Thursday, January 24, 2008

German Chocolate Cheesecake

So good. So, so good. And so, so rich. Inspired by an episode of Throwdown on the Food Network.

For the crust:
8 whole graham crackers
1/2 cup pecans
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake layer
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese (use only full fat), at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs
2/3 cup heavy or whipping cream

For the cake layers:
1 box German Chocolate cake mix (if you have a favorite recipe from scratch, you can use it, but I just prefer the box stuff)
Eggs, oil, water in quantities listed on the cake mix box

For the frosting:

1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup white sugar
3 egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flaked coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the graham crackers, pecans and brown sugar in a food processor and process until finely ground. With the motor running, add the butter through the feed tube and process until the mixture just comes together. Spray the bottom and side of the pan with cooking spray. Pat the mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan, place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until lightly golden brown and just set, about 8 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and let cool completely.

To make the cheesecake layer, put one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl a couple of times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 cup sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each. Beat in the cream just until it's completely blended. Be careful not to overmix!

Gently spoon the batter into the springform pan and place it in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform. Bake the cake at 350 degrees F until the edges are light golden brown and the top is slightly golden tan, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove the cake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and cool in the pan for 2 hours, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate (while still in the pan) until it's completely cold, about 4 hours. Place in the freezer until ready to assemble the cake.

Meanwhile, make the German Chocolate Cake per the instructions on the box. Bake it in a deep 9-inch cake pan that has been covered in foil (to allow easier turn-out). Allow to cool completely. When cool, use a large (and sharp) knife to cut the cake into two separate (and, ideally, even) layers.

Now make the frosting.
In a large saucepan combine evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks, margarine and vanilla. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat and stir in pecans and coconut.

Time to assemble! First,
remove the cheesecake from the freezer and let stand at room temperature about 10 minutes. Place one layer of german chocolate cake, top side down, on a cake plate and spread with some of the frosting. Release and remove the ring of the springform, then remove the frozen cheesecake from the bottom of the pan. Place top side down on the frosted cake layer and spread with some frosting. Top with the second devil's food layer, top side down. Spread with more frosting. If the cheesecake is still solidly frozen, refrigerate for two hours before serving to allow to thaw enough to cut evenly. Enjoy!

Monday, January 21, 2008

I can't remember who mentioned her on this site before, but thank you. I have yet to try one of her recipes and not like it. I also really like how she shows you step by step how to do things. I've already posted her recipe for her cinnamon rolls, but I also love her rolls, her Oatmeal crispies, and her chicken spaghetti casserole. Try them if you get a chance. I'd post the recipes her, but she does a much better job.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cinamon Rolls

These are from the Pioneer Woman ( They make a ton, but are very, very yummy. I've had to restrain myself from making them often.

Yields: 7 8 inch cake pans


1 quart whole milk (I've used skim and they turned out fine)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 package Active Dry Yeast
8 Cups All-purpose flour
1 more cup flour
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon salt
1 bag (2 lb) powdered sugar
2 teaspoons maple flavoring
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/8 teaspoon (a generous pinch) salt.

Mix 1 quart of whole milk, 1 cup of vegetable oil, and 1 cup of sugar in a pan. "Scald" the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point.) Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour.

When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in 2 packages Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute so the yeast gets all warm and moist and happy.

Then add 8 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let sit for at least an hour.

Now add 1 more cup of flour. 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder. And 1 "scant" (less than a full) teaspoon baking soda and 1 heaping tablespoon of salt.

Stir mixture together. At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it-overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to splurge out of the pan, just punch it down. Or, of course, you can just go ahead and make the rolls.

Let's do that, shall we?

Sprinkle surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Rectangle should increase in both width and length as you roll it out.

Now drizzle 1 1/2 to 2 cups melted butter over the dough. Don't be shy; lay it on thick, baby. You know you want it.
Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter, followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Some of the butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture may ooze out toward the end, but that's no big deal.

Next, pinch the seam to the roll to seal it.

Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in seven round, foil cake or pie pans. Then begin cutting rolls approximately 3/4 to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans. Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. This recipe makes approximately seven pans of rolls.

Let the rolls sit for 20 to 30 minutes to rise, then bake at 400 degrees until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.

While the rolls are in the oven, make the deliciously sinful maple frosting.
To a mixing bowl, add 1 bag of powdered sugar.

To this, add about 2 teaspoons maple flavoring,
1/2 cup milk...

1/4 cup melted butter

Also add 1/8 teaspoon (a generous pinch) salt.

The mixture should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed.

Generously drizzle frosting over warm rolls after you pull them out of the oven. The frosting will settle in and become one with the cinnamon rolls.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Albacore Enchiladas

Again, a Johnson favorite. So good. Don't fear the tuna... even those who don't like tuna like these.

2 7oz. cans albacore
3/4 lb. shredded jack cheese
1 4oz. can diced green chiles
1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
8 oz. plain yogurt
1 pint sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup
10-12 tortillas, depending on size

Mix together albacore, 1/2 pound cheese, chiles, most of the green onion, 1/2 the yogurt and 1/2 the sour cream for the filling. In a separate bowl, mix the other half of the yogurt and sour cream, cream of mushroom soup, and 1/2 cup water for the topping. Put the filling (first bowl) in the tortillas, wrap and place seam-down in a jelly roll pan (or 13x9 pan). Spread the topping over the enchiladas, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and green onions. Bake at 325F for 20-30 minutes.

Servings: 8-12

Puffy Toast

I had this at my in-laws, and it is super amazing. And not at all healthy. And so good.

1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. milk
8 slices bread, cut in half diagonally
cooking oil
powdered sugar

Mix first 5 ingredients together. Dip bread in batter, then fry in pan with 1 inch cooking oil. When browned on both sides, shake off excess oil and dip in powdered sugar. Serve with warm syrup or strawberry jam.

Servings: 6-8

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Low-Cal Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, 'round about October, I decided it was time to be a bit *healthier* in my food choices, so I've been constantly on alert for viable substitutions for my favorite recipes. I found this one online from Zonya Foco, who has a PBS show about healthy living. **WARNING**, these cookies only marginally resemble the real thing, but since I've started giving that sort of thing up, they actually taste pretty acceptable on my palate. Side note: they are pretty fantastic right out of the freezer... =)....though, I'm also in the market to try those Deceptively Delicious chocolate chip cookies....MMMMMMM.

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 t vanilla
4 egg whites
(mix with a fork)

Dry Ingredients:
1 large package (5.1 oz) instant vanilla or chocolate pudding
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour*

*If you don't have ww pastry flour, use 1 cup regular ww flour and 1 cup white.

Combine wet and dry ingredients and then add 1 1/3 cups old-fashioned oats and 1/2 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Let dough sit for 10 minutes for pudding to set up and give the dough some body.

You now have two options: (1) drop by tablespoonful onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes....this will make 48 1-tablespoon cookies; or (2) spread dough into a greased 9x13" pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes (they'll firm up as they cool). Cut into 24 pieces.

Here's the skinny (ha!) on the calories:
2 cookies/1 bar have/has
135 calories
14% calories from fat
2 g fat
1 g saturated fat
2 g fiber
0 g cholesterol
165 mg sodium
3 g protien
28 g total carbohydrates
16 g sugars

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Deceptively Delicious

I got the Deceptively Delicious cookbook for Christmas and have really enjoyed the recipes I have tried out so far. My almost two year old daughter has been putting up a fight with vegis lately, so this is a way I can get her to eat them. We have tried recipes for tacos, pudding, cookies, french toast, and more. There may be a lawsuit or something regarding this book, so get it while you can. Here's the recipe for chocolate chip cookies with chickpeas; as you can see from the last photo, they were a hit. You don't even notice the chickpeas.
**Note**I ended up with 36 normal sized cookies, not 24 as the recipe suggests.
(Photo credit: recipe and photo scanned from cookbook)
Click on recipe to enlarge

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Insanely Easy Vegetarian Chili

I haven't posted in a long time but I actually cooked tonight. I got this recipe off It was really good! Very hearty. Half way through making it my husband figured out it was vegetarian and asked for meat so I added some ground beef. :) I almost got away with it! I didn't add the green pepper or mushrooms because I didn't have any, and instead of the can of tomatoes I used a whole bunch of fresh ones. I served this with baked potatoes.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with liquid, chopped
  • 1 (19 ounce) can kidney beans with liquid
  • 1 (11 ounce) can whole kernel corn, undrained
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onions, carrots, and garlic until tender. Stir in green pepper, red pepper, celery, and chili powder. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes.
  2. Stir in mushrooms, and cook 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, kidney beans, and corn. Season with cumin, oregano, and basil. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium. Cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serves about 8

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Split Pea Soup with Ham

My grandmother got this recipe from Everyday Food Magazine and made it last week after Christmas. DELICIOUS, if you like this sort of thing!

1 T Olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 carrots, thinly sliced
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 T dried thyme
salt and pepper
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
1 bag (16oz) green split peas, picked over and rinsed
ham bone plus 2 cups reserved ham, cubed

1. In Dutch Oven or 5-qt heavy pot with a lid, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, 5-10 minutes.

2. Add broth, split peas, ham bone, and 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and partially cover; simmer until peas are soft, 30-45 minutes.

3. Remove and discard ham bone from soup. Working in batches, puree soup in the blender and return to the pot. Add ham cubes and simmer until heated through. If necessary, thin with water.

My take: I have never actually in my life had a ham when I make pea soup, I just buy a chunk of ham from the deli at the grocery store, chop it up, and put it in the soup when I add the peas....

Review: Pulled Roast with Cilantro Sauce

Wow. This was so good. I was rather surprised because Cilantro usually has too strong of a taste for me. This was one I was actually looking forward to leftovers. We had enough left over that I froze half the meat, sauce, and beans for a nice quick and easy meal later. Oh and the sauce is also really good as a veggie dip. Beware does give you garlic breath.