Monday, October 26, 2009

Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 lbs. cream cheese, softened
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 14-oz. can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioner's ("powdered") sugar
Preheat the oven to 350º F.
Add the 4 tablespoons of butter to a 10-inch or 12-inch springform pan and place it in the oven to melt.
Add the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Stir.
Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan and 1/2 way up the sides.
Bake at 350º F. for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk. Beat at medium-high speed until well combined.
Add the pumpkin puree, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves.
Beat at medium speed until smooth.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat again until the mixture is completely smooth. This may take 1-2 minutes.
Pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan.
Bake at 350º F. for 60 minutes.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool. Run a knife blade along the rim of the springform pan to release the edge of the cake; but do not remove the outer ring of the springform pan just yet.
Leave the cheesecake on the wire rack until it is completely cooled.
Remove the outer ring of the springform pan and place the cheesecake in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or overnight.
Shortly before serving, prepare the whipped cream. Simply beat the whipping cream and confectioner's sugar until stiff peaks form.
Spread the whipped cream over the cheesecake. This will hide any "cracks" in the cake's surface, too!
Chill again until you're ready to serve.

Note: I just use the whipping cream in the can (Redi-Whip) and squirt stars on top then drizzle with Caramel syrup and sprinkle some chopped pecans on top. It is delicious.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Brocolli Parmesan

1 large head brocolli or more if you are serving several people
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tbs. butter
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Steam brocolli.
While brocolli is steaming, saute onion in butter in saucepan. Add can of cream of chicken soup, milk and stir well. If too thick, add just a little more milk (tablespoon at a time). Stir in parmesan cheese. Heat through. Serve over hot, steamed brocolli.

Mom's Black Bean Chili

1 lb. ground beef**, 85-90% lean
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 can black beans, undrained
1 can Bush's Chili Hot Beans
2 cans Hunt's diced tomatoes
1 can water
1 pkg. 2 Alarm Chili Kit* -- Use salt, cumin/oregano, paprika, dried garlic/onion, red pepper to taste, 1/2 - all chili powder (depending on how chili tasting you like it.) Do not use Masa flour unless you like it super thick.

1. Saute onion, pepper and ground beef. If your beef is not lean, drain grease if there is alot in bottom of pan.
2. Add 2 cans of tomatoes, 2 cans of beans and water.
3. Add individual spice packets. Do not use all of the red pepper unless you want "atomic" chili. Start with 1/2 of the chili powder mix and add more to taste. Sometimes I might add all of it, but usually about 2/3 of it. I do not use the Masa flour, but if you like it thick, you can.
4. Simmer for about 30 min. on low, stirring to prevent burning on bottom.

*If you cannot find the 2 Alarm Chili Kit, you can use Carol Shelby's chili kit. I usually add a little extra cumin when I use Carol Shelby's. (These are usually found in the section of the store that has the packaged sauce, spaghetti, gravy etc. mixes.)

**I have also substituted ground turkey for the ground beef. It still is good and has a "lighter" feel and taste to it.

Roasted Cauliflower


1 head of cauliflower
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely minced
Lemon juice (from 1/2 or a whole lemon)
Olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese

1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut cauliflower into florets and put in a single layer in an oven-proof baking dish. Toss in the garlic. Squeeze lemon juice over cauliflower and drizzle each piece with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. If the oven hasn't reached 400°F yet, set aside until it has.
2 Place casserole in the hot oven, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown. Test with a fork for desired doneness. Fork tines should be able to easily pierce the cauliflower. Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.