Mommy’s Mini Cheesecakes

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The best part about the holiday season is baking goodies, making soups and other comfort foods, and getting the added benefit of warming up a cold kitchen.  When you wake up to frost on the windowpanes, just fire up the oven.  These little cheesecakes are beautiful and surprisingly easy to make.

Send the kids out to make a snowman and before they come back in to complain that “Joey hit me in the face with a snowball” you can have these cheesecakes done and their whining and tattle-telling won’t bother you (once you wake up off the floor still clutching the empty Bailey’s bottle.)

 

 BAILEY’S IRISH CREAM MINI-CHEESECAKES  

Yield: 24 mini-cakes Ingredients:

For the crust:
16 whole Oreo, finely ground in food processor
3 tablespoons melted butter

For the filling:
16 oz (2-8-oz pkg) cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream
3 Tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

For the ganache glaze:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons light corn syrup

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.

1. Combine the ground Oreos and melted butter into a bowl until well combined. Spoon into 24 mini cheesecake cups. Press into the bottom of each cup so the crust is flat.  Bake for 10 minutes then remove from oven.

2. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in sour cream, Bailey’s, and vanilla.

3. Pour or spoon batter into cheesecake pan cups to fill to a little less than half of the cup. Then add the melted chocolate to the rest of the batter.  Fill the cups to about 3/4 full.

4. Bake for 25-28 minutes until cheesecake is cooked through.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.

5. Once the cheesecakes have cooled, loosen the edges with a plastic knife and remove them from the pan by pushing up on the removable bottoms. Arrange them on a piece of waxed paper and pour on the glaze.

Love ~ a la mode

She spent a quiet, sinking sun hour in her kitchen slicing strawberries and braiding lattice.  She slipped her engagement ring into the pocket of her cornflower blue apron.  Her slender finger was bare; his token of love was protected from all this dough-rolling domesticity.  What goes into the perfect pie for your betrothed, your special guy?  Along with sifted flour and sugar bits, perhaps a midsummer’s day dream floats by loaded with snippets of hope and happiness as life together unfolds.  She incorporates these goodnesses into the dough, rocking a pin back and forth, back and forth.

Full of anticipation, and wanting to surprise, he jumps into the car and winds down the lane to a market in the old part of town for a pint of vanilla bean ice cream.

Two perfect pairs.

With a pie spade, she painstakingly cuts and then hands him the first slice.  A pin drops.

Their pupils dilate to let it all in.  Sugar and spice and everything nice fills the air.  This pie holds its shape nicely and it exudes a romantic red glow under its flaky crust;  his fork tinks on the plate.

Side by side they sit as she watches him explore his first bite.  He tries but can’t hold back a broad smile.  With sweet satisfaction, she lays his heart bare by stating, rather than asking, “You just fell in love with me all over again.”

 

Mmmm…Bacon Taters

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INGREDIENTS

1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1″ pieces

2 medium onions, diced

2 lbs. yukon gold baby taters, halved or quartered

1/2 lb. cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

add butter, salt, and pepper and sliced green onions

 

DIRECTIONS

Put a liner in a crockpot or spray sides with Pam for easy clean up

Layer the ingredients and dot with butter

Cook on low for 6-8 hours

NOTES

Recipe can be doubled for company

I would precook bacon a little bit in the microwave, on some paper towels, just to get some of the fat off

May substitute pepperjack or any other cheeses or toppings you might like

 

Mini Magic Apple Pie

MiniApplePie

Once every ten years a recipe that is creative and deliciously disturbing comes my way.  I can’t stop thinking about all the folks I could wow with it.  This decade’s gem comes from my good friend, Stacey Stewart.   Today had been an ordinary Saturday; I had just finished my afternoon nap and flipped the television on to catch up on my Judge Judy reruns.  The bell rang and I stepped on a Lego on my way to answer the door.  No pain, no gain.

There stood Stacey with a piping hot plate of mini magic apple pies

and a side scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Was I dreaming?

Mini Magic Apple Pies   -   Preheat oven to 400 degrees

To a mixing bowl add and stir:

Peel and dice eight cups of apples into 1/2″ cubes

12 tablespoons flour

1-1/2 cups of sugar

4 heaping teaspoons of cinnamon

optional:  1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

 You will also need:

4 tablespoons of chilled butter cut into 24 equal pieces

2 boxes of Pillsbury pie crusts (chilled not frozen)

 Directions:

Unroll chilled, NOT FROZEN, pie crust, and cut out 24 circles using a wide mouth mason jar (or large biscuit cutter or a large drinking glass)   Line each cup of your muffin tin with a mini pie crust.  Gently fill the crusts with the apple mixture until slightly mounded.  Top with a dab of butter.

Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

 

 

 

 

Mint Pudding Cups

Mint Pudding Cups

Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 5 mins Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 3

Easy mint pudding cups are the perfect treat for St. Patrick’s Day.
Ingredients
6 Mint Oreo cookies
1 tbsp butter
Instant vanilla pudding (small package)
2 cups milk
¼ tsp mint extract
green food coloring
whipped cream
sugar sprinkles (optional)
Instructions
Pulse cookies and butter in a food processor until finely ground.
Divide the cookie mixture between your serving bowls and press firmly.  Make pudding according to the package directions, adding ¼ tsp of mint extract and 2-3 drops of green food coloring. Pour the pudding into your serving bowls leaving about ¼ inch for the whipped cream.  Let the pudding set up and then add whipped cream & sprinkles.

Eggs 101

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Every morning I wander out to our chicken coop to check for eggs.  One thing I’ve learned (the hard way) is to look first before reaching into the nest boxes.  One time I opened the latch on the egg door and started my reach just as I started bending over to look…a ditch tiger was in there hissing.  Who knew cats ate eggs!    Several times I’ve come close to petting a racoon and one time a smelly, dirty possom gave me a heart attack.  You just never know what you are going to get despite the best security plans.   After that possom almost killed me, I went electric.  Now those egg sucking bastards can fry.

Here’s a real oldie!

The thrill of seeing what has been set, of rustling the hens up off of their nests or reaching under their warm, soft bellies if they are feeling especially maternal, hasn’t left me after 20 years of pretending to be a poultry farmer.  Sometimes there are more browns than whites and sometimes the opposite, but after gathering up a fresh clutch of eggs, I always say, “Thank you,” to my girls.

Baby chicks each spring!

The eggs click and roll against each other and rattle in the metal bucket I carry as I walk back up the side yard to the house.  Remi turns into a boot licker when she hears the clatter, so I end up tossing her a tasty treat.   These eggs have been scrambled, whipped, boiled, fried, dropped, poached, flipped, and turned into the best noodles ever!  They have fed my whole family.  Over the years I have found a tricky way to make hard boiled eggs and I wanted to share my super secret technique with you.   Holidays and summer picnics will be here before the rooster crows so jot this down!

The best way to make hard boiled eggs

is in the  O V E N !!

 

 

 

Place these delicious ovals in a muffin tin, pop into a preheated 325 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

The shells will peel easier after cooling and the taste is ten-fold any water boiled egg. 

Just thinking about the goop that oozes from eggs if they crack while boiling, and then remembering how  the ooze turns into rubber, gives me the willies.

 

After your eggs are cooled, why not have some holiday fun by making carrot tops for them?  Use cloves for the eyes.

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