Monday, May 7, 2012

A totally unplanned yet delicious dinner.

Believe it or not, I don't always plan ahead very well.  Hahaha!  Oh, man (wipes tears).  Ok.  I never plan ahead very well.  So sometimes, Monday rolls around and I'm at the store and I think, huh.  I need to make dinner for my parents tonight.  Fancy that.  (you'd think that after two years of making dinner for them EVERY MONDAY would cure this predicament.  Not so much.)
So while I stare at the options in the produce department (since that's the first one you get to) (see I don't get very far before I stall...) I realize I haven't really planned this into the budget.  My acute knowledge of on-hand dinners I can whip out of my memory borders on nil.  Which is when my trusty phone and pinterest comes in handy.  Take that baby out, open up the Pinterest Ap, find the "To Eat" pinboard and you're in business.

Which is, obviously, how this dinner came to be.  (Why else would I tell you that story?  "Oh, here's a totally useless bit of information for you... sometimes I'm spacey!")

This first recipe was pinned from Polish the Stars (which, even though I know it's "polish" as in "rub clean with a rag" I always read as "Polish" as in "from Poland."  Anyone else have that problem?)
I didn't change a thing - not a thing!  I mean, when the recipe comes to you with two types of cheeses AND sour cream, well, there's nothing a girl with a love affair with dairy can do but swoon.  And then eat, of course.
Polish The Stars: Twice Baked Potato Casserole

Don't take my word (or my crummy under-lit iphone pic) for it.  Go over there (check out the REAL picture) and then make it.  And then devour it.  That's what we did.  Yum.

The next one seemed like a good appetizer to try.  So I did.  And then as I was making it, I felt like a fool because it is essentially these.  Which I have made not once, not twice, but an amount of time that I'm unaware of because it is so high.  Just omit a few seasonings and the butter/dry stuffing mixture on top and you've got these.  
Tidy Mom: Garlic Chicken Puffs

And they're good.  Oh, they are.  Easier than the earlier version of chicken puffs, which you can find here.  Both recipes delicious.  I have a tendency to gravitate toward the same kind of food over and over without realizing it.

I wanted to make a lemon cheesecake I'd pinned.  I was on my way home with all of my goods when I realized that was not going to happen.  For one, I had forgotten how much cream cheese I needed to buy.  (Which is approximately "totally bust your diet and clog 50% of your arteries" much).  Plus, a cream cheese has to set up in the fridge like overnight.  I always do this.  Plan a dessert that can't be made a few hours before and then try to make it a few hours before anyway to yummy but near disastrous results... so, anyway.
I had all this lemon.  I looked around online and finally happened upon this bad boy. Lemon Cream Cheese Pie (one of the only recipes that uses lemon and not lemon JELLO).  The recipe uses a store bought graham cracker crust (which it doesn't really mention in the ingredient list... not helpful).  But I made my own.  All alterations included below:

Lemon Cream Cheese Pie
2 C crushed graham crackers
1/4 C butter, melted
1 pkg. cream cheese
3/4 c. milk
1/4 c. lemon juice
2 tbsp. flour
1 egg
1/2 c. sugar
2 tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix the graham crackers and butter in a bowl.  Pat tightly into a pie pan and bake for about 10-12 minutes.  Let crust cool.  Mix the rest of the ingredients in a  blender or stand mixer with whisk attachment.  Pour into the graham cracker crust and bake 45 to 50 minutes.

Easier to make than cheesecake.  Less cream cheese than cheesecake.  Less time to set and cool than cheesecake.  Less effort than cheesecake.  And you don't need a springform pan.  Which I neglected to realize I didn't have.  So I couldn't have made the cheesecake anyway.

And really?  Just as good as cheesecake.  (Ok, maybe not JUST as good as Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake.  But, pretty darn good.  Especially for ONE pack of cream cheese as compared to 4.  Count them, 4.)

Mr.  liked it better than cheesecake.  He says cheesecake is normally "too rich".  Which poses the question: is there such a thing?

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!

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