Gluten Free Blueberry-Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake Bars

Gluten Free Blueberry-Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake Bars

Cheesecake is one of the few desserts I actually go out of my way for. I kind of really love cheesecake. And this cheesecake is delicious. Using ricotta instead of traditional cream cheese really makes the cheesecake seem both rich and creamy, but without the heaviness cheesecakes normally have. I also think that the blueberry and lemon flavors really help keep the cheesecake feeling light and summery almost. I think a fruit centered cheesecake is much more appealing in the summer than something super rich and chocolatey.

Definitely make sure you let these cool overnight! You cannot skimp on the cooling time with these ones. But trust me, it’s totally worth the wait. The blueberry and lemon flavors really, really develop and get nice and friendly together the longer they And since this cheesecake is cut up into bars, it makes a great dessert for picnics, barbecues or when you need a portable dessert (obviously leave the blueberry sauce off to keep it clean and portable!).

Gluten Free Blueberry-Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake Bars
Recipe from Our Best Bites.


Crust and Topping Layers
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, very cold
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
Cheesecake Layer
  • 15 ounce container ricotta
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, plus one egg white
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup frozen blueberries

Quick Blueberry Sauce

  • 1 ¼ cups frozen blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. To prepare crust and topping, combine sugar, flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium sized mixing bowl and stir to combine. Use a large-hole cheese grater to grate butter into flour mixture, or alternately cut butter into small chunks and add to flour mixture. Use clean hands to break up butter and flour mixture until it resembles large crumbs. Add egg yolk from separated egg (reserve egg white for the next step) and add to crumb mixture. Quickly toss to incorporate egg yolk into crumbs. Remove half of crumb mixture (about 1 ½ cups) and lightly press into the bottom of prepared baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes and then remove from oven. Add lemon zest to the remaining crumb mixture, stir to combine, and set aside.
  3. To prepare filling, place ricotta and sugar in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy (about 1-2 minutes), scraping down sides as necessary. Place mixture in a mixing bowl and stir in flour, vanilla, eggs, plus the reserved egg white from the first step, and lemon juice. Whisk to combine and pour mixture over crust in pan. Sprinkle ¾ cup blueberries over the top of filling and then top with the reserved crumb mixture. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Bars should be just golden on top and slightly jiggly in center when shaken. Remove and let cool completely. Cover, and Place in fridge overnight to chill. When ready to serve, slice into bars.
  4. For Sauce: Combine all ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes, smashing berries with a fork. Cool. Sauce will thicken once cooled and chilled, adjust consistency by adding water until desired consistency is reached.


Lemon & Feta Dip

Lemon & Feta Dip

My wonderful mother had this dip at a dinner party a few months ago. She raved about it. I decided to make it for  my book club meeting shortly after that and we all raved about it. This dip is fantastic. I served it with veggies and crackers, but I think there are endless possibilities for serving it.

The only minor change I made was upping the number of garlic cloves from one to three, but I’m crazy like that. I made this dip ahead of time and let the flavors get all happy together. I left off the last drizzle of olive oil until serving time. If you do make this dip ahead of time, make sure you give it at least 30 minutes to sit out at room temperature so it is of dip consistency and not a brick of feta.

If you haven’t already be sure to check out my baking set giveaway! You have until July 1 to enter!


Lemon & Feta Dip


Lemon & Feta Dip
Recipe from Sweet Paul.

  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 Tablespoons olive oil+ extra for serving
  • Fresh thyme


  1. Place feta, lemon zest and juice, garlic and olive oil in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Spoon into a bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with thyme.
  3. Serve with grilled tomatoes and grilled pita bread drizzled with olive oil, salt and thyme.


Thirsty Thursday: Hot Toddy

Hot toddy.


Excuse the rough iPhone shot, but we’ve been slightly under the weather in these parts. Luckily this is the cure to all that ails you!

I first learned about the wondrous medicinal properties of the hot toddy a few years ago when I was living in Budapest. I was a bit sick and whining to my dear to my dear mother over Skype about it. She, like any good and loving Irish mother, recommended whiskey. I believe the logic behind the combination is something like vitamin C for health, honey to soothe, alcohol to numb. Actual benefits or not, it works for me. This is the perfect cocktail for cold and flu season. Even if you aren’t feeling sick, it is still a warming and delicious drink.

Hot Toddy

  • 1.5 ounces (Irish) whiskey
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 4 or 5 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick (I leave this out. I hate cinnamon.)
  • hot water

Pour the honey, boiling water, and whiskey into a mug. Spice it with the cloves and cinnamon, and put in the slice of lemon. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes so the flavors can mingle, then sprinkle with a pinch of nutmeg before serving.

Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts and Fried Capers

I love brussels sprouts. Love them. They are a very misunderstood vegetable. Most people have some sort of traumatic childhood experience of being forced to eat brussels sprouts in order to not offend some distant great aunt or something. When brussels sprouts are prepared well, they are simply delicious. This recipe is so simple and so fast and has such amazing ingredients, it’s hard to go wrong. I mean, capers, hazelnuts, and brussels sprouts together, what’s not to love?

If you have a food processor, definitely use it to shred the sprouts, there is no need to fool around with a knife or a mandoline if you don’t have to. If you don’t have a food processor, slice carefully, no one wants to lose a finger on Thanksgiving.

Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts and Fried Capers (From The Kitchn)
Serves 4

  • 1 pound small Brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup capers, well-drained
  • 1 lemon, squeezed for juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black peppe
  1. Remove any loose or yellow leaves from the Brussels sprouts, and slice each sprout in half from top to bottom. Then chop them roughly into shreds, or hash them in a food processor.
  2. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add the chopped hazelnuts. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, shaking the pan frequently. When the nuts are turning golden brown and smelling toasty, remove them from the pan and toss with the hashed Brussels sprouts.
  3. Add the olive oil to the pan and set it over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the capers. (Stand back and be careful; the oil will spit and splutter up!) Fry the capers for about 60 seconds, or until they start opening like little flowerbuds.
  4. Add the Brussels sprouts and hazelnuts back in to the pan. Stir thoroughly to coat the sprouts with the oil and to mix in the capers. Pour in the lemon juice and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the sprouts are tender but still snappy. Remove from the heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Lemon, Pepper, and Pecorino Dip

This is the easiest appetizer in the world. It’s a welcome twist on your usual sour cream dip. The cheese makes the dip a little more decadent, but the tang of the lemon just helps balance it out perfectly.

Lemon, Pepper and Pecorino Dip (adapted from Real Simple)

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • kosher salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • chips and veggies for serving
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the sour cream, pecorino, lemon zest, lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ½ to 1 teaspoon cracked pepper. Serve with the potato chips or veggies.

Chicken Picatta

This was one of my favorite dishes growing up. Every year on my birthday, I got to pick the meal for dinner and, vegetarian years excepted, the meal always rotated between chicken picatta and chicken parmesan. Always. Even as a kid I loved vinegary things like capers and tangy things like lemon and my love of the two has only grown over the years.

Traditionally, you are meant to butterfly the chicken breasts, which is fine and all if you want to go to the effort and dealing with sharp knives. I tend to cause myself great bodily harm when attempting to do something like that, so I like to pound the chicken with the flat side of a meat tenderizer. It also doubles as a great stress reliever.

This is a recipe I’ve made a million times, so the measurements are more rough suggestions than strict rules. I like a lot of capers, garlic, and lemon, but if you don’t just adjust to your tastes.

Chicken Picatta
Serves 2

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF All-Purpose Baking Mix)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (extra might be needed)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine (you could substitute stock if desired, but wine gives a better flavor)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-4 tablespoons capers
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.
  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt butter with olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.
  3. Into the pan add the lemon juice, wine and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor (these are the best bits). Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. If pan is looking dry, add 1 tablespoon butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Blueberry Lemon Ice Cream

This recipe seemed so incredibly simple, but soon as I set about making it everything went wrong…

There was a near incident with these two… They used to be neighbors in the cupboard, they now live on separate shelves.

Then the ice cream maker that I rediscovered in the garage decided it was time to throw in the towel. Just because you haven’t been used in, like, 10 years does not mean you can decide to crap out on me when I actually need you. Rude…

Then there was was some cursing, accompanied by the requisite wailing and gnashing of teeth. And then Mama CC stepped in. I have a theory that has yet to be disproven; everything, both living and inanimate,  in this house lives in a state of combined awe, fear and love of my Mama. Me, my dad, the dogs, uninvited bugs, kitchen appliances… She just has an affect on us.

And just as I was contemplating buying a new ice cream maker on Amazon, Mama CC got it to work. I swear she’s a miracle worker.

After some quick churning, this mix was ready for the freezer and a mere 3 hours later a delightful dessert was ready for eating.

The original recipe called for sour cream, which we apparently just ran out of… Oops. So, I used greek yogurt instead. The ice cream turned out great.

Blueberry Lemon Ice Cream

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar and lemon juice. Heat over medium heat until mixture starts to simmer. Stir untill the berries start to pop an release juices. Remove from heat and puree with food processor. Add cream, yogurt and vanilla. Pulse to combine. Place mixture in fridge for 1 hour. Then add to ice cream maker. Blend and freeze according to maker instructions. Then freeze for 3-4 hours. Serve and enjoy!