Saturday, February 2, 2008

Petite Cherry Cheesecake

"Easy-to-make little cheesecakes are a real treat for party-givers as well as party-goers--"

At some point in high school my Dad bought a Xerox machine for his office. So, after taking pictures of my face and mailing it to friends I moved on to the next brilliant idea: I made copy of my Mom's recipes. Usually they were riped from the pages of Southern Living magazine and taped into her recipe book like the one above.

I'm not sure where my Mom originally got this recipe but she usually made it once a year -- sometimes around Valentine's Day. It's one of those recipes you'd see on that "Semi-Homemade" show on the cooking network -- easy and (sort-of) cheating by using with ingredients like vanilla wafers for the crust and canned cherry filling for the topping. (It's still good though!)

2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
24 vanilla wafers
1 21-ounce can cherry pie filling

1. Beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla until light and fluffy.

2. Line small muffin pans with paper bake cups, and place a vanilla wafer in bottom of each cup. Fill the cups 2/3 full with cream cheese mixture.

3. Bake in 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 munite or until set.
4. Top each with about 1 tablespoon filling; chill.

I wish I had an excuse to make these more often. Allen and I really don't need two dozen petite cherry cheesecakes sitting around the house. Besides, when you have a one-time cheesecake craving isn't that what Sonic's Cheesecake Bites are for?

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Delicious Ham and Potato Soup

First off, I didn't name this soup but it sure is delicious.

Second, why ham and potato soup you ask? Well, my parents are pushers. After the holidays (or any trip to their house for that matter), when you're ready to head back home, food is forced upon you (they'll even do this to any friends that may be traveling with you). You need a sandwich (and chips and a soda) for the plane ride. If you're within driving distance it's taken to a whole new level. You need Ziploc bags full of turkey, a half-dozen grapefruit, leftover salad and a jar of mustard. This year, amongst other things (a gold paintpen!), I ended up with quite a bit of ham. I froze one Ziploc bag (yes, there were two) and made sandwiches with the rest until my sodium level had exceed the allowable monthly intake.

I love potato soup so when I came across this recipe on I though it was worth trying out...especially since it had an average five star rating after over one thousand reviews. Turns out it's easy, delicious and it goes wonderfully with the no-kneed bread. (Make them together, you won't be disappointed.)

This is suppose to make four servings but we only stretched it to three. I also substituted carrots for celery since that's what was in the fridge (and I don't like celery).

1-3/4 cups peeled and diced potatoes
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons diced celery
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons finely chopped onion
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons diced cooked ham
1-1/2 cups and 2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons and 1-1/2 teaspoons butter
2 tablespoons and 1-1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk

1. Combine the potatoes, carrot, onion, ham and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.
3. In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk as not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes.
4. Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately.

This isn't reeaally as bad for you as other creamy soups since there isn't any heavy cream or loads of butter. I not saying you'll lose weight eating either though so don't go suing me if you eat it all the time and it makes you fat!