Sweet Potato cheesecake bars

Looking for a dessert to serve this Thanksgiving that isn’t a pie or cobbler? These sweet potato cheesecake bars are the perfect substitute for pumpkin pie, and they’re cut into bars, so they can be taken on the go for guests that can’t stay after dinner. I added an Oreo cookie crust to make them even more decadent because… well, who doesn’t love an Oreo cookie crust?!

Oreo Crust:

  • 3 cups Oreo cookie crumbs (cream filling removed)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup salted butter (melted)

Crust Directions:

  1. Add ingredients to a bowl and stir until well combined.
  2. Press mixture evenly into a greased 9×13 pan.
  3. Freeze for 20 minutes.

Cheesecake Layer:

  • 4 blocks softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Cheesecake Layer Directions:

  1. On medium speed, beat together cream cheese and sugar until mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the cheesecake layer ingredients and continue beating on medium speed until mixture is creamy, about 2-4 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl as needed.
  3. Remove crust from freezer and and pour in half the mixture, keeping the other half to add to sweet potato mixture.
  4. Place in the freezer and freeze for 45 minutes.

Sweet Potato Layer:

  • 2 cups pureed sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice

Sweet Potato Layer Directions:

  1. Add sweet potato layer ingredients to the remaining cheesecake mixture and mix until filly combined.
  2. Once bottom layer is out of the freezer, pour sweet potato layer on top, making sure top is smooth.

Baking Instructions:

  1. Bake at 325 for 45 – 55 minutes (DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN)
  2. Once cheesecake has cooked, middle should slightly jiggle and edges should be slightly puffed. Turn oven off and leave cheesecake in the oven with the door slightly propped open and leave it to cool 45 min – 1 hour.
  3. Let cool completely on a cooling rack for 1-2 hours, then refrigerate overnight before serving.
  4. Serve with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon sugar on top.
  5. ENJOY!

jalapeno popper pinwheels

These jalapeño popper pinwheels are the perfect appetizer to serve at this year’s holiday party. I like to make these the night before and slice them right before guests arrive for a quick and easy finger food. The jalapeños are cooked, so no need to worry about them being too spicy for guests who are sensitive to heat!

Ingredients:

  • 6 jalapeños, seeds and membranes remove, chopped
  • 1 lb bacon
  • 2 blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 3-5 spinach tortillas
  • 1 packet ranch mix

Directions:

  1. Cook bacon, set aside. Keep 1-2 tablespoons of grease in the pan.
  2. To the pan with remaining bacon grease, add jalapeños and onions. Cook on med-low heat for 10-12 minutes until onions are translucent and jalapeños are soft. Let cool.
  3. In a bowl, add cream cheese and ranch mix and mix together until completely combined.
  4. Crumble bacon into cream cheese mixture. Add shredded pepper jack, cooked jalapeños and onions then mix together.
  5. Spread a thick layer of cream cheese mixture onto tortilla. Roll up tightly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
  6. Before serving, remove plastic wrap and slice into 1″ thick pinwheels.
  7. ENJOY!

Old fashioned meatloaf

Meatloaf is one of my favorite meals to make during the holidays. It’s perfect for a casual dinner, but can also be served as a special meal for company. This meatloaf is covered in a bbq based sauce, so it has loads of flavor. Serve this with your favorite mashed potato recipe and the perfect dinner is ready!

Meatloaf Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup crushed ritz crackers
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Meatloaf Sauce ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • I teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix sauce ingredients together and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all meatloaf ingredients along with 1/4 cup of sauce mixture together until well combined.
  3. Shape meat mixture into a loaf and place on a cookie sheet. Pour half the sauce onto the meat mixture and spread out evenly.
  4. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes.
  5. Pour the remaining sauce over meatloaf and bake an additional 20-25 minutes. Let meatloaf rest 10 minutes before slicing.
  6. Enjoy!

classic corn chowder

With the weather cooling down, you’re probably looking for some comfort food ( I know I am). In our house, soups and chowders are something we eat multiple times a week in the colder months and this corn chowder is made more often than anything. It’s hearty, flavorful, and everyone in the family enjoys it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb bacon, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size cubes
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cans sweet corn
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • one 12oz can evaporated milk
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 packet onion soup mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, cook bacon on medium heat until crispy, about 8-10 minutes. Remove half the bacon grease then set half of the bacon aside to use as garnish.
  2. Add butter, onion, carrots and garlic to remaining bacon and cook about 3 minutes.
  3. Add potatoes, onion soup, corn, creamed corn, spices, and chicken broth. Cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  4. In a bowl, whisk corn starch into evaporated milk until dissolved and pour into soup. Add cheese and let cook additional 5 minutes.
  5. Serve corn chowder topped with reserved bacon, additional cheese, and a dollop of sour cream, if desired.
  6. Enjoy!

banana pecan bread

Banana bread is the one baked treat I know my entire family will love, so it’s made very often in my house. I decided to make a few changes to this batch to make it a little more festive for the holidays, and everyone said this was the best banana bread I’ve made yet! If your family is a fan of cinnamon and streusel topping, this is the banana bread recipe for you!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 mashed bananas
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Streusel Topping:

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pecans
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Place all ingredients into bowl and mix together using your hands until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to a small bowl. Mix and set aside.
  3. Mix together sugars, egg, and oil until well combined.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined (mixture will be dry).
  5. Add milk, vanilla, and bananas and stir until fully incorporated.
  6. Mix in Pecans and pour into a greased loaf pan.
  7. Pour streusel topping over the top of banana bread mixture. Using a butter knife, swirl streusel topping a couple times until you can see batter start to pop through. Do not mix streusel in completely.
  8. Cook 60-70 minutes, checking regularly until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Let cool 10 minuted before you remove from loaf pan. Enjoy!

baked mac and cheese ( w/ grilled onions and bacon)

For many people, macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. This “grown up” version is filled with bacon, onions, and packs a whole lot of flavor. This recipe would make a perfect side dish during the holidays, or can be eaten as your main entree.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of your favorite pasta (penne, elbows, etc)
  • 1 lb bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup velveeta
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • *optional: pinch of red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta as directed, drain and set aside. While pasta is cooking, fry bacon, crumble and set aside, saving half of the remaining grease in pan.
  2. To the pan with remaining bacon grease, add onions and cook on med-low heat until soft, add minced garlic and cook additional 3 minutes.
  3. To a large saucepan, add butter, mustard powder, cheddar cheese, velveeta, whipping cream, and milk and whisk until cheese is melted (you can add milk by the 1/8 cup if sauce is too thick).
  4. Pour cheese sauce over pasta and stir. Add onions, parsley, salt and pepper, optional pepper flakes and half of the crumbled bacon. Pour into a large, greased casserole dish. Top the mixture with parmesan cheese and the remaining crumbled bacon.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until edges are bubbly. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

cheesy potato & sausage soup

With the weather getting cooler, I have one kind of food on my mind… soup! It’s the ultimate comfort food, in my opinion. It can be made in about an hour on the stovetop, or if you have a busy day, throw everything into the crockpot and leave it for 4-6 hours until you’re back home. This cheesy potato and sausage soup is exactly what you need at the end of a cold day!

Ingredients:

  • 6 potatoes, cut into small cubes
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 lb ground sausage
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • one 10.5 oz can French onion soup
  • one 10.5 oz can cheddar cheese soup
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • sour cream, for garnish
  • chives, for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, fry sausage and onions until sausage is fully cooked. Drain grease.
  2. Add all ingredients, except for shredded cheese. Mix and cook on low for 1 hour.
  3. Add shredded cheese and cook for additional 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes and carrots are tender.
  4. Garnish with sour cream, extra cheese and chives. Enjoy!

easy cheesy goulash

Growing up, goulash was always one of my favorite meals. My mom always made it the traditional way with simple ingredients, but for some reason that bowl of pasta, tomatoes, and hamburger tasted amazing after a long day of playing outside. I often make it the way my mom always does, but when I have the extra ingredients on hand, I can’t help but make this cheesy version. There’s nothing wrong with making something a little extra cheesy, right?

Ingredients:

  • One 16 oz box pasta noodles
  • One 29 oz can tomato sauce
  • 10 oz can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup velvet cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta and set aside.
  2. In large pan, mix together ground beef, onions, and garlic and fry on medium heat until ground beef is fully cooked.
  3. Add all ingredients to the pot with the noodles and mix together. Put over low heat and cook until cheese is melted (about 10 minutes).
  4. Garnish with additional parmesan cheese and ENJOY!

pumpkin apple bread (with maple glaze)

Is it just me, or does pumpkin bread always seem a bit bland? I’ve tried so many different spices and ridiculous amounts of sugar only to realize it was apples that brought out the flavors of the pumpkin perfectly! Welcome Fall with this deliciously sweet pumpkin apple bread!

Bread Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Maple Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions:

  1. In small saucepan, add apples, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Cook on med-low heat for 10-12 minutes, until apples are soft, but not fully cooked. Set aside and cool 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, milk, vanilla, and eggs. Once combined, add pumpkin and apples, mix well.
  5. Add dry ingredients to the pumpkin apple mixture and stir until everything is combined.
  6. Grease a loaf pan using oil or cooking spray, then pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. While bread is cooling, combine all maple glaze ingredients in a small bowl and mix until smooth.
  8. Once bread is cooled, take out of loaf pan and pour glaze over the top. Let glaze set for 30 minutes until eating.
  9. Enjoy!

breakfast enchiladas

What’s more delicious than breakfast for dinner? These breakfast enchiladas are something you can make for dinner and still enjoy leftovers for breakfast the next morning. This recipe uses refridgerated hash browns for a quick fix, but you can easily make homemade if preferred.

Ingredients:

  • 24 corn tortillas
  • 15 oz can enchilada sauce
  • 1lb ground breakfast sausage
  • 12 oz bag refrigerated hashbrowns
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cups shredded cheese
  • *optional: 1 bell pepper, chopped

Directions:

  1. Cook ground sausage, onions, and optional peppers until sausage is fully cooked. Set aside.
  2. Fry hash browns until crispy, set aside.
  3. Scramble eggs until fully cooked. Add all ingredients, except for cheese and enchilada sauce, and mix together with the eggs. Take off heat.
  4. Heat up corn tortillas in microwave for 30-45 seconds. Add 2-3 spoonfuls of of egg mixture down the center of tortilla. Sprinkle cheese on top of filling and roll up tight, place in baking dish. Repeat until baking dish is full.
  5. Pour enchilada sauce and shredded cheese on top. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until cheese is bubbly.
  6. Let cool 5 minutes. Garnish with sour cream and salsa.
  7. Enjoy!