Monday, October 1, 2012

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

First and foremost, allow me to apologize for not having step-by-step instructions for this recipe.  You see, I have for the last two years made this recipe for Christmas dessert; and I am always so overwhelmed that I rarely have time to capture step-by-step photos for anything that I am making.  This past year I managed to get a couple of recipes completely photographed, but this was not one of them.  I did, however, manage to get a photo of the final product.  My intention was to wait until this year and try again, but upon further reflection I really wanted to share this recipe well before November and December for those early planners out there. 

This recipe originally appeared in the December 2010 Cooking Light Magazine.  The original recipe called for a raspberry liqueur to be mixed into the topping.  As I am always looking to reduced the calories in all my recipes, I replaced this with a high quality cranberry juice.  I love out-lighting Cooking Light! I also chose to go with a standard graham cracker crust instead of the called for chocolate graham cracker crust because I really prefer a classic crust on a cheese cake.  

The Ingredients
Crust
4 ounces low-fat plain graham crackers
3 tablespoons unsalted butter. melted
cooking spray

Topping
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cranberry juice
3 tablespoons sugar

Cheesecake
1 cup sugar
2 8-ounce packages block-style 1/3 less-fat cream-cheese, softened
4-ounces block-style fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 large egg whites


  1. Preheat the oven to 375° 
  2. Wrap the outsides and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a double layer of heavy-duty foil.  Spray the inside the springform pan with cooking spray until well coated.
  3. Place the graham crackers in a food processor; process until finely ground.  Drizzle the melted butter into the opening of the food processor while it continues to run, until the mixture is combined.  Press the mixture into bottom and 1/2-inch up the sides of the prepared springform pan.  
  4. Bake the crust at 375° for 8 minutes; cool completely on a wire rake.  
  5. Reduce the temperature on the oven to 325°
  6. Place the cranberries, 1/2 cup sugar, cranberry juice, and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil.  Cook for 8 minutes or until the the cranberries pop and the mixture is syrupy.  Cool 20 minutes. 
  7. Combine 1 cup of sugar and the cream cheeses in a large bowl; and beat with a mixer (or use a stand mixer) at medium speed until smooth.  Beat in one at a time the yogurt, the vanilla and the salt.  Add the whole eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  
  8. Place the 2 egg whites into a bowl and beat them with a mixer until (if you used a stand mixer for the step above and don't have a stand mixer you will need to remove the cheese mixer and thoroughly clean the bowl of the stand mixer before doing this step---just buy a hand held mixer--it's easier) soft peaks are formed.  Gently, very gently fold the egg white into the cheese mixture.  Do not over mix, or you will lose that lift that the egg whites bring to this recipe.  
  9. Pour the mixture into the crust.  Spoon the cranberry mixture (like dots) over the top of the cream cheese mixture and then use a knife to swirl the cranberries around the top of the cheesecake.  
  10. Place the springform pan a large rectangular baking dish (large enough to hold your foil covered springform pan--test this out in advance).  Add hot water to the pan to a depth of 2 inches.  
  11. Bake at 325° for 50 minutes to an hour or until the center of the cheesecake barely moves when the pan is touched.  
  12. Turn oven off.  Cool the cheesecake in the closed oven for 30 minutes.  
  13. Remove the cheesecake from the oven, and run a knife around the outside edge.  Cool on a wire rack.  Cover and chill for 8 hours.  

Recipe Source: December 2010 issue of Cooking Light Magazine

Serves 12.  Cut the cake into 12 even servings

Calories 270
Protein 7 grams
Fat 11 grams
Sodium 253
Fiber 1
Potassium 54





Thursday, September 27, 2012

All Hail, the Slow Cooker!

My big Crock-Pot


I have two slow cookers, both the name brand Crock-Pot.  I have the large one photographed above and I have a small one, shown below,  which I use during the holidays for mulling wine or for making larger batches of hot cocoa.

My small Crock-Pot

Crock-pots or slow cookers are most often used during the cooler months but that need not be the case.  I use mine year round.  It does not heat up the kitchen and there are many non-soup/stew recipes out there for the slow cooker.  Here are some good recipe sources:

This gets you recipes straight from the source.  I like this site because it narrows down the recipes by the size Crock-pot/slow cooker that you own.  When it comes to Crock-Pot/Slow Cooker recipes, size matters.  

This blog is devoted to nearly continuous crock potty goodness.  I've made a couple of her recipes and they always work out well.  

Another year long slow cooking blog.  

What?  Self promotion is good for the soul




Monday, September 24, 2012

Spinach and Garlic Stromboli

I am forever looking for new things to serve for dinner.  A Stromboli is something typically made with meat or meat slices, but I wanted to make a vegetarian version.  One could easily make this recipe vegan by using a vegan cheese.  

I used the pizza crust recipe that I use for my calzones and for my homemade pizza.  You can use any pizza dough that makes enough for two pizzas or you can use a refrigerated dough or a mix if you so desire. 

I made these rolls in advance, stuck them in the refrigerator, ran out to pick up a kid and came back and baked them up.  You can't beat that with a stick.  Well, you could but then you'd have to clean it up, so don't.

The Ingredients
 pizza dough enough for two pizzas, or refrigerated dough
6 slices mozzarella cheese
10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
egg white

 Preheat the oven to 375°. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle-ish shape.  Top this with the cheese, spinach and garlic.  Salt and pepper to taste.

 Roll it up like you would a roulade.

Place the strombolis onto a prepared baking dish or a pizza stone and brush them with the egg white.
Bake for 20 minutes

recipe source: my brain!










Friday, September 21, 2012

Spicy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

This is my basic stovetop macaroni and cheese recipe. I have done this recipe with several types of cheese and it always comes out well.  This time I chose to use a pepper jack cheese.  

The Ingredients
8 ounces macaroni
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 (12-ounce) can fat free evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
12 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded

 Boil the pasta according to package instructions, drain it and return it to the pot.

In a small bowl mix together 1/2 of the evaporated milk, the eggs and the hot sauce

Melt the butter into the still warm macaroni

Slowly stir in the egg mixture, stirring until well combined

Add in half the cheese and stir until the cheese is completely melted

Add the remaining evaporated milk

And the remaining cheese

Stir until the cheese is completely melted and all is nice and creamy!

Recipe source: America's Test Kitchen




Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Deep Dish Pizza

For my youngest son's birthday this past June we offered to take him out for pizza on his birthday proper, his only request was that we go to San Ramon for the pizza (he was born in San Ramon).  In discussing our plans with some of the mother's of his classmates/party goers we received a 100% agreement that HAD to go to Zachary's in San Ramon. Zachary's serves a Chicago style pizza.  Now, I must admit that I have always been a New York style pizza girl myself, but DAMN this pizza was good.  What struck me most were the tomatoes which topped the pizza.  

We've since been back to Zachary's again and we will go several thousands more times before all is said and done, but y'all know me.  I can't walk away from a good meal without thinking, could I make that at home.  

I did a lot of research but I could not find what I thought would even come close to Zachary's when it hit me: King Arthur Flour!  'Come on Amy', I said to myself, 'you go to their site first when you are looking for any kind of bread recipe and what is at the foundation of a pizza, but bread.' I instantly found this recipe, Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza.  I've made this recipe twice now and boy-howdy is it tasty.  I made two pizzas using 9-inch round baking dishes, one for the boys and one for the grown ups, but the original recipe is for one large pizza.  I also omitted the sugar from the tomatoes and I opted not add any salt to the tomatoes. 

The Ingredients

the crust
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
 2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water

the filling
3/4 lbs mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
1 lb of white mushrooms, slice
1 can sliced black olives, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon capers
2-14.5 ounce cans no salt added diced tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

for the pans
4 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

the tools 
large mixing bowl
plastic wrap 
2 9-inch round baking pans
rack
spatula or large turner

the cooking
In the stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the dough ingredients.  The King Arthur recipe has instructions of hand mixing and for using a food processor and probably even for a bread machine, because King Arthur Flour is fabulous like that.  

Mix on low speed for about 8 minutes of until the dough forms a lovely elastic ball.

 Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place it in a warm location to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

 The dough should double in size. 

Roll or stretch the dough into a circle big enough for your 9-inch round baking pans

Coat the two round baking pans with 2 tablespoons each of vegetable or olive oil.  Swirl it around and make sure the the oil goes up the side of the baking pan.

Place the dough into the pans and push or press it out to cover the bottom and the side of the pans.Cover the let the dough rest for 15 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 425° while the dough rests.

  A well rested dough! Place the well rested dough in the oven and allow it to bake for 10 minutes or until it sets and is lightly brown. While it is baking prepare your filling. 

Drain the tomatoes and mix them together with the garlic, oregano, and basil. Also take this time to saute any veggies you are also using as filling.  

The pre-baked crust.  

Top the crust with the sauteed vegetable

Then top with the tomatoes (someone remind me to clean that toaster)

Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and bake for 25 minutes or until the filling it bubbling and the crust is a lovely golden brown.

The finished product, but here is the scariest step EVER.  You are going to need to remove it from this pan and get it on that rack.  I need both hands for this step and I have no one else to help me cook or photograph, or I would have shared step by step instructions on getting the pizza out of pan without tears.  Basically I place a large turner/spatula under the edge of the pizza and gently lifted it out.  Don't panic, if I can do it anyone can do it!

 See! I did it!  Now let the pizza cool on the rack for 15 minutes

Slice it up and serve it warm!






This is for two 9-inch pizzas, one serving is 1/4 of an 9-inch round.  It;s high, but you will fill up on one serving. 
Calories 457
Protein 15 grams
Fat 23 grams
Sodium 732 grams
Fiber 3 grams
Potassium 173 grams 












 

 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Kisses~A Rerun


 This is a re-posting of a recipe I did some time ago, you can tell by the one photo format that this recipe was first posted at least a year ago.  I wanted to share it again because the Hershey's Kisses featured in this recipe are typically only available in September or October and I don't want any of you to miss them. 

 **********************************************************************************

I found these Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses at the store while looking for ideas for cookies for Kyle's soccer team. I immediately decided to make some sort of blossom kiss type cookie, but I knew that the traditional peanut butter cookie base would not cut it. While searching for something to use as the base to these cookies I found an amazing Brown Sugar Cookie recipe in the America's Test Kitchen Family Baking cookbook. The result was a cookie to rival any pumpkin pie!

1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
24 Hershey's Pumpkin Spice Kisses, unwrapped
  1. Adjust the oven rack the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Whisk together the 1/4 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar together in a shallow bowl.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside for later.
  3. Melt 10 tablespoons of the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, swirling the pan constantly until the melted butter is a dark golden brown that gives of a nutty aroma, this should take about 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully transfer the butter to a heatproof bowl and add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter stirring until they are also melted. Set aside for 15 minutes until cooled completely.
  4. Stir the remaining 1 3/4 cups brown sugar and the salt into the cooled butter until evenly combined. Stir in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and mix until completely incorporated. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined.
  5. Working with 2 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls with your hands wet and then roll them in the sugar mixture. Place them on the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
  6. Baking one sheet at a time bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes. Remove them from the oven and immediately press an unwrapped Pumpkin Spice Hershey kiss into the middle of each still soft cookie. Allow the cookies to cool for about 3 minutes on the cookie sheet until moving them to a wire rack. Be careful will begin to melt just a bit.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Horseradish, Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

My husband, the Veggie Dad is a huge fan of potatoes, horseradish and all things cheese like in nature.  Despite his BBQ betrayal I decided to make this recipe for him, while the boys and I dined on Kalua Pig and Georgia Mustard BBQ sauce.  See how this works.  I have to make my own BBQ and he still gets special mashed potatoes.

Ingredients
2 pounds of red potatoes
1 1/4 cups warm milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup creamy horseradish sauce

 Boil the potatoes until tender when pierced with a fork, about 25-30 minutes.  Drain the water from the potatoes and return them to the stock pot.  Mash them by hand because you are a pushover married to an ungrateful wretch. 

Mix in the horseradish sauce

Add the Parmesan cheese

And a little salt

Serve warm and with contempt