Monday, June 25, 2012

Double Chocolate Cheesecake

I mentioned last week that my hubby always gets cheesecake for his birthday. Seriously lucky guy. ;) I also mentioned that last year he got a Double Chocolate Cheesecake for his birthday. It's only taken me a year to get to it, but I'm finally sharing that recipe with you!

This cheesecake is super rich and decadently chocolate. It was almost too much for me. But for all you chocolate lovers out there, this is fabulous stuff! It's also not too difficult as far as cheesecakes go. You just beat everything together, pop it in the oven, bake it up and let it set. Then eat. :) Because it's so rich, I think some unsweetened whipping cream would be really tasty on top. Or some blueberries or blackberries to help break up the chocolate. Of course, some people don't mind the chocolate and if you're one of those people, then eating it without anything topping it might be the way to go!

Double Chocolate Cheesecake
Recipe from Kraft
Time: 20 minutes, plus refrigeration
Makes: 16 servings

24 chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed {about 2 cups}
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
4 pkg cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 pkg (8 squares) Baker's semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled {any other brand of baking chocolate would also work, this just seems to be the most popular brand}
4 eggs

Heat oven to 325. Mix cookie crumbs and butter; press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan lined with foil. Bake for 10 minutes.
Beat cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add chocolate; mix well. Add eggs, 1 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 life cheesecake from pan. Top with berries or whipping cream.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Light and Fluffy No-Bake Cheesecake

My husband recently celebrated a birthday. Birthdays are kind of a big deal to me. I love to go all out for birthdays, have fun traditions and celebrate like crazy. For my husband's birthday, which fell on a weekday this year, I actually got up early and prepared a huge breakfast - and I am talking huge. Pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, fruit. Now you all know I love me some breakfast food, but I don't love getting up super early just to prepare it before the day even gets started, so I rarely make breakfast foods for breakfast. But the fact that I prepared a huge breakfast for my hubby for his birthday is pure testament to the fact that I love birthdays -- and that I love my husband, of course. :)

You may have noticed that the title of this post indicated a recipe for cheesecake would be included. And you may be thinking that I also included cheesecake in the lineup of delicious breakfast treats. I didn't, don't worry. But we did have cheesecake for hubby's birthday cake that evening {after we had completely gorged ourselves on Famous Dave's brisket and barbequed chicken - they have an awesome e-mail club and sent us a fantastic "gift" for hubby's birthday. We really enjoyed it! [just a note: Famous Dave's is not promoting this post or blog in any way. They don't really even know I exist. We just like their food and we especially love good deals.] man, I love birthdays!}. I'm not sure how this tradition got started or why, but I always fix a cheesecake of some kind for my hubby's birthday. A few years ago I made White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bars for his birthday. Last year I made a Double Chocolate Cheesecake {recipe to be posted soon!}. See what I mean? Lots of cheesecake! This year I made what could possibly be his favorite cheesecake ever - a recipe his mom made for them growing up. I'll admit it, I'm a huge baked cheesecake fan, so I don't make this recipe often {in fact, I've only ever made it once before}. But, the hubby loves it and it is a lot easier than a baked cheesecake. Sometimes, even though I love birthdays and love going "all out", I need something a little easy.

This cheesecake is positively light and fluffy. It's perfect for the summer when you want a little something sweet while still keeping cool. It is also perhaps the easiest cheesecake you'll ever make in your life. So do yourself a favor and make it up. :)

Light and Fluffy No-Bake Cheesecake
Recipe from Olive Harwood
Time: approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours, including refrigeration time
Makes: 12-16 servings, depending on how big you cut your pieces

1 can evaporated milk, chilled in the refrigerator for at least a couple hours {though I just let mine chill overnight}
1 small package lemon Jell-O
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup water
1 pkg cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
16 graham crackers
Topping of choice - options include pie fillings, Danish dessert, or fresh fruit

Take your graham crackers and chop them up really fine in a food processor. If you don't have a food processor, put them in a plastic baggie and crush them really good with a rolling pin or something else hard. You want them to be super fine crumbs. This is the crust and large chunks of graham cracker just won't be as good. Once they are chopped up nice and fine, pour them into a 9x13 pan and spread them evenly. Set aside.
Get your cup of water to boiling. Add the lemon jell-o and the lemon juice. Stir until dissolved. Set aside and allow it to begin setting up. You want it to get about to the consistency of egg whites. This takes around 30 minutes, depending on how quickly it cools, but still keep an eye on it. Once it starts to set up, it does so quickly. You won't want it to fully set up because then you'd have to start over. No one wants to have to start over.
Beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until creamy and light.
Whip the cooled evaporated milk until nice and frothy. Add the jell-o and cream cheese mixtures. Beat until fully incorporated and fluffy.
Pour over the graham crackers you placed in your 9x13 pan. Allow to set for 30-60 minutes before topping.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lemonade Cheesecake Pie

Remember that sinful, sugary, sweet, delicious goodness I was talking about in my last post? Yes, this is one of those recipes. If you are on a diet, I highly recommend turning away right now because this recipe might just ruin it for you.

 Look away! Quick!

See how beautiful that looks? Ah. Now, if you didn't look away and you are now tempted to trash your diet and make this delicious looking pie, don't say I didn't warn you. ;)

I don't know what it's like in your neck of the woods, but in mine it's starting to get warm. I have to admit that I really love me some dessert. Also, I'm a baker. I love to bake. But in the summer time, turning on my oven usually means adding at least 3-4 degrees of heat to my entire house and when you struggle to keep your house at a liveable, breathable temperature as it is, those extra degrees are not often worth the sacrifice. So I try not to bake in the summertime. But then I get this itch and have a super strong desire to make something, anything, and I have to find some way to fill the baking void that has been made in my life. Desserts like this kind of save me. I can make something and feel fulfilled - and get the dessert I often am sure I desperately need.

Lemonade Cheesecake Pie
Recipe from Kraft

Total time: 10 minutes, plus refrigeration
Makes: 8 servings

1 pkg cream cheese, softened {trust me when I say you won't want reduced fat...your cheesecake will be runny and mushy and not very pretty ... not that I know anything from first hand experience}
1/2 cup thawed frozen lemonade concentrate
1 tub cool whip, thawed and divided
1 graham cracker pie crust
1 1/2 cup fresh berries {I've made this using strawberries and blackberries - just a tip: if using blackberries, you may need more sugar than is listed unless yours are already fairly sweet}
2 Tbsp sugar

Beat cream cheese in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Gradually add concentrate, beating well after each addition. Whisk in 2 cups cool whip; spoon into crust.
Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Meanwhile, toss berries with sugar. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Pipe or spoon remaining cool whip onto pie in whatever fashion you desire {you'll notice that in my photo I didn't desire any extra cool whip - I don't really think it needs it, but it does make it look prettier if that's what you're going for}. Top with berries.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Black Bean Burgers

Hello everyone! Long time, no see, eh? I know I've been really absent from this little 'ole blog for a long time. For some of that time, I've had what I consider to be a good excuse. A certain little bean kept me sick for awhile! {Well, perhaps I shouldn't say it's our bean's fault because he didn't exactly make me sick but the hormones associated with said bean sure did.} This little bean is totally worth it but I have to admit that it's really nice to like food again. :)

And now I'm back. Hopefully. I have a bunch of recipes to share and post so I'm going to get on it and start them coming. It's a good thing you've had Tierra around to help give you some new ideas! I can't promise that all of my recipes will be health conscious like Tierra's have been. In fact, if eating sugary, delicious food were a sin, some of mine would be downright sinful. But I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Today's recipe is actually healthy and so delicious! We love this recipe and it's a really nice substitute for the full of fat hamburgers usually found on a bun. If you're looking for something a little different that tastes so great, give these a try. You won't be sorry. 

Black Bean Burgers
Recipe from Sarah Harwood
Makes 4-6 patties

2 slices stale or toasted whole wheat sandwich bread
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced, with membranes and seeds removed {I highly recommend wearing rubber gloves when you do this}
1 tsp cumin
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/4 cups cooked brown rice
2 tsp fresh lime juice {I admit to liking a little more than that in mine}
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro 
Additional breadcrumbs, if needed
1 Tbsp canola or olive oil for cooking

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, pulse bread to form breadcrumbs {if you toast it, make sure it's been cooled before processing}. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
Saute onion until soft in a small amount of butter or oil. Add garlic, jalapenos, and cumin and saute for an additional 2 minutes.
Scrape the mixture into the food processor. Add black beans, brown rice, lime juice, salt and pepper. Pulse until the beans are chopped, but not pureed.
Scoop the black bean mixture into a large bowl. Add the breadcrumbs and the cilantro. Using a wooden spoon or your hands, stir the mixture until combined.
Divide the mixture into four or six {depending on the size you like - I usually get about 5} equal portions and form into patties. If the mixture is too moist to form patties, add more breadcrumbs. Place the patties on a baking sheet or plate lined with plastic wrap and cover with additional plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour. This recipe could also work well for making ahead of time. You could make it up in the morning and just refrigerate until you need to cook them up that evening.
Heat canola oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Make sure your oil is hot before adding the burgers. Add the burgers and cook for 4 minutes per side.

Serve with avocado, tomato, lettuce, cilantro-lime mayo {see below} and on a bun.

Cilantro Lime Mayo
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp finally chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir well.


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