No Bake Cherry Vanilla Cheesecake Ice Cream

Happy National Ice Cream Month!  I have a weakness for good ice cream.  It is no secret I will happily allow ice cream or a milkshake to replace a meal.  However here it is national ice cream month and not only have I had very little ice cream, but the cool July temperatures have deterred me a little from making it.  Don’t get me wrong I eat ice cream any time of year, but when it comes to making it I seem to only get in the mood when it is a nice sunny day outside.  Recently we have not had many of those.  In fact as I am typing this post, I am not sure our family activity for today will occur as it is a comfortable 60 degrees, but it is raining.  Yes 60 degrees in the middle of July you know what that means.  Mrs. Mixture will not be swimming anytime soon.
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I am not going to allow it to rain on our family fun.  One of our  summer bucket list items was to make homemade ice cream.  Well it seems I have done this twice now with fruity flavors.  I am guessing my chocolate loving family is going to have something to say about the next batch we make.

In the meantime, this ice cream is not your typical cheesecake ice cream.  In fact, I purposefully made the cheesecake flavor very mild in hopes that the family would enjoy it.  Mr. Mixture does not like fruity desserts, nor does he like cheesecake.  I know. What is wrong with the man?  He is a chocolate dessert kind of person though on occasion he can surprise me with his enjoyment of random desserts.  Truth is I also made the cheesecake flavor mild, because 4 oz is what I had in the refrigerator when the idea of the ice cream first came to me.

 

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Cherry Vanilla Cheesecake Ice Cream

2 cup Heavy Cream

1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

4 oz. Cream Cheese

1/2 cup Skim Milk

4 Tbsp. Sugar

1 recipe of Graham Cracker Crust, crumbled

1 recipe of Homemade Cherry Sauce

Directions

Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature.  Once at room temperature  Beat cream cheese to whipped consistency adding vanilla extract.  Once combined add heavy cream and milk lightly beat so as to combine, but not make whipped cream.  Lastly add sugar and mix in.  Then pour cream cheese mixture into ice cream maker and proceed as per ice cream machine manufacturers directions.

Once the cream is ready add the crumbled graham cracker crust and the cherry sauce.  Allow to mix into ice cream.  For soft serve consistency ice cream, enjoy immediately.  For hard ice cream.  Transfer to freezer ( either in ice cream maker bowl or transfer to a freezer safe container) and allow to freeze for 4 hours.

If you prefer a more distant cheesecake flavor, I recommend using 6 oz. cream cheese.

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Graham Cracker Crust

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs.

1 1/2 Tbsp, melted butter

1 1/2 Tbsp sugar

Combine crumbs and sugar in a bowl.  Pour melted butter over and blend well.  Pack mixture into the bowl / oven safe container depending on preparation method,  and refrigerate for 45 minutes to 1 hour or in oven safe container bake for about 6 minutes at 350 degrees.  If using oven method allow to cool before proceeding.  Once graham cracker crust is ready, crumble and add to ice cream.

This ice cream is not overly sweet either which I like.  Using a fresh cherry made into a sauce rather than the over processed cherry pie filling type cherry flavor allows for a simple refreshing type of cream rather than a super sweet ice cream.  Try it.  See what you think.  To jazz it up a little you could always toss some chocolate chips on top or chocolate sauce when serving it.

Happy National Ice Cream Month!!!!!!

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Chicken Broccoli Mac & Cheese with Bacon

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The apple does not fall far from the tree and in the case a smile comes across my face as I think about it.  I think as parents we face a lot of challenges in trying to ensure we raise good eaters.  Good eaters can be a term to describe a variety of types of people.  Someone who is not picky, someone who eats healthy, or to some the individual who cleans their plate.  However you chose to define it, as a dietitian, mom,  and self proclaimed foodie, I never thought about or worried about ” what if my kid will not eat it.”  I am not sure why as I think about food constantly, so why during those months of breast feeding Little Miss Mixture was I not concerned?  Here I was given her some of the best nutrition she could have to start her life and what if she refuses to eat the food I actually make.

 

Well I just have to sigh and admit I am glad I never stressed over that and still continue not to for the most part.  Don’t get me wrong Little Miss Mixture is a kid and at times there is no rhyme or reason to what she will or will not eat.  And yes she loves snack food and junk food, but then again that could be another inherited trait, so I cannot fault her.  I can only guide her as I guide myself to balance healthy meals, snacks, and treats as well.

As I referenced in my about me, I have always been a recipe ripper, collector, etcetera,  in the modern world of today that would be a blog reader, recipe pinner.  Little Miss Mixture has developed these habits early as well.  She is constantly looking over my shoulder when I am reading magazines or looking at stuff and commenting on how that looks good.  Typically she refers to sweets first but on occasion it has been pretty much anything.  She might be more of a food gawker than myself as her comments are directly related to the food pictures rather than the recipes.  But time will tell.

Recently we had time to kill between activities and we were looking through a new Cooking Light magazine.  As usual Little Miss Mixture had quite a bit to say, but I noticed she was not just referring to the pictures but rather reading all the recipe titles and letting me know I should make that.  As the day went on and she referenced a couple of the recipes when I began speaking about our evening meal, I realized she had given me a great challenge.  Rather than ripping and pinning and never actually making the items, I would create a “to try list.”  This is actually not my first attempt at these as I have made list in the past, but I feel as if this time I might be more accountable if I publish it.

While I am working on organizing the list into categories I am going to share the first recipe Little Miss Mixture requested – Chicken Broccoli Mac & Bacon.  A one pot skillet meal which is perfect for a weeknight. At times I am not sure what intrigues LIttle Miss Mixture as she has been known to be the typical kid getting Mac & Cheese at a restaurant or trying something such as calamari for her entree.  In this case I knew what caught her eye – Bacon.  Little Miss Mixture loves bacon and will in fact try anything with it.  Thus the night she ordered bacon wrapped dates off the menu.  The dates were great and enjoyed by all but she did not order the appetizer because she likes dates.  In fact she is not a huge fan but eats them without realizing in some snacks and smoothies.

So here it goes.  I made Chicken Broccoli Mac & Cheese with Bacon early one day as our schedule was busy.  I found it easy to prepare in advance up until the last step.  This also allowed me to taste as I went and enhance the seasoning as I have found lot of cooking light recipes to be very good, but I also have found some to be too bland for our taste.  With the new recipes as I try them I will also include how they were accepted – will they be added to our recipe book or not.

Chicken Broccoli Mac and Cheese with Bacon

8 oz. uncooked noodles (original recipe calls for elbow. I used whole grain rotini)

1 head organic broccoli

3 slices bacon

1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken cut into 1” pieces

½ tsp sea salt

1 Tbsp. garlic

3/4 tsp. tumeric

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 ¼ cups milk

1 cup chicken stock

¼ cup plus 1 tsp. flour

6 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese

Directions

1. Prepare your ingredients – wash and cut the florets off the broccoli head. Shred your cheese, mince your garlic, and cut chicken into pieces.

2.Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add broccoli to pot during last 2 minutes. Drain.

3. While pasta is cooking, place bacon in oven proof skillet over medium high and cook about 4 minutes on each side, or until browned. Remove from pan to reserve for later, leaving drippings in the pan.

4. Add chicken to the pan and cook for about 4 minutes. Then add the garlic and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Add turmeric, garlic powder, and black pepper and cook an additional minute, stirring frequently.

5. Combine ½ tsp. salt, milk, stock and flour and whisk together. Add milk mixture to the pan and bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Add pasta and broccoli to the pan and sprinkle with 2 oz of shredded cheese. Stir to ensure all items are coated.

*If serving immediately you will want to turn the broiler on high at this time and proceed to step # 6. If preparing ahead of time refer to step # 7.

6. Sprinkle remaining cheese over dish and crumble bacon into pieces and sprinkle over top as well. Place ovenproof skillet in the oven and broil until cheese melts and begins to brown. Serve and enjoy.

7. Cover skillet and refrigerate until 30 minutes before ready to serve. Remove skillet and allow to come to room temperature on stovetop over a low burner. Meanwhile preheat oven to broil. Once casserole is warm sprinkle with remaining cheese and crumble the reserved bacon and distribute on top as well. Place in oven to broil until cheese melts about 3 minutes.

Chicken Broccoli Mac and Cheese with Bacon

This recipe was adapted from Cooking Light

We had mixed reviews on this meal.  It was good but not great.  My version above increases the turmeric, as well as adds additional garlic and some pepper.  The meal could have used more flavor still.  I think it was better received the first night.

I am working on finding a graphic and a creating a scale regarding the recipes.  In the meantime this was probably a could make again, but no one is requesting it as a weekly menu item yet.  Maybe with a few more tweaks it could become a family favorite.