Buttery Potatoes

I’ve shared a number of potato recipes but I tried this on thanksgiving, and i’m sold. The simplicity makes it all the more amazing, and this is going to be a regular at my table!

Here’s what you need:

4 russet potatoes, peeled

4 sweet potatoes, peeled

3/4 cup butter, room temp

3 T oil

salt and pepper so taste

fresh basil leaves (or any fresh herb)

Preheat your oven to 400F.

Cut the potatoes into 1 inch cubes and toss them in the oil, salt and pepper. Pour them into a large oven proof dish. Cut the butter into small cubes and spread them around the potatoes. Sprinkle over some fresh herbs(I used basil but you can use parsley, dill or any other herb you have). Bake for about 30 minutes, flipping the potatoes after 15, then lower the oven temp to 350F and bake them for another 20 minutes. If you want to add some extra color to the potatoes broil them for about 3-5 minutes. Serve as a side with some extra fresh herbs on top.

*For some extra flavour add whole garlic cloves in with the potatoes. Once they’re baked you can mash them into some butter and make a delicious garlic butter, or use them to make garlic bread.

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Banana Pudding Cheesecake

The hardest thing for me when cooking for a group of people is choosing which dessert to make. So many options, so little time, and realistically, I can’t make a full on wedding dessert table every time someone comes over. So this year, for Thanksgiving, I settled on this little number, which I have never made before, but I can say without any doubt that everyone loved it and it’ll be a regular on my table from now on.

For the cheesecake part I used my light as a feather cheesecake recipe, just changing the crust a little, which  i’ll explain below, and for your convenience i’ll also list the ingredients I used down here. For the full instructions click on the link!

For the Cheesecake you’ll need:

16 oz softened cream cheese, room temp

1 cup white sugar

2 cups sour cream

3 large eggs

1 T vanilla

For the crust I used:

1 1/2 cups crushed nilla wafers

3 T melted butter

For the Banana pudding I used:

1/2 a pack of instant vanilla pudding mix

3/4 cup cold water

1/2 can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream

2 bananas, sliced

Nilla wafers for layering

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Mix the crust ingredients and press them into a greased cheesecake pan.

Whisk the cream cheese and sugar till smooth, then add the rest of the ingredients, mixing till everything is combined. Pour into the crust and bake as directed in the cheesecake recipe.

(I lined the bottom of the pan with foil for easy cleanup)

Once the cheesecake has completely cooled down start preparing the banana pudding.

In a bowl whisk together the instant vanilla pudding mix and water for two minutes before adding in the sweetened condensed milk. Once everything is combined add the chilled heavy whipping cream. If the pudding mix is too liquidy refrigerate it for at least an hour before adding the whipped cream. Continue to whisk the mix until soft peaks form. Make sure to scrape the bowl down with a spatula in between to make sure everything is mixed well.

Layer the banana slices onto the cheesecake evenly. Then layer on the Nilla wafers.

Once the base of banana slices and Nilla wafers is even, spread the pudding mix on top, spreading to even it out. Smooth out the sides, cover and chill overnight.

Bread and Butter Pudding

I’ve posted a couple versions of this recipe over the years, and here I am typing up another version that I seem to be baking very often this fall/winter.

It’s a classic. You can’t go wrong. And the beauty of this dessert is that it’s very forgiving. Don’t have enough milk? Splash in some cream or half and half. Out of sugar? Add sweetened condensed milk. Don’t have enough o one type of bread? Mix them all! I also make just enough for me sometimes, but it’s a great dessert to make in bulk, and it’s always very well loved by all!

I’ve come to the conclusion that recipes are best suited to everyone if they’re based on simple ratios. So for for every egg I use in this recipe, I add 1 cup of milk and 1/3 cup sugar. From this you can make one generous serving, or multiply it by 20 and you’re set for the the holiday get togethers.

Here’s what you’ll need for a medium sized dish

4 large croissants (or any bread in an equal amount)

3 eggs

1/2 t ground cinnamon

1/4 t ground nutmeg

pinch of salt

1 cup sugar

3 cups milk

Grease a medium over proof dish. Preheat your oven to 375F.

Break up your bread* or croissants into small pieces and place them in the baking dish. In a bowl whisk together the eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, sugar and milk until well combined.

Pour the mix over the croissants and press the bread into the liquid and let it sit at room temperature until all the liquid is absorbed.

Then bake the pudding at 375F for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the pudding is set.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. It stays great in the fridge for up to 2 days.

*If you’re using bread, follow the instruction but add one extra step. Cut 3 T butter into small cubes and spread into the bread before adding the egg mixture. Then use some extra to dollop on top as well before baking.

Lasagna

I’ve made many versions of lasagna; Taco Lasagna and Nacho Lasagna to be precise, but sometimes I crave something a little more classic, with a beef ragu and a creamy ricotta filling. A crust of cheese with sauce bubbling around the edges. So that’s exactly what I made last night. It’s simple like any lasagne, just a little assembly required and little cooking here and there.

Here’s what you’ll need for a 13×9 in lasagne dish

Beef Ragu:

1 pound ground beef

3 T oil

1 bell pepper, finely chopped

1 T crushed garlic

salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 t chilli flakes

2 cups marinara sauce of your choice

Ricotta Mix:

1 15 oz jar ricotta

1 egg

salt and pepper to taste

2 T fresh parsley, chopped (or 1 t dried parsley)

1/2 t chilli flakes

For layering:

1 box lasagne sheets(I use the ready to bake ones)

1 jar marinara sauce

3-4 cups shredded mozzarella 

For the Beef Ragu start off by sautéing the beef, bell peppers and crushed garlic in the oil. Once the beef looks cooked, add salt, black pepper, chilli flakes and marinara. Mix well and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Make sure to mix and check on it a few times to make sure it’s not burning or drying out! (Or use an instant pot!)

While the Ragu is simmering away mix all the ingredients for the ricotta mix in a small bowl.

Once the Ragu is cooked, it’s time to assemble the Lasagne. Start off by putting some Ragu and marinara on the bottom of your baking dish. (I like mixing some plain marinara into the Ragu to cut the concentrated flavour, but you can skip the plain marinara in the Ragu layer if you like) Then a layer of lasagne sheets. Then another layer of Ragu and marinara, then some mozzarella.

In the second layer spread out the lasagne sheets, then a thin layer of plain marinara sauce. Dollop half of the ricotta mix and spread it out evenly. If you like extra cheese you can add some mozzarella to this layer too. Then repeat the Ragu layer as before, and then the last ricotta layer. After all the layers are complete I like adding a slightly thicker layer of mozzarella on top so once it bakes it becomes a nice golden brown.

I added some fresh bell pepper on top as well.

 

 

Once you’re done layering you can bake the lasagne right away at 375F or refrigerate it for up to one day before you bake it. You can also freeze the lasagne, and bake it when needed. Baking times can vary according to your oven. It’s done when the top is golden brown and the edges are bubbling, which can take anywhere from 30-45 minutes.

Enjoy!

Banana Pudding

Oh my word! This stuff is good. It looks so simple that my nephew thought it was just yogurt and bananas, but you take a bite and your world changes. Life before having this delicious concoction was just so dull, and things can’t go back to the way they were. You need this is your life. And fyi, this is pretty close to the Magnolia Bakery version.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 package vanilla pudding mix

1 1/2 cups water

1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk

3 cups of heavy whipping cream, chilled

1 box Nilla wafers (or any simple vanilla cookies/wafers)

4-5 Bananas, sliced

Theres no cooking involved. Just some mixing here and there and some chilling in the fridge and there you have it.

Start off by whisking together the pudding mixing water. Whisk for two minutes then drizzle in the condensed milk and whisk. Once it’s smooth cover it and let it chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour(you might need to let it chill for 2 hours).

 

In a large bowl whisk the cream until soft peaks form. Then just fold the cream into the pudding mix in three stages. Make sure you fold the cream in. If you whisk it in it might deflate the cream.

 

Then it’s a matter of getting a trifle dish or any pyrex dish and starting with a layer of wafers, then bananas, then the pudding and cream mixture. For my trifle dish I like doing three layers so I divide everything into three, but you could do two layers in a rectangular pyrex dish as well.

Then chill for a few hours before serving, or you can keep it in the fridge overnight. It’s a great make ahead dessert and can feed approximately 10-12 people, maybe even stretch it to 15.