THYME BALSAMIC PORK CHOPS

THYME BALSAMIC PORK CHOPS
4 LARGE bone-in pork chops
FRESH ground sea salt and tri-color pepper
1 shallot sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons FRESH minced thyme
2 tablespoons orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice

  • Melt butter and avocado oil in large skillet.
  • Generously season pork chops with FRESH ground sea salt and pepper.
  • Add pork chops to skillet and sear 4 minutes, flip and repeat on second side. Transfer pork chops to plate and keep warm.
  • Add shallot and garlic to pan, sauteing 2 minutes until tender.
  • Add thyme, orange juice, zest and vinegar to skillet, cooking 2-3 minutes until reduced to a glaze consistency.
  • Return chops to pan, turning to coat in glaze.
  • Serve immediately.

NOTE: I used orange pineapple juice and coconut pineapple balsamic vinegar this time and was extremely pleased!

WHITE MISO CREAM SAUCE PASTA

PASTA with MISO CREAM SAUCE

8 ounces uncooked pasta (see note), prepared per package directions
1 1/2 cups WHOLE milk
1/4 cup WONDRA flour
4 tablespoons white miso
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
FRESH ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 pound Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled small
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups heirloom grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup marinated artichokes, drained and chopped
2 teaspoon chopped thyme
4 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves, optional
18-20 mini mozzarella balls, halved or quartered
Torn basil leaves for garnish

  • Place 1/2 cup of milk in deep bowl.
  • Whisk in flour and miso until smooth.

 

  • Add remaining milk and stock to saucepan. Bring to a SLOW boil over medium-high heat.
  • Whisk in flour mixture and reduce heat. Simmer 4-5 minutes until slightly thick.
  • Add pepper.

 

  • Heat oil and butter in skillet over high heat.
  • Add tomatoes, stirring and cooking 2 minutes until beginning to char and pop.
  • Add thyme and garlic, cooking 1 minute more.
  • Add spinach, cooking 2 minutes more until wilted.
  • Remove from heat.

 

  • Add pasta sauce and half the cheese to the skillet, tossing to combine.
  • Serve in pasta bowls.
  • Top with remaining cheese pieces and torn basil.

NOTE: Any pasta works with this recipe!

MRS. GIBSON’S CHOCOLATE CHEWS

One of the things I look for when we’re antiquing is old recipe boxes. Not just any old recipe boxes, but old recipe boxes FULL of handwritten recipes. This recipe came from one of those boxes. I have no idea who owned the box, just that MANY of their recipe’s were in the same handwriting and referenced Mrs. Gibson who must have been an excellent cook based on the recipes I’ve tried so far!  This recipe has the added bonus of being a no bake recipe.

MRS. GIBSON’S CHOCOLATE CHEWS yields 24 cookies
1/2 cup (whole)* milk
2 1 cup sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup – 8 tablespoons) butter
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon PURE* vanilla extract
3 1/4 cups quick oatmeal
1/2 cup FINELY chopped walnuts

  • In a large saucepan melt the butter.
  • Whisk in the milk and vanilla.
  • Stir in the sugar and cocoa until dissolved and bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Remove from heat and let cool 2 minutes.
  • In a large bowl sift together the oatmeal and nuts.
  • Pour the cocoa mixture over the oatmeal and nuts.
  • Use 2 spatulas (see note) to mix it all together until well coated. (see notes)
  • With your hands (see note) form into balls and cool on wax paper. (see notes)

NOTE:

  • Based on the age of the recipe card and style of writing I decided whole milk and PURE vanilla extract were a MUST for the texture and flavor of this recipe to be best.
  • I spray the spatulas with non-stick cooking spray to keep the mixture from sticking.  I use food grade rubber gloves also sprayed with non-stick cooking spray to form the balls with. BUT, the best thing I finally started doing was using a cookie scoop sprayed with non stick spray to make the cookies more even.

SLOW COOKER PHILLY CHEESE STEAK & RICE

SLOW COOKER PHILLY CHEESE BEEF & RICE Yield: 6-8 servings

I think grams originally found this on a Campbell’s soup label and her version was always done in the oven made with pork, which is part of what makes it a filling, hearty, winter family meal. But now I’ve updated it to include a beef version.  Preparing this in the slow cooker makes it even easier and even more versatile! A little goes a long way, making it super easy and budget friendly too!

1 1/2 pounds chuck steak beef pieces
1 SMALL red onion, chopped or sliced thin
1/2 green pepper, washed, seeded and cut into thin rings
2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup water
1 – 10.5 oz. can cream of mushroom soup
1 teaspoon garlic powder
FRESH ground sea salt and tri-color pepper, to taste
1 stick of butter, cubed

  • Spray the slow cooker insert with non-stick spray.
  • Add the beef pieces.
  • Top with onions and peppers.
  • Whisk together the mushroom soup, beef broth, water, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Pour over pork chops and onions.
  • Add the cubes of butter on top.
  • Replace lid and cook on LOW for 6-7 hours.
  • Remove lid and shred any large pieces of beef.

2 cups long grain white rice
1 cup water
1 to 1-1/2 cups shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese

  • Add the rice and 1 cup of water.
  • Stir to make sure the rice is covered with liquid and replace the lid.
  • Cook on HIGH for 45 minutes to one more hour, or until rice is done cooking.
  • Remove the lid, add the shredded cheese, and stir.
  • Enjoy!

APPLE PIE CAKE

This was a Bobby Flay French toast recipe, but with a few changes, it’s now a cake!  You could still call it French toast and serve it for Brunch, but it’s yummy enough for dessert too!

APPLE PIE CAKE majorly altered and formerly known as APPLE CRISP FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE ala Bobby Flay

TOAST
1 loaf day-old sourdough bread, crust removed, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • Preheat the oven to 275 °.
  • Spread the bread cubes on a large baking sheet and bake 20 minutes.
  • Let cool.
  • Adjust the oven to 350°.

APPLES
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup apple cider, plus more for syrup if needed
Juice of 1 lemon
4 LARGE Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 tablespoons Coconut Rum
1/2 cup golden raisins

  • Combine the sugar, apple cider, lemon juice and coconut rum in a large saute pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Stir in the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and caramelized, about 15 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples to a bowl (you don’t want the apples to be too wet) and let cool 10 minutes.
  • Reserve the apple cooking liquid for serving.
  • Fold in the golden raisins.

STREUSEL
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup crushed walnut pieces

  • While the apples cool mix together the butter, salt and sugar in a large bowl until smooth.
  • Add the flour, oats. crushed nuts and cinnamon and mix until well combined.
  • Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

ASSEMBLY
Softened butter for greasing the baking dish
3 LARGE eggs
2 LARGE egg yolks
1 teaspoon  PURE vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
2 tablespoons PURE maple syrup, for apple syrup
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces for syrup

  • Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with some softened butter.
  • Whisk the eggs, yolks, vanilla and cinnamon in a large bowl until smooth.
  • Whisk in the half-and-half, then fold in the cooled apples.
  • Add the bread and stir to coat, pressing down to make sure bread is totally submerged.
  • Let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the apple-bread mixture to the buttered 9×13 baking dish, pressing down to make sure the top is an even layer.
  • Scatter the streusel evenly over the top.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Uncover and continue baking until set, slightly puffed and lightly golden brown, another 30 minutes or so.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
  • Reheat the reserved apple cooking liquid. (If very thin, simmer briefly over medium heat until reduced to a syrup; if there isn’t much, add some apple cider and simmer briefly.)
  • Turn the heat to low and whisk in the maple syrup and cold butter, piece by piece, until emulsified.
  • Pour syrup over each piece as you serve it.

CRISPY PEANUT BUTTER CHICKEN

CRISPY PEANUT BUTTER CHICKEN
This is just like crispy peanut butter  served in many Chinese restaurants.

CHICKEN
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken tenders
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 LARGE egg
FRESH ground salt and pepper
2-3 cups crushed Corn Flakes
Avocado Oil

  • Whisk together the milk, peanut butter, and egg.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Soak your chicken in this mixture for 15 minutes.
  • Drain chicken pieces.
  • Dredge chicken pieces in Corn Flakes.
  • Cook in hot oil, flipping once, until browned on both sides and cooked through.
  • Serve over prepared rice.
    Drizzle with peanut butter sauce.

SAUCE
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (or maybe a little more)
3 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 -3/4 cup water (Adjust to desired thickness)
Drizzle of honey

  • Combine sauce ingredients in bowl or microwave safe measuring cup. Start with 1/4 cup of water and add more later to reach your desired consistency.
  • Microwave for 30 seconds and then whisk to thoroughly combine.
  • Microwave another 30 seconds until hot – Add water a teaspoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
  • Whisk again and pour over sliced chicken, or dip chicken pieces in sauce.
  • You can prepare the sauce ahead of time and reheat as needed.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 9 of 2020

Be sure to join us for Happy Homemaker Monday and link up
with our host, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

GOOD MORNING everyone.  I hope you had another GREAT week and an even better weekend.  Mine was super busy trying to take advantage of a couple warm afternoons and I haven’t been online as much.

Please forgive me for time getting away from me and my visits being more sporadic! This long Valentine’s Day weekend has been productive and satisfying for me. 

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE & WHAT I’M WEARING LOL I’m wearing levis, a long sleeve t-shirt and UGG’s, pretty much my standard uniform for this time of year.  The weather this week is about the same as last with some sun in the afternoons the first several days and high 40’s during the day, low 30’s at night with bouts of rain, clouds and fog at the end of the week.

I’ll admit I’m a bit worried about COVID-19. When I sign on to see the weather in the mornings there seems to always be an article every day about it.  I read an article this morning that actually listed it as a Pandemic now. With my compromised immunity I have been avoiding people as much as I can for now 🙁

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE I’m having some energy issues as well as some compromised eating ability again so it’s hot water and baby food again for breakfast 🙁

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE, WEEKLY TO DO LIST, HOUSE & CRAFT PROJECTS, APPOINTMENTS

  • LAUNDRY, LIVING AREAS & KITCHEN… I did the bedding blankets and towels yesterday so we’re caught up besides what we wore yesterday 😀
  • HOUSE & YARD… backyard garden boxes need some attention as they are not weathering well in the winter months, replacing weatherstripping on the mudroom and garage doors and hubby is hoping to get the last 18 supports done on the fence he re-did last year – he was hoping they might not need done, but the weather has indicated otherwise 😀 …
  • CHORE I’M NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO… I already scrubbed the shower tracts that were on the schedule for this week so we’ll see…
  • APPOINTMENTS & TO DO… grocery shopping, errands…
  • BLOG… A few new recipes will post.
  • TO RELAX THIS WEEK I’LL… to me is synonymous with CRAFTS & PROJECTS… With the blanket chest and flowers beds done, I am seriously hoping to get to a quilt or mixed media project this next weekend.

WHAT IS ON THE DVR, I LIKE OR ON THE LIST TO WATCH/SOMETHING INTERESTING I WATCHED We finished Locke & Key Season one, are working on Anne with an E season 3, have 2 episodes of V Wars left on Netflix and started Hunters on Amazon as well as the normal DVR backlog for this season.

I’M READING The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes – a wonderful WWI tale that traverses several decades.

Paris, World War I. Sophie Lefèvre must keep her family safe while her adored husband, Édouard, fights at the front. When their town falls to the Germans, Sophie is forced to serve them every evening at her hotel. From the moment the new Kommandant sets eyes on Sophie’s portrait—painted by her artist husband—a dangerous obsession is born.

Almost a century later in London, Sophie’s portrait hangs in the home of Liv Halston, a wedding gift from her young husband before his sudden death. After a chance encounter reveals the portrait’s true worth, a battle begins over its troubled history and Liv’s world is turned upside all over again.

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA We actually were able to get 2 projects done this week during a couple sunny afternoons.  Don’t let that sunshine fool you though, it was still COLD BRRRRRR while we were working. 

We found this old blanket chest in an antique store a while back and hubby was going to refinish it for me this winter.  After he started on it, we realized it needed a tone more work than originally planned so it took a ton longer than planned.  Good thing we got it for a steal of a price originally. 

The chest despite the added work is a handmade one of kind based on the craftsmanship.  Hubby had to sand it down COMPLETELY! Then he disassembled the lock mechanism, but I’ll have to keep an eye out for an appropriate skeleton key.  He added all the decorative molding and feet for me as well as put a new bottom in it from inside and outside.  I then freshly oiled the inside cedar.  The lid had a lot of gaps in the design and edging so I spent some serious time sanding and wood filling the problem areas.  I then started painting.  Oh, did I mention it had been painted black?  I wish I’d taken a before picture!!  Painting it red took about 8 coats to get the black covered and make the new molding look the same as the old!

There are 2 planting areas that had previous trees cut down and the stumps were covered in moss, but seriously a pain in the neck to dig out.  The sunny weather afforded that time to do a spruce up with Jack Daniel’s Whiskey barrels and FRESH mulch!  We filled the bottoms of the barrels around the old stumps with pebbles before the new soil and springs bulbs.  We’ll just have to wait to see the bulbs in a couple months. 😀 Here are the before and after pictures.

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
YOGURT & HOT WATER
YOGURT & HOT WATER
YOGURT & HOT WATER
YOGURT & HOT WATER
YOGURT & HOT WATER
LUNCH
TURKEY & CHEESE WRAPS
GRILLED CHICKEN & TOMATOES
MEAT & CHEESE WRAPS
C.O.R.N.
SALAD & FRUIT
Y.O.Y.O.
DINNER
SLOW COOKER PORK CHOPS and RICE
SALAD with SUN-DRIED TOMATO BASIL VINAIGRETTE
JACK ALLEN’S MAMA’S CHICKEN with JACK’S SLAW
C.O.R.N.
JACK ALLEN’S MEATLOAF with MUSHROOM GRAVY
THYME BALSAMIC PORK CHOPS and SALAD
C.O.R.N.
DESSERT
“PORTZILKE” RAISIN FRITTERS
 

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

FEATURED PARTY LINKS FOR THIS WEEK

RECIPES TO LOOK FOR THIS NEXT WEEK OR SO

  • CRISPY PEANUT BUTTER CHICKEN
  • APPLE PIE CAKE
  • WEEKNIGHT BEEF GHOULASH
  • WHITE MISO CREAM SAUCE PASTA
  • SLOW COOKER PHILLY CHEESE STEAK & RICE

INSPIRATIONAL

LIFE TIP

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

ORANGE GLAZED SALMON

ORANGE GLAZED SALMON
2 salmon fillets, about the same size and thickness
2 tablespoons Cajun spice
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
PINCH sea salt
FRESH ground black pepper
1 tablespoon avocado oil
2 tablespoons orange marmalade (see note)
Juice from small lime
Lime wedges, garnish

  • Combine Cajun spice, sugar, salt and pepper in small bowl.
  • Rub spice mixture all over salmon fillets.
  • Heat avocado oil in non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  • Sear skin side of fillets for 3-4 minutes until crispy.
  • Flip and saute’ another 2-3 minutes until salmon is cooked through.
  • Whisk marmalade and lime juice together.
  • Swirl into skillet, turning fillets to coat well with glaze.
  • Serve immediately.

    NOTE:  You can change the flavor up by using any flavor jam!  I’ve made this with pineapple, apricot pineapple, peach and even raspberry!  YUM!

MEATBALL POTATO VEGGIE MEDLEY

This is a WONDERFUL one pan, winter meal for any weeknight! It’s easy to assemble and makes great leftovers!  OR it can be completely made from scratch – your choice!

MEATBALL POTATO VEGGIE MEDLEY
1 can Campbell’s Cream of Potato Soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 small bunch green onions, sliced thin
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 can sliced potatoes, drained WELL
1 can whole green beans, drained WELL
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
12 fully cooked meatballs, thawed, if frozen
3/4 cup shredded Gruyere or baby Swiss cheese

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Coat baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Whisk together the soup, sour cream, salt and pepper.
  • Fold in green onions and lemon zest.
  • Gently fold in potatoes, green beans and corn.
  • Spread mixture into baking dish.
  • Tuck meatballs into mixture, gently pressing into the sauce.
  • Sprinkle with cheese.
  • Bake 35-40 minutes until top is golden and mixture is bubbling.

WILTED CHICKEN SPINACH PASTA

This is a luscious Chicken Alfredo with plenty of OOMPH from the wilted spinach and sun dried tomatoes. The bacon adds yet another layer of flavor making it similar to a Carbonara. Shredding the chickens adds plenty of nooks and crannies for the sauce to adhere and provide lots and lots of flavors, though I tend to use tenders and serve them whole.  I adapted from RECIPE TIN EATS

WILTED CHICKEN SPINACH PASTA serves 4

10 ounces fettuccine (see notes)

  • Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water for package directions minus 2 minutes.  The pasta will finish cooking in the sauce.  Just before draining, scoop out a cup of cooking water. Then drain pasta as directed.

1 tablespoons avocado oil
1 1/2 pounds of chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally or chicken tenders
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Melt half the butter in a large skillet over high heat.
  • Add chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until deep golden.
  • Remove chicken onto plate, rest for a few minutes then shred with 2 forks.

SAUCE
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves , minced
1 small red pepper sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/4 cups heavy cream – DO NOT USE LIGHT
3/4 cup FINELY shredded Parmesan cheese + more for garnish
1-2  cups torn baby spinach
3 ounces sun dried tomato strips, DRAINED (see notes)
4 slices bacon, diced and browned
FRESH chopped Parsley, for garnish

  • Reduce the heat of your skillet to medium high.
  • Add remaining butter, sun-dried tomato oil and garlic.
  • Cook garlic for 30 seconds until golden.
  • Add red pepper slices and cook another minute.
  • Add wine, simmering quickly and stirring to scrape up any brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
  • Once mostly evaporated, add chicken broth, cream, Parmesan and sun dried tomato pieces.
    Simmer on medium for 3 – 5 minutes, stirring often, until it reduces and thickens.

ASSEMBLY

  • Add spinach, chicken, bacon pieces and cooked pasta.
  • TOSS – this is a MUST if you are shredding the chicken!
  • Cook sauce for 2 minutes, until sauce thickens and coats the pasta. (see notes)
  • Serve immediately with Parmesan and parsley if desired.


NOTES:

  • Flat wide pastas are best for creamy sauces, but any pasta will work in reality. DO NOT use fresh pastas.
  • When I drain the sun-dried tomatoes, I drain them into my skillet as part of my cooking oil for the sauce.
  • Use the reserved pasta cooking water as needed if the sauce gets too thick.

FISHY (in a good way) CHICKEN STEW

FISHY (in a good way) CHICKEN STEW
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 LARGE shallot, chopped fine
1 celery stalk, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
3 sprigs FRESH thyme, minced
3/4 cup white wine
5 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup WONDRA flour
1 pound white potatoes, diced
3 carrots, diced
chopped FRESH parsley for garnish

  • In a large saute pan, cook bacon JUST until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper toweling.
  • Add avocado oil to the bacon rendering in the pan and heat over medium flame.
  • GENEROUSLY season chicken pieces with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Add chicken to hot oil and sear on both sides until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
  • Add onion, garlic, celery, anchovy paste and thyme, cooking 2-3 minutes until well blended.
  • Add wine, 1 cup of the broth and liquid aminos, simmering until almost ALL the liquid is evaporated.
  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Add butter.
  • When butter has melted, sprinkle with flour, stirring to combine.
  • Whisk in remaining broth,
  • Shred chicken and add to broth along with carrots and potatoes, stirring to combine.
  • Cover and bake 30 minutes.
  • Stir and bake another 30-45 minutes until carrots and potatoes are fork tender.
  • Season to taste and fold in bacon pieces.
  • Garnish and serve immediately.  We like it over pasta.  I know that’s weird, but it’s a family thing.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CHEESECAKE

This recipe is every peanut butter lovers dream! It’s a ROLL YOUR EYES BACK IN YOUR HEAD AND SIGH KIND OF AWESOME! I’ve included 3 choices of ganaches.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CHEESECAKE

CRUST
15 chocolate graham crackers
3 tablespoons sugar
PINCH sea salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted

  • Butter 9″ spring form pan and wrap bottom and sides of pan in a double layer of aluminum foil.
  • Set rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°.
  • In a food processor grind chocolate graham crackers into VERY fine crumbs.
  • Add sugar and salt, pulsing to combine.
  • Transfer crumbs to a medium bowl, add butter, and use fork or fingers to blend mixture until crumbs are evenly moist.
  • Press into bottom and about a third of the way up the sides of spring form pan.
  • Freeze 10 minutes.
  • Place pan on baking sheet and bake crust for 10 minutes.
  • Set on rack to cool and reduce oven temperature to 325°.
  • Bring tea kettle full of water to a boil.

CHEESECAKE
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoons PURE vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1 ¼ cups miniature chocolate chips
Reese’s, for garnish

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, beat cream cheese on medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until completely smooth, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add sugar and salt, beating and scraping down bowl as necessary, until smooth and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add vanilla and beat for 30 seconds.
  • Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated and occasionally scraping bottom and sides of bowl.
  • Add lemon zest, beating until combined.
  • Add peanut butter, heavy cream, and sour cream and beat on low until completely combined and smooth, about 1 minute.
  • Fold in mini chocolate chips.
  • Pour cheesecake batter into cooled crust and smooth top evenly.
  • Place cheesecake in deep roasting pan and set on middle rack of oven.
  • Carefully pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come about halfway up sides of spring form pan.
  • Bake cheesecake until top is just starting to brown and crack, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • Turn off oven, prop door open, and let cheesecake slowly cool in the water bath for 1 hour.
  • Remove roasting pan from oven, carefully lift spring form pan out of water and remove foil.
  • Set on cooling rack and cool to room temperature.
  • Once COMPLETELY cool, loosely cover cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate, AT LEAST 4 hours, or preferably overnight.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (DO NOT USED UNSWEETENED)
3/4 cup heavy cream
PINCH sea salt

  • When ready to serve, carefully remove sides of spring form pan.
  • Place chocolate in a clean, dry medium bowl.
  • In a small saucepan, warm cream until just barely simmering.
  • Pour cream over chocolate and let sit 10 minutes, then add salt and stir until smooth.
  • Pour ganache over cheesecake, spreading it evenly and allowing some to drip down sides of cake.
  • Sprinkle with chopped Reese’s.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE
½ cup heavy cream
1 ½ cups milk chocolate chips, FINELY chopped OR grated

  • When the cake is completely cooled, run a thin knife around the edge and release the ring of spring form pan, then transfer the cake on a serving plate.
  • On a medium heat bring heavy cream to boil.
  • Pour hot cream on top of the chocolate and peanut butter. Cover with a plate for 5 minutes. The heat from the cream mixture will help melt the chocolate in a few minutes.
  • Stir well to combine until smooth.
  • Set aside to cool. The ganache should be pourable, but not too thin.
  • Slowly pour the ganache around the edges and let it drip down the sides.  Let the ganache set slightly then sprinkle with chopped peanuts and pile with coarsely chopped Reese’s.
  • Set in the fridge until ready to serve.

PEANUT BUTTER GANACHE

5 ounces QUALITY dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup CREAMY (NOT chunky OR crunchy) peanut butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Place the chopped chocolate and peanut butter in a bowl and set aside.
  • Heat cream and vanilla on the stove and bring to a simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Pour hot cream on top of the chocolate and peanut butter. Cover with a plate for 5 minutes. The heat from the cream mixture will help melt the chocolate in a few minutes.
  • Stir well to combine until smooth.
  • Slowly pour the ganache around the edges and let it drip down the sides.  Let the ganache set slightly then sprinkle with chopped peanuts and pile with coarsely chopped Reese’s.
  • Set in the fridge until ready to serve.

GARNISH (optional)
Chopped Reese’s cups
Crushed roasted peanuts

NOTES: The quality of your chocolate WILL have a HUGE impact on the flavor of your ganache. ALWAYS use the best quality artisan chocolate for the best flavor. Natural peanut butters are more flavorful, but their gritty texture interferes with the formation of a SMOOTH ganache – use the smoothest textured peanut butter you can find.