Family * Travel * Food

Easy Recipe-- Mini Cheesecakes

If you love cheesecake, are pressed for time or feel like you are a baking-dummy, this recipe is for you. It requires so few ingredients and bakes up in just 20 minutes. 
2 8-ounce packs of cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla or almond extract
12 vanilla wafers
Fresh fruit or topping of your choice

To make:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with 12 paper cups and place one vanilla wafer in the bottom of each cup. Blend cream cheese with a hand mixer until fluffy. Add sugar and beat until mixed. Add eggs, one at a time until well incorporated and then vanilla extract. Fill each cup with cheesecake mixture. Bake for 20 minutes and let sit out on a cooling rack in the muffin pan for about 20-30 minutes. Transfer pans in to refrigerator and chill for a minimum of 2 hours. Overnight is best.
These mini cheesecakes are delicious with fresh berries and are great for portion control. You can double the recipe for parties.  It's so easy and absolutely delicious.  I have been making them for 20 years now! It's a family favorite. Let me know if you try this recipe. Enjoy :) 

Soup for you! with the Original SoupMan #SoupManFan #ad

This is a review in partnership with The Niche Parent Network & Conference. All opinions are my own.

These days, unless you live in Miami or some parts of California, you are experiencing frigid temperatures and wintry weather. We just had our first snow a couple days ago and man oh man has it been cold! Weather like this calls for hot food. Soup is my general go-to meal for super cold days, but during the week this is not always possible. Homemade soup takes hours to make! I received the seven soup sample pack from The Original SoupMan line. 
Varieties include: Lobster Bisque, Chicken Noodle Soup, Lentil Soup, Crab and Corn Chowder, Jambalaya and Chicken Gumbo. 
I always remember watching episodes of Seinfeld and never forgot the Soup Nazi who would boldly yell, "No soup for you!". No lie, I often wondered how good the soup could really be with all the hoopla surrounding it. Lucky for me, I finally got the, "Soup for you!" package and couldn't wait to test them out. My younger daughter is my soup lover and can eat it any time of day/year/weather. I let her choose the first variety to try. She has my taste so she picked the lobster bisque. These soups are packaged in Tetra packs which I much prefer over a can. I confess, I am a soup snob. Homemade can't be beat. I was so skeptical. The packages are so easy to open and I poured the container into a small pot and heated it thoroughly on the stove top. I did add a little freshly cracked pepper to taste. I had my daughter taste it first. She immediately closed her eyes and gave me the thumbs up. She told me I must try it myself.
I fixed myself a bowl and tried to stay positive. I tasted the first spoonful and thought, "Okay, it's not bad". The second spoonful hit me and I was floored. This soup was unlike any other soup I have ever tried. It was delicious! The taste and texture were perfect. It had a good balance of flavors and a very ocean-like taste at the same time. The packaging gave the idea of adding some fresh chunks of lobster to kick the bisque up a notch. It makes me wish I saved this variety for me and the hubby to have with the added lobster. I told my husband how good it was so we both tried the Crab and Corn Chowder. He was very impressed with how homemade it tasted and we both loved the savory richness. It really was restaurant quality. One package serves two people and you can have it as a main course.

The interesting thing about these soups is that the packaging gives you recipe ideas to transform them into unique dishes. I don't think I will follow the recipes since the soups are so delicious as is. The Original SoupMan soups are available at over 500 Walmart locations, over 750 Stop & Shop, 1400 Safeway stores, Giant, Martin’s Supermarkets, plus other grocers across the nation. Find a store near you here.  

Stay connected with the Original SoupMan on Facebook and Twitter for product updates.

Easy Recipe: Sweet & Spicy Cabbage with Pork

I was chatting with my friend Krystel from Army Wife 101 yesterday and was looking for some dinner suggestions. She talked about a cabbage and ground pork dish she made before and I came up with my version of it. I posted a photo of it on Instagram and received several messages and texts to share the recipe. Here it is:

1 pound of ground pork (you can also use ground chicken, turkey or beef)
1 head of cabbage chopped
1 small chopped onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of minced fresh ginger
2 scallions sliced thinly
your favorite dry seasonings. Here are my favorites.
about 1 teaspoon of 5 spice powder (optional)
1/3 cup of Frank's® RedHot® Sweet Chili sauce

What to do:
Add your ground meat in a hot pan and season to your liking. I use a potato masher to help separate the meat and make it in more uniform crumbles. Cook until brown and add your onion, garlic and ginger. Saute for a few minutes and drain any fat from pan. Now you add your cabbage and cook it down until it gets a bit tender. From there I add any additional seasonings and my Frank's sweet chili sauce. Toss in your scallions, simmer for a few minutes and you are done! Serve with Jasmine or brown rice.

This is a crowd pleaser for sure. I think I will try it next time with kale. This meal takes 30 minutes or less to make, perfect for busy weeknights.  If you try this dish, please let me know how it turned out. Enjoy :)


Easy mid-week meal | Sausage Gumbo Recipe

As a busy mom, I do what I can to take the occasional shortcut at mealtime to help give myself a break. I cook dinner 5-6 times a week and sometimes I want to go with something quick. One of my go-to meals is a simple Sausage Gumbo. I have made traditional gumbo before and it took 2 hours! With this recipe, you don't need a lot of ingredients and the entire meal takes under 30 minutes to cook from start to finish.
All you need is:
1 package sausage of your choice
1& 1/2 cans of stewed tomatoes
1/2 bag of frozen sweet corn
1 bag of frozen cut okra
1/2 bag of frozen onion and pepper blend or you can use fresh if you want (frozen cuts out chopping time)
Sugar (optional)
Sriracha (optional)
Dried seasonings of your choice. I use my usual ones.
Rice of your choice (I use Jasmine)

I start off by putting my rice on to cook. Usually by the time it is done, the rest of the meal will be close to being finished. Next, I slice the sausage in circles and toss them in a heated pan with just a touch of oil. Brown the sausage to your liking and add in stewed tomatoes, okra, corn, onion and pepper mix and about 1/4 cup of ketchup. I add some dried seasonings at this point but avoid too much salt. I add a pinch or two of sugar and a few squirts of sriracha to balance it out. Now add some water. The amount will depend on how soupy you want your sauce. Usually around 3/4 cup works. Now you just simmer on medium heat until the okra gets tender. Taste for any additional seasonings and you are done! You can even add shrimp or chicken if you want to.

I like to bake some corn muffins sometimes and eat the gumbo as a soup without the rice. It's light yet filling and the family loves it.
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