Faux Chocolate Mousse

Have you ever felt dog tired, but wanted a sweet treat for dessert? I was not up to making a real chocolate mousse, whipping cream, beating egg whites, melting chocolate. I’m exhausted thinking of it.

I did have Neufchatel cream cheese (the 1/3 less fat kind because it’s made with only milk, not milk and cream). I always have Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder in the pantry, and thought I could make something with those two ingredients and the Cool Whip in the freezer.

Not the healthiest dessert, but not bad calorie-wise and definitely tasty.

Faux Chocolate Mousse

3 oz Neufchatel cheese, ideally at room temp (if it’s still chilly, it will become more pliable as you work the cocoa powder into it)

2 t cocoa powder (use your favorite; I use dark chocolate)

1 t vanilla extract

1 t vanilla paste

Pinch of salt

Cool Whip (I used fat-free)

Combine the first 5 ingredients; dollop Cool Whip onto chocolate-Neufchatel mixture and fold in. Use as much Cool Whip as needed to make the chocolate mixture light.

Let mixture sit in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, to let flavors meld. To serve, use an ice cream scoop to portion out into a pretty glass.

Do you have a fast go-to dessert?

Boursin Chicken and Peas with Parsley Noodles

How is it possible that January is half-way over? The holidays flew by with a whoosh of activity and a smidge of travel, and now it’s the new year.

Do you look back and see what was left undone in the old year, before adding it to the new year’s To Do list? I do, and my 2018 is looking as crazy-busy as 2017 was in some respects.

I have started saying No. No, I won’t sign up for another two-year term on a non-profit board (which would be a second consecutive stint, and my fourth two-year term overall). I term out on another non-profit board in June, right before our family vacation/reunion in Maine.

I need to write more this year than I did last year, and saying No is my strategy.

I did say Yes to Husband this morning, when he asked for Chicken Noodle. Not soup, not a stew, it’s a fast and easy dinner I can get on the table within 30 minutes after walking in the door. Today I decided to fancy it up, because he’s worth it.

Boursin Chicken and Peas with Parsley Noodles

1 pound chicken tenders, tossed in seasoned flour

1 8 oz package sliced mushrooms

1 sweet onion, diced

1/3 C chicken stock, or as needed to create sauce

Boursin cheese, garlic and herb flavor

1/2 package frozen peas

1/2 package medium egg noodles

4 T oil, divided

4 T butter, divided

Parsley (I used Garden Gourmet freeze-dried parsley)

Salt and pepper

Boil water and prepare egg noodles according to package directions. Drain the noodles and return to the pot, tossing with 2 T butter, salt and pepper, and parsley. Boom – Parsley Noodles!

While the water boils and the noodles cook, heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add coated chicken and cook for 4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove from pan (chicken won’t be cooked through – not to worry). Add oil and butter to pan and add mushrooms, let cook for 3 minutes, then add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes before adding chicken stock.

Return chicken to skillet, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Add boursin cheese and stir into stock and vegetables; add peas, cover, and cook for another 5 minutes.

Plate Parsley Noodles and top with Boursin Chicken and Peas; sprinkle parsley over all. Fast, easy, and best of all, delicious!

Goat Cheese with Raspberries

Sometimes I like to spend a few hours in the kitchen preparing a delicious meal that will be eaten in minutes, and then spend hours in the kitchen cleaning up. Mostly not, though.

I usually don’t have that kind of time. Between work, family, writing, and life in general, what I love most are a few simple ingredients with big flavor that are easy to prepare and beyond tasty.

We went to Jacksonville, FL, to see family at Christmas. My niece Nicole made this delightful appetizer that has four ingredients and amazing flavor.

Tangy, sweet, crunchy, creamy – the perfect mix of taste and texture.┬áThis is my New Year’s gift to you!

Goat Cheese with Raspberries

1 log goat cheese

1 pint raspberries

Pepitas

Honey

Place the log of goat cheese in the center of a serving dish. Surround the goat cheese with raspberries, sprinkle pepitas over the top of the goat cheese, and drizzle honey over everything.

Serve with crackers or crisp bread.

Brie with Fruit Spreads

Our annual Sausage Party is an excuse for me to try new recipes and add to the food-a-palooza that is the buffet. I make Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cream Cheese and Olives, and always something new.

I had over half of a Brie cheese leftover after making Brie & Chutney Bites, and thought about what I could do with it. Brie is a soft cheese with a mild flavor which lends itself to topping with sweet or savory flavors.

I had strawberry preserves leftover from making Mini Victoria Sponges, chutney leftover from the Brie & Chutney Bites, and fig jam in my refrigerator. A variety of flavors and colors, and presto! A new platter for the Sausage Party.

Brie with Fruit Spreads

1 round Brie, rind on

Three jams/chutneys/spreads of your choice

Crackers

I used three small parfait glasses with their small spoons to serve the fruit spreads, one each of fig jam, strawberry preserves, and Major Grey’s Chutney.

Triscuits are my cracker of choice for Cream Cheese and Olives, and they worked well with the Brie and fruit spreads too!

Fast, easy, and adjustable to the flavors you and your family prefer.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!