April 26, 2010
I loooove cheesecake. Turtle cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake, oreo cheesecake…but my favorite is really just plain old cheesecake. As a teenager, my younger sister and I shared a room and would watch the Golden Girls at night when we went to bed. We used to watch it at our grandma’s and have always loved that show. Well, if you’ve ever watched the Golden Girls, you know they are always up late at night talking and eating cheesecake! When my sister and I both moved out of our parents’ house, we would still get together sometimes and have coffee and cheesecake.I don’t get to see her much anymore with our busy lives, but every time I eat cheesecake I think about her and our late nights watching the Golden Girls.
I saw this recipe in a magazine this month and decided to make it when some friends came over last week. It turned out so well. It might be my favorite cheesecake recipe so far. It was perfect with some strawberries on top. If you love cheesecake too, try this recipe out. It’s the perfect “plain old cheesecake” recipe when you don’t want anything but cheesecake.
Philadelphia Vanilla Mousse Cheesecake
40 Nilla Wafers, crushed (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) Philadelphia cream cheese, softened, divided
1 cup sugar, divided
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp vanilla, divided
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip whipped topping, thawed
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix wafer crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Beat 3 pkg. cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp. vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.
Bake 50 to 55 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool completely in pan. Beat remaining cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in Cool Whip; spread over cheesecake. Refrigerate 4 hours. Remove rim of pan before serving cheesecake. Garnish with fresh berries if desired.
*I always use a water bath when baking cheesecake. It helps to prevent the cheesecake from cracking when baking. Simply wrap the bottom and sides of the cheescake pan in foil and to prevent any water from seeping in. Place the pan in a pan or dish with sides and cover the bottom of that dish with 1/4-1/2″ of water. It’s easier if you place both pans in place on the oven rack before pouring in the water.
Source: Real Simple Magazine 10th Anniversary Issue, p. 262
September 21, 2009
I’m a bit late posting this but I’ve been a little busy being a mom and going back to work. My friend Melissa just had a birthday the end of August. She and her boyfriend went on a cruise (jealous!) and also to New Orleans to celebrate. While they were away, my husband and I offered to check on their cats and plants for them. I decided to leave her a birthday surprise to find when she came back home. She and her boyfriend love to make and eat ice cream so I thought an ice cream themed gift would be perfect. Now, I know her well and I know she loves key lime pie so I decided that was the flavor I would make for her. I found this recipe on Joelen’s blog and it turned out so great and was so, so easy. Melissa loved her ice cream!
Key Lime Pie Ice Cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup bottled Key lime juice (I used fresh squeezed lime juice)
1/2 cup whipping cream
Dash of salt
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
Key lime wedges (optional)
Combine first 5 ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Pour mixture into freezer can of an ice-cream freezer, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Stir 1/3 cup graham crackers into ice cream. Spoon ice cream into a freezer-safe container, and cover and freeze for 1 hour or until firm. Sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon graham crackers. Garnish with lime wedges, if desired.
And I got her these adorable, fun ice cream bowls and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Recipe Book to complete her ice cream themed birthday gift.
November 28, 2008
I’m back and just in time for a Thanksgiving post. This was my first year hosting Thanksgiving and let me tell you, I was so excited. I’ve always wanted to host turkey day at our house, but we normally go to my in-law’s. But this year, they were out of town and we weren’t able to go to my parents’ so they decided to come here. So my first Thanksgiving was a small one; just me, my husband, and my parents.
My family likes pretty traditional foods for Thanksgiving so I decided I’d play it safe and just make everyone’s favorite foods so there would be no misses. After browsing through lots of recipes I finally settled on the ones I would use. After a lengthy (and expensive) trip to the grocery store I was finally ready to get started. Thankfully, I got off work early on Wednesday so I could get a head start on the prep work. My parents came in Wednesday night so my mom helped me a lot on the actual day. And the verdict? Everything turned out great! But if I learned one thing from hosting my first Thanksgiving it would be that it’s a lot of work! I am so much more appreciative of my great-grandmothers, grandmother, my mom and mother-in-law who have planned and hosted Thanksgiving for many more people than I did for many years now. I would love to host again, but I think I might have to go into training beforehand next time. ; )
On the menu this year:
Garlic and Citrus Brined Turkey
For the brine
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
3 bay leaves
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 gallon water
For the turkey
1 8-10 lb turkey
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
Dissolve the salt and brown sugar in 1 gallon of water. Place the turkey in a large stock pot or brining bag. Pour the brining solution over the turkey. Add the sliced oranges, lemons, garlic and bay leaves to the brine solution. Refrigerate over night or place in a cooler with ice. Before cooking the turkey, rinse it well inside and out and pat dry with papertowels. Rub the turkey inside and out with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook as desired.
And yes, that is canned cranberry sauce…the only kind my family and I like!
2 cups prepared cornbread, crumbled
2 cups Pepperidge Farm herbed stuffing mix
8-10 crumbled crackers (saltine or club will work)
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
1/4 cup melted butter (1/2 stick)
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
chicken broth (about 3-4 cups, enough to make the bread mixture moist)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Begin my sauteing the onions and celery in a little olive oil until soft, about 8 minutes. In a large bowl, combine cornbread, stuffing mix, celery, onion, butter, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper. Add chicken broth until the mixture is very moist. It will be just slightly soupy but the bread will absorb the liquid. Place in a greased 9×13 baking dish and bake 35-40 min.
Sweet Potato Casserole
(my mother-in-law’s recipe)
3 cups sweet potatoes, cooked until tender (should be easy to mash) about 4 med potatoes
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients together and pour into a baking dish.
For the topping:
1 cup pecans
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup), melted
1/2 cup flour
Mix all dry ingredients and sprinkle over casserole. Pour melted butter over the top. Bake at 350 for 30-35 min. The top should be bubbly and have a golden crust.
Jiffy Apple Pie
3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ pieces
1 box Jiffy yellow cake mix
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick butter
Preheat oven to 325 F. Place chopped apples in an 8×8 baking dish. In a bowl, mix dry cake mix, cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples. Slice the stick of butter into thin slices and place all over the top of the cake mixture. Bake for 35 min or until the top is golden and bubbly.
This apple pie is obviously not a traditional apple pie. It’s best served warm as a dessert topping for vanilla ice cream. Yum!
- 1 cup Karo® Light OR Dark Corn Syrup
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon Spice Islands® Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecans
- 1 (9-inch) unbaked or frozen** deep-dish pie crust
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust.
- Bake on center rack of oven for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool for 2 hours on wire rack before serving.
- **To use prepared frozen pie crust: Place cookie sheet in oven and preheat oven as directed. Pour filling into frozen crust and bake on preheated cookie sheet.
- RECIPE TIPS: Pie is done when center reaches 200°F. Tap center surface of pie lightly – it should spring back when done. For easy clean up, spray pie pan with cooking spray before placing pie crust in pan. If pie crust is overbrowning, cover edges with foil.
- NUTRITION TIP: To reduce calories, substitute new Karo® Lite Syrup for the Karo® Light or Dark Corn Syrup.
- High Altitude Adjustments: Reduce sugar to 2/3 cup and increase butter to 3 tablespoons. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
My only complaint from the whole Thanksgiving dinner was that my pecan pie didn’t set. It’s the first one I’ve ever made and I followed the directions exactly, and it just didn’t set in the middle. I’m not sure why, but I’ll definitely be making another one in the future and hopefully will have better luck with that one.
Along with this we also had green beans and rolls.
September 28, 2008
Does anything say Fall better than apple pie? I don’t think so. That’s why I decided to make one to take to my in-law’s last night for dessert. My sister-in-law, her husband, and their kids came up for the Auburn/Tennessee game (Go Auburn!) this weekend and we were invited for dinner yesterday after the game. Knowing that our nieces would be there I wanted to take something that everyone could eat for dessert. I figured no one could say no to apple pie and vanilla ice cream. But just in case I took these blondies, too.
I had never made a from scratch apple pie before. Normally I cheat and use a refrigerated pie crust but I thought it would be more special if I put in the extra effort and made the dough myself. When searching for a recipe I came across this one on Annie’s blog. After talking to her and finding out it is her “go to” apple pie recipe, I figured it had to be awesome! It really wasn’t that difficult to make the dough. In fact I made this pie and the blondies after work on Friday and it only took a couple hours start to finish for both. I didn’t have the patience that night to make a lattice top but maybe I’ll try that next time. Everyone loved the pie and blondies. No one could choose just one and had to sample both!
For the crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
6 oz. butter (1 ½ sticks), chilled and diced
5-6 Tbs. cold water
For the filling:
2 lbs. peeled, cored and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples
1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
¼ c. sugar
¾ tsp. apple pie spice
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the butter. Cut the butter into the flour or rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture is crumb-like. Sprinkle 5 tablespoons of water over the mixture. With a fork, toss gently to mix and moisten it. Press the dough into a ball. If it is too dry to form a dough, add the remaining water. Wrap the ball of dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.
To make the filling, add the apple slices to a mixing bowl. Add flour, sugar and apple pie spice and toss to coat evenly.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let warm up a bit if necessary. Preheat oven to 375°.
Cut the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll out one half into a 12-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Try to keep the dough as round as possible. Transfer the rolled-out pastry to a 9-inch pie dish. Roll out the pastry for the top crust and cut it into strips about 1/2 inch wide; set aside. Put in the filling and smooth so the top is level.
To create the woven lattice top, use the longer pastry strips near the center of the pie and the shorter ones near the edges. Cross the two longest strips over the center of the filled pie. Place a second long strip over the top cross strip. Fold back every other strip onto itself and lay a cross strip in place, then return folded-back strips to their original position. Continue weaving in this fashion, working from the center of the pie toward the edges. Trim and flute the edges decoratively with your thumb. Bake for 45 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and the fruit is tender. Cool on a rack. Serves 8.
* I brushed an egg wash on top of the crust and sprinkled with a little extra sugar before baking
August 21, 2008
Mmmmmmmmmmm! That was the sound I made this morning when I took my first bite of this blueberry bread. Ok, so it wasn’t my first bite. I taste tested it last night after I baked it to be sure it was good. But it was even better this morning than I remembered. I guess something about it sitting over night and soaking up that sweet lemony glaze. Normally I don’t eat stuff like this for breakfast. That’s normally the one meal of the day I reserve for being healthy (ha). But well I had some blueberries just sitting there, staring at me, waiting to have something done with them so I thought, what the heck. I had already done muffins and pie so when I saw this recipe, my heart skipped a beat and my mouth watered all day just thinking about it. The recipe went together very quickly and the results were amazing. It’s not an overly sweet bread and sort of has the taste and consistency of pound cake but with little bursts of blueberries mixed in. So I guess it’s not too bad for breakfast and it would be great as a treat with coffee for dessert. But DO make the glaze for it. I considered skipping that part but it only takes about 5 more minutes to do the glaze and it really adds something to the bread.
Lemon Blueberry Bread Recipe:
1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (outer yellow skin of the lemon)
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (use the real stuff, not the bottled kind–you will be able to taste it in this recipe)
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until softened (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the and lemon zest. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture (in three additions) and milk (in two additions) alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Mix only until combined. Gently fold in the blueberries.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 55 to 65 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
When the bread is done, remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Pierce the hot loaf all over with a wooden skewer or toothpick and then brush the top of the loaf with the hot lemon glaze. Cool the loaf in the pan for about 30 minutes then remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Makes 1 loaf.
Source: Joy of Baking
August 13, 2008
I have been in such a slump this past week. I’m not sure if it’s the heat or what but food just hasn’t been that appealing to me. Luckily, my husband is perfectly ok with eating cereal and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner. But I on the other hand, can only handle that for so long. So I started checking my google reader and the wheels started turning with ideas. And after not cooking dinner all week, what did I decide to make last night? Well, pie. Don’t worry, I did get dinner ideas for next week. ; )
I have had such a craving for blueberry pie ever since Summer began, but I still hadn’t gotten around to making it. This is another thing my weirdo husband won’t eat. It’s a texture thing he says. So I was really putting off making a whole pie just for me, but then I got the idea to make little individual pies. Now believe it or not I have never, ever made pie dough. So I set out looking for an easy recipe. I found this dough recipe on Annie’s blog and let me tell you, it’s great! It came together so easy and like most things I’ve never made before, it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. I decided to use both cherries and blueberries for my pies because I only had a little bit of each in the fridge. And not only did I learn to make pie dough last night, but I learned that I must acquire a cherry pitter. Oy! My fingers looked like evidence for a crime scene once I was done pitting those darn cherries! But in the end, it was all worth it. Both the cherry and blueberry pies were terrific!
Berry or Cherry Pies
Makes 6 individual pies
3 cups berries or cherries (I used 1 1/2 cups bing cherries (pitted) and 1 1/2 cups blueberries)
1/2 cup sugar (divided if doing two kinds of pie)
3 tsp flour (divided if doing two kinds of pie)
pie dough (recipe follows)
Place berries (or cherries) into a bowl. Add the sugar and flour and toss to coat the berries.
*The flour will help the berry juices to thicken as the pie cooks
For the dough:
*I doubled this recipe and had a little leftover. I froze it to use later.
1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3 tbsp. very cold water
To make the dough in a stand mixer, fit the mixer with the paddle attachment, and stir together the flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl. Add the butter and toss with a fork to coat with the flour mixture. Mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the water and mix on low speed just until the dough pulls together.
Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. (Although many dough recipes call for chilling the dough at this point, this dough should be rolled out immediately for the best results.) Lightly flour the work surface, then flatten the disk with 6 to 8 gentle taps of the rolling pin. Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with flour as needed, then roll out into a round at least 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. Makes enough dough for one 9-inch single-crust pie.
To make a lattice top: Double the recipe, cut the dough in half and pat one half into a round, flat disk. Roll out the disk into a 12-inch round as directed and line the pan or dish. Trim the edge of the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Press any scraps trimmed from the first round into the bottom of the remaining dough half. Roll out the remaining dough and cut into thin strips to weave a lattice top.
*Tip: Be sure your work surface is well floured when rolling out the dough. If you have trouble rolling the dough out for a second time, put it in the fridge for about 15 min to chill and try again.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. After the dough is rolled out, use a glass, ramekin, or biscuit cutter to cut 6 circles. Place the circles of dough in the bottom of the ramekins and press up the sides just a little. It does not matter if it reaches all the way up the side of the ramekins. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake the bottom crust for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Form the remaining dough back into a ball and roll it out again. Again, cut 6 circles. Place 1/2 cup of the berries (or cherries) into each ramekin and then place the circles of dough over the top of them. Make two or three slits in the dough. Bake at 375 F for 25-30 minutes, or until the berry juices are bubbling and the dough is golden brown. Allow to cool 20-30 minutes before serving.
Source for Basic Pie Dough recipe: Williams-Sonoma