Chocolate Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

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Beautiful… Delicious… Everyone screams for more!! THESE strawberries are to die for!!

And it’s FRUIT… for dessert or an appetizer… or for dinner… I don’t judge… and fruit is healthy… like diet food… SERIOUSLY!!

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Ingredients:

1-2 pints strawberries
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 TBS butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup Cool Whip

For bases:
2-3 TBS chocolate chips
2-3 TBS chocolate cookie crumbs * I used about 10 Oreos in my processor

Instructions:

Prepare Strawberries:
Wash strawberries and pat dry.

Cut the tops off the strawberries and hollow them out using a small spoon.

Slice a thin piece of the bottom of each strawberry so it can stand up – save these cuts for a cute top!

Create bases:
Melt the 3 TBS chocolate chips @ 50% power for about 20 seconds… continue in 15 second intervals until the chocolate is melted.

Process the cookies to make a crumb base.

Dip the bottom of each DRY strawberry into chocolate and then into the cookie crumbs. Place on a lined cookie sheet. (Parchment, wax paper or even foil)

chocolate cheesecake stuffed strawberries

Make the Filling:
Place the 3/4 cup chocolate chips in a small dish and melt on 50% power for about 40 seconds.. continue in 20 second intervals until the chocolate is melted.

Combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla, cocoa powder and sugar until fluffy. Add in the slightly cooled chocolate and mix on low until incorporated. Add in whipped topping and stir/mix just until combined. (At this point you have a super yummy chocolate fruit dip – but that is a whole ‘nother recipe!!)

Place the filling in a baggy or a decorator. Pipe into the strawberries.

Top with the small bottom piece you cut off to stabilize the berry and sprinkle any remaining cookie crumbs across the top.

Oooh la la… aren’t we fancy now… and oh sooo delicious!! REJOICE!!

Sunday Funday, Weekly Menu ~ Meal Plan

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Sunday Funday…

I made some soup… Stuffed Pepper Soup (here)… with lots of extra for the week…  TRULY DELICIOUS!!

I actually matched up some Tops Deals (here)

I posted a recipe for Banana DREAM Cake (here) which was a HUGE hit at a weekend get-together!!

and now our Weekly Menu – Meal Plan… It helps so much to prep and plan on Sundays…check it out!

Sunday – Today while shopping, I stopped at a farm stand…I got corn on the cob and some fresh peas, green and yellow beans, and a cantaloupe. We ate the peas and beans as an appetizer and then grilled chicken breasts, marinated in Chiavettas, and made the corn on the cob. Have you heard of the best way to boil corn?? 1 TBS salt and 1TBS sugar in the boiling water…. Then 1/2 stick of butter thrown in the boiling water just before corn is done… AMAZING!!!

Monday – Stuffed Shells (from a freezer meal workshop) and the fresh cantaloupe

TuesdayChicken Salad Wraps (see recipe HERE)

Wednesday – Smoked Sausage and Potatoes (a favorite freezer meal)

Thursday – Banquet Pot Pies… Cheap this week at $1 each and everyone loves them…. (YUCK..LOL!!)

Friday – Crockpot Italian Sausage with Peppers and Onions and Baked Ziti (all from the last freezer meal workshop)

Saturday – It’s our first official football scrimmage and we shall CELEBRATE with pizza out!

What are you having this week? Do tell!!

Banana DREAM Cake

Banana Dream Cake

So I made a BANANA Pudding Poke Cake…. And life will never be the same!  It has been aptly upgraded to Banana DREAM Cake!!

Sometimes the very simplest recipes can make the absolute best stuff… and this recipe is proof positive that this is true! I took it to a get- together and everyone gave it rave reviews, and the one I made for home (1 of 2 pie plate size) was gone before I got back. A good banana cream pie is my favorite and SERIOUSLY, this Dream Cake topped any pie I have ever had!

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Minimal ingredients, easy instructions and tastes delicious….make it now!!

INGREDIENTS:
White or yellow cake mix – make cake as directed
• I have begun adding an extra egg and 2 TBS melted butter to my mixes
2 boxes instant banana pudding mix
4 cups milk
2 large bananas
8 Oz. (regular container) Cool Whip
• If you are FANCY and want a decorative topping, crush about 6 Nilla Wafers, Golden Oreos or even graham crackers…

INSTRUCTIONS:
Bake the cake as directed… then allow to cool while you prepare the pudding.

Make both boxes of pudding by adding the 4 cups of milk and whisking until there are no lumps.

Now that the cake has cooled while you made the pudding, Take a wooden spoon and using the handle end poke holes in the cake – all the way to the bottom – everywhere! The closer the better – I did every 1/2” or so….

Slowly pour the pudding over the cake and make sure all the holes get filled, then smooth the pudding over the cake.

Cover the cake with plastic wrap and set in fridge for an hour or so… I make them the night before and leave in the fridge overnight.

Uncover cake, chop bananas into 1/4 “ slices and lay all over top of pudding.

Spread cool whip on top and smooth out.

Crush wafers ( I used my mini chopper) and sprinkle on top!

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Serve this cake to anyone, at anytime, and be ready for the LOVE!!!

TOPS deals this week…

Tops

My FAVORITE Tops deals this week….

 

Fresh Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Big Pack – $1.99/lb — STOCK UP PRICE!!!

Italian Sausage $2.99/lb big pack

 

Foxy Iceberg Lettuce $.99/head

Peaches $.99/lb.

 

SUPER COUPONS IN AD – all GREAT deals!!

Tops Orange Juice from Concentrate 64 oz – $1.49 (with in-ad Super Coupon)

D’Italiano Italian Bread 20 oz loaf – $1.69 (with in-ad Super Coupon)

Jumbo Signature Cinnamon Buns 4 count – $1.99 (with in-ad Super Coupon)

Nabisco Ritz Crackers $1.77 – (with in-ad Super Coupon)

Poland Spring 24ct water $2.99 – (with in-ad Super Coupon)

Tops 100ct cooked shrimp $7.49 – (with in-ad Super Coupon)

 

Nescafe Taster’s Choice Single-Serve Instant Coffee 6 ct – $1.00

– $0.50 off ONE Nescafe Taster’s Choice single-serve coffee (RP 8/23/15)

= FREE  :)

 

Ken’s Salad Dressing 16 oz – $2.00

–        $1/2 or $0.75 off ONE Ken’s Salad Dressing (SS 8/9/15)

 

Old El Paso Salsa Seasoning Mix Packet – $0.89

– $1.00 off THREE Old El Paso products – Tear pad… or printable

– Earn $1.00 SavingStar Credit when you buy THREE Old El Paso products

= $.22 cents each after coupon and SavingStar Credit

 

Nature Valley Granola Bars – $2.00

– $1/2 coupon in the 7/12 Smartsource

= $1. 50

 

Quaker Chewy Granola Bars – $2.00

– $0.55 off ONE Quaker Chewy Bars (RP 8/23/15)

= $.90 cents after doubles

 

Fiber One bars – $2

-$.50/1 Fiber one printable or use the $1/2 coupons in the 7/12 or 8/2 Smartsource

= $1.00

 

Ten for Ten / 100 GAS POINTS WHEN YOU BUY 10 ITEMS LISTED BELOW

Gatorade or Propel Fitness water/ Glaceau Smart water or Vitamin water $1

Banquet Brown and serve sausages $1

Hunts Pasta Sauce $1

Knorr Pasta sides $1

Banquet Pot Pies $1

Tops Soft cookies $1

 

Tops Chicken Noodle Tomato and condensed soups $.50

Tops Canned Vegetables $.50

 

Happy Shopping!!!

Weekly Menu ~ Meal Plan

Another crazy FUN week ahead… NOT that I am complaining, BUT working 50+ hours per week sure makes it tough to cook and plan dinners…. I leave the house at 7:30 am and some nights I meet the family at the ball park and we don’t get home until after 8:30 PM… This week we have 3 of those days AND we are camping for the weekend, so I have to get that ready as well… is it really any wonder I can’t get my laundry caught up?!!

BUT I am determined to have dinner together and to avoid the draw of ordering out or drive through!! I would NEVER claim my food is 100% healthier than take out, but I do try to offer up fresh fruits and veggies and stick to a budget. So – These are the weeks that planning and a little prep work are super critical… I had to figure it all out ahead of time, shop for the needed add-ons, and prep a few things today to ensure our week goes smooth!!

For Sunday Supper, K wanted to cook up some ribs we had frozen…. So I made a LARGE (enough for lunches and another dinner side) Sweet Pickle Mac Salad and Baked Beans. Both will get used again this week. I also fried up an extra pound of bacon for BLTs, while we made brunch today, and then grilled a few chicken breasts for Chicken and Salad this week as well. Being Sunday Funday – my cooking day, I also started a large crock of sauce so I have that for sausage, peppers and onions during the weekend and the start to Father’s Day Stuffed Shells.

 

Here is OUR plan for the week….

Monday – Chicken and Salad – I already prepped a large salad and have plenty of fresh veggies as snacks for the week too so combined with my already grilled chicken; we can have dinner in 5 minutes!!

Tuesday – BLT Pita Sandwiches – Bacon is ready, leftover salad and some sliced swiss… all stuffed into pitas and served with carrots, celery and sliced peppers.

Wednesday –Beans and Weenies – Beans from the weekend, chop a bunch of hot dogs and throw it all in the crockpot to heat while we are gone. Not the healthiest, but a hot, delicious, family favorite that we generally devour a melon with!

Thursday – BBQ Chicken and Sweet Pickle Mac Salad – I lightly, pre-grilled the chicken so K can set it in the crock with BBQ sauce for the few hours we are gone. Served with the Mac Salad I made over the weekend too.

Friday @ Camp – Sausage with Peppers and Onions – all in a crock with sauce so it’s hot and ready when we get set up!

Saturday – Father’s Day BBQ – GREEK CHICKEN (favorite marinade found HERE) and BUILD’a’BURGER bar!!

Sunday – Breakfast Pizza for brunch, Stuffed Shells for dinner, and Ice Cream Sundaes

Tell me – HOW do you feed your family during the “rat race”?? Any GREAT tips??

What are you having this week??

 

 

 

Weekly Menu ~ Meal Plan

chocolate cheesecake stuffed strawberries

Another week down… HOW ARE YOU?? Even amongst a crazy busy weekend, I still managed to make a few treats and to prep a few meals for the week… Biggest hit this weekend was my Chocolate Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries! I am still fine tuning the presentation and may play with the delicious center but I basically made a chocolate cheesecake filling from melted chocolate chips (with a bit of butter) and cream cheese and sugar and then filled some hollowed out strawberries. Easy, delicious and a huge hit with kids and adults alike!

cookie tray

I also made a cookie platter featuring my famous “Peanut Butter No-Bakes” (HERE) and the MONSTER COOKIES that I will share the recipe of this week…. Just say finding peanut butter M&Ms was a wonderful surprise!!

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Today, after taking my oldest shoe shopping – OMG – who knew the 14 year BOY would be so much trouble/drama… although we really did have some GREAT quality time together which does not happen near enough because he is a 14 year old boy! Back home, I started by making a batch of “SAUCE” (HERE) and then we grilled a bunch of chicken breast and dinner was BBQ chicken (grilled with garlic powder and season salt – then basted with a honey BBQ sauce) and a large salad. We had a rousing game of whiffle ball and Nestle Drumsticks for dessert! WHY does the weekend ever have to end??? Wasn’t it just Friday?? It was like a Countrytime Commercial kind of afternoon/evening!

Also noting that after not being able to put my pre-grilled chicken away tonight because my fridge is too full and thereby cleaning out all the previous leftovers and having a sink full of dirty dishes at 11 pm… I realize I either cook too much or too often and we need to be better about using what we have… anyone else have this problem? Such a waste – UGH!!!

So – our week ahead entails a softball party, week long football camp, baseball practices, 1 game, a year end – and FINAL- Girl Scout party, and then for me, a lunch with some amazing blogging buddies! Needless to say the food needs to be ready and easy!

So this week I pulled a couple freezer meals and with the extra grilled chicken and the premade “sauce”, our weekly dinners include:

  • Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry (using the grilled chicken we premade, a bag of stir fry veggies and a bottle of stir fry sauce…. Easy, quick and YUMMMM)

 

  • Spaghetti and Meatballs (SSSHHHH – I bought a big bag of frozen meatballs…. I am POSITIVE the convenience will be worth it here!)

 

  • Balsamic Pork Roast – a freezer meal, perfect for the crockpot

 

  • Dorito Taco Salad – just a make your own taco on top of doritos (taco meat already premade)

Angel Chicken - MY Kicken' Chicken!!

 

So – what are you eating this week? DO TELL!!!

 

BOURBAN Chicken… in a Bourban Bowl, from a FREEZER MEAL!

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So I am venturing through some ‘hoarded’ recipes… I want to develop a list of PERFECT FOR THE GRILL (but can be cooked many other ways) freezer meals for a summer MEAL APEAL workshop. Last weekend I played with this BOURBAN marinade and also THIS – CHICKEN SOUVLAKI and TZATZIKI SAUCE (HERE) recipe.

I love days when I can just mess around in my kitchen – and they are so few and far between right now… It makes me wonder why I can’t find the perfect job where all I do is shop for groceries and prepare meals for people (with NO clean up) AND to be paid BIG bucks to do so…. Is that too much to ask??

Well at Chez Kelsey, I sometimes get paid in love and kisses – after all I do have 2 doggies that appreciate my skills!! My husband loves all these great dishes but he would be happy with a bologna sandwich and these kids of mine…. They’re all like – aww Mom, can’t we have cereal?!! They just don’t know how lucky they are – oh but I tell them… EVERY SINGLE DAY!!

Seriously though – first the SOUVLAKI (HERE) then this BOURBAN CHICKEN…. Oh me oh my…. BOTH are absolutely AMAZING and have risen to the very top of my recipe file! Both are awesome because you can essentially dump all the ingredients into/onto the chicken and either throw it in the freezer for later, or make it right then.

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Here is the Bourbon marinade – I used on 2.5 lbs of chicken breast:

 

1 small onion, chopped

1 c honey

½ c soy sauce

¼ c ketchup

1 TBS veg oil

1 tsp minced garlic

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

¼ c Bourbon – optional

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So easy… dump everything on the chicken and then you can grill it, or crockpot it or even throw it in a skillet with some flour to thicken… I chose the skillet and the thickening… then served over mixed stir fry veggies and rice…

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ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!!!!

Chicken Souvlaki and Tzatziki… heaven help me NOW!!!!

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My all-time favorite meal is CHICKEN SOUVLAKI… I order it every time we go out!

I have attempted to “recreate” the pita sandwich at home but it never was quite right… and that is because I was using store bought marinades and they never quite hit the mark… now do not get me wrong… I am no hater on packaged foods… sometimes others have perfected it so well that there is no reason to attempt to make it – hello RAGU and BETTY CROCKER BROWNIE MIX… but I was wasting time and money trying store bought marinade.

You know how something is always better if someone else makes it for you… even a PB&J… AGREED?? WELL – I studied recipes and tried combinations and THIS RECIPE is SERIOUSLY – NO LIE the BEST chicken souvlaki I have ever had.. Sure I wish someone else would have made it for me, but it STILL was that good!!

I took 3 huge chicken breast and sliced them into strips! Then I poured all of this marinade on top of the chicken in a gallon freezer back… This is the point that you could squish the ingredients around, get all the air out and FREEZE this meal for later….

We tossed it into the fridge to marinate overnight and although you could crock pot this, or grill it, or even bake it… I was in a hurry, so I threw it into a skillet and heated it thoroughly – on med. Low heat – for about 15 minutes.

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Here is the SOUVLAKI marinade (perfect on 2-3 pounds trimmed chicken breast):

 

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 TBSP red wine vinegar

1 TBSP dried oregano

1 TSP dried thyme

1 TSP salt

1 TSP black pepper

2 TSP minced garlic

 

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Then because I am sometimes beyond crazy, I decided to attempt Tzatziki Sauce… This is the creamy cucumber-y goodness that totally puts this dish over the top… The ‘internets’ offers up 1,000s of recipes and there seems to be a great controversy over using Greek yogurt or plain sour cream. I have a gorgeous – amazing cook – Greek goddess friend, so I asked her… “Hey Didi… what up with the tzatziki sauce?” (Actually I WRONGLY called it cucumber dressing because I cannot pronounce Tzatziki – LOL) Ms. Didi’s exact response was, “Real Greek yogurt my friend is thick and creamy w/ a little bit of tang. In the US, the Greek yogurt has “a lot” of tang. So you see some subbing because of the tang, using sour cream, which provides creaminess…”

Next it was on to the cucumber… how do I peel and seed and grate and drain… OH my!! Luckily back to the ‘internets’ and my friend Pamela – another gorgeous girl and amazing cook (aren’t I lucky to be surrounded by gorgeous women that can cook!) – Pamela straightened me out on the cucumber… 1 – Buy the English cucumber, you won’t need to peel or seed it. 2 – Just grate it into a cloth lined colander. 3 – sprinkle the cucumber shreds with salt and allow to drip. AND 4- the one I learned on my own… actually set the colander in the sink because one little cucumber produces 18 gallons of slimy green water!!

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Here is the recipe I used for the cucumber-y goodness – TZATZIKI:

 

2 cups sour cream

1 TBSP each: olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice and minced garlic

Season with salt and pepper

1 grated and drained cucumber

1 TBSP chopped fresh mint!

Puree and allow to chill, then indulge!!!

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Finally – to set up the perfect SOUVLAKI bar… I made a large salad, plated all of the cooked chicken, warmed pita breads and set out bowls of:

  • black olives
  • sliced onion
  • green pepper
  • cherub tomatoes
  • feta cheese

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My entire family went NUTS – they all LOVED it! AND strangely, every single one of them declared they had never had souvlaki before… even my husband… WHAT??? I totally live in the twilight zone!

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So – just as I did again, make a batch of this so you too can have the BEST MEAL EVER this week!! Let me know what you think… I live for your comments!!

 

Weekly Menu ~ Meal Plan

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This weekend I perfected 2 things, Souvlaki marinade and homemade Tzatziki!! HONESTLY – I have never seen my family eat like they did today when I warmed some pita pockets and set up a souvlaki buffet (including salad, cherub tomatoes, green pepper, onion, black olives and feta cheese)! 2.5 lbs of chicken GONE!!! ( I will share the full details and recipe this week and for sure this will be a FREEZER MEAL at the next workshop!!)

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I also made a BOURBAN marinade and that is ready for tomorrow’s dinner…. 2 ball games, so dinner has to go in the crock and be ready when we get home! We will have: Bourban Chicken / Rice/ and steamed veggies (anyone else still have ½ a freezer full of small boxed veggies from that sale??)

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The rest of the week – I am pulling from the FREEZER MEALS I have stock piled….

Cheesy Burrito Bake

Cashew Chicken / Rice / and steamed veggies

Pizza – fundraiser Little Ceasars… following 2 ball games again!

Chicken Fajitas – still playing with the seasoning here…. Going to be amazing!!

 

Saturday – always a Fun Night Dinner…. Who knows what it will be – hopefully it will involve a cocktail or 3 – but I am making sauce and a lasagna for SUNDAY SUPPER!

Weekly Menu ~ Meal Plan

camp burger home

Oh my – the baseball/softball season is in FULL swing! We are actually lucking out with only ONE game each day this week… but we also have BABY GIRLS 13th Birthday and Mother’s Day to contend with… AND today was too beautiful of a day to spend inside making food for the week, so I need a really good plan!

We had dishes of beans and potatoes and those paired so well with fresh delicious burgers on the grill today!! Tasted just like the summer day it was!!

I also already prepped cubed chicken to make CASHEW CHICKEN this week and I am pulling the last of the FREEZER MEALS I have stashed out to make room for next weekend’s MEAL APPEAL workshop… Have you LIKED the MEAL APPEAL facebook page yet? PLEASE do and share all the event postings!!

Here are the dinners we are having this week:

  • BURGERS on the grill – camp burgers from a Meal Appeal workshop
  • Cashew Chicken from this recipe HERE
  • Beans and Wienies – throw them in the crock before baseball and its hot and hearty when we get home
  • Dinner out – Birthday Girl’s choice
  • Lasagna (Freezer Meal Stash) – perfect for a Friday NIght
  • Chicken Pot Pie (Freezer Meal Stash) and an awesome BREAKFAST CASSEROLE (Freezer Meal Stash) for BRUNCH
  • Sunday – Mother’s Day…. Donna’s Dip HERE and Veggie and Fruit Platters… Chicken BBQ with Sausage, Peppers and Onions, Big Ole’ Macaroni salad HERE and Desserts!!

And you…? What does your week entail? AND what are you cooking??

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