Sunday, October 25, 2015

Caramel Brownie Cheesecake

Cheesecake is my favorite dessert!  Over a decade ago, my MIL got this recipe from a coffee shop in Birmingham, AL and it is the best cheesecake ever!  It takes a little while to make but is so worth the effort.  If you can refrigerate it overnight, it tastes better the next day.

wafer and butter crust

caramel and milk

crumbled brownies

cream cheese mixture

after baking

1 3/4 cups vanilla wafers, crushed
1/3 cup butter, melted
11 oz. package caramel ready to melt balls (I just discovered these)
5 oz. can evaporated milk
2 1/2 cups brownies, crumbled (easiest to crumble when hot)
3 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
8 oz. sour cream
2 tsp vanilla

whipped cream, caramel topping (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Combine wafers and butter.  Firmly press on bottom AND SIDES of greased (with Crisco and flour) 9 inch springform pan.  Bake for 5 min.  Let cool on wire rack.
3.  Combine caramels and evaporated milk in a small saucepan.  Cook over low heat, stirring often, until caramel melts.
4.  Pour caramel mixture over crust.
5.  Sprinkle crumbled brownies over caramel. (The brownies need to be warm for best results)
6.  Beat cream cheese at medium speed for 2 min. or until fluffy.
7.  Gradually add brown sugar, mixing well.
8.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition just until blended.
9.  Stir in sour cream and vanilla.
10.  Pour batter over brownies.
11.  Bake for 1 hour.
12.  Remove from oven and let cool to room temp. on a wire rack.
13.  Cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.  Remove sides of pan.  Garnish.


Strawberry Spinach Salad with Homemade Dressing

I found this recipe on Pinterest a couple of years ago thinking it would be a good healthy side dish, but doubting that my children would be thrilled about a salad made up of spinach leaves.  We now have this salad at least once a month, usually with grilled chicken and sweet potatoes.  Every time I serve it, my family reminds me it is one of their favorite meals.  The homemade dressing really makes it great!

baby spinach
sliced strawberries
1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced
3 green onions, white and green parts
almonds, raw and chopped

Mix all ingredients, toss with dressing

Dressing Ingredients:
4 Tbsp vanilla Greek yogurt
4 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp basil
2 Tbsp honey
salt and pepper to taste

Stir ingredients together and toss with salad

*recipe adapted from Cafe Johnsonia