Monday, January 26, 2009

Say "CHEESE" (Cake)

I loooovvve cheesecake. Not just any cheesecake, but real, baked cheesecake. My Mom makes the best Real Baked Cheesecake for holidays. It's thick and rich and made in a springform pan with a graham cracker crust, and takes lots and lots of cream cheese and lemon juice and sugar and eggs. Its To Die For.

At my house, on the other hand, cheescake usually comes from a box. As in those quickie pudding-type mixes. It has a graham cracker crust, but the resemblance to Real Baked Cheesecake ends there. This is the type that I call "Refrigerator Cheesecake". There are even some homemade versions of this out there, but whether it's from a box or made from scratch, it's still Refrigerator Cheesecake.

I was going through recipes recently, though, and I came upon one that I had forgotten about. Anybody but me old enough to remember when Bisquick came out with several different "Impossible Pie" recipes? These were crustless mixtures that, when baked, formed a firm enough bottom and edge that you don't need a crust to cut and serve it just like pie. I think the first one was Impossible Coconut Pie, but they came out with several other sweet Impossible Pies, as well as some savory ones that were quiche-like, but again, crustless.

Many years ago I used to make a cheesecake adapted from one of these type of recipes. Made with cream cheese, eggs, sugar, etc, and a small amount of Bisquick or other baking mix, it makes just the right pie-sized Real Baked Cheesecake. Top it with sweetened sour cream, with or without a little fresh fruit on top, and you have a yummy cheesecake without all of the time, expense or work of traditional cheesecake, and as added benefit, it makes a smaller, pie-sized cheesecake. Which is a good thing because I am portion-control challenged when it comes to Real Baked Cheesecake.

  • 2 8oz pkgs cream cheese
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 c Bisquick
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1/2 t grated lemon peel

Mix all ingredients, beat until smooth, approximately 2 minutes, and pour into a greased 9 inch pie plate.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F about 30 minutes, until puffed and the center is dry

Top with:
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 2 T sugar
  • 2 t vanilla

Mix all ingredients together and pour over the top of the cheesecake.

Let cool, and refrigerate (if you can) 2-3 hours or until you can't stand it anymore.

I'm not sure if you can tell from the picture, but when this cools it loses some of it's "puff"

When you can't stand it any more---cut a piece and eat it!

Notes: I made this in a 9 1/2 in pie plate because that's all I have at our Georgia apartment. The recipe calls for a 9 in, I might even go slightly smaller to make it a little thicker. Not sure how would work at the "puffed" stage, though.

I did have a fresh lemon, but the skin didn't look that great, so instead of grated lemon peel I added a little fresh lemon juice--not sure exactly how much, I just gave a good couple of squeezes, it's delicious, but you can definitely taste the lemon slightly.

This cheesecake has a light, only slightly sweet taste. Which means you don't feel yucky if you eat two pieces back to back. Don't ask me how I know this.

As with most cheesecake, it would also be good with a few fresh berries or with just a bit of blueberry or cherry pie filling spooned on top. Cool whip would be good, too. Or fresh whipped cream if you want to Go There.

Good cooking, and good eating!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Earn Some Brownie Points...

...with these easy (what else!) Brownies. This recipe is for the only "from scratch" brownies I ever make. It's adapted from a recipe I found in a church cookbook--First Baptist Church (of DeRidder, Louisiana) 75th Anniversary Cookbook, from 1979. It meets all of the criteria of being quick, easy, and uses "regular" ingredients--items that you probably have on hand in your fridge and pantry.

  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 c self-rising flour
  • 1/2 c cocoa
  • 1 stick (1/2 c) butter or margarine
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 c chopped pecans (optional)

Stir together sugar, flour, and cocoa in a large mixing bowl until cocoa and flour are well incorporated into the sugar. Add melted butter; stir a little and allow to cool, then add the eggs and vanilla, and mix well. Nuts can be stirred into the batter or sprinkled on top after it's in the pan. Pour into a greased or cooking oil sprayed 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes.


The instructions say to cool, but who can wait for hot brownies? I say cut into squares and enjoy with a big glass of cold milk.

I enjoyed making this recipe when I was a single gal (a million years ago) living on my own, because it was easy to do the math to cut it in half!

If I'm making these to take someplace, sometimes I use pecan halves and place them in rows on the top before baking. The nuts get a wonderful roasted flavor, and they look much fancier than they really are (!)

Update: I linked this post to a Recipe Swap hosted by Gayle at the Grocery Cart Challenge. Check it out to find links to some recipe posts on other blogs.

Good cooking, and good eating!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Famous Baked Beans

In my family I'm famous for my baked beans. For years I made these for almost any occasion, whether it was a barbeque, church supper, or family reunion. I love the way these thicken up and get crusty around the edges.


  • 2 1lb 12 oz can of baked beans or pork and beans
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c molasses or syrup
  • 1 c ketchup or chili sauce
  • 1 c chopped onions
  • 1/4 c Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 t dry mustard
  • 2 T liquid smoke
  • 5 strips of bacon, chopped in small pieces

Mix all ingredients together. Bake in covered casserole for 1 hour at 300 degrees F. I like to take the lid off for the last 10-15 minutes or so to thicken the sauce and brown top.


I like Bush's Baked Beans for this

The best syrup for this is not pancake syrup, but a good thick, golden cane syrup. In the south I like Johnny Fair or Blackburn Made syrup the best.

Most of the time I leave off the bacon, but if I use it, I like to put the bacon on top instead of mixed in.

I leave off the liquid smoke most of the time, just because it's not something I keep on hand.

And as always, I use dried onion flakes instead of fresh onion.

All cans of beans are not created the same. On occasion, I've opened beans that seemed to have more juice than usual--in those cases, I cut back on the syrup and increase the brown sugar to balance the extra liquid.

I've made this in a large roasting pan for a big church dinner--use double the ingredients listed here for each gallon of beans, and allow at least two hours to bake; more if you mix it up the night before and refrigerate. (It does seem to taste better if I mix it all up and refrigerate overnight, but it takes a lot longer to bake if it's been refrigerated instead of just mixed at room temperature.)

In the summertime when I make this for just my family, I cut the recipe in half, microwave for awhile, then finish off uncovered in the oven just for the thickening and browning--saves heating the kitchen up for so long--not a problem this time of the year!

Try this out, I think you'll like it!

Update: I linked this post to a Recipe Swap hosted by Gayle at the Grocery Cart Challenge. Check it out to find links to some recipe posts on other blogs.

Good cooking, and good eating!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Poppy Seed Cake

Now THIS is what a Poppy Seed Cake is supposed to look like.

Not like this.

It may not be pretty, but it's still my most requested cake.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I'm Stuffed, and so is the Bread

Tonight is the last night for a while that I'll be making dinner for my whole family. My husband and I will be returning to Georgia; our son is staying behind in Louisiana to concentrate on finishing college. Trying to pack and get the house ready to close up left not a lot of motivation for a big meal, but I wanted one more meal of familiar "comfort food" for all of us.

What I made is a family favorite for us, Stuffed Bread.

  • pizza dough
  • ground meat
  • whole kernel corn
  • taco seasoning
  • sliced and grated cheese

I start with a basic pizza dough--tonight I used refrigerated pizza dough from a tube; I have made this with pizza dough from the bread machine, and you could, of course, use your favorite homemade dough. Next up is ground meat, cooked and drained. I had about two pounds, and had some leftover after making two large loaves of the bread. Once the meat is cooked and drained, add the corn ( I used a can of Green Giant Niblets) and the taco seasoning(due to the quantity, I added two envelopes) and enough water to dissolve the seasonings. Bring everything to a bubble and simmer covered for about 5 minutes; then remove the lid and allow as much of the liquid to cook away as possible.

Open the pizza dough and spread on a cookie sheet. Add ground meat mixture and cheese of your choice down the center of the dough. Tonight was a "clean out the fridge" night, so I used a mixture of Mexican and Italian blend cheeses. Bring the dough together on top of the meat mixture, pinching together to seal in the middle and on the ends. I usually add a quick spray of cooking oil on top, just to keep the crust moist and add some shine.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned.


As I mentioned earlier, I've made this with fresh and refrigerated pizza dough--probably any soft yeast bread dough would work.I vary the seasoning and cheese combinations, according to what I have on hand. Instead of using taco seasoning, use an envelope of spaghetti seasoning, and use mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan cheese. I've used every kind of cheese from grated cheddar to sliced American to chunked up string cheese, it's always been good.

This is an easy dinner that seems to have a universal appeal. I made two of these for a church dinner once and found only a dry piece of crust left by the time I made it through the line.

I cut the extra load in half and packaged in foil--it reheats well in the oven.

So until next time, good cooking and good eating!