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Tex-Mex Cheese Ball

This cute post The Perfect Fall Cheese Ball – Family Fresh Meals caught my eye and I pinned it on Pinterest.  Unfortunately I didn’t get around to making it until December and no longer was a pumpkin cheese ball necessary.  I am more than glad I made this Tex-Mex Cheese Ball.  It was a huge hit for my birthday and all my company enjoyed it.

I made the cheese ball the day before to save some time the next day at the party.  I even crushed my Doritos and kept them in a sealed bag to just roll and go the next day.  As I was making it we had a few extra friends visiting us and helping me with the cooking.  One of the little girls told me it was going to be “the hit of the party” it was so good.

Making half the recipe next time would probably work.  Even with my large crowd we ended up with a bunch of leftovers.  Although we ate it for snack the next few days.  We also used the leftovers to spread inside some chicken quesadillas which turned out great.

Tex-Mex Cheese Ball:

  • 16 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cup shredded cheese (I used mexican blend)
  • 3 Tbs onions, minced
  • 3 Tbs salsa, your favorite kind
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 cup nacho cheese chips, crushed

In a stand mixer combine all ingredients but the chips.  Mix until creamy and combined.

Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter and scoop the mixture into a mound in the center.

Wrap up the ball tightly and chill at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.

When ready to serve roll in the crushed chips.

We served ours with tortilla chips and wheat crackers.  Celery and carrots would also be very good.


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New York Cheesecake Recipe

So good I can't get a picture before they dig in.

So good I can’t get a picture before they dig in.

Mr.Picky would never pick birthday cake or regular cake for his birthday dessert.  Instead he could sit down to a great slice of plain New York style cheesecake.  I have made numerous recipes to perfect the cheesecake of his dreams.  Chantal’s New York Cheesecake Recipe – Allrecipes.com was the closest to perfect as far a New York style cheesecakes.

Although I find cheesecake to be too rich for me this was a great recipe.  Mr.Picky thought it was by far the best recipe for cheesecake and will be the recipe I will make from now on.  By the way cheesecake freezes and thaws great, easy to make ahead and keep in the freezer for dessert down the road.

It was not Mr.Picky’s birthday but he was hankering for some cheesecake the week before.  I happened to have a large brick of cream cheese to use up and the remaining ingredients were on hand.  I put together a cheesecake while he was out of town and surprised him with a big slice when he got home.

This is the first time I have had a cheesecake crack, but it is also a new oven to me.  It this bothers you cover with a sour cream topping.

This is the first time I have had a cheesecake crack, but it is also a new oven to me. It this bothers you cover with a sour cream topping.

New York Cheesecake:

Crust:

  • 15 graham crackers, crushed
  • 2 Tbs butter, melted

Filling:

  • 4 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbs vanilla
  • 1/4 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Press crust into a 9″ or 10″ springform pan.

Mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Blend in milk.

Add eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate.

Mix in sour cream, vanilla, and flour until smooth.

Pour filling into the crust.

New York Cheesecake

Bake 1 hour with a water bath below.  Turn off oven and cool 6 hours in oven.

Place to age in refrigerator at least overnight.

If there is any remaining cheesecake freeze the cake whole.  Slice and wrap the pieces and place in a freezer bag for storage.  Just pull out a piece as needed, unwrap while frozen and it will thaw within an hour on a plate.

Frozen New York Cheesecake

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Easy Creamed Spinach

How do you get your family to eat their spinach? You add cheese of course and make it creamy. This recipe is so simple. My mom made something similar and I followed her footsteps in my way. Mr.Picky likes it which is huge so give it a try.

This may seem like a lot of spinach but if you have ever cooked fresh spinach before you know how it shrinks.  Just think they think they are eating a little spinach when it is actually a cup or two of fresh.  Sneaky little trick.  As far as how much garlic to use that all depends on how much you like garlic.  We are all garlic lovers so I added 3 cloves.

Next time I make it I might try adding a Tbs or so of minced shallot which I think would add a lot of depth.  A splash of cooking sherry would brighten the dish as well.  Stay tuned for updates to an already great recipe.

Easy Creamed Spinach:

  • 1 1/2 pounds, washed baby spinach (whole or coarsely chopped)
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1-3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2-3 Tbs cream cheese
  • 2 Tbs freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

In a medium sauté pan heat oil over medium/high heat.  Add in the garlic and sauté about 30 seconds until fragrant.

Easy Creamed Spinach

Add in spinach and continue to stir until wilted.

Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in the cream cheese until melted and then sprinkle with parmesan until it all comes together.

Easy Creamed Spinach


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Pumpkin Roll Recipe

I love pumpkin and fell into the pumpkin crazy during fall like most of you.  About 4 years ago I started making Granny Kat’s Pumpkin Roll Recipe – Allrecipes.com.  This pumpkin roll is not only tasty but impressive.  When I take it somewhere I get asked how long it took or get told I have a lot of patients.  Little do people know it is easy and made even easier with step by step instructions.

This dessert can be made ahead which is a huge bonus.  Some comments on Allrecipes state that it can be frozen and thawed easily.  Which makes sense but I have never tried it myself.  The only thing you do need is a jelly roll pan (typically 10 1/2″ x 15 1/2″ x 1 “deep).  You can use this pans for bar cookies as well so it comes in handy more than once.

Like most things I changed the recipe slightly by decreasing the filling because it was a bit much for my taste.  I love how moist this cake is.  Mr.Picky loves this cake so much he never wants me to take it anywhere so he doesn’t have to share.  Have fun baking and don’t forget to share.

Pumpkin Roll:Pumpkin Roll

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs powdered sugar

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup or 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tbs butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup powdered or confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees . Prepare pan by greasing and flour a 10×15 inch jelly roll pan or cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir in pumpkin purée, eggs, and lemon juice.

Pour mixture into prepared pan. Spread the mixture evenly.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, do not over bake.

Lay a damp linen towel on the counter, sprinkle it with confectioner’s sugar, and turn the cake onto the towel. Carefully roll the towel up (lengthwise) with the cake in it.

Place the cake-in-towel on a cooling rack and let it cool for 20 minutes.

Make the filling by blending cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and sugar.

When the cake has cooled 20 minutes, unroll it and spread icing onto it.

Immediately re-roll (not in the towel this time), and wrap it with plastic wrap.

Keep the cake refrigerated or freeze it for up to 2 weeks in aluminum foil.

Cut the cake in slices just before serving.  Dusting with more confectioners sugar as desired for decoration.

Pumpkin Roll


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Brownie Batter Dip

Brownie Batter DipI live on a dead-end road a few miles long in a wonderful neighborhood.  My neighborhood is so great I can’t seem to get away.  I grew up on the road in my parents house, Mr.Picky moved in across the street in high school, and we have now lived just a few doors down in a rental house.  I used to be able to tell you every neighbors name and story.  Over the last few years we have had a lot of new families come to the street.  I try to introduce myself but I honestly think I am the only one.  No one knows each other besides their direct neighbor.  So I set out to host a neighbor ladies night in.  One of our neighbors sells jewelry and decided to have her do a show and invite all the neighbor ladies.

With the promise of dessert, jewelry, and meeting the neighbors we had a great night.  This of course gave me a great excuse to try some new and favorite dessert recipes out.  I had come across Brownie Batter Dip – Crumbs and Chaos which was a chocolate dream.  Being fall I had picked some more fall flavored desserts and was need of at least one chocolate treat.  This recipe was perfect.

I served my dip with pretzels and vanilla wafers.  Strawberries would have been tasty if they were in season.

Brownie Batter Dip:Brownie Batter Dip

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 Tbs flour
  • 5-7 Tbs cocoa powder
  • 3-4 Tbs milk
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Whip together cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer.

Add in 2 cups powdered sugar and 1 Tbs milk, until combined.

Next add flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, vanilla, and another Tbs of milk.

Beat until mixture is smooth.

Add remaining powdered sugar and milk if needed for desired consistency.


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Candied Jalapenos

My Mr.Picky is one spicy man.  The hotter the better, years ago he tried candied jalapeños on a burger and has craved them since.  He found a recipe from Tasty Kitchen-cowboy candy and hoped for the best.  They turned out better than he hoped.  Tasty kitchen had great directions for canning if mine are too general.Candied Jalapenos

 I tried one with just a few seeds and it was wonderful.  Once he opened the jar, they were gone within a week.  He put them on everything from sandwiches to inside burritos.  These are spicy but with a sweet flavor.  A few of them would do me fine, but Mr.Picky eats them straight out of the jar.

We adjusted the recipe to make about 2 pint jars, and this is the quantities we used.

Candied jalapeño:

(This will yield 2 pint jars)

  • 1 1/2 pounds of jalapeños,sliced with seeds
  • 2/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups sugars
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Wash and slice jalapeños with the seeds into rings.  Wear gloves during this part to keep from the jalapeño oil getting on your hands.

In a medium pot bring to a boil sugar, vinegar, and spices.  Boil for 5 minutes.candied jalapenos

Add in sliced jalapeños, and boil exactly 4 minutes stirring occasionally.  With a slotted spoon or spider scoop out jalapeño and place in sterilized jars.

candied jalapenos

Bring the sugar mixture back up to a boil and continue to boil another 6 minutes.  Fill each jar with equal parts of liquid, leaving at least 1/2″ head room in each jar.

Wipe jars down and place a clean new lid and seal with a screw band.  Process pints for 10 minutes and remove to cool at least overnight.  Store jars in a cool place for at least two weeks before opening.

Light Spinach and Artichoke Dip

I fell in love with this Light Spinach and Artichoke Dip.  Not only is it half the calories than normal but I think it tastes twice as good.  I got this recipe out of a Cooking Light cookbook a few years ago.  Be warned this dip feeds a crowd, so either make half or prepare eat this all week-long.  Or just sit and eat the whole thing, I know I could.

Lite Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Light Spinach and Artichoke Dip:

  • 2 cups mozzarella, shredded and divided
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 2 (8 oz.) blocks of 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 (10 oz.) package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained well

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix 1/2 cup mozzarella and 2 Tbs parmesan cheese, and set aside.

Combine the remaining ingredients, mix until well combined.

Spoon into a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart baking dish.

Sprinkle with the cheese mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Serve warm with tortilla chips or crackers.Lite Artichoke and Spinach Dip

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