Archive for October 2010


Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Growing up, I had always thought that making cheesecake was hard and time-consuming. So when I started doing my own cooking I’d use a box of the no-bake Jello crud and call it dessert. It wasn’t until I was married and decided to devote a little more time to figuring out the “hard” things (lasagna, stuffed shells, etc) that I realized cheesecake is a piece of cake.

My standard cheesecake recipe is really easy, but because I make it with sour cream and strawberries I consider it more of a summer recipe, so this weekend I decided to hunt down a fall cheesecake, and found a yummy pumpkin one from a magazine.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake
originally from

38 ginger snaps
1/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup melted butter

4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
1 Tbs pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs

Heat oven to 325°. In a food processor, pulse the pecans until finely chopped, and add ginger snaps. Process until fine and drizzle butter in. Pulse a few times until mixture is crumbly but not sticking together. Press onto the bottom and one inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan.

Beat cream cheese and sugar in mixer until blended, be sure to scrap down the sides of the bowl. Add pumpkin, spice and vanilla, mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, until each is blended. Pour into crust.

Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until center is almost set (use a clean knife into the center to check). Remove from oven and let cool on a rack before removing pan rim. Refrigerate for at least four hours before serving.

Serve with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

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Baked Potato Soup

Baked Potato Soup
We’re finally heading into fall in the desert southwest with temperatures that look to be staying under 90 degrees for the rest of the year. This means it’s time to whip out the soup recipes!

Baked Potato Soup
One of my favorites is baked potato soup. It gets extra brownie points because I can put it all in the crockpot in the early afternoon and have everything ready by dinner time.

Baked Potato Soup
The original recipe that I found didn’t specify that you’re supposed to mash up the potatoes, and while I do like chunks of potato in the finished soup, I don’t like the whole thing to be nothing but. It’s easy enough to do by using a regular potato masher right in the crockpot after the potatoes have cooked for several hours, and preferably right before you add in the dairy ingredients.

Baked Potato Soup

If you’re vegetarian, you can easily omit the bacon and use vegetable broth instead of chicken.

Baked Potato Soup

6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 onion, finely chopped
4 (10.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
2 chicken bouillon cubes
5 large potatoes, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half cream

Cook bacon in a skillet until evenly brown. Remove from skillet and place on paper towels to drain. When fully cooled, cover and refrigerate the bacon. Drain all but a tablespoon or so of the bacon grease from the skillet and place chopped onions in to cook until soft.

Transfer onions to a slow cooker, and stir in chicken broth, bouillon cubes, potatoes, salt, and pepper. Cover, and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours, stirring occasionally.

Using a potato masher, mash the cooked potatoes in the slow cooker until desired consistency is reached (you can also use an immersion blender, or transfer some of the potatoes and broth to a blender for a smoother texture, and put back into the crockpot when done).

In a bowl, whisk together the flour and half-and-half. Stir into the soup. Add cooked bacon. Cover, and cook another 30 minutes before serving. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped chives.

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TWD: Double Apple Bundt Cake

I love fall baking more than just about anything in the world, and today was such a perfect day for it since our temperatures have finally dipped below 90°!

Appropriately, this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie is a Double Apple Bundt Cake, chosen by Lynne of Honey Muffin.

I had everything I needed for this one, and I chose to use Granny Smith apples. However, the one thing I did forget to pick up at the store was raisins so I used some Craisins I had in the pantry instead. They turned out very well and give the cake a little extra tartness.

I didn’t make the cake ahead of time and let it sit out as suggested, but I did sneak a few bites after I took the pictures above and even without a full “melding,” the flavors were yummy and fall-ish, and with a whole jar of apple butter still in the fridge I’m going to have to make it a few more times. When it’s ready to serve (probably tonight) I’ll make up a glaze to pour over it.