Black Forest Cheesecake Cupcakes

You can’t go wrong with cheesecake. Especially cheesecake in cupcake form. These little individual servings are perfect to take to a potluck or cookout. If you manage to get them out of your house before you consume them all!

The base is made from a basic Oreo crust, then filled with a luscious chocolate cheesecake filling. Then they’re baked, cooled, and topped with cherry pie filling and homemade whipped cream. Some chocolate shavings would also do nice for garnish sakes, but I was feeling especially lazy the evening I made these and just enjoyed them without. I didn’t miss them.

I think I might try a spin on this using fresh raspberries when I find them on sale this summer. Or, I bet strawberries would be great too. Have a great weekend everyone!

Source: adapted from Cooking Classy

Skillet Baked Ziti

It’s been a pretty crazy past few days around here. Baby #3 (we’ve decided to call him Nathan from here on out!) ended up being a week overdue before he finally arrived late Thursday afternoon. He is a big boy, born at 9 lbs 11 ounces and a whopping 21 inches!

nathan

We didn’t home until Saturday night, and are using this week to really get into our new routines and the general “swing of things” with a new baby around. The boys are adjusting just fine, very interested and inquisitive about every detail of Nathan’s life. I feel so lucky to have all these boys to take care of!

Back to this pasta – a cheesy “baked” pasta that’s ready in just a few minutes and only uses one pan – is pretty much a gift sent from the Gods for the crazy nights we have coming up in our future. It was so darned good too, I found myself picking off pieces of pasta for “one more bite” before we packed the leftovers away!

The pasta sauce is easy to bring together, using pantry staples. It gets a heavy dose of flavor from the addition of pork sausage, and richness from the addition of a bit of heavy cream. And I’d imagine that any pasta shape would be fine – although I happen to be partial to the tubular pastas like ziti and penne for these kinds of applications. The pasta is cooked in the sauce on the stove, then when it’s al-dente it’s topped with a good amount of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese that gets melted and browned with a quick trip to the hot oven.

Served with a quick salad and a crunchy piece of garlic bread, it’s too good to be such a delicious and easy weeknight meal. Make this one soon, guys!

Source: ATK’s Pasta Revolution, via Pink Parsley

Mixed Berry Yogurt Cake

If you’ve been coming to the site for any amount of time, you guys know that I love using yogurt as an ingredient in baked goods. It adds a ton of moisture, without a ton of of calories. In the past I’d only done Bundt or loaf cakes, so I thought it was high time I made a traditional layer cake using yogurt.

I took a recipe I’d found on Pinterest and modified it to make a larger cake. I added blueberries and raspberries, because I happened to have them both on hand. Then covered it in a delicious lemon-cream cheese frosting. Aren’t the flavors of lemon and berries just divine when paired together? The lemon really sets off the flavor of the berries, I think!

I cut my cake layers in half, to make a super-impressive four layer cake – but just two layers would be just as delicious, and less work. The whole family enjoyed it’s summery flavors, and the fact that it was rich – without being too heavy, if that makes sense…

Not to mention it was beautiful when cut into, with gorgeous bursts of color from the berries baked inside. A perfect cake to bake for a cookout or potluck this summer!

Source: adapted from Kitchen Trial & Error

Homemade Pretzel Buns

Pretzel buns are all the rage right now. Folks just love to make their burgers “twisted” but using a pretzel bun instead of a traditional sesame seed bun. I had yet to experience one, so a few weeks ago I set to making my own at home.

I’ve never made pretzels at home either, and I must admit I was worried about the whole boiling the dough in water process. But, it was actually really easy and my concerns were totally unfounded. After the initial quick-cook in the water bath, the buns are then finished off and baked in the oven to achieve a deep golden-brown color.

They have great pretzel flavor – chewy on on the outside, yet tender on the inside. We used half of them for our burgers that night, then I tucked the other half in the freezer to have on hand the next time we are throwing some burgers on the grill. It’s comforting to have something like this on hand in the freezer to make a quick-dinner extra special!

Source: adapted from King Arthur Flour