Saturday, April 25, 2009

Double Chocolate Cheesecake

24 OREO cookies, crushed (about 2 cups)
1/4 c (1/2 stick) butter, melted
4 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 c sugar
2 T flour
1 t vanilla
1 package (8 squares) BAKER'S semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled a little
4 eggs
1/2 package Guittard semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix crumbs and butter. Press into 9 by 13 baking dish lined with foil. Beat cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla until well blended and smooth. Add chocolate and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low after each addition just until blended. Pour over crust. Bake 45 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 4 hours. Use foil to lift cheesecake from pan and place on a serving platter. Drizzle with melted chocolate chips. Place back in fridge until drizzle is set up. ENJOY!

* This is such a fun spin on traditional cheesecake! You could use a springform pan if you must, but, I LOVED how thin it was! It was also easier to cut into pieces and serve since it wasn't so thick. You need your crumbs very small, so use a food processor if you have it. It's also important to have your cream cheese very soft because it creates a smoother texture in the cheesecake. Also, whenever I do a dish involving cream cheese, I always beat the cream cheese until smooth before I add anything else to it. That also creates a creamier cheesecake. You don't have to drizzle it with chocolate, in fact the recipe didn't even call for it, but mine cracked on top (and I accidentally broke it in half...oops!) and I wanted to cover it all up. But boy, did it add to the flavor! You could also top it with a chocolate ganache, which I'm sure is divine!

Artichoke Dip

1 (10 oz) can marinated artichoke hearts, drained
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 c mayonnaise
1/4 c parmesan cheese
1/2 c pepperjack cheese, separated

Cream together cream cheese and mayo. Dice artichoke hearts. Add artichoke hearts, parmesan cheese and half of pepperjack cheese to the cream cheese mixture. Top with remaining cheese. Bake in a small baking dish at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or 3 minutes in the microwave. I usually double this recipe. Delicious!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Cadbury Mini Egg Cookies

1/2 C butter flavored Crisco
1/2 C Butter
1 C brown sugar
1 C white sugar
2 Eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 1/2 C flour
6T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 10 oz bag Cadbury Mini-Eggs

Preheat oven to 350. You'll need to chop up those Cadbury Eggs. Chop up Cadbury Eggs - just put them in a ziplock bag and bang on them with a marble rolling pin until they look like they have been quartered, but not too small. A hammer would work too.

Cream together the butter, crisco, brown sugar and white sugar. Add in eggs one at at a time and the vanilla. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Add to the butter mixture to combine and then mix in the candies.

Drop onto a cookie sheet and cook for about 8-10 minutes. They're soft and fudgy in the middle and a little crisp on the edges with crunchy little candy bits throughout.

*I am SOOOOOO SUPER UPSET because I missed the window for the mini eggs this year and got through the season with only getting 2 BAGS!!!! It really is just unheard of. I went to 11 stores in the past 2 days looking for these gems. So I found this recipe, but don't have the goods to produce it! I just want it on my blog so I can always have it to make for next sad. If you are one of the few who has a million bags stashed away for a rainy day, you MUST try these!

*Picture and recipe from Our Best Bites.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Oreo Chocolate Bark

20 Oreo cookies, crushed into bite size pieces
2 2/3 c (about 24 oz) white chocolate, melted
1 t vanilla
3/4 c milk or dark chocolate, melted (for drizzling)

In a large bowl, crush Oreos into small pieces (but not super crumbly) with the bottom of a cup.
Melt white chocolate until smooth and then add vanilla. Add crushed Oreos to white chocolate. Pour onto a wax paper lined sheet cake pan. Don't worry about spreading it to the edges, you just need it to be a thin layer. Let it cool either in the fridge or over night on the counter. When it is fully hardened, melt milk or dark chocolate and drizzle over top. When that has hardened, break into individual pieces. Enjoy!

Homemade Caramel

2 c sugar
1 1/4 c light karo syrup
3 c heavy whipping cream
Bring sugar and Karo syrup to a boil - to dissolve sugar. Add one cup of cream and let simmer, stirring ever so often until a soft ball forms. Add another cup of cream and repeat the process until all 3 cups are used. Pour caramel into wax paper lined 9 by 13 pan. Let cool completely...overnight works best. Pull out caramel with the edges of the wax paper and peal away (it will be a hardened huge rectangle by now.) Cut into squares - it's very firm, but once you bite into it, it's SO soft and melts in your mouth. SO DANG GOOD!
*This is the BEST caramel I've ever had! Now people, this recipe takes time, dilligence and patience. If you don't have 1 1/2 to 2 hours blocked out, don't even attempt it! You HAVE to go through each of the steps precisely and DON'T skip any parts. The key is to let it pretty much simmer for a REALLY long time so that it thickens and becomes the luciously dark brown color. If you go through the steps too fast, the caramel will turn out too runny at first and cool too hard. My guess is that I'm only going to make this for special occasions, such as Christmas. I also think that it would be SO cute to make it along with Oreo Chocolate Bark and Peanut Butter Balls and wrap it up in a cute box and give it away to friends and neighboors for Christmas.
*Another option could be to melt chocolate and put it on top. Of course you would do this after it has hardened. Chocolate caramel...MMMMMM!
*Recipe and picture from Blogging...It's What's For Dinner.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easy Fruit Dip

1 pkg cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3/4 c brown sugar
1 large container Cool Whip, softened

Cream sugar and cream cheese together until smooth. Fold in Cool Whip until combined. Do not whisk or heavily mix. Serve!

*I actually don't know exactly how much brown sugar I put in, so I'm just guessing. I would just keep adding sugar until you like the taste. This was AMAZING! It was just a last-minute creation and it's a winner.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

2 cups cooked, diced chicken
6 oz deli ham, diced
2 cans cream of chicken soup
8 oz sour cream
2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
cooked pasta
milk for consistency

Combine cream of chicken soup, sour cream, cheese and about 1/2 c milk (to thin mixture) in a medium sauce pan until cheese is melted, smooth, and creamy. Pour over whatever pasta you like (I used rotini.) Add chicken and ham. Super good!

*I used leftover honey ham instead of deli ham and it was delicious. I also added about a cup of peas and we LOVED it! It was the PERFECT combo! I would definitely suggest adding them.

*Recipe and picture from Real Mom Kitchen.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

1 c light corn syrup
1 c sugar
1 c creamy peanut butter
1 t vanilla
10-12 c popped popcorn
1-2 c mini marshmallows
1 (12 oz) bag milk chocolate chips
1 T oil

In a saucepan, bring corn syrup and sugar to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 3-4 minutes until mixture becomes clear. Add peanut butter and stir until well combined. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Toss marshmallows with popcorn. Pour peanut butter mixture over popped popcorn and stir until popcorn is well covered. Spread a thin layer on a wax paper lined cookie sheet (we had to use 2.) In another saucepan, melt chocolate chips and oil together until smooth. Drizzle over peanut butter popcorn. We made this the night before and it was TO DIE FOR!!! Try's just too easy.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Buttermilk Syrup

3 /4 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 cube real butter
2 Tbsp. corn syrup
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine buttermilk, sugar, butter, corn syrup, and baking soda in a LARGE pot. Like one you'd make soup in. Yes, you'll have way more pot than ingredients, but this will boil all over your newly-cleaned stove if you put it in a smaller saucepan. Bring ingredients to a boil and reduce heat to low (as long as it's still bubbling, you're okay). Cook, stirring very frequently, for 9 minutes. You're basically making candy here and candy-making requires constant vigilance.
At nine minutes, it should take on this luscious golden-brown color. Remove from heat and add vanilla. There will be foam on top. It tastes just as good, but it's not super pretty. If you're into aesthetics, you can skim it off; otherwise, just give it a good stir.

*This almost can't be considered syrup! It's pretty much carmel. We had waffles with strawberries and ice cream and this syrup. Most people just topped it off with the syrup because it's pretty much candy! It was SOOO good with vanilla ice cream! You HAVE to try this!! I'm also thinking it would be AWESOME on popcorn!

*Recipe and picture from Our Best Bites.

Homemade Waffles

3 1/2 c flour
4 t baking powder
1 t salt
4 T sugar
6 eggs
10 T vegetable oil
3 c milk

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add eggs, oil, and milk. Mix until smooth. Cook in waffle maker. Makes 10-12 waffles.

*Justin grew up having homemade pancakes and waffles. He's continuing on with the tradition with Bryce. Together, they usually make them every weekend. When Justin makes these, he usually halves the recipe because there is only 3 of us. The leftovers freeze really well - then just pop them in the toaster to re-heat. You can also make pancakes with the same recipe.

*A recipe from a cookbook that my mother-in-law made for me when we first got married.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bowtie & Asparagus Pasta

*This is the MOST delicious pasta I've EVER eaten in my MUST try it!!*1 pound pkg. bow tie pasta
1/2 c. (1 cube) butter (the real stuff)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream
salt & pepper to taste
10-15 spears asparagus, blanched
1/2 c. bacon, crumbled (about 4 slices)
1/4 c. toasted pinenuts (or to taste)
Parsley, to taste
Parmesan cheese, to taste

Boil bow tie pasta in salted water until al dente. Do NOT over cook. In a heavy skillet melt butter. Add minced garlic and saute a minute or so. Add Parmesan Cheese and bouillon cube(s). When the bouillon cube is dissolved, slowly stir in heavy cream and salt & pepper. Add cooked pasta to cream sauce and toss until pasta is well covered. Add blanched asparagus. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon, toasted pinenuts, parsley & Parmesan cheese and toss together. Serve immediately.

*When there were 3 minutes left with the pasta, I just added the asparagus to it to cook that way. Then just drain them both and add to the sauce. I just cooked the bacon in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes layed on paper towels and covered with paper towels. It comes out perfectly crisp for a pasta like this. To toast the pine nuts, just put in a small skillet on medium heat and stir around every once in a while till brown and toasted. I added 3/4 c. parmesan cheese and 1/4-1/2 c asiago cheese and didn't add any salt and just a pinch of pepper. I used half and half instead of heavy cream and next time I think I'm going to try just regular milk and see if it turns out as good. When I added the cream, it was still very thin, so I whisked in about 1 T flour and it turned out perfectly thick. It might seem lumpy when you first add the cream because the cheese gets cooked a little bit, but it turns out very creamy if you just whisk it constantly over medium heat for several minutes. PERFECTION!!! Now get a on a treadmill...

*Recipe from Favorite Family Recipes - check it out for a better picture