Sunday, February 26, 2006

A Great Day in the Kitchen

Since I’ve just about finished my thesis, I was able to spend some quality time i the kitchen today. First up was a cheesecake. I’ve had some cream cheese sitting in the fridge for a while, and lately I’ve been craving some cheesecake. I decided to do a no-bake cheesecake, where you use some form of gelatin to set the cheesecake instead of eggs. I went to the shelf where I keep Jell-o, and saw that I had some orange sugar-free Jell-o. Hmmmm. What about an orange cheesecake? Boy, I wish I had my camera. This one turned out sooo good! Except for the sugar in the graham crackers and the orange juice concentrate, it’s sugar-free. It’s really low-carb, and since I used low-fat cream cheese, it’s got fewer fat calories, too, than a normal cheesecake. I got the original idea for this from a 40-year-old cookbook--the first one I ever bought--from the Jell-o company. The photos in it are vintage 70s--big hair, bright oranges, greens, and browns, and really classic 70s clothes on the people in it. The recipes are vintage Jell-o, too--green molds, Jell-o parfaits, even a main dish that's got meat and veggies in a lemon Jell-o aspic.

(Almost) Sugar-Free Orange Cheesecake

1 pkg. graham crackers (about 10 pieces)
1/4 c Splenda granular
1 T dried or 2 T fresh grated orange peel
1/4 c butter, melted
1 c water
1 sm. box sugar-free orange Jell-o
3 8-oz pkgs. cream cheese, softened (I used 2 lowfat and 1 regular, since that's what I had in the refrigerator)
1/4 c frozen orange juice concentrate (I keep a large can in my freezer and scoop out some whenever I need orange juice)
grated peel from one fresh orange

For crust: Preheat oven to 350˚. In a food processor, mix graham crackers, Splenda, orange peel, and butter. Process until finely ground. Press into bottom of 10-inch springform pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool.
Filling: Bring water to a boil; stir into Jell-o in a small bowl. Cool about 10 minutes. In a large mixer bowl, mix cream cheese, orange juice concentrate, and fresh orange peel. Slowly add Jell-o mixture. Pour all into springform pan. Cool until set.

Imagine how this would be if you used raspberry Jell-o, or lemon, or lime, or strawberry! This would be good no matter what flavor you used. It set up beautifully, and I served it topped with some mandarin oranges. DH said he didn’t notice that it was sugar-free. If I remember to bring the camera home tomorrow I’ll take a photo of a slice and submit it to alicat’s weekend cookbook challenge. The theme this time is orange.

Dinner tonight was two more of Ruth’s recipes, plus an adaptation of one of Joe’s . Like I’ve said before, I can’t give you Ruth’s recipes. I can just tell you about them. We had Garlic-Rosemary Chicken Roll-ups and Grilled Eggplant. The chicken was good, but I learned I don’t really care for eggplant. Now that doesn’t mean the recipe was no good–I bet the marinade is good on the other vegetables she recommended. The other dish was a cauliflower casserole, using Joe’s recipe, Creamed Cauliflower with Herbed Crumb Topping , as a guide. Thanks, Joe, for the original recipe and for cooking vegetables in such wonderful ways. My adaptation is definitely not as good as your original recipe, but it was based on what I had on hand.

Creamed Cauliflower Casserole

1 1-lb. package frozen cauliflower
2 t butter, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1 med. onion, chopped
2 T flour
1 c lowfat milk
1/4 c freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
dash thyme
2 T dried parsley
1/2 c dried breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 325˚. Boil cauliflower in 1 cup salted water 8-10 minutes. Drain. In a large skillet, melt 1 teaspoon of the butter, and sauté 2 cloves of the garlic and onion over medium heat until tender, about 8-10 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and milk, and add to the garlic-onion mixture in the skillet. Cook over medium heat another couple of minutes until thickened. Add the cheese, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and add the cauliflower. Pour all into a greased 8” baking pan. In a small skillet, heat the other teaspoon butter, add the other clove garlic, and cook about 30 seconds until lightly browned. Stir in the thyme, parsley, and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over cauliflower. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes or until bubbly. Makes 3-4 servings.

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Randi said...

How did you take a picture if you didnt have a camera? I made a cheesecake too. Great minds eh?

Cyndi said...

I made the cheesecake Sunday; brought the camera home from the office Monday; took a picture Monday night; added it to Sunday's post. Voila!

Michele said...

The cheesecake looks so good! It reminds me of one my mom used to make with an oreo crust. Love the cauliflower too, yum!