Thursday, January 17, 2013

Banana Nana Cheesecake!

It is Improv Cooking Challenge day and January's two ingredients are banana and nutmeg! Aren't those great ingredients? So many recipes and ideas came to mind, that, as usual, I had a hard time deciding what to make. I decided on this creamy Banana Cheesecake! I crunched up some left over sugar cones for the crust, added nutmeg to the batter, and made the cheesecakes in mini pans. I think they turned out fantastic!


 Banana Nana Cheesecake
Crust
10 Sugar Cones
4 tablespoons Butter, melted

Filling
3- 8 ounce Cream Cheese, softened
2/3 cup Sugar
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
3 Eggs
3/4 cup Mashed Banana (about 2)
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
sliced Banana

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the sugar cones in the food processor, and pulse
until finely crushed. Place the crumbs in a bowl, add your melted
butter and mix together. Press the mix into a 10" springform pan
or 6 small pans. Refrigerate.
Beat the cream cheese in a mixing bowl until creamy.
Add your sugar and cornstarch and blend with cream cheese.
Add your eggs and mix them in.
Mix in your bananas, heavy cream, and vanilla.
Incorporate your nutmeg into the mix.
Place your pans on a baking sheet.
Pour your batter into your pans.
Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 
200 degrees and bake for 45-50 minutes for the small pans
and 1 hour and 15 minutes for the large pan. The cheesecakes
are done when the when the center is almost set.
Loosen the edges around the cheesecakes, 
and set them on a cooling rack. Once they are completely 
cooled, remove the sides.
Refrigerate for 6 hours. Before serving, let the cheesecake stand 
at room temp for 15 minutes. During that standing time,
whip your whipping cream with a mixer on high speed. 
Add your sugar and whip until stiff peaks appear.
Garnish with dollops of whipped cream and banana.
Enjoy!

Thanks for joining me today!

Here is where we are partying:
What's in your Kitchen Wednesday? 
Don't forget to check out what everyone else cooked up today!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Perfect Appetizer - Triple Berry Brie

This time of year, I am all about party food, particularly appetizers. I am getting ready for a large and loud  Super Bowl party, and a really nice dinner for Valentine's Day. Throw in Mardi Gras, Easter, a couple birthdays, and an upcoming college graduation, and I really need to get busy with some party planning! One of the foods I love to serve, no matter what the occasion, is warm brie with fruit and bread chunks on the side. It is simple, quick, and always so, so good! This time, I wanted to dress it up a little! So, I set the brie on a bed of triple berry jam, and wrapped it in a coat of puff pastry. I popped it in the oven, and what emerged was warm, creamy, sweet goodness. Heavenly!
Triple Berry Brie
(recipe courtesy of Smuckers)
1 sheet frozen Puff Pastry
1/3 cup Smucker's Northwest Triple Berry Preserves
8 ounce wheel Brie
1 Egg
1 tablespoon Water
Crackers, Apples Slices, Bread Chunks  

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
If you have ever used frozen puff pastry, you know 
that it is easy to use. Unless, of course, you ignore the
directions-like I did. I let the dough sit out on the 
counter top for so long that it was impossible to unfold it.
So I had to roll it out with a rolling pin-like pie crust!
It worked fine, but I recommend following 
the package directions. :)
Spoon the preserves into the middle of the dough.
Place the wheel of brie on top of the preserves.
Fold the pastry over the brie making sure to cover it.
Trim off any extra pastry, and put aside. Don't throw
them away. Press together any open seams. Make an egg
wash by whisking together the egg and the water. 
Brush the seams of the pastry with the egg wash. 
This will help them seal together.
Place the brie seam side down on a baking dish.
 Roll out your pastry scraps, and cut out 
a decorative design for the top. Because it has been
so cold here, I thought snowflakes would be appropriate!
Brush the snowflakes with egg wash.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. 
Let your baked brie sit for 20 minutes before cutting.
Serve with crackers, fruit or bread.
Enjoy!

Thank you for joining me today!   
 

  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Homemade Egg Roll Party!

We love egg rolls at The Freshman Cook! No doubt about it. Actually, I guess I should say that we love homemade egg rolls, where we pick and choose what we want in our egg rolls. My college senior son was home over the holidays, so we made these homemade egg rolls, one of his favorites.
Homemade Egg Rolls
I cut up the following ingredients, and then everyone that was
eating picked what they wanted to fill their egg rolls. Here is
what we offered:
  • Chicken Chunks
  • Corn
  • Scrambled Egg
  • Diced Onion
  • Chopped Green Onion
  • Rice 
  • Shrimp
  • White Cheese
  • Soy Sauce 
  • Teriyaki Sauce
 You will also need egg roll wrappers, water, and oil.
I cooked the chicken in a frying pan with pan spray. I sprinkled it with 
garlic powder. I bought the shrimp raw, deveined both sides, and 
boiled it with Zatarans seasoning.
Here is my husbands egg roll, filled to the top
with corn, rice, egg, onion, shrimp, and cheese.
He also sprinkled some Teriyaki sauce on top.
I did the wrapping. I used a pastry brush dipped in water
to go round the perimeter of the wrapper. Then fold in the sides,
and roll up, making sure to not leave anything loose or open.
I used very little oil, and just kept turning the egg roll
to brown it on all sides.
We didn't get very fancy on plating these egg rolls.
Actually, we just stood round the kitchen and munched.
They were very good and tasty!
This is the shrimp egg roll. Yum! We served
cocktail sauce, sweet and sour, and duck sauce on the side.
All the variations were delicious. We were talking about all the
different items we could put in the next egg rolls as we were eating these.
Enjoy!

Thanks for joining me today!

We are partying here:
Wicked Good Wednesday
Cast Party Wednesday
Foodie Friends Friday

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Years!



Happy New Years from The Freshman Cook!
Here's to the bright New Year
And a fond farewell to the old,
Here's to the things that are yet to come
And to the memories that we hold.
May God be with you and bless you,
May the best of this year be the worst of the next,
May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

~an old Irish New Year Toast


Monday, December 31, 2012

Champagne Cupcakes for your NYE Celebration!

Happy New Years Eve! I hope everyone has a great New Years Eve!  A night out on the town, or a quiet evening at home, have fun, I wish you the best! To celebrate I made some Spumanti Cupcakes for your celebration. They are quick and easy, and very tasty!

Champagne Cupcakes
(This recipe was adapted from a Martini Asti recipe.
 It makes 24 cupcakes.)
1 cup Spumanti Champagne. (I used Cooks.)
1 box White Cake Mix
8 ounces Butter, melted
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Frosting
1/4 cup Champagne
16 ounces Butter, softened 
1/4 teaspoon Salt
4 cups Confectioner's Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Beat for 2-3 minutes.
Divide the batter between the cups and bake for 18-20 minutes.
Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then to a rack to cool for 20 more minutes.
Mix the butter, vanilla, and salt together until smooth.
Add the confectioner's sugar and half of the champagne.
Mix on low. Add more champagne according to taste.
Pipe the frosting on the cooled cupcakes. I used a 
Wilton # 1M.
Sprinkle silver sugar on the top of the frosting.
Enjoy your cupcakes, and 
Have a Happy New Year!

Thanks for joining me today.
See you next year! 


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Southwest Crab Rangoon Appetizer

It's almost New Year's Eve! Can you believe it will be 2013?!! One of my favorite foods to serve at New Years Eve parties are appetizers! They are such fun to eat, and I love to get a little creative and design new and unique ones. I always try to serve at least one new one mixed in with some old favorites. One of the new ones I will be serving this year is a Southwest Crab Rangoon. They are baked, not fried, and they have a little bit of a kick. Of course, if you are big on "kick", you can always add more!

Southwest Crab Rangoon
4 imitation ounces Crab
2 ounces Cream Cheese
1/4 cup Red Pepper
1 Green Onion
1 teaspoon Hot Sauce
4-5 leaves Cilantro
Flour Tortillas
1 egg
Water
Cut some squares out of the tortilla with a cookie cutter.
I used a 2 1/2" scalloped edge cookie cutter.
I got 3 squares per tortilla, but if you use a larger one, 
of course you will get more. I used medium Mission
Carb Balance Flour Tortillas, approx.7" in diameter.
Rinse and drain the crab.
Mix the crab and the cream cheese. 
A fork works great for getting the 2 mixed together well.
Add the green onion and ......
the red pepper.
Chop your cilantro and toss it in. Add the hot sauce.
Mix together.
Lay out all your pieces of tortilla.
Place a teaspoon on rangoon mix in the center of
each square.
Create an egg wash by mixing 1 egg and 1 teaspoon water.
The egg wash will help the tortilla stay together.
Brush the edges with the egg wash.
Bring 2 opposite points of the square together.
Bring the 2 open ends to the middle.
Press to keep closed.
Place the appetizer on a baking sheet.
Bake for 10-15 minutes.
Serve with homemade ranch, soy sauce, or tempura.

Enjoy and Happy New Year!

Here's the parties we are attending this week:
Thursday's Treasures
Freedom Friday's

Friday, December 21, 2012

Balloons for Sandy Hook Elementary!

Today I am participating in Cookies and Crafts for Sandy Hook. It is an online community effort to show our support and love for the victims and their families.

I made these balloon cookies because when my son was just a little boy, he loved balloons. He would squeal with delight when he saw one and they were the source of much laughter and lots of smiles.
I hope these balloon cookies can bring a smile to the face
of someone who needs one, if only for a moment.

There are many bloggers participating in this effort today.
Please visit them if you can.
This event is brought to you by: Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks, The Red Headed Baker, Real Housemoms, Crazy for Crust, Something Swanky, Life After Laundry, Two Kids Cooking, Frugal Foodie Mama, The Doctorate Housewife, Heather's French Press, Operation Dinnertime, Lovely Pantry, What's Cooking Love?, Cupcakes and Kale Chips, Occasionally Crafty, Pint Sized Baker, Pineapple and Coconut, Wine & Glue, Lemonsforlulu, A Sweet Baker, Mom On Timeout, The Freshman Cook, Sweet Twist of Blogging, A Family Feast, Julie's Eats & Treats, Eat at Allie's, Here Comes the Sun, The Kitchen is My Playground, Just My Crazy Kitchen, The Sweet Chick, The Tasty Fork, Wholly Delicious Dishes, Chocolate, Chocolate and more , Yours and Mine ARE Ours, Kitchen Meets Girl, Daily Dish Recipes, Sweet Bella Roos, Mom's Test Kitchen Persnickety Plates