Hispanic dairy products can really transform ordinary meals into a new cultural food experience– adding a ton of flavor. Cotija cheese is like Mexican feta– it’s an amazing salad topper. Oaxaca is mellow and buttery and could replace traditional mozzarella on pizza. Queso fresco can be folded into omelets or even in a grilled cheese sandwich. These cheeses are so versatile, you can use all of them in both savory and sweet dishes.
Hispanic dairy is the star of classic lent dishes like corn and cheese stuffed poblanos and capirotada, which is like Mexican bread pudding. In the poblanos, fold a cup of Real California Asadero cheese, as well as oaxaca for maximum melty delish! The cotija is the finishing cheese! The combination of hispanic dairy packs major flavor and tastes so authentically Mexican.
Now let’s talk dessert. The capirotada’s bread has soaked in all of that creamy, yummy dairy. The combination of cotija and oaxaca cheeses layered into the bread pudding totally takes it over the top!
What I love about these recipes is that they look and feel fancy, but they’re so easy to make. All of the ingredients are easy to find at local supermarkets in the dairy section– and they’re affordable too. Just look for the Real California Milk seal on dairy products, made with milk from California’s 1300 hard working dairy farm families.
This spring, I’ve been obsessed with mason jars– small, large, super sized mason jars for everything you could imagine! I use them for vases, glasses, candle holders, table top terrariums, a DIY ice cream bar and now, ladies and gentlemen, no bake cheesecake jars! The first time I used mason jars for dessert, I was catering a high-end dinner party and my cake didn’t set up. I was horrified. It was delicious, but it had collapsed in the middle and looked like a hot (yummy) mess. As I was standing at the counter, hoping no one came into the kitchen and discovered my catastrophe, I remembered about a box of mason jars I had in the back of my truck. I quickly layered the warm, gooey mess into the jars with ice cream. Then, I whipped up a little caramel sauce, popped some whipped cream on top and called it GOURMET. My guests never knew about my baking crisis and later raved about the “moist” cake, LOL!
It made perfect sense to style my Mini No Bake Cheesecake in these little jars! And, in honor of National Dairy Month and my partnership with the Western Dairy Association, I created what I consider the perfect summer dessert. I’m not a fan of super sweet anything, and the same goes for my cheesecake. Lately, no bake has been my go-to, because, well, it’s NO BAKE! No fussy water baths and springform pans. With the mason jars, you just layer in the graham cracker crust, top with the key lime cheesecake filling, some whipped cream and they can chill in the fridge till you’re ready to serve them.
Before we get to the delish, check out some of these awesome stats… The average glass of milk costs only 25 cents a glass– few foods deliver milk’s powerhouse of nutrients in such an affordable and available way. When you buy dairy products at your local grocery store or farmers market, you are supporting dairy families — 97% of the country’s dairy farms are family owned and operated.
The Western Dairy Association works on behalf of dairy farm families in Colorado, Montana and Wyoming, and they’re celebrating 80 years of helping dairy farm families tell their stories. Check out the Western Dairy Blog throughout the month to read about the families who have been dairying for over eight decades!
Colorado is a great place to be a dairy cow – their cows are second in the nation in milk produced per cow – a sign that they are happy and healthy.
And huge shout out to Western Dairy Association farms: Colorado dairy farm families produce over 3.4 billion pounds of wholesome, nutritious milk each year. Montana dairy farm families produce 288 million pounds of milk each year and Wyoming dairy farm families produce over 123 million pounds of milk each year. That’s a whole lot of healthy and happy!
Ready to dive into “Dairy Delicious?” I know you are….
Here are some other yummy cheesecake recipes you might want to check out too:
I love an excuse to fire up the grill and entertain friends– and Memorial Day is the perfect holiday– it’s got an awesome theme (Thank you to the men and women who have sacrificed for our country!) and with a few simple recipes, you can really take your party to the next level!
Let’s start with the must-have accessories and then we’ll get to the delish….
I partnered with Lowe’s to showcase their Char-Broil Advantage 4 Burner Stainless Steel Gas Grill. What I like about this grill is that it is reasonably priced at $269 (and the purchase earns you a $50 gift card, so SCORE!) But it’s also a great size– not so monstrous that it’s intimidating– and it fits on patios or decks easily without taking up too much room. But there’s plenty of room to fit all of your favorite grilling items with those 4 burners, baby! While you’re shopping, check out these gas grills ratings and recommendations to get helpful advice.
The set works beautifully on my patio (my pitbull Tom thinks so too!) but it is also the perfect size for balconies in high rise condos. A lot of my friends have spectacular skyline views, and the raised height of this set is a must so you can take in the scenery! Plus, Lowe’s has a huge selection of patio pillows to dress up the chairs. I picked out these blue flower patio pillows that work perfectly with the burnt orange cushions.
Ready for Memorial Day eats? Let’s kick it off with sausage, y’all! I’m a huge fan of Johnsonville and have worked with them on a number of yummy segments over the last year. If you thought regular old burgers were good enough for your cook out, then hold the phone, y’all. Can we talk about bacon and cheddar IN the sausage? Um, yeah. Johnsonville’s got these new Grillers in the flavors you would normally have to make as a side dish or topping on the sausages….like Swiss Cheese and Onion and Buffalo Bleu. Hello, delicious! In full disclosure, I was grilling these up for my Atlanta & Company segment and I had to keep adding to the grill pan because, uh, I was eating them. More like CRUSHING them. Alone. In my kitchen at 2am. Yeah, that’s how I roll. So swap out the burgers for sausage– you won’t be sorry! A fun thing to do when serving your sausages is to set up a “Brat Bar” and have all the toppings your guests will love with their bratwursts and grillers….But honestly, you really don’t need anything else to top them with because the flavor of these new sausages is so freaking good!
This adorable family watched my segment live and tried the sausages for the first time….their reactions are priceless!
My go-to “grilling wine” is Wines of Sicilia DOC, which bring out the smoky, spicy flavors in the sausage. Sicily’s signature grape, Nero d’Avola is the perfect match for grilling season — as soon as you feel that smokiness with a hint of spice, there’s a surprising fruitiness that hits your palate. It’s divine and it transports me back to my travels through Italy when I was in college!
Now let’s get back to that cheesecake. One of my most pinned recipes is the Guilt Free Lemon Cheesecake. I decided to take it up a notch and do a layer of peanut butter cheesecake and strawberry cheesecake and make it “no bake,” because let’s be honest. Who has time for baking on a holiday weekend? It’s basically the love child of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and cheesecake! Look at those layers….OMG.
Peanut Butter and Jelly No Bake Cheesecake
The love child of cheesecake and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Cut out a circle of parchment paper and put it on the bottom of a springform pan.
Spoon out the graham cracker crust on top of the parchment and press down (I use the bottom of a mug or measuring cup)
For the Peanut Butter Layer
Mix ingredients in food processor with paddle attachment until smooth. Pour over graham cracker crust.
Freeze for 30 minutes before adding strawberry layer.
For the strawberry layer
Pulverize frozen strawberries in food processor until they are a puree consistency and set aside.
Mix the rest of ingredients in food processor until smooth.
Scoop out 1 1/2 cups of batter and put in fridge (this will be the top layer of the cheesecake.)
Add frozen strawberry puree to batter and mix until smooth.
Pour strawberry layer on top of peanut butter layer and wrap entire springform pan in tin foil.
Put in freezer for at least 2 hours.
When ready to serve
Take cheesecake out of freezer 30-45 minutes before you want to serve it. Spread the 1 1/2 cups of topping on top of strawberry layer and decorate with strawberries and blueberries.
Freezing the peanut butter layer is not totally necessary, but it helps keep the layers separate.
By Parker Wallace
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
Now let’s talk about appetizers, because chips are not the answer! This peanut curry dip is another recipe I worked with the Georgia Peanut Commission on and I am so excited about it. Everyone on set who tried this was blown away! Peanuts are a great way to power your day, keep your energy levels up (and your hunger levels down.) Peanut butter is easy and fun to incorporate into recipes because it’s “eat it out of the jar with a spoon) kinda good!
I don’t always see Peanut Butter Oreos at the store– the ones I picked up were from Walmart and they were the minis. You could of course, swap out any type of Oreos– I recently spotted the new Red Velvet flavor and I’m curious how that would taste! If you want a thicker more “authentic” looking cheesecake, triple the recipe and put it in a springform pan. You can get the Oreo crumbs and make the crust yourself. In this version though, I used the ready-made Oreo crust and it was super easy. And beyond yum! Plus, it looks so purty when you put the Oreos around the edge of the cheesecake!
Did I have you at Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffle? Thought so… These are ridiculously easy and obscenely delicious. Like, the kind of yum that has you sneaking down to the kitchen late at night for “one more bite.” I’ve made this base recipe many times, but the addition of peanut butter just makes it, well, peanut butter perfection. I used creamy peanut butter, but if you want more crunch inside the truffle, you can substitute crunchy. Personally, I prefer my crunch on the outside– and it looks so pretty!
I’ve partnered with The Georgia Peanut Commission this month to celebrate National Peanut Month, so I’m even more inspired to come up with new recipes that feature the most delish nut on the Planet! Stay tuned for more decadent recipes in the coming weeks!
Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles
Creamy peanut butter chocolate truffles that melt in your mouth!
Well of course I’ve got a big ‘ol grin on my face– I’m surrounded by the most decadent of decadent Valentine’s Day treats! Alon’s has become an iconic bakery in the Atlanta area, and every year, they sell thousands of individual desserts. I love this concept because you can pick and choose, mix and match whatever your taste buds tell you to! Among my favorites— chocolate covered caramels with maldon salt, the chocolate and raspberry mini macaroon tower, the flourless chocolate cake heart with raspberry cream, hand rolled truffles (including a scrumptious Single Malted Scotch truffle that will sweeten the day of any Valentine’s Day suitor! (Dudes, I’m talking to YOU guys.)
Alon’s has so much to choose from if you want to build a gift basket as well– from their signature 9 piece Chocolate Boxes to wine, champagne and accessories! This year, they’re offering a 7 course Romantic Dinner for 2 available for pickup at both of Alon’s Locations! Here’s a sneak peek at the menu:
Amuse Bouche Salmon and Tuna Tartare with Avocado Glaze on Brioche Toast
Soup She-crab soup with lump crab meat
Choice of Entrée Seared Bay of Fundy Salmon in Carrot Harissa Broth with caramelized root vegetables (or) Grilled Tenderloin with fingerling potatoes and brussel sprouts served with a balsamic reduction and blue cheese compound butter
Salad Kale with granny smith apples, celery and a lemon agave vinaigrette
Cheese Green Hill (Thomasville GA), Perorino with Chamomile, Marcona Almonds and Orange cranberry Marmalade
Dessert Flourless Chocolate Cake with hazelnut cream and raspberry coulis
Chocolate Assorted Chocolate Bon Bons and Cookies
Seared Bay of Fundy Salmon in Carrot Harissa Broth with caramelized root vegetables
Grilled Tenderloin with fingerling potatoes and brussel sprouts served with a balsamic reduction and blue cheese compound butter
If you tag “Alon’s Romantic Dinner for 2” photo on Facebook, you have a chance to win a $100 gift card! Check out their locations:
ALON’S DUNWOODY – PERIMETER
4505 Ashford Dunwoody Road
Sat: 8a-9p Sun:9a-7p
ALON’S INTOWN – MORNINGSIDE
1394 North Highland Avenue
Sat: 8a-8p Sun: 9a-4p
Moving on to cocktails….You can make a romantic toast this Valentine’s Day with some of my favorite brands…
Amarula Cream is the second largest cream liqueur in the world. It has such a luxurious finish with exotic tangy notes of citrus and nuts with a rich, velvety texture. It comes from the fruit of the wild marula tree, indigenous to South Africa– more commonly known as the “marriage tree!” How romantic is that? Enjoy it neat or over ice…
My man likes to call himself a Rum Connoisseur– and Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva is now our GO-TO Rum. You don’t even need a cocktail mixer– this is an award winning sipping rum from Venezuela, crafted from the purest of sugar cane honeys. The aromatics are amazing– you can smell (and taste) the distinctive notes of maple syrup, orange peel, brown sugar and licorice. The finish is a toffee fudge– the perfect rum to pair with a decadent dessert— from chocolate to cheesecake!
Prosecco is the most famous Italian sparkling wine in the world– but believe it or not, similar to how champagne can only be produced in the Champagne region of France, true Prosecco can only be produced in a very small area of Italy’s Veneto and Fruili-Venezia Giuliaregions. Bisol is a family owned company– they’ve been managing all phases of the winemaking process since 1542.
The grapes used to make Prosecco DOC are mainly Glera, which has been around since Roman times. The result is a stunning yellow wine with fine, consistent perlage and aromas of white flowers, apple and pear. It’s perfect for a Valentine’s Day brunch!
Bourbon Pecan Pie balls made with SkinnyPop and drizzled with dark chocolate.
Popcorn creates a visceral reaction for most people….the drizzled butter kind of reaction that transports you to a movie theater from your childhood, or a fidgety first date when salty fingers innocently tangle in the popcorn box, going in for another handful of delicious. But let’s admit, it’s a guilty pleasure because that kind of popcorn is, well…..not exactly helping with the waistline, right?
Let me introduce you to my newest snack obsession….SkinnyPop. It is pure, popped perfection!
Here’s the Skinny… (see what I did there??)
SkinnyPop Popcorn starts with three simple ingredients: Popcorn, sunflower oil, and just the right amount of salt. It’s a great tasting snack you can feel good about eating everyday– translation: all of the flavor, none of the guilt!
SkinnyPop contains no artificial ingredients, colors, flavors or preservatives and are free of all major allergens including peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, and soy. SkinnyPop is Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Kosher, Vegan, and Whole Grain certified.
It’s available at a number of popular stores– you can find a location near you by going to SkinnyPop.com
It wouldn’t be my style if I didn’t “Parkerize” SkinnyPop in some creative way….even though there is no need to add a THING to this popcorn, it’s so dang delish! In the spirit of my grandma Ronnie’s pecan pie, and my favorite dark chocolate dipped pecan pie balls, this is the love child of pecan pie and SkinnyPop!
Bourbon Pecan Pie Popcorn Balls dipped in Dark Chocolate. Oh yeah!
I used Original SkinnyPop, but you could also use the Naturally Sweet SkinnyPop. (Black Pepper and White Cheddar are scrumptious on their own!)
This is also the perfect excuse to invite a bunch of friends over for movie night and make a Popcorn Bar. Just fill canisters with your favorite movie snacks (like gummy bears, sour worms and Milk Duds) to serve along with your SkinnyPop. I found these canisters at At Home and love the the little chalkboard labels!
Melt butter in a large saucepan on medium heat and add corn syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, bourbon and salt.
Add marshmallows and stir until they melt. Fold in popcorn and pecans and stir to combine.
Let cool slightly.
Ball into small balls and put on a sheet lined with parchment paper.
Melt chocolate and drizzle over popcorn balls.
By Parker Wallace
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
Keurig’s new cold beverage system makes still and sparkling drinks.
Gotta have a cold beverage with your popcorn! Keurig has been a pioneer in the coffee industry. Now they’ve just introduced a revolutionary system with on-demand, cold beverages you can make at home— both still and sparkling beverages are served chilled with the push of a button.
Keurig KOLD the first cold beverage system that offers a wide variety of our favorite drinks, like Dr. Pepper and Coca-Cola plus new discoveries with the push of a button. Beverages are perfectly carbonated WITHOUT using a CO2 canister.
Drinks are chilled to an ideal temperature of around 39 degrees. And they’re perfectly portioned– 8oz most of which are 100 calories or less.
Similar to the K-cup Pods we’re all familiar with when it comes to coffee, Keurig KOLD has KOLD PODS that have exclusive brands, including new brands of craft colas and coming soon….wait for it…COCKTAIL MIXERS.
It’s also a huge space saver because you store the KOLD pods in your pantry– not your fridge.
This is absolutely going to be the perfect holiday gift for people who love to entertain!
So, let’s talk fashion….As you guys know, it’s not my strong suit, as in, major fashion challenged! But this is my favorite time of year, so I’m using this as an excuse to discover some new pieces and I enlisted the help of my friend Shannon Kotze, who owns the coolest boutique in town, The Bilt-House. Shannon says, “This is a great time of year to have fun with your wardrobe, layer pieces all while looking FABULOUS!” I’m sold already!
With Shannon Kotze, owner of The Bilt-House and Christine Pullara, host of Atlanta & Company.
For our segment, Shannon outfitted me in a yummy faux shearling Dylan vest, Hudson jeans, and EXCLUSIVE to The Bilt-House, these awesome Bone Mayra Old Gringo boots.
LOVE this whole ensemble, especially the Old Gringo boots!
I’m crazy about these boots– and they’re so comfortable! Shannon only has a few pairs left in stock, but there’s enough time to put in your special order in time for them to arrive before the Holidays. They take about 6 weeks to ship.
Christine is wearing a Bailey 44 dress, which is an easy transition from work to dinner!
The Mannequin is wearing an awesome seller for The Bilt-House this season— Luii Leopard Print Coat with a Bailey 44 dress. Jewelry is by Bittersweet.
This is such a cool, 60’s inspired look: Luii Leopard Print Coat with Bailey 44 dress.
Shannon is wearing gorgeous and comfortable ultra suede leggings with a blouse from Fifteen Twenty , and vegan fringe jacket from SW3.
The Bilt-House store hours are Mon-Sat., 10a-6p, with special Holiday Sunday Hours 12-5p, the months of Nov./Dec. in BUCKHEAD: 3201 Paces Ferry Place, Atlanta, GA 30305 & ROSWELL: 1035 Canton Street, Roswell, GA 30075.
*This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own.
Chewy, Gooey, Chocolate Cookies with a hint of cinnamon and chili.
I admit it– I really don’t have a sweet tooth. I know, I know– please don’t hate me. I used to, though. Now, if I had to choose between french fries and chocolate for my last meal, I’d go french fries every time. (Dipped in tartar sauce. Weird, right?) But every so often, a recipe drives me back to the chocolatey, sugary cravings of my childhood. These Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies did just that. When I think about “Mexican chocolate”- it gives me visions of cocoa mixed with cinnamon and a hint of spice. The secret ingredients here are crushed up Cocoa Pebbles, cinnamon and chili powder. HOLY DELISH. Adding yummy to the delicious is the fact that once you make the batter, you roll these morsels of scrumptious in another dipping of cocoa pebble crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and chili powder. Then, hit them with a sprinkle of coarse kosher salt. Ohhhhhheeeeeeemmmmmggggggg. Like, seriously, y’all. Drop the mic. You’ll never be partial to an ordinary chocolate chip cookie again. If you’re really averse to anything spicy, you can omit the chili powder, but I really, really recommend you keep it in. It adds that “Je ne sais quoi” element. The “what is that flavor that I can taste but can’t quite figure out what it is that makes it so awesome??” Make these. You’ll thank me!
You can’t have just one!
Now let’s have some coffee talk. It is the FIRST thing I think about when I wake up in the morning. I actually wake up in the middle of the night sometimes, just wishing it was time to get up and brew my coffee. As a present for my 40th birthday, JP’s mom gave me the Keurig 2.0 K250. This is the Cadillace of Coffeemakers. Not only does it brew whatever signature flavor you want, (there are hundreds of flavors that are compatible with Keurig’s system) but it also has a 4 carafe option that makes entertaining super easy. You don’t have to wait for an entire pot of coffee to brew, just push the button and then 4 cups are brewed instantly. It’s that easy! In addition to the delicious coffee bonus, Keurig offers this particular machine in 6 gorgeous colors. I’m partial to “Orange Zest.” How many times do you try to hide the appliances on your countertop? This is counter Eye Candy!
A super cute idea to do when you’re entertaining with these Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies and the Keurig 2.0 is to set up a hot chocolate bar. You can fill canisters with yummy treats to stir into your hot chocolate (or coffee!) These jars with the chalkboard labels are from At Home, the home decor superstore, my current obsession!
You can find these canisters at At Home. I love the chalkboard labels!
Fall Entertaining on the Studio 62 set.
This is another opportunity to dress up your dinner/entertaining table with fun accessories. I took a turquoise bird cage and stuffed it with apples that brought out the orange tone of the Keurig and some of the hues of the glass pumpkins, also found at At Home. I love this particular combination of colors– the chocolates, turquoises and oranges!
Sometimes just a few key items can really set the tone for your whole party!
*This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own.
Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
Delicious Chocolate cookies with a cinnamon and chili twist.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, crush cereal. (About 1 cup of Cocoa Pebbles will yield ½ cup of ground cereal.)
In a medium bowl, combine flour, ground cereal, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down side of bowl. Add eggs and vanilla and beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat until combined.
Chill dough for 1 -2 hours.
In a small bowl, combine remaining ¼ cup ground cereal, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, and chili powder (if using). Using a tablespoon to measure, form balls of dough and roll in cinnamon-sugar cereal mixture.
Place, about 2 inches apart, on parchment-lined baking sheets. Press down lightly with a glass. Bake until cookies are set about 8-10 minutes.
Transfer cookies to racks to cool completely. Store in airtight container, up to 1 week. Makes about 52 cookies.
By Parker Wallace
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
Chocoholics Beware: Dangerous combo of rich chocolate cake, bacon jam and candied bacon.
It’s hard to even give this cake a description that does it justice. Meat Candy Cake? That just sounds wrong! Then again, a lot of people would assume that combining bacon and chocolate is wrong. If that’s the case, then how does something so wrong turn out so right? So delicious. So unforgettable. So ridiculously divine.
I’m not even a dessert person. Or a chocoholic. This cake is what I like to call, the “Get up at 2am and stand over the sink eating it with your hands” kinda good. I’m really proud of how this turned out, because typically, flourless chocolate cakes tend to be so rich that you can only really manage a couple bites before it’s too much. Well folks, there’s never such a thing as too rich when you combine chocolate with bacon. Correction: when you combine chocolate with chocolate bacon jam and candied bacon. Oh yes. This is bacon’s wet, chocolate dream. See that glossy ganache?Hidden underneath is a layer of chocolate bacon jam so it hits your palate just right– the perfect combination of sweet, smoky and salty.
I discovered bacon jam last year when I was experimenting with recipes for a segment on The Weather Channel. I made a cranberry bacon jam which I slathered on whipped sweet potatoes. It was crazy good. Sam Champion said so himself….(watch at :34 in!)
Put your Peanut Butter S’mores in little ramekins for the perfect portion.
This is the lovechild of S’mores and Peanut Butter, folks. All that creamy, chocolate, melty delish in an itty bitty ramekin so you get all the yum in a few bites with zero dessert shaming! In fact, the only guilt you will feel is when your friends are “oooohing” and “aaaahing” with every bite, because these are so easy to make!
Just layer your ramekins with mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cups….
First step: Layer mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cups in the ramekins.
Then, top with little marshmallows…
Second Step: Put mini marshmallows on top of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.
Put the ramekins on a baking sheet in an oven at 500 for 10-15 minutes until warmed through and lightly browned on top. Or, try putting those bad boys on the grill to get a little smoky flavor added in. This a great dish to serve at a tailgating party and the individual portions make a big impression!
Pair Peanut Butter S’mores with an Amber Bock Lager.
Pair Peanut Butter S’Mores Dip with an Amber Bock-style Lager. Amber Bock-style Lagers have a delicate roasted caramel flavor with distinct hop notes that elevate the essence of peanut butter and chocolate! Savor the crisp graham crackers dipped into toasted marshmallows with the compliment of this brew’s biscuity, malty notes.