Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pecan Cheesecake Pie

I have made this two times already because it is SO good and SO easy! I mean if you like pecan pie AND cheesecake you can't go wrong with this one. I did cheat and use a pre-made pie crust so that definitely contributed to the easy part. That (homemade pie crust) is still on my bucket list of things I want to make but I'm a little nervous to try it! Anyways another Southern Living recipe that is fantastic!!

Pecan Cheesecake Pie
Adapted from Southern Living
1/2 package refrigerated pie crust
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs, divided
3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
1 cup light corn syrup

1. Fit piecrust into a 9 inch pie plate according to package directions. Fold edges under, and crimp.
2. Beat cream cheese, 1 egg, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and salt at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour cream cheese mixture into piecrust and sprinkle evenly with the pecans.
3. Whisk together light corn syrup and remaining 3 eggs, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla; pour mixture over pecans. Place pie on a baking sheet
4. Bake at 350 degrees on lowest rack 50 to 55 minutes until pie is set. Cool on wire rack one hour or until completely cool. Serve immediately, or cover and cool up to 2 days (although ours lasted a week and we were fine!)

Things I learned:
- don't freak out when the pecans start to float when you pour the corn syrup mixture over them...apparently that is normal
- life is so much easier with an electric mixer...I love my Kitchen Aid


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mississippi Sin

We have some great friends from Mississippi who shared this recipe with us. The first time I tried it, I literally ate half of the dip by myself...I couldn't stop! It is a great appetizer for any occasion and is so easy to make! You can't go wrong with cheese and Hawaiian bread!!

Mississippi Sin
from the kitchen of Lauren Arnold

2 cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
8 oz sour cream
1 small can of green chiles, drained
1 small jar of dried beef, chopped up
1 loaf Hawaiian bread

1. Cut off the top of the Hawaiian bread loaf and set aside. Hollow out the loaf, saving the inside.
2. Combine the cheese, sour cream, green chiles and the chopped up dried beef.
3. Fill the loaf with the mixture and put the top of the loaf on. 
4. Wrap the loaf completely in foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. 
5.  Serve with chips and the leftover bread.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Banana Pudding Pie...Redemption

I know I need a great recipe to share considering this 4 month hiatus! This is a great one! I made it back in December for my hubby's graduation party and then it was requested again for Christmas Day dessert. It is an easy recipe...and the first pie I have ever made. If I can do it...anyone can do it! Make sure you make it ahead of time to allow at least 4 hours to chill.

Banana Pudding Pie
Adapted from Southern Living
1 1/2 (12 oz) boxes vanilla wafers
3/4 cup butter melted
3 large bananas, sliced
4 egg whites 
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of cream of tartar

For the Vanilla Cream Filling
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
4 egg yolks
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Set aside about 40 vanilla wafers; pulse remaining vanilla wafers in a food processor 8 to 10 times or until coarsely crushed (should yield about 3 cups). Stir together crushed vanilla wafers and butter until blended. Firmly press on bottom and up the sides onto the lip of a 9-inch pie plate.
2. Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow the crust to cool for 30 minutes or until completely cool.
3. While the pie crust is cooling you can make the Vanilla Creme Filling*.
4. Arrange banana slices evenly over bottom of crust. Spread half of the hot vanilla creme filling over bananas; top with 20 vanilla wafers. Spread remaining hot filling vanilla creme filling over the vanilla wafers (filling will be about 1/4 inch higher than top edge of the crust).
5. For the meringue topping, beat egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Add the pinch of cream of tartar and then the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form and the sugar dissolves. Spread the meringue evenly over the hot filling, sealing the edges.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the peaks are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool 1 hour on a wire rack or until it is completely cool. Coarsely crush remaining vanilla wafers, and sprinkle evenly over top of the pie. Chill for 4 hours.

*For the Vanilla Creme Filling:
1. Whisk together the first 5 ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, 8-10 minutes, or until it has reached the thickness of chilled pudding. (Mixture will just begin to bubble and will be thick enough to hold soft peaks when the whisk is lifted). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Use immediately.

Things I learned:
- the hardest part of this recipe for me was the meringue. There are different ways to make the meringue as far as the proportions of the egg whites to the sugar goes. It is also helpful to use cream of tarter which helps the egg whites hold the volume when beaten. Here is more information to perfect your meringue

Also I want to thank my incredible friend Jamie Jo for designing our great blog header! She can do the same for your blog, Braner Party of 7


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Snickerdoodle Bundt Cake

This is my new go to recipe! I am a speech pathologist and it was Radiology Week (we do some tests in Radiology and they are always so helpful) so all us speechies were supposed to bake something to take to them. I have been "trying" to watch what I eat so I haven't done too much baking lately. If I was good at "portion control" I could bake more but I am only good at "losing control" when it comes to good food...especially baked goods! Anyways, I searched all my favorite blogs and found this recipe and I am so glad I did. It was delicious. As you will see by the lack of picture of the actual bundt cake the "dismount" from the bundt cake pan to the drying rack was a little bit of a disaster (blessing in disguise because I was able to sample more). I will explain ways to prevent that at the bottom of the post. Next time you need to bake something or just feel like splurging on some quality calories you will not be disappointed with this one!

Snickerdoodle Bundt Cake
Adapted from Dozen Flours

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup white sugar

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup white sugar 
1 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup full-fat sour cream, at room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 325F. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Mix together really well and set aside.
2.  Using a spray product like Pam with flour (I used shortening which was a disaster) generously spray a 9 inch Bundt pan, being careful to cover all the areas including the center tube. Gently dust the entire inside of the pan with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. You should only need 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the mixture. You want to try and evenly coat the inside surface of the pan, including the tube. Save the remaining sugar and cinnamon mixture.
3. In a medium sized bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside
4. In a large bowl beat just the butter on medium speed for one full minute. Add the white sugar and mix for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and blade and add the brown sugar.
5. Mix for 2 minutes until the mixture looks light brown and uniform in color. Add the eggs one at time, beating each for a full minute. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream; beat well.
6. Spread half of the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the batter. Spread the rest of the batter into the pan and sprinkle the remaining sugar mixture over the top.
7. Bake in the preheated oven for 55-65 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test (when inserted into the cake it comes out clean). Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Suggestions/Things I learned:
- The recipe said to allow cake to cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack. The pan was still pretty warm and I of course attempted to flip it anyways which didn't work out to say the least. Make sure the pan is not hot to touch and you have given it enough time to cool before inverting.
- I really don't know how Dozen Flours dusted the pan so great...mine looked nothing like hers (click the link to see her pictures...she is very talented). I would definitely not use shortening though and stick with Pam flour spray


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

I feel some shame as a type this post. I don't know if it is more because my last post was "Microwave Poached Eggs" or because my last post was September 5th. I will say I have been cooking BUT some of those recipes will not be shared. Let’s just say they weren't the best! Anyways, with that said I have a very delicious recipe to share today. My husband has been requesting enchiladas for months and I was a little scared to attempt these. I changed a few things to make them "healthyish" but they were incredible!!! AND if you buy a Rotisserie chicken like I did....not too time consuming. So here goes, after 1 1/2 months away from the kitchen I present to you......Chicken Enchiladas!

Chicken Enchiladas
Adapted from All Recipes
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (or a Rotisserie Chicken)
1 onion, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/3 cup chopped green pepper
1 clove garlic minced
3/4 cup cheddar cheese
8 (10 inch) flour tortillas (we used wheat tortillas made fresh at Central Market)
1 can (10 oz) Enchilada Sauce
1 cup of your choice salsa (can make it mild or spicy)
1 cup sour cream (I used fat free)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium, non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook chicken until no longer pink and juices run clear. Drain excess fat. Cube the chicken (I just shredded from the Rotisserie Chicken) and return it to the skillet. Add the onion, sour cream, cheddar cheese, parsley, oregano and ground black pepper. Heat until cheese melts. Stir in salt, green pepper, garlic, enchilada sauce and salsa.
3. Pour some enchilada sauce on the bottom of the pan. Roll even amounts of the mixture in the tortillas. Arrange in a 9x13 inch baking dish (seam side down). Cover with remaining sauce and 3/4 cup cheddar cheese. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Things I learned:
- Worth it to skip cooking the chicken and just buy the Rotisserie
- You could really add anything you wanted (or take away anything) with this recipie and it will be delicious!


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Poached Eggs in the Microwave

So this isn't one of those..."I spent most of the night, trying to impress people" kind of recipes. This was a big morning for my husband and me when we realized how incredible this little trick is. We love having eggs in the morning...especially since our little "life-style change" (aka eating husband refuses to call it a diet). Anyway, if you want a quick/healthy/easy breakfast in the morning just microwave yourself a poached egg!

Poached Eggs in the Microwave
Adapted from The Kitchn
1 egg
1/3 cup water
Approximately 1/3 tsp vinegar

Microwave-safe mug or small bowl
Microwave-safe small plate
Slotted spoon

1. Crack the egg into a microwave-safe bowl or mug
2. Mix the vinegar with the 1/3 cup water and pour into the bowl or mug with the egg
3. Cover the bowl or mug with a microwave-safe plate. Place in the microwave and cook on 80% POWER for 60 seconds. Check the egg. If it is not done yet, return to the microwave and cook on 80% POWER in 20 second bursts.
4. Remove from the water with slotted spoon

The Kitchn has great step by step pictures!


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Crisp Crab Cakes

My hubby and I decided to try this whole eating healthy thing. I mean it is only been a couple of days but so far we have both been doing pretty good. I decided to try this recipe I found in the food network magazine. If you follow the directions exactly it's only 220 calories for 2 cakes. I made a couple mistakes in my attempt. For example, putting in the full cup of breadcrumbs at once instead of just half.  This lead to the cakes breaking apart when I was cooking them....not ideal! I also accidentally sautéed the vegetables in 2 Tablespoons olive oil vs. 2 teaspoons which I'm sure added more calories. In spite of those mistakes the crab cakes were delicious! You could also serve this broken up over a salad (easy for me since the cakes I made were already broken up) or on hamburger buns.

Crisp Crab Cakes
Adapted from Food Network
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced **
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons nonfat milk
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
Dash of hot sauce 
1 pound lump crab or crab claw meat, picked over
1/4 tsp salt
Dash of pepper
Olive-oil cooking spray

1. Heat 2 teaspoons (not tablespoons) olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallions and bell pepper and cook until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Cook slightly.
2. Mix 1/2 cup panko, the egg and milk in a small bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, lemon juice, Old Bay and hot sauce; fold in the crabmeat, panko mixture, and scallion-bell pepper mixture, 1/4 tsp salt and a pinch of pepper. Shape into 8 patties and refrigerate 30 minutes.
3. Coat the crab cakes with the remaining 1/2 cup panko. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Mist the crab cakes with cooking spray and cook, sprayed-side down, 3 to 4 minutes. Spray the tops, flip and cook 3 to 4 minutes more minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Things I learned:
** Scallions are the same thing as green onions
* Old Bay seasoning is found with the fish/crab and not the other spices at the grocery store