Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Cheesecake from MOM

I made this tonight and loved it.  Easy and light and a nice alternative to pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Cheese Cake
   light and yummy!!
2 eggs
2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger and nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 ready made graham cracker crust in pie pan or make your own crust

Beat cream cheese till fluffy.  Add sugar and spices.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each one.
Stir in pumpkin until mixed
Pour into pie crust and bake at 350 for 35 to 45 minutes until center is just barely set.
Spread caramel sauce on top in a thin layer, sprinkle with pecans or walnuts
Serve with whipping cream on top

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Roasted Beet and Arugula salad with Goat cheese and avacado

Okay I checked out this cookbook from the Library and I want to try a recipe on just about every page. This is the first one I have tried and it was unbelievable!! The oven roasted beets are to die for!

1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
3 Tbsp Finely chopped shallots
1 Tbsp honey
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
6 medium beets, peeled, each cut into 6 wedges
6 cups arugula , stems removed
1/2 cup toasted walnuts coarsely chopped(toast in 400 degree oven for 5-10 mins., or in skillet over medium low heat)
1/4 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
1/2 avocado peeled, pitted, and cubed
3 ounces goat cheese, coarsely crumbled

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a large piece of foil on a heavy baking sheet. In a medium bowl whisk the vinegar, shallots, and honey to blend. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

In another bowl, toss the beets with enough dressing to coat. Place the beet mixture in the center of the foil on the baking sheet. Top with another piece of foil and crimp the edges of the foil to seal tightly. Roast the beets until they are tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Uncover beets and continue roasting until they are slightly caramelized, shaking the pan occasionally, about 25 minutes longer. Set aside to cool completely.

In a large bowl, toss the arugula, walnuts and cranberries with enough of the remaining vinaigrette to coat. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mound the salad on 4 plates. Arrange the beets around the salad. Sprinkle with the avocado and goat cheese and serve.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Raspberry White Chocolate Blondies

These are amazing!

¼ Cup butter
¾ Cup white chocolate chips
½ Cup sugar
¼ Cup brown sugar
1 Cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ Cup white chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons sour cream
1 Cup fresh raspberries
½ Cup finely chopped pecans
2 Tablespoons sanding sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter in microwave safe bowl. Stir in ¾ Cup white chips until melted and smooth. In a large bowl add the sugar, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and ½ Cup white chips. In a small bowl whisk the eggs and sour cream. Pour into the dry ingredient bowl along with the melted white chip mixture. Mix until just combined.

2. Pour into an 8x8 inch baking dish lined with foil that’s been sprayed with cooking spray. Top evenly with 1 Cup raspberries. Mix the chopped pecans and sanding sugar in a small bowl until combined then sprinkle over top of blondies. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean from center.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

turkey and artichoke stuffed shells

This recipe is great because it makes two batches of shells. One to freeze and one for dinner. Although Jordan may need to just eat the full recipe for one dinner:) It is really easy and really yummy. Just make the marinara any way you like. I have never actually made the sauce the way it says to. I just make homemade sauce or use a jar from TJ's if I don't have time.

1 (12-ounce) box jumbo pasta shells (recommended: Barilla)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon
1 (8 to 10-ounce) package frozen artichokes, thawed and coarsely chopped
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
5 cups Arrabbiata Sauce, recipe follows

1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella (about 5 ounces)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and partially cook until tender but still very firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and the garlic and cook until the onions are soft and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the ground turkey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is slightly golden and cooked through. Add the artichoke hearts and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large bowl combine the cooled turkey mixture with the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, and the remaining salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

To stuff the shells, cover the bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with 1 cup of Arrabbiata sauce. Take a shell in the palm of your hand and stuff it with a large spoonful of turkey mixture, about 2 tablespoons. Place the stuffed shell in the baking dish. Continue filling the shells until the baking dish is full, about 24 shells. Drizzle the remaining Arrabbiata Sauce over the shells, top with the grated mozzarella. If freezing, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 1 day and up to 1 month.

To bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 60 minutes (20 minutes if shells are unfrozen.)

Arrabbiata Sauce:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 ounces sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

2 garlic cloves, minced

5 cups jarred or fresh marinara sauce

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until tender, about 1 minute. Add the marinara sauce and red pepper flakes and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let cool until ready to use.

Yield: approximately 6 cups

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I'm FINALLY here!

Brian makes this amazing shortbread recipe and I admit it is my favorite. I can eat a whole recipe by myself. It makes a pretty gift or a mouth watering dessert. It's not low-fat, but few fantastic things in life are!:) My favorite nuts to use are pecans. Brian makes it with Ghiradelli Mint Dark Chocolate for an interesting twist.


Shortbread Recipe:

1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons (15 grams) rice flour or cornstarch (corn flour)

1/8 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (80 grams) toasted and chopped nuts (hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, or almonds) (See Note)

1 ounce (35 grams) coarsely chopped semisweet, bittersweet, milk, or white chocolate (can also use chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) with the rack in the middle of the oven.  Have ready a baking sheet that is either buttered or lined with parchment paper.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar until smooth (about 2 minutes).  Beat in the vanilla extract.  In a separate bowl whisk together the all purpose flour, rice flour, and salt.  Addthis mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and beat just until incorporated.

Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and form into an 8 1/2 inch (21 cm) round.  Gently press the chopped nuts and chopped chocolate into the dough. 

Place in a preheated oven and bake until it is golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Note:  To toast pecans, walnuts, and almonds - Spread on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree F (180 degree C) oven for about 8 to 10 minutes.  The nuts are done when they are light golden-brown in color and fragrant.  Cool completely before using.  To toast hazelnuts - Spread on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree F (180 degree C) oven for about 15 minutes or until fragrant and the skins begin to flake.  Remove from oven and place the hot nuts in a dish towel.  Roll up the towel and let the nuts sit (steam) for a few minutes then rub the nuts in the towel briskly to remove the skins.  Let cool before using.  (Toasting the hazelnuts not only removes the bitter skins but also enhances the sweet, rich, buttery flavor of the nut.)