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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sweet Potato Salad


Sweet Potato Salad is a nice change from or welcome addition to a classic potato salad.  Cooked sweet potatoes mix well with other salad vegetables and also with fruit and nuts.  Everything is combined with salad dressing or mayonnaise for a pleasing side dish for any family meal or barbecue.  For those of you who follow a vegan diet, just substitute a vegan dressing for the mayonnaise or salad dressing.  

I don't make this Sweet Potato Salad very often as we usually eat our sweet potatoes mashed hot with our dinner or supper but every once in a while I decide to switch up the salads and use the sweet potato instead.  

The other day when I was making this I was hit with a light bulb moment when I thought of adding the curry powder.  I was tasting the salad and chewing down on the raisins and apple and curry just popped into my head.  I rummaged through the cupboard and found a can of the stuff (that should probably be replaced with a fresh can) and added a teaspoon to the mix.  How nice!  Yum!  I asked Don if he liked the curry powder added but his taste buds are not overly developed and he didn't realize I'd changed anything, ha, ha. Curry powder is not particularly strong or hot so it only gives a nice hint of the flavour.  

Although I serve this as a side dish it also makes a nice light lunch or supper served in larger portions with bread or rolls to round out the meal. 

Sweet Potato Salad

3 cups cooked sweet potatoes, diced
2 medium unpeeled red apples, diced
1 cup celery, sliced
¼ cup red or mild onion, finely diced or minced
½ cup raisins
½ cup nuts, chopped (walnuts, pecans or almonds)
Juice of 1 lemon or 2 tablespoons
1 cup salad dressing or mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sugar if using mayonnaise, optional
½-1 teaspoon curry powder, optional
Salt to taste, if needed, optional

Mix all other ingredients together with the sweet potatoes, tossing lightly to combine. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

Makes 6-8 side dish servings.




Peel and dice sweet potatoes.  Measure with cup flowing over as the sweet potatoes shrink when cooked.


 Cook in lightly salted water until just tender. Drain and cool to room temperature.

Prepare the remaining ingredients by dicing the apples, slicing the celery, chopping the nuts and mincing the onions and measuring everything into a large bowl.


 Mix everything together.

 Add any optional ingredients like sugar, salt or curry powder.  

 Chill for a few hours and serve in a pretty bowl.

A delicious addition to your salad bar.




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Sweet Potato Salad
Sweet potatoes mixed with vegetables, fruit and nuts makes an excellent side dish for your next barbecue or picnic.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups cooked sweet potatoes, diced
  • 2 medium unpeeled red apples, diced
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • ¼ cup red or mild onion, finely diced or minced
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup nuts, chopped (walnuts, pecans or almonds)
  • Juice of 1 lemon or 2 tablespoons
  • 1 cup salad dressing or mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon sugar if using mayonnaise, optional
  • ½-1 teaspoon curry powder, optional
  • Salt to taste, if needed, optional
Instructions
Mix all other ingredients together with the sweet potatoes, tossing lightly to combine. Refrigerate and serve chilled.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6-8 side dish servings

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Creamed Greens



Creamed Greens is a delicious way to get in a serving or two of a leafy green vegetable.  A cream sauce is quick and easy to make and with a package of frozen greens ready in the freezer this dish comes together quite nicely.  

As a child, I was never a lover of greens on my plate.  I had the misfortune of choking on a long stringy mouthful when I was about 6 or 7 years old and it left me dubious about their benefits in my diet.  Don also had a similar experience as a child.  As I grew older and my tastes widened I again tried greens and actually liked them.  But because of childhood memories, I always chop them before serving.  Chopping really cuts down on the choking factor.  

In Newfoundland, when referring to greens, one usually means "turnip greens" or "turnip tops" as I grew up calling them. But this recipe for Creamed Greens can use any favourite green as an ingredient.  This is not a traditional dish in Newfoundland but it should be!  What a great way to serve greens, especially for a vegetarian meal.  Tradition would have the greens cooked with a big chunk of salt beef (or pork) and served along side potatoes, turnip and carrots.  

Today I used the traditional turnip tops for my Creamed Greens but any cooked green will be more than satisfactory.  Remember not to overcook the greens before stirring them in the cream sauce.


Creamed Greens
About 1 pound (454 grams) frozen greens or enough fresh greens to serve at least 6
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, diced
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup full fat milk or for richer sauce use half and half
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
Pinch nutmeg

Cook the frozen or fresh greens in lightly salted water until to desired doneness. (The greens can also be cooked in a little vegetarian chicken or beef bouillon.)  If you are using commercially prepared greens, follow the package directions. The time of cooking depends on the type of greens you use. Spinach will only take a minute or two but heavier greens such as turnip, chard, beet, kale or collards, etc. will take considerably longer–at least 20-25 minutes.  When cooked, drain and press out excess liquid.  You can even squeeze them dry with your hands if you let them cool down. Chop the greens into small pieces.  (This can also be done before cooking.)

In a medium saucepan cook the onions in the butter until translucent and just starting to caramelize. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.  Gradually stir in the milk and bring to a low boil or simmer. Cook until the sauce becomes thick and there is no raw flour taste.  Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.  

Add the well-drained and chopped greens to the hot sauce.  Stir and let the greens heat through before serving.  

Serves 6.



Prepare the greens by cooking them in lightly salted water.  Drain when cooked and press out all the excess liquid.  Chop the greens either before or after cooking.  


If you wish you may start the cream sauce while the greens are cooking.  Cook the onions in the butter until translucent and a little caramelization is starting to happen.   Stir in the flour and  cook for a minute.  


Gradually stir in the milk and bring to a low boil or simmer and cook until thick.


 Add the seasonings.

A little ground nutmeg really brings out the flavour of the greens. Just a pinch will do.

Add the greens to the sauce or add the sauce to the greens. It really doesn't matter.  Which ever pot is larger.  


 Stir everything together and heat through before serving.


Yum, yum! Creamed turnip tops for my dinner.


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Creamed Greens
Your favourite greens will taste extra good in this well-seasoned cream sauce with onions.
Ingredients
  • About 1 pound (454 grams) frozen greens or enough fresh greens to serve at least 6
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup full fat milk or for richer sauce use half and half
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
Instructions
Cook the frozen or fresh greens in lightly salted water until to desired doneness. (The greens can also be cooked in a little vegetarian chicken or beef bouillon.) If you are using commercially prepared greens, follow the package directions. The time of cooking depends on the type of greens you use. Spinach will only take a minute or two but heavier greens such as turnip, chard, kale or collards, etc. will take considerably longer–at least 20-25 minutes. When cooked, drain and press out excess liquid. You can even squeeze them dry with your hands if you let them cool down. Chop the greens into small pieces. (This can also be done before cooking.)

In a medium saucepan cook the onions in the butter until translucent and just starting to caramelize. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the milk and bring to a low boil or simmer. Cook until the sauce becomes thick and there is no raw flour taste. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Add the well-drained and chopped greens to the hot sauce. Stir and let the greens heat through before serving.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake


Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake is a decadent, rich dessert that begs to be shared with family and friends.  Creamy New York style cheesecake covers your favourite peanut butter cups and a chocolate cookie crumb crust holds everything together.  

Who knew that National Cheesecake Day and our wedding anniversary would coincide in 2017?!  Ha, ha.  I didn't know that when I started out making this cheesecake for our anniversary. We've been married 39 years today. We didn't have cheesecake at our wedding but we had it for our anniversary. Actually, I made a small 6-inch cake for Don's birthday last month and he liked it so much I told him I'd make another one for our anniversary.   
Don's birthday cheesecake.

I decided I'd make a large 9-inch cake to share with family and friends because a 6-inch cake has its limitations in the sharing department.  Ha.  After some planning and looking around I found a good recipe for the filling that was almost the same as the one I'd mixed up for Don's birthday.  I didn't have a recipe for that one and just threw it together by guess.  The filling for the 9-inch cake comes from Better Homes and Gardens. Why reinvent the wheel or the cheesecake?  I made a couple of modifications and the little cake was very successfully replicated.


Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake
2 cups chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs (About 18 Oreo or FudgeeO cookies, etc.)
3 tablespoons melted butter
3 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup cream
3 eggs, slightly beaten
About 300 gram package miniature peanut butter cups (about 3 cups or enough to cover the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan.)


Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce
¼ cup cream
6 caramel candies (like Kraft individually wrapped)
2 tablespoons peanut butter
A few drops vanilla

Chocolate Ganache
2 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

Garnish, Optional
Sweetened Whipped Cream
Extra peanut butter cups


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper.  This will help when removing the cake from the pan to a serving plate.

Crust: Crush the chocolate cookies until fine crumbs are achieved. Do not remove the frosting holding the cookies together.  Use a food processor or roll the crumbs fine using a rolling pin. Combine the crumbs with the melted butter.  Firmly press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared springform pan.  The crumbs should be at least 1½ inches up the sides of the pan. Bake the crust in the preheated oven 8 minutes.  Remove and let cool while making the filling.

Filling:  In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla with an electric mixer until combined. Beat in the cream until smooth. Add beaten eggs, mixing on low speed only until combined.

Scatter the miniature peanut butter cups over the bottom of the crust.  You should have enough cups to fill the bottom without any large gaps between the candy.  Pour the filling over the peanut butter cups and smooth the top.  Place in the 350 degree oven and immediately lower temperature to 300 degrees.  Bake 50 to 60 minutes until the edges are firm but the middle is still a little giggly.  Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake rest 30 minutes in oven.  Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes.  Run a knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan.

Let rest another 30 minutes and then release the spring on the pan.  Remove the pan and let the cheesecake cool completely. You may now add the toppings to the cake. Refrigerate at least 4 hours if you can't wait any longer but it is best to let the cheesecake rest overnight before serving.  

Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce:  In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the caramels and peanut butter in the cream.  Stir until smooth.  Let cool but don't let it get cold.  Can also be made in a microwave.

Chocolate Ganache:  In a small saucepan bring the cream to a near simmer.  Turn off heat and add the chocolate.  Stir until melted and smooth.  Lay aside until cool but not cold.  

Spread the Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce over the surface of the cake. Smooth the top.  Place the ganache in a small sandwich bag and snip the corner to make a small opening.  Pipe the chocolate over the top of the Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce to make a pleasing pattern.  

Return the cheesecake to the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Optional Garnish: Whip about ½ cup whipping cream with 2 teaspoons sugar and vanilla if desired. Pipe or spoon whipped cream on top of cake and top with extra peanut butter cups.  

Makes 12-16 slices.


I used a 290 gram package of Dare Ultimate Fudge cookies.  There were 18 cookies in the pack.  Any chocolate sandwich cookie will be suitable for the crust.  


I used my new food processor to crush the cookies.  The 18 cookies made exactly 2 cups of crumbs. Add the melted butter and press into a 9-inch springform pan.


I used 2 packages of mini peanut butter cups which came to 314 grams or about 3 cups.  


The crust should come up the sides about 1½ inches.  Bake the crust 8 minutes and let cool.  Scatter the mini peanut butter cups over the cooled surface of the crust. If there are any cups left over, save them if you will be using them for garnish.  Don't eat them like I did!


While the crust is baking start preparing the cheesecake filling.  I stock up on cream cheese when it goes on sale. Cream the cheese. Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature before you begin.


Combine the sugar and flour together.  

Add the flour, sugar and vanilla to the creamed cheese.

Beat until well combined but don't over beat.  

Once the mixture is well combined add the cream.

Lightly beat the eggs.

Add the eggs to the cream cheese mixture.  Blend in on low speed until just combined.  Do not over beat.  Air pockets will form if you beat the mixture too much. 


Pour the cheesecake filling over the peanut butter cakes and level off the top.  Bake at 300 degrees for 50-60 minutes.  Turn off the oven and leave the cake in for 30 minutes.  Remove and cool.


Let cake cool 5 minutes and then run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake from the sides.  This will prevent the top from cracking near the edges.  After 30 minutes release the spring on the side of the pan and remove the sides of the pan.  Let sit until cool.  Place in the refrigerator until ready to decorate the top.  The cheesecake should not be served until it has chilled for a minimum of 4 hours but overnight is better.  


While the cheesecake is cooling and chilling prepare the toppings. For the Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce melt caramels and peanut butter in cream over low heat.


Add a few drops of vanilla and stir until smooth. Cool.

 Pour the sauce over the top of the cold cheesecake.

Spread over and smooth the top.  It doesn't have to be perfect as you will be piping chocolate over the top of the sauce.


To make the ganache heat the cream to just below simmering. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. 


Stir the cream and chocolate together until smooth. Cool.

Place the cooled chocolate in a small sandwich bag.  Snip the end and pipe chocolate over the top of the peanut sauce.


If you wish garnish with dollops or rosettes of sweetened whipped cream and extra peanut butter cups.  Because I ate some of the miniature cups I had to buy a couple of bars and cut them up for garnish.  LOL.  


The cheesecake serves 12-16.


Happy Anniversary, Don! 
Happy Cheesecake Day, everyone else!




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Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake
Creamy, rich, vanilla cheesecake covers your favourite peanut butter cups, encased in a chocolate crumb crust.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs (About 18 Oreo or FudgeeO cookies, etc.)
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • About 300 gram package miniature peanut butter cups (About 3 cups or enough to cover the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan.)
Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 6 caramel candies (like Kraft individually wrapped)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • A few drops vanilla
Chocolate Ganache
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 2 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
Garnish, optional
  • Sweetened whipped cream
  • Extra peanut butter cups
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper. This will help when removing the cake from the pan to a serving plate.

Crust: Crush the chocolate cookies until fine crumbs are achieved. Do not remove the frosting holding the cookies together. Use a food processor or roll the crumbs fine using a rolling pin. Combine the crumbs with the melted butter. Firmly press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared springform pan. The crumbs should be at least 1½ inches up the sides of the pan. Bake the crust in the preheated oven 8 minutes. Remove and let cool while making the filling.

Filling: In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla with an electric mixer until combined. Beat in the cream until smooth. Add beaten eggs, mixing on low speed only until combined.

Scatter the miniature peanut butter cups over the bottom of the crust. You should have enough cups to fill the bottom without any large gaps between the candy. Pour the filling over the peanut butter cups and smooth the top. Place in the 350 degree oven and immediately lower temperature to 300 degrees. Bake 50 to 60 minutes until the edges are firm but the middle is still a little giggly. Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake rest 30 minutes in oven. Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan.

Let rest another 30 minutes and then release the spring on the pan. Remove the pan and let the cheesecake cool completely. You may now add the toppings to the cake. Refrigerate at least 4 hours if you can't wait any longer but it is best to let the cheesecake rest overnight before serving.

Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce: In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the caramels and peanut butter in the cream. Stir until smooth. Let cool but don't let it get cold. Can also be made in a microwave.

Chocolate Ganache: In a small saucepan bring the cream to a near simmer. Turn off heat and add the chocolate. Stir until melted and smooth. Lay aside until cool but not cold.

Spread the Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce over the surface of the cake. Smooth the top. Place the ganache in a small sandwich bag and snip the corner to make a small opening. Pipe the chocolate over the top of the Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce to make a pleasing pattern.

Return the cheesecake to the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Optional Garnish: Whip about ½ cup whipping cream with 2 teaspoons sugar and vanilla if desired. Pipe or spoon whipped cream on top of cake and top with extra peanut butter cups.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 12-16 slices

Friday, July 21, 2017

Veggie Burgers with Vegetarian Burger


These Veggie Burgers are not only tasty but quite economical to make as well.  I like to make these with Yves Ground Round but any vegetarian burger, frozen or canned, will do as well.  Oatmeal and bread crumbs stretch the more expensive burger so you can feed your family for just a few dollars.

Sometimes I have half a package of burger left over from making a meal. I often half recipes because Don and I don't need full size recipes for just the two of us.  This Veggie Burger recipe uses only half a package or about 1 cup burger so that suits our needs just perfectly.  The recipe makes 6-8 burgers (depending on the size you make them) which is good amount for a small family.  I freeze any leftovers for meal of hamburgers on another day. If you do need a load of burgers just double all the ingredients and you'll have 12-14 burgers to serve to your hungry family and guests.


Veggie Burgers with Vegetarian Burger
½ package Yves Ground Round or about 1 cup frozen or canned vegetarian burger
1 slice whole wheat bread, made into crumbs or about ⅓ cup bread crumbs
1 cup oatmeal
2 eggs
1 small onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon hamburger or steak spice/seasoning
½ teaspoon savory
2 tablespoons oil
¼ cup hot tap water or warm milk 
Oil for frying

Mix everything together except the frying oil.  Let sit about 5 minutes to let the oatmeal soak up some of the liquid. Use ice cream scoop or large spoonfuls to make hamburger patties. Drop on hot oiled frying pan.  Fry slowly on low heat until nicely browned on each side.  Serve on buns with your favourite toppings.

Makes 6-8 burger patties.



Place all ingredients in a bowl.

Water or milk can be used.  
Today I used water but some days I use milk.

Mix all the ingredients together and let sit about 5 minutes to allow the oatmeal to absorb some of the liquid.


Use an ice cream scoop or a ¼-cup measure to make the patties all the same size.  You should get about 6-8 patties depending on the size you make them.


Today I made 7 burger patties from my recipe.

 Yum! Veggie Burgers with all the trimmings served with a good handful of potato chips.  


Tasty and economical.

print recipe
Veggie Burgers with Vegetarian Burger
Veggie Burgers made with vegetarian burger and oatmeal are tasty and economical.
Ingredients
  • ½ package Yves Ground Round or about 1 cup frozen or canned vegetarian burger
  • 1 slice whole wheat bread, made into crumbs or about ⅓ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon hamburger or steak spice/seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon savory
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ¼ cup hot tap water or warm milk
  • Oil for frying
Instructions
Mix everything together except the frying oil. Let sit about 5 minutes to let the oatmeal soak up some of the liquid. Use ice cream scoop or large spoonfuls to make hamburger patties. Drop on hot oiled frying pan. Fry slowly on low heat until nicely browned on each side. Serve on buns with your favourite toppings.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6-8 burger patties