The Easter Feast

Let’s start by focusing on what I liked about our Easter dinner. I set a very nice table, don’t you think? I love getting out our table linens and china, and making some kind of centerpiece. The side dishes were our standard family favorites: roasted potatoes, carrots, and brussels sprouts, pan-fried asparagus, cherry cola Jell-O, and mini croissants. Nothing terribly fancy, but dependably delicious. And the dessert was great. I tried a new recipe for a lemon curd swirl cheesecake with a homemade strawberry sauce. It took hours to get the whole thing made yesterday, but it looked and tasted great, so it was worth it. Those are all good things about our Easter dinner!

You may have noticed I didn’t mention the lamb. Despite the fact that I followed the recipe exactly (a recipe I have successfully made in the past, for the record), the lamb was way overdone. I don’t care what anybody who was at the dinner table said…it was not good. And since that was supposed to be the star of the meal, that was a huge disappointment to the chef.

Anyway, I’m going to try to focus on what I liked about the meal. And maybe not make lamb again next year.

Tasty Tuesday–St. Patrick’s Day

Here’s a list of all of the St. Patrick’s Day inspired recipes I’ve shared. Less than a week to go!

Tasty Tuesday–Pumpkin!

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Since fall (and the approach of Thanksgiving), is the time of year when it’s all about pumpkins, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite pumpkin recipes. And one of them isn’t even a dessert!

Also, you can add a can of pumpkin to pretty much any chili recipe to add a little depth and some extra nutrients! Can you tell I love cooking and baking with pumpkin?

Tasty Tuesday–National Cheesecake Day

In honor of “National Cheesecake Day,” here are a few of my favorite cheesecake recipes!

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Strawberry Margarita Cheesecake (possibly my very favorite!)

Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake

Mint Oreo Cheesecake

Tasty Tuesday–Sopapilla Cheesecake

I tried this recipe out for Mother’s Day, and it was delicious! I’m not claiming it’s authentic or anything, but it’s easy to make, and so good! It was also be good topped with whipped cream and fresh strawberries (neither of which I had on Mother’s Day…maybe next time).

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  • 3 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 8 oz. cans crescent roll dough
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.
Beat cream cheese with 1 1/2 cups of sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.
Unroll the cans of crescent roll dough, and use a rolling pin to shape the each piece into a 9×13 inch rectangle. Press one piece into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Evenly spread the cream cheese mixture over dough, then cover with the remaining piece of crescent dough.
Drizzle the melted butter evenly over the top of the cheesecake. Stir the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar together with the cinnamon in a small bowl, and sprinkle over the cheesecake.
Bake in the preheated oven until the crescent dough has puffed and turned golden brown, about 45 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before cutting.

Tasty Tuesday–Mint Oreo Cheesecake

It took me two tries to get this recipe right. I ended up adding about 15 minutes to the baking time from what the original recipe suggested (only 45 minutes). Without that extra time, I ended with a cheesecake that completely fell apart because it wasn’t done in the middle!

The real genius of this cake is the cinnamon in the crust…combined with the mint, it’s amazing! I do think you could easily leave out the sour cream layer, which seemed a little out-of-place on this particular cheesecake, but it wasn’t bad, so I’ll include it for the sour cream lovers out there! For an even mintier taste, substitute peppermint extract for the vanilla in some or all of the layers.

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Crust

  • 2 cups mint Oreo cookie crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cheesecake

  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mint Oreo cookie pieces (a rough chop of the cookies works well)

Sour Cream Topping

  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine mint Oreo crumbs, melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl; firmly press mixture evenly onto bottom and 1 inch up sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually mix in 1 1/4 cups sugar, 1/3 cup whipping cream, flour, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour 1/3 of batter into prepared pan. Top with mint Oreo pieces; pour in remaining batter.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Remove cake from oven. Combine sour cream, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla; spread evenly on cheesecake. Continue baking for 7 minutes. Turn oven off and leave cheesecake in oven 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake, and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Combine 1 cup whipping cream and chocolate chips in a saucepan; stir over low heat until chocolate melts, and then stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour mixture over cheesecake while still warm. Refrigerate until serving time, at least 8 hours for refrigerator, or overnight. Remove from refrigerator about 1/2 hour to 1 hour before serving, remove ring from springform pan, decorate to choice.

Tasty Tuesday–Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick melted salted butter

Filling:

  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • 3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.

For crust:

In medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Freeze until ready to use.

For filling:

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add  eggs and egg yolk one at a time, beating between each addition. Add pumpkin puree, sour cream, sugar and spices, and continue beating. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.

Pour into crust and bake for one hour. Cool on counter, then remove from pan. Refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight. Serve with whipped cream.

Tasty Tuesday–Andes Cheesecake Supreme

Mint Oreo Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups mint Oreo cookie crumbs (about 15 cookies)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325. Mix crumbs and butter in small bowl. Press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 325 for 10 minutes.

Andes Cheesecake

  • 4 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 package (4.67 oz.) Andes® Crème de Menthe Thins chopped (28 candies)

Beat cream cheese and 1 cup sugar in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed 4-5 minutes, until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each, and vanilla; mix on low speed just until well blended. Stir in package of chopped Andes Candies (28 pieces); pour into crust.

Bake at 325° F, 1 hour and 5 minutes or until center is almost set. Run knife between rim of pan and cheesecake. Cool to room temperature.

Andes Ganache

  • 1 package (4.67 oz.) Andes® Crème de Menthe Thins chopped (28 candies)
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream or milk

Set aside 10-12 candy pieces, for decorating top of cake. Place remaining Andes Candies and whipping cream in small saucepan. Heat on low. Stir until candies are melted and mixture is smooth. Pour over cheesecake, spreading to cover surface and drizzle down sides of cheesecake. Decorate with reserved Andes Candies and crème de menthe whipped cream.

Crème de Menthe Whipped Cream

  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 1/4 c. Crème de menthe
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Whip cream until soft peaks form. Add crème de menthe and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Serve on cheesecake.

Tasty Tuesday–Strawberry Margarita Cheesecake

I have to say, I think this recipe was inspired. The pretzel crust, while unusual, really takes the cheesecake from “tequila-laced fruit cheesecake” to “margarita cheesecake.” Insanely delicious…it’s my current favorite out of all of the cheesecakes I’ve made!

Pretzel Crust

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups crushed pretzels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together margarine, sugar and pretzels. Press the mixture into a 9 inch springform pan. (You probably won’t need all of it.) Bake in oven for 10 minutes; cool before filling.

Strawberry Margarita Cheesecake

  • 3 8 oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. tequila
  • 2 Tbsp. triple sec
  • Zest of half a lime
  • Thinly sliced fresh strawberries

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar and beat 4 to 5 minutes, or until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in lime juice, tequila, triple sec, and lime zest.

Lay sliced strawberries in a thin layer over pretzel crust. Spoon cheesecake mixture over berries. Bake for 50 minutes, or until center is slightly jiggly. Remove from oven and cool 1 hour. Chill for six hours, or overnight.

Margarita Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. tequila
  • 2 Tbsp. triple sec

In a mixing bowl, beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar, lime juice, tequila, and triple sec; continue beating until stiff peaks form. Dollop on top of cheesecake; garnish with additional strawberries.