Monday, April 21, 2014

Banana Cream Cheesecake

This was really good.  This is the first time I've used a waterbath to make a cheesecake and we loved the texture.  It didn't crack at all.  I didn't make the banana whipped cream.  I think it would have been too much.  Just some simple cool whip was plenty.  I also think my pan was closer to 10 inches.


For the crust :

  • 5 1/2 ounces (3 cups) Nilla wafers
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

For the filling :

  • Four 8-ounce packages cream cheese
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon banana flavoring

For the cream :

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon banana flavoring

For the topping :

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon banana flavoring
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Dash of salt
  • 6 bananas, sliced, for garnish


For the crust :

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Fill a pan that is large enough to fit a 9-inch springform pan with ½-inch water and place it on the center rack in the oven.
Line the inside of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Wrap a sheet of aluminum foil around the outside of the pan so that water cannot get into the pan when it is submerged in the water bath in the oven.
Add the Nilla wafers to the bowl of a food processor and crush into a fine crumb. The cookies should be the consistency of sand with no chunks. Mix the melted butter with the cookie crumbs and press the crumbs into the bottom of the springform pan and up the side, 1-1 ½ inches. Place the pan in the freezer while you make the cheesecake filling.

For the filling :

Combine the softened cream cheese with the sugar using an electric mixer on high speed. When the mixture is smooth, add the eggs, sour cream, vanilla extract, and banana flavoring and beat well.
Use a spatula to pour all of the filling into the springform pan. Smooth the top, then gently place the pan into the water bath in the oven and bake until the cheesecake filling does not jiggle in the middle when moved, about 70 minutes.
Let cool, then cover and chill in the refrigerator while you make the Bavarian cream.

For the cream :

Heat the milk and cream in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat until boiling. Remove from the heat. Combine the egg yolks with the sugar in a medium-sized bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the mixture is pale yellow, about 1 minute. Add the hot liquid a little bit at a time to the eggs while beating.
Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat over low heat, stirring often until the mixture thickens just enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 8 minutes. Be sure that the mixture does not boil or the eggs will curdle.
Pour back into the medium-sized bowl. Dissolve the gelatin in cold water in a bowl, let it sit for 1 minute, then mix it into the Bavarian cream with an electric mixer on high speed along with the vanilla extract and banana flavoring.
Chill the Bavarian cream for 1 hour, then spread it over the top of the cheesecake. Cover and chill the cheesecake.

For the topping :

Combine all of the ingredients except for the bananas in a medium-sized bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the cream forms stiff peaks. Cover and chill in the refrigerator.
When the cheesecake has completely chilled out, about 4 hours, cut it into 12 slices and serve each with a dollop of the banana whipped cream on top, with 1 slice of banana on top of the whipped cream, and ½ slice of banana on the side of each serving.

Friday, April 11, 2014

45 Minute Wheat/Oat Rolls

The kids didn't like these but I think they turned out well.  They rose very well in just a few minutes. 

1 c. warm water (about 100 F)
1/4 c. honey
2 T. instant yeast
1/4 c. vegetable oil (I used canola) 
1/2 tsp. salt (omit if using salted sunflower seeds)
1 large egg
1 ¼ - 1 ¾ c. all-purpose flour, divided
1 ¼ c. whole wheat flour
1 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. sunflower seeds, plus extra for sprinkling - I replaced with 1/4 cup oats
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease a half sheet pan or a 9x13-inch rimmed cookie sheet.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a large mixing bowl if mixing by hand), stir together water, honey, and yeast.
  3. Stir in vegetable oil.
  4. Add salt and egg, and stir until combined.
  5. Stir in 1 cup all-purpose flour.
  6. Add whole wheat flour, oats, and sunflower seeds; stir to combine.
  7. Add remaining all-purpose flour 1/4-cup at a time until dough clings to paddle and cleans the sides of the bowl. Dough will still be pretty sticky.
  8. With floured hands, shape dough into 12 rolls, and place dough on prepared baking sheet.
  9. Cover, and let dough rise for 20 minutes.
  10. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
  11. Brush with butter right out of the oven, if desired.
  12. *If you would prefer to use active dry yeast, substitute an equal amount for the instant yeast. After step 5, let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, or until foamy. Then, continue with the recipe as written.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Chicken Parmesan

This was excellent and I definetely would make it again.  I like how the chicken was cooked on the parchment paper.  It kept it from getting soggy.  I cooked at 425 instead of 450 but cooked an extra 5 minutes.

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut crosswise in half
  • 3/4 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
  • In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Working one at a time, brush butter on each chicken breast and dredge in breadcrumb mixture, pressing to coat.
  • Place onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Gently flip and bake until the crust is golden and the chicken is completely cooked through, about 5 minutes more.
  • Remove from oven; spoon 1 tablespoon marinara on each chicken breast and sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons mozzarella. Place into oven and bake until cheese has melted, about 5 minutes.
  • Serve immediately with spaghetti and additional marinara, if desired.

Monday, April 7, 2014

New York Crumb Muffins

I finally bought a big muffin pan.  Of course I tried it out so I made NY Crumb Muffins.  These are excellent.  I love how there is SO much crumb.  I made this recipe into 6 large muffins and baked for 30 minutes.  Delicious!

  • For the crumb topping:
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1¾ cups cake flour
  • For the muffin:
  • 1¼ cup cake flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk (or ⅓ cup plain yogurt)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin pan with baking cups or prepare panettone baking cups by spraying them lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugars, cinnamon, and salt. Pour the butter over top and using a wooden spoon, mix until incorporated. Then add the cake flour and mix until mixture resembles a thick and cohesive dough. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. With mixer at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract and buttermilk and mix until all has been incorporated and batter is light and fluffy.
  5. Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, divide up batter into prepared muffin pan. Then, sprinkle a generous amount of the crumb topping on top. Do not press the crumb topping into the batter. Just let it sit on top.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until crumbs are golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. (Note: I did stick my muffins under the broiler at about the 15 minute baking mark so the tops would get nice and brown. If you do this, make sure to watch it carefully. You do not have to do the broiler step and can omit it completely.)
  7. Let muffins cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Crockpot Shrimp Diavolo

This sauce was very good.  I used one large can of crused tomatos and one large can of whole tomatoes.  I added 1 tbsp of sugar to te sauce for a little sweetness.  I used one tbsp of dried parsley and just sprinkled in the oregano.  I also used 1 tsp of minced garlic from a bottle.  Very easy - and I will make again.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, small dice
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
½ cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 pound medium uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
1 pound linguini, cooked to package instructions
As needed parmesan or pecorino cheese, grated

In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 5-6 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for 1 minute more, remove from heat.
Add the tomatoes, herbs, and sautéed onions to the Crock Pot. Stir to combine ingredients and cook on High for 3-4 hours or on Low for 6-7 hours. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the shrimp and cook until bright pink.
Toss the sauce and shrimp with pasta and serve. Garnish with grated cheese.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Angel Biscuits

These biscuits were so good.  In fact, I'd almost say this is my new go to biscuit recipe.  We had them with our dinner and then also enjoyed them as a dessert with some sweetened fruit.  I will definetely made again.  I halved the recipe.  Also, I made them into more of a drop biscuit.  I would suggest cutting the heat by 25 degrees and baking longer.  They got a little brown on the bottom and were still a little doughy in the middle.

2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
5-1/4 to 5-1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup shortening
1-3/4 cups buttermilk
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. In a large bowl, whisk 5-1/4 cups flour, sugar and baking soda. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk and yeast mixture to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
Turn onto a floured surface; knead gently 8-10 times, adding additional flour if needed. Roll dough to 3/4-in. thickness; cut with a floured 2-1/2-in. biscuit cutter. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 450°.
Bake 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.Yield: 2 dozen.

Dr. Pepper Chili

This was good but I wouldn't say I'd make it again.  It has a very unique taste and it is very spicy.  I added some extra sugar to take away some of the smokiness.

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced carrots
1 red pepper, finely diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
2 pounds ground beef
4 Tablespoons corn flour (Masa)
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 - 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
2 - 14 ounce cans kidney beans
1 - 12 ounce can Dr. Pepper
1 - 7 ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, cut up
Sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and corn chips
  1. Heat up the olive oil in large sauce pan. Add the carrots, red pepper, onion, and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Add the ground beef to the vegetables and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until completely brown. Make sure to break apart the meat as it cooks. Stir in the corn flour, chili powder, oregano, and cumin and cook 2-3 minutes longer.
  3. Stir in the salt, brown sugar, crushed tomatoes, kidney beans, Dr. Pepper, and chipotle peppers. Heat over medium heat until it is thoroughly heated through and the flavors blend together. Serve with cheese, sour cream, and corn chips if desired.