Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Confetti Rice & Bean Salad

Last night I needed a quick and easy dinner that would leave me with enough leftovers for tonight.  A friend had sent me this recipe off the blog Mel's Kitchen Cafe for 'Confetti Rice and Bean Salad.' Rather than using regular rice, I opted for quinoa (a little healthier) which tasted great. The salad is perfect alongside a veggie burger or some marinated grilled chicken!

I even ended up with enough to freeze!

Photo courtesy of Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Confetti Rice and Bean Salad

* Serves 6 *
3 cups cooked rice, cooled to room temperature (see note)
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed (or same amount fresh corn kernels)
4 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1 red pepper, seeded, cored and diced
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
In a large bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients and toss. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. Toss to coat. Chill the salad for at least 2 hours before serving to let the flavors blend.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just Another Lovely Fall Weekend

This weekend we had some beautiful weather in Hoboken, so I thought I'd share a couple of pictures that I took with my iPhone along the way. If you have an iPhone, I highly recommend downloading the Camera + ap... it has some really neat editing features: 

The sunset over Washington Street

Anthony taking in the view during a quick break on our Saturday run

And finally, on Sunday, I met my parents in the city for a little shopping date. My mom introduced me to Mariebelle, a delicious chocolate shop in SoHo. We each got two squares of chocolate: I went with hazelnut and toffee, and mom chose ginger and hazelnut. Although the pieces were a little pricey ($2.50 a piece) they were wonderfully rich and also had adorable, unique prints on top. I'd say it was worth the dough! 

Chocolate from Mariebelle

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Beautiful NYC Morning

The Empire State Building looked so pretty today on my walk to work that I just had to take a picture and share it!

View from the corner of 33rd Street and 6th Avenue

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nutella Ripple Cheesecake

Before I went home this past weekend to visit my parents, I sent my mom this recipe for Nutella Ripple Cheesecake from the blog Cream Puffs in Venice with the hopes that we could make it together on Friday night (we both LOVE Nutella)... My mom, being the wonderful mother that she is, prepared the cake herself before I even arrived and it was WAY better then I imagined! 

My mom had a few suggested tweaks to the recipe. First, since she didn't have any Frangelico in the house she used Amaretto - the almond flavor was a great compliment and added a little diversity to the hazelnut in the Nutella.  Second, she used Nabisco's Famous Chocolate Wafers which, I think, worked better than Oreos since they don't have the cream. Third, my mom mentioned that the instructions in step six were a little tricky. When she went to pour the second half of the cheesecake batter on top of the Nutella, the Nutella seperated and all moved towards the outside of the cake. She suggested spooning the second half of the batter rather than pouring. 

And finally, mom had a great tip for preventing the cheesecake from cracking while its being refrigerated. She said that once you take the cheesecake out of the oven, take a knife and run it around the edge of the cake, separating the cake from the pan. This way the pan wont pull the cake outwards as it cools!

Needless to say, I had two (and a half) pieces within the 24 hour period that I was home. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Photo compliments of Cream Puffs in Venice

Nutella Ripple Cheesecake
Based on Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake.

Note: You’ll need a 9-inch cheesecake pan for this recipe. You’ll also need some heavy duty aluminum foil to wrap the pan in. Because the cheesecake is baked in a water bath, you don’t want any of the water to seep into the bottom of your cheesecake. Wrapping the pan in foil prevents that. You will also need a larger pan that you can fit the cheesecake pan into for the water bath.

For the Crust:
2 cups chocolate crumbs (you can use Oreo crumbs or chocolate wafer crumbs)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp. sugar

For the Filling:
3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
3 tbsps. Frangelico
1/2 cup Nutella (the Nutella has to be fairly liquidy so I recommend warming it in a double boiler so you can drizzle it easily)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a kettle full of water to boil for the water bath.

2. Combine all the crust ingredients and pour into your cheesecake pan. Press the crumbs firmly so that they cover the entire bottom of the pan (no need to push crumbs up the side of the pan).

3. In a stand mixer, combine the cream cheese and sugar at medium speed until smooth. There should be no cream cheese lumps.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between each addition.

5. Add the vanilla extract, the heavy cream and the Frangelico and mix until smooth. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

6. Pour half the cheesecake batter over the prepared crust. Drizzle the Nutella over the batter and then top with the remaining cheesecake batter. Fit the pan into a larger pan and pour in the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Be careful not to spill any water in your cheesecake.

7. Carefully transfer the cheesecake to the oven. Bake for at least 45 minutes. The cheesecake should be set around the edges but still fairly wobbly in the middle. If not, continue baking for another 5 minutes and check again.

8. When the cheesecake is done, turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake in there for an hour to set up.

9. After an hour, remove the cheesecake from the water bath and discard the foil. Place the cheesecake on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

10. Once the cheesecake is cool, place in the refrigerator until it is very cold (at least 6 hours). If you can leave it in overnight, that’s even better.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Paula Deen's Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps

I've been a vegetarian for four years now and this recipe even looked appetizing to me! My roommate Jenelle and I made Paula Deen's Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps for some guests that we had over for a little couple's dinner party. These wraps were an easy, fun (and not that expensive!) appetizer that were a perfect preamble to the penne alla vodka that we served for the main course. 

They'll definitely be on the menu for our Christmas party! 

Courtesy of FoodNetwork.com
Serves 12


  1. 1
    Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. 2
    Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes.
  3. 3
    Cut each bacon slice into thirds. Wrap each chicken cube with bacon and secure with a wooden pick inserted on the diagonal starting where bacon seam overlaps.
  4. 4
    Stir together brown sugar and chili powder. Dredge wrapped chicken in mixture.
  5. 5
    Coat a rack and broiler pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place chicken on rack in broiler pan.
  6. 6
    Bake at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes, or until bacon is crisp.

Paula's recipe can be found here :)