Cherry Cheesecake Tarts

If you like cheesecake, you will love this recipe. These individual servings of cherry tarts taste just like cherry cheesecake and although they are the perfect personal serving size, you will want to eat them all.

1 can pie filling cherries
8 oz. package cream cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 box Vanilla wafers
Foil cupcake liners
Makes about 12 servings
Preheat the oven at 375 degrees. Let the cream cheese sit until it is room temperature, then beat the cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla until it becomes a soft mixture. Line a muffin tin with foil cupcake liners. (If you cannot find tin foil ones, you can use paper ones. The foil is just sturdier and easier to eat out of.) Place a vanilla wafer at the bottom of each liner; this acts as the crust on your cheesecake. Then pour about a tablespoon of your mixture over them. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow the tarts to cool and then top with the cherries. Refrigerate to chill.
You need to make sure that you buy cherry pie filling not just canned cherries. This way you'll get the thicker sauce and it won't seep into your filling. I've made it with canned cherries before and did not get as good of results. So I took a picture of the kind I used this time so you'll know what to look for in the grocery store. 
Happy holidays! 

Holiday Cooking

With Christmas coming up, many kitchens will begin to start smelling of baked goods and possibly something burning. Perhaps you have no idea what you are bringing to the potluck family dinner. Or maybe you're still trying to decide what pies to make. Here is a list of some of my best holiday-themed recipes:

  • Dill Dip: Great for dipping veggies in to keep guests held over until the main course

Jessi's Guacamole: The best guac recipe I've tasted, created by my cousin

  • Cran-Ras Salad: A sweet salad to add some healthy to the carb and sugar laden holiday meal
  • Acorn Squash: With brown sugar and bacon for a yummy side or appetizer

Garlic Knots: Bread for the side that tastes sort of like Bertucci's rolls when heated up

  • No Crisp Apple Crisp: If you're running a budget or running out of time, this apple recipe makes a good snack

Butternut Squash: This medley of squash, carrots, onion, and brown sugar is of my own creation and has become a hit at parties

Evil Pie: A very quick no-bake pistachio pie that has been a favorite of the kids in my family

Below is a list of holiday recipes that I would love to try if I had time, but perhaps you can try them instead! (Also my favorite blogs to follow!)

P.S. Tom and I are going to be making cherry cheesecake tarts tonight so prepare for that recipe to be up soon as well!

Onion Burgers with Avocado Dressing

It's finals week, which for me has meant a lot of campus food and frozen pizza. I have little will or time to cook. This weekend I was craving something homemade; something new. Tom and I flipped through his mom's Every Day with Rachael Ray and decided on abbreviating one of her summer grilling recipes.

I was blown away by how good it was. The burger, although there were no traces of pinkness in the middle, was soft and melted in our mouths. The burger's flavor itself was exquisite. I'm not sure if it was the onion juice or maybe the poultry seasoning that lent to the unique taste that I was to replicate in every other burger I ever make. The avocado sauce was awesome as well. The leftovers could be used for technically anything; I was thinking dip for chips or topping on a cold cut sandwich.

For the burger:
1 lb ground beef
1 small onion
1 tbsp BBQ sauce
1 tsp poultry seasoning (generally made up of ingredients like thyme, sage, rosemary, salt and pepper)
1/2 tsp hot sauce
olive oil

For the dressing:
1 avocado
1 jalapeño pepper
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp chives
1/2 tsp parsley
1 tbsp lemon juice

makes 3-4 servings

In a bowl, combine the beef, sauces and seasoning together. In order to get onion juice for the burger, grate the onion over the bowl to catch the juice. (I used about 1/3 of the small onion per burger.) Combine and shape into patties, then place on heated skillet and drizzle with olive oil so the burger does not stick to the pan. Meanwhile, combine the dressing ingredients in a bowl. (For the jalapeño, we grated it so the dressing would not have chunks, then added some of the seeds to add more of a bite.) If you own a food processor, you can mix it that way, but I just mushed up the avocado and stirred by hand. Cook the burgers until they are no longer pink inside. Eat on buns with a slice of cheese if you would like and top with avocado sauce!