, but I found my favorite way by trial and error. First step: cook the ravioli per package directions. So I cooked these in boiling water on the stove for about 3 minutes. Then I tossed them with a little olive oil and salt, and I laid them out on a baking sheet. The olive oil is actually very important. I found them to be quite rubbery without the olive oil. Then you bake them at a very high temperature -- 425 degrees for 12 minutes.

Once you're done baking the ravioli chips, just load them up like nachos on the baking sheet. You're going to want to melt the cheese though, so it's important that the first toppings you add to your nachos can be heated. For example, I added bean, jalapenos and olives first before adding the cheese. Then I stuck it back in the oven so the cheese melted.

Then you'll want to add your fresh food items, like tomato, pico de gallo, green onion, etc.

Also, while I was focused on turning ravioli into nachos, I came up with another great nacho idea -- pizza nachos!

You start the same way with the toasted ravioli, but then you add pizza toppings on top, like sausage, green pepper, olives, tomatoes, and pepperoni; then that's all covered in pizza sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, with a little oregano. And top it off with a little basil.

Ravioli Nachos
  • 1 (20 ounce) package ravioli
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Toppings of your choice
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Cook ravioli in boiling water for about 3 minutes
  3. Drain and dry ravioli and toss with olive oil and salt
  4. Space ravioli out evenly on baking sheet and bake for  about 12 minutes or until they start to turn golden
  5. Remove from oven and add toppings like meat, beans, jalapenos, and cheese
  6. Put back in oven for about 3 minutes, or until cheese has melted
  7. Add additional toppings and serve

Friday, March 16, 2018

Shepherd’s Pie Potato Skins

Shepherd’s pie is just about the coziest of comfort foods you can imagine —meat, potatoes, gravy, and vegetables. It’s a staple in Irish cooking because the main ingredients are readily available, and it’s an economic way to use leftover ingredients. I can certainly attest this.

It was wonderful to be able to save money by using leftover ingredients already in my refrigerator for this week's recipe. Some of you may or may not know this, but I pay for all of the ingredients for my Kylee’s Kitchen recipes and segments on my own (with the exception of Challenge butter).

Depending on the recipe, it can get pretty expensive. So it was nice to be able to save a few bucks using leftover ingredients. In fact, this was actually one of the cheapest recipes I’ve created.
So if you’re looking for a hearty, tasty dish that’s inexpensive to make, definitely give this recipe a try!

Shepherd’s Pie Potato Skins
Yield: Makes 8 potato skins
For the filling
  • 1 pound ground beef or lamb
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (16 ounce) bag frozen peas and carrots (or about 2-3 cups fresh)
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
For the potatoes
  • 8 large russet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 Tablespoons Challenge butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
For the filling
  1. Add ground meat, onion, and garlic to large pan and cook over medium high heat until meat is browned and cooked
  2. Add remaining filling ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to simmer and continue to stir until meat mixture has thickened.
  3. Remove from heat 
For the potatoes
  1. Clean potatoes thoroughly and prick with fork about 5 times 
  2. Microwave potatoes for 10 minutes, rotating halfway through
  3. Cut off the tops of potatoes and scoop out center, making sure to leave the skin intact
  4. Dump scooped out potato in bowl; add milk, butter, salt, and garlic powder and mash until smooth
  5. Put mashed potatoes in piping bag with large tip
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Fill each “hollow” potato with filling, packing it down into potato
  3. Pipe mashed potatoes on top of filling
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes; sprinkle with parsley if desired and serve
Recipe adapted from Recipe Tin Eats

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Spring lasagna using seasonal vegetables

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

I cannot stress enough the importance of eating seasonally and eating locally. First of all, fruits and vegetables are most flavorful when they’re in season. That’s because the produce is growing close to where you love, so it can be harvested at its peak when it is most flavorful. It’s not being harvested early and sitting in a shipping container awaiting a trip across the continent before reaching your table. Produce loses a substantial amount of taste when it ripens after it’s picked from the vine. Also, because the produce is being grown closer to where you live, you’re supporting local farmers by buying their products.

When talking about eating seasonally, I can’t neglect to point out the obvious — it’s significantly cheaper! I remember back in December I saw asparagus listed at $3.99 per pound. No wonder people think it’s expensive! But that’s just because it wasn’t in season. Asparagus is known as a spring vegetable, so of course it’s being shipped from somewhere far away in order for it to be available in December. But as asparagus season gets closer, this week I saw it as low aa $1.39 per pound. That’s a huge difference!

Speaking of asparagus, did you know that it’s actually one of the earliest crops available in Indiana. It’s season is from April to June. Spinach is also one of the earliest crops to pop up in the state. So in the spirit of eating seasonally, I decided to create a “Spring Lasagna” using both of those vegetables. It’s much lighter than a traditional red meat sauce lasagna. I think the lemon zest really brings out the flavor of the cheeses. I did not add meat to this lasagna because I haven’t shared any meatless recipes in a while, and I thought it was rich enough without meat. But if you are really dying to get that extra protein, I think pancetta sprinkled in between the layers would be delightful. Or also, you could add shredded chicken.

One last thing that’s important for me to note: I used oven-ready lasagna noodles. Why? Well, first of all, it’s easier, and you all know I opt for the route with less steps. And secondly, oven-ready lasagna noodles are generally thinner which contribute to this dish being lighter than most lasagna recipes.

Spring Lasagna
Yield: Serves about 9 people, depending how big you cut your slices
  • 12 ounces asparagus
  • 1/3 cup Challenge butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 8 ounces Challenge cream cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 
  • 1/4 cup basil
  • 2 1/2 cups ricotta
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella
  • 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 9 oven-ready lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  1. Prepare asparagus by cutting off about the last inch of the stalk; proceed to cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces
  2. Microwave asparagus pieces in microwave-safe bowl for 3 minutes to make pieces more tender
  3. Separate asparagus tips from rest of asparagus pieces and set aside; this is because the tips are the “prettiest” part of the asparagus and they will be sprinkled on top in the final step
  4. Start making sauce by melting butter in large saucepan
  5. Add 1/2 cup flour and whisk for 1 minute to make a roux
  6. Add milk and whisk for about 10 minutes until sauce starts to thicken; do not let sauce boil
  7. Add cream cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and nutmeg
  8. Stir in basil and set aside
  9. Make filling by mixing together ricotta, spinach, mozzarella, salt, and Italian seasoning; set aside
  10. Spray 9x13 pan and put a little sauce at bottom of pan before adding noodles
  11. Add 3 lasagna noodles over top of the sauce; followed by 1 cup of sauce. Spread sauce across noodles to coat evenly
  12. Add half of ricotta cheese mixture on top of sauce, and then add half of your asparagus pieces 
  13. Repeat the steps of this assembly one more time
  14. Finish by adding 3 lasagna noodles; 1 cup of sauce; parmesan; and asparagus tips
  15. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 for 35 to 40 minutes

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Irish Cheddar Beer Soup

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

Confession: I’ve never really been one to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Green is my least favorite color, so I don’t have any green clothing items and I always get pinched. Also, like I mentioned last week, I don’t drink, and I feel like that’s a big part of the holiday. So because I feel like I’ve neglected to celebrate it throughout the years, I decided to delve into the Irish cuisine and make something festive this year. This recipe is coming to you a little early because, to be completely honest, I thought St. Patrick’s Day was March 7 — not three weeks from now! Oh well! I hope you enjoy this Irish Cheddar Beer Soup! I’m telling you, what it lacks in nutritional value, it makes up for in taste!

Irish Cheddar Beer Soup
Yield: Makes about 8 cups of soup
  • 1 Tablespoon Challenge butter or bacon grease if you’re making bacon to garnish soup
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cans (14.5 ounces) chicken broth
  • 16 ounces Irish beer
  • 1 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 16 ounces Challenge cream cheese, cubed so it melts into the soup more easily
  • 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 
  • Optional: Crumbled bacon and green onions, if desired for topping
  1. Set a large pot over medium heat. Add butter, onion, and garlic, and sauté for for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent. 
  2. Sprinkle flour and cayenne pepper on top, and stir until everything is coated
  3. Pour the chicken broth and beer into pot and bring to boil
  4. Add cheddar cheese, cream cheese, dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce to broth. 
  5. Whisk to melt the cheese and break up the cream cheese cubes. Continue to whisk at simmer until soup is completely smooth and slightly thickened, or about 10 minutes. 
  6. Garnish with bacon and green onions if desired.

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