Sunday, April 10, 2016

Mom's Favorite Unbaked Cheesecake

Whenever we had a special occasion at home such as my birthday or Christmas, Mom would make this unbaked cheesecake and it was everyone's favorite. Yesterday, after 2 decades of missing the taste, I finally got up the courage and ingredients and attempted it myself. There must be something about nostalgia, because nothing ever tasted better than the memories brought back with that first bite. Pure Nirvana. So here, in all its glory, straight from The Mennonite Cookbook, is my Mom's best unbaked cheesecake to delight your own taste buds and family.

Mom's Favorite Unbaked Cheesecake
And yes, we already dug into it, Pure deliciousness!


  • 1 pkg lemon jello
  • 1/2 c boiling water
  • 1 8-oz pkg cream cheese
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 1/2 pint (8 oz or 1 c) whipping cream
  • 1/2 box graham wafers
  • 1/4 c butter or margarine, melted
  • 10 maraschino cherries, cut
  • 1/2 c drained crushed pineapple
  1. Dissolve Jello in boiling water and let stand while preparing the other ingredients.
  2. Beat whipping cream until stiff in a medium bowl.
  3. With the same beaters, beat well together the cream cheese and sugar in a small bowl.
  4. Place graham wafers in a resealable bag and roll with rolling pin til finely crushed. Mix with butter/margarine and press 3/4 of the mixture into a 9x9 pan, reserving the rest for sprinkling on top.
  5. With mixing spoon, fold cream cheese mixture and Jello into whipping cream (that bowl will be big enough). Mix thoroughly, then fold in pineapple and cherries. 
  6. Pour over prepared base in pan and sprinkle remaining crumbs over top. 
  7. Place in fridge for at least 1-2 hours to set and ENJOY! This keeps well for a few days.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Super Duper Homemade Calzones

So  yesterday was the Superbowl and my hubby had a hankering for calzones. Not any old calzones but the ones  he remembered from his days working at a pizza joint back in New York. He gave me his basic specs and found a recipe he thought would be ideal and then we went ingredient shopping. No sir, these were definitely not your garden variety calzones! I made a double recipe of dough as shown in the recipe and went to town preparing them. They ended up being HUGE! Like he said, now "thatza a calzone!" In retrospect I would prefer a commercial or good homemade pizza dough, since there is a lot of bread in each serving, but it sure was good! He ate one, I ate half and we have 2 in the freezer for another time plus the other half of mine for his dinner tonight. Serve with warm marina sauce drizzled on top, or in a small bowl for dipping.

<adapted from this recipe>

Ingredients (for 2 huge calzones)

  • *1 (.25 ounce) package active dry  yeast
  • *1 cup warm water
  • *1 tablespoon olive oil
  • *1 teaspoon white sugar
  • *1 teaspoon salt
  • *2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour,            divided
  • *1 teaspoon olive oil
  • *1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • *1 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella 
  • *Parmesan cheese
  • *1/2 c Canadian bacon
  • *1/2 cup diced pepperoni
  • *1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
  • *1 tbsp basil or Italian seasoning 
  • *1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp water and 1 tsp olive oil (for the "wash")


    2. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. When soft pour into medium bowl (use large bowl if doubling recipe) and add the oil, sugar and salt. Mix in 1 cup of the flour until smooth. Gradually stir in the rest of the flour, until dough is smooth and workable. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, or until it is elastic. Place dough in a bowl containing 1 teaspoon olive oil, then flip the dough, cover and let rise for 40 minutes, or until almost doubled.

    2. 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
    3. 2. While dough is rising, combine the pepperoni, Canadian bacon, chopped peppers and basil leaves or Italian seasoning in a small bowl. Toss well, cover bowl and refrigerate to chill.
    4. 3. When dough is ready, punch it down and separate it into 2 equal balls (4 balls if you have doubled the recipe). 
    5. 4. Roll each out into a THIN circle on a lightly floured surface, one at a time. 
    6. 5. A so-called authentic calzone recipe said to do it this way, so I did: Fill each of the two circles with half the mozzarella on the lower half of the circle topped with filling (refrigerated pepperoni, Canadian bacon, pepper and spices), then scooped ricotta cheese, salt and pepper and Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Fold the top over the fillings and secure edges by rolling/folding up,  pinching and pressing with a fork. Brush the top of each calzone with beaten egg mixed with oil and a bit of water and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet (I used a perforated pizza pan for 2 of the ones I made from the double recipe placed on the middle rack and a cookie sheet topped with silicone sheets on the second-from-lowest oven rack). REPEAT WITH REMAINING DOUGH (BALL). As you can see, these are humongous. 
    1. 6.Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 30 minutes (as above) until cooked through and a beautiful golden brown. Serve hot with marinara or a favorite spaghetti sauce heated for dipping or drizzling.

    Please note: I saved some money by using a bag of Italian Mixed Shredded Cheese containing Parm, Mozza, Asagio and Romano. That saved me time, too, by letting  me spread this on the bottom of each circle without having the expense of Parm to sprinkle on top and gave a little extra flavor. I found the  mix of egg/water/olive oil gave it a beautiful sheen and color.

    Monday, February 1, 2016

    Game Day Recipes: Cheesy Pull-Apart Sliders

    This recipe was featured on our local Fox 8 News channel page and I received it in my email. It looks so good that I had to share it with you! Definitely a must-do for the big game! Put these on a table with some chili, pulled pork or chicken wings, veggies and dip plus other munchies and you have everything you need for an ooey gooey (calorie-laden but who watches calories anyway on Superbowl?) good time!

    Cheesy Pull-Apart Sliders

    • 1 pound lean ground beef
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
    • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 2 cups diced onion (about 1 medium onion)
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 (10-oz) can Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles, drained
    • 12 slices cheddar cheese
    • 12 dinner rolls

    • ½ cup (one stick) butter
    • 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tablespoon mustard
    • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. Place a large skillet on the stove top over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the beef and season with salt, pepper, mustard powder, and paprika. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beef is browned and onions are golden. Stir in drained tomatoes until combined.
    3. Slice dinner rolls in half and place bottom half of rolls in 9x13 baking dish. Top with beef mixture & sliced cheese. Finish off with the top half of the bun.
    4. Mix all the ingredients for the glaze in a sauce pan over medium heat (or microwave about 40 seconds) and mix until melted, smooth, and combined. Pour evenly over the buns.
    5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes.
    Makes: 12 burgers.

    Saturday, December 12, 2015

    Follow-Up on Tomato Junk and Tomato Junk Beef Stew

    Tomato "Junk"

    Apparently the Tomato Junk recipe I provided earlier (in October) makes a great stew! Being in a rush, I thawed the concoction in the microwave (Ziploc bag and all) while I got out the slow cooker. I heat the contraption up, sauteed onions, garlic and chunks of steak (a bit of a waste, I thought, but softer and tastier than stewing beef) and 1/3 pack of frozen (chunky) hashbrowns for about an hour. Then I added the "junk," half a jar of homemade salsa plus enough water to almost cover the stew and let it simmer for another couple of hours, until it was simmering. I added 1/4 c flour mixed with water to make a gravy and let it simmer away on low for another 4 hours. My hubby said it was delicious (with a bit of zing to it because of the salsa) but I haven't had a chance to sample it yet. I will tonight! The funny thing is, he doesn't really like some of the veggies in there but liked the flavor so much it didn't matter! Who woulda thunk it?

    Tomato Junk Stew