Monday, May 17, 2010

Brownie Bottom Cheesecake

I have not posted a dessert in a while, have I? Tsk tsk to me!

I made this absolute delight for a game night with some law school friends back during a magical time before finals. Ahhh I vaguely remember those days...Anyway, finals are done, vacation is done and now on to work for the summer. Because it seems like my summer meals have been scheduled for me by the firm, the only non-sweets you will see on here this summer will likely be ones I have already photographed and just need to post. I do intend to bake for coworkers (once I can remember how to get around the super confusing hallways to offer them said baked goods) so you may see more desserts up here in the coming weeks.

This cheesecake was super rich, but was wonderful. I would say there were about 16 of us at the game night, and we polished it off completely, but none of us could eat any more because it really was rich and a sliver was enough. The combination of brownie and cheesecake/cream cheese is a classic (see, e.g. these beauties and this brownie with a cream cheese frosting). This cake takes that combo to a whole new level- and looks super impressive to boot. The chocolate on top can cover any cracks and the end result looks like you bought it at cheesecake factory. Gotta love that wow factor when you have to correct people "No, actually I made it." "NO WAY!!"
Brownie Bottom Cheesecake (adapted from AllRecipes)

  • 1 box of brownie mix for 8x8"pan (I used Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate Mix)
  • Ingredients for brownie mix
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips- if brownie mix does not include chips
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom only of 10-inch springform pan. Prepare brownie mix as package directs for chewy brownies. If chocolate chips are not included in brownie mix, mix in the chocolate chips. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake 35 minutes or until set.
  2. In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F. Bake about 60 minutes or until set and beginning to become golden at edges. Cool. Chill thoroughly (very important! do not try to remove from pan while at all warm). Remove side of springform pan. Melt chocolate and drizzle over top (do after cake is removed from pan or else the chocolate will stick to the edges and rip your top if you are not careful). Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pioneer Woman's Spaghetti and (Turkey) Meatballs

Since I made this dinner for 2 of my good friends, I will let them give you an intro into Pioneer Woman's Spaghetti and (Turkey Version) Meatballs:

J: The meatballs were really really really moist and delicious

K: I liked it very much.

Neither minded that I made the meatballs with all turkey, and in fact, one said she preferred it to the typical, all-beef meatball

The Sauce for the meal came out WONDERFULLY. I had twice before tried to make homemade pasta sauce with either tart or bland results. This came out great (though I did tweak a little to get there).

Also of note- these freeze very well. Which is good since it makes way way WAY more than the 3 of us could eat.

Pioneer Woman's Spaghetti and Meatballs- Turkey Version
  • 1.5 lbs ground turkey
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • ¾ cups Bread Crumbs
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • ¾ cups Grated Parmesan
  • ¼ cups Flat-leaf Parsley, Minced- I used a little less and used some dried
  • dried basil to taste
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Splash Of Milk
  • ½ cups Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Yellow Onion, Diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole (28-ounce) Can Whole Tomatoes
  • 1 whole 28 Ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • ½ cups Red Wine
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • dried basil, parsley and oregano to taste
  • ¼ cups Flat-leaf Parsley, Minced
  • 8 whole Fresh Basil Leaves, Chiffonade
  • 2 pounds Spaghetti, Cooked To Al Dente
Preparation Instructions

To make the meatballs, combine meat, garlic, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, eggs, salt, pepper, parsley, basil, and a splash of milk in a mixing bowl. Mix together well with hands. Roll into 25 1 1/2-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet into the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes (or fridge for about 30 min) to firm up.

To brown the meatballs, heat olive oil in a heavy pot or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs 5 at a time, turning to brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel after each batch. Set meatballs aside.

In the same pot, add the onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes, or until translucent. Pour in whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, red pepper, and wine. Add salt, pepper, sugar, dried herbs and parsley. Stir to combine and cook over medium heat for 20-30 minutes.

Add meatballs to pot and stir in gently. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring very gently a couple of times during the simmer.

Just before serving, stir in basil if using.

Serve over cooked spaghetti. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan.