Blackberry Cheesecake

51rk4txvkal-_ss365_I got a craving for blackberries. But it’s winter in Wisconsin, so blackberry preserves seemed like a better idea. Blackberry preserves, and, because I sometimes pretend to be a civilized adult who wouldn’t eat blackberry preserves straight out of the jar, cheesecake. My first stop, obviously, ended up being The Pioneer Woman, but I don’t actually have a food processor, so I went a little differently.

Ingredients:

  • Oreo cheesecake crust
  • 2 packages cream cheese
  • a jar of blackberry preserves
  • lime juice
  • 2 eggs
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • sugar

Soften your cream cheese – leaving it on the counter for an hour and then microwaving it for 45 seconds was enough for me – and put it in a large bowl. Add sugar, lime juice, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste, beating well. The ‘to taste’ thing works really well, because it’s safe to eat the batter until you add the eggs. I used a ton of cinnamon and a couple generous splashes of lime juice because I wanted it as a strong counterpoint for the blackberries. Start your oven preheating to 350°F and add your eggs and beat well again, until everything’s well mixed.

Pour or scrape all of that into your Oreo crust, then add the preserves. If you’re feeling ambitious or artistic, heat the preserves a bit, either in the microwave with the lid off or spooned out into a pot and heated on low. Then drizzle the warm preserves over the batter for a marbling effect.

I just kind of spooned room temperature preserves in and then smoothed everything with a spatula, because I didn’t have it in me to care about what it looked like. Bake for 50 minutes at 350°F, then turn off your oven. Let it cool in the oven to close to room temperature, then cool on the counter completely before refrigerating, otherwise the top cracks.

It tastes amazing.

Apple Turnovers

I should probably be embarrassed by how many of my recipes start with ‘and then this produce had been sitting around long enough that I really badly needed to find something to do with it,’ but I live a no-shame life, so nah.

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Apple Pie is a Wisconsin specialty

Ingredients:

  • apples
  • nutmeg
  • cinnamon
  • sugar
  • flour
  • Apple Pie liqueur
  • Pillsbury crescent rolls

Cut your apples into bits and throw them in a pot with some nutmeg and cinnamon and sugar. Douse it with Apple Pie and put it on medium – you want everything to turn all delicious and filling-like. When it’s close to done, start preheating your oven to 350°F and add a pinch of flour to the apple mix: it’ll help thicken it a bit so you end up with less apple filling all over your nonstick baking tray.

Unroll your tubes of pastry and add a bit of apple filling to each crescent roll before you roll it up. Bake for 12-15 minutes!

They make for delicious portable desserts, and any leftover apple filling can be handed over to a friend who can actually make pastry crust in order to eventually become pie.

Reward Biscuits

I fairly badly needed to clean the kitchen: dirty dishes on the counters and island, stove greasy, dirty dishes in the sink, clean dishes in the dishwasher – anyway, you get the point, which is that I am a human disaster. We also are once again out of bagels. So I needed both food and motivation to not live in filth.

Motivation mostly tastes like cheese.

Ingredients:IMG_1186

  • bisquick
  • seasoning salt
  • pepper
  • milk
  • shredded cheese

Start your oven preheating to 350°F and get out your ingredients, a large spoon, a bowl, and a baking tray.

Throw a bunch of Bisquick in the bowl, then add a fair sprinkling of pepper and seasoning salt: you don’t want tons, probably, but the bit of extra flavor makes them taste amazing and also like they took more than a half second to plan out.

Add a dollop of milk! Then start mixing stuff up. It should end up just moist enough to hold together. When you’re close to that texture, toss in a bunch of shredded cheese and some more milk and mix that in, a bit more gently. Does it more or less hold together? Good.

Now use the spoon to transfer big lumps of it to your non-stick baking tray. I got six biscuits about the size of my palm, but results will vary depending how big you like them and how much Bisquick you started with. Then add more shredded cheese on top, as much as will stay more or less in place. At some point when you’re finishing up, the oven should be finished pre-heating, so just pop those in. I cooked mine for 13 minutes, and they’re still kind of soft and the cheese on top is gloriously melted but not really bubbly. Mix up your baking time as needed! You probably don’t want anything shorter than 8 minutes or longer than 20, though, no matter your biscuit size.

While those are cooking, you can probably clean most of a kitchen, putting away dishes and loading the dishwasher and wiping down counters. I found it very motivating, because you can get a lot done in a short time and then afterwards sit down with a piping hot, cheesy biscuit as a reward for being an actual adult who does cleaning and stuff.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms In the mushroom corner of your produce department, they probably already have stuffed mushrooms, with pizza toppings or something fancy. But you can make your own! And, particularly, you can make your own when your roommate prefers her portabellas plain with A1 on top.

Ingredients:

  • Portabella mushrooms
  • whatever you want in them
  • some kind of sticky thing like egg or cheese

These particular ones were made with leftover lemon pepper chicken and some shredded cheese. Clean your mushrooms and set them up on a non-stick baking tray with the stems upwards. If you want them plain, preheat your oven to 350°F and then just stick them in.

But if you want stuff on/in them – and they’re way more filling that way – go ahead with that. For the lemon pepper chicken, I just used my fingers to put little mounds of it on that wouldn’t spill off, and then I topped that with cheese.

I’ve made them before, though, with chevre and pepper and sundried tomatoes. For that, you want to mix the melty delicious filling in a bowl with an egg so that it’ll hold together in the oven – it also makes it easier to actually put on the mushrooms without going all over.

45 minutes at 350, and you have deliciousness!

Breakfast Muffins

I am pretty sure I have successfully found the difference between biscuits and muffins: eggs.

Ingredients:IMG_1168

  • bisquick
  • pre-cooked bacon
  • pepper
  • shredded cheese
  • eggs
  • milk

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix together a bunch of bisquick, two or three eggs, some pepper, and a splash of milk. Slice in your pre-cooked bacon, somewhere in the quantity of a couple of pieces to lots, sprinkle in some cheese, and then mix that together more carefully.

Is it still a suspension if it’s closer to solid than liquid? Anyway, you want it a suspension, not a solution, so just approximate equal distribution of bacon.

If you have a muffin tin, grease the inside of it. If you are lucky enough to have freestanding muffin tins in your cupboard, gloat about your lack of cleanup and use those. Spoon roughly equal quantities of mixture into each one, to about two thirds full, then put more shredded cheese on top of each one.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until they look done.

I made 6, and they tasted like bacon and happiness.

Breakfast Biscuits

IMG_1155 I’ve mentioned how much I love Bisquick, right? If not: I really love Bisquick. You can combine it with milk and use just that to produce biscuits. Or you can add more stuff, and have incredible biscuits.

Ingredients:

  • Bisquick
  • pre-cooked bacon
  • shredded cheese
  • salt and pepper or whatever
  • milk

Start your oven preheating to 350°F and cut up the bacon with kitchen shears. Add a couple cups of Bisquick and a couple handfuls of shredded cheese, then mix it all up so it’s sort of evenly distributed. Splash in some milk – you don’t need much – and either use a spoon or your hands to combine it so that it’s still quite dry but pretty much sticks together. Then you can either make it ball-type things and stick them on an ungreased nonstick baking tray or do what I did and roll it out and then cut it into fairly large vaguely squarish things and bake them for 12 minutes that way.

They taste like breakfast! All in one portable food.

Individual Peach Pies

Ingredients:

  • tube of crescent rolls
  • a ripe peach
  • brown sugar
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg

I feel like I’ve been putting cinnamon and nutmeg in everything recently, but they’re goddamn delicious so whatever.

Putting all of this together took a little longer than preheating my oven did, so you might want to mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon and nutmeg or slice the peach into 8ths before you start the oven preheating to 350°F.

Anyway, slice the peach into 8ths and unroll the crescent rolls. Put one of the peach slices on each of the unrolled crescent rolls. If you’re fancy or whatever you could probably chop the peach and spices and sugar together and make it more pie-filling-y, but whatever. Add some sugar and spices to each of the rolls, then roll them up and fold over the edges so that there’s not much peach showing.

Arrange those on a non-stick baking sheet and stick them in the oven for 15 minutes or until they start looking golden brown.

Try to wait until they’re cool before eating, but enjoy them even if you end up scalding your tongue.