Sunday, July 31, 2011

White Chocolate Cheesecake


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (20 squares)
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup white baking chips
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
2 egg yolks
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups cut-up fruit or berries

Move oven rack to lowest position. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease bottom and side of springform pan, 8x3 inches; remove bottom. Mix cracker crumbs, pecans, 2 tablespoons sugar and the butter. Press about 3/4 cup of the crumb mixture evenly on bottom of pan. Place on cookie sheet. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown; cool. Assemble bottom and side of pan; secure side. Press remaining crumb mixture 2 inches up side of pan. Cut 11-inch circle of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place pan on foil circle; press foil up side of pan to prevent dripping in oven during baking. Place white baking chips in 2-cup heatproof glass measure. Place measure in 1 1/2-quart saucepan. Add water to saucepan until 2 inches deep. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently, until chips are melted. Remove measure from saucepan. Increase oven temperature to 475 degrees. Beat melted chips, 3/4 cup sugar and the flour in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Beat in cream cheese and egg yolks until smooth. Continue beating, adding the eggs one at a time, then the sour cream until blended. Pour batter carefully into crust. Cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake 20 minutes; remove foil. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. Bake 1 hour. (If cheesecake browns too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil during last 30 minutes of baking.) Turn off oven and leave cheesecake in oven 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack 15 minutes. Run metal spatula along side of cheesecake to loosen before and after refrigerating. Cover tightly and refrigerate at least 8 hours, but no longer than 5 days. Run metal spatula along side of cheesecake to loosen; remove side of pan. Place cheesecake on serving plate. Top with fruit. Immediately refrigerate any remaining cheesecake after serving. Makes 16 servings.

Butter Pecan Cheesecake with Chocolate Glaze


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar

Filling and Topping
3 pkg. (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 eggs
1/2 tsp. butter flavoring, if desired
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup whipping (heavy) cream
1 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/2 cup pecan halves

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In medium bowl, beat all crust ingredients with electric mixer on low speed until crumbly. Pat dough in bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Bake about 7 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Beat cream cheese in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in 1 cup brown sugar until creamy. Beat in eggs, butter flavoring and vanilla, scraping bowl occasionally, until smooth. Pour into partially baked crust. Bake about 1 hour 10 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool 15 minutes (center will sink slightly). Meanwhile, heat chocolate chips and whipping cream in 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Spread chocolate glaze on top of cheesecake. Heat 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon butter and the pecan halves in 8-inch nonstick skillet over low heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is melted and pecans are toasted. Spread on waxed paper; cool 5 minutes. Arrange sugared pecans along edge of top of cheesecake. Cool 2 hours at room temperature. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Run metal spatula along side of cheesecake to loosen; remove side of pan. Store covered in refrigerator. Makes 16 servings.

Three-Cheese Party Wheel


1 container (8 oz) Swiss almond cold-pack cheese food
1 container (8 oz) sharp Cheddar cold-pack cheese food
1 container (8 oz) chives-and-onion cream cheese spread
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted if desired
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
80 assorted crackers
Fresh currants, if desired

On sheet of waxed paper, spread Swiss almond cheese into 5-inch round, about 1/2 inch thick. With small metal spatula, smooth side and top. Evenly spread Cheddar cheese over Swiss cheese; smooth side and top. Evenly spread cream cheese spread over top; smooth side and top to even layers. Sprinkle almonds over top; press in lightly. Press parsley into side of cheese wheel. Serve immediately, or wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate until serving time. To serve, place cheese wheel on serving plate; arrange crackers around cheese. Garnish with currants. Makes 20 servings (2 tablespoons spread and 4 crackers each).

Chocolate Grasshopper Cheesecake


30 fudge mint cookies, crushed (about 1 3/4 cups)
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

4 oz. semisweet baking chocolate
3 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1/3 cup green crème de menthe liqueur*

Topping and Garnish, if desired
Sweetened whipped cream
Crème de menthe thin rectangular candies for garnish, unwrapped, cut in half diagonally

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Wrap foil around bottom and side of ungreased 9-inch springform pan. In large bowl, mix crust ingredients with fork until crumbly. Press in bottom and 1 inch up side of pan. Bake 12 minutes. Cool 30 minutes. In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate on High 45 to 60 seconds, stirring once halfway through microwaving, until melted. If necessary, continue to microwave on High in 15-second increments, stirring until smooth. Set aside. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed, scraping bowl frequently, until smooth and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Stir in liqueur. Pour filling evenly over crust. Drop 8 to 10 tablespoonfuls melted chocolate randomly onto filling, allowing chocolate to sink into filling. With table knife or small spatula, cut through chocolate and filling to swirl for marbled design. Bake 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes or until set 2 inches from edge of pan. Remove from oven; run knife around side of cheesecake to loosen. Return to oven; turn oven off and open door slightly. Cool cheesecake in oven 1 hour. Remove from oven to cooling rack; cool at room temperature 1 hour. Refrigerate 3 hours. To serve, remove side of pan. Spoon whipped cream into decorating bag with large star tip; squeeze bag to pipe cream around top edge of cheesecake. Garnish with candies. Makes 16 servings.

Beef and Bean Taco Casserole


1 lb. lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 can (16 oz.) refried beans
1 jar (16 oz.) thick ‘n chunky salsa
1 pkg. (1 oz.) taco seasoning mix
2 1/2 cups coarsely broken tortilla chips
1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped (3/4 cup)
4 medium green onions, sliced (1/4 cup)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (4 oz)
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives
1 cup shredded lettuce

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In 12-inch skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in refried beans, salsa and taco seasoning mix. Reduce heat to medium. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. In ungreased 2-quart casserole, place 2 cups of the broken tortilla chips. Top evenly with beef mixture. Sprinkle with bell pepper, onions, 1 cup of the tomato, the cheese and olives. Bake uncovered 20 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted. Top baked casserole with lettuce, remaining 1/2 cup tomato and remaining 1/2 cup tortilla chips. Makes 5 servings (1 1/2 cups each).

Pizza Casserole


8 oz. uncooked wheel-shaped macaroni (about 3 1/2 cups)
1/2 lb. bulk turkey Italian sausage
2 3/4 cups meatless tomato pasta sauce
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives
1 can (4 oz.) mushroom pieces and stems, drained
1 cup shredded fat-free or part-skim mozzarella cheese (4 oz.)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook macaroni as directed on package; drain. Cook sausage in skillet, stirring frequently, until no longer pink; drain. Mix macaroni, sausage, pasta sauce, olives and mushrooms in 2 1/2-quart casserole. Cover and bake about 30 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle with cheese. Let stand about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Makes 6 servings.

Chocolate Chip-Cherry Cobbler


1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 1/2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In 1 1/2-quart casserole, mix pie filling, orange juice and almond extract. Microwave uncovered on High about 4 minutes or until bubbly around edge; stir. In medium bowl, mix remaining ingredients except 1/2 teaspoon sugar with spoon until stiff dough forms. Drop dough by 6 spoonfuls (about 1/4 cup each) onto warm pie filling. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon sugar over dough. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Serve warm. Makes 6 servings.

Almond Crumb Cakes


1/3 cup Bisquick
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup sliced almonds

2/3 cup Bisquick
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp. fat-free egg product
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine, softened
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 10-ounce custard cups with cooking spray. In small bowl, mix topping ingredients until large crumbs form; set aside. In medium bowl, beat all cake ingredients with wire whisk or fork until well blended (batter will be slightly thin). Divide batter evenly among custard cups. Top each with topping mixture. Bake 28 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove cakes from custard cups. Serve warm or cool. Makes 2 cakes.

Chocolate Heart Peanut Butter Cookies


1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) peanut butter cookie mix
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. water
1 egg
2 Tbsp. sugar
36 heart-shaped milk chocolate candies

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In medium bowl, stir cookie mix, oil, water and egg until dough forms. Shape dough into 36 (1-inch) balls; roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Immediately press chocolate candy into top of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 20 minutes, before storing in tightly covered container. Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Italian Beef and Rice Skillet


4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb. lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 small bell pepper (any color), chopped (1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups water
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (2.25 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 cups uncooked instant white rice
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 oz.)

In 12-inch skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until almost crisp. Add beef, onion, bell pepper, garlic and salt; cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in water, tomatoes, olives and Italian seasoning; heat to boiling. Stir in rice. Reduce heat to medium; cover and simmer about 5 minutes or until rice is tender. Sprinkle with cheese; cover and let stand until melted. Makes 6 servings.

Easy Pork Skillet


1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3/4 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 1/8-inch strips
2 pkg. (3 oz. each) pork-flavored ramen noodles
1 1/2 cups water
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 3/4 inch pieces (1 cup)
1 cup broccoli flowerets
4 medium green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces (1/2 cup)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons parsley flakes, if desired
1 Tbsp. soy sauce

Heat 12-inch skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add oil; rotate skillet to coat side. Add pork; stir-fry about 5 minutes or until pork is no longer pink. Gently break apart noodles. Stir noodles, seasonings from flavor packets and remaining ingredients into pork. Heat to boiling. Boil 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until noodles are completely softened. Makes 4 servings (about 1 cup each)

Deluxe Cheeseburger Melt


1 1/3 cups Bisquick
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup fat-free egg product or 4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese (6 oz)
1 lb. extra-lean (at least 90%) ground beef
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. In medium bowl, stir together Bisquick, water, egg product and 1 cup of the cheese; spread in pan. In 10-inch skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brown; drain. Stir in soup and vegetables; heat until hot. Spread over batter in pan. Bake 23 to 25 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake 1 to 3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Makes 8 servings.

Warm Italiano Spread


1 pkg. (8 oz.) Neufchatel cheese
1/4 cup pesto
1 plum tomato, chopped
1/4 cup finely shredded Italian five cheese blend
Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil Crackers

Heat grill to medium heat. Place unwrapped Neufchatel cheese on 8-inch square sheet of heavy-duty foil; top with pesto, tomatoes and shredded cheese. Place foil on grill; cover with lid. Grill 8 to 10 minutes or until shredded cheese is melted and Neufchatel is softened, but still holding its shape. Transfer foil to platter. Serve spread with crackers. Makes 12 servings.

Bacon Bruschetta Baguette


1/2 cup Miracle Whip Dressing
1/2 cup shredded Italian five cheese with a touch of Philadelphia
1/4 cup real bacon bits
2 plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 baguette, cut lengthwise in half

Heat grill to low heat. Combine all ingredients except baguette halves; spread onto baguette halves. Place on sheet of heavy-duty foil. Grill 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese mixture is hot and bubbly, and bread halves are toasted around the edges. Makes 24 servings.

Bacon & Maple Scalloped Potatoes


1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) cream cheese, cubed
1 1/4 cups fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
3 slices cooked bacon, chopped
1/4 cup maple-flavored or pancake syrup
2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes (about 6), cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 cup shredded triple cheddar cheese with a touch of Philadelphia

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cook onions in large skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Remove onions from skillet. Add cream cheese, broth and milk to skillet; cook and stir on medium-low heat 5 minutes or until cream cheese is melted and mixture is well blended. Remove from heat; stir in bacon and syrup. Place half the potatoes in 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; cover with layers of onions and shredded cheese. Top with remaining potatoes and cream cheese sauce; cover. Bake 1 hour 5 minutes or until potatoes are tender and top is golden brown, uncovering after 50 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

Peanut-Chocolate Mud Pie Squares


20 Oreo Cookies, finely crushed (about 1-2/3 cups), divided
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tub (8 oz.) cream cheese spread
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tub (8 oz.) whipped topping, thawed, divided
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cocktail peanuts
1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) chocolate instant pudding
1 1/2 cups cold milk

Line 9-inch square pan with plastic wrap, with ends of wrap extending over sides. Mix 1-1/4 cups cookie crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of prepared pan. Refrigerate until ready to use. Beat cream cheese spread, peanut butter and sugar in medium bowl with mixer until well blended. Gently stir in 1-1/2 cups COOL WHIP; spread over crust. Top with 1/4 cup of the remaining cookie crumbs. Beat pudding mix and milk in same bowl with mixer on low speed 2 minutes. Stir in remaining whipped topping; spoon over crumb mixture. Top with remaining crumbs and nuts. Freeze overnight. Remove dessert from freezer 20 minutes before serving; let stand at room temperature to soften slightly. Use plastic wrap handles to remove dessert from pan before cutting into squares. Makes 16 servings.

Steakhouse Potato Salad


3 lb. small red potatoes (about 9), quartered
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
1/4 cup ranch dressing
6 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 green onions, thinly sliced

Place potatoes in 2 quart microwaveable dish. Add water; cover with lid. Microwave on high 12 to 15 minutes or just until potatoes are tender; drain. Place in large bowl. Refrigerate 1 hour or until completely cooled. Makes 14 servings.

Pizza Pasta Salad


3 cups penne pasta, cooked, cooled
4 tomatoes, chopped
12 slices hard salami, chopped
1 cup finely shredded Italian five cheese blend
1/2 cup sliced fresh basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Italian Dressing

Combine ingredients. Refrigerate 1 hour. Makes 10 servings.

Beer Can Barbecue Chicken


1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 whole chicken (4 lb.)
1 can (12 oz.) beer
1/2 cup honey barbecue sauce

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Mix first 5 ingredients; rub onto chicken. Open beer can; discard half the beer. Place can on work surface; lower chicken over can, inserting can into tail end of chicken. Stand chicken on grill grate, using the legs to help chicken stand upright. (Can should remain in chicken on grill.) Turn off burners directly below chicken; cover grill. Grill chicken 1 hour; brush with sauce. Grill, uncovered, 15 minutes or until chicken is done (165ºF), brushing frequently with remaining sauce. Remove from grill; cover loosely with foil. Let stand 10 min. before removing chicken from can and carving chicken. Discard any beer remaining in can. Makes 6 servings.

Berried Delight


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. cold milk
1 tub (8 oz.) whipped topping, thawed, divided
4 cups fresh strawberries, halved
2 pkg. (3.4 oz. each) vanilla flavor instant pudding
3 1/2 cups cold milk

Mix graham crumbs, sugar and butter in 13x9-inch pan; press onto bottom of pan. Refrigerate until ready to use. Beat cream cheese and 2 Tbsp. milk in large bowl with whisk until well blended. Stir in half the whipped topping; spread over crust. Top with berries. Whisk pudding mixes and 3-1/2 cups milk 2 minutes; pour over berries. Refrigerate 4 hours. Spread with remaining whipped topping just before serving. Makes 20 servings.

S'more Ice Cream Treats


9 honey grahams, broken in half (18 squares), divided
1 cup hot fudge ice cream topping, divided
2 cups miniature marshmallows
2 cups chocolate ice cream, softened

Place 9 graham squares in single layer on bottom of foil-lined 9-inch square pan. Spread with 1/2 cup fudge topping; sprinkle with marshmallows. Top with layers of ice cream, remaining fudge topping and remaining graham squares; cover. Freeze several hours or overnight. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes before cutting into squares. Makes 9 servings.

Mexicali Pasta Salad


4 cups wagon wheel pasta, uncooked
1 can (15.5 oz.) black beans, rinsed
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/2 cup chopped red peppers
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 cup Mexican style finely shredded four cheese
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro

Cook pasta as directed on package, omitting salt. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Place in large bowl. Add next 4 ingredients; mix lightly. Mix dressing, seasoning mix and lime juice. Add to salad; toss to coat. Add cheese and cilantro; mix lightly. Makes 8 servings.

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle


1 pkg. (2-layer size) white cake mix
4 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup strawberry jam, divided
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) vanilla flavor instant pudding
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 1/2 cups thawed whipped topping

Prepare cake batter and bake as directed on package for 2 (9-inch) round cake layers. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely. Meanwhile, toss berries with sugar. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Wrap 1 cake in foil; freeze for another use. Cut remaining cake horizontally in half; spread bottom layer with jam. Top with remaining cake layer. Use 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter to cut circle from center of cake; set aside. Cut remaining cake into 2 inch pieces. Beat pudding mix and milk in medium bowl with whisk 2 minutes. Stir in whipped topping. Layer half each of the cake pieces, berries (with juices) and pudding mixture in large glass bowl; repeat layers. Top with reserved cake round. Refrigerate 4 hours. Makes 8 servings.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Star-Spangled Fruit Tart


1 tube (18 oz.) refrigerated sugar cookie dough, softened
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup halved fresh strawberries

Press cookie dough onto an ungreased 12-in. pizza pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and extract until smooth. Spread over crust. In center of tart, arrange berries in the shape of a star; add a berry border. Refrigerate until serving. Makes 16 servings.

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Patriotic Ice Cream Cupcakes


1 package (18-1/4 oz.)red velvet cake mix
1 quart blue moon ice cream, softened
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 cups marshmallow creme
Red, white and blue sprinkles
Blue colored sugar

Prepare cake mix batter according to package directions for cupcakes. Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full. Bake at 350 degrees for 11-14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Working quickly, spread ice cream over cupcakes. Freeze for at least 1 hour. In a large bowl, combine cream and marshmallow creme; beat until stiff peaks form. Pipe over cupcakes; decorate with sprinkles and colored sugar. Freeze for 4 hours or until firm. Makes 3 dozen.