Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Hand Pies

Looking for a weeknight dessert? Or something to impress your better half? These hand pies (with shortcuts!) give you the indulgence and zest of a lemon-y cheesecake with the simplicity and mess-free nature of a hand pie. Give them a try – you won’t be disappointed ♥

Every year I struggle with a Valentine’s Day gift for my husband. We’ve never treated it as a “gift” holiday, but more of a thoughtful gesture day. My husband knows the way to my heart is chocolate, and I usually make something for him or get him his favorite beer – although now that he has beer on tap at work, that doesn’t feel very special anymore.

Since he loves pie, and I could do without it I decided to go the route of handheld pies for Valentine’s Day – that way he could enjoy it and I wouldn’t have half a pie left over to go to waste. These would freeze great too for a treat now and then. To be honest, they always look a little more “rustic” than I expect but I’ve learned to appreciate it because, really, look at them – you can see right into the luscious swirls of cheesecake and blueberry.

To simplify this recipe, I used store bought Pillsbury pie crust and canned pie filling. Sorry, not sorry, but I don’t feel like standing over a hot stove to make homemade pie filling when I’m 37 weeks pregnant. Maybe next time. Enjoy! Let me know what you think in the comments below ↓ or if you make them tag me on instagram @midwest.mash

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Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Hand Pies
A beautiful, rich dessert that goes beyond a typical hand pie by adding the lusciousness of lemon cheesecake
Course Dessert
Cuisine Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
pies
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Cuisine Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
pies
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl cream together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest. It will be a little bit tough to work with at first but it is best if the cream cheese is cold to start.
  3. Lay out the pie crust (you will only need one of the two in the package) on a light dusting of flour. Roll out about 1" to make the dough easier to work with.
  4. Use a circle cookie cutter of ~6" diameter to cut the dough into circles.
  5. Put 1 tsp of the cream cheese mixture and 1 tsp of pie filling on each circle. Fold the circle in half over the filling and press the edges tightly closed. Then roll up the edges for an extra seal.
  6. Place pies on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet. Cut a small slit in the top of each pie.
  7. Scramble the egg in a bowl and then egg wash the top of each pie. Sprinkle each pie with a bit of sugar, and then bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Do not be alarmed if the tops start to crack.
Recipe Notes

Since you are only using one of the two pie crusts in the package, you could double the recipe for the cream cheese mixture to make 16 instead of 8 hand pies. Otherwise, save the crust and make a yummy pot pie!

These would also be good with cherry or strawberry pie filling if you don't love blueberry ♥

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Butterscotch and Chocolate Chip Cookies (Bakery Style)

What’s the best smell in the world? Cookies baking in your oven, of course! These bakery style cookies are buttery, soft on the inside, and have just the right amount of saltiness to keep your sweet tooth in check. If you’re so lucky to get a bite with butterscotch and chocolate, it tastes like the topping on scotcheroos – yes, these cookies are pretty much everything you want a cookie to be.

If you’re still in a turkey coma like I am, the last thing you want to do is think about food, but it’s only 4 1/2 weeks until Christmas! I’m sure you’re already procrastinating about gift buying and present wrapping (raising my hand very high), so check one thing off your list and make some cookies to freeze to gift later. I’ve tried many different cookie recipes over the years, and when I found this one I honestly stopped searching for others. I tweaked the original recipe a bit because 1) I like a little bit more salt in my cookies and 2) holiday cookies need a little bit more flair, thus the addition of butterscotch chips. Also, this recipe consistently makes 40-45 cookies! Yes, almost 4 dozen! Great neighbor gifts, teacher gifts, thank the mailman gifts, or cookie swap additions.

Print Recipe
Butterscotch and Chocolate Chip Cookies (Bakery Style)
Bakery style cookies that will melt in your mouth, and with a yield of almost 4 dozen there's plenty to go around
Course Dessert
Cuisine Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12-15 minutes
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Cuisine Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12-15 minutes
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. With mixer, cream butter (at room temperature) with white and brown sugars until fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla to butter mixture and mix for 1-2 minutes on low.
  5. Gradually mix flour mixture into butter/egg mixture until all is combined.
  6. Mix in chocolate chips and butterscotch chips.
  7. Place tablespoon size balls of cookie dough (or use a standard cookie scoop) onto cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes (mine are almost always done by 12-13 minutes) until just tan around the edges. The middle will be soft but that's okay. Let cool on cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes then transfer to cooling rack or counter.
Recipe Notes

If you like your cookies less salty, you can use unsalted butter.

Keep an eye on your cookies the last 2-3 minutes, you don't want them overdone!

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Easy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Happy Spring! Let’s take a moment to forget about the < 40 degree weather and the snow that fell this morning. I’m going to look at pictures of gardens, flowers, and baby animals on Pinterest to remain in denial about the current lack of Spring outside. Are you with me? Mmmmkay.

I recently came across an interesting Instagram post about how people really just want the recipes and don’t care about your recent trip to the mountains or how your baby did the cutest thing the other day when they go to your blog page. I don’t entirely agree with that but I can see both sides. I feel like half of my readers are people who I have known forever who genuinely are interested in what is going on in my life, especially since we moved. The other half probably does just want the recipe because they came across the post on Instagram or Pinterest. That being said, I’ve decided to write recipe posts and life posts separately on bigger topics. I am still going to include personal tidbits with my recipes because that is the whole concept of my blog.  (If you would like to read my first life post – tips for traveling without your infant click on Oh Baby in the menu above or go here)

This is hands down my favorite banana bread recipe because 1- it’s easy and 2 – I have tweaked it hundreds of times and it comes out great every time. I can’t not make it with chocolate chips so if you’re not into that, sorry not sorry. I make this at least once a month and I will continue to do so because I. LOVE. IT. and I like to pretend it’s a lil’ bit healthy (notice the giant slab of butter).


Print Recipe
Easy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Have an hour to spare? Whip together this banana bread! It smells so good you'll want to trade in your candles for this bread every day.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Bread
Cook Time 50-60 minutes
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Cuisine Bread
Cook Time 50-60 minutes
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan.
  2. Smash bananas in a large bowl (I use a fork). Add melted butter and stir.
  3. Mix in the baking soda and salt. Add in the beaten egg followed by the sugar and vanilla extract.
  4. Finally, stir in the flour.
  5. Pour your batter into the loaf pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on TOP and use a butter knife to swirl the chocolate chips into the top 1/4 of the batter. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT so the chips don't sink and stick to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a butter knife comes out mostly clean. Note: a glass pan will need a few minutes longer than a metal pan.
  7. Let cool in the pan. Or eat warm with some melted butter mmmmm.
Recipe Notes

Halfway through cooling I transfer the bread to a piece of wax paper and let it cool on its side so it doesn't sink too much.

Enjoy!

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Crock Pot Pulled Pork Sliders with Spicy Feta Coleslaw

How’s everyone doing in 2018 so far? New Year’s resolutions going well? Keep at ’em, you can do it! I’ve learned that if I call them “goals” instead of “resolutions” I’m much more likely to succeed. There’s just something about being able to check off a goal as completed that makes me feel like the “throwing money in the air” meme. I’ve also started semi-bullet journaling this year – I call it semi because let’s be honest, I will never be as talented or artistic as the examples you see on Pinterest. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it. Seriously, it’s impressive) So far it has been helpful, and not just for my yearly goals but for keeping track of how often you do certain things. For example, I’m trying to keep track of how often I change my contacts – if you’re an optometrist please don’t get mad – but I’m pretty sure I have been wearing this pair for > 6 months. No wonder I never run out.

On another note, how about that Superbowl? In full transparency, I didn’t watch much of it because we had some friends over who brought their 9 month old, and I spent most of my time trying to keep my kid from using his friend’s foot as a chew toy. What do I even do with a 7 month old who has 6 teeth? All of my pre-baby reading about “what to expect your first year” did not prepare me for this stage this early.

Speaking of biting and chewing, I made this amazing pulled pork for the big game, and it totally turned out better than I expected. I was literally eating it by the forkfuls cold this morning. The spicy coleslaw paired so well with it too. If you aren’t into breaking out of the traditional coleslaw mold, your good old-fashioned picnic slaw would be great also!

Just a little PSA prior to giving you the recipe: if you have time to toast your buns – do it. Buttery toasted Hawaiian rolls + saucy pulled pork + crisp, spicy slaw = Par-tay! You won’t regret it.

Print Recipe
Crock Pot Pulled Pork Sliders with Spicy Feta Coleslaw
Tender, juicy pulled pork (that's also very versatile and freezer friendly) paired with crunchy spicy slaw will leave you wanting to make this every week
Cuisine Sandwiches
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8-9 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Crock Pot Pulled Pork
Spicy Feta Coleslaw
Cuisine Sandwiches
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8-9 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Crock Pot Pulled Pork
Spicy Feta Coleslaw
Instructions
  1. Thaw pork and trim of excess fat.
  2. Slice onion and place in bottom of Crock Pot (I used a 6 qt).
  3. Place roast on top of onion and pour 1/2 can pop over the meat.
  4. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or until cooked through.
  5. Remove meat from Crock Pot and shred. Remove all but 3/4-1 cup of liquid from Crock Pot and return shredded meat to it. Pour desired amount of BBQ sauce in, and mix well.
  6. Cook on low for an additional 1-2 hours.
Coleslaw
  1. In a bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, sugar, and seasonings. TASTE it at this point and adjust the seasoning for your dressing as desired!
  2. Pour dressing over coleslaw mix and mix together. Fold in feta cheese. Let your coleslaw rest in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes to combine the flavors.
  3. To serve your sandwiches: bun + meat + coleslaw! Done!
Recipe Notes

This pulled pork is also wonderful on its own, on nachos, on pizza, etc! It is freezer friendly with appropriate storage in a container or Ziploc bag. I really wish I would've made this to throw in the freezer before my son was born!

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Chewy Molasses Cookies

There is nothing that will make your house smell more like the holidays than molasses cookies. Something about that cinnamon, ginger, and cloves makes you want to sing Jingle Bells.

Every year I swear I am going to start my shopping early, make cookies and freeze them, and wrap presents while the babe is sleeping. All I can say is oopsSigh. I think I secretly get an adrenaline rush from approaching the Christmas deadline in a scramble. I still have 5 treats on my list to make before Christmas, BUT my shopping is done! Hallelujah! I attempted wrapping presents in the middle of the afternoon yesterday and this is what happened: the baby decided to roll circles around the room to make his way over to tear wrapping paper and eat cardboard boxes while the dog followed him to lick up drool; the cat secretly sat in the corner and chewed on ribbon as I yelled at her every couple of minutes; in the meantime, I cut pieces of wrapping paper too small for the packages I was wrapping and had to do major patch work. Is R too young for me to blame bad wrapping on him? Ugh, probably. Sorry family!

Please enjoy these molasses cookies. I adapted a recipe from Taste of Home to adjust the spices, and my husband now swears by these cookies. I will be the first to admit that I kind of despise molasses cookies – they would rank around #162 on my “Cookies I Would Choose to Eat” list, but in all honesty – I had a couple of these and I would eat them again. I promised the husband I would make one treat a week if we both started working out at least 2 days a week (bribery will get you everywhere), and this is what he chose! I’m making Scotcheroo Bites for my choice next week mmhmm.

Print Recipe
Chewy Molasses Cookies
Spicy, fragrant holiday favorite. Yummy!
Course Dessert
Cook Time 13-15 minutes
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Cook Time 13-15 minutes
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. With stand or hand mixer: cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in eggs and molasses until combined.
  4. Combine the dry ingredients and then gradually incorporate into wet mixture.
  5. Shape into ping pong size balls (or use a cookie scoop) and roll into sugar. Place on baking sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes or until top just starts to show cracks. Cool on cooling rack.
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Greek Salad with Lemon Oregano Vinaigrette

I feel like since having a baby my daily/weekly/monthly goals that I set for myself have become a wee bit simple. It went from “I’m going to meal plan, meal prep, work out 3 days, and write a blog post this week” to “I am going to shower today” and “I am not going to eat cereal for supper…again”. Since I am 13 weeks postpartum I think it’s time to eat consistent, well-rounded meals, and actually make an effort to get my daily servings of fruits and veggies. Sigh. Don’t get me wrong, I have been trying to eat healthy since I’ve been breastfeeding, but now that my little man is getting bigger, he requires more milk, so I need to start eating more, quit skipping meals, and make sure that the calories I do put in are for the most part healthy. (It all sounds sooo easy, doesn’t it?!)

It’s unfortunate that summer is gone because that means less fresh produce, but thankfully we live in an area of Colorado that has great grocery store variety and large produce sections. This simple Greek salad is a wonderful way to get veggies in (and some feta cheese).  Speaking of which, I love feta cheese. I don’t know how this started. Where I grew up, we were more of a meat and potatoes crowd, and I don’t even think I knew what feta was until I went to Europe, had a gyro, and knew this cheese and I would be BFFs. I think I just wrote an ode to feta, but it deserves it.

If you haven’t tried making homemade dressings, you should start now. I was always intimidated by it, but it is truly very simple, especially vinaigrettes: oil + something acidic (i.e. citrus juice or vinegar) + any other herbs or flavors you want. Oregano gives this one a little punch, and it is a traditional Greek flavor. (Plus I added some sugar to balance using two acids)

P.S. Try the vinaigrette on a lettuce salad or pasta salad. Yum. 

Print Recipe
Greek Salad with Lemon Oregano Vinaigrette
Quick salad full of veggies with a simple dressing with multiple uses!
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Passive Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Salad
Lemon Oregano Vinaigrette
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Passive Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Salad
Lemon Oregano Vinaigrette
Instructions
  1. Chop all of the vegetables and put into a medium sized bowl.
  2. Put dressing ingredients into a bowl or jar (jar works better if you are saving some for later) and stir until combined.
  3. Pour the dressing over the vegetables. Cover the salad and let marinate in the refrigerator for 10 minutes (you can skip this step if you are in a hurry).
  4. Remove from the refrigerator, and add the feta cheese. Give it a quick stir to combine, and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

This amount of dressing would make double the salad, so I would start with only using half and add more if you need it. You can change the amounts in the salad to suit your needs! It would also be good with kalamata olives added.

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to share, like, pin. Follow me on instagram (see feed below) or pinterest!

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Peanut Butter Banana Muffins with Chocolate Chips

Sorry for the week long hiatus! I really have no wonderful reason behind it besides being on the job search and to be quite honest, not feeling the inspiration bug for recipes last week. Sometimes you just don’t feel it. I did try out a few recipes last week though that weren’t blog worthy, but definitely will be in the future with a little tweaking (coming soon: Mexican fried rice and Thai peanut noodles).

My husband and I made our first trip back to the Midwest this last weekend to celebrate our niece’s second birthday. She had sooo much fun, and it’s awesome to see them get excited about every little thing. She got this My Little Pony – the purple one – and apparently it can fly on the TV show so she went around throwing it up in the air. Haha, it was ridiculously cute.  We had a great time, but coming back to Boulder made me realize that Colorado is kind of starting to feel like home as bittersweet as that is.

When we got back to our apartment, I looked at my counter and saw 4 mushy, brown bananas which might gross some people out but to me it screamed “time for something bread-y”! Usually banana bread it my go-to but this time I was feeling something a little different, and I was craving peanut butter. MMMM, you really can’t go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter. Plus you get to pretend these are healthy because they have bananas in them.

 

Print Recipe
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Muffins
Moist, delicious breakfast on the go treat
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
muffins
Ingredients
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
muffins
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Peel and mash the ripened bananas
  2. Mix egg, butter, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla with the bananas.
  3. Add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt with the flour. Slowly add to banana mixture.
  4. Add in chocolate chips.
  5. Scoop into muffin pan lined with baking cups. Fill until 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool and enjoy!
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French Dip (Serve on Buns)

Happy Tuesday everyone! We survived Monday, and now that it is over I can say that it wasn’t that bad after all. Before I jump into the details behind the mouth watering pictures below, I’ll give you the short and sweet version of the how and why of Midwest Mash.

Colorado newbie and Iowa native. Those are the basics. My husband got his dream job out here in Boulder so we jumped ship from West Des Moines and planted roots here in the beautiful foothills about a month ago. We also recently got married on May 21, so we have had a wild ride the past few months – wedding, honeymoon (Turks and Caicos – I highly recommend), job quitting, job getting, selling house, sleeping on air mattresses, and fitting 1700 sq ft of crap totally necessary things into a 2 bedroom apartment.  I am a physical therapist waiting semi-patiently on my lovely license to get transferred, so in the meantime I am grateful to finally be able to spend time doing things that I have neglected since graduate school such as writing and cooking. Commuting 2 hours every day for work the past two years left me with gobs of time to day dream about cooking and exercising but very little time for the actual execution unless you count doing kegels and glut squeezes in the car while reaching for a bag of Chex Mix. Bear with me while I brush off the cobwebs on the writing and cooking fronts.

Our crazy fun wedding party. Professional Wedding Photography by Creative Concepts Photography

Our crazy fun wedding party. Professional Wedding Photography by Creative Concepts Photography

So my husband really wanted this blog to be called “Serve on Buns” so this first post is an ode to him. Plus, who doesn’t love a juicy, cheesy, makes your house smell like a restaurant, French Dip sandwich? We are lucky enough to get our beef directly from my grandparents’ farm in Nebraska which in my opinion always wins against store bought. The only downfall is having to blindly pick a roast from a stack of white paper lumps in the freezer. The odds were in my favor today because I picked an excellent, low fat hunk of meat. I’ll be honest, all it said was “roast” on it, so I have no idea what type of roast this is, but really, any kind will do for this recipe. You can even use sirloin steak if that’s all you have on hand.

french-dip-edited

(Recipe for Hidden Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes coming soon!)

Please head over to my about me section to get to know me and I would love for you to follow along with me on this crazy journey of food, exercise (when the motivation hits), and any other project or traveling venture I decide to take you on. This is my outlet for sharing my ideas and adventures as I get acquainted with my new Colorado life, so enjoy!

Print Recipe
French Dip (Serve on Buns)
Meaty, cheesy, onion-y goodness on a bun
Cuisine Sandwiches
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4-6 hours
Servings
sandwiches
Ingredients
Red Pepper Mayo
Cuisine Sandwiches
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4-6 hours
Servings
sandwiches
Ingredients
Red Pepper Mayo
Instructions
  1. Apply olive oil generously to outside of roast. Coat with your seasoning mixture (feel free to ad lib here with flavors you enjoy).
  2. Sear roast in a skillet on all sides 30-60 seconds until a nice brown crust forms.
  3. Place your 2 cups of hot water and the onion soup mix into the crock pot. Transfer browned roast to crock pot.
  4. Cook on low 4-6 hours or high 2-3 hours. NOTE: check the temperature often if able - you do not want to overcook your roast. For a medium roast, take it out when at 135 deg and let it rest until 145 deg. Thinly slice the roast against the grain OR pull apart with fork.
  5. In a skillet over medium heat, caramelize onions and mushrooms in 2 Tbsp of butter. Once finished, place a serving of meat with a serving of the vegetables and cover with a piece of cheese. When cheese is melted, transfer to your hoagie.
  6. For an added twist I use a red pepper mayo on the sandwich. It adds a nice kick of sweetness. (see recipe above)
  7. Your au jus should be waiting for you in the bottom of the crock pot! No additional work needed for this. Indulge and enjoy!
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