Red Velvet Cheesecake

Posted on April 29, 2015 in Desserts
Red Velvet Cheesecake, a delicious and decadent treat

I love the Cheesecake Factory. I have this uncanny ability to sniff one out no matter where we are traveling. We don’t have one here in the good old WVA, so I like to seize every opportunity that I can to go to one. The funny thing is, is that I order the same piece of cheesecake every time we go. It’s the red velvet cheesecake. Every. Dang. Time. I always tell myself that I’m going to try something different this time, that I want to broaden my horizons. But then I get there and that red velvet cheesecake is staring me in the face and saying “EAT ME!”

We just got back from attending my dear college roomies wedding up in Ohio (the same people who don’t eat sauce on their hot dogs) and I asked made Dustin take me to the Cheesecake Factory just for some cheesecake. We ate at Chipotle (first time eating there, not impressed, more on that on a later post) then we stopped into the Cheesecake Factory to pick up some dessert so we could head back to the hotel. The plan was to get Dustin a piece of “something with caramel” (he could care less what he gets, I just don’t understand) and I was going to decide on the fly what I was going to get, but it wasn’t going to be red velvet. Of course, I caved. I ended up with 3 pieces of cheesecake when I left there. Dustin got the dulce de leche and I got the red velvet cheesecake. I justified the third piece, which ended up being chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake, by saying that we were going to share it. Because after all, it was good for me to try new things. Riiiiight?! 🙂

I ended up finishing the chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake after we got home. Dustin ate his entire piece of cheesecake in the hotel room (who does that?! I’ve never in my life eaten an entire piece of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory in one sitting. The pieces are as big as an 18 month old child!) and vomited the entire night. He vowed to never eat cheesecake again. That was until two days ago when I made the red velvet cheesecake at home!

I was craving it, and I couldn’t resist. I had to recreate it. It turned out pretty fantastic.

 Red Velvet Cheesecake, a decadent and delicious treat

If I would have had the energy, I would have piped the icing on top of the cake. But I didn’t have the energy. And Josie has been plopping herself on top of the bag that has all of my decorating supplies in it. How dare I ask her to move??

Red Velvet Cheesecake, a decadent and delicious treat

I cheated and used boxed cake mix. You certainly can make the cake from scratch. I figured it was ok to cheat because I made the cheesecake from scratch. That’s really the most important part after all, isn’t i?

Red Velvet Cheesecake, a decadent and delicious treat

Red Velvet Cheesecake
Serves 12
Red Velvet Cheesecake, a decadent and delicious treat
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For the cheesecake
  1. Two 8 ounce packages of room temperature cream cheese
  2. 2/3 cup sugar
  3. Pinch of salt
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  6. 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cake
  1. 1 box red velvet cake mix
  2. 1 cup milk
  3. 4 eggs
  4. 2/3 cup butter, melted
For the frosting
  1. 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  2. Two 8 ounce packages of room temperature cream cheese
  3. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  4. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Make the cheesecake
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to mix the cream cheese until smooth. Mix in sugar and salt and blend for 2 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition. Finally, mix in the Greek yogurt, whipping cream and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
  2. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. You want it to be firm.
  4. Let it cool for an hour. When it has cooled, place in the freezer and let freeze. Can be done overnight.
For the cake
  1. Combine cake mix with eggs, butter, and milk.
  2. Mix with an electric mixer until well combined.
  3. Bake in two 9 inch round pans according to directions on box.
  4. Let cool on wire racks.
For the frosting
  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until smooth.
Assemble the cake
  1. Place one cake layer on a plate. Place frozen cheesecake layer on top of it. Place another cake layer on top of cheesecake. Crumb coat the cake, making sure that you clean your spatula before dipping back into your frosting.
  2. Once the cake is crumb coated, place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. When the crumb coat is set, continue frosting the cake.
  4. Serve and enjoy!
A Dash of Parsley http://adashofparsley.com/

Ultimate Stack Burger

Posted on April 24, 2015 in Beef/ Man Food
Ultimate Stack Burger

Sometimes, I just can’t think of anything clever to say. I’m pretty exhausted. My little Josie is keeping me awake at night with her whining. I think she knows what she’s doing. She’ll sleep for about two or three hours, then she wakes up and starts wanting out of her kennel. I can usually stick my finger in kennel and let her lick it and she’ll go back to sleep. Usually once a night I’ll have to get up and let her go tinkle. Most of the time she goes. Other times, she wants to run around the living room like a little psycho. She’ll wait to tinkle after I’ve stumbled into the bathroom. She’ll follow me in and pee on the bathroom rug. It’s hard to get mad at her. Just look at her face. DSC_1199
Let’s just pretend that I’ve said all of that and that it somehow relates to today’s recipe, the ultimate stack burger. I love a good cheeseburger. I like ’em thick and juicy (just like I like my men. Wink!) and dripping and messy. I like it when you have to smash them down and cut them in half. I like it when you have to use two napkins to clean up the mess afterward. (WINK!)
I like to order cheeseburgers at restaurants that I’ve never been to. I want to see what kind of creative thing they can come up with. One of my favorites lately was at a Denny’s in Wytheville Virginia last summer on our way home from vacation. I think it was called the Grand Slamburger. It was memorable.
This piece of burger awesomeness was concocted after I realized I was craving one of those slamburgers. We don’t have a Denny’s for miles and miles. I’m not even sure that there’s one in the state (take note people of Denny’s, I want you to build one within 30 miles of my address.). This one fits all of my burger requirements: thick, juicy, messy, drippy, napkiny (not a real word). The only thing that could make it better would be if I was sitting in a Denny’s in CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA or any one of my surrounding cities. I can send you a list, corporate Denny’s people.
Ultimate Stack Burger
Ultimate Stack Burger
Ultimate Stack Burger

Ultimate Stack Burger
Serves 4
A thick, juicy burger that will make you need to change your shirt after you eat it!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound ground chuck
  2. 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  3. 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  4. 1 tablespoon seasoning salt
  5. 1 tablespoon onion powder
  6. 4 strips bacon
  7. 4 eggs
  8. 4 slices white American cheese
  9. 4 hamburger buns (I like Hawaiian Sweet)
  10. French fried onions
Special sauce
  1. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  2. 1/4 cup ketchup
  3. 1/2 cup relish
  4. 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
  5. 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine ground chuck, barbecue sauce, mozzarella cheese, seasoning salt, and onion powder. Form into 4 equal sized patties and fry in a large skillet until done.
  2. In another skillet, fry bacon according to directions. Place bacon on a paper towel to drain excess grease when finished.
  3. Without removing bacon grease from skillet, fry eggs to over medium. You want the yolks to be runny.
Make special sauce
  1. Combine mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, Worcestershire sauce, and seasoning salt in a small bowl. Mix until well combined.
  2. Spread sauce on the inside top of the bun. Place hamburger patty on bottom of bun. Top with slice of cheese, fried egg, bacon, and french fried onions.
  3. Replace top of bun.
  4. Serve with side of fries and cup of special sauce for dipping.
  5. Obtain industrial sized napkins for wiping mouth afterwards.
A Dash of Parsley http://adashofparsley.com/

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Posted on April 22, 2015 in Pasta/ Side Dishes
Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

I have a confession to make. I am an addict. My drug of choice? Macaroni and cheese. 

I love macaroni and cheese. I dream about it at night. I have major withdrawal symptoms if I don’t get to eat it at least once a week. I plan entire meals around what I can fix with macaroni and cheese. Sometimes we just have macaroni and cheese for dinner and nothing else. Dustin usually asks me where the meat is when I just set a bowl of macaroni and cheese in front of him. I then have a smart remark to reply. Imagine that, right?

I’ve got several fantastic mac and cheese recipes in my repertoire. This one by far is my favorite. It’s also a family favorite. It’s the one that I always make for family dinners. It’s rich and creamy and will put you into a food coma within a half hour.
Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese
This recipe is very close to Panera’s version of macaroni and cheese. I used their recipe as a base and made some tweaks to it. Panera does make a killer mac and cheese.

This stuff is best eaten warm. Like straight out of the pot. Just make sure no one is watching. Actually, who cares if anyone is watching. You just made a pot of macaroni and cheese and you can do with it whatever you want. 

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese
A creamy white macaroni and cheese that you will want to eat straight from the pot.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound pasta (I use cavatappi)
  2. 1/4 cup butter
  3. 1/3 cup flour
  4. 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  5. 6 slices white American cheese, chopped (get it from the deli)
  6. 1 block Vermont white cheddar cheese, shredded
  7. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large pot over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly.
  3. Gradually whisk in cream. Turn heat up to medium. Whisk until it gets bubbly and thick. Remove from heat.
  4. Add remaining ingredients, stirring until smooth and cheese has melted.
  5. Add cheese sauce to pasta. Cook over medium heat until thoroughly heated.
  6. Eat straight from the pot.
Adapted from Panera Bread
Adapted from Panera Bread
A Dash of Parsley http://adashofparsley.com/

West Virginia Hot Dogs with Chili Sauce

Posted on April 21, 2015 in Grilling Out/ Kid Friendly/ Man Food
WV hot dogs

You know how when you’re 18 you think you know everything about everything and your parents know nothing? Yeah, we’ve all been there. It was due to this that for a brief 2 ½ year time period I live in Ohio and went to college. Don’t get me wrong, it was good for me. It helped me grow up tremendously and I made some awesome friends. One thing I learned when I was there, was that Ohio was no West Virginia. People constantly asked me where I was from. Apparently I had an accent, which I never knew was there. I really knew that I wasn’t in West-by-God anymore one night when my friends and I went out to get some food at Fuddruckers. I wanted a hot dog. This is how the ordering process went.

Me: I’ll have two hot dogs with chili and slaw please.

Fast food dude with a ‘tude: Uh, so you want two chili dogs with a side of slaw?

Me: No, I want slaw on the hot dogs.

Dude: Uh, why would you want that?

Me: (getting frustrated) Because that’s the way you eat them!

It was then that I was informed that no one I was with had ever heard of slaw on a hot dog. I was shocked! I thought that was something everyone everywhere did! Lies!!

Chili and slaw on hot dogs are just a West Virginia thing. And by the way, it isn’t called chili. It’s called sauce. It’s hot dog sauce. Chili is something you eat with lots of beans that gives you gas.

If you want a true West-by-God-Virginia hot dog, there is a certain way that it has to be done. This is my personal preference, and I’m sure there are other Hillbillies out there screaming to the internet box that I’m doing it wrong. Well, guess what Rednecks! The West Virginia state motto says that I can do whatever I want! Montani semper liberi!

Proper hot dog consumption includes a warm Heiners hot dog bun, a hot dog brand of your choosing (I prefer Nathans or Ball Park), hot dog sauce (either homemade or Custard Stand brand, recipe to follow), Gunnoes slaw, line of ketchup, line of mustard, pickle relish, and black pepper. Some people put onions on their hot dogs. That’s not my style.

WV hot dogs

You can’t have a hot dog without potato chips. Stick with Mister Bees. West Virginia born. And you have to down those suckers with a giant glass of sweet tea. I’ll share that recipe with you one of those days.

If you’re ever in West Virginia and want a good local hot dog, we have several places to get them. Everyone knows about Hillbilly Hot Dogs. They were on the Food Network not too long ago. Then there is Skeenies. You either love it or you hate it. I’ve felt both ways about it. Sam’s Hot Dog Stand is another great one. I love their sauce. All the local Dairy Queens have great hot dogs, and they have those Coney style buns which I personally prefer. There’s this place on the West Side of Charleston that has fantastic hot dogs called Chris’, but I’m not sure if they are even still open.

So, you want to feel like a true West-by-God-Virginian? Put on your WVU (or Marshall) jersey, blast Country Roads as loud as it will go, and make yourself some hot dogs with slaw and hot dog sauce.

WV hot dogs
WV hot dogs
WV hot dogs

West Virginia Hot Dog Chili Sauce
Serves 12
A tasty topping for your hot dogs!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 pounds ground beef
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  4. 1/3 cup ketchup
  5. 1/2 tablespoon salt
  6. 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  7. 1 tablespoon sugar
  8. 1 tablespoon chili powder
Instructions
  1. Crumble ground beef into a large stock pot over medium heat. Cook thoroughly. Drain grease and return meat to pot.
  2. Stir in water and mash the meat with a fork or a potato masher.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 60 to 90 minutes until it reaches the desired consistency.
A Dash of Parsley http://adashofparsley.com/

I have returned…

Posted on April 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

I’m trying to get back at this thing.

Give me some time, and I’ll be back up and running in the next few days.

🙂

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