Chocolate Covered Strawberry Dip

Grab a graham cracker and enjoy my dessert dip made with seasonal strawberries, melted chocolate and neufchâtel cream cheese. This pretty pink dish would be an excellent addition to your Easter dessert table or baby shower spread. Planning a gender reveal party? Make a blue version with blueberries and white chocolate chips. Whether you’re serving it at a get-together or snacking at home, you’ll have a tasty treat ready in less than 10 minutes.

Ingredients:
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 ounces neufchâtel cream cheese
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 pint strawberries, divided
Graham crackers for serving

Directions:

  1. Melt chocolate in a small sauce pan over low heat. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade add cream cheese and powdered sugar. Puree until smooth.
  3. Remove stems and hulls from strawberries. Slice ⅔ of strawberries and finely chop ⅓ of the pint. Add the sliced strawberries and melted chocolate to the cream cheese mixture and puree until smooth.
  4. Place mixture in a serving bowl and top with finely chopped strawberries. Serve with graham crackers.

Bourbon Baked Apples with Creamy Peanut Butter

Are you craving dessert, but you made a New Year’s resolution to eat healthy? Dessert does not have to be off limits. Instead of depriving yourself, select recipes made with nutritious ingredients like this dish with fresh apples, protein-packed peanut butter and non-fat Greek yogurt. Cheers to a healthy year filled with delicious and nutritious sweet treats.

Ingredients:
3 apples, such as Braeburn
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons peanut butter
½ cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon skim milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a baking dish.
  2. Core and slice apples, leaving the skin on, and place in prepared baking dish. Drizzle apples with maple syrup and bourbon, and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss with a spatula to evenly coat and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until apples are tender.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or medium bowl with a handheld mixer, combine peanut butter, Greek yogurt, honey, vanilla and milk. Mix until creamy and smooth.
  4. Serve apples with a dollop of creamy peanut butter.

Servings: 6

Tripple Chocolate No-Bake Christmas Cookies

If you are craving Christmas cookies and do not have time to bake this holiday season, you are in luck. With three types of chocolate, oats and peanut butter, this is my wreath-shaped-take on the classic no-bake cookie. Throw together this simple recipe and let it chill, while you finish decorating your Christmas tree, and you will be ready to relax with your cookie, a glass of milk and a Hallmark movie.

I once lived in a tiny apartment in Manhattan without a stove. I had the strongest desire to bake cookies during the Christmas season, so I purchased a hot plate and made no-bake cookies to satisfy my sweet tooth. Now these cookies always remind me of the magnificent Christmas decor New York City has to offer, much like the enchanted towns in Hallmark holiday movies.

Ingredients:
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup milk
½ cup chunky peanut butter
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup dark chocolate baking chunks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add brown sugar, milk, peanut butter, coconut oil and cocoa powder. Bring to a boil, stirring until melted and smooth.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in oats, vanilla and salt. Gently fold in chocolate chunks.
  4. Scoop around ¼ cup of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet using an ice cream scoop. With a small spoon, scoop out the center portion and add it back to the bowl of cookie dough. Use your hands to gently press the cookie into wreath shapes.
  5. Place white chocolate chips in a small saucepan set to medium-low heat. Melt the chocolate, stirring frequently. Slowly drizzle white chocolate over the cookies, creating decorative stripes.
  6. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 30 minutes until cookies are chilled and firm. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Servings: 12 (1 cookie)

Sorghum Roasted Acorn Squash

Roasted acorn squash, drizzled with sorghum enhances the flavor of this sweet vegetable. Top it off with a quick sorghum yogurt that turns tangy plain yogurt into a candy-like cream. This versatile dish goes well as a side, desert, snack or breakfast.

While sorghum is widely available in the southern United States, other readers may not have access. Honey or molasses are good substitutes, but sorghum has a luscious sweetness that is crave worthy. When enjoying this dish, go ahead and eat the skin. Roasting the squash will leave you with a tender green exterior that is edible and nutritious.

Roasted Acorn Squash Ingredients:
2 small acorn squash, quartered and seeded
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons sorghum

Sorghum Yogurt Ingredients:
1 (17.6 ounce) container plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons sorghum

Toppings:
Toasted Pecans
Cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place squash wedges, skin side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Sprinkle with salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  2. Cut butter into 8 small pieces and place one in the center of each squash wedge. Drizzle equally with sorghum. Roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 40 to 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine yogurt and sorghum in a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Chill until ready to serve.
  4. Remove squash from oven and serve with a dollop of sorghum yogurt, toasted pecans and a dash of cinnamon.

Servings: 8

Pink Lemonade Blueberry Pizza

Named after their color, pink lemonade blueberries are as beautiful as they are delicious. They taste like traditional blueberries with a hint of lemon flavor. I amped up the sour tones by adding lemon juice and zest for a sweet and tangy dessert pizza with a nutty almond crust. This is a great recipe for a summer party, served with refreshing glasses of pink lemonade. If you cannot find pink lemonade blueberries, just use regular blueberries or your favorite seasonal berries.

Ingredients:
1½ cups almond flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 egg
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4.4 ounces pink lemonade blueberries
honey for drizzling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir almond flour, salt and baking soda together in a medium bowl. Add canola oil and egg and mix with an electric mixer to combine well. Form into a ball of dough.
  2. Lightly grease a pizza pan and place ball of dough on top. With your hands, gently flatten the dough to form a small disc. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to form a thin round crust, about ¼ inch thick. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly brown.
  3. Meanwhile, combine cream cheese and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Zest entire lemon and add to bowl. Cut the lemon in half, remove seeds and juice one half into bowl, adding about two teaspoons of juice. Mix together to create a lemon cheese spread.
  4. Remove pizza crust from oven and top with lemon cheese spread. If dough is warm, dip knife in hot water occasionally to help spread evenly. Top with pink lemonade blueberries and drizzle with desired amount of honey. Serve immediately.

Servings: 8

Bourbon Apple Pie Ice Cream Drink

What better way to stay cool this summer than with an ice cream dessert drink, and this one is served in true Kentucky style with a splash of bourbon. In the dairy state, Wisconsin locals love their ice cream, and alcoholic ice cream drinks like the Grasshopper, Golden Cadillac and Pink Squirrel are popular after-dinner beverages. This is my version of a dessert drink that incorporates good old American apple pie and vanilla ice cream with Kentucky’s favorite beverage — bourbon. Cheers to celebrating National Ice Cream Day.

Ingredients:
¾ cup apple pie filling (preferably homemade)
4 ounces bourbon
2½ cups ice cream
2 cups ice
cinnamon

Directions:

  1. In a blender, add apple pie filling, bourbon, ice cream and ice. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Pour into four glasses, sprinkle with cinnamon and serve.

Note: I use homemade, canned pie filling with locally grown apples. You could also make this with seasonal berry pie or cobbler filling in place of the apple. You can also leave out the bourbon for a kid-friendly version.

Servings: 4

Sweet and Spicy Fruit Salad

The inspiration for this recipe came from a strawberry jalapeño jam, which is my new food obsession. The combination of sweet strawberries with a slight peppery heat is a perfect pairing that will delight your taste buds. I added a little citrus to my new favorite duo for a unique take on fruit salad that’s tangy, sweet and spicy all in one bite.

This is a wonderful use for spring strawberries and makes a simple but unique side dish or dessert. Pair it with grilled fish or chicken and fresh asparagus for a fast and delicious homemade meal, or liven up your next potluck with this sweet and spicy treat.

Ingredients:
1 pound strawberries
1 grapefruit
1 navel orange
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons candied jalapeno pepper slices, diced

Directions:
1. Remove stems from strawberries and cut into quarters.
2. Peel and roughly chop grapefruit and orange, removing any seeds.
3. In a large bowl, combine strawberries, grapefruit and orange and drizzle with honey. Add candied jalapeño pepper and gently toss to combine.

Note: You can use hot and sweet jalapeño slices in place of the candied jalapeño peppers or pickled jalapeños plus an extra 1 tablespoon of honey.