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  1. Tuesday, February 11

    Cream Cheese and Banana Stuffed French Toast

    I’m kind of in love with French toast. And I think the love might be genetic because Cate is equally obsessed with it, too. Which is why it’s surprising that with this deep abiding devotion, I’ve never made stuffed French toast before. Crispy French toast? Check. Baked French toast? Check again. Begging for delicious French toast recipes from all of you? Triple check! But for some reason I’ve never ventured into the world of stuffed French toast…until now.

    cream cheese and banana stuffed french toast from @janemaynard

    A few months ago we met my sister in Dana Point for breakfast. I ordered cream cheese-stuffed French toast because, well, who wouldn’t? And, in all honesty, I was supremely disappointed with what came to the table. I was expecting a cream cheese filling but got slabs of straight-up cream cheese. I was expecting magically stuffed bread but got two slices of French toast lying on top of each other with the aforementioned cream cheese just sitting in the middle. The dish did not at all live up to my expectations. This weekend I finally decided to make what I had envisioned a reality. (Yes, I have French toast visions. I told you it was serious.)

    cream cheese and banana stuffed french toast from @janemaynard

    My homemade version was everything I imagined the restaurant version should have been. The right amount of sweet, the right amount of gooey, the right amount of cheesy. Nate really liked it, which is saying something because he does not in fact love French toast the way I do. (Never has the case of “opposites attract” been more true than with Nate and I!) Cate of course loved the stuffed French toast just as much as I did.

    This stuffed French toast recipe was inspired by the Banana Cream Cheese Pie from the Dodo in Salt Lake City. Side note: I have been trying to recreate that pie at home but I’m finding it’s nearly impossible. I know some of you have been waiting for that recipe to appear on the blog but it may never happen, which is tragedy of epic proportions. While I may not be able to get the pie perfected, at least I can enjoy it in breakfast form!

    cream cheese and banana stuffed french toast from @janemaynard

    I had leftover cream cheese frosting from when we made the chocolate heart sandwich cookies last week. I just used that for the filling and it was perfect! You could also simply let cream cheese soften to room temperature and mix in a bit of powdered sugar, vanilla extract and, if needed, a bit of milk to make it easier to mix up. Just add sugar to taste. You don’t want it to be too sugary, but you also want some sweetness involved.

    (>> Find out more…)


  2. Wednesday, September 18

    Chimento Chicken, a.k.a. Chicken Croissants

    I have had a recipe for ‘chicken croissants’ archived on my site since the very beginning but have never actually written about it, which is a crying shame because it is delectable. Plus, it’s time I actually wrote the recipe out with solid directions rather than vague descriptions. So, today, chicken croissants!

    chicken croissants | thisweekfordinner.com

    First, a bit about the name of this recipe. Years ago our friends with the last name Chimento ate dinner at my parent’s house and raved over this recipe. From then on, our family fondly called this recipe “Chimento Chicken.” The original name is chicken croissants, which is a bit more descriptive. When I presented both names to my girls yesterday, they voted for Chimento Chicken. I must admit, it has a nice ring to it. Chimento Chicken it is!

    chicken croissants phyllo 1 | thisweekfordinner.com

    chicken croissants phyllo | thisweekfordinner.com

    chicken croissants phyllo | thisweekfordinner.com

    There are two ways to make Chimento Chicken: using phyllo dough or using quick crescent rolls. In terms of taste, using phyllo is heavenly and I much prefer it. Nate disagreed and said both phyllo and crescent rolls are equally as tasty, although he did admit the phyllo is a lot prettier. Despite Nate saying both versions are just as good, I just love the crispy, clean butter taste of the phyllo version. Crescent rolls are good, but, you know, they taste like crescent rolls and have just a bit more flavor. BUT, that all said, if you use crescent rolls, it is still mighty delicious! And crescent rolls are SUPER easy. I mean, there’s cream cheese no matter what dough you’re using so take your pick!

    chicken croissants crescents | thisweekfordinner.com

    chicken croissants crescents | thisweekfordinner.com

    Also, don’t be scared of trying the phyllo. I once made this recipe for 100 people and had 10 college-aged kids help me put the phyllo triangles together. If we could do it factory style in a terrible kitchen, you can tackle this!

    chicken croissants | thisweekfordinner.com

    Chimento Chicken, aka Chicken Croissants
    – 1/4 of a large onion, chopped (feel free to add more onion if you like more onion flavor)
    – 1 package fresh mushrooms, chopped
    – 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
    – 1 chicken breast, cooked and cut into pieces
    – 1/2 tsp. salt
    – 1/4 tsp. pepper
    – Pillsbury (or equivalent) refrigerated crescent rolls (2 packages of 8) OR Phyllo dough (in the freezer section at the store)
    – 6 tablespoons butter (only if using phyllo)
    – 1 cup chicken broth, cooled
    – 1 tablespoon butter
    – 1 tablespoon flour

    You can just use a boneless, skinless chicken breast. However, if you’re feeling resourceful: I like to buy a package of 2 chicken breast WITH bones and skin, cover breasts in a big pot with water, boil until cooked through, and then use one of the breasts plus 1 cup of the broth for this recipe and use the other chicken breast and the rest of the broth for chicken soup.

    Sauté the onion in a bit of olive oil over medium heat for a few minutes. Add the chopped mushrooms and sauté until cooked through. Remove from heat.

    Mix together onions, mushrooms, cream cheese, chicken breast, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

    If using crescent rolls:

    • Lay out crescent roll triangles. Plop about 1/8 cup of filling onto the wide end (divide the filling evenly between the 16 rolls), then roll up the crescent roll starting at the wide end, sort of tucking the ends around the filling once it’s rolled up. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet in a 375 degree F oven until dark golden brown, 10-20 minutes.

    | thisweekfordinner.com
    If using phyllo dough:

    • Defrost phyllo in fridge overnight or at room temperature for about 5 hours. Keep in packaging until ready to use.
    • Melt 6 T. butter and have it ready with a pastry brush.
    • Lay out a large piece of waxed paper or parchment paper on your counter.
    • Dampen a clean dish towel. Unwrap dough from packaging and unroll, setting to the side, placing damp towel on top.
    • Your phyllo will come in sheets  about 12″ x 16″. You will cut those sheets into 4″ x 16″ strips. You will need 20 of those strips total. Once cut, replace under damp towel. (Roll up and wrap in plastic wrap any remaining phyllo dough and keep refrigerated for up to 10 days.)
    • Remove one 4″ x 16″ sheet from the pile, re-cover pile with damp towel, place single sheet on waxed paper/parchment paper on the counter. Brush on butter, starting at one end, holding that end with one hand and brushing away from the hand holding the sheet down, covering entire sheet with a thin layer of butter. Add a second sheet and repeat process. The phyllo can break easily but don’t stress. It will all work out! Just be gentle but don’t be too stressed about it.
    • Place appx. 1/4 cup of the filling on one end, in a triangle shape. Fold like a flag from the stuffed end all the way down, ending with a triangle stuffed with filling. This website has an excellent set of photos to illustrate the stuffing and folding process. Click here to see! Repeat to make 10 stuffed triangles.
    • Place triangles on a Silpat- or parchment paper-lined cooke sheet. Brush tops with butter.
    • Bake in a 350 F oven until dark golden, about 20 minutes or so.

    chicken croissants prepped phyllo | thisweekfordinner.com
    To make the gravy:

    • Melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon floor and whisk well. Let cook for about 5-10 minutes, whisking fairly regularly. Add cold chicken broth to roux and bring to a simmer. Simmer about 5 minutes, remove from heat. Gravy will thicken a bit as it cools.

    Makes 16 stuffed crescent rolls or 10  stuffed phyllo triangles. Serve with gravy.

    chicken croissants | thisweekfordinner.com


  3. Friday, September 23

    Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies…and an ‘Equal Opportunity Cookie’ Call for Recipes

    Sorry I disappeared. No baby. Just Cate and her broken arm. She had surgery on Tuesday and is doing very well…today was her first day back at school, where she was welcomed by applause and many interested friends who were very happy to see her. Between her doctor’s appointments and mine this week, I’m plum worn out! The baby should be coming this weekend, so stay tuned for an announcement!

    All this nuttiness had me craving baked goods. I had seen a recipe for cream cheese chocolate chip cookies on Pinterest recently and decided to give them a whirl last night. When I sat down and read the recipe, I realized it was an adapted recipe by a mom who’s son has an egg allergy. The cream cheese was serving as an egg substitute in the recipe. I can eat eggs, so I was just going to throw an egg in there, but I decided to be courageous and give it a try.

    I dug around the web, found a few similar recipes and ended up going with this recipe from a blog called Art of Dessert. The verdict? The flavor is great, but it took some tweaking to get the texture right. I cooked the first batch right after making the dough. Combine that with not cooking them quite long enough at 325 degrees and they were super flat and sort of gooey. After letting the dough sit in the fridge overnight, things improved greatly. I highly recommend cooking the cookies after the dough has been refrigerated at least overnight. I also cooked them longer and at a higher temperature. The shape and texture came out much better. Once I got it figured out, the cookies were fab! Definitely a great eggless chocolate chip cookie recipe!

    Yes, these two cookies came from the same dough! Left: Unrefrigerated dough, not cooked long enough. Right: Refrigerated dough, cooked at the right time and temperature. 

    In the spirit of ‘Equal Opportunity Cookies’ everywhere, I thought it would be fun to do a special Call for Recipes today. The theme? Cookies for people with special food considerations! Please share your best vegan, gluten-free, eggless and/or allergy-friendly cookie recipes!

    Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies...and an 'Equal Opportunity Cookie' Call for Recipes
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup butter or margarine, at room temperature
    • ¾ cup sugar
    • ¾ cup brown sugar
    • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
    Instructions
    1. Directions (rewritten a bit by Jane):
    2. Preheat oven to 375ºF (Jane note: my batch that came out was cooked at 350 degrees in a convection oven).
    3. Cream together butter and sugars in a mixer – beat until light and fluffy. Add cream cheese and vanilla – mix well. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt then gradually blend dry mixture into butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.
    4. Drop heaping tablespoons (Jane note: I used my medium scoop, which is 2 Tablespoons) onto ungreased cookie sheets (Jane note: I cooked mine on my Silpat) about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375ºF for 9 to 11 minutes, or until golden brown (Jane note: I cooked mine at 350 degrees F in a convection oven for about 10 minutes).


  4. Friday, November 12

    Cooking with Kids…and a Recipe for Cream Cheese Fudge

    Each week Cate, my kindergartener, gets to choose a book at the school library. This week she picked a cookbook, which I thought was really sweet. We sat down, picked out a recipe (a very tasty fudge recipe that I’ll share below), gathered our ingredients and got to work! After a few moments of me getting frustrated because Cate wouldn’t listen, we finally settled into a groove and had fun. And I had her cut the fudge into pieces and display them on a plate. She really had fun and was very proud of her hard work!

    I have to confess something. Cooking with kids is not the easiest thing in the world for me. I try to be patient, and we usually settle into a groove…but incorporating my children into my cooking just doesn’t come naturally to me. But I want it to! I think it’s important for children to have positive experiences in the kitchen and to develop cooking skills that will serve them their entire lives. Plus, it’s supposed to be fun! SOOOO….

    Does anyone have any tips for cooking with kids? I want to hear them! I’m sure some of you out there do a great job cooking with kids, while others may be more like me and struggle with it. For those of you who do have it figured out, I’m hoping some of your magic can rub off on the rest of us. Please share your tips!

    Oh, and before I forget, the fudge recipe. YUM.

    Cooking with Kids...and a Recipe for Cream Cheese Fudge
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • ½ cup full-fat cream cheese
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 level tablespoon cocoa powder
    • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chipps
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 8-inch square baking pan and wax paper
    Instructions
    1. Lay the cake pan on a sheet of wax paper and draw around it. Then cut out the square just inside the line.
    2. Butter the bottom and sides of the pan (or you can use cooking oil). Press the paper into the bottom of the pan then butter the top of the paper.
    3. Put softened cream cheese into a bowl. Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa through a sieve into the bowl. Mix everything well (we used our beaters).
    4. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture.
    5. Pour the chocolate mixture into the cream cheese mixture and stir until well mixed and creamy. Spread in the pan and smooth the top with a spoon. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until the fudge is firm.
    6. Loosen the edges of the fudge then turn it out onto a cutting board and remove the wax paper.
    7. Cut the fudge into 36 squares. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate 2 more hours. EAT!


  5. Thursday, April 8

    Chocolate Cake with Raspberry White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

    As good as the cake I shared with you yesterday was (and it was mighty good), I simply could not resist pairing that heavenly white chocolate cream cheese frosting with some real chocolate. And since two cakes are certainly better than one, only a week after I made the raspberry cake I went ahead and threw this puppy together. I used the recipe that my friend Lindsay uses for her chocolate ganache cake and it worked beautifully.

    raspberry cake chocolate uncut web

    The frosting tasted just as good on this chocolate cake as it did on the raspberry cake. The subtle flavor of raspberry in the frosting complemented the richness of this classic chocolate cake very nicely. I can’t decide which cake I liked better.  Nate voted for the raspberry cake, although he had to really think about it. The jury’s still out for me. What I do know is I need to stop making cakes pronto. This is downright reckless behavior!

    raspberry cake chocolate real web

    Chocolate Cake
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • ¾ cup boiling water
    • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
    • 1 teaspoon instant-espresso powder (I didn’t have any on hand, so I left it out – I’m certain it would deepen the chocolate flavor, though…so if you’ve got it, use it!)
    • ½ cup whole milk (I only had 2% milk, and things worked out just fine)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1¼ teaspoons baking soda
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
    • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
    • 4 large eggs
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 3 (7- or 8-inch, 2-inch-deep) round cake pans and line bottoms with rounds of wax or parchment paper. Butter paper and dust pans with flour, knocking out excess. (My oven is too small to bake three cakes at once, plus I don’t have three of any one size. I used 2 9-inch cake pans.)
    2. Whisk together water, cocoa, and espresso powder until smooth, then whisk in milk and vanilla.
    3. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.
    4. Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy, then add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and cocoa mixture in batches, beginning and ending with flour and mixing at low speed until just combined. (This batter is TASTY. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
    5. Divide batter among pans (about 2⅓ cups per pan for 3 pans), smoothing tops. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes for 7-inch pans or 20 to 25 minutes for 8-inch. Cool in pans on a rack 30 minutes, then invert onto racks, remove paper, and cool completely.

    Raspberry White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 6 ounces white chocolate (melt as directed on package, then cool 5 mins)
    • 8 ounces cream cheese
    • ¼ cup butter (softened)
    • 2 teaspoons raspberry extract (I’m thinking of leaving this out sometime to use with other cakes/rolls/etc)
    • 2 cup confectioners sugar
    Instructions
    1. Beat cream cheese and buter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium (I used my KitchenAid) until well blended. Add cooled white chocolate and raspberry extract. Mix well. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy (I let the KitchenAid go for several minutes and the frosting truly got light and fluffy).


  6. Wednesday, April 7

    White Chocolate Raspberry Cake

    A few months ago, my friend Rachel’s babysitter, Maria, made a cake for Rachel’s birthday. I couldn’t stay for the whole party, so Rachel sent me home with a generous amount of cake (that’s a good friend, eh?). The cake was white, the frosting was white…I knew it would be good, but I wasn’t that excited since there was no chocolate involved. Then we ate the cake. Oh. My. Goodness. It was wonderful, and the frosting was amazing…and completely mysterious. We couldn’t quite figure out what it was made of.  As soon as we finished our cake, I emailed Rachel asking her to beg Maria for the recipe.

    raspberry white chocolate cake web

    Thankfully Maria likes to share. Below is the recipe for the most wonderful White Chocolate Raspberry Cake this side of anywhere. I hope you love it as much as I do. (Sorry, no picture of a cut slice…we had friends over that night to enjoy this cake with us and the whole thing was gone by the end of the evening, no joke!)

    P.S. – I will have a follow-up cake recipe tomorrow. You won’t want to miss that one either.

    White Chocolate Raspberry Cake
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 3 oz White chocolate; chopped
    • ¾ cup Milk; divided
    • 1¾ cup All-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp Baking powder
    • ¼ teaspoon Salt
    • ⅓ cup Butter; at room temperature
    • 1 cup Granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon Raspberry Extract
    • 4 Eggs
    • White Chocolate and Cream Cheese Frosting {Recipe Follows}
    • ⅛ tsp Red Food Color
    • 1 cup Raspberries
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8- or 9-inch round baking pans.
    2. Melt white chocolate with about half of the milk in a small, heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly until chocolate starts to melt. Remove from heat; stir until smooth. Stir in remaining milk. Let cool.
    3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl; set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat butter with electric mixer until soft and smooth. Add sugar and raspberry extract; beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until well-combined. Alternately add flour mixture and white chocolate mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.
    4. Jane Note: Several people have commented that their cake did not rise when using this recipe. This recipe has worked for me and for the woman who gave me the recipe, as well as for other commenters. Cakes are sensitive in terms of the mixing process and, when not mixed properly, can collapse when cooking. Butter and sugar should be well mixed, eggs semi-mixed, and flour barely mixed at all. I would recommend the following technique when mixing in the ingredients in the above paragraph. Beat the butter for 30 seconds alone on medium-high speed. Add sugar, ¼ cup at a time, beating for 3 minutes between each addition, at medium-high speed. Add eggs one at a time, beating at medium speed for 30 seconds after each egg. When adding the flour and chocolate mixtures (alternating as directed), beat on low speed and mix until just combined. Beat for 10-20 seconds at medium-high speed at the end for one final mix. Following this technique should increase the chances that your cake will NOT collapse in the oven.
    5. Spread batter in pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cake tests done. Let cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool completely.
    6. Stir food color into ⅔ cup of the frosting until well blended (I actually didn't do this part...I just kept all the icing white, mostly because I didn't read the recipe carefully 😉 ). Place 1 cake layer on serving plate. Spread with the tinted frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Frost top and side of cake with remaining frosting. Top with raspberries just before serving. Store cake in the refrigerator.

    White Chocolate and Cream Cheese Frosting
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 6 oz white chocolate (melt as directed on package, then cool 5 mins)
    • 8 oz cream cheese
    • ¼ cup butter (softened)
    • 2 tsp raspberry extract (I'm thinking of leaving this out sometime to use with other cakes/rolls/etc)
    • 2 cup confectioners sugar
    Instructions
    1. Beat cream cheese and buter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium (I used my KitchenAid) until well blended. Add cooled white chocolate and raspberry extract. Mix well. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy (I let the KitchenAid go for several minutes and the frosting truly got light and fluffy).


  7. Tuesday, November 3

    Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread

    On Halloween I thought it would be fun to have something “pumpkiny” for breakfast. While we are loving the pumpkin-pancakes, we’ve eaten them a lot lately so I needed to mix it up. Our local bagel shop was out of pumpkin bagels. Before we could feel too disappointed, a light bulb went off in my head. Pumpkin cream cheese! It was a simple recipe to whip up, and a big hit with everyone in the family. Enjoy!

    pumpkin cream cheese web

    Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread
     
    From Jane Maynard, This Week for Dinner
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
    • ¼ cup brown sugar
    • ¼ cup pumpkin puree
    • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
    Instructions
    1. Blend all ingredients together with a hand mixer. Spread on a plain bagel or equally complimentary flavored bagel.


  8. Wednesday, January 31

    Chicken Croissants

    Since posting originally posting this recipe at this URL, I have written a blot post about it, with much more thorough directions and measurements. Please click here for the full recipe!

     


  9. Crab & Cream Cheese Wontons

    Crab & Cream Cheese Wontons
     
    From Martha Stewart via Emily Wignall
    Author:
    Cuisine: Side Dish, Appetizer
    Ingredients
    • 1 6-ounce package of crab meat
    • 8 ounces cream cheese
    • ¼ red bell pepper
    • 4 water chestnuts, chopped
    • 1 garlic clove
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    • Wonton Skins
    Instructions
    1. Combine ingredients, place in wonton skins (use the directions on the package for stuffing the wontons). Fry. Serve hot.