Tag Archives: cream cheese

Spiced Oatmeal Apple Cream Cheese Pie

Fall…..yes, I do know it technically begins on the 22nd of September this year, but in my home, we’re already there!  It has been raining alllll day, all week rather, the outside air is in the 80’s and my apple cinnamon candles are lit.

Speaking of apples and cinnamon, how about we make a pie! 😉  This really could be an all year delight, but I try to save it just for Fall.  To best describe this dessert, I’d say it’s a cheesecake, meets apple pie, meets crumble.  I mean really…have you ever heard of a mashup more yummy?? Though best of all, it’s insanely easy!  This pie is just short of a “dump recipe”.  Could you peel, season and cook down your own apples?  Sure!…but why??  With the hecticness of the many holidays approaching, keep your life easy and stress free with my family favorite, Spiced Oatmeal Apple Cream Cheese Pie!

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 17.5 oz bag of oatmeal cookie mix (or snickerdoodle/sugar, if preferred)
  • 1/2 cup of butter (cube a cold stick), plus 1 Tablespoon, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 TBSP flour
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, large
  • 21oz can apple pie filling

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9″ pie dish with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cookie mix with the cubed stick of butter; using your hands, mix, working for almost “crumbs”.  Press about 2 cups into the bottom and up the sides of the greased pie dish.  *About 1+ cup of the cookie crumbs should be left over for the topping. 
  3. Bake the crust for 10 minutes and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl or stand-mixer, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth, while adding in the sugar and flour.  Next, beat in the vanilla and egg, till creamy.
  5. In your now par-baked and slightly cooled cookie crust, spread in the cream cheese filling.  Top with the can of apple pie filling.  Combine the tablespoon of melted butter with the remaining cookie crumbles and sprinkle over the pie evenly.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.  *Cover with foil, not plastic wrap, when refrigerating.  This ensures less condensation, so that the crust and crumble do not become soggy. AppleCreamCheese2AppleCreamCheese3

GameDay Jalapeno Popper Piggies

Break out of your typical, grilled jalapeno-popper rut and try this out for size!  It has all of the flavors we love, fresh and spicy jalapenos, creamy cheeses and crisp bacon, BUT it also has another level of smokiness with the beef sausage while all wrapped in a warm, pretzel like pastry dough.

So whether your an avid football fan, need a new Thanksgiving appetizer or you just want to curl up on a cool day with a movie and snacks…these rock, my friend!

The Starting Lineup

  • 3 sheets puff pastry dough, thawed
  • 1 package (36) Lil Smokies
  • 18 jalapeno peppers, halved
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Flour (for dusting); Kosher salt (garnish)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees; line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cut off each jalapeno pepper top; halve and discard the seeds.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, combine the cream cheese, shredded cheddar and crumbled bacon.  Fill the halved peppers with the cheese and bacon mixture.  Press a “Smokie” on top of the filling.
  4. Lightly flour a clean surface and unfold the thawed puff pastry dough.  Cut each dough rectangle into 6 equal strips vertically and then in half crosswise, to create 12 pieces.  *you may have to gently roll out each dough piece a bit to wrap around filled pepper.
  5. Wrap each stuffed pepper in one of the cut puff pastry strips and seal with a bit of egg wash; seam on the bottom.  Place on prepared baking sheet.  Once finished with all, brush the remaining egg wash overtop and sprinkle on a bit of the kosher salt.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, till golden brown; serve warm.

 

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Green Chile Albondigas Alfredo

MMmmm….meatballs!  Yes, for those of y’all that are not “in the know”, meatballs translated in Spanish is: albondigas.  The more you know.

These said albondigas just so happen to pair beautifully with green chiles and creamy alfredo sauce…they almost cancel each other out to flow beautifully together.  Not too spicy, not too bland.

I like to serve ours with a bit more cheese and chopped roasted peppers, but however you do it, you’ve made yourself a more elegant, Mexican-inspired meal.  Move over Taco Tuesday!

*You can make your own albondigas (your typical meatball recipe but combined with more Mexican spices: cumin, salsa, carrots, cilantro, Mexican oregano, etc) or you can use a bag of frozen Italian meatballs, both delicious.

*If gets too thick/not to the creaminess you prefer, you can add a splash of milk or heavy cream.

The Starting Lineup

  • 14oz meatballs (homemade or frozen)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 10.5oz can Cream of Jalapeno soup (can sub chicken broth or cream of chicken + seeded/diced jalapenos)
  • 8oz block cream cheese (1/3 fat-Neufchatel is fine), cubed
  • 1 cup water (or chicken broth)
  • 8oz penne pasta noodles
  • 4oz can of green chilies, hot
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste.

Garnish

  • Flat leaf parsley, rough chop
  • Roasted peppers (i.e.. jalapeno, poblano-seeded), finely chopped
  • Parmesan cheese

GreenChileAlfredo.jpeg

1.  Begin by heating a 10″-12″ pan to medium high heat.  (I actually love my cast iron for this, a bit of scraping is needed, but it creates almost a ‘crust’ on the noodles.  Though a non-stick would leave you an equally delightful super creamy version).

2.  To that hot pan, pour in the oil and followed by the meatballs to sear all over, 5-10 minutes.  (I used straight from frozen/fully cooked and work just fine!).

3.  To the seared meatballs, add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes.

4.  Once the onions are just translucent in color, whisk in the cubed cream cheese and can of soup.  Whisk, whisk, whisk!

5.  Next pour in the water/or broth, your 8oz of noodles and can of hot green chiles with juices.  Bring to a quick boil, stir.  Cover and allow to simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes.

6.  Finally, uncover, and toss in the halved cherry tomatoes and parmesan cheese.  Taste for salt and pepper.  Simmer on low, uncovered, for 5 more minutes.

Serve:  either individually or family style, top with a bit more parmesan, roasted peppers and chopped flat-leaf parsley.  Enjoy!

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Jalapeño Creamed Corn Stuffed Tomatoes

Like most, when the outside air turns warm (hello 💐 Spring!!) and our grill is always going, I love me some corn!  Not many vegetables go so well with grilled meats and BBQ!  However, to avoid the debacle that is shucking corn and/or soaking it, taking up room on our grill (we were also making racks of ribs, friends) and messy corn-on-the-cob eating faces..I decided for a different route!

Besides corn, cream and spice are my other two favorite food groups, so let us combine them shall we??  You may think, “oh, I’ve had creamed corn growing up.  I don’t like it.  Way too sweet.  Too gloopy.  No cans for me.”  Well, just try it my way, please!!  The corn here keeps its slight sweetness, but it also keeps its shape and crunch!  The cream doesn’t taste artificial and a slight heat from the jalapeño really brings life to this dish!  Jalapeños bring life to me, but that’s another blog post in the making….anyway, just try it would ya!

*ok, the tomatoes are optional, but they’re adorable, easy and healthy!  If you prefer just the jalapeño creamed corn, I don’t blame you one bit.  I “sampled” this far too often before I stuffed the roasted tomatoes for our meal.  

The Starting Lineup

  • 4-6 on the vine tomatoes 
  • 16oz frozen corn 
  • 1-2 jalapeños, minced (we like a bit of heat, so I used two and left seeds in!)
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese, softened and cubed
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt & pepper 
  • Milk, to thin at the end (about 1/2 cup)


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and place a rack about 6″ under your broiler.  Also prepare a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Rinse and pat dry your tomatoes.  Using a serrated knife, carefully cut off the tops of each tomato and set aside.  Now using a spoon, also carefully run along the inside and scoop out the seeds/juice.  *It may seem tough at first, you can use your knife to get things going, but it all scoops out together beautifully.  Sprinkle the insides of each tomato with a pinch of salt and ground pepper and set the cored tomatoes aside along with their “lids”.

Now, heat a medium sized skillet with 1 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat.  *I used my favorite, fabulous green chili infused oil from our local oil & vinegar market, 1890.  Sooooo good!  Pour the bag of corn straight into the hot skillet along with the minced jalapeño(s).  Toss around a bit till you really start to smell that roasting flavor, about 4-5 minutes, adding the garlic for the last 30 seconds.

Drop the temperature down to medium-low.  To the now heated through corn and peppers, add in the cubed cream cheese, butter, cayenne and salt & pepper.  Stir to combine and help melt.  

After it sits for a bit, prior to stuffing the tomatoes, I stir in a bit of milk to thin to your desired consistency.  It will come back and hold together, I promise.


*While the creamed corn is coming together, place the cored tomatoes onto your baking sheet and pop in the oven for a few minutes, allowing to soften and heat up.

Once combined, (and thoroughly sampled) remove the sheet of warmed tomatoes from the oven and scoop spoonfuls of the spicy, creamy corn straight in!  I like it overflowing!!  Top each filled tomato with its “lid” and place the baking sheet back into the oven and switch over to broil.  Now you can use low or high setting, but just watch closely!!  This just takes mere minutes, especially if on high!

Remove from oven and serve with ..oh I dunno…maybe a rack of ribs, roasted potatoes and cheddar biscuits!  We kind of liked that 😉 Enjoy!!

Prosciutto & Herbed Cheese Wrapped Asparagus

This impressive looking side dish is actually very simple to prepare and is a great addition to a family dinner, holiday meal or an elegant dinner party!  

What’s also fun about this flavorful vegetable is you can add in the spices and herbs of your choice to really add depth ….or, sshhh…, there are MANY flavored cream cheeses out there now that can make this just that much easier!!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1-2 large bunch asparagus spears, rinsed and tough ends chopped off
  • 1 package dry cured prosciutto slices, cut each in half vertically
  • 6oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Parsley, chopped (optional)  

After your asparagus spears have been cleaned, tough woody ends removed and patted dry, begin the cream cheese spread.

In a small bowl, combine the finely minced garlic to the softened cream cheese  and add in the salt & pepper to taste. (*Parsley here if using) 

   Next, smear about a Tbsp of the garlicky cream cheese down the 2″ wide vertical strips of prosciutto.  *This is actually quite easy if the spread is softened enough. 

I then, depending on the asparagus spear size, take a good 3-5 spears and carefully wrap the cheesey prosciutto around each bunch.  The cheese helps for the prosciutto to stick to the vegetables so toothpicks aren’t needed.

Once each ‘bundle’ has been created, place into a wire rack lined baking sheet.  *You can even lay a sheet of foil or parchment under the rack for super easy cleanup! 

 Now you can either loosely wrap the bundle filled sheet tray in foil and store in the refridgerator until dinner time or cook now!

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the sheet tray of prosciutto wrapped asparagus UNCOVERED (you want that prosciutto to crisp slightly) onto the middle rack and cook for 10 minutes.  Remove and serve immediately, enjoy! 

 

Spicy Pimiento Cheese Bacon Burgers

So you may think that you don’t care for pimiento cheese…but you haven’t tried mine yet.  I, myself, was a skeptic forever on this southern delight.  I now know it was because I always just bought it from the grocery store in those plastic tubs in the deli section.  I’ve tried the ‘cheap’ store brands to the overpriced ‘gourmet’ varieties.  Yuck everytime (personally).  Now if you don’t live in the south, you may not have those tubs in your deli section available to purchase.  So, again, make mine! 😉  It is also FANTASTIC on crackers, toasted bread rounds, crudités (cut veggies, fancy schmancy word 😉 ) or even a spoon in the middle of a late night!

So why did I wake up one morning craving it on a burger??  Beats me…but I’m sure glad I did!!  This flavorful cheese melts so perfectly over a hot REAL hand-pressed burger…slightly tangy, a bit of heat, smooth and creamy. Plus it pairs so very well with crisp bacon and the crunch and sharpness of the white onion that helps to cut through the indulgence!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 pounds 80/20 ground chuck
  • Bacon, cooked to preference (I prefer peppered)
  • 1 1/2 cups extra sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 cup mayonaisse 
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 oz chopped pimientos, drained
  • 1 jalapeño, stem off – keep seeds in
  • Dash or two of hot sauce (prefer a Franks style flavor)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Kosher salt & Fresh ground pepper

Garnish

  • Quality bakery hamburger buns
  • White onions, sliced
  • Mayonaisse  

I like to start this best-burger-ever by preparing the above mentioned pimiento cheese.  Start by grating the extra sharp cheddar cheese and then add it to a food processor.  Next, add in the mayo, cream cheese, pimiento, whole jalapeño (stem removed), garlic powder and a pinch of salt & pepper.  Blend till smooth and creamy!  I then take that cheese filled container and pop it in the refridgerator to chill while I finish the meal. 

     Next, start forming those patties with the ground chuck.  When doing so, do not press and work it too hard or you’ll just toughen up the meat.  Also, make sure that your patties are slightly larger than the diameter of your bun.  The meat WILL shrink up and who likes a hockey puck burger with excess bread??  No one. 

 I add a pinch of salt & pepper to the ground chuck, but I MAINLY season the meat AFTER I form the patties!  Sprinkle a liberal amount of S&P on the OUTSIDE of your patties.  It will make a great ‘crust’ when searing the burgers.  Once formed and seasoned, set aside.

Now in a large skillet, saute pan, griddle (cast iron preferred) etc. add in the bacon and cook till crisp.  Remove the yummy pork to a paper towl lined plate and reserve the bacon grease friends! 

While the grease is heating back up, I like to slice my rolls and spread mayonaisse on each cut side.  Then I either put them in my toaster oven, cut side up, on lowest setting OR I’ll sear the cut side in a pan (do this step at the same time your burger is about ready, so it stays soft and warm.  I like to make them to order if you will. 😉

In that same pan, heat the grease up to medium-high and place your patties down (I can typically cook about 3 at an time).  Please do not flip the patty more than one time (nor press down…you don’t want to squeeze out that flavor do you?), let that patty gain its ‘crust’ (about 4-5 minutes), THEN flip and let cook and crust for another 3 minutes.

Once your meat is cooked to your liking (I sure hope that’s not well-done), you can immediately place the burger on the bottom bun, top with a gooooodd amount of the pimiento cheese (which will start to melt & ooze immediately), a slice of onion and that top bun.  Give a little smash, grab a beer and many napkins and dig in!!  Enjoy! 

 

Creamy Tortellini & Sausage Stew (crockpot)

This is an all-time favorite recipe in my home on these chilly Fall (& winter) days.  Now I cannot take credit for this classic crockpot meal delight, but it is SO easy, SO yummy and SO filling that if I can even reach just one person who has yet to taste this…my job is done.  I’m happily passing the torch along from whomever made up this genius and simple meal!

Besides cooking the sausage beforehand (for texture and sanitary reasons ;), this is a “throw it all in one pot” meal and walk out the door.  You’re family will absolutely think you’re something brilliant!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb Italian sausage (cooked)
  • 1 bag frozen cheese tortellinis, aboubt 1lb
  • 32oz box of chicken broth
  • 2 cans Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 1 block cream cheese, 8oz, cubed
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 bag spinach leaves, about 8oz

Garnish (optional)

  • Parmesan Cheese (shredded/grated)
  • Pesto Sauce   

Starting off with the sausage…now to each their own here, but in my home we prefer ours cooked and sliced.  This way adds a bit more texture and bite to the stew.  Alternatively, you can absolutely remove the sausage from the casing and cook as you would ground beef.  The flavor will be the exact same..promise. 

   That all being said, I seared each side of the italian sausage hot links for a few minutes per side.  I then took them off the heat to a cutting board and allowed to cool down (rest) for about 5 minutes before slicing up. 

 Next, coat your crockpot with non-stick spray (optional) and then lay the sliced onions on the bottom.  Follow that with the rest of the ingredients.  Layer the frozen tortellinis, cooked sausage, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, cubed cream cheese and then the spinach leaves.   

         Stir together as well as you can (uncooked spinach can be a pain) then cover, set to low and allow the flavors to meld together for about 5 hours.  Remember, this is a crockpot, so if it is cooking away even longer on low, it is No.Big.Deal!!

Once you’re meal is ready, I like to top each bowl with a bit of shredded parmesan cheese and serve with crusty bread and butter.  Enjoy! 

 *At times I will put just half of the bag of spinach in at first and then a couple of hours in I’ll stir in the rest (so it all fits)!.

Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs

What are two of the most popular party appetizers to you?   Growing up in my household, we always had creamy deviled eggs and spicy jalapeno poppers for every family gathering.  So of course I had to combine the two and what a wonderful combo it is!

So for your next family grill out, holiday party or football game….make these delights!   My only tip is to possibly double the recipe because they’ll go fast!! 🙂

The Starting Lineup

  • 6 eggs, hardboiled
  • 3 heaping Tbsp cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tbsp mayonaisse
  • 3 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 jalapeno, diced (I prefer seeds in)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/4 cup cooked chorizo (Optional..but delightful)

Garnish

  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 1 strip cooked bacon, pieces 

Start by peeling the outer shell of your cooled hardboiled eggs.  Slice each egg in half and carefully scoop out the yolk.  Lay the sliced egg white on to a serving tray and place 4 of the 6 yolks into a bowl (discard the other two yolks).

Along with the 4 yolks, add in the cream cheese, mayo, crumbled bacon, diced jalapeno and a pinch each of salt & pepper (add in chorizo here if using).  With a fork, combine these ingredients thoroughly.  You can now spoon into the egg whites or spoon all of the mix into a plastic baggy and pipe into the egg white.  *cut small tip off the baggy to pipe in.

After all of your eggs are complete (those hot jalapenos are really making the “deviled” in their name come to life huh?) you can garnish them with a thin slice of jalapeno and a small piece of bacon.  These garnishes help your guest know what is inside the yolk filling!

Raspberry Chipotle & Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken

You know that appetizer at holiday parties where the host has a brick of cream cheese and pours the sweet, yet spicy raspberry chipotle sauce over top and serves with crunchy crackers??  Well, here’s the dinner version!

I was craving that flavor combination and just knew it would be great with chicken!  I was correct! 😉 An awesome thing about this meal is A. There are just a few ingredients and B. With prep time and cooking time, it was on the table in an hour!  Excellent!

The Starting Lineup

  • 3-4 chicken breasts, slightly flattened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup raspberry chipotle sauce
  • 1 bunch green onion, sliced
  • Chili powder
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • Jalapeño, sliced (optional)
  • Butcher twine or Toothpicks

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Liberally season each side of the chicken breasts with your kosher salt & pepper and chili powder.

Butterfly your chicken breast and if they’re pretty thick, flatten just a little bit with a roller, mallet or heavy bottomed pan.  Season the inside with a bit more chili powder. *If the breast are on the thinner side, you can just make a “pocket” in the center of each breast, instead of fully butterflying them.

In a small bowl, combine your softened cream cheese with about a 1/3 cup of sliced green onions and a pinch of salt & pepper.

After your cream cheese mix is combined, spread equal amounts down the middle of each breast or into the “pocket” you made. *Here is where I was a dummy and forgot to take a picture for ya..oops!  Roll or fold the breast to almost conceal the cheese mix and either toothpick shut or tie with butcher twine.  Lay each stuffed chicken breast onto your baking sheet.


Now glaze your chicken AALLLL over with a good coating of the raspberry chipotle sauce.  If you have any extra sauce, leave at room temp (or warm) and drizzle over your finished, cooked chicken.

Place the chicken (on the baking sheet) into the oven.  This will cook for 30minutes (here’s where I finish up my sides and pick up the used dishes) 🙂

Once chicken is cooked through, but still juicy, remove from oven and cut off the twine/remove those toothpicks.  Be careful, it’s hot!!

Plate your creamy, sweet and spicy stuffed chicken with seasoned black beans and rice, yum!! *I prefer to garnish ours with an extra drizzle of sauce, the rest of my sliced green onions and a couple thinly sliced jalapeños for some added heat!

 

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