Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Here Come the Holidays!

Here we are once again with another Turkey Day on the horizon. For some this is a build up of excitement to see people who aren't around on a regular basis. For others it's a feeling of dread of more work, more expense, and more exhaustion. For a few it's a feeling of great sorrow because there will an empty place at the table. Which ever category you fall into, I hope the peace and love of our heavenly Father will fill you to over flowing and you can find many things to be thankful for.
At our house my mom and I say every year we are going to tone it down and not do so much. Every year we eat our words and end up with too much food! Why? Because we have so many favorites we can never decide which ones to leave out. So, for the next week I am going to attempt to do a post a day to share some of the Calhoun-Bull family favorites.

The first I am going to share is my world famous Broccoli Cheese Casserole. Okay, maybe it's not world famous, but it is for my brother. So much so that it has become the great bargaining chip. I have been known to bribe him with it to get what I want and he has been known to with-hold his fabulous cheesecake if I show up at his house without it. The only family member who does not like it is Aiden, he likes his broccoli plain. Maybe he's adopted.

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

1 stick margarine (divided)
1 pound Velveeta cheese
20 oz. frozen chopped broccoli, steamed and drained well
1 stack Ritz crackers, crushed

Chunk Velveeta cheese and 1/2 stick margarine in a microwavable glass bowl. (Don't use plastic, trust me, I learned the hard way.) Microwave on high until melted, stirring every minute. Add broccoli and stir until well coated. Pour into a greased 1 1/2 to 2 quart casserole. In the same bowl used for the cheese mixture, melt remaining butter in microwave and mix in Ritz crackers. Spread evenly on top of broccoli and cheese. Bake in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

If you want to make a 9 x 13 pan, just double the recipe. You should do this if my brother is coming over.

Hope you all like it. If you have a recipe you would like to share email it to me at meriam(at sign)followjesus(dot)org. I told Heather I was determined to post a holiday recipe every day until Thanksgiving. Tomorrow is iffy but I'll do my best!


Dan C said...

Better yet, just make two 9x13 pan's one for me, and one for everyone else. If my sister asks nicely, I will share my cheesecake recipe, which I have a new one she will love.

Meriam, it is a dark chocalte cheesecake, I'm still working on modifying it for my 10" springform, since it is a 9" recipe.

Meriam said...

Better make 2. One for me and one for everyone else. Send me the cheesecake recipe!

Dan C said...

Which one, or both?

Dan's Decadant Chocolate Cheesecake

I like a graham cracker crust, I usually just follow the directions on the box, but I prefer real butter, and make enough to cover the bottom and over half way up the side of a 10" spring form pan. I do not bake or cool the crust, just get it ready.
5 8 oz. blocks of cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
6 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp flour
Semi-Sweet Chocolate (around 8 oz. , I use chips to save time, but you can chop up baking chocolate if you want chunks)

Blend cream cheese and sour cream. Add eggs; beat well. Add all remaining ingredients, except chocolate; mix well. Fold in chocolate. Pour into crust. Bake at 350 degrees until center is set. I start checking around 50 minutes. Cool in pan. Run a knife around the sides to make sure the crust does not stick.

6 oz. Semi-Sweet Chocolate (chopped if not in chip form)
3/4 cup whipping cream

Bring cream to simmer in a small saucepan. Be careful not to scald it. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until completely melted. Cool slightly. Pour over cheesecake. Chill for at least 3 hours.

Best part of toppings on cheesecakes is that they hide the cracks. I'll have to search for the dark chocolate recipe.


Dan C said...

Ok, I think I have the other one down now. The original recipe came from a Kroger's "My Recipes" flier, and as I said it was for a 9" springform pan with 3" high sides. Both of my pans, yes I have two, sometimes church dinners need two cheesecakes, are 10" with 3" sides. My first attempt at the recipe, I simply increased everything by half of the original number. This filled one pan and 6 muffin cups, which I cooked in the toaster oven. This was nice because I had little cheesecakes left over after the big one was devoured at a church dinner. But if you do not want to make the extra, increase the original recipe by 1/4 instead. The math is a little harder, but it will fin the 10" pans. I decided to send the original recipe with my changes added in, because I think some of the original things are a little goofy.

Deep Dark Chocolate Cheesecake

This recipe is for a 9" springform pan, use my increase suggestions if you have a different size pan.

Chocolate Graham Crackers (I would go with 8 full crackers, more if you like a thicker crust.)
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup butter melted

Preheat oven to 350. Chop crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Blend in sugar. Add butter and process until well blended. Press onto bottom of pan. Bake until set, about 5 minutes. Cool while preparing filling.

10 oz dark chocolate (bittersweet) (I like Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips for this, plus it is cheaper the the bars, and chopping it.)
4 8 oz blocks of cream cheese, room temperature (I quicken this by opening the packages up and setting the open foil packs on the stove top, while the oven heats up, and I get everything ready. By the time you are ready for the cheese it should be nice and soft.)
1 1/4 cups plus 2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 large eggs

Stir chocolate in a double boiler, with water simmering in lower pan, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Set chocolate aside to cool. Blend cream cheese, sugar, and cocoa powder until smooth. (I use my kitchenaid mixer for this.) Blend in eggs one at a time. Mix in chocolate. Pour over crust; smooth top. Bake until center is just set, for me this around 50 minutes. Cool for a while. Run knife around sides of cake to loosen. Chill overnight.

3/4 cup whipping cream
6 oz dark chocolate (bittersweet, same as above)
1 Tbsp sugar

Stir all toppping ingredients in heavy saucepan over low heat until smooth. Cool slightly. Pour over center of cheesecake, spreading into within 1/2" of edge and filling any cracks. Chill until topping is set, about 1 hour.

If you want to be fancy you can top it with chocolate curls, but the taste is plenty fancy. I recommend a glass of milk, or coffee if you're into that, this is a very rich cheesecake. But hey dark chocolate, eggs, and dairy, this must be a healthy cake.


PS I'm making it for Thanksgiving, so Meriam can tell you how it tastes after that. Time to put it in the fridge.

Dan C said...

Aiden had been converted! He now likes the broccoli Cheese casserole. He now belongs in the family.


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