Thursday, November 29, 2012

White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

            Happy late Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday and got to spend it with your family and friends.
            I did a whole lot of baking for the holiday, even though I also had to work on Wednesday, Black Friday, Saturday and Sunday (oh, the joys of retail). We celebrated Thanksgiving with my boyfriend’s family and my dad’s side of the family on Thanksgiving and my mom’s side on Sunday. Lucky for you, I made a million pies for the big days, two of which you have already seen on my blog, the White Chocolate Banana Cream and the Creamy Apple Crumb. Now, I have two variations of pumpkin pie to share with you.
            The first is White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake. I have really been on a pumpkin kick this fall, and I am always willing to try a cheesecake. I thought these two married perfectly. I found the original recipe here.

·         Easiness---9---For a cheesecake, this is as easy as it gets (unless you use a box mix, of course).
·         Yumminess---8---It needs more spice in my opinion, but that could just be me.
·         Repeat---10---Next year!!!
INGREDIENTS
·         Make the crust I used in this recipe, bake at the same time as the cheesecake
·         2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese
·         1 cup sugar
·         3 eggs, beaten
·         1 tsp vanilla extract
·         5 ounces white chocolate, melted
·         ¾ cup canned pumpkin
·         1 tsp ground cinnamon (could use 2)
·         ¼ tsp ground nutmeg (could use ½)
DIRECTIONS
·         Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla, beat on low until combined
·         Add in pumpkin, spices and melted white chocolate. Beat on low until combined.
·         Pour filling into the crust. Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes, or until center is set.
·         Cool for at least an hour before serving.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie

          I think it is safe to say that the best part of Thanksgiving is the pie. Actually, dessert is really the only part that sparks my interest that day, because I am not a big fan of turkey.  I wanted to share this recipe with you ASAP, just in case you want to try it out next Thursday!
          Some of you may have heard of the restaurant The Blue Owl, a restaurant in Kimswick, Missouri that has some of the best recipes that even Oprah had to give them a visit. My mom’s favorite dessert from there is the White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie. I am not much into cream pies; I prefer apple or cherry, but my mom really likes this one. She actually likes it so much that she was contemplating ordering one from the restaurant to serve on Thanksgiving! Um…no. Not acceptable. I will be making the pies. J
          I ended up stopping by the Blue Owl to pick up their cookbook the other day, but I used a different crust than the one in the cookbook because I didn’t have any Crisco. And, I’m sorry, but crusts made with Crisco are never a good idea.
My poor attempt at a slice of the pie. I clearly cut
into it way before it was set... so be careful to let
it set overnight preferably
·         Easiness---5---This is time consuming, and the pudding is difficult to get to the right consistency. However, it is worth the trial and error!
·         Yumminess---9---I should have used more banana and white chocolate, but my family disagrees…so you better stick to the recipe
·         Repeat---10---Yes, I am planning to make it for Thanksgiving!
          Here is my version of the best banana cream pie you will ever try!!!

Adapted from the Blue Owl

INGREDIENTS
Pie Crust—No Rolling Involved
·         3 cups all-purpose flour
·         2 tsp. salt
·         4 TBS sugar
·         2 beaten egg yolks
·         1 cup vegetable oil
·         4 TBS cold milk
 
Pudding Filling
·         ½ cup sugar
·         ¼ tsp. salt
·         ½ cup cornstarch
·         4 cups milk (I used 2% and it was fine)
·         1 TBS butter
·         1 tsp. vanilla
·         4 oz. white chocolate chips (You could use up to about 6-8 oz. if you prefer)
 
Garnish and Assembly
·         2 bananas
·         2 oz. white chocolate melted
·         2 oz. dark chocolate melted
·         1 cup heavy whipping cream
·         ¼ cup (more or less depending on taste)
·         1 tsp. vanilla

DIRECTIONS
·         To make crust, sift flour, salt and sugar in your pie pan (9”). Combine oil and milk in a separate bowl and whip with fork until combined. Pour all at once over the flour mixture. Mix with fork until flour is completely dampened. Press evenly and firmly to line the bottom of pan, then press dough up to line the sides and partly cover the rim. Bake at 425° for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. TIP: Cover lightly with a sheet of foil to prevent edges from burning.
·         For the pudding, in a saucepan, combine sugar, salt and cornstarch. Stir in milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture begins to thicken (Bring to a light boil, then reduce heat and keep stirring until thick). Pour ½ cup of the hot mixture into beaten egg yolks while stirring to keep eggs from cooking. While stirring milk mixture in saucepan, slowly blend in egg yolk mixture and stir well. Continue cooking until pudding is think and bubbly. Remove pudding from heat and stir in butter, vanilla and white chocolate. Pour into a glass bowl, cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
·         After the pudding chills, thinly slice bananas and fold 1 ½ bananas into the pudding. Pour the pudding into the pie crust. Top the pie crust with the remaining ½ banana.
·         To make the whipped cream, beat heavy whipping cream on high for about 1 minute. Slowly add sugar while beating. Be sure to not add too much sugar, depending on your preference. Add vanilla. Keep beating the mixture until it is firm and fluffy.
·         For the topping, melt white and dark chocolate separately and spread on a flat plate. Chill until it is hard. Scrape off shavings for decoration. I tried to make the curls, but was unable to get it to work. Maybe someone can teach me! J
I melted my chocolate on a plate, but feel free
to do it however you like
·         Top the pudding with the whipped cream and sprinkle with the white and dark chocolate shavings. ENJOY!!!
I think it is the best looking pie!!
 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Crispy Veggie Flautas

         My birthday was on October 12th, and to celebrate I went to Food Truck Friday in St. Louis.  It was my third time going to the event, and I absolutely love it. I like to try something different every time I go, so this time I went with LuLu’s LocalEatery Food Truck, and I had a delicious wrap filled with sweet potato, rice, black beans, corn and a yummy avocado sauce. I had been thinking about trying to make something similar to this when I saw this recipe on Pinterest. I couldn’t believe how similar it was, so I knew I had to give it a go.
          It is the perfect amount of spicy, and it is meatless, so it works for an array of different diets.  You could also easily make it lactose free, I believe, by just removing the small amount of cheese.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I do (I’ve already made it a second time so that I could freeze them and take them to work for lunch!).

·         Yumminess---10---These are melt in your mouth good, and are a completely guilt free meal if you are trying to count calories or eat healthy like I am.
·         Easiness---10---Really a pretty simple recipe. The sweet potato cooks easily in the microwave, then you just have to mix everything together and fill your tortillas and bake them!
·         Repeat---10---Already made it again! It worked out great; I made about 30 of them, and then I froze them in packs of 4-5 so I could take them for lunch!
INGREDIENTS
·         1 can Mexicorn
·         1 can Black Beans Original Flavor
·         2 Sweet Potatoes medium size
·         ¼ Cup Diced White Onion
·         ½ tsp Chili Powder
·         ½ tsp Garlic Powder
·         ½ tsp Fresh or Dried Cilantro
·         ½ tsp Cumin
·         ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
·         3 oz. Cream Cheese (I used fat free and that worked just fine)
·         ¼ cup grated cheese (I like something spicy like pepper jack)
·         About 20-30 small size tortillas (6-8 inches)
·         Spray Pam

DIRECTIONS
·         Microwave your sweet potatoes for 8 minutes. Use a fork to poke a few holes in the potato, and wrap in a damp paper towel to keep the moisture in them.
·         De-skin the potatoes and mix with the cream cheese with a spoon until it is a nice creamy texture.
·         Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
·         Spray a cookie sheet with Pam and preheat your oven to 400°
·         Fill your tortillas with about 2 TBS worth of the filling and roll into a flauta.
·         Spray the flautas with Pam and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
 

If you have any questions about this recipe or any other, please feel free to comment or ask!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Peanut Butter Cheesecake

          Ok, you are all going to go absolutely crazy over this recipe. Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cheesecake. Yeah, you read that right. It’s a light, fluffy, peanut butter cheesecake with a yummy chocolate brownie crust and a chocolate topping. Doesn’t get much better than this. I found a recipe here that I used as a guide, but I changed it a lot.

·         Yuminess---10---I don’t think I even need to describe how good this tastes.
·         Easiness---7---While cheesecake is delicious to eat, it is very annoying to make. I hate that it has to chill for hours before it is able to be eaten.
·         Repeat---10---SOON!!
 
INGREDIENTS
·         1 box fudge brownie mix (make according to directions)
·         4 packages (8oz. each) cream cheese, softened
·         1 ½ cups sugar
·         ¾ cups creamy peanut butter
·         2 tsp vanilla extract
·         3 eggs
·         ½ cup peanut butter chips
·         1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
DIRECTIONS
·         Make brownie mix according to package. Pour ½ of batter into a 10” springform pan (spray with pam). Bake for 15-17 minutes at 350°. Cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. Cover the bottom of the springform pan in foil to prevent leaking.
·         In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add peanut butter and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs; beat on low just until combined. Pour over the crust (I like to wrap the inside of the springform edgs in parchment paper to prevent it from sticking to the edges)
·         Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until center is almost set (you want it to jiggle a little bit). Remove from the oven; let cool for 30 minutes.
·         In a microwavable bowl, melt the semisweet chocolate chips and spread over the top of the cheesecake once it is cool. Sprinkle with the peanut butter chips.
·         Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Keep refrigerated.

Creamy Apple Crumb Pie

          When you think of fall, what comes to mind? For me, it is colorful leaves, Starbucks coffee, pumpkin, and pie. When I say pie, I mean ANY pie. My first pie of the season is a creamy apple, and it is one of my favorites to make. My first taste of a creamy apple pie was at a Birthday party at my boyfriend’s aunt’s house. It was literally the best pie I had ever eaten. This isn’t the exact recipe, but it is pretty darn good. I hope you like it as much as I do! Here is the original recipe if you are interested, although I changed it a little bit.
I'm pretty proud of this pie :)

·         Yumminess---10---This is so incredibly good. It would be perfect for Thanksgiving…if you can wait that long!
·         Easiness---6---The only problem with pies is that they are quite difficult to make, especially the crust. This pie is totally worth the trouble though!
·         Repeat---10---I have made this twice already, so yes, I would repeat it.
INGREDIENTS
Crust
·         1 ½ cups All Purpose Flour
·         1 tsp Salt
·         2 Tbs Sugar
·         ½ cup Veg. Oil
·         2 Tbs cold milk
Pie filling
·         1/3 cup sugar
·         3 Tbs cornstarch
·         1 tsp cinnamon
·         ¼ tsp allspice
·         6 cups diced peeled tart apples (about 6 medium Granny Smith)
·         1 cup (8 oz) reduced-fat sour cream
·         1 tsp vanilla extract
Crumb topping
·         ½ cup all-purpose flour
·         ¼ cup brown sugar
·         ½ tsp cinnamon
·         2 Tbs melted butter
DIRECTIONS
·         Spray pie pan with Pam or other non-stick oil.
·         For the crust, sift flour, salt and sugar in a 9” pie pan. Combine oil and milk in measuring cup and whip with a fork and pour over the flour mixture. Mix with fork until flour is completely dampened. Press evenly and firmly into the pie pan. Then press dough up to line sides and partly cover the rim. (no need to roll this dough)
·         For the filling, combine the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and all spice. Fold in the apples. Combine sour cream and vanilla; stir into the apple mixture. Spoon into the pastry shell.
·         For topping, compbine the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl; cut in the melted butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over filling
·         Bake at 400° for 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°; bake for 25-30 minutes longer or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Reese's Rice Krispies

          Obviously, there is no better combination other than peanut butter and chocolate. So, it is obvious that a good dessert choice would be Reese’s Peanut Butter Rice Krispies. You can pick you jaw up off the floor now. Yes, I mixed delicious Reese’s with some peanut butter, marshmallows and rice krispies, and have this delicious dessert to share with you. Unfortunately, I can’t claim the recipe. I found the original here, and the only thing I really changed was to omit the Karo syrup (ewww…).



·         Yumminess---100---Yes, 100. This is absolutely fantastic. I can’t even tell you how many times I have made it since finding it through Pinterest. It is the dessert my boyfriend asks for any time I ask him what he would like me to make next.
·         Easiness---7---I am not a big fan of the process of making rice krispies, just because the marshmallow gets so sticky and is annoying to clean. Also, these require a lot of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, so that requires a lot of unwrapping…and lots of trash!
·         Repeat---10---This seems obvious, as I have already told you I make them all the time.
INGREDIENTS
·         6 cups Cocoa Rice Krispies
·         1 bag 10oz mini marshmallows
·         2/3 cup peanut butter
·         5 TBS butter
·         16-18 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (chopped)
·         ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
DIRECTIONS
·         Measure 6 cups of Cocoa Rice Krispies into a large bowl
·         Chop 16 Peanut butter cups and mix into the rice krispies
·         Melt butter over medium heat
·         Add marshmallows to the pot of butter
·         Continuously stir the marshmallows.  When they are melted completely add 1/3 cup peanut butter and stir
·         Mix the marshmallow/peanut butter mixture into the rice krispies
·         Spray a 9x13” pan with Pam and press the rice krispies into it
·         Melt chocolate chips and drizzle over the rice krispies
·         Do the same with the remaining 1/3 cup peanut butter, chop 2-4 more peanut butter cups and sprinkle over the top.
·         Let sit for at least 1 hour to cool
·         ENJOY!

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

         Ok, so it comes as no surprise that I love fall. I mean, I LOVE it. I love the colors, tastes and smells that come with it. So, I am no exception to the pumpkin craze that seems to be going on this season. I decided to try my hand at a new recipe (created by yours truly) to feed my pumpkin craving. I actually made this recipe for my own birthday celebration (along with an apple pie and regular gooey butter cake).  PUMPKIN GOOEY BUTTER CAKE.
          I know that gooey butter cake originated in St. Louis, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the world shouldn’t get to enjoy it! This pumpkin recipe is basically just an adaptation to the gooey butter cake recipe I posted a few posts ago.
·         Yumminess---10---This is AMAZING. I honestly have no other words to describe it.
·         Easiness---10---So simple to make. It is just as easy as the last gooey butter recipe.
·         Repeat---10---Absolutely! Next fall…ok maybe next week ;)
INGREDIENTS
·         1 box yellow cake mix
·         3 large eggs
·         1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
·         2 cups powdered sugar
·         8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
·         6 Tbs pumpkin puree
·         1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
DIRECTIONS
·         Preheat oven to 325°
·         Combine, Cake mix, 1 egg, 4 Tbs pumpkin puree, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, and melted butter.
·         Press into a greased 9×13 pan with your fingers
·         Blend, cream cheese, 2 beaten eggs, remaining 2 Tbs pumpkin puree, ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice, and powdered sugar until smooth.
·         Spread over first batter.
·         Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until edges are brown.
·         Dust with powdered sugar on top after cake has cooled

Italian Chicken in the Crockpot

          I know it has been a while since I have written, but don’t worry, I haven’t stopped cooking/baking! My new job has been keeping me busy, so I haven’t really felt like sitting down to actually post the recipes I have been making. Well, get ready, because I have a lot!
          The first recipe I would like to share with you today is Italian Chicken in the Crockpot. This actually turned out quite good, even though I was scared of the cream of chicken soup (I have heard weird things about it).
All the ingredients you will need. SOOOOO easy

·         Yumminess---7---It was a little bit too salty for me, which I attribute to the cream of chicken soup. If you can find a low sodium version, I would suggest using that instead. On the other hand, it might just be me, because my family raved over it!
·         Easiness---10---Doesn’t really get much easier than a crockpot, and there are so few ingredients!
·         Repeat---10---I will definitely make this again, but hopefully with a low sodium version of the cream of chicken.
INGREDIENTS
To feed 6-8 people
·         1 bag of noodles (I like the spiral ones, but you could also use bowtie)
·         2 packets Italian Dressing Mix (1 original and 1 zesty)
·         1 8oz Cream Cheese
·         2-3 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
·         6 chicken breasts
DIRECTIONS
·         Put everything in the crockpot (except the noodles), and cook on low for at least 4 hours (more than 4 won’t hurt it)
·         After about 4 hours of cooking, shred the chicken. It should fall apart pretty easily.
·         When you are ready to eat, cook your noodles as you normally would. Then, you can either add all of the noodles to the crockpot, or simply let everyone choose how much of the Italian chicken they want on top of the noodles.
·         If it is too thick, add about ¼  cup of water at a time until it is the right consistency.
 
I think this is a great consistency.

Serve with garlic bread