Happy National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day (Oct.21) – Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients


2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

  • 
1/2 cup white sugar
  • 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 
2 eggs
  • 
1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
  • 
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 
1 pinch ground cloves
  • 
1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 
1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • PREP
30 mins
  • COOK
40 mins
  • READY IN
4 hrs 10 mins

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Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  • In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside.
  • Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.

Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.

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Happy National Chocolate Cupcake Day!!! – Quick Double Chocolate Cupcakes

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Quick Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients

1 box devil’s food cake mix, such as Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

2 to 3 cups White Faux Buttercream, recipe follows, colored or swirled with your favorite color

Cupcake Toppings:

Licorice whips

Crushed peppermint candies

Crushed lemon drops

Multicolored jimmies or nonpareils

Mini white and dark chocolate chips

Small chocolate candies

Colored decorating sugars

Cereals such as corn pops, fruit rings or graham cracker cereal squares

White Faux Buttercream:

3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

3 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Food coloring, such as yellow, blue and red, or your favorite, if desired

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Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two 12-cup standard muffin tins with paper cupcake liners and set aside.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, mix the cake mix, 1 1/3 cups water, oil and eggs on medium speed until moistened and smooth. Stir in 3/4 cup chocolate chips. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, stirring it occasionally to redistribute the chocolate chips. The batter will nearly fill each liner to the top. Evenly sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips over the tops of the cupcakes. Bake until the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched, or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

When cool, put the White Faux Buttercream out with spoons or small spatulas along with bowls of the cupcake toppings for the kids to decorate their own cupcakes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, whip the butter on high speed until very soft. Meanwhile, place a large sheet of parchment paper on a work surface. Using a large sifter, sift the confectioners’ sugar onto the parchment. This helps prevent clumping and makes the mixing easier. Lower the speed of the mixer and, using the parchment as a funnel, pour half the sugar into the bowl and mix slowly until combined. Add the milk and mix until combined. Once combined, add the remaining sugar with the vanilla and mix. Once it is combined, turn the mixer speed up and beat the icing until very light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. If desired, divide the icing into smaller batches and color with food coloring.

Spread the icing on cooled cupcakes while at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftover icing, but be sure to let it come back to room temperature before using. Re-whip the icing to make it fluffy again. Makes 4 cups (enough for 24 cupcakes).

Yield: about 8 cups, enough for at least 6 dozen cupcakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ease of preparation: easy

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Happy National Pasta Day!!! (Oct.17th) – Loaded Chicken Carbonara

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Loaded Chicken Carbonara

Ingredients

6 slices bacon, chopped

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

  • 
salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 
3 cloves garlic
  • 
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 
1/2 cup white wine
  • 
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 
3 large eggs
  • 
1 gallon water
  • 
1 pound spaghetti
  • 
2 cups frozen peas

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  • PREP
   20 mins
  • COOK
   45 mins
  • READY IN  
1 hr 10 mins

Directions

  • Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon from skillet with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Drain fat from skillet, reserving 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings.
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon bacon drippings in the skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken breast halves in the bacon drippings until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 5 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Transfer to cutting board and tent with foil. Rest chicken for 5 minutes before slicing; set aside.
  • Heat remaining tablespoon bacon drippings in skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Cook and stir garlic and ground black pepper in skillet until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour wine into skillet; cook at a simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Whisk Parmesan cheese and eggs together in a bowl. Slowly stream wine mixture into the Parmesan mixture while whisking continually.
  • Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Remove 1/2 cup of the water from the pot for later use.

Put the peas in a large colander. Drain the pasta in the colander with the peas. Return drained pasta and peas to the pot. Stir bacon, chicken, and wine mixture into the spaghetti. Thin sauce with reserved pasta water as desired.

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Happy National Dessert Day!!! (Oct.14th) – Tells us what’s your favorite dessert is?

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Sunday Funday!!! National Gumbo Day – Louisiana Seafood Gumbo

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Louisiana Seafood Gumbo

Ingredients

Olive oil, for sauteing

1 1/2 medium-sized onions, coarsely chopped

1 cup celery, cut crosswise into 1/3 (use the middle 1/3 only) and coarsely chopped

8 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped

6 cups baked okra, sliced 1/4-inch thick and baked for about 10 minutes in baking pan

Roux, recipe follows

6 tomatoes, roughly chopped

Stock, recipe follows

1 pound shrimp heads reserved for stock

2 or 3 crabs, cleaned,and chopped into chunks

Lemon slices

Chopped green onions

Serving suggestion: with rice or as a soup

Directions

Coat a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with oil and cook the onions until translucent. Add the celery, garlic, bell peppers, and okra. Add the roux and mix thoroughly to pick up all the excess oil in the pot.

Next add the tomatoes and bring the mixture to a boil. When mixed, strain the stock and add it to the pot, mixing thoroughly to prevent lumps. Cover with lid, bring to the boil and cook for 20 minutes. Clean the shrimp and saute in a separate pan to get rid of any excess moisture. When they have turned pink add the shrimp and crab to the gumbo. Cook for 10 minutes. Lastly, add lemon slices and chopped green onions

Roux:

1/2 cup flour

Olive oil

Combine the ingredients in a separate pan. Brown on a medium high heat until it turns light brown.

Stock:

9 cups water

Shrimp heads

1 stalk celery

1/2 lemon

1 bay leaf

3 basil leaves

Creole seasoning (recommended: Dash)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine ingredients in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour.

Yield: 6 servings

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Happy National Sausage Pizza Day!!! – Caramelized Onion, Sausage and Basil Pizza Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis

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Caramelized Onion, Sausage and Basil Pizza

Ingredients

Cornmeal, for dusting

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound spicy turkey or pork sausage, casings removed, crumbled

All-purpose flour, for dusting

1 (13 to 16-ounce) ball pizza dough

3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled Gorgonzola or blue cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

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Directions

Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Sprinkle a heavy baking sheet (without sides) with cornmeal and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onions, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the sausage. Using a wooden spoon, break up the sausage and cook, stirring constantly, until cooked through, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 13-inch diameter circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Spread the onion mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake until the crust is golden and the cheese has melted, about 15 to 17 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with chopped basil. Cut the pizza into wedges and serve.

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Happy National Angel Food Cake Day!!! (Oct.10th) – Blueberry Angel Food Cake

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Blueberry Angel Food Cake

Ingredients

          Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided $
  • 1 cup sifted cake flour
  • 12 large egg whites (about 1 1/2 cups) $
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

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Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Sift together 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup flour.
  • In a large bowl, beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt; beat until soft peaks form. Add 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.
  • Sift flour mixture over egg white mixture, 1/4 cup at a time; fold in. Fold in vanilla and blueberries.
  • Combine 2 tablespoons flour and lemon rind; toss to coat. Sprinkle over egg white mixture; fold in.
  • Spoon the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, spreading evenly. Break air pockets by cutting through batter with a knife. Bake at 375° for 40 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan; cool completely. Loosen the cake from sides of pan using a narrow metal spatula. Invert cake onto plate.

To prepare the glaze, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk. Drizzle over cooled cake.

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