Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Candy Cane Oreo Cheesecake


I made this cheesecake twice over the holidays. The first time, liquid dripped out of the bottom of my springform  pan onto the bottom of the oven while it was baking. It filled my oven (and house) with smoke before I discovered it. The cheesecake was ruined because it tasted like smoke. I was so bummed! The second time I made it, I put a cookie sheet on the oven rack below the cheesecake to catch the drips! That's an important step!
Not only does this cheesecake have a visual wow factor, it is incredibly tasty too!  Those candy cane kisses really work some magic!

Candy Cane Oreo Cheesecake

  • Oreo Cake Crust:
  • 30 Oreo cookies (that's the whole pack) (preferably candy cane flavor)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ cup of vegetable oil
  • Peppermint Cheesecake:
  • 3 - 8 oz packs of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup of white granulated sugar
  • 2 tbs plain yogurt
  • ⅔ cup of heavy cream
  • 2 tsp peppermint extract
  • Topping:
  • 1 bag of candy cane kisses:
  • About 27 set aside for garnish
  • Melt the rest
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 and grease a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Oreo Cake Crust:
  3. Pulse the Oreo cookies in a blender or food processor until all just crumbles.
  4. Add the cookie crumbs and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Separately, whisk eggs and oil until combined. Add the egg mixture to the crumbs. Whisk together until all incorporated well and transfer into the springform pan.
  5. Cheesecake:
  6. Beat the cream cheese and sugar, in an electric mixer on medium speed, until light and fluffed (about 2-3 minutes).
  7. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition.
  8. Add the yogurt, heavy cream and peppermint. Mix until all smooth.
  9. Slowly and evenly, scoop the cheesecake batter over the Oreo crust. Try to scoop all over otherwise the center will be too heavy and cake batter will be too thin in the center. Some cake batter will go up higher on the sides, it's supposed to!
  10. Bake the cheesecake for about 40-45 minutes (firm but a still a little jiggly in the center). Turn off the oven and crack the oven door open. Let the cheesecake sit there (with the oven door half-open) for about 10 minutes. Take out the cheesecake and cool completely.
  11. Melt the remaining kisses in the microwave, on half the power, for 1 minute. Stir well. If necessary, microwave for another 20 seconds at half power. Pour into a pipping bag and cut off the very tip, leaving just a little hole for drizzling.
  12. Drizzle the melted kisses all over the cheesecake.
  13. Lay out the kisses over the edge of the cheesecake, in the circle.

Christmas Cornflake Wreaths

I made these fun Christmas Cornflake Wreaths to put on our neighbor goodie plates. My girls loved helping me make them. I love that they are simple, but cute and yummy.

Christmas Cornflake Wreaths

1/2 cup butter
5 heaping cups miniature marshmallows
1 tsp green food coloring
6 cups corn flakes
Handful of red cinnamon candies

Instructions
Measure corn flakes into a large bowl.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Once melted, add the marshmallows and stir continuously until completely melted. Stir in food coloring.
Pour melted marshmallows into the large bowl with the corn flakes. Stir until well coated.
Lay out a piece of parchment paper on your kitchen counter. Dollop spoonfuls of the cornflake mixture onto the parchment paper. Grease your hands with butter or cooking spray. Use your fingers to shape each spoonful into an individual wreath. Top each wreath with cinnamon candies.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

This is a perfect dinner recipe for my family. It's simple, quick, and oh so delicious. Plus the leftovers taste great the next day. Two thumbs up from all of us. I doubled it for my large family.

From: Thrivinghomeblog.com

Chicken Parm Casserole

4 cups of shredded, cooked chicken
1 jar (28 ounces) of marinara sauce
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup panko or whole wheat bread crumbs
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
fresh, chopped herbs (parsley, basil, oregano, etc)
salt and pepper

Instructions

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Grease an 8x8 casserole dish with cooking spray.

3) Layer the chicken in the bottom. Dump in the marinara sauce and mix with the chicken. Next, top with cheeses until all the chicken is covered.

4) In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, olive oil, fresh herbs and a dash of salt and pepper together.

5) Sprinkle the seasoned breadcrumbs on top.

6) Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden on top and bubbling on the sides.



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Grasshopper Bark

I made these for neighbor treat plates for Christmas and they were easy and so yummy. My kids were begging me to make more when I used them all up. We made more and devoured them promptly.

Grasshopper Bark
Recipe from: Brown Eyed Baker

16 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon mint extract (NOT peppermint)
Green food coloring
16 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 box (4.67-ounces) Andes Crème de Menthe Thins, unwrapped and coarsely chopped
DIRECTIONS:


1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler (or in 30-second intervals in the microwave on 50% power, stirring after each). Once the chocolate is melted, remove from the heat and let sit for a few minutes to cool slightly, stirring occasionally. Add the mint extract, if using, and stir to combine. Add a few drops of green food coloring and stir until desired color is reached.

3. Spread the white chocolate mixture onto the prepared pan in an even layer (depending on the size of the pan and how thick you’d like your bark, you may not need the entire surface of the pan). Refrigerate for 15 minutes, until just about set.

4. Meanwhile, melt the semisweet chocolate over a double boiler (or in 30-second intervals in the microwave on 50% power, stirring after each). Once the chocolate is melted, remove from the heat and let sit for a few minutes to cool slightly, stirring occasionally. Pour over the white chocolate layer and spread evenly over top. Sprinkle with the chopped Andes mints and press down lightly to push the mints into the top chocolate layer. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until completely set.

5. Cut the bark or break into uneven pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. When stored in the refrigerator, it will keep for at least 2 weeks.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Vanilla Dreamboat Dessert

This layer dessert is light and heavenly. My whole family loved it, and I have to admit that I kinda, sorta, maybe licked the pan clean.

*Found on High Heels and Grills via Pinterest

Vanilla Dreamboat Dessert

1 pkg regular golden Oreos, finely crushed
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 pkg. {8 oz.} cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. cold milk
1 tub {12 oz.} Cool Whip, divided
2 pkgs. {3.4 oz.} instant vanilla pudding
3 & 1/4 cups whole milk, cold
1 bag white chocolate chips


Directions:

In a large bowl, combine Oreos and butter and mix until crumbs are fully coated.
Press the crumbs into an ungreased 9x13 inch baking dish.
Place the pan in the refrigerator while you work on the additional layers.
In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese until light and fluffy.
Add 2 Tbsp. milk and sugar and mix well.
Fold in 1 & 1/4 cups Cool Whip.
Spread this mixture over the crust.
In another bowl, {sorry about all the dirty dishes!} combine the vanilla pudding with 3 & 1/4 cups milk and whisk until pudding starts to thicken.
Spread the pudding mixture over the previous cream cheese layer.
Let the dessert rest for about 5 minutes so the pudding can firm up further.
Spread the remaining Cool Whip over the top.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the top.
Place in the freezer for 1 hour or refrigerator for 4 hours before serving.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

This is one of my favorite things to make in a crock pot. It's so simple, but my whole family loves mashed potatoes, and it can turn an ordinary weeknight meal into something pretty special.

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

2 pounds red potatoes, cut into 2 inch pieces, peeled or unpeeled, your choice
½ cup sour cream 
1/4 cup butter
¼ cup milk
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS
Spray the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray. Add chopped potatoes. Cover and cook 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low.
Add sour cream, butter, milk, garlic, salt, and pepper to potatoes. Use a hand mixer to blend together all ingredients. Give them a taste and add more salt if desired. Serve plain, or with any favorite toppings such as gravy, or cheese and bacon!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mini Chocolate Donuts

I made these mini chocolate baked donuts for a baby shower, and they turned out very yummy. I like the chocoate ones better than the pumpkin, but it's mostly because of the chocolate glaze on top. It's delicious and definitely my favorite part!
I'm lucky enough to have a donut maker, but you could also bake these in a donut pan.
I found this recipe HERE.

 Chocolate Donuts

3/4 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
3 TBS Cocoa
1/2 TSP Baking Soda
1/4 TSP Baking Powder
1/4 TSP Salt
1/4 Cup Milk
3 TBS Vegetable Oil
1 Egg
1/2 TSP Vanilla
1/4 Cup Hot Water

Chocolate Glaze
1/4 Cup Melted butter
2TBS Cocoa
1 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 TSP Vanilla Extract
1-3 TBS Hot Water
Sprinkles To Top (Optional)

Instructions
Turn on your donut maker. (or preheat oven to 350 and slightly grease a donut pan)
In the bowl of an electric mixer or a large mixing bowl combined flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Then add in sugar.
Mix in milk, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla mix until smooth.
Slowly stir in hot water until completely combines. Batter will be thin.
Fill a piping bag with your batter. A round tip will be helpful, but I love to use Wilton’s new batter tip. It allows you to squeeze out batter without it dripping at all – mess free!
Lightly grease your donut maker (or donut pan). Quickly squeeze batter into each cavity until full. Donuts will begin to bake and rise so you’ll want to work quickly. If your a bit slow you can always fill just half the cavities at a time.
Let them bake in donut maker for 7 minutes (add a few extra minutes if baking in the oven).
Gently pop them out with a fork, lay them on a wire rack to cool. Repeat steps 6-8 until your batter is gone.
In a small bowl mix together cocoa and powdered sugar. Add in melted butter and vanilla then stir until fully combined.
Slowly add in hot water one TBS at a time until you get a nice dipping consistency.
Dip cooled donuts into the glaze and place back on the cooling rack, it helps to place a piece of wax paper underneath to contains the mess.
Dip half of your donuts, add sprinkles, then repeat with the other half.