Mango Cream Cheese Cake

Mango Cream Cheese Cake

Mango Cream Cheese Dessert

Mango, the king of fruit as it’s known in many parts of the world, is not high in calories and is an excellent source of beta carotene, vitamin A, and potassium.  It’s also very delicious!

Now that we are in peak mango season my husband has been bringing home loads of this sweet juicy fruit.  We love them fresh but also love to make them into different desserts.  This year’s bumper crop has allowed me to whip up all the recipes my family loves and create a few new ones.

This Mango Cream Cheese Dessert is a long time family fave!  I got the recipe years ago from a cookbook my aunt gave me.  It’s one of those loosely bound cookbooks the local churches publish every so often to sell in a fund raiser, it contained a compilation of their members’ favorite recipes.  This cookbook was published in 1985.  My cherished copy is in poor condition, missing it’s covers, grease stained, fading, and taped up; it’s moved with me from Hawaii to Texas and back twice!  Old as it is the recipes are still our favorites.

This dessert takes a bit longer to make as it is made in 3 layers and can take all day, you have to wait for the crust too cool and the layers to set.  I tweaked it a bit to make it a bit simpler.  It is definitely worth the effort!  You end up with a refreshing creamy dessert on a cookie crust that is perfect for summer barbecues or any other time!

I make it in a 9″ x 13″ pan, the number of servings will depend on the size you cut it, in my house that means it will barely serve 6.  Whenever I make this it never stays in the fridge for more than a day or two, it’s that good!

If you can’t find fresh mango you can use peaches or your favorite fruit, just change the jello flavor to compliment the fruit.

Mango Cream Cheese Cake

Ingredients:

3/4 butter – softened

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups flour

3 boxes (3 oz. size) lemon jello

4  cups boiling water (divided into 1 cup & 3 cups)

1  8oz. cream cheese – softened

1 cup sugar

1  8oz. container cool whip – thawed

1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup water at room temp.

4 cups sliced mangoes (about 3 medium sized mangoes)

Directions:

Mango Cream Cheese Dessert

Crust:

1.  Mix butter, brown sugar, and flour in large mixing bowl until it is crumbly.

2.  Press into 9″ x 13″ baking pan.  Be sure you get it all the way to the sides and into the corners or the other layers will seep under the crust and you will end up with an upside down mess.  (It will still take great, but will look unappetizing)

3.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool completely before proceeding to the 1st. layer.

Mango Cream Cheese Dessert

1st. Layer:

Before you start this layer dissolve 1 box of lemon jello in 1 cup of boiling water.  Let cool completely to room temperature.  Stir every so often to keep it from hardening.

1.  Beat cream cheese with sugar.  Fold in Cool Whip.

2.  Slowly pour COOLED jello into the cream cheese mixture.

3.  Gently stir the jello/cream cheese mixture.  It will be a bit loose with a few clumps but that’s ok.

4.  Pour into the crust.  Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 -3 hours.

Mango Cream Cheese Dessert

2nd. Layer:

Before you start the next layer dissolve 2 boxes of jello in 3 cups boiling water; soften unflavored gelatin in 1/4 cup water at room temp.; add softened gelatin to jello until dissolved.  Let cool completely to room temperature.  Stir occasionally to keep the bottom from setting.

1.  Arrange sliced mangoes on top of 1st. layer.  It doesn’t have to look neat as the fruit may float when you pour the jello over it.

2.  Pour COOLED jello mixture over mangoes.  BE SURE your jello is completely COOLED before pouring over the mangoes!!  If the jello is hot or warm it will dissolve the cream cheese mixture and you will have a mess on your hands.   Refrigerate until firm, I usually leave it overnight.

Cut into desired size and serve.  Lifting the first piece out of the pan is the hardest part, be sure you cut clean thru to the crust and use a cake server to get under the crust and lift the whole piece out.
My first piece usually falls apart so I use it to “taste” the dessert.  Once you get that first piece out the rest is easy, just remember to cut thru to the crust every time.

This dessert will keep in the fridge for several days, that is if you can refrain from snacking on it.  At my house this dessert rarely lasts more than a day!


Mango Cream Cheese Dessert
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 Squares 1 Hour
Cook Time Passive Time
20 Minutes 5 Hours
Servings Prep Time
8 Squares 1 Hour
Cook Time Passive Time
20 Minutes 5 Hours
Mango Cream Cheese Dessert
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 Squares 1 Hour
Cook Time Passive Time
20 Minutes 5 Hours
Servings Prep Time
8 Squares 1 Hour
Cook Time Passive Time
20 Minutes 5 Hours
Ingredients
Servings: Squares
Instructions
Crust
  1. Mix butter, brown sugar, and flour in large mixing bowl until it is crumbly.
    Mango Cream Cheese
  2. Press into 9" x 13" baking pan. Be sure you get it all the way to the sides and into the corners or the other layers will seep under the crust and you will end up with an upside down mess. (It will still take great, but will look unappetizing)
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely before proceeding to the 1st. layer.
    Mango Cream Cheese
1st. Layer
  1. Before you start this layer dissolve 1 box of lemon jello in 1 cup of boiling water. Let cool completely to room temperature. Stir every so often to keep it from hardening.
  2. Beat cream cheese with sugar. Fold in Cool Whip.
    Mango Cream Cheese
  3. Slowly pour COOLED jello into the cream cheese mixture.
    Mango Cream Cheese
  4. Gently stir the jello/cream cheese mixture. It will be a bit loose with a few clumps but that's ok.
  5. Pour into the crust. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 -3 hours.
2nd. Layer
  1. Before you start the next layer dissolve 2 boxes of jello in 3 cups boiling water; soften unflavored gelatin in 1/4 cup water at room temp.; add softened gelatin to jello until dissolved. Let cool completely to room temperature. Stir occasionally to keep the bottom from setting.
  2. Arrange sliced mangoes on top of 1st. layer. It doesn't have to look neat as the fruit may float when you pour the jello over it.
    Mango Cream Cheese
  3. Pour COOLED jello mixture over mangoes. BE SURE your jello is completely COOLED before pouring over the mangoes!! If the jello is hot or warm it will dissolve the cream cheese mixture and you will have a mess on your hands. Refrigerate until firm, I usually leave it overnight.
  4. Cut into desired size and serve. Lifting the first piece out of the pan is the hardest part, be sure you cut clean thru to the crust and use a cake server to get under the crust and lift the whole piece out. My first piece usually falls apart so I use it to "taste" the dessert. Once you get that first piece out the rest is easy, just remember to cut thru to the crust every time.
Recipe Notes

This dessert will keep in the fridge for several days, that is if you can refrain from snacking on it. At my house this dessert rarely lasts more than a day!

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Barbecued Ranch Potatoes

Barbecued Ranch Potatoes

Now we want to grill all our potatoes!

 

YIELDS:  8             PREP TIME:  0 HOURS 5 MINS           TOTAL TIME:  0 HOURS 20 MINS

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 lb. baby potatoes, halved
1/4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 packet ranch seasoning
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Ranch dressing, for drizzling
Chopped fresh chives, for garnish

 

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat grill to medium heat. In a large bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil, lemon juice, and ranch seasoning. Season with salt and pepper.
Thread potatoes on skewers and grill until tender and lightly charred, 15 minutes.
Drizzle with ranch and garnish with chives.

 

 

Barbecued Ranch Potatoes
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Servings
people
Servings
people
Barbecued Ranch Potatoes
Print Recipe
Servings
people
Servings
people
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Preheat grill to medium heat. In a large bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil, lemon juice, and ranch seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Thread potatoes on skewers and grill until tender and lightly charred, 15 minutes. Drizzle with ranch and garnish with chives.
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Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad

Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad

Watermelon on a salad like what is going on.

I’ve had this idea written up on my nice little kitchen chalkboard for at least three weeks now. The name “Watermelon Chicken Salad” sat there happily on the board right next to all my other random ideas, most of which have since gotten scratched off and erased and replaced with something new because I actually made them and posted them. For whatever reason, this little guy lingered. Another week would pass with no sign of a watermelon chicken salad, but for whatever reason when I’d clean off my board for the week, I really didn’t want to erase the idea just yet. I had this premonition of great things to come.

Speaking of great things.

In the three weeks that “Watermelon Chicken Salad” has been staring me down from the chalkboard, I’ve bought 8 million watermelons with very good intentions, thinking that each of them would be the one I’d use to make some kind of inspired and beautiful salad. But then I discovered this drink instead and every single piece of watermelon since has been doomed for the blender. Or my mouth. Today I ate it for breakfast, which is so weird, but actually not as weird as watermelon in a salad.

And I have a really important question. Why is watermelon like candy? It’s so incredibly good. Juicy, bright, sweet, red… it’s basically large 

 

cubes of all-natural Jolly Ranchers. Have you ever frozen watermelon cubes? <— That. You’re welcome.

So I got a really great bottle of balsamic and starting thinking about salads, and BAM. The inspiration for this salad finally hit and wowzzer. The long wait to actually make this combo happen was totally worth it. Here she is, in all her blue cheese crumbled, rainbow colored, crunchy almond, sweet balsamic glazed glory.

Pinky promise, as I am writing this, I can hear Bjork’s fork + plate clinking together at record speed as he is devouring this in the next room.

The salty blue cheese to me was the thing that tied it all together. You have the sweetness of the watermelon and the balsamic glaze, the savory of the seasoned chicken, the crunch of the almonds, the freshness of the spinach, and then that blue cheese. Oh, the salty, creamy tang that makes my heart go wild. I am making a weird “I LOVE IT” face right now as I’m writing this because I don’t even really know how to describe what I’m trying to say – you get it, though, right? Through computer food osmosis, are we kind of experiencing it together?

Color, crunch, and yum. I want that to be the tagline of my life.

Pretty salad, come to mama.

DESCRIPTION

This Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad has blue cheese, watermelon, almonds, herbed chicken, and a balsamic glaze. Simple and fresh.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 teaspoons all purpose seasoning (I used a spice mix I got at a specialty food store)
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups baby spinach or greens
  • 2 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 cup sliced or crushed almonds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the balsamic vinegar is significantly reduced and starting to become syrupy.
  2. Meanwhile, turn a grill or nonstick skillet to high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with the seasoning on both sides and drizzle with the olive oil. Transfer to the hot grill and cook until no longer pink on the inside and nicely browned on the outside. Let rest for 5 minutes; cut into small cubes.
  3. Layer the spinach with the chicken, watermelon, blue cheese, almonds, and drizzle with the balsamic reduction to taste. Top with additional olive oil if desired.

Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad
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Servings Prep Time
4 10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Servings Prep Time
4 10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Servings Prep Time
4 10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Ingredients
Servings:
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Homemade Potato Chips

Homemade Potato Chips

I love potato chips!  Not the flavored ones (the flavors get more exotic each year, like Taco Flavor); just plain salty chips.  Simple right?

These days potato chips don’t seem as simple as they should be.  Exotic flavors aside they’re also packed with preservatives, I mean they do have to last thru shipping and sitting in the store until you get it home.  And even then it can sit resealed in the bag for days depending on the humidity.  So what happened to those simple natural chips that are crispy and salty?  They’re pretty much a thing of the past unless  you make them at home.

That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing since this Pandemic forced everyone to stay home and limit trips to the grocery store.  With time on my hands and a bag of potatoes in the pantry I started making Homemade Potato Chips, and my they are delicious!  We may never buy chips again!

Really it’s simple, just a bit tedious if you’re like me and make several bowlfuls.  But they do store pretty well in ziplock bags, that is if you can keep enough to store.  My family eats them as snacks and with their sandwiches.

All you need are 3 ingredients; potatoes, salt, and oil.  I use olive oil, but Canola Oil works wells too.  The trick is to heat the oil enough so that you flash fry the chips and you got to work fast so you don’t burn them.  Oh, and if you really need them flavored you can toss them in garlic salt, or whatever seasoning you want as long as it’s dry.  Or you can dip them in your favorite dip.  But like I said I like mine just crispy and salty!

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Ingredients:

6 Large Russet Potatoes

1/2 Cup Oil – more if you need it while frying

Sea Salt or seasonings of your choice

Directions:

Scrub potatoes and peel (if you don’t want to peel them that’s ok too, just be sure they’re scrubbed clean)

Using a mandolin slicer shave the potatoes (you can choose the thickness, I prefer the thinnest setting; thicker chips don’t get very crispy and tend to get hard) If you don’t have a mandolin slicer any veggie slicer should work as long as it has a straight blade.  Or if you prefer you can use a food processor just be sure you use the correct blade.

Place slices in a bowl of cold water to keep them from turning brown while you slice the rest of the potatoes.

Heat about 1/2″  oil in a large frying pan.

Place slices on paper towels – work in small batches to keep chips from burning and clumping together.

Pat chips dry – they don’t have to be bone dry just dry enough so they’re not dripping in water.  Placing really wet chips in hot oil will cause the oil to pop and sizzle and may burn you.

Fry chips both sides until golden brown – about 45 seconds at most.  Adjust heat if they start to burn.

Drain chips on a paper towel.  Repeat until all chips are cooked.

Sprinkle with sea salt and gently toss chips to salt all the chips.

To store place in ziplock bags and keep at room temperature.


Homemade Potato Chips
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Homemade Potato Chips
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Ingredients
Servings:
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Easy Beef Shawarma Wrap Recipe

Easy Beef Shawarma Wrap Recipe

Whenever we are in LA there’s this place we frequent, Zankou Chicken; although their specialty is the delicious rotisserie chicken they also serve beef and chicken kebobs and shawarma wraps.  We love the beef shawarma so much that we buy a dozen or so to take home with us.

Since there are no trips planned to LA anytime soon I decided to try my hand at making my own.
Shawarma is usually cooked on a spit and slow roasted as it turn, I don’t have one of those machines so I found a way to make it using just my oven and stove top.
To make the meat extra tender I used thinly sliced boneless beef short ribs with all the fat trimmed off.  I adapted a chinese restaurant method used to tenderize their stir fry meat and it made my ribs very tender.
The secret to great shawarma is the spices used to marinate the meat.  So get out your spice rack to make this tasty recipe.  We make it into wraps using either pita bread or nan.  Served with crunchy dill pickles and my sun dried tomato/roasted red pepper hummus and you’ve got a filling meal.
My family thinks my version is just as good as the shawarma we buy at Zankou!
Marinade Ingredients:
1 tbls. corn starch
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbls. garlic powder
1 tsp. Allspice
1 tsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Cayenne Red Pepper
1 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp. Turmeric
1 tsp. Corriander
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1 lb. thin sliced boneless beef short ribs
Extra olive oil for sauteing
Extra spices for taste adjustment (optional)
Pita or Nan bread
Hummus spread (you can use my Sun dried tomato/Roasted red pepper hummus or any hummus you prefer)
Dill pickle spears
Lettuce, tomato, any other veggies you prefer – optional
Directions  for Marinade:
1.  Place all ingredients in a large ziplock bag
2.  Seal bag and knead until it’s well blended – break up any clumps of corn starch that may form so that it mixes in with the oil and spices.  You should end up with a cloudy thick liquid.
3.  Trim extra fat off the edges of the short ribs
4.  Place beef in to ziplock bag, seal bag, and knead bag so that the meat is covered with marinade on all sides.
5.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour; up to overnight.  Turn bag occasionally to evenly distribute marinade.  The longer it marinates in the oven the more flavorful the meat will be.
Cooking and assembling directions:
1.  Place meat on an ungreased baking sheet.
2.  Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes
3.  Remove from baking sheet and slice into thin strips
4.  Heat some olive oil in large pan
5.  Add sliced meat into hot oil and saute – DO NOT SKIP this step, it’s what gives it the finish like it was roasted on a spit.
6.  If you feel you the meat needs more spices you can sprinkle more of the above spices as you saute.  I usually sprinkle a bit more garlic powder, cinnamon, cumin, and nutmeg at this stage.
7.  Spread one side of bread with hummus
8.  Layer on meat, pickles, and other veggies you prefer
9.  Fold sides over the filling and serve
10.  Enjoy!
Easy Beef Shawarma Wrap Recipe
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 Wraps 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 Minutes 1 Hour
Servings Prep Time
6 Wraps 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 Minutes 1 Hour
Easy Beef Shawarma Wrap Recipe
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 Wraps 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 Minutes 1 Hour
Servings Prep Time
6 Wraps 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 Minutes 1 Hour
Ingredients
Servings: Wraps
Instructions
  1. Directions for Marinade: Place all ingredients in a large ziplock bag
  2. Seal bag and knead until it's well blended - break up any clumps of corn starch that may form so that it mixes in with the oil and spices. You should end up with a cloudy thick liquid.
  3. Trim extra fat off the edges of the short ribs
  4. Place beef in to ziplock bag, seal bag, and knead bag so that the meat is covered with marinade on all sides.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour; up to overnight. Turn bag occasionally to evenly distribute marinade. The longer it marinates in the oven the more flavorful the meat will be.
  6. Cooking and assembling directions: Place meat on an ungreased baking sheet.
  7. Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes
  8. Remove from baking sheet and slice into thin strips
  9. Heat some olive oil in large pan
  10. Add sliced meat into hot oil and saute - DO NOT SKIP this step, it's what gives it the finish like it was roasted on a spit.
  11. If you feel you the meat needs more spices you can sprinkle more of the above spices as you saute. I usually sprinkle a bit more garlic powder, cinnamon, cumin, and nutmeg at this stage.
  12. Spread one side of bread with hummus
  13. Layer on meat, pickles, and other veggies you prefer
  14. Fold sides over the filling and serve
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HOMEMADE FRESH SALSA

HOMEMADE FRESH SALSA

It’s Taco Tuesday and at my house that calls for a batch of Homemade Fresh Salsa. I know there are lots of bottled salsa out there, but seriously? Bottled salsa can’t compare to homemade!

In my husband’s family there’s a serious Salsa recipe competition! Each of my in-laws guard their “secret” salsa recipe; and each one claiming boasting rights to the best Salsa in town. Having tried their salsas I must admit the male darned good salsa! Who has the best, that’s hard to say without offending anyone!

Now having watched them make their salsa over the years I’ve been able to piece together my own version that of course is just as good!

Making homemade salsa isn’t very hard it just takes a bit of time and effort, but the end result is so worth it!

I usually mix up enough to fill 2 quart size Mason jars. This will keep in the fridge about a week or so, not that we have it for that long. We love using it on tacos, nachos, and even in fresh pita bread. It’s seriously that delish!

So here’s how to make Fresh Salsa, try it and you’ll never buy another bottle of it again!

====================================================================================================

HOMEMADE FRESH SALSA
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HOMEMADE FRESH SALSA
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Instructions
  1. Grill onions, garlic, and jalapeños on grill or roast in oven until soft and cooked.
  2. Chop cooked onions, garlic, and jalapeños.
  3. Chop fresh Cilantro.
  4. Place diced tomatoes in a blender and pulse a few times. You don’t want it puréed just slightly chopped so it’s still chunky.
  5. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and still well.
  6. Serve right away or store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
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