Friday, November 21, 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

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This is a super easy dessert that can be made ahead of time. The thing I loved most is that you can cut the sheet pan into smaller bite size pieces to insure your guest will take a piece rather than having a pie or cake that everyone is too full to try. The cheesecake comes out a little thin so if you would like thicker pieces use a smaller pan, but trust me it’s full of flavor and rich so you won’t want to do it too thick. You could even do this in a cheesecake pan, but you’ll need to adjust your baking time to do so. Get creative if you would like too and instead of cutting them into squares, use cookie cutters to make shapes.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

(Adapted from Eat Live Run)


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1 15-oz can pumpkin

3 eggs

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp salt

1.5 lbs cream cheese, at room temperature


for graham cracker crust:

18 graham crackers (2 sleeves)

1 stick butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

*whipped cream to top


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.


In a large bowl crush graham crackers with your hands. Add sugar and butter and mix well.


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Press graham cracker crumbs onto a lined (parchment paper or silpat) jelly roll pan. Bake for 5 minutes until toasty. Remove and reduce oven temperature to 325.


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Mix together the pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream and vanilla in a large bowl.


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In the bowl of a KitchenAid, beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and ginger.


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 Beat until light and fluffy then slowly pour in pumpkin mixture.


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Continue beating until mixture is smooth and no lumps remain.


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Pour batter onto baked crust and bake for 50 minutes until edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.


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Let cool completely before cutting into small squares and topping with whipped cream.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Roasted Beer-Brined Butterball Turkey with Onion Gravy and Bacon

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Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway, it was the largest amount of entries to date! Congrats to Tonya and Buddy I hope you guys enjoy the Butterball turkey and I would to see what you make this year! Also a huge thank you to our sponsor Butterball for the turkey vouchers!!

Don’t forget all the ways you can “Butterball It” this season:

  • Facebook and Twitter click to see tips, special savings and more.
  • Pinterest page for even more inspiration.
  • Instagram to get a behind-the-scenes look at recipe development for Thanksgiving meals and more.
  • Live chats: 1-800-BUTTERBALL (1-800-288-8372) TurkeyTalk Line experts will be available this season starting November 3, 2014, through December 24, 2014, to answer questions and assist all Thanksgiving cooks.
  • Butterball App: Download the free Butterball Cookbook Plus app on your Apple device (Available for Android devices beginning in October) to get recipe ideas and cooking advice at your fingertips.

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I bought a 11.30 pound turkey and it took a little less cooking time so be mindful of that when you buy a turkey and adjust it to the recipe. I also injected the turkey once I took the bacon off to make sure it stayed nice and moist. Overall the recipe is really good. My only word of caution is make sure you have a large enough pot to brine the turkey. We used our crawfish/turkey frying pot. I love how the gravy came out and hubby loved the nice crunch the bacon added.

Roasted Beer-Brined Turkey with Onion Gravy and Bacon

(Adapted from Food & Wine)

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1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds

2 tablespoons black peppercorns

8 bay leaves

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup kosher salt

2 onions, cut into thick wedges

1 pound slab bacon, skin removed and meat sliced 1/3 inch thick

Six 12-ounce bottles Guinness stout

One 12- to 14-pound turkey

1 cup turkey stock or low-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour


In a very large pot, combine the mustard seeds, peppercorns and bay leaves and toast over moderate heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes.


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Add the brown sugar and salt and remove from the heat.


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 Add 4 cups of water and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved; let cool completely.


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Add the onions, bacon, Guinness and 16 cups of cold water to the pot. Add the turkey to the brine, breast side down, and top with a heavy lid to keep it submerged. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.


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Preheat the oven to 350° and position a rack on the bottom shelf. Lift the turkey from the brine, pick off any peppercorns, mustard seeds and bay leaves and pat dry. Transfer the turkey to a large roasting pan, breast side up. Scatter the onion wedges in the pan and add 1 cup of water.


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Using toothpicks, secure the bacon slices over the breast.


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Roast the turkey for about 2 hours, turning the pan occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted deep into the turkey thighs registers 150°. Remove the bacon and return the turkey to the oven.


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Roast for about 1 hour longer, until the breast is browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in a thigh registers 170°. Transfer the turkey to a carving board.


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Pour the pan juices and onion wedges into a saucepan and boil until reduced to 3 cups, about 5 minutes.


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Add the turkey stock and return to a boil. In a small bowl, mash the butter to a paste with the flour. Whisk the paste into the gravy and boil until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.


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Meanwhile, cut the bacon crosswise 1/2 inch thick. In a large skillet, fry the bacon over high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes.


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Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy and bacon.

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Disclaimer: 3 Butterball checks where sent to me one for me and two to giveaway have been provided by Butterball for this Review & Giveaway. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, November 17, 2014

Overnight Tex-Mex Egg Bake


With the holiday’s fast approaching I thought I would test out some easy make ahead breakfast items that your guest can enjoy. I made this in 2 pans to make it stretch, but I think making it in one would work better and give you a thicker casserole. We liked the flavor with the cheeses and green chilies added.

Overnight Tex-Mex Egg Bake

(Adapted from Pillsbury)


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12 oz bulk spicy pork sausage

5 cups frozen southern-style hash brown potatoes (from 32-oz bag)

1 can (4.5 ounces) Old El Paso™ chopped green chiles, undrained

3 cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese (12 oz)

6 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup Old El Paso™ Thick 'n Chunky salsa


Spray 13x9-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 10-inch skillet, cook sausage over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink. Drain on paper towel.


Spread frozen potatoes in baking dish.




Sprinkle with sausage, green chiles and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese.




In medium bowl, beat eggs, milk and salt with fork or wire whisk until well blended.




Pour over potato mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours but no longer than 12 hours.




Heat oven to 350°F. Bake uncovered 50 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut into squares. Serve with salsa.

Expert Tips

If you can’t find a 12-ounce package of pork sausage, you can use a 16-ounce package.

No need to wait! You can bake this dish right away if you like.

Warm corn bread with honey butter and a fruit salad of orange, grapefruit and mango pieces give your brunch a southwestern flair.


Cubed hash brown potatoes are called “southern-style,” and shredded potatoes are called “country-style.” Either one can be used in casseroles like this.