Double Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins

Double Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins - Can't decide between a brownie or cheesecake for your dessert? No worries! Just give one of the moist little treats a try!

Double Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins from

My mother used to make cream cheese brownies when I was a kid. My Dad and I actually begged her, quite often, to make them. Ooey gooey rich chocolate, with a sweet cream cheese middle. OhhEmmGeee they were good. Aahhh be still my heart!

Fast forward uummmm a few years. Now I am a food blogger, designing recipes from flavors I love. 

Please explain to me why, up until now, I had yet to make my childhood favorite?


Explain it to me, because I am completely clueless here!

Baked Chicken Parmesan Riggies

Have you ever heard of a dish that really interests you, but just never seem to get around to making it?

Maybe because you can't find a recipe for it that really grabs you, maybe you put it off for fear of failure? 

The later has been me on several occasions.

I don't know why I am that way.

I will come up with new recipes of my own, combing all sorts of things, and just cook my little brains out.

But hand me someone elses recipe and all of a sudden I get nervous that I won't do it justice.


Yes I know.

I have wanted to make Chicken Riggies ever since I saw them on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives of all places.

But I haven't been able to find a recipe that really spoke to me.

I know, fear of failure issues, recipes talking to me, sometimes I think I should really seek help. 

You should hear me talk to myself in the kitchen.

When Kevin catches me I just tell him I am practicing for my own cooking show.

He seems to believe me.

Sssshhh don't tell him, it is our little secret!

Since I couldn't find a recipe to work with, I decided to go out on my own and make something that sounded good to me.

Once I told everyone else my idea and started getting requests to come over to try it, I knew I was on to something. They all said it sounded fabulous. 

Or maybe they just wanted a free meal?

Naaaa they really liked the sound of it.

Well I can tell you that the final product did not disappoint anyone!

It had all of the wonderful flavors of that classic Italian dish all wrapped up in a big bowl of YUM!

I had to hide a serving just so I could have some the next day for lunch.

Hehe I am so bad!

Baked Chicken Parmesan Riggies  

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2  boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite size pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (Recommended San Marzano)
2 6 ounce cans of tomatoes paste
1 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
1 pound rigatoni pasta
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
A handful of fresh basil, chopped or shredded

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large oven safe skillet, over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook until no pink remains. Remove to a plate and tent with foil.

Return the skillet to the heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Mix in half of minced garlic and cook one more minute. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomatoes paste, water,oregano, and the bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt the boiling water and add the pasta. Cook to al dente. Drain and set aside.

Remove lid from the marinara sauce and add the cooked chicken and Parmesan cheese. Carefully stir in the cooked pasta and top with the mozzarella cheese.

Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is browned and bubbly. Remove from the oven and top with shredded basil.

Serves 6 to 8


Spiced Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

I have been all about baking lately.

Not just baking, but baking realllllly tempting sweet treats.

Which totally makes sense now that I just started a whole new routine to get myself back into shape.

Right? (insert sarcastic tone here)

I tend to torture myself.

So I signed up on My Fitness Pal and have been sweatin' my hiney off on the treadmill everyday.

OK well maybe not everyday.

I took the weekend off.

But heck, after not working out for.......

Well let's just say it has been a while.

Going everyday is rough! 

But I will get there, you watch me.

This year I will be 50.

Yup, the big 5-0.

I decided I needed to get my rear in gear to make sure that the second half of my life will be spent strong and healthy.

You know what?

I am actually starting to like working out! 

OMG did I just say that??

I get on the treadmill, kick up the music, and sweat away those calories. 

I love the fact that it tells you exactly how many calories you have worked off.

That way I can plan out how many brownies I can have!

Spiced Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies  

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tube gel red food coloring
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

For the cheesecake filling:
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and spray it with non-stick.

In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, food coloring, cinnamon, cloves, cayenne, and salt, stirring to combine.

Whisk the eggs in a small bowl, then stir them into the brownie batter. Add the flour stirring just until combined. Spoon the batter into the baking pan, reserving 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the batter for the top.

With a handheld electric mixer, blend together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk until well combined. Spread the cream cheese mixture in an even layer over the brownie batter then top the cream cheese with spoonfuls of the reserved brownie batter. Using a sharp knife, swirl the brownie batter topping and cream cheese mixture.

Bake the brownies for 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely before lifting the parchment out of the pan.


Baked Fish "IN" Chips

When I was little we lived in a very small town outside of Reno, Nevada. There wasn't much there really.

But I remember that my parents always took me to a pizza place called Shakey's and this fish and chips place.

Don't ask me the name, I am lucky I remembered Shakey's!!

But I think we went to one or the other once a week.

I loved the fish and chips place because it was made to look like a real British pub.

Not that I would have known what a British pub looked like when I kid, but I loved the tall chairs and heavy wood round tables. I thought they were so cool.

Buttermilk Pancakes with Huckleberry Syrup

I know I have mentioned several times that I am not a "breakfasty" kind of girl.

Oh don't get me wrong,

I love breakfast foods.

I am just not fond of the time of day that most people eat them.

Not much of a morning person here, I will admit it.

Come on, I love my sleep.

My pillows and I have developed a very close and personal relationship.

Don't judge.

But, for some reason this day I was motivated.

Kevin was off for the day.

We were both up early.

Well, early for me.

And I had this fabulous syrup to use.

So surprise!! 

I made breakfast!!

After Kevin picked his jaw up off of the floor,

he proceeded to down 4 pancakes in no time flat! I guess he liked them.

But I hope he is not counting on it happening too often.

Unless I make them for dinner.

Buttermilk Pancakes with Huckleberry Syrup 

For the syrup:
2 1/2 cups huckleberries
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
3 1-inch strips of lemon zest removed with a vegetable peeler
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For the pancakes:
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Butter or cooking spray

To make the syrup:
In a pot, combine the blueberries with 1/2 cup of the water and bring to a simmer. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. With a potato masher, crush the berries a bit. Pour into a bowl. (You can strain the solids if you would prefer).

Rinse out the pot. Add the sugar, lemon zest and the remaining water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil the syrup over moderate heat until it registers 225° on a candy thermometer, about 20 minutes. Add the huckleberries and lemon juice and boil over high heat for 1 minute. Let the syrup cool, then discard the lemon zest. Pour the syrup into fresh-cleaned jars. Seal and refrigerate for up to 6 months.

To make the pancakes:
Combine milk with the lemon juice in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour".

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into "soured" milk. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until there are no lumps. 

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with butter or cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Makes 8 pancakes.


Cinnamon Sugar "Duffins"

Cute name right?

Doughnut + Muffin = Duffin

OK even if you don't think it is cute, don't tell me, I am feeling rather sensitive today.

It is Monday after all!

Pan Seared Scallops with Linguine and Tomato Cream Sauce for #SundaySupper

I am a big sucker for Valentines Day. 

Call me a hopeless romantic, but I get all warm and fuzzy inside when it rolls around.

I love to lay in on pretty thick. 

I have been know to surprise my sweetie with a house full of balloons, stuffed animals, flowers, gifts, cards, and a romantic dinner ready on the table. 

Too much?

Naaa I am just getting warmed up. 

I have cupid on speed dial!!

So when this weeks Sunday Supper theme was announced, Valentine's Recipe for Two, you know I was giddy as a school girl. 

Then the wheels started turning

What to make?

Think think think.

It didn't take me too long to come up with an idea.

My guy loves seafood.

I tossed around a few ideas.

Muscles, lobster, clams in white wine, and then it hit me. He loves scallops and we haven't had them in forever. They aren't super pricey, so know worries on breaking the budget either.

OK since I had thought about clams in white wine, I decided on using white wine for the base of the sauce for my scallops and you can never go wrong with pasta right?

This along with some nice crusty french bread and a glass of white wine was a perfect romantic meal.

Pan Seared Scallops with Linguine and Tomato Cream Sauce  

8 ounces linguine
1 cup dry white wine
1 large shallot, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped (plus more for garnish)
Fresh cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pound large sea scallops

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the linguine for 10 minutes, or until al dente.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, combine the white wine, shallot, lemon juice, and ginger and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 5 minutes). Drain mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, reserving liquid; discard solids.

Return wine mixture to skillet. Add cream; cook over medium heat 1 minute. Add the butter, stirring until it melts. Stir in tomato, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add the cooked linguine and toss well. Cover and keep warm.

Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season scallops with teaspoon salt. Place the scallops in the skillet and cook cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Add scallops to pasta mixture, toss gently to combine. Garnish with chopped parsley.


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10 Great Gifts for Your Foodie Valentine

Valentines Day is on the horizon and the pressure is on to find that special someone a gift they will remember.

The thing is, shopping for a foodie is way different than shopping for a "normal" person.

We don't dream of jewelry. We dream of gadgets and gizmos. Things that we might not buy for ourselves, but would secretly love to have in our kitchen.

I thought I might share with you a few of my favorite foodie things in hopes that, if you are still wondering, I can help you find that perfect gift for that special foodie in your life.

#1 - This was my gift several years ago and is still one of my favorite gifts of all time. To be honest I used to just stare at it and smile. I don't know what I ever did without it!

#2 - This is another gift that I really couldn't live without. I love the fact that I don't have to use a blender to puree my soups anymore. Plus it is great to use when you whip up sauces or salad dressings.

#3 - My chefs knife is something I use on a daily basis. Having gone through several (and I mean several) I found this knife and have never looked back. 

#4 - My cutting board. I love the fact that is it large. I love the doubled sided feature as well. Flat on one side with a grooved pour spout on the other. 

#5 - My Le Creuset Dutch Oven. Oh my gosh, if this pot could talk it would complain about how much I use it. I make just about everything in it. Soups, stews, chicken, beef. It is perfect!

#6 - My food processor. I have had several food processors over the past few years only to have pieces and parts break. Then it is such a pain in the rear to get new parts. So you just break down and buy another one. Then I found my Cuisinart. Wow what a difference! I have had this food processor for years with no problems. I chop, shred, make dough, it does it all.

#7 - I am a coffee fanatic, so you know I have to have a good coffee maker. When I found this one it was love at first use. Grind and brew all in one plus a thermal pot so your coffee stays warm even if you take the pot outside while you sip coffee on your patio.

#8 - My electric wine bottle opener. Love it!! Being the wino wine lover that I am, this is a fantastic gift. 

#9 - This is something I don't have yet but want sooooo badly (hint hint honey). I had a counter top rotisserie many years ago. The company no longer makes them, so I found this one and fell in love. I loved using it for roasts, chickens, etc.


#10 - Last but not least, my Le Creuset Griddle. You really can't go wrong with cast iron. I firmly believe there are several things that just need to be cooked in cast iron. It was a toss up as to which I was going to post here, my cast iron skillet or griddle. I opted to go with the griddle, but you could always be extra nice and buy them both!! 

Well, there you have it. The top 10 of my favorite foodie gadgets and gizmos. I know how happy they make me, I can only imagine how happy they would make the foodie in your life!

Happy Valentines Day!

Links above are for products on Amazon. They will still guarantee shipping by Valentines Day.

35 Sweet Treats For Your Valentine

I have to admit, I am one of those people that loves Valentine's Day.

Although, within my family, I am the only one and they all look at me like I am crazy.

I do believe my daughter once called me a sell out.


Come on!

I mean I know it can be a bit cheesy, and is a "Hallmark holiday" and the candy and jewelry companies salivate at the amount of money they will be making every year. 

But I don't love it for the gifts. I don't expect anything.

Oh, don't get me wrong, some flowers and a card are always nice. 

But it is more about singling out the one that you love and showing them how special they are.

Of course for me, that means I cook for them.

What is wrong with a nice romantic meal for two?

As long as he does the dishes of course!!

Valentine's Day is one of the rare occasions that I really crave sweets. I can pretty much go chocolate free for most of the year. But there are times when I just have to have my sweets, and one of them is Valentine's Day!

This year, as I was deciding what to make, I looked back at a few of my past favorites. Champagne Poached Strawberries with Mascarpone, and Dark Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting. But then I decided I wanted to try something new.

Where am I going to look for a new idea?

Within my foodie family of course!

Here are just a few of my favorites.

I hope you find something new to try!!

35 Sweet Treats For Your Valentine

Valentine’s Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches from Foxes Love Lemons
Chocolate Raspberry Pie from Family, Food, and Fun
Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
Apple Date Whiskey Nut Galette from Ally's Kitchen
Vanilla Cherry Bark from Daily Dish Recipes
Coconut Sweetheart Cookies from Cindy's Recipes and Writings
Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Mousse With Coconut Cream from Sue's Nutrition Buzz
Dark Chocolate Raspberry Torte from Kelly Bakes
Red Velvet Macarons with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
Heart Shaped White Chocolate Cakes with Raspberry Cream from Noshing with the Nolands
Homemade Cherry Mash Candy from Juanita's CocinaRaspberry Custard Tart from Kudos Kitchen
Valentines Chocolate Apples from Big Bear's WifeValentine’s Bakewell Tarts from Happy Baking Days
Strawberry Valentine Cake Hearts from Ninja Baking 
Strawberry Shortcake from The Foodie Army Wife
Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars from Chocolate Moosey
Red Velvet Ice Cream Sandwiches from Cravings of a Lunatic
Chocolate, Espresso, And Chili Mousse from Manu's Menu
Chocolate Brownie Quick Bread from Shockingly Delicious
Amazing Skinny Red Velvet Cupcakes from Skinny Kitchen
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies from Curious Cuisiniere
Homemade Ice Cream Drumsticks from Learning PatienceGluten Free Sugar Cookies from All She Cooks
Valentine Brownies from Moore of Less Cooking
Red Velvet Marshmallow Bites from The Pajama Chef
Baked Red Velvet Donuts with Cream Cheese Glaze from Close to Home
I Can’t Believe It’s A Vegan Chocolate Cupcake from The Dinner Mom
Strawberry Lemonade Valentine Linzer Cookies (Gluten Free) from Neighbor Food
Chocolate-Covered Cheesecake Strawberries from Cupcakes and Kale Chips 
Big Be Mine Heart Cookie from Food Lust People Love
Frosted Cream Cheese Cutout Cookies from Magnolia Days 
White Chocolate Mousse with Frangelico from That Skinny Chick Can Bake 
White Chocolate Dipped CupidMallows from Turnips to Tangerines
Valentine Oreo-Nutella Truffles from Nibbles by Nic

Split Pea Soup with Ham

Brrrrr it is sooooo cold here!!

Today is the big parade to welcome the Seattle Seahawks back to town.

There will be close to 1 million (yes I said million) people lining the streets to see our Super Bowl winning team come home.

Uummm helloooo, it is 18 degrees outside folks!! I am a fan, huge fan, but...

I have a strong need to preserve my extremities!!

If that makes me a big baby

So be it!

I will stay home, in my warm house, in all of my Seahawk gear and yell and scream for my team.

My neighbors may call 911 though, I can get loud.

What do I need to help keep me nice and toasty warm?

Well a big bowl of hearty soup of course!!

And believe it or not Kevin isn't complaining.

He loves split pea soup.

My split pea soup to be exact.

And of course it helps that it is green.

Now I need something blue.


Split Pea Soup with Ham 

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 slices of bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 ribs of celery, chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound dried split peas, (recommend Bob's Red Mill) rinsed and picked clean
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
8 cups chicken stock
1 pound thick cut ham steaks

In a large pot, over medium-high heat the olive oil. Cook the bacon just until the fat renders. Add the onions, parsnips, celery, and garlic. Reduce heat to medium, and cover the pot. Sweat the veggies for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, and thyme. Stir to combine. Add the split peas and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and place the ham steaks in the pot.

Cook for 1 to 1/2 hours, or until peas are tender, stirring occasionally. Add more stock or water if the soup begins to get to thick.

Remove the ham steaks to a cutting board and chop.

Use and immersion blender (or regular blender in batches) to blend the soup until smooth. Top with chopped ham and serve.

Serves 6


Game Day Chili

Game Day Chili - Easy to make and full of flavor, this chili is the perfect dish for your tailgating or home-gating get-together.

This chili is easy to make and is the perfect dish for your tailgating or home-gating get-together. From