Monday, November 29, 2010

White Christmas Cheesecake Bars

  • 6 Tbsp. cold, unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour

  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips (Ghirardelli brand)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut cold butter into chunks, add brown sugar and flour to an electric mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed for about 2-3 minutes until mixed well and crumbly. Remove ½ cup of crumb mixture and set aside for later use. Press remaining crumb mixture into an 8 inch square pyrex dish. I like to press this down evenly with a flat spatula, pressing down firmly and making sure crust is even. This mixture will look like it will not stay together, once it is baked it sets. Bake for 12-14 minutes.

Meanwhile in a mixer bowl beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and lemon juice at high speed until fluffy, about 2-4 minutes, stir in nuts and chocolate chips at this time. Spread filling over crust, then top with the ½ cup of reserved crumb mixture, coating evenly and continue to bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Then cut into 36 mini bars (cut into 4 even quarters, then cut each quarter into 9 even pieces, like a tic tac toe). I like to place these on top on top of mini baking paper cups (1 5/8 in). They sell these around the holidays decorated with fall leaves, holly and such. Cover and store in refrigerator.

It is very easy to triple this recipe and use the 8 inch square pyrex along with a 13 x 9 inch pyrex. Just divide portions of 1/3 into the 8 inch and a 2/3 portion into the 13 x 9 inch. The baking time will be the same. Also it tastes just as good with 1/3 less fat cream cheese. Enjoy, it's another fat cell singer here.

These make a really nice gift over the holidays. I go to the dollar store and buy a 3 pack of cookie tray bags. I fill a plate of these with the bars and wrap it in the pretty cookie tray bag. They really look good in the mini baking cups all wrapped up. It gets a big smile everytime. You can give a nice plate out for a gift, or even use a paper plate.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Stuffing

  • 2 loaves of white or whole wheat high fiber bread, crust removed and cubed
  • 1 stick of butter or margarine
  • 3 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cup celery, diced
  • 5-6 cup chicken broth
  • 2-3 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • cooking spray
The day before, toast bread cubes in 350° oven: Spread bread cubes evenly over large cookie sheets. Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. They will be done when they are dry to the touch. After bread cubes have cooled place them in a large mixing bowl, leave them uncovered over night.

The next day in a large, flat nonstick skillet melt the margarine, then add the onion and celery. Sauté until onion is translucent. Add the celery and onion mixture to the bread cubes. Add salt and pepper, then add 4 cups of chicken broth, mix well. Add more broth as needed until bread cubes are just moistened through but not soggy.

Place in a 9 x 13 inch glass Pyrex dish sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in a 350° oven uncovered for about 45 minutes until just browned on top.

I try to make the stuffing healthier. For my bread I use a high fiber bread. I also use margarine instead of butter. If you can not find chicken base you may buy ready made chicken broth. Chicken base comes in a jar. It is a paste that you mix with water. Just follow directions on jar on how to make 6 cups of broth.

This is my recipe for Thanksgiving. I like the whole grain flavor of this recipe.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Buttery Mashed Potatoes

Well, Thanksgiving is almost upon us. I just love Thanksgiving; it gives everyone a darn good excuse to get together. The suspense builds all day as the air is filled with the aroma of the turkey and fixings. People often say it is the hardest meal to make, but if you'll just follow my recipe to simplify the mashed potatoes, you will be pleasantly surprised. Enjoy, and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
  • 5 (lb) Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • ½ tsp. salt plus 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • ¾ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup butter or maragaine
  • 2 ½ cups warm milk
  • cooking spray
You will need a large crockpot to keep these warm. Wash and peel potatoes. Dice into about 1 ½ - 2 inch cubes. Bring a large pot of cold water to boil with ½ tsp. of salt added. When water is boiling add potatoes, bring to a boil again then lower heat to just keep it boiling. Cook potatoes for about 15-20 minutes or until a fork inserted into potatoes is tender. Meanwhile just before potatoes are done microwave milk until warm. Drain potatoes in colander in the sink. Add potatoes to a very large mixing bowl (if yours is too small you will need to mash ½ at a time). Then add butter and milk along with salt and pepper. Whip pototoes at a slow speed until ingredients are blended, then whip at medium speed for about 2- 3 minutes or until smooth. Spray the crockpot with cooking spray inside and add potatoes to crock pot set on low then cover with the lid. You may keep these hot for up to 4 hours in advance.

A yellow meat potato makes a more buttery tasting mashed potato. I use Smart Balance margarine and fat free milk and it does not affect the flavor. It is so nice to be able to make these in advance. You may also leave the potato skin on; I always do. It is more nutritious and tastes delicious, and can save you some time.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sherried Mashed Sweet Potatoes

This recipe is a really nice twist on mashed sweet potatoes. The sherry adds a rich flavor to the dish. You may want to make these for Thanksgiving. Being able to prepare this in advance is a big plus. Enjoy!
  • 3 lbs. sweet potatoes
  • 5 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1⁄3 cup milk, microwaved until warm
  • 2 Tbsp. sweet sherry
  • cooking spray
Dice sweet potatoes into chunks, leaving skins on and place into a large boiling pot of water. Boil for about 20 minutes or until a fork inserted into potato is tender. Drain potatoes into a colander.

At this point I use rubber kitchen gloves to
protect my hands from the heat and peel off potato skins. If you do not want to wear gloves you will need to wait until they are cool enough to handle. You may need to use a paring knife on some spots, but they peel off very easily. When all potatoes are peeled place them in a large mixer bowl.

Then add next 4 ingredients. Mix well on slow
speed with an electric mixer until blended, then raise to medium speed. Mix until free of lumps, stopping and stirring occasionally. Then I like to place them in a crockpot sprayed with cooking oil on high for about 3 hours. You may then lower crockpot to the low setting after that until ready to serve.

I make this every Thanksgiving. It is the sherry
that makes these sweet potatoes taste so rich. Of course they are so good you will want to make them anytime.