white chocolate & strawberry icebox cake | suzyhomemaker.net

For Easter I was in charge of making desserts. One of the desserts I made was an icebox cake. An icebox cake is basically a layered dessert with cookies or crackers. By putting it in the icebox (i.e fridge) for a few hours, the cookies will absorb moisture from the surrounding ingredients and become soft and cake-like. This seemed like an easy recipe to try, especially since I also made puff pastry from scratch that same week.


Ingredients:
~ 1/2 a box Graham crackers - I used whole wheat
~ 16 oz heavy whipping cream - whipped
~ 3 cups strawberries - sliced
~ 1 cup white chocolate - melted
~ 1 cup milk chocolate melted
~ 1 Tbsp coconut oil (optional)



Directions:
I used a 9 x 9 glass pan. I kept the ingredients approximate since your pan size may vary.
First put a thin layer, ~ 1/2 inch, of whipped cream on the bottom of the pan.
Next, put a layer if the graham crackers.
Repeat with another layer of whipped cream.
Next, put a layer of strawberries.
Drizzle with white and milk chocolate.
Add another layer of whipped topping, then graham crackers, then strawberries and chocolate drizzle.
I was able to get three layers in, but it was heaping. You may only get 2 depending on how deep your dish is and how thick the whipped cream layers are.
Place in fridge for ~ 3 hours.


Notes: I made this the day before Easter, so you can definitely make it ahead of time. I also chose to not sweeten the cream I used. There is plenty of sweetness with the strawberries and drizzled chocolate. Also not sweetening the cream kept it a nice and light dessert - perfect for summer.



White chocolate strawberry icebox cake

I have done a series of homemade dressings and have included a tab above, suzyhomemaker sauces, where you can find all of them listed with links.


Today I am guest posting for Adrianne over at Happy Hour Projects. She has had a busy month and asked me to share a post on one of my homemade dressings. I chose my homemade blue cheese dressing. It is a really simple dressing and most of the ingredients are basics that you should already have on hand.

And check out all my homemade dressings.




Homemade blue cheese dressing


For Easter I decided to make an appetizer of brie cheese baked in a puff pastry. I had done it once before and it was a hit, but I had just used store bought puff pastry. 

This time I did not want to use the store bought pastry. Why? Well let's look at the ingredients:
Puff pastry - From Scratch!

A couple weeks ago I made an awesome Mexican-spiced baked chicken. The chicken was so juicy and the spices on it were perfect. I had some chicken left over, so I decided to make a pasta dish with it.

I wanted to make it an easy clean up, so I did it all in one skillet.

Tex-Mex Chicken Pasta




Homemade Cilantro Lime dressing | suzyandco.com



This is one of my all-time favorite dressings. I love the combination of cilantro and lime. This is a great tangy dressing that is similar to Cafe Rio's Cilantro lime vinaigrette, which I find myself wanting to drink!

Besides only being able to get this dressing at Cafe Rio, similar flavored, store-bought versions have a lot of ingredients including preservatives and flavoring.

Water, Vinegar, Sugar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Canola Oil, Soybean Oil, Lime Juice Concentrate, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Salt, Contains Less than 2% of Mustard Seed, Onions, Garlic, Spice, Cilantro (Dried), Garlic (Dried), Onions (Dried), Xanthan Gum, Lime Oil, White Wine, Natural Flavoring, Fruit Pectin, Citric Acid, Tartaric Acid, Potassium Sorbate and Calcium Disodium EDTA as Preservatives.
This version is easy to make at home and only has 7 ingredients. 








Ingredients

1 bunch of fresh cilantro - washed
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 tomatillo
1/2 Tbsp. honey



Directions

Take the leaves off the cilantro.
Food processor method - throw all ingredients in and blend.
Bowl method - Finely chop the cilantro leaves and mince the garlic. Put all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. 

I have done a series of easy homemade dressing recipesyou can find all of them listed with links.

Homemade Cilantro Lime dressing

There are so many soy sauces on the shelf at the grocery store. In the past I have always grabbed the same thing. Most likely the most popular brand of basic soy sauce. But since soy sauce is made with - you guessed it - soy, I was looking for a fermented version. Fermented soy products are (supposedly) healthier than regular soy. I do not have any sources at the moment, but maybe that will be a future post.

Soy sauce taste test


mexican-spiced baked chicken | suzyhomemaker.net


I just love Pinterest. It can be so inspiring. Even if you don't copy something exactly, it can spark your own creative side. That is what happened with this recipe. I saw a baked Parmesan chicken on Pinterest. Here is the link to the original.

I had a cut up whole chicken I needed to cook and thought I would try this recipe. Then as I was getting ready to do it, I thought I would change it up a bit. I wanted a tex-mex type of flavoring.

Here is my version.

Ingredients

~ 1 cup mayonnaise (homemade is best, but I have yet to master it.)
~ 1/2 tsp. cayenne powder
~ 1/2 tsp. chili powder
~ 1/2 tsp. cumin
~1/2 tsp. dried cilantro
~ 1 pinch salt
~ 2/3 whole chicken

Notice I use approximate for all the ingredients. I don't think the exact measurements are necessary. I think it depends on your palate. The reason I did not use the whole chicken was because the pan would not fit more and I did not feel like going to get a larger pan.

I mixed the mayo and all the spices.

I rubbed it on the chicken.

I cooked the chicken at 350° for approximately 50 minutes. I always overcook meat, so I cooked it for 35 minutes and then stuck a meat thermometer in until it reached 165°.


The result -

The chicken was cooked perfectly. It was so juicy and moist. The flavoring was awesome. #1 loved it! I will definitely be making this again.









mexican-spiced baked chicken




I found this Pioneer Woman recipe on Pinterest. It looked so yummy so I had to try it. Peanut butter, cream cheese, and whipped cream, what could be better?

Now before going into the recipe I do have a confession to make. I changed the recipe a bit. I did not use the Oreos like she did to make the crust. I had every intention of making a chocolate shortbread crust. I used this crust recipe before for a pumpkin pie. It was awesome. However, time got away from me. So what did I do?


I bought a  pre-made chocolate crust.

I knew the ingredients would be horrible, so I didn't even look at the ingredients list at all. It was the only way I could buy it and consume it. I still haven't looked, but I probably will. As much as I would love to be 100% real food, real life does get in the way. It happens and I can't feel too guilty.

Now on to the recipe. I did keep most of it the same.

~ 2 cups heavy cream - whipped - she used cool whip but I thought this would be a change I could make to include more real food ingredients. I used organic.
8 oz. cream cheese
~ 1 cup peanut butter - I just eyeballed this
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar - I was only going to put 1 cup in, but it needed that extra quarter cup; if you sweeten the heavy cream you can probably leave the last 1/4 cup out

Directions
I whipped the heavy whipping cream first in my kitchen aid mixer and then set it aside.

I didn't even clean the bowl or beaters to save a step.

I then put the cream cheese and peanut butter in my mixer and beat those together until incorporated.

I added the sugar as it was mixing. Good thing I kept the splatter guard on or powdered sugar would have gone everywhere.

Next I folded in the whipped cream. I know she just beat it in, but I wanted to keep some of that fluff.

Then I just filled the pie crust and popped it in the freezer for a couple hours to set. I took it out about 2 hours before serving and moved it to the fridge.

The verdict - AWESOME. This is not only very easy but so incredible tasty. I loved it and would definitely make it again. It was creamy and peanut buttery but not overly sweet. I highly recommend trying this recipe.

This isn't the prettiest pie picture, but we ate it too fast and I didn't have another slice available. It was that good!



creamy peanut butter pie

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