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No Bake Cheesecake

This quick and delicious no bake cheesecake is a favorite treat around our house! Thanks to my Mom for the recipe, though I did tweak it a little bit 🙂

Let’s start with the crust:

Cheesecake No Bake Crust Ingredients:

1/2 box of graham crackers
1/3 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/3 cup of melted butter

Crush the graham crackers and mix in the sugar and brown sugar in a large pan. Mix in the melted butter and press into the pan evenly to form the crust.

No Bake Cheesecake Filling:

3x 8oz boxes of Cream Cheese, softened
1x jumbo container of Cool Whip or 2x small containers
2 Cups of sugar
2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract

Mix cream cheese and Cool Whip until smooth, adding all other ingredients one at a time. It is very hard to mix at first if you do not have a stand-mixer so make sure you don’t burn up your mixer’s motor!

Mix until smooth and creamy, then mix another 2-3 minutes to get it nice and fluffy.

Pour the cream cheese mixture  into your prepared crust and smooth it out.

Add your favorite toppings, if desired. Our favorites are plain cheesecake, or topped with strawberries. The picture shows cheesecake with canned cherry topping.

Cover the cheesecake and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Cut, serve and enjoy!

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Homemade Pizza

This pizza uses my Italian Dough Recipe for the crust.

When you get to the stage where you begin forming the dough, you want to take your two halves of dough and stretch them across two pizza sheets, no smaller than 10 inches and no larger than 12 inches each. The larger your pizza, the thinner the crust will be.

Continue with the dough recipe until time to cook the dough.

If you want crispy crust, bake the dough for 5 minutes before you add your toppings. If you want soft crust, don’t pre-bake your crust. The ingredients you use depend entirely on what you feel like having for dinner. Two favorites in my house are cheese pizza made with Ragu Spaghetti Sauce and the Fiesta Blend Shredded Cheese from Wal-Mart and a chicken pizza made with diced boiled chicken, Ragu Garlic Alfredo Sauce and the Fiesta Blend Shredded Cheese from Wal-Mart.

When you are ready to add your toppings, use more more than 1/3 cup of your favorite sauce. Any more than that and your crust will get really soggy. Pile on your cheese and toppings over your sauce and bake at 450 for 10-13 minutes for a soft crust, 15-20 minutes for a crisp and thick crust. Brush the crust with melted butter or olive oil when you take it out of the oven to keep the crust nice and moist, then let the pizza rest for 5-10  minutes before serving.

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Yeast Breadsticks

These yummy-nummy breadsticks use my Italian Dough recipe, so go ahead and make the dough all the way to the step where you need to form the dough. This is where the dough turns into breadsticks!

What ingredients you need depends entirely on how you like your breadsticks! If you like plain old breadsticks, consider just brushing the cooked breadsticks with some butter or oil and perhaps a little parmesean cheese. You can make stuffed cheesy bread by laying two layers of dough with string cheese and grated cheese in the middle. You can top with cheese and pizza toppings for pizza-breadsticks. Just use your imagination and have fun!

If you have used self rising flour, your dough will really rise nicely when it is baked, so make your initial dough forms fairly thin. A 1/4 inch breadstick formed dough will bake into about a 1 to 1 1/2 inch tall breadstick! All purpose or bread flour won’t rise near as much, but also won’t be near as light and fluffy! My family likes the light and fluffy variety of breadsticks, so I use self rising for tall, soft breadsticks.

Breadsticks come about as varied as a recipe can! Here are some ideas for breadstick forms:

  • Coat a square or rectangular pan with cooking spray and stretch your dough across the bottom. If you have small pans, seperate your dough into several balls and use several pans to make your breadsticks short enough to eat. You want your dough no more than 1/4 inch high in the pan. After your dough rests and rises a bit before baking, cut the dough to make individual breadsticks in the pan.
  • Seperate the dough into small balls, about the size of a large marble. Roll the dough ball between your hands and your countertop to lengthen it into a bun-shaped breadstick.
  • Seperate the dough into small balls, no larger than a large marble. Roll the dough ball between your hands and the countertop to lengthen it into a long string. Double the string of dough over and twist to make bread-twists.

Bake your breadsticks at 450 for 7-15 minutes, depending on how you formed your dough. Narrow bread-twists will only need about 7 minutes. Thick stuffed cheesy-breadsticks will take closer to 15. You will know your breadsticks are ready when they turn a LIGHT GOLDEN BROWN, they shouldn’t get too dark or they will be overcooked and hard. Brush your breadsticks with melted butter or olive oil while they are hot to keep them nice and tender.

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Italian Dough for Pizza and Breadsticks

This dough is perfect for making breadsticks, pizza crust or any other recipe that calls for a nice, soft and yeasty bread! The entire recipe takes about 2.5-3 hours to complete, including cooking, so it is also a lot faster than most other bread recipes I have found. I have tried this recipe for pizza dough twice and breadsticks once, and my husband told me that he doesn’t think I will be able to beat it or improve it without messing with the flavor or consistancy! The whole family loves it, give it a try with yours!

Ingredients:
1  1/2 Cups of WARM water
2  1/4 teaspoons active live yeast
3  1/2 Cups of flour (all purpose or self-rising, both work very well)
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons of salt (I use garlic salt with parsley)
1 teaspoon of sugar

* If you use all purpose flour, the bread will be a bit heavier and flatter. Self rising flour will make your bread turn out fluffy and soft. It all depends on what you are wanting, my family likes it soft and fluffy so I always use self rising flour*

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes
  2. Mix in the salt and sugar, stir well.
  3. Mix in the olive oil and flour. Mix together well. I use a fork at first, then my hands when the dough forms up.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic, like a yeast roll recipe would be.
  5. Lightly coat a bowl in oil or cooking spray. Put your dough and coat it gently and lightly with oil.
  6. Cover with a damp towel and let it rise until doubled, about 1 to 1.5 hours. I turned the oven on at 350 for abotu 2 minutes, turned if off and put my dough in to rise, it worked GREAT!
  7. Punch down to half, divide the dough into halves and let rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Form your dough according to your recipe then let it sit 5 minutes.
  9. Stretch and reform the dough and let it sit for 10 more minutes.
  10. Preheat your oven to 450 for at least 20 minutes before you bake this dough!

I hope you enjoy this dough recipe, let me know how your recipes go with it! I will post my pizza and breadstick recipes in a little bit.

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Moist Fruity Cake

Moisty Fruity CakeMy son and I came up with this recipe as a kitchen experiment yesterday for my birthday cake and it was a huge hit! Try it with strawberries, your favorite fruit or no fruit at all. We used a half of a thawed bag of frozen strawberries but you can use fresh as well, the results will most likely be a bit crisper fruit in the cake but if you do try fresh fruit, please post and let me know how it went!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30-35 minutes
Total time: 40-45 minutes

2 cups self-rising flour
2 cups sugar
1/3 c canola oil
3 eggs
milk as needed (I didnt measure the milk. oops!)
2 t vanilla
1/2 regular sized (not jumbo) bag frozen or fresh fruit (thaw if using frozen fruit!)

If using fruit, cut it into your preferred sized chunks. You can opt not to cut the fruit! We used whole strawberries and it turned out GREAT!

Preheat the oven to 350

Grease a rectangular cake pan or two round cake pans with butter or cooking spray.

Mix dry ingredients together in a medium to large mixing bowl (I use a 9-cup measuring bowl). Add oil and eggs, mix until very clumpy. Add vanilla and a bit of milk (enough to turn your clumpy batter into a smooth batter). Keep mixing and adding milk, a small amount at a time, until your batter is the right consistancy. It should look and stir like a thin pudding. The more moist you make your batter, the more moist the cake will be!

Pour your batter into your greased cake pan(s) and gently bang them straight down on a sturdy surface a few times to get rid of bubbles in the batter. Be careful! If you bang it too hard, your batter will splatter!

Drop your fruit into the cake batter, spreading it around as evenly as possible. Marbling in a little extra juice from the frozen fruit bag will ensure a nice color and flavor throughout the cake!

Bake at 350: 30 minutes for round cake pans; 35 minutes for rectangular cake pans

Remove cake from the oven and cool. Remove round cakes from pans and cool completely before frosting. Rectangular cakes can be left in the pan or removed as you desire then cool completely before frosting. I frosted with a nice buttercream frosting but you can use any frosting you like that will compliment the flavor of your fruity cake!

I hope you enjoy as much as we did!