Thursday, December 30, 2010

Beef Stew

Since I have been under the weather these last few days I wanted to make something easy and a little soupy in hopes of helping my throat.  Didn't really help my throat but it was sure tastey!  I will definately make this again!  Had a hint of tangyness from the cranberry sauce and vinegar and a little heat from the chipotle seasoning.  A real comfort food to warm you up on a cold wintery night.

1 1/2 lbs stew meat
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper, diveded
1 teaspoon garlic
1/2 large onion sliced, seperated
oil for browning
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
4 cups water
1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 15 oz can cranberry sauce
3 whole bay leaves
2 large carrots, sliced
3 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered

1. Heat about 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy duty stockpot.  Brown onions for about 5 minutes, set aside.  Add more oil if needed.

2.  Combine flour, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and garlic in a bowl.  Coat stew meat well, shaking off excess flour.  Brown on all sides in heated oil in small batches.  Set aside on a plate when done.  Add vinegar and water to pan scraping the bits off of the bottom.  Add meat onions, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, cranberry sauce, and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer for 1 hour.

3.  Add carrots and potatoes and let simmer for 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender.  Serve hot with fresh bread or crackers and enjoy!

Photo from Real Epicurean

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Peppermint Almond Toffee

This is so addicting and dangerous to have around the house...I am trying to lose weight, and this is not helping me! 

1 cup unblanched (skin on) whole almonds

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 (12 oz.) package milk chocolate chips (2 cups)
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

1. Toast almonds by spreading them in a single layer on a plate and microwaving on high for 2-3 minutes (stir after each minute).

2. On foil-lined baking sheet, arrange almonds in a single layer over an area measuring approx. 13x9 inches.

3. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt.  Cook over med-high heat, stirring constantly with a clean, dry wooden spoon till butter is melted. Continue cooking and stirring for approx. 7-10 min. till candy is the color of the brown skin of the almonds; it will start smoking slightly. Immediately pour candy, without scraping pan, over almonds, covering all nuts.  Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the hot candy.  Wait 1 minute and spread the melted chocolate until it is smooth.  Sprinkle with pecans.  Let cool and break into pieces.  Store in a tightly covered container in cool place or refrigerator and as always, enjoy! (Just not too much!)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Once again, my weakness...potatoes!  This was very simple too make and it added so much to these lovely spuds.  Great alone, great with gravy, and great for leftovers or to add to your next dish.  Potatoes are very versatile.  They are tough and durable, store well, and have an impressive nutritional content including being a rich source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C.  Like other fruits and vegetables, potatoes are a low calorie food and are free of fat, cholesterol, and sodium, now that is my potato!

1 garlic bulb, end removed
salt & pepper to taste
olive oil
10 potatoes, peeled and quartered
water for boiling
1/4 cup butter
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup milk
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon Johnny's Seasoning salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Season the chopped off end of your garlic with salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle on olive oil.  Wrap bulb in foil and keep cut end up.  Bake for 30-45 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.  When cool enough remove garlic from it's skin.

2.  While garlic is cooking boil potatoes in enough water to cover them.  Boil for 30 minutes and drain. 

3. Melt butter in saucepan, add potatoes, garlic cloves, cream cheese, milk, salt, pepper, and Johnny's Seasoning salt.  Mix with hand held mixer until smooth.  Serve just as is or with gravy over the top for a great accompaniment to any meal, and as always, enjoy!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Crab & Herb Stuffed Mushrooms

Most people cringe at the mention of fungi.  Not me, oh how I love mushrooms, raw, sauteed, in soups, and especially stuffed!  My kids are big mushrooms fans too.  So this was a must for our Christmas dinner, if no one else will eat them, I will be happy to oblige!  Now my husband argues with me that there is no nutritional value in a mushroom, well actually I get that from almost anyone who doesn't care to eat them...sorry for the length of this next part, just proving a point!

* Mushrooms have very less calories and contain approximately 80 to 90 percent water. At the same time, they have low sodium, carbohydrate and fat content and high fiber content. This is the reason why mushrooms are considered good for those aiming for weight loss.

* Mushrooms are an excellent source of potassium. In fact, it is said that there is more potassium in a mushroom than a banana. Since potassium helps lower blood pressure and diminished the risk of stroke, mushrooms are recommended to people suffering from hypertension.

* Mushrooms are rich in copper, a mineral that has cardio-protective properties. A single serving of mushrooms is said to provide about 20 to 40 percent of the daily needs of copper.

* Mushrooms are believed to help fight against cancer. They are an excellent source of selenium, an antioxidant that works with vitamin E to protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals.

* Researches have suggested that white button mushrooms can reduce the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer. In fact, extract of white button mushrooms has been found to help in diminishing cell proliferation as well as tumor size.

* Shiitake mushrooms comprise of Lentinan, a beta-glucan that has been associated with stimulation of the immune system and thus, is believed to be helpful in fighting against AIDS. It also helps fight infection and exhibits anti-tumor activity.

* Being rich in fiber, protein and Vitamin B, mushrooms help maintain a healthy metabolism.

* It has been found that mushroom extract helps stop migraine headaches and is beneficial for people suffering from mental illnesses, like obsessive-compulsive disorder.

* Oyster mushrooms are said to be useful in strengthening of veins and relaxation of the tendons.
So they are not a waste of food after all!  Onto the recipe now...
24 white button mushrooms (24 mushroom caps and 1 cup stems, chopped)
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 shallot, minced
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
4 oz softened cream cheese
5 tablespoons imitation (or fresh) crab
3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Wipe the mushrooms clean. Carefully remove the stems from the caps. If the stems break and leave only a small space inside the cap use the end of a spoon to dig out a bit more space. Toss the mushroom caps with 1 tablespoon melted butter and set aside in a large glass baking dish.

2. In a deep saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add the cup of chopped mushroom stems and the minced shallot, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the splash of vinegar, and then add the breadcrumbs, herbs, reserving some for garnish, zest, salt and pepper, cream cheese, and crab and cook for another 3-5 minutes until the breadcrumbs are soft and buttery.

3. Using a small spoon, fill the caps with stuffing. Press the stuffing in with a small spoon. Arrange the stuffed mushrooms on a baking dish, sprinkle each mushroom with a little bit of cheese and bake for 20 minutes, until the juices start to bubble out of the mushrooms. Garnish with herbs, serve and enjoy!

Cheesy Broccoli Gratin

This is pure melt in your mouth goodness!!!  I was so happy how this turned out.  I love broccoli so I may be a little bias...

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon thyme
8 oz cheddar cheese
24 oz frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 400°F.

2.  Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour and cook for a minute or two to get the raw taste out of the flour.  Slowly add milk and whisk till smooth stirring in nutmeg and thyme. Turn off heat and add your shredded cheese stirring till melted. 

3.  Place your broccoli florets in your baking dish and pour cheese sauce over the top.  Sprinkle with panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. 

4.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bacon Cheddar & Chive Mashed Potatoes

Talk about mashed potato heaven...this was sooooo good last night with the Chicken Cordon Bleu we had.  They were creamy and dripped of flavor!  Kinda like a twice baked potato but even better. 

3 lb russet potatoes

5 slices bacon
4 oz cream cheese
1⁄4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon dried chives
1 1⁄2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Peel potatoes, and cut into 1-inch chunks.  Place in a large saucepan, and add enough cold water to cover by about 2 inches.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and reduce to a simmer.  Cook until tender and easily pierced with a paring knife, about 20 minutes.  Transfer to a colander to drain; return to pan, cover, and set aside.

2.  Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add bacon, and cook until crisp and browned, turning once.  Transfer to paper towels to drain; let cool, and crumble into pieces.

3.  Using a fork, mash the potatoes in pan until light and fluffy.  Add the cream cheese, butter, and sour cream, and stir until combined and smooth.  Add chives, 2 cups cheese, half the bacon, salt, and pepper.  Stir until well combined.

4.  Transfer to a buttered 3-quart baking dish.  Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.  Bake until top is slightly golden and potatoes are heated through, about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven; garnish with remaining bacon. Serve immediately and enjoy immensely!

Photo and recipe addapted from Sippitysup.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Mmmmm, have made this only one other time before and I am not sure why!  It is fairly easy to prepare and tastes oh so wonderful!  I added some spinach to it this time for a little twist!  Although my daughter turned her nose up at it for that reason!  Someday I will make something with spinach in it that she loves, until they I will have her extra piece of chicken...he he he. 

4 large chicken breasts, deboned and skin removed
4-8 slices of ham (depending on the size)
2 cups steamed spinach
4-8 slices Mozzarella
1 cup flour seasoned with salt & pepper
3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups panko breadcrumbs

1. First of all, you need to flatten your chicken. I find it best to slice the chicken horizontally in half without cutting all the way through when flattening. Place your left hand on the chicken breast and slowly move through the chicken breast with a sharp knife until you’ve butterflied the breast. Remember not to cut all the way through. If you are scared of doing this, you can flatten the entire chicken breast but it’s a bit harder that way.

2.  Now, place your chicken breast in between 2 pieces of cling wrap and pound it with anything you can get your hands on.  Flatten the breast until it’s about 1/2 a cm thick. Set aside.

3.  After steaming the spinach, allow it to cool completely and then lay them out and pat them dry with some kitchen towel.

4.  Place the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs all in separate bowls suitable for dipping and covering. ( For the breadcrumbs and flour a normal dinner plate would also work.)

5.  Heat about 1/2 inch of oil in a frying pan and preheat the oven to 375°F.

6.  Now take your chicken breast and place a piece of ham (or 2 if the ham slices are smaller), followed by some Spinach leaves on top. Season the spinach and then place the mozzarella on top. Now carefully roll the chicken breast up.  I secured mine with toothpicks until the were partly fried.

7.  Dip the chicken in the seasoned flour, then the beaten egg and finally the breadcrumbs.

8.  Carefully place the chicken in the hot oil (seam side down) and fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a suitable oven dish and pop into the oven for 15-20 minutes.

9.  Personally I like mine with just a squeeze of lemon but you could serve it with any sauce of your choice.  Enjoy!!!

Recipe and photo from Simply Delicious.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Garlic Potato Fries

My husband agrees with me, these are the BEST fries ever!  Baked not fried, so I don't feel so bad eating them, and they use garlic infused olive oil. So yummy!  Definitely will be a most used recipe in my kitchen!  Hope you give it a try soon.

8 garlic cloves, minced
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 russet potatoes (about 8oz each), each cut into 12 wedges
3 tbsp cornstarch/cornflour
1 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1. Preheat oven to 440° F.

2. Combine the garlic and oil in a large bowl, warming it until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Transfer 5 tablespoons of the oil (leaving the garlic in the bowl) to the baking dish, coating it well.

4. Add the potatoes to the bowl with the garlic mixture and toss to coat. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and microwave on high power until the potatoes are translucent around the edges, 3 to 6 minutes, shaking the bowl to redistribute the potatoes halfway through cooking.

5. Combine the cornstarch, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the hot potatoes and toss well to coat.

6. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake, turning once, until deep golden brown and crisp, 30 to 40 minutes.

7. Serve with ketchup, mayo or sour cream and enjoy!

Recipe and photo from The Purple Foodie.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dilled Pickle Rolls

These are so yummy I can't get enough of them!  Could be that I absolutely love cream cheese, might have a little part in it...I figured since I was using a dill pickle I would add a little twist to it and add some dill weed to the cream cheese, I am glad I did.  I may even add some garlic powder to it next time and maybe use a different kind of meat instead of the same old ham I always use.  Definitely a nice little appetizer or addition to your Christmas Dinner.

24 slices of honey ham (or your favorite deli meat)
1 (8 oz) of cream cheese, softened
6 pickles, quartered lengthwise
2 teaspoons dill weed

1.  Combine the cream cheese and dill weed well. 

2.  Lay your meat out on a cutting board, spread 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture on each slice.  Place a pickle at the edge of the meat and roll up.  For smaller rolls slice in half.  Enjoy!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Creamy Eggnog

So my daughter and I are avid eggnog fans.  I thought we would try to make our own this Christmas season and I am so glad we did.  Not only are we not getting all those extra preservatives, but we are having fun making it!  At that makes it taste so much better!  My husband doesn't like eggnog but he had a few glasses of this.  Instead of rum I used imitation rum extract and was very pleased with the results.  It is easy to make and well worth the effort and time put into it.

4 eggs
1/3 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon rum extract
ground nutmeg for garnish
cinnamon sticks for garnish

1. In a pan gently beat your eggs adding 1/3 cup sugar and salt.  Gradually stir in milk.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture reaches 160 F or until it coasts the back of a metal spoon. (If you cook it higher you will curdle your mixture.)  Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.  Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.

2. In a large bowl beat the heavy cream and 1 tablespoon till soft peaks form.  Fold into chilled custard.  Stir in rum extract.  Serve garnishing with nutmeg and cinnamon sticks.  Enjoy but don't drink too much!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Creamy Turkey Pot Pie

I cooked a turkey earlier on in the week and have to do something with the left overs, so I made a pot pie.  For a change I added some heavy cream to it and am sure glad I did.  I know it adds so many extra calories, but it was well worth it!  I will definitely be making my pot pies this way again!  Had it with some garlic bread and should have served a salad with it, but I have been eating salad every day for over a week, I was kinda greened out!

2 cups left over turkey, chopped
2 cups turkey gravy
1 zucchini, chopped
1 potato, peeled and diced
1 carrot sliced
4 oz button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 frozen corn
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon garlic granules
2 pie crusts

1.  Preheat oven to 400 F.

2.  Combine all ingredients, mixing well. 

3.  Spoon mixture into pie shell.  Top with remaining shell.  Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Cool slightly before serving and as always, enjoy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pad Thai

Oh how I love Pad Thai.  I was very pleased with how this turned out.  I didn't make it very spicy because of the kids but next time will add a little more heat to it after I take out their portions.  I also made the hoisin sauce from scratch and will post that recipe at the bottom.  It was very yummy.  Way better than the store bought brands.  The one thing I did was use wide rice noodles and because of that I didn't take any pictures, wide rice noodles aren't very pretty!  So next time I will make it with the thinner kind.  Hope you enjoy!

8 oz dried rice noodles
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

3/4 lb shrimp, pork, or chicken
2 tablespoons to 1/4 c vegetable oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon of chili sauce (sriracha)
2 eggs, beaten
4 green onions, thinly sliced
10 oz fresh bean sprouts
3/4 cup ground unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
lime wedges

1. Soak noodles in hot water according to the package directions. Drain.

2. Slice chicken or pork across the grain into thin strips.  Mix fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, and hoisin sauce in a bowl; stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

3. Heat a wok over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil, garlic, and chili. Stir fry until golden. Add meat (not shrimp), and stir fry 2 minutes. Add noodles and toss lightly to coat with oil. Push noodles to one side, and add more oil if necessary. Add eggs; cook until slightly set, then break up into pieces and toss with noodles. Add shrimp if desired, most of the bean sprouts, the green onions, and 1/4 cup of peanuts. Stir fry until shrimp just turns pink - 1-2 minutes. Add sauce and toss to coat.

4. Remove to a serving platter and top with cilantro and remaining peanuts. Garnish with bean sprouts and lime wedges. Serve immediately.

Hoisin sauce

4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey, molasses, or brown sugar
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons sweet chile sauce
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Mix together until well blended.

Recipe and photo for Pad Thai from KoKoCooks.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Avocado Fries

When I was making these fries my husband and children, all excited, asked what I was making...when I told them avocado fries they all turned up their noses.  When it came time for diner, my husband who very much dislikes those "green slimy things" tried them and wanted more off of my plate!  Now if I can make something he dislikes into something he that is an accomplishment!  I thought they were great dipped in ranch.  Although I would think anything with avocado in it is a little taste of heaven...I know some may think I am weird.  Maybe I am. but I am just following my taste buds.  They are creamy on the inside and crunchy on the outside.  I added a little Parmesan cheese before serving.  Sigh... :)  Onto the recipe so you can make this yummy goodness!

Canola oil for frying

1/4 cup flour
1 tsp kosher salt
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 1/4 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 firm-ripe medium avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced into 1/2-in. wedges
Grated Parmesan for serving (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 200°. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 1/2 in. oil until it registers 375° on a deep-fry thermometer.

2. Meanwhile, mix flour with 1/2 tsp. salt in a shallow plate. Put eggs and panko in separate shallow plates.

3. Sprinkle the avocado slices with the remaining ½ tsp salt. Dip each slice in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, then panko to coat. Set on 2 plates in a single layer.

3. Fry a quarter of avocado slices at a time until deep golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer slices to a plate lined with paper towels. Keep warm in oven while cooking remaining avocados. Sprinkle with salt and a little grated Parmesan.

Recipe from Circle B Kitchen

Chewy Cashew Bars

If you like pecan pie, you will love these.  They are very fast and easy to make.  A great treat for the holidays if you want more than just pie.  But beware, they will go fast!  The recipe I followed called for pecans, but having none and an abundance of cashews I thought I would give it a shot.  I am glad I did.  So is my husband as he just took 5 or 6 bars upstairs, (after already sneaking one earlier!) 


1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 jellyroll pan with aluminum foil.

2. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut the cold butter into cubes and add to flour mixture. Toss and use a pastry blender to cut butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles crumbs the size of peas. Pour mixture into prepared pan and press into a smooth crust. Poke several holes in the crust with tines of a fork. Bake about 18-20 minutes until light golden brown.

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 T unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla

3. In a large bowl, beat eggs and add sugar, corn syrup, butter, and vanilla. Whisk together until smooth. Stir in cashews (I reserve a handful to sprinkle on top after it has started to set.)
4. Pour filling into pre-baked crust. Return to oven to bake for about 20 minutes until filling is set. Cool on a wire rack until completely cool. Use foil to lift bars out of pan and cut into squares.

Zuppa Toscana

We don't have an Olive Garden here in Anaconda or even anywhere near us so I do miss having this wonderful soup.  It is actually the only thing I eat when I go there.  I am sure they have other good food, I just can't get past this mouth watering soup!  Maybe someday I will try something else on their menu.  My husband is not a soup man, you may have seen me write that before but I think if he tried this soup, he would like it.  I don't think a conversion would happen towards soup, I just think he wouldn't grumble if he knew I was making it!

I have never been one to buy kale, but I did and am so glad for it.  I have been eating about 75-80% raw foods and bought it to put in my salads to try something different.  Can't really taste it in my salads cause I load it down with a bunch of veggies, spinach, tomato, smoked sun dried tomato, sunflower seeds, cucumber, mushrooms, carrots, pumpkin seeds, cilantro, and I am probably missing about 5 or 6 other veggies...but I definitely taste it in this tantalizing soup.  It was so hard not to go back and get a second bowl...

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb Italian sausage
1 onion, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2  cups kale, chopped
6  cups water
3 teaspoons better than bullion, vegetable flavor
1 cup heavy cream

1. Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat and add the sausage, using a wooden spoon to break the meat into small chunks. Cook the sausage until it’s nice a brown on all sides.  Once browned, remove the sausage from the pot using a slotted spoon and set aside.

2.  With the pot still over medium heat, add the onion and saute until translucent, about five minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper to the pan and cook for a minute more, just until fragrant. Stir in half a cup of water and make sure to scrape up all the brown bits for extra flavor.

3.  Return the sausage to the pot and add the potatoes, kale, water, and better than bullion flavoring. Increase the heat to medium-high to bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Finally, stir in the heavy cream and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Grab a BIG bowl and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from  The Martin Blog

Sunday, December 12, 2010

New York Style Cheesecake

Cheesecake, cheesecake, cheesecake, who doesn't love cheesecake? So yummy and very easy to make. You will definitely enjoy this one!  I made it last month for Thanksgiving and added 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree.  Everyone loved it!  So this is definitely a crowd pleaser and something you can make during this holiday season!

15 graham crackers, crushed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 (8 oz) packaged of cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch spring form pan.

2. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of spring form pan.

3. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in milk, and them mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 to 6 hours; this prevents cracking. Chill in refrigerator until serving.

Photo courtesy of Chef John at Food Wishes

Friday, December 10, 2010

The BEST turkey rub this side of...well anywhere!

I made this from two recipes that I really liked but couldn't decide on!  So I made the decision to blend and I am sooooo glad I did.  I have never tasted a more flavorful turkey and the gravy was out of this world!  If you have a spare turkey just lying around, you should really try this...or go buy one and try it!  You will thank me for it.  All spices are dried spices, if you want to use fresh use 1/3 of the amount listed.  This amount should be more than enough for a whole turkey under and on the skin.

3 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons pepper
3 teaspoon thyme
3 teaspoons rosemary
6 tablespoons Chef John's Dry Rub
6 tablespoons brown sugar
3 cups water
6 tablespoons lime juice

Mix all ingredients well until there are no clumps.  Left up skin on the turkey breast and any other area you would like the seasoning under the skin.  Then sprinkle on top of the skin generously.  Bake according the directions on the turkey.  When done use your drippings for gravy and enjoy immensely!

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