12 February 2013

Menu Tuesday

Quinoa Tacos {Budget Bytes}
Genius here was sure that we had quinoa at home and of course when I went to fix dinner, I realized that we didn't.  I used bulgur wheat instead and they turned out great! Honestly, because of all the spices and the beans, you'd never miss the meat.  A great vegan meal that doesn't feel vegan.  

Chicken Yakisoba {Budget Bytes}
Meh.  I didn't love this, but I didn't hate it either. Honestly, it was best as cold leftovers for lunch the next day.  The quest for the perfect make-your-own-take-out meal continues...

M's Birthday Dinner! The Best Lasagna Ever {Pioneer Woman}
Despite my love-hate relationship with The Pioneer Woman {used to love her, now I find her insufferably annoying}, she still has some seriously tasty recipes.  I first made her lasagna for M right after we got engaged.  I was so, so nervous because my mother-in-law is Italian and makes the most incredible homemade lasagna.  I was so afraid M would think this didn't live up.  But it did! I think it's the sausage that makes it so delicious.  Be warned: this is extremely heavy and rich and makes a TON of lasagna.  Served with Texas Toast garlic bread and a Caesar salad, this meal made the birthday boy very happy.

 Chocolate Cheesecake {my recipe}
So this isn't really my recipe per se.  It's more like I combined 5 different chocolate cheesecake recipes and came up with this.  And it. is. AWESOME.

For the crust:
9oz package of chocolate wafer cookies
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

For the filling:
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules dissolved in ¼ cup warm water
3 8 ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To make the crust:
Place the chocolate wafer cookies, softened butter, cocoa powder and cinnamon in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until combined. Pour into a lightly greased 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Add the instant coffee mixture and stir until just melted. Set aside until cooled to room temperature.

To make the filling:
Cream the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium-low and add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing just until the yolk breaks. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, and the cooled chocolate mixture. Mix until just blended and pour into the cooled crust.

Bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door opened wide for 1 1/2 hours. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature, until completely cooled.

I don’t do a full-on water bath, but I did place a brownie pan of hot water on the bottom rack of the oven. 

I wrapped the springform pan in a double-layer of aluminum foil.

I baked my crust at 350, but I actually baked the cheesecake at 275 for an hour, then 250 for an hour, then let it cool in the oven with the door open for an hour.  I’ve used this method for other cheesecakes, but this time it made mine a little dry.  I would stick with the 350 for an hour and then cool in the oven, gradually opening the door wider and wider of the course of the hour and a half.

It is SO SO SO important with cheesecake that all of your ingredients be at room temperature. I let everything sit out overnight except for the sour cream, which I took out as soon as I started making the crust.

Do NOT overbeat once you’ve added the eggs. You want to add as little air as possible at that stage.


The Pink Pagoda said...

All of these look delicious -- it's not time for lunch and now I'm hungry. Pretty photos, especially the tacos! I'm doing gluten and sugar free and mostly cutting out dairy, too. Kind of limiting!

McV said...

I would not have thought of seasoning bulgur or quinoa that way, but it's genius. My main complaint about quinoa is that it's sort of bland.

I have made this recipe for drunken noodle a few times (my fave takeout food). I modify it a bit, but it's pretty tasty.


-just use whatever soy sauce you have, don't worry about the 2 different kinds.
-It is worth it to grab a (small) bottle of fish sauce)
-triple the sauce
-I usually throw in broccoli (because I like it) and a chopped tomato (because I like it and it aids iron absorption).
-This recipe comes out best when I cook it in a cast iron skillet since we don't have a real wok.

Rachel said...

Yum!! I made the lasagna for the first time last week, and I have to admit....AMAZING! PW's recipes rarely let me down, but I can agree with you on the annoying thing.