Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Carrot Cake Cheesecake #EasterRecipes #FantasticalFoodFight

Today I am lucky enough to be able to combine two events into one post.

On Monday I shared with you that we are celebrating Easter along with Christie from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures and the Festive Foodies group ran by Ellen of Family Around the Table.

Easter Week Recipes

I previously posted a Broccoli and Blue Cheese Gratin that is the perfect accompaniment to your Holiday Ham.  Today I am posting a dessert. 

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Specifically a Carrot Cake Cheesecake that I chose because Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes invited us to duke it out over Carrot Cake for this month's edition of Fantastical Food Fight.

This is the point, on last Sunday, where I stopped typing and went into my photo file to edit the photos for this post. They were GONE!!  I felt a moment of panic. 

I searched by date instead of name....nothing. 

I pulled out my back up drive, plugged it in, and searched....nothing. 

I went through each photo folder individually thinking that perhaps they got misfiled....nothing.

I went through my recycle bin...nothing.

I checked my phone photos...nothing.

I vented on the event pages and got a lot of suggestions that I tried....nothing.

I told myself, this is only a blog mishap, it is not cancer.....get over it.

Then I did what I always do when life kicks me.  I sought solace from my husband and best friend.  He asked me for my memory card that was used for the photos.  He has a recovery program for my camera on his old laptop!!!  It worked!! 

It took hours to download the thousands of photos and then I had to click on them individually as there was no rhyme or reason to the order in which they were listed but I found them....Frank always makes my life better!!!

I hope you enjoy these photos.  They were hard fought.  I know you will enjoy the cheesecake.  Making the cheesecake was the easy part of this post.  Starting with a boxed cake mix, that included a package of shredded carrots and raisins, made this cake simple and relatively quick.

I adapted this recipe to omit the coconut as we enjoyed this after taking Little Miss to see Seussical the Musical with John and Kirsten and Kirsten is allergic to coconut.  I also left off the frosting because I'm not a frosting fan.

Make sure you stop by and visit all the other Easter Recipes and Carrot Cake Recipes.  You will find links to both at the bottom of this post.

Carrot Cake Cheesecake
adapted from Duncan Hines

1 pkg. Duncan Hines Decadent Carrot Cake Mix
1 1/4 c. hot water
eggs and oil as listed in directions on package for cake
1 (8oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 c. toasted walnuts, chopped
2 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
2 1/2 t. vanilla
3 eggs, room temperature

Remove carrot and raisin packet from cake mix box.  Place in a bowl and cover with the hot water and let stand while you prepare the cake mix according to package directions. 

Drain and squeeze dry the carrots and raisins.  Add them to the cake batter along with the pineapple and walnuts until just blended.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese with the sugar and vanilla at medium speed until smooth.  Add the eggs, one at a time, until light and fluffy.

Spoon 2 cups of the cake batter into a springform pan that has been treated with baking spray.  Spread half of the cream cheese mixture over the batter in the pan.  Cover with the remaining batter and top with the remaining cream cheese mixture.

Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 50-60 minutes, until just set.

Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before removing the sides.  Refrigerate cake for at least 2 hrs. or overnight before serving.  Print Recipe

More Wonderful Easter Recipes

More Carrot Cake Creations

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Ranch BBQ Beef Sandwiches #CrazyIngredientChallenge

I would like to start this post off by thanking our leader,  Kelly of Passion Kneaded, for allowing me to participate today even though I completely screwed up the theme.

The theme for this month is Buttermilk and Barbecue.  That is what I have marked in my calendar.  Somewhere between reading it on my calendar and planning my recipe, my brain changed Buttermilk to Ranch.  I have no idea how that happened.  Probably because when I make Ranch Dressing I use Buttermilk for it.

So, anyhooooooo, we had Pot Roast for dinner on Saturday.  Often when making my menu, I will plan another meal around the leftovers.  In this case, knowing thinking that the ingredients were Ranch and Barbecue, I decided that Monday night dinner would be BBQ Beef Sandwiches and Sweet Potato Fries. This would use up the leftover roast beef AND take care of the CIC theme, or at least what I thought was the theme.

Crazy Ingredient Challenge is a fun little group that gets together each month and creates recipes that include the same 2 ingredients.  It is fun to see what everyone makes.  Of course, it helps if everyone uses the same 2 ingredients instead of changing one of them as I did this month.

Oh well, it will still be fun to see what the others made and Kelly kindly invited me to come to the party anyway.  I'm brining along these Ranch BBQ Beef Sandwiches, they are good enough that perhaps no one will notice that I screwed up again LOL.

Ranch BBQ Beef Sandwiches

2 c. cooked and shredded roast beef (I used leftover Pot Roast)
1 c. ketchup
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. hot sauce
1/2 t. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (1 oz) pkg. Ranch Dip Seasoning Mix
4 hamburger buns

Whisk together the ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, lemon juice, garlic and Ranch seasoning in a large sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and stir in the roast beef.  Stir to combine and continue to cook over med low heat until heated through.  Divide between hamburger buns and serve.  Print Recipe

Now Let's Go See What Was Made With The Real Ingredients!!

Miso Spice #KitchenMatrixCookingProject

It's Tuesday.  That means it is #KMCP day.  Each Tuesday for the next year a few of us are getting together and sharing our thoughts on recipes inspired or taken from The Kitchen Matrix by Mark Bittman.  This great idea was thought up by Cam of Culinary Adventure with Camilla.  You can learn more about it and how to join in the fun at her introduction post.

Last week, I shared with you a Miso Scented Pasta with Celery.  This was inspired from the Celery section of the cookbook.  The miso stock in which I boiled the pasta came from the prior week's theme of  Quick Stocks.  

See that sprinkling of what looks like coffee on that pasta?  That is actually this month's recipe taken from the Miso section of Bittman's cookbook.  It is miso spice and Bittman compares it to Parmesan Cheese.  In fact, Bittman states that if he were on a deserted island and could only have one or the other, he would opt for the spice over the cheese.

I wouldn't go that far but it is an easy recipe and used up some of the red miso paste I had bought to make the stock.  These two recipes are my first foray using miso. They won't be my last, only because I still have half a package of miso in my fridge and it is not inexpensive so I need to use it.  
Luckily there is an entire section of recipe ideas in the Kitchen Matrix for me to experiment with.

Spread the miso, as thinly as possible, onto a parchment paper or silicone matted baking pan.  Put into a preheated 175* oven for several hours until easily lifted from the lining.  Flip over, bake for another 3-4 hrs until completely dry and able to be broken into chunks.  Place the chunks into a food processor and pulse until finely grated.  Use as you would Parmesan Cheese, or not....I think I'll stick to Parmesan.

Let's see what the others decided to make from Miso.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Broccoli and Blue Cheese Gratin #EasterRecipes

Christie, of a Kitchen Hoor's Adventures , invited members of our Festive Foodies group to join her on Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week posting recipes to help our readers get ready for Easter.

I will be joining in the fun for all three days, starting with a vegetable side that is sure to be a hit for your Easter Banquet.

I don't know about you but I like to go all out on Holidays and Easter is my favorite Holiday of all.  We will have a sit down dinner that will start with a first course, normally some sort of seafood.  This is followed by soup and then a salad.  The entrée will contain 3 or 4 meats.  There is always Ham, always Kielbasa, usually lamb and then a beef or chicken dish of some sort.  Sides always include some sort of potato dish and usually a sweet potato dish of some sort, as well.  Baked pineapple and baked beans to go with the ham. Several vegetables are also served.  Fresh asparagus and buttered corn for sure and then one or two more. There is always a butter lamb and fresh baked bread.  We gorge and then eat leftovers all week long.

This Broccoli and Blue Cheese Gratin is so good and I promise that if you leave off the blue cheese in the title even blue cheese haters will eat it, love it and be none the wiser.  And as a bonus, the leftovers can be turned into a kick butt soup.

This recipe is adapted from one I found in a Williams Sonoma cookbook.  I used gorgonzola cheese to keep it mild, as my husband and some of the kids don't care for blue cheese.  I didn't mention to them that there was blue cheese in the dish.  They loved it and a couple of them went back for seconds.

This dish can be made ahead of time but wait to add the bread crumbs right before it goes into the oven so it doesn't get soggy.

This is a great side for Easter because many enjoy ham for dinner. I think that nothing is better with ham than broccoli and cheese. YUM

Stop by and visit all the other Easter Recipes.  You will find links at the bottom of this post.

Broccoli and Blue Cheese Gratin
adapted from William Sonoma

2 - 3 lbs. broccoli florets
1/4 stick butter
4 T. flour
2 1/2 c. milk, full fat
salt and pepper to taste
3 oz. crumbled gorgonzola cheese
3/4 c. dried bread crumbs

Place the broccoli florets in a steamer and cook for about 15 minutes, until tender.  

While broccoli is steaming, melt the butter in a saucepan over med high heat.  Add the flour and whisk in.  Reduce the heat to low and add the milk, whisking constantly until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat for 10-15 minutes until thickened.  Stir in blue cheese just until melted and remove from heat.

Add the broccoli to the blue cheese sauce and gently fold in until coated. Pour mixture into a casserole that has been treated with butter or cooking spray.  Don't worry if it is soupy, it will continue to thicken as it bakes.  Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and bake in a preheated 350* oven for about half an hour, until hot and bubbly and the bread crumbs are toasty brown.  Print Recipe

Easter Week Recipes

Monday Easter Week Recipes

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Celebrating Sunday and the Weekly Menu

Happy Sunday everyone.  I hope that you have a fun, relaxing day scheduled.  Our pastor often preaches that Sundays should be the day that you "chill".  Go for a walk, take a nap, do a favorite sport or hobby but make it a day of rest.  That sounds good to me.

So that is what we are doing today.  We are meeting our brother and sister in law, Dan and Rebecca for brunch where we will toast her birthday.  This evening we have been invited to a dinner that the Benda's won where a chef from a local restaurant is going to come to the house to prepare dinner for us.  I'm so pleased that Linda included us in her small group that was invited.

Yesterday, I made a crockpot meal. We had the carpet cleaner here in the morning and then went looking for new living room furniture before Mass.  When we got home it smelled delicious in this house.

Monday is another busy day.  Frank will pick up the Angel Face.  I have a doc appointment at 9 am.  Just my yearly physical.  If you haven't made your appointment yet let this serve as your reminder. Then we have a conference with our financial advisor.  Later in the afternoon, they are coming out to measure for a new fireplace we are getting when we redo the backroom. That project begins immediately after Easter

Tuesday we will be taking carryout to Aunt Irene.  Wednesday is Food Pantry.  Thursday my Amesy Baby has taken the day off work.  Mani's, Pedi's and lunch date on the schedule followed by choir practice in the evening.  Friday the Little Miss has her dance recital so we will all go out for dinner afterwards.

On the blogging front, we are celebrating Easter recipes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Looking forward to seeing you all each day.

Weekly Menu

Pot Roast 
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans

Dinner with the Bendas

Melody Monday
Grampy's making Spaghetti

Carryout at Aunt Irene's

Lamb Pie

Pasta with Spare Ribs (moved from last week)

Out for Dinner

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Ireland and France Collide #SoupSaturdaySwappers #Winophiles

Top o' the Mornin' and Happy St. Patrick's Day.  To honor this holiday I am sharing a recipe for Corned Beef Colcannon Soup that I served alongside a Rhone wine from France.  Hence the name of my post today.

Besides St. Patrick's Day we are also celebrating Soup Saturday Swappers and The French Winophiles events.  Hence the theme of my post today.

Let's start with Soup Saturday.  Soup Saturday is a fun group that I started where we share soup/stew recipes on the 3rd Saturday of each month based on a them chosen by one of our members.  This months theme was chosen by Sally of Bewitching Kitchen.  Sally invited us to Say Goodbye to Winter and share a soup that Soothes the Soul and Chases Away those Winter Blues.

I don't know about you but I am over this cold weather and waaaaaay ready for Spring.  Should you be interested in joining Soup Saturday Swappers just leave a comment below along with your blog name and I will be happy to invite you.

St. Patrick's Day is the first Spring Holiday in my mind so I thought making an Irish Soup was the perfect way to celebrate with Sally this month.

The third Saturday of the month is also when I join my friends from The French Winophiles in an exploration of French Wines.  This month we were invited to learn about Rhone wines by Liz of What's in that Bottle.  You can read her invitation post and take a look at the beautiful winery, Hermitage Chapoutier, who provided each blogger with three wonderful bottles of wine for this event.

Our wine groups are often able to provide samples of the wines from the appellations and/or wineries that we are showcasing.  All opinions on said samples are purely those of the individual blogger and nothing other than a "thank you" is expected of us.  I have received no monetary compensation for this post.

I am showcasing the Luberon "La Ciboise" Blanc today with my soup.  It is named after the owner, Michael Chapoutier's grandfather's home.  It is organically farmed.  It is grassy, citrusy and acidic.  I thought that it was better with food than without, however that didn't stop me from enjoying the remainder of the bottle after dinner.

While this is not a pairing I would have made had these three events not coincided, it was a fun experimentation.  The pairing was helped immensely by the northwoods mixture of mushrooms in the soup.  The earthiness of the mushrooms balanced very nicely with this white wine.  I was pleasantly surprised.

I also served the Les Meysonnieres with a Maple Glazed Corned Beef Dinner.  The Lex Meysonnieres is a dry, fruity wine featuring Syrah grapes.  I enjoyed it more on it's own than with this dinner.  I guess I think corned beef is better suited for beer than wine.

The recipe for this soup was based on one found in Cuisine at Home.  I modified it quite a bit and it turned out hearty, rich and delicious.  I urge you to garnish it with the horseradish sauce.  It added great flavor to this soup.  

You will find links to more Say Goodbye to Winter soups and thoughts about the Rhone wines and the pairings that were enjoyed in links following this recipe.  Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Corned Beef Colcannon Soup
adapted from Cuisine at Home

1 oz. dried North Wood Mushroom Blend
3 1/2 c. water
1/2 Vidalia onion, diced
2 carrots, scraped and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 T. butter
1 T. tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. wine (I used the Luberon)
6 c. beef stock
2-3 c. cooked corned beef, diced
1/2 c. instant barley
4 med. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size dice
1 bay leaf
1 t. dried thyme
1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
1 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. sour cream
1 T. horseradish

Bring the water to a boil.  Place the mushrooms in a bowl and pour the boiling water over them.  Let sit for at least an hour and up to 4 hrs.  Remove the mushrooms from the water and set aside.  Pour the water through a mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth and reserve the liquid.

Melt the butter in a large soup pot over med high heat.  Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and tomato paste.  Season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir until fragrant.  Deglaze the pan with wine, cooking until reduced and thickened.

Add the beef stock, reserved mushroom liquid, mushrooms, corned beef, barley, potatoes, bay leaf and thyme.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender.  Add the kale and vinegar, cook until wilted.

In a small bowl combine the sour cream and horseradish.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of the horseradish cream.  Print Recipe

Say Goodbye to Winter Soups

More Pairings with the Wines of Rhone Valley

Friday, March 16, 2018

Pasta with Crab #FishFridayFoodies

I want to start off this post by saying "you're welcome".  Does anyone else sing the Moana song in their head every time they say you're welcome or is it just me?

I'm saying you're welcome because you, my friends, are going to be so grateful for this easy, peasy delicious recipe to get you through these last couple weeks of Lent.

Today is Fish Friday Foodies and our host, Paula of The Saucy Southerner, invited us to "Get Crabby".

I had a ton of ideas for this theme.  I LOVE crab and I had found some beautiful lump crab meat at my market that was all cooked, removed from the shell and picked over.  That right there saves a lot of time. 

My first instinct was crab cakes.  I love them and I have never made them myself.  Then, as with all the best laid plans, life got busy.  I was running late one evening and had not prepared the meal I had on my menu plan.  Nights like that are inevitably pasta nights because it is so quick and easy.  I pulled out the pasta and looked to see what I had in the refrigerator.  There, staring me in the face, was that lovely lump crab.  Perfect.  I would use it for my impromptu pasta dish and then buy some more for the crab cakes.

Yep, life got very busy.  No more crab was bought.  No crab cakes were made.  Thank Goodness I snapped some photos of this pasta so I had something to share with you today.

I sautéed up some onions, garlic in a generous amount of olive oil adding some crushed red pepper and salt while the pasta boiled.  

The pasta went right from the cooking water into the saute pan and the crab got gently folded in. looks rather bland.  Back to the refrigerator.

Thankfully, I usually have some sort of leafy green in my refrigerator.  In this case there was a couple of handfuls of baby spinach left.  That got added right to the pasta with a little bit of the cooking water to help it wilt.

That's it!! Five ingredients.  Twenty minutes.  Dinner is served and enjoyed by all.  This would make a great pasta course during a dinner party and I know I will be making it again.   But first, I'm going to make those crab cakes I've been craving. I hope one of our group shares a great recipe that I can try.  You will find links to all the Crabby Creations below.

This recipe served two adults with leftovers available for lunch the following day.

Pasta with Crab

3 T. olive oil
1/2 small sweet onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
salt and crushed red pepper to taste
1/2 lb pasta, cooked per package directions
8 oz. prepared lump crab meat, found in the refrigerated section of the seafood counter
2 or 3 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
1/4 c. pasta cooking water

Saute the onion and garlic in a large skillet over med high heat.  Season with salt and crushed red pepper.  Add the pasta to the vegetables and combine over low heat.  Fold in the crab and spinach leaves, adding pasta cooking water as needed, until heated through and the spinach is wilted.  Print Recipe

More Crabby Creations