Saturday, January 9, 2010

Chocolate Cheesecake

One of my favorite desserts to make is making New York style cheesecake. I love to bake them...I don't know the reason, but I can remember back in high school and college I loved to bake them for family and friends.

My husband always "joked" with me on our way to Chicago to visit friends and to go shopping, that we were going to buy this factory that was for sale and turn it into a homemade cheesecake "factory". Not really a factory but more of a location. I was just amazed at some of the preservatives that cheesecake manufacturers place into their desserts. Well as you can see we did not open that cheesecake factory, but the love of making cheesecakes continued.

This past holiday season, I made chocolate cheesecake. Oh it was so good! It just melted in our mouths...I can taste it now.

Chocolate Cheesecake
1 crumb-nut cheesecake crust or graham cracker crust
3 packages of softened cream cheese
3/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup turbinado (if you prefer you can replace with equal amounts of white sugar). I think the turbinado makes it less sweet
1 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Chocolate chunks (can be chocolate chips, broken chocolate pieces, etc.)

Preheat oven to 450° degrees. In a large mixer bowl place the softened sour cream and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Blend/beat on medium speed until smooth. Next add flour, blend 1 tablespoon at a time and mix well. Add eggs and beat well. Now add the cocoa powder and turbinado, oil, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and mix until well blended.

Pour the cheesecake mixture into your springform pan that has the graham cracker crust already formed within. Make sure the bottom of the pan and sides are latched on securely. Once the cheesecake mixture is in the pan, place the chocolate chunks throughout the cheesecake. Gently push the pieces within the cream cheese.

Bake at 450° degrees for 10 minutes. Without opening the oven door, lower temperature to 250° degrees and continue cooking for 30 minutes more. Without opening the oven door, turn off heat and let cheesecake sit in oven for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and loosen sides with knife. Let cool and chill.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sausage Broccoli Bake

We love to try new recipes and this recipe we made over the holidays. It is one on the top of our list now. If you are not a lover of meat in your breakfast casserole dishes, you could remove the sausage and add another vegetable or another meat substitute.

Sausage Broccoli Bake

3/4 lb Italian sausage, casings removed
3 green onions, chopped (or use a small yellow onion)
2 cups fresh broccoli florets, cooked and drained
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
8 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese or cottage cheese depending upon your preference
1/4 cup milk
seasoning salt (or use white salt)
black pepper
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 firm plum tomatoes, thinly sliced

Set the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 11 x 7-inch baking dish or a medium-size oval casserole dish. In a skillet cook the sausage meat with onions over medium-high heat, stirring until the sausage is browned; drain fat and transfer to a large bowl. Add in cooked broccoli and 3/4 cup shredded cheese; toss to combine, transfer and spread into bottom of prepared baking dish. In another bowl combine the eggs with 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, cayenne, ricotta cheese and milk, then season with salt and pepper; pour over the broccoli/sausage mixture. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese (or you can use cheddar in place of the Parmesan) then arrange the tomato slices over the top. Bake covered for about 30 minutes; remove from oven and uncover. Bake for another 15 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Yummy Blueberry Ice Cream

One of the traditions in our family has been that you pick whatever you would like to eat for your birthday dinner. My nephew had a birthday and he selected some unique food combinations but all of it was yummy. Each family member brought a dish that he had requested, the dish that I brought was blueberry ice cream.

So I looked at various recipes and then created this recipe of my own. I must admit I was a little skeptical of blueberry ice cream, but you know what? I was pleasantly surprised.

2 cups blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Place the blueberries, sugar and salt in a sauce pan and turn to medium-high heat. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, mashing berries and stirring with a fork. Simmer the mixture, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes and then cool slightly.

In a blender, puree 3/4 of the mixture with milk just until smooth and stir in cream. Chill this mixture until cold in the fridge overnight. Place the remaining 1/4 mixture in the refrigerator as well.

The next day, pull out the "chucky 1/4 part of the blueberry mixture" that was in the refrigerator and place on your counter-top. Then pour the chilled ice cream mixture into the ice cream maker and follow your ice cream maker directions.

Half-way through the ice cream making process spoon in the 1/4 of the "chunky" blueberry mixture that was placed in the refrigerator into the ice cream maker (very slowly). You need to be careful that the blueberry "chunky" mixture does not harden to quickly and stop the turning of your ice cream maker.