The Great 8: Valentine’s Day Recipes

Ready for Valentine’s day?
Or Galentine’s day! This year, my girlfriends and I are getting together for a potluck.  I plan on making some pizza and some goodies from the list below. So, if you’re getting together with your sweetie, friends, or it’s just you and and a glass bottle of wine, here’s a list of some of my favorite delicious in a dash recipes you can easily whip up this weekend.  Share your love with food!

Looking for a breakfast treat?

Peanut butter banana oatmeal muffins

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins.jpgOr how about some homemade granola? My Maple Pecan Quinoa Granola is crunchy and makes a great topping for yogurt, oatmeal or just for great snacking.  It’s much healthier and tastier than anything you get in the store. (cheaper, too!)

Maple Pecan Quinoa GranolaEasy and Delicious Meals:

Tasty Vegetarian: Easy Thai Coconut Butternut Squash SoupEasy Thai Coconut Butternut Squash Soup.jpg

A hearty sausage and pepper pasta – a perfect winter meal.  Especially enjoyed when eaten after shoveling feet of snow after successive Nor’easters.

20140318-081953.jpgDelicious Desserts:

No-Bake Butterscotch Oatmeal bars.  No oven needed – whip these up in no time at all!

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For the peanut butter lover:  The best peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, EVER

Super chewy and never flat.  You can make a few cookies and freeze the extra dough for later.

The Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies.jpgFor the chocolate addicts in your life: Chewy Triple Chocolate Cookies.  These are for chocolate lovers and must be accompanied by a big glass of milk.

Triple Chocolate cookie stackFinally, the top thing I am making this Valentine’s day is a favorite of my taller half – Pomegranate Strawberry Cheesecake bars.  They are made with pomegranate Greek yogurt – so no need to spend your time getting those pesky seeds out of the fruit.  (You can also sub strawberry yogurt if you can’t find pomegranate)Pomegranate Strawberry Cheesecake bars.jpgForget about the cards and the mediocre boxed candy.  Share your love with delicious food!  ❤

 

 

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Pomegranate Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Pomegranate Strawberry Cheesecake bars made with Greek yogurt that will satisfy your craving for fruity Spring treats and won’t bust your waistline.

20140414-002049.jpgFruit, Oreos and cheesecake!?! YES. This is what we’re making today. Creamy cheesecake made with tart pomegranate Greek yogurt and speckled with sweet strawberries. No need tap out all the seeds from a pomegranate for this cheesecake. Nope. That is waaaay too much work. I just used pomegranate yogurt that has the seeds mixed in!

20140414-002101.jpg Had too many treats for Easter? Impossible! But I know I’ve eaten a TON of Easter candy. I love Cadbury mini dark chocolate eggs! The dark chocolate ones are harder to find than the milk, but they are well worth the search! I’m also a Peeps fanatic (shocking, I know). All that candy is delicious, but these bars, MMmmm MMm. Besides being creamy, fruity and chocolately all in one bite, these bars come with a bonus – they are made with Greek yogurt – so you get a nice boost of protein. They are basically like a health food. (not really, but that’s what I tell myself when I scarf down my fourth bar of the day) AND you probably get a serving a fruit with 4 bars, so, go ahead, have that fourth. 🙂

20140414-002111.jpgThe other great thing about these bars is that they are EASY. Yes, I know, I usually say this about my all my recipes, but I only say it because it is true! Let’s make some Pomegranate Strawberry Cheesecake bars!

Start by adding a teaspoon of sugar to about 10 sliced fresh strawberries.  Let these macerate – this allows the strawberries to release some of their delicious juice – you can start this step hours ahead if you like.  While they are juicing up, make the crust.

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To make the crust, crush up the oreos in a food processor until they are fine crumbs (my food processor is very crappy, and thus, my crumbs are not fine) These less than fine crumbs still make a super tasty crust, but the bars can crumble a little easier when cutting. While the crust is baking you can whip up the cheesecake layer. The key to creamy cheesecake is to whip the heck out of your cream cheese (and to make sure your cream cheese is NOT cold).  You want all the sugar to get incorporated well into the cream cheese so you have NO LUMPS.  Add the remainder of the ingredients, except the strawberries, and beat until well combined.  Then gently stir in the strawberries with their delicious juices!

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Pour into a prepared pan and bake! Cool in the fridge (a perfect make-ahead dessert!) and get ready to enjoy creamy sweet, tart, oreo-licious cheesecake!

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Recipe: Pomegranate Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Yield: 16 bars

Ingredients:

Strawberry Center

  • 10 strawberries, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar

Oreo Crust

  • 25 oreos
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake Layer

  • 8oz of cream cheese, softened to room temperature (This is essential!)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 container of Pomegranate Greek yogurt (Chobani is 5.3oz )
  • 1/3 cup of plain Greek yogurt – I used 2% (all yogurt should equal ~ 1 cup total)
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line an 8×8 pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang (for easy removal of the bars later).  Spray foil with non-stick spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon of sugar to fresh sliced strawberries, stir and set aside
  3. Make the Oreo crust: Using a food processor, crush Oreos into very fine crumbs.  Dump crumbs into a medium sized bowl and stir in melted butter until all crumbs are moist.  Press crumbs into a single layer in prepared baking dish.  Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. Make the cheesecake layer:  In a large mixing bow, add room temperature cream cheese and beat on medium-high speed until cream cheese is whipped – about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and then add half the sugar and beat on medium-high until well incorporated.   Scrape down the bowl again before you add the remaining sugar and beat on medium high until sugar is well incorporated.
  5. Add in the eggs and beat until well incorporated.  Then add the yogurt, flour and vanilla and beat until all are well incorporated.
  6. Gently fold in the chopped strawberries with their juices
  7. Pour over prepared Oreo crust into an even layer.  Bake for 35-45 minutes, until edges are set but the middle jiggles a little.  Let cheesecake cool to room temperature then place in refrigerator to cool for at least 2 hours or overnight.  After cooling, remove from pan and slice cheesecake.  Enjoy!

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Pile-o-cheesecake. Oreo-licious. Berry-licious. Pomegrant-e-lcious. Yum.