Friday, February 27, 2009

Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake

from Simple and Delicious magazine

1 jar (12 oz) maraschino cherries
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 chocolate cookie crust (9 inches)

Drain maraschino cherries, reserving 2 teaspoons juice. Cut cherries into quarters, set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and reserved cherry juice.

Add eggs; beat until just combined.

Fold in chocolate chips and reserved cherries.

Pour into crust, crust will be full.

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until center is almost set.

Cool on a wire rack.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Frugal and healthy cooking . . .

There is a new entry to my favorite food links (found on the side bar of this blog) . . .

The Country Cook is a new blog I discovered today with great articles and practical ideas about saving money in the kitchen and cooking healthy . . . hope you enjoy it as much as I do :)

Cream soup base

Since I use Campbell's Cream of whatever soups alot in my cooking, I have been on a quest to find a recipe so I can save money and make my own . . . this one looks promising. I'll comment on it when I have tried it . . . if you try it first, please comment . . . or if you have a recipe for cream soup base to share.

You can use this recipe to make cream soup from most vegetables. Consider this for asparagus, fresh pea soup, carrot soup, celery soup, and more. Since tastes and veggies vary, be ready to tinker with amounts until you have it just right. You can make hot or cold soup with this recipe.

This is a great recipe for summer when the garden is overflowing with produce.

1 sweet onion, diced
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups vegetables of choice, diced
salt to taste
2/3 cup cream

Sauté the onion dices in the butter until they are tender and translucent but not browned.

Add the flour and stir and cook until a soft paste has formed but not browned.

While still cooking, pour in 1/2 cup of the broth while stirring with a whisk. Gradually add the rest of the broth, stirring to make the mixture smooth and not lumpy as if you were making gravy. Continue cooking until the mixture is bubbly and has thickened.

Add the vegetables and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are soft enough to mash easily.

Pour two to three cups of the liquid into your blender. Puree the mixture until it is smooth. Continue in batches until the entire soup is puréed.

Pour the soup through a strainer into a clean pan. Press any pieces through the sieve with the back of a spoon.

Salt the soup to taste. Add the cream. If the soup needs further thinning, add water. Reheat and serve.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Sassy Fruit Salsa

Sassy Fruit Salsa
1 1/3 cups large chunks peeled kiwifruit (2 medium)
1 cup chopped peeled oranges (2 medium)
1 cup sliced strawberries
2 tablespoons lime juice
4 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger root, if

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow cake mix
1 cup milk
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
Powdered sugar, if desired

In large bowl, mix salsa ingredients. Cover and refrigerate about 1 hour or until chilled.

Heat oven to 325°F. Generously grease and flour, or spray with baking spray with flour, 10- or 12-cup fluted tube (bundt cake) pan. In medium bowl, beat dry cake mix, milk, cream cheese, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl constantly. Beat 2 minutes longer. Pour into pan.

Bake 40 to 46 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes; turn upside down onto cooling rack or heatproof serving plate and remove pan. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

Place cake on serving plate; sprinkle with powdered sugar. Stir salsa; serve with cake. Store cake loosely covered. Store salsa covered in refrigerator.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Reese's Cookies

3/4 cup butter or margarine or 1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat over to 350

Cream butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Add eggs; beat well.

Combine flour and baking soda; blend into creamed mixture.

Stir in chips.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet.

Makes 5 dozen.

Source: Reese's Peanut Butter Chips package

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Crab Quesadillas

Provided by provided by EatingWell

(an awesome resource for healthy recipes!)

These quesadillas have an irresistibly creamy filling.

They also make great appetizers.

Make it a meal: Serve with your favorite salsa on top and a cup of black bean soup topped with chopped avocado.


  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
  • 2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese , softened
  • 4 scallions , chopped
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper , finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapenos (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 8 ounces pasteurized crabmeat , drained if necessary
  • 4 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil , divided


  1. Combine Cheddar, cream cheese, scallions, bell pepper, cilantro, jalapenos (if using), orange zest and juice in a medium bowl. Gently stir in crab. Lay tortillas out on a work surface. Spread one-fourth of the filling on half of each tortilla. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to flatten.

  2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 2 quesadillas in the pan and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges.

Serves 6

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lemony Olive Chicken

from Campbell's Kitchen


1 tbsp. vegetable oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup sliced pitted ripe olives
4 lemon slices
4 cups hot cooked rice

HEAT oil in skillet. Add chicken and cook until browned.

ADD soup, milk, lemon juice, pepper and olives. Top with lemon slices. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 5 min. or until done. Serve with rice.

Serves 4.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Shrimp Scampi with Linguini

One of my favorite meals!  There are many ways to make what I call shrimp pasta, either a butter base or white sauce with many variations in between.  If you click on the label "shrimp pasta," you will find more recipes.

This recipe comes from one of my favorite chefs, Tyler Florence from the Food Network.  All of his recipes are fabulous!  The link to more recipes from him follow the recipe.


    • 1 pound linguini
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
    • 2 shallots, finely diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
    • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves


For the pasta, put a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When it has come to the boil, add a couple of tablespoons of salt and the linguini. Stir to make sure the pasta separates; cover.

When the water returns to a boil, cook for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the pasta is not quite done.

Drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using) until the shallots are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Season the shrimp with salt and pepper; add them to the pan and cook until they have turned pink, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove the shrimp from the pan; set aside and keep warm.

Add wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil.

Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil.

When the butter has melted, return the shrimp to the pan along with the parsley and cooked pasta. Stir well and season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle over a bit more olive oil and serve immediately.

Source: The Food Network . . . Tyler Florence

Seafood Tomato Alfredo

from Campbell's Kitchen


1 tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic Soup
1/2 cup milk
1 cup diced canned tomato
1 lb. fresh fish fillet (flounder, haddock or halibut), cut into 2-inch pieces
4 cups hot cooked linguine


Heat the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat.

Add the onion and cook until it’s tender.

Stir in the soup, milk and tomatoes. Heat to a boil.

Add the fish to the skillet and reduce the heat to low.

Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Serve over linguine.

Serves 4

Make it cheaper . . .

Leave out the fish and make veggie pasta by adding broccoli, cauliflower . . . veggie leftovers would be perfect.

This would also be good with rice . . .

An idea for leftovers of this meal . . . use the sauce with some rice in a frittata!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


I'm bumping up this article on Frittata since I consider this one of the best "cheap meals" ever. It is one of my favorite recipes to go to when I am low on funds and have leftovers. Since I eat rice often, I've perfected my frittatas and vary them often.

Last night I made a basic Broccoli Frittata and decided to add some seasoned bread crumbs to the mix and it was AWESOME. I was low on many ingredients that I normally use in my frittata . . . so this was very basic . . . rice, broccoli, egg, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese and a handful of seasoned bread crumbs . . . seems like you can't mess this up!

Frittata is a type of Italian omelet that frequently features fillings such as meats, cheeses, and vegetables . . . the main ingredient is usually rice or pasta. This is one of my favorite meals that is great with a salad.

My way of cooking has changed since becoming a widow and cooking for one. I always cooked as if I had a large family since my husband and I always had company just showing up and ended up eating dinner with us. That practice taught me how to cook using leftovers and has come in handy now that it is just me. Especially since I really don't want to eat the same meal night after night and hate to freeze food that I end up throwing away.

The frittata is one of those versatile meals you can throw together fast and vary the ingredients to what you have on hand. My cooking style does not take a recipe and follow it . . . I use it as a guide.

The frittata is perfect for my type of cooking. For instance, I've never used the frozen chopped broccoli . . . since I eat lots of fresh steamed broccoli or green beans, I use the left overs . . . whatever I have left. If I have leftover mushrooms, they go in too. You get the idea. You can also vary the type of rice or substitute rice with any type of pasta.

You can't really mess it up! Just experiment, try to keep the ratios balanced, using the basic ingredients and have fun with it!

Here is a recipe for a Broccoli Frittata that I use as a guide:

2 1/2 tbsp onion, chopped

1 pkg. frozen chopped broccoli (cooked and drained)

2 1/2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

2 tbsp. butter or margarine

1 small garlic clove, crushed

1 cup Rice, cooked

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 tsp. salt

dash of pepper . . . great with cayenne or red pepper if you like hot

Saute onion in butter until tender. Do not brown. Add broccoli, garlic, rice and Parmesan cheese, mix well. Combine eggs, milk and seasonings. Stir into rice mixture. Turn into well-buttered shallow 1 qt casserole dish. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until set. Makes 2 servings.

Double Fudge Cream Cheese Brownies


1 cup butter or margarine
4 (1-oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups flour
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips


1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs. margarine or butter, softened
3 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 Tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Heat oven to 350.

In 2-quart saucepan combine 1 cup butter and unsweetened chocolate.

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until melted
(4-6 minutes).

Stir in remaining brownie ingredients except chocolate chips.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Spread half of batter into greased 13x9 pan.

In small bowl stir together all filling ingredients. Spread over brownie mixture.

Spoon remaining batter over cream cheese. (Batter will not entirely cover cream cheese mixture).

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan.

Source: Land O'Lakes Butter

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Broccoli and Pasta Bianco

from Campbell's Kitchen

Prep Time: 20 min.
Bake Time: 25 min.

1 pkg. (1 pound) uncooked penne pasta (about 6 cups)
4 cups fresh or frozen broccoli flowerets
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat the oven to 350°F.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Add the broccoli for the last 4 minutes of cooking time. Drain the pasta and broccoli well in a colander.

Stir the soup, milk and black pepper in a 2-quart shallow baking dish. Stir in the pasta mixture, 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the pasta mixture is hot and bubbling and the cheese is melted.

Tip: Creamy white pastas like this one taste great with the tang and heat of crushed red pepper flakes. Serve it on the side.

Serves 8.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Cherry Cheese Pie

This recipe comes from the Eagle Brand Milk label and has been one of my favorite recipes for as long as I can remember. Very convenient recipe when I want to make something that is awesome and easy . . .

9-inch graham cracker crust or baked pie shell
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
21 oz. can cherry pie filling, chilled

In large mixer bowl, beat cheese until fluffy.

Gradually beat in milk until smooth.

Stir in lemon juice and vanilla.

Pour into prepared crust.

Chill 3 hours or until set.

Top with pie filling before serving.

Refrigerate leftovers.
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