Baked spaghetti, slow cooker stew, chocolate cheesecake

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Someone said, “The worst part about January is that February is next.” We have to keep our sense of humor about winter, so here’s some comfort food to help.
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Baked spaghetti
16 oz. pkg. spaghetti
1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 26-oz. jar meatless spaghetti sauce
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
2 eggs
1/3 C grated Parmesan cheese
5 tbsp. butter, melted
2 C small curd cottage cheese
4 C shredded mozzarella cheese
Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and seasoned salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs, Parmesan cheese and butter. Drain spaghetti; add to egg mixture and toss to coat. Place half of spaghetti mixture in a greased 9×13 baking dish. Top with half of cottage cheese, meat sauce and mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 20-25 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
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Slow cooker stew
2 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 C ketchup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 tsp. Adobo (found in Spanish aisle)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
6 oz. can garlic tomato paste
32 oz. beef broth
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 C baby carrots
4-5 small potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. oregano
1 C corn
1/4-1/2 C cornstarch
Place all ingredients in slow cooker except corn. Stir to make sure everything is mixed well with seasonings. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6-7 hours. Once cooked (about 30 minutes before you plan to serve), add in 1/4-1/2 cup of cornstarch depending on how much you would like to thicken stew. Start with 1/4, mix well, and add more to thicken further. Lastly, add in corn and continue cooking covered for 30 or so minutes.
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Chocolate cheesecake
For crust:
24 Oreo cookies – finely crushed
1/4 C unsalted butter-melted
For cheesecake filling:
2 lbs. cream cheese – room temperature
1-1/3 C powdered sugar
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
4 eggs – room temperature
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate – chopped
For chocolate topping:
3/4 C heavy cream
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate – finely chopped
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
To make crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease a 9-inch spring-form pan and set aside. Finely crush cookies in a food processor, add melted butter and blend until it’s all moistened. Press crumb mixture onto bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and set on a wire rack to cool while making filling.
To make filling:
Melt 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate and set aside to cool. Mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in cocoa powder. Add eggs one at a time, mixing on low speed. Do not overbeat it. Add melted chocolate and mix on low speed to combine.
Pour filling over crust and smooth top. Bake cheesecake until center is set and top looks dry (about 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes). Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then run a thin knife around sides of pan and set cake in refrigerator (uncovered) for at least 8 hours, or better, overnight.
To make topping:
In a medium saucepan, stir together cream, chocolate and sugar on low heat until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth. Cool and pour over cheesecake. When topping is set and cooled again, run a thin knife around sides and remove spring-form pan sides.
This cheesecake can be prepared up to 2-3 days in advance. Just store covered in refrigerator. Garnish with chocolate curls (optional).
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She said, “To my children – never make fun of me about having to help me with computer stuff. I taught you how to use a spoon!”
If you would like to share a recipe with me, just send it to the J-T or email it to me.
(Melanie Behrens – melb@marysvillejt.com)



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