Friday, January 19, 2018

Salted Caramel Cheesecake

Salty, sweet and savory flavors combine to make this cheesecake one of the most rich and flavorful desserts you'll every try. Using a Pressure Cooker to bake compared to a traditional oven, leaves a soft, velvet texture compared to the more dense, traditionally baked cheesecakes. This recipe will have you sneaking back for seconds.... and thirds. 



Salted Caramel Cheesecake:

Crust:
1 cup graham cracker crust
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:
2 8 oz. packages cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

Topping: 
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
Caramel syrup for drizzling

Mix graham crackers and melted butter in a bowl and press evenly into the bottom of an 8" spring form pan and about 1 inch up the sides. Set aside. Beat cream cheese on medium high until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla while continuing mixing. Add eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Pour filling into the prepared crust. 
Place the wire rack and 2 cups of water into 11 Qt. Pressure Cooker. Fold a 12" piece of foil into thirds to create a "sling" for easy removal of the pan. Using the sling, lower pan into the Pressure Cooker and lock the lid. Set pressure valve to "pressure" and cook on HIGH for 25 minutes. When timer is up, use Quick Release to lower the pressure. Remove cheesecake from Pressure Cooker and let cool slightly. Sprinkle sea salt on top of cheesecake and drizzle with caramel syrup. Chill for at least 3 hours, or up to 2 days. 


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Mashed Potatoes: 3 Ways


Use your Nesco Pressure Cooker instead of the old-fashioned method of boiling them on the stovetop. Pressure cooking guarantees your potatoes will be done perfectly every time, faster than traditional boiling.

Add 2 cups of water and 5 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered. Cook on HIGH PRESSURE for 5 minutes. When time is up, use the quick release to release pressure. Use a Hand Mixer on Speed 14 to mash potatoes to desired texture while adding other ingredients.

Standard Mashed Potatoes:

½ cup butter
¾ cup milk
Salt and Pepper to taste

Fold all ingredients into potatoes and serve.


Rich and Creamy Mashed Potatoes:

5 Tablespoons Butter, divided
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature and cubed
8 oz. sour cream
1 teaspoon onion salt
½ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Add 3 tablespoons of butter, cream cheese, sour cream, onion salt, garlic salt, and pepper to mashed potatoes. Spread mixture into baking dish and brush with remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.


Jalapeno Popper Mashed Potatoes

8 oz, cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
½ cup milk
1 ½ teaspoon garlic salt
2 jalapenos, deseeded and finely chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
Bread crumbs

Fold cream cheese, sour cream, milk, garlic salt, jalapenos and one cup of shredded cheese into potatoes. Spread into 9x13 pan and sprinkle with remaining cheese and bread crumbs. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  






Black Friday Slow Cooker Turkey Soup


3 cups cooked turkey, chopped (no bones)
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 medium white potatoes, chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
6 cups broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme
12 ounces egg noodles


Add all ingredients except noodles to 6 quart Nesco Slow Cooker. Cook on High for 4 hours, or Low for 8 hours. Add noodles in the last half hour of cooking. For extra flavor, top with leftover stuffing when serving. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Pressure Cooker Cheesecake



                Smooth, fluffy and rich, cheesecake is a favorite among most dessert lovers. The problem that typically comes up is not having enough time to bake your favorite treat. Cut down on prep time by using a Pressure Cooker to bake it instead of a traditional oven. The moisture in the Pressure Cooker makes cheesecakes easier because it gets cooked evenly all the way through, where an oven can cause an overcooked edge, with a middle that's too soft.

The trick to making a smooth cheesecake that’s lump-free is to make sure that all of your ingredients are room temperature before you start. Cream cheese and eggs that are still cold can lead to chunks left in the batter or over-mixing that can add too much air and cause cracking in the surface.

Crust:


1 C Vanilla Wafer cooker crumbs (a Food Processor makes this easier)
2 Tbsp butter, melted


Mix crumbs and butter together and press into the bottom of a 7” spring form pan.


Filling:


1/3 C brown sugar
¼ C real maple syrup
2 large eggs, room temp
4 tsp. cornstarch
1 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/3 C white sugar
16 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. canned pumpkin
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 C water (in the Cooker)


Blend sugars, cream cheese and maple syrup in bowl until smooth. Add eggs one by one, beating on low just until blended (do not overmix). Gently whisk in the pumpkin, cornstarch, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.
Pour mixture over the crust. Add water and rack to Pressure Cooker. Tear off a 20” piece of aluminum foil and fold into thirds, lengthwise to make a sling for your pan. This helps to remove pan after cooking is complete.
Place spring form pan on foil and lower into cooking rack. Cover and lock lid in place. Turn Regulator Knob to PRESSURE. Program for HIGH pressure and cook for 20 minutes. After cooking time, release pressure using the quick release method. Unlock and open lid. Remove cheesecake from Cooker by lifting up the ends of the foil sling. Let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight.


Topping: 

1/2 C chopped pecans
1 C heavy whipping cream
3/4 C real maple syrup

Toast pecans using BROWN/SAUTE function, add nuts to cooking pot and stir for 3-5 minutes or until lightly browned. Next, combine whipping cream and maple syrup in cooking pot; bring to a boil still using the BROWN/SAUTE function, stirring occasionally until sauce is slightly thickened about 10-15 minutes. Pour over well chilled cheesecake and refrigerate until well chilled. 




Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Pumpkin Spice Muffins



Muffins:
1 ½ cup AP flour
¾ cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
2 ½ tsp. cinnamon
¾ tsp. nutmeg
¾ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. ground cloves
¾ cup butter, softened
1 ¾ cup pumpkin puree
¾ cup evaporated milk
2 eggs
2 ½ tsp. vanilla

Crumb Topping:
⅓ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. butter, melted

Place wire baking rack in the bottom of your Nesco Roaster, making sure the handles are facing upwards for easy grabbing. Preheat Roaster to 400°. Grease 12 muffin tins well.
Sift the dry ingredients and cut in butter with a pastry blender (two knives work well).
In a separate bowl, mix the pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg and vanilla. Combine with dry ingredients and fold very gently just until blended. Do not overmix.
Pour mixture evenly into muffin tins. Blend together the crumb topping and sprinkle over muffin batter.

Bake in your Roaster for 20-25 minutes. Decorate with powdered sugar or pecans. 


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

6 Steps to a Stress Free Dinner Party

1. Consider Doing a Theme
Themed dinner parties are great fun because they can expose you to foods you and your guests wouldn’t normally eat. Mexican, Italian, Thanksgiving in July or a movie themed party are fun ways to get creative with it. Hosting a themed party can make planning a menu easier, because the menu almost plans itself. Get into it with decorations, costumes and music revolving around your theme.
2. Plan the Menu
Deciding what to create (and how to do it), is the greatest challenge of any dinner party. Obviously you want to show off your best dish, but cooking a time consuming chicken galantine won’t do anyone any favors. Main dishes that are hearty enough to be made ahead of time are ideal, so you can spend more time entertaining your guests, and less on last minute prep. For this, Slow Cooker and Pressure Cooker recipes like Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches or Lasagna are perfect. Despite being effortless, they taste like you slaved over a hot stove all day.
Just because a side dishes are called “sides”, doesn’t mean they can’t have the wow factor that your entrĂ©e does. When choosing sides, go for something with complimentary but different flavors than your main. Corn bread compliments a pulled pork sandwich because it brings sweetness to the salty and savory flavors of the pork, while roasted green beans will bring a crunch to round out the textures. Two to three side dishes are typically enough to complete the meal without overcrowding your table and palate.
Don’t neglect the h'ordeuvres, but there’s no need to go overboard. Unless you’re throwing a wine and cheese party, one or two light appetizers will do to avoid premature food comas. If you’re worried about saving time, it’s okay to go with store-bought (whether you admit that to your guests or not is up to you). Cheese platters, ham roll-ups or a buffalo chicken dip are all easy ways to keep your guests satisfied while waiting for the main show to begin. Plan to have your sides done and ready in the Roaster when your guests arrive so all you have to do is plate and serve.
3. …Then Your Guest List
Your guests are the heart of your dinner party. Similar to your menu options, less can be more. When planning your numbers, keep in mind how much space you have in your house as well as, realistically, how many people your recipe will feed. It’s better to have leftovers for the next few days or to send with guests than it is to run out of food. Sending invites for a dinner party is typically done about two weeks ahead of the date to give proper response and planning time. If you’re doing a theme, this will also give your invitees a chance to get their attire ready.
      Also consider personalities and relationships when selecting your invite list. Inviting four of your closest, but shy friends who don’t know each other may lead to awkward conversation gaps. That’s not to say everyone has to know everyone, but everyone should know at least one other person (besides you) well enough to make conversation. We’re not a fan of assigning seats at the table, because if there’s a great conversation flow during appetizers, there is no need to break it up.
4. Beverages Need Love Too
Drinks are the final piece of the menu, but are also the easiest to pull together. For most groups, a full bar with top shelf liquor isn’t necessary. Simply making a signature cocktail or two that fit with the menu, a wine option, and one non-alcoholic choice should be enough to please most. Pitchers of water on the bar during appetizers, and on the table for dinner are also an accommodation that can be overlooked easily.
5. Enlist Help
A second set of hands on deck may be the single most important thing you can do for your sanity when planning a dinner party. Recruiting a roommate, spouse or friend to be your “right hand man” for last-minute grocery store runs (there will always be at least one), helping plate and serve food, and greet guests will go a long way in feeling more put together. Even if you never need them, it will be comforting knowing you have a backup.
      6. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Things will happen. Your best friend will show up with a new gluten-free, vegan diet, your decorative candle will get knocked over and scorch your table linens, or your cousin will bring a guest without any prior warning. For better or for worse, these are all a natural part of the entertaining process. If you laugh it off and move on, we promise your guests will too and be more focused on your overall awesomeness than any flubs. The one thing you won’t have to worry about is your food turning out great—we’ve got that part of it covered. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

End of Summer Smoothies



                As much as we love a good Pumpkin Spice Latte, we love smoothies just a little bit more. Fall is the start of cold and flu season, so why not get that extra shot of Vitamin C while keeping the summer vibe going? Smoothies are also easy to make in addition to being healthy—you can use any produce you have in your refrigerator without having to make a special shopping trip.


If you’re a regular follower of our blog, you’ll also know that we have quite a sweet tooth. To get the extra sweetness in there, we like to add a few tablespoons of honey or Splenda. Other popular add-ins are protein powder or flax meal to get the smoothie party started. 


Ingredients:

2 Bananas
1 Apple, peeled and sliced
4 oz. Blueberries
4 oz. Raspberries
4 oz. Blackberries
5 Strawberries
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp Honey

Blend in a Nesco Blender, on the smoothie setting until desired thickness is achieved. Garnish with extra fruit