Thursday, December 4, 2014

Cherries Jubilee

I joined a book club with some of the ladies from church and it was my turn to host the book. With the chaos of holidays we needed a quick and easy book and the first one that I could think of was "Dealing with Dragons" by Patricia C. Wrede. In the book Cimorene makes Cherries Jubilee for the dragon Kazul a few times, so I thought that it would be fun to make cherries jubilee for the book club meeting. I read quite a few recipes and ended up combining elements from a number of recipes that sounded the most tasty, and I dropped the flambe aspect. I want to try the flambe sometime, but this one wasn't for a flashy presentation so I left it out. Here is the Cherries Jubilee I came up with:
Cherries Jubilee atop Cherry Cha Cha base

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1 lb. ripe cherries
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract
  • 1-2 TBS water
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 TBS cornstarch


    Directions:
    1. Pit the cherries. I don't have a cherry pitter so I found a stiff straw (from one of Darrow's sippy cups) and used it to push the pits out. It worked really well actually. I also read that a small cake decorating tip can be used the same way. 
    2. Melt the butter in a large skillet. 
    3. Add the pitted cherries and "saute" for just a minute. 
    4. Add all remaining ingredients, with the cornstarch being last. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the mixture rather than just dumping it in. 
    5. Cook over medium heat until the juices have thickened to your liking.
    6. Serve with vanilla ice cream, cake, cheesecake, or (as pictured above) Cherry Cha Cha and use these as the cherries! 
    This was so yummy. I love the flavor. Not too sweet at all. Mmmm. We'll be making this one again!



    Cherry Cha Cha

    Pictured without the cherry topping
    This is a great no-bake cheesecake-like dessert and is great plain or with toppings.

    Ingredients:

    • 1/3 c margarine (the original recipe called for 1/4 c. and I found that wasn't enough to hold the crust together at all)
    • 1 1/3 c. graham cracker crumbs
    • 1/4 c. sugar
    • 4 oz cream cheese
    • 1 c. powdered sugar
    • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
    • 1 small instant vanilla pudding
    • 3/4 c. milk
    • 1 small container Cool Whip (I didn't have Cool Whip on hand, but I did have packets of Spiffy Whip, so I made one of those instead)
    • 1 can cherry pie filling
    Directions:
    1. Melt margarine in an 8x8 casserole dish or 9" pie pan. 
    2. Add graham cracker crumbs and sugar into the butter, and press into the bottom of the pan to form a crust. 
    3. Cream together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and lemon juice. 
    4. In a separate bowl mix the vanilla pudding with the milk. 
    5. Fold into the cream cheese mixture. 
    6. Fold in the Cool Whip. 
    7. Spoon into pan over crust. 
    8. Top with cherry pie filling; chill. 

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

    Pumpkin Maple Cheesecake

    I know I already posted this on my blog, but I thought I'd put it here so it's easy for me to find again. 

    I'm not a take a picture of my breakfast and post it online kind of a girl, but today I'll make an exception because you really should try this recipe. What did I have for my most nutritious and awesome breakfast? 


    Pumpkin Maple Cheesecake! 

    No joke.

    This was my first baked cheesecake in my brand new spring form pan. I was excited, but nervous all at the same time. For Cameron's work holiday party the employees all brought in cheesecakes for a cheesecake war. This was our contribution. It's always iffy trying a new recipe to present to other people, but we did it. Ours tied for first for taste, so that was fun.

    It was way easier than I thought it would be to make. Even when I realized I forgot to buy cream for the glaze and had to substitute evaporated milk (I read around the internet and picked the cream substitute I thought sounded like it'd work best), it turned out fantastic. New fall favorite right here. You really should go and make it. I found the recipe on the Eagle Brand website.

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup butter, melted
    • 3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
    • 1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
    • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin (2 cups)
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • MAPLE PECAN GLAZE
    • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
    • 1 cup (1/2 pint) heavy cream
    • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

    Instructions

    • HEAT oven to 325ºF. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter in medium bowl; press firmly into bottom of ungreased 9-inch springform pan.
    • BEAT cream cheese until fluffy in large bowl. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Add pumpkin, eggs, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; mix well. Pour into prepared pan.
    • BAKE 1 hour 15 minutes or until center appears nearly set when shaken. Cool 1 hour. Cover and chill at least 4 hours. Top with Maple Pecan Glaze.
    • MAPLE PECAN GLAZE
    • COMBINE syrup and cream in 2 or 3-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil rapidly, 10 to 15 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low. Simmer an additional 5 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add pecans. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Stir before serving.

    So now if you'll excuse me, I have a face to stuff (and subsequently a weight loss challenge to lose, bahaha).

    Tuesday, September 9, 2014

    Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Soup


    If we had different colored bowls, this would look way more appetizing I'm sure, but we have yellow bowls so the yellowish green soup when in the yellow bowls.

    We read a few crockpot green chile soup recipes online, but it was already dinner time so we decided to just wing it and make up our own. It hit the spot and was delicious!

    Ingredients:

    • 2 cups green enchilada sauce
    • 1 small can green chile (we didn't actually use this since the enchilada sauce we used had a ton of green chile chunks in it)
    • 2 cups chicken broth (we didn't have real broth, so we actually used 2 cups hot water and a chicken bouillon cube)
    • 1/4-1/2 tsp chile powder (we have red chile powder and green chile powder so we used green chile powder but all the recipe we read called for red chile powder)
    • 1/2 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
      • I'm not going to lie...I just sprinkled the cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder in...I didn't measure...so those are my guestimate amounts
    • 3 potatoes, peeled and chopped (we only had 3 small potatoes left in the bag...but you can put more in and it'd taste fine)
    • 1 large chicken breast, cut into smallish chunks
    • 1 cup minute rice
    • 4 oz cream cheese
    • A handful (maybe 1/3 c.) of shredded swiss cheese. (optional! I only used this because we had it. This recipe will work fine without swiss cheese)
    • Shredded cheddar cheese for top
    • Other garnishes could include sour cream, tortilla strips, or cilantro
    Directions
    1. Combine the enchilada sauce, chile, broth, seasonings, potatoes, and chicken into a saucepot over medium high heat. Bring to a boil. 
    2. Boil until the potatoes are half way to tender, and add the minute rice. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through. 
    3. Stir in cream cheese (and swiss if you're going to use it). 
    4. Serve topped with cheese and any other garnishes you want. 
    Makes 4 hearty bowls of soup. 

    Monday, August 18, 2014

    Pumpkin Pie from a Pumpkin


    Saw this on my personal blog and realized it wasn't over here on this blog. So here it is! 

    I just happened to have a pumpkin that I didn't end up carving for Halloween...so I decided to try my hand at making a pumpkin pie completely from scratch. I wish I had taken pictures during the whole process, but oh well. Here's what I did:
    1. Washed the outside of the pumpkin with warm water and a dab of soap.
    2. Cut the pumpkin sorta in half...the knife didn't want to cut straight, so it was a jaggedy half.
    3. Scooped out the seeds and guts with an ice cream scoop (on my list for next years jackolantern adventures!).
    4. Placed each half in a baking pan, added about 1 1/2 cups of water to the bottom of the pan, covered the pan/pumpkin in tin foil, and put it in the oven.
    5. Baked the pumpkin halves for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees.
    6. When it was all done, I took the skin off and then mashed the cooked pumpkin into a pulp. It was fun.
    7. I let the pulp drain in a colander lined with napkins (cheesecloth or heavy duty paper towels probably would have been better, but I didn't have those) while I went to the store to get the rest of the ingredients for the pie.
    8. After returning from the store, I mixed up the goop, made the pie crust, put the goop in the crust and put it in the oven at 350 degrees. I didn't keep track of how long it took to cook, but I took it out when a knife inserted in the middle came out clean.

    It actually turned out pretty good, I was quite pleased. Here's the recipe I used:

    Pie Crust:
    3 cups flour
    1 cup shortening
    1 tsp salt
    cold water to bind (I think I used about 6 or 7 TBS)
    a pinch of baking powder (I think I used about 1/8 tsp)

    Combine dry ingredients, then cut in shortening. Mix by had until dough begins to stick together (don't over mix). On a floured counter/table I rolled the dough out a little bit, then folded it in half. I did this about 3 times (don't overdo the mixing/kneading/folding...you want the crust to be flaky). Then I rolled the dough out, folded it in 1/4's (to make it easier to transport to the pie pan) and then unfolded in in the pan, cutting of extra edges.

    Pumpkin Pie Filling:

    1 cup sugar
    1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 tsp ground cloves
    1 tsp ground allspice
    1/2 tsp ground ginger
    1/2 tsp salt (recipe said it was optional...so I actually only put in 1/4 tsp)
    4 eggs (for a more dense pie, only use 3)
    3 cups of pumpkin pulp goop
    1.5 cans (12 oz) evaporated milk (for a more dense pie, only use 1 can).

    Combine all ingredients (I put them in the blender and blended them to make sure it was well smooshed together), and then pour in the unbaked crust. There will probably be enough pumpkin pie filling for 2 pies. Bake at 350 degrees until a knife/toothpick/finger (just kidding about the finger) comes out clean.

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

    Cheesecake Squares with Blackberry Sauce

     Not to brag or anything, but I was informed that this is possibly the yummiest dessert I've ever made. That may be true, or it could just be that Ethan was excited to get to eat cheesecake (which is his all time favorite thing in the world). This is pretty easy to make, although it does require some planning ahead as it needs a long time to cook and cool.
    What You Need:
    For the Crust:
       1 1/2 cups finely crushed regular graham crackers (about 20 squares)
       1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
       3 TBS sugar
    For the Cheesecake:
       1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
       1/2 cup ricotta cheese
       3/4 cup sugar
       2 eggs
       2 TBS butter or margarine, melted and cooled
       1 1/2 TBS cornstarch
       1 1/2 TBS flour
       1/2 TBS vanilla extract
       1 cup sour cream
       toppings of choice, for example: fresh fruit, chocolate syrup, blackberry sauce
    What You Do:
    For the Crust:
        In medium bowl, stir all ingredients until well mixed. Press mixture firmly against bottom of 9-inch baking dish.
    For the Filling:
        In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, ricotta and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add butter, cornstarch, flour and vanilla; beat until smooth. Fold in sour cream. Pour on top of your graham cracker crust. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Do NOT open oven door. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in closed oven for 2 hours. Cool completely on a wire rack. Chill several hours or overnight. Top each square with topping of choice, if desired (Ethan actually prefers his without any toppings, weirdo).

    Blackberry Dessert Sauce

    We've been picking blackberries around our house for a few weeks now and experimenting with new ways to enjoy them. The milkshakes were somewhat mediocre, but we have had success with this sauce. We've eaten it on pancakes, ice cream, crepes, cheesecake, and oatmeal and so far it's been a hit each time. The recipe was originally designed for raspberries, so you may have to adjust the amount of sugar when using a different type of berry.  
    Ready to go on a big bowl of ice cream (seeds have been strained out)
    What You Need:
       3 TBS sugar (I used a bit more since my blackberries were pretty tart)
       2 tsp cornstarch
       1/3 cup water
       1 box (10 oz) frozen raspberries in syrup, thawed and undrained (I used my kitchen scale to measure out 10 oz of fresh blackberries, next time I make it I'll measure how many cups that is)
    On cheesecake (not strained)
    What You Do:

    In 1-quart saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch. Stir in water and berries. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.
    Strain sauce through a strainer into bowl to remove seeds if desired. (If I'm going to be straining the seeds out I will take a potato masher and mush all the juice out of the berries in the sauce before I strain them, just to make sure we don't miss out on any of the awesome yumminess.) Serve sauce warm or cool. Store covered in refrigerator up to 10 days.