Saturday, November 29, 2014

Winter Jack Cider Cheesecake

Hooray for Thanksgiving! Time for a new Cheesecake recipe! I had really wanted to use Apple Brandy for there was not a bottle to be found in my small town. I was thinking maybe spiced rum....but then I came across Jack Daniels Winter Jack Tennessee Cider. I thought it would be worth a shot !

2 cups QUALITY apple cider.....cannot stress that enough, QUALITY!
1 stick cinnamon
2 tsp whole allspice
1 tsp whole cloves

2 1/4 cups ginger snap crumbs (1/2 this recipe is perfect!)
1/4 cup butter

2 medium sized apples, peeled and sliced thin*
*I also dunk them in lemon water to prevent browning, but make sure they are dry before using

24 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup Jack Daniel's Winter Jack Tennessee Cider
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 TB cornstarch
4 eggs

Boiling water (for water bath)

1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 TB sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
dash of ground cloves
dash of ground allspice

For the cider:
Place the cider along with the spices in a small pan, simmer over medium heat until it has reduced to 1 cup (about 20-30 minutes, check often).

Strain out the spices and discard, set aside the cider to cool.

For the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 at this point

Take 2 sheets of heavy duty foil and lay them out in a cross, set a 10 inch spring-form pan in the center and bring the edges up to cover the outside of the pan.

Reserve 1/4 cup ginger snap crumbs for topping.
Combine remaining 2 cups ginger snap crumbs and butter, mix well then press into the bottom of the pan and slightly up the sides.
Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes.

Immediately take your sliced apples and carefully line the edge of the pan pressing them firmly into the edge of the crust. When you have completed the ring make sure to carefully pack the crust tightly against the edges again. (It will be hot so take precautions!)

For the filling:

In a food processor or with electric mixer beat the cream cheese until it is nice and fluffy...about a minute or so.

Add in Winter Jack,sugars and cornstarch. Mix well until no lumps remain, scraping down sides as necessary.

Then add in the cooled reduced cider you made earlier. Beat well to combine.

Add eggs 1 at a time and incorporate fully before moving to the next BUT be careful not to over beat at this point. Seriously, beat it all you want before the eggs but after eggs, just until incorporated!!

When the eggs are fully combined, GENTLY pour into the prepared crust.

Place the pan into a wide rimmed pan (I use my broiler pan) and add boiling water up to the middle of the spring-form.

Place in the center of the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes until the edges are starting to look a little dry but the center is jiggly.

Combine topping ingredients and gently spread over the cake, sprinkle with  reserved ginger snap crumbs.

Bake 5 minutes more.

Turn off heat and allow to cool for 1 hour without opening the oven door.

After 1 hour take out of oven, remove the foil and cool completely on a wire rack.

After it is completely cool chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours before removing ring. Then enjoy!

Just an FYI Winter Jack was ok but it did not impress me as much as I had hoped.  I definitely think a spiced rum or apple brandy would be fantastic!!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Delicious Pork Chop Casserole

I decided to take one of our favorite pork chop recipes and expand it into a casserole dish.
I used roasted cauliflower but this is totally workable with pasta as well!

1/2-1 lb pork chops, lightly seasoned as desired (meat amount is really to your preference)

1 large head cauliflower, (about 2 lbs or so)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp garlic power
1/4 tsp red pepper
salt and pepper to taste

3 TB butter
1 clove garlic, minced
3 TB flour OR 2 TB cornstarch
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup quality mayonnaise
1 cup shredded cheddar
2 TB fresh parsley, chopped
seasoning salt and pepper to taste

1 bunch green onions, chopped
Shredded Cheddar

Season and grill, bake or broil your pork chop to 145 degrees. Cover with foil and allow to rest 10 minutes then slice into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 450
Chop your cauliflower into bite sized pieces. Place them on a foiled and greased baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with garlic powder, red pepper, salt and pepper and toss gently.

Roast about 20 minutes until golden and tender. Remove from oven. *
*you can omit this step and substitute 1 lb of your favorite pasta, cooked according to package directions

While the cauliflower is roasting or pasta is cooking make the sauce:
Melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant and tender.

Add flour and whisk to a smooth paste (If you are using cornstarch whisk it directly into the milk)
Add milk and whisk well, cook and stir until thickened. Whisk in mayo and cheddar continuing to stir until no lumps remain. Add parsley, salt and pepper.

In a greased baking dish combine sliced pork, roasted cauliflower and the sauce, toss together well.

Sprinkle with chopped green onions and more cheddar as desired.

Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes at 350, remove foil and bake 10 minutes more until hot and bubbly.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Baked Veggie and Bean Chimichangas

I was going to do burritos tonight but I decided to kick them up just a little.

12 tortillas (10 inch)

2 cups refried beans

2 cups cheese (I used pepper jack and cheddar)

1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
1 small zucchini, cubed
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1-2 TB  Taco Seasoning
1-2 TB  fresh lime juice

Preheat oven to 400

Mix filling ingredients in a bowl, toss well.

Warm the tortillas so they are pliable.

Spread 2-3 TB refried beans on each tortilla.

 Then 1/3 cup filling.

Top with a few TB of cheese,

Fold and roll up the tortillas then place on a greased baking sheet, seam side down.

Brush each tortilla with a generous amount of olive oil. I sprinkled on some garlic powder too

Bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes until heated through and the tortilla is crispy.

Serve with sour cream and salsa!