Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Strazberry Cheesecake Trifle

Do you like my title? Strawberry and Raspberry Trifle is way too much of a mouthful. So I made up a new word.
I whooped up a trifle for the gals at work this week, they did some amazing things and achieved a very commendable goal so I decided to reward them with my time and baking efforts throughout this week and last. This went well, I got great reviews (yea!!) I made Cinnamon Rolls, Caramel Corn, Ranch dip, Texas Sheet Cake, Taco Soup, Smores (one a day for a week, not all at once), and then....


This was the finale.


Here's the cast of characters. I made most of it the night before then layered it all together the morning of (530 AM people!) I served this for breakfast, with muffins, juice, and of course, Diet Coke. Mormon Coffee.

2 packages cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
8 oz sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 8oz tub Cool Whip -more may be needed here
1 pound cake cut in 1 inch cubes
Raspberry Jello (small box)
2 quarts fresh Strawberries sliced
1 package fresh Raspberries

Prepare Jell-o according to package directions, refrigerate to semi-firm, add half of strawberries and all raspberries stir till blended, refrigerate till set.
Put remaining strawberries in a bowl, add 1-2T sugar, stir and refrigerate until ready to use.
Mix together cream cheese and powdered sugar until fluffy, add sour cream, vanilla and almond extract. Beat until smooth and creamy. FOLD in half of Cool Whip or more to taste. Refrigerate until ready to layer.
1 hour before serving:
Layer each according to preference, here's my recommendation:
Bottom to top:
thin creamy layer
pound cake
enough creamy layer to cover cake
Jell-o layer
creamy layer to cover jello
pound cake
cool whip to cover cake
strawberries in sugar spread on top
dollop of Cool Whip



I made two!
Of course building a Trifle is all according to preference, fruit, jello, cake flavors can all be different, some lake angel food or chocolate cake, some like pudding layers instead of my "creamy mock-cheesecake" idea. The thing to remember is that you need to serve it quickly and it only looks good for about 5 hours even refrigerated. It starts getting mushy and blends together after that, so don't plan on leftovers, they're not pretty. :)
Though if you close your eyes, the mush tastes awesome!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pasta Alfredo Bake


INGREDIENTS
8 oz pasta, cooked and drained (I used penne and rigitoni once too, I like rigitoni better)
2 cups broccoli florets
1-1/2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded or diced
1 jar alfredo sauce (I made scratch alfredo sauce, below, make sauce FIRST it takes awhile)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup mozzarella cheese (3/4 cup for mix, 1/4 for top)
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (I use about 1/3 cup instead)
2 tbsp butter

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
Coat the bottom of a 9X13 or deep baking dish with a thin layer of alfredo sauce. In a medium bowl, mix the pasta, broccoli, chicken, garlic, alfredo sauce, 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese until combined.
Place mixture into baking dish and top with 1/4 cup mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
Cut the butter into small pieces and scatter on top of the cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly.

Alfredo Sauce

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 garlic clove, minced
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

INSTRUCTIONS
Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium/low heat. Add the garlic, cream, pepper and bring mixture to a simmer. Stir often. Add the parmesan cheese and simmer sauce for 8-10 minutes or until sauce has thickened and is smooth, add the mozzarella cheese and stir until smooth again. STIR FREQUENTLY.
Family says, "Yum!" They all had seconds!

White Velvet Sugar Cookies

 From My Kitchen Cafe

Melanie:
"I know sugar cookie season has come and gone already with all the "sugar cookie" holidays pretty much over, but these are definitely worth sharing (and in my world sugar cookie season lasts all year). The secret to this recipe is cream cheese and egg yolks in the dough and it adds a whole new dimension to sugar cookies."
Me:
She's not kidding!! These are wonderful!! My new favorite! You can never have enough sugar cookies; there's always an occasion....Mine is "Saturday" :)

2 cups butter, softened
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ¾ cups flour

Cream butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add sugar, egg yolks and vanilla; mix well. Gradually add flour.
The dough will be VERY soft; don't worry, it gets firmer after chilling. Cover and chill two hours or until firm.
Roll out on floured surface to ¼ inch thickness. Cut into shapes; place on greased baking sheets (or use parchment paper). Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until set (but not browned). Cool 5 minutes. Place on wire racks to cool.
Frost as desired.


Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
"This frosting is my absolute favorite sugar cookie frosting. It doesn't set-up and harden like some sugar cookie frostings - it stays very soft and gooey, perfect for sprinkling with colored sugar or nonpareils."

I thought this frosting was really good though I thought it would work better on a white cake then on cookies, but it was very pretty, I made a peach color with this and it was very light, fluffy and pretty.

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, beat whipped cream until stiff peaks form (it helps to use a chilled bowl and chilled beaters - and make sure the peaks are stiff not soft). Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture and mix carefully (so as not to deflate cream) but well.
(Be careful if adding coloring - the liquid food coloring doesn't mix well with this frosting and can quickly thin your icing so you may need to add a bit more powdered sugar to compensate. I prefer to use Wilton's gel coloring but either will work.)

Sugar Cookie Frosting
"This is my basic, go-to sugar cookie frosting (aside from sneakily buying it in a can sometimes) and it is delicious - in a sugar cookie frosting way. "

1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar
4-6 tablespoons milk
food coloring (if desired)

Combine butter, vanilla and salt and beat until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar in 1-2 cup increments until combined. Add milk and food coloring gradually until you reach your desired spreading consistency.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Raspberry Bread Pudding

For those of you wanting the Raspberry Bread Pudding recipe:
Just add fresh or frozen raspberries to the French Toast Souffle recipe right before baking.

Then prepare the vanilla cream sauce from the Raspberry Croissant French Toast (double it)

And breakfast is now dessert!
This is similar to the Kneaders Raspberry Bread Pudding, recipe on The Sisters' Cafe (got the pic there)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Orange Fruit Dip

1 cup orange juice
1 tsp lemon zest or 1 T lemon juice (or more to taste)
1 small package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup (or more to taste) sour cream
1 carton (6 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
food coloring if desired

Directions: In a large bowl, whisk orange juice and pudding mix. Whisk in sour cream. Fold in whipped topping. Yum!!

Should look creamy and very smooth. My coworkers wanted me to post this one, I made it up yesterday from a mix of things I've done before. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

CCC's

This is my newest favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, I got this recipe from Iheartfood4thought
Please share your favorite. I haven't found the PERFECT one yet, but this is close!
Makes 18 large cookies, 32 medium, or about 75 minis

INGREDIENTS
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10-5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 to 1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS
Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.
Bake until the cookies are light golden grown and the outer edges start to harden yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a side metal spatula.
I used 4 kinds of chips, regular butter, and some course salt sprinkled on top of the cookie and they were great! I used semi, milk, bitter, and white chips. I think these taste a bit like Mrs. Fields.' I added a cup of coconut to one batch and that worked REALLY well too.

Here's another that I tried today (4/4/09) and liked too, it's carmelized flavor is different and really nice. It's very different in the process, browning butter and mixing by hand, I found it's best to make BIG cookies so you have the soft middle and crispy edges; otherwise they flatten out quite a bit.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache & Cookie Crust

 Picture and Recipe Adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

I made this today for Kevin's family and they said it was definitely "blogworthy." Light, Fluffy, Creamy, hint of lemon, heavenly chocolaty crust....what more can I say! I will use this no-bake recipe again and again....

FOR THE CRUST
Vegetable oil cooking spray
18 ounces chocolate wafers, finely ground (4 1/2 cups) - I used 2 packages of Oreo Fudge Rings
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

FOR THE GANACHE
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Ghirardelli's Bittersweet Chocolate Chips)1/2 cup heavy cream

FOR THE FILLING
32 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, cold

Make the crust:
Coat a 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Mix wafers, sugar, butter, and salt in a medium bowl. Pat mixture into pan, pressing firmly into bottom and all the way up sides. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to fill.

Make the ganache:
Place chocolate in a food processor or blender. Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan, then pour over chocolate. When chocolate begins to melt, process until smooth. Reserve 4 tablespoons ganache for decorating, and spread the remainder evenly on bottom and all the way up sides of crust. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to fill.

Make the filling:
Beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and slowly add sugar and salt. Raise speed to medium-high, and beat until very fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla.
Beat cream until medium-stiff peaks form. Beat 1/4 of the whipped cream into cream cheese mixture, then fold in remaining whipped cream.
Pour filling into crust, and spread evenly. Gently tap bottom of pan on counter to release air bubbles.
Cover, and freeze for at least 1 hour or overnight. Unmold cheesecake, and serve immediately

Here's a picture of mine, no decorations. but you could pipe extra ganache in any design you like...sorry I ran out of time!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pizza Casserole

SERVINGS: 12
CATEGORY: Main Dish
METHOD: Slow Cooker
TIME: Prep: 25 min. Cook: 1 hour

Ingredients:
2 pounds ground beef
1/2 pound ground sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 jars (28 ounces)spaghetti sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Dash pepper
1 package (16 ounces) favorite hearty noodles (I like penne with a little texture on the noodle), cooked al dente and drained
2 packages (3-1/2 ounces each) sliced pepperoni
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions: In a large skillet, brown beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add spaghetti sauce, salt, garlic powder, oregano and pepper; heat through. Spoon 1/2 into a 6-qt. slow cooker. Top with half of the pepperoni, noodles then cheeses. Repeat layers. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour or until cheese is melted. Toss lightly. Yield: 12 servings.

Serve with Garlic bread or bread sticks and you've got a meal!
My family loves this recipe, it re-heats beautifully.

New version
with Chicken!!

I've improved some things here....
Slow cook chicken 5 chicken breasts for 4 hours or until tender and you can shred with a fork
Saute onions, garlic, and pepperoni in a skillet with one tsp of oil. (I didn't do sausage in this verson)Mix with sauce.
Drain chicken, shred into strips, add all cooked ingredients to crock pot.
I used 1 2/3 cups of a Parmesan, Asagio and Romano, then 1 cup mozzarella and 1 cup cheddar, this time I stirred all ingredients together and let cheese melt for one hour on low.
Yum!!