Posts Tagged ‘cream cheese’

Party Cheese Ball

Monday, December 8th, 2014

My mom is not a cook.

For our wedding (I think I’ve mentioned this before), our friends and family put together an awesome cookbook of their favorite recipes. Since my mom is not a cook, however, her contribution was a little…simple.

Spinach Dip

Submitted by Mom

Ingredients:

  • Money of some sort
  • Your local grocery store
  • 1 round loaf Hawaiian bread
  • 2 lbs deli spinach dip
  • A car

Directions:

Drive to the store. Purchase spinach dip and Hawaiian bread. Drive home. Carve hole in middle of Hawaiian bread. Place spinach dip in hole. Serve with pieces of bread from hole around it. Enjoy!

_______________

It was still a wonderful contribution, since it makes me laugh every time I think of it. Plus, it’s a classic “Mom” dish that she takes to most parties that she has to bring an appetizer. Who doesn’t like Spinach Dip? Even though I love to cook, and would likely make spinach dip from scratch if I were going to take it somewhere, I love this recipe from my Mom.

The other recipes she included is a little more useful. It also happens to be her other appetizer recipe. It’s a classic cheeseball, a popular party snack. Here’s how it goes.

Cheeseball

Submitted by Mom

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar Kraft Pimento cheese
  • 1 jar Kraft Old English cheese
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • Chopped pecans
  • Assorted crackers, for serving

Directions:

Soften the cream cheese. Mix 3 cheeses together, blend well. Shape into a ball. Roll in chopped nuts. Wrap in wax paper and foil, store in refrigerator overnight. Serve with crackers.

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

Apparently recipes from Mom are about 30 words long. Nothing wrong with that. I make this one often, because it’s easy, and a family favorite. The hardest part is finding the little jars of cheese–I swear they move around the grocery store every time I go. They’re never in the same place twice!

This Thanksgiving, I dressed up Mom’s classic Cheeseball recipe–like a turkey!

Gobble Gobble!

Gobble Gobble!

This is one of those rare Pinterest projects that turns out better than the inspiration. I love this little guy! To adjust mom’s general recipe, I rolled the cheeseball in crushed Ritz crackers to help it hold together, chilled overnight as directed, and then added the other garnishes once I got it on the platter the next day. The back feathers are crackers, I stuck pecan halves in the cheeseball in a feather pattern, rather than using chopped pecans, and the face is a strip of red bell pepper. The beak is cut out of a slice of cheddar cheese, and the eyes were made from a thin slice of string cheese, with a couple of whole black peppercorns stuck into it. I stuck a few toothpicks into the cheeseball and through the pepper, eyes, and beak. The whole process took about 5 extra minutes, and was a great addition to my Thanksgiving appetizer spread!

Pioneer Woman’s Cheddar Puffs

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Warning: This is not a healthy recipe. We’re not even going to talk about Points today.

Now that that’s out of the way…

Yum!

These tasty little appetizers are cheesy bites of heaven. You make rich, gooey, melty cheese sauce, use it to coat bread chunks, then freeze them and bake them to puff them up. My favorite part of the recipe is that you can do all the work in advance–the prep work leaves you with a bag of frozen puffs that only require 10 minutes in the oven to finish. Perfect for parties or family get-togethers!

The Pioneer Woman’s Cheddar Puffs

  • 1 loaf Crusty French Bread, Cut Into 1-inch Cubes
  • ½ stick Butter
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1-½ teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, Sliced
  • 1-½ cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
  • 2 whole Egg Whites, Beaten
  1. Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add Dijon and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low.
  2. Add cream cheese and stir until melted. Add grated cheddar and stir until melted. Turn off heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fold in egg whites.
  3. Dunk bread cubes in cheese, coating thoroughly. Place on a nonstick baking mat or sheet of waxed paper and freeze for 20 minutes, uncovered. Remove frozen chunks from tray and place into a Ziploc bag. Store in the freezer.
  4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place frozen cheese puffs on a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper, and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Easy Cheese Danish

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

This recipe was a treat for my David. I came across the recipe while browsing online, and it sounded so simple (plus, we had about 2 pounds of cream cheese hanging out in the fridge that I was anxious to use up) that I decided to make it for him. He really likes breakfast pastries, like danishes and sweet rolls (who doesn’t?), and cheese danish is one of his favorites, so I thought I’d give it a try. I’m glad I did.

The filling is absolutely perfect. The right balance of richness and sweetness. The pastry is just crescent roll dough, so nothing spectacular on its own, but it lends just the right texture to the danish, and doesn’t get in the way of the filling, which, of course, is the star.

One problem: There’s nothing healthy about this treat. It was about 12 Weight Watchers points for a slice, which is a LOT. I have some thoughts on how I might lighten it for the next time around, though. I think I’ll be trying that soon.

Easy Cheese Danish

  • 2 (10 ounce) cans refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, diced
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons sour cream
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  2. Line bottom of baking pan with 1 can of crescent rolls. Pinch all seams together to seal.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese, white sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract and sour cream. Spread filling on top of rolls. Place second can of rolls on top of filling.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar, milk and butter. After Danish has cooled, drizzle with icing.

Follow Up: The Ultimate Autumn Cookie?

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
So, last week, Cara and I tried to bake an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie she’d had once–but all she knew was that the recipe had pumpkin in it. So I researched recipes, but then the store didn’t have pumpkin. You can see how that turned out here. Cara decided to try again, and has been kind enough to share the results here. I tried these “cookies” last night, and they were quite tasty, but at the complete opposite end of the spectrum from the crispy cookies. These were soft, and fluffy–more like a muffin than a cookie.
Anyway, Cara’s here to tell you the story of her muffin-top cookies:

Ok, so that title is a little vague because I didn’t want anyone who doesn’t like pumpkin to not click. I generally don’t even like pumpkin myself! Or so I thought. But that was until I had these magnificent Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, introduced to me by an ex-boyfriend.

These puppies are meant to be soft and chewy, bordering on almost cake-like (but not quite) – in other words, the perfect cookie, IMO. Since the ex and I didn’t really stay ~friends~ (hahaha… wait, that’s not funny, is it?), I did some Googling to try to find a similar cookie recipe… and found several different ones. I ultimately ended up Frankensteining a few – perfect for Halloween, am I right?! – to create this delicious fall treat. :)

Ingredients:

  • 1 can pumpkin (15 oz.)  (Note: most recipes list 1 cup; I accidentally used the whole can, but they taste great!)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick or old-fashioned oats
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon (I used 1 tsp. Saigon cinnamon & 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice – whatever you prefer)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. milk
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • cream cheese icing (optional)

Yield: about 3 dozen

Combine pumpkin, sugar, oil, and egg in large bow. Mix well.
(Oil will separate; just re-stir before you need to add more ingredients later in the recipe.)

In another, smaller bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

Dissolve baking soda with milk, then stir into flour mixture. Next stir in oats.

Mix together flour mixture with pumpkin, slowly adding more flour mix and stirring each time. Mixture will thicken. You should be able to stick your spoon in the middle and have it stand up on its own.

Add vanilla and chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 on a greased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes until tops of cookies are dry and spring back when touched lightly (I find 12 mins. on the nose is perfect). Remove from baking sheet and cool on racks.

If you like, while cookies are still slightly warm, ice them with the cream cheese icing (I used the Pillsbury whipped variety). The warm cookie and the melty icing is perfection. Seriously. I’ve never iced them all and then eaten the pre-iced cookies later, so I’m not sure how that would taste, but I have nuked a cook or two in the microwave for a little bit and then iced them to re-create that fresh-out-of-the-oven goodness. Works pretty well actually.

These “cookies” were so moist and crumbly they tasted like the top of a really delicious muffin. Definitely muffintop-ish.

Your turn! Hope you enjoy – let me know if you do!

pumpkin cookie
Thanks for stopping by, Cara. And extra thanks for bringing leftover cookies last night. Yum!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

This weekend, David and I attended a wedding in Iowa. On our way out of town, we stopped at a small-town restaurant for “Brunch” which turned out to be just plain lunch. The food was good, if homey, and reminded me of every church pot-luck I’ve ever attended. Green Bean Casserole. Four kinds of Pasta Salad. Brownie bars. Fried Chicken.

I mentioned to my friend Sarah that this was “church-lady food” and she agreed whole-heartedly. This refrigerator pie from The Pioneer Woman is another example of “church-lady food,” which isn’t a complaint! My grandmothers are church ladies, and they make awesome food for pot-luck dinners.

But back to the pie. It was super-easy to throw together, and surprisingly rich. One friend (Hi Cara!) said it tastes exactly like Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs Cereal, and she might be right. Again, not a complaint (Yum!). I do have to warn you that it’s rich, however. A small slice is enough!

IMG_2258

Chocolate Peanut Butter Icebox Pie
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 25 Oreo Cookies
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
  • 8 ounce tub of Cool Whip, thawed
  • 1 cup of peanut butter (chunky or smooth–whichever you prefer)
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350. In a food processor, crush the Oreo cookies until the mixture is all one color and all the white has been incorporated into the crumbs. Place in a medium mixing bowl and drizzle with the melted butter. Stir to combine. Press into a pie plate and bake for 7-10 minutes, or until crust is set. Cool completely.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the peanut butter and cream cheese. Beat with the paddle attachment until smooth. Carefully add the powdered sugar (start your mixer on low to avoid the sugar cloud!) and beat again until smooth. Add the Cool Whip and, once again, beat until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time.

Pour filling into crust, evening out the top with a knife or spatula. Chill in the freezer for at least an hour before serving. Let rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before cutting into the pie. Or…well..lets just say your pie won’t be very pretty if you don’t. Right mom? Liz?

Fresh Berry Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Yum.

That’s about all I have to say. This pound cake was delicious. Moist, and tender, and sweet, but not too sweet. The recipe below makes two loaves, but I loaded one up with fresh blueberries and raspberries from the farmer’s market (about half a pint of each).

Pound cake

Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Adapted from Bakerella
.com

  • 3.5 cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a medium mixing bowl and set aside. (It’s best if you have a sister or a cousin around to sift the flour for you. It’s much easier that way. Thanks guys!)

3. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar for several minutes, until light and smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing completely after each additional egg. (It’s best if you have a mom around to help you count all 6 eggs. Otherwise you might lose track. Thanks mom!) Add vanilla and milk until combined.

4. Add flour mixture in small batches until completely combined.

5. Pour into two greased and floured loaf pans. (Here’s where I added the berries). Bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. (Mine actually took about 75 minutes–the cake with the berries took longer than the plain cake).

Saturday Morning Cinnamon Rolls

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

There’s a lot of David’s favorite foods floating around this blog these days. The fajitas, the potica, the bruschetta…and now cinnamon rolls. David loves cinnamon rolls. But really, who doesn’t?

Along with potica, this was one of those things that we were waiting for more counter space. Now that we have it, I finally decided to bake some up. I borrowed this recipe from Kristen at Dine & Dish. The recipe was relatively easy to follow, and the cinnamon rolls were extremely tasty. I’m interested in trying other recipes, to see what difference they make in the final product, but overall, I was very happy with this recipe, and I probably would make it again.

Saturday Morning Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from Dine & Dish

For the dough:

  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar + 1 teaspoon
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 6 cups flour half all-purpose and half bread flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup salted or unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons salt (cut down to 1 teaspoon if using salted butter)

For the filling:

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  1. Proof yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water, with 1 teaspoon sugar added; Set aside for five minutes.
  2. Put milk, sugar, salt, and about one cup flour in a bowl of a stand mixer, and beat with the paddle attachment until well-mixed.
  3. Add eggs and yeast mixture and a couple cups of flour and beat again, until combined.
  4. Switch to the dough hook. Add the soft butter and the rest of the flour, adding the rest of flour very slowly, while the mixer is running. Continue needing with the dough hook until all flour has been incorporated and dough is firm.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter, and knead the ball of dough until it is smooth and satiny, adding only enough to keep if from sticking.
  6. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease all sides.
  7. Let rise in warm place until double, about an hour,covering bowl with a towel or plastic wrap.
  8. Punch down, kneading for about 30 seconds to remove bubbles; Cover and let rise again.
  9. Punch down dough again.
  10. Cut with a knife into four parts, and shape into balls; Roll each ball into a 8 X 14 inch rectangle.
  11. Spread the dough with about 3 tablespoons butter, leaving far edge unbuttered.
  12. Spread with one fourth the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  13. Roll up; roll tightly; Pinch edges; Cut into slices.
  14. Place in greased pan and let rise until double in size, 45-60 minutes.
  15. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.
  16. Frost with softened cream cheese frosting.

Note: This recipe makes about 2 dozen cinnamon rolls—enough that David’s been eating them for breakfast every morning since! He’s not complaining though.

The original recipe called for all of the mixing and kneading to be done by hand. I adapted it for the Stand Mixer. I also sprinkled two of the dough quarters with chopped walnuts, for a change of pace. They were good, but David thinks “pecans would have been better,” so we’ll probably try that next time.

Chicken Baseballs

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Chicken Baseballs is a recipe that I found on the Weight Watchers message boards a while ago. It’s basically a creamy, cheesy chicken filling baked inside a flaky dough. I’ve made them a few times, and they’re very tasty. My method, it seems, is a little different than the one floating around the boards these days. I’m not sure if I changed the recipe or they did, but here’s how I make them.

Chicken Baseballs

  • 1 package (tube)  reduced fat crescent roll dough
  • 1 pound (about 2 cups) cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 8 ounce block “1/3 less fat than cream cheese” (neufchatel cheese), softened
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup low fat sour cream
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying with non-stick spray or lining with parchment paper.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, and cumin.  Beat with a hand mixer until smooth. Stir in shredded cheese and chopped chicken until combined.

3. Unroll crescent roll dough on prepared baking sheet. Break the roll into four rectangles. Each rectangle will be made up of two intact triangles. Pinch together the seams on each pair. Scoop one quarter of the chicken and cheese mixture onto each rectangle and carefully shape the dough around the filling by pulling each corner to the top. When the filling is completely enclosed, place on the baking sheet seam side down. Repeat with remaining filling and rectangles of dough.

4. Sprinkle each roll with sesame seeds and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until crescent dough is golden brown.

Note: In case you were wondering, they’re called chicken baseballs because the seam in the crescent roll dough kind of resembles the seams on a baseball. Or so I’m told.

Cheesy Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Monday, February 9th, 2009

I’m always on the lookout for healthy recipes that don’t look like healthy recipes. Partly because I’m not generally a fan of HEALTHY healthy food. Partly because I don’t care for very many vegetables. Partly because I like cooking too much to give up all the tasty things I love to make. Partly because if I want to eat healthy, I’ve got to find a way to make sure my “test kitchen” wants to eat it also.

This recipe sounded promising from the start. Cream cheese? Pesto? Crunchy chicken breast? Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Hardly sounds healthy at all, really. Except that the cheese is low-fat cream cheese, the pesto is made with heart-healthy olive oil, the breading is egg whites and super-crunchy panko and the chicken is briefly pan-fried before being finished in the oven–giving it all the crunch of a fattening fried chicken breast, with much less oil.

Cheesy Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Adapted from EatingWell Magazine

  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese (neufchâtel cheese)
  • 1 tablespoon basil pesto (store-bought or homemade)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1-1 1/4 pounds total)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning blend
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Combine cream cheese, pesto and pepper in a small bowl with a fork.

3. Cut a horizontal slit along the thin, long edge of a chicken breast half, nearly through to the opposite side. Open up each breast and place one-fourth of the filling in the center. Close the breast over the filling, pressing the edges firmly together to seal. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts and filling.

4. Lightly beat egg white with a fork in a medium bowl. Place both kinds of breadcrumbs in a shallow glass dish. Stir in italian seasoning and garlic powder. Hold each chicken breast half together and dip in the egg white, then dredge in the breadcrumbs. (Discard leftovers.)

5. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts; cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Place the chicken, browned-side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is no longer pink in the center or until an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F, about 20 minutes.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per chicken breast: 233 calories; 7 g fat; 71 mg cholesterol; 11 g carbohydrate; 30 g protein; 1 g fiber; 231 mg sodium.

Note: This is one of the most decadent healthy recipes I’ve come across in a long time. If you’ve never used neufchâtel cheese you’ll be pleasantly surprised; it’s like cream cheese, but has 1/3 less fat than traditional cream cheese, without any of the aftertaste or texture problems of “low fat,” “reduced fat,” or “fat free” cream cheese. Look for the “1/3 less fat than cream cheese” in the product name, and you’ll know you’re buying the right one. I did use a small container of storebought pesto, only because my basil crop wasn’t quite ripe for picking. I served this with Pesto Mashed Potatoes, which is code for leftover mashed potatoes with pesto in them (about 1 Tbsp of pesto for every cup of mashed potatoes). The whole dinner was delicious.

Cream Cheese Walnut Cookies

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

And we’re back to the baking!

This recipe is from Martha Stewart’s website. I’m not always a fan of Martha’s recipes, but these cookies sounded good, and I’m glad I tried them.

The texture is rich and crumbly, like a shortbread. They are not overly sweet, but have a nice flavor. I toasted the walnuts and cooled them again before mixing into the cookie dough, and there’s a lovely walnut taste throughout the each cookie. The cookies are a great little crunchy treat–a nice break from some of the sweeter, heavier treats so prevalent this time of year.

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Cream Cheese Walnut Cookies
Makes about 4 dozen

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, (not whipped) room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups walnut halves (1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped), 1 cup finely chopped

  1. Whisk together flour and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Put butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in sugar and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and mix until just combined (do not overmix). Mix in toasted walnuts.
  2. Transfer dough to a work surface. Divide in half; shape each half into an 8 1/2-inch long log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap each log in parchment paper; freeze until firm, about 30 minutes or up to 2 weeks.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 with racks in upper and lower thirds. Unwrap 1 log, and roll in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, coating completely. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  4. Bake cookies, rotating halfway through, until golden around edges, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Repeat with remaining log and remaining 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

Note: I did use a bit of egg wash to get the nuts to stick to the frozen cookie dough logs. One batch of this dough made 4 dozen cookies, easily. In my experience, you don’t always get the yield that you would expect from cookies, but these delivered. Not surprisingly, the taste reminds me of a rich cheesecake. They were especially amazing straight from the oven.