Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hodge-Podge Pudding

I made a realization the other day - I have yet to ever make bread pudding using actual yeast bread. I've made it with Irish soda bread, with banana bread, and even with biscuits. And every time, it's been really yummy!

Having already done quite a bit of experimenting with the basic bread pudding recipe, I decided to branch out even further and see what else I could use to make a delicious, custardy pudding. This actually came about because I wanted to make biscuit pudding, but found out after mixing up the custard that I didn't have enough biscuits. What to do?

At that point, I went ahead and tossed in the biscuits, then started improvising, tossing in a bit of this and a bit of that. Leftover muffin, graham crackers, cereal crumbs, all were added with the hope that the pudding would at least be edible.

Turns out, I needn't have worried. It was delicious! It had a wonderfully soft, custardy texture and a delightful combination of flavors. Thus Hodge-Podge Pudding was created. Here is a recipe/formula for making this fun pudding, which can be used for either breakfast or dessert. It utilizes foods that you have on hand, and need to use up, so it saves money while creatively using leftovers.

Hodge-Podge Pudding
2 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
5 cups assorted grain foods (at least 2-3 cups should be bread-like: bread, biscuits, waffles, pancakes, muffins, etc. Fill in the rest with stuff like cold cereal, leftover cooked cereal, leftover cooked rice, crackers, etc.)

Heat oven to 350. Grease a 1 1/2-qt. casserole.

Mix milk, sugar, cinnamon, and eggs in large bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Stir in bread/grains. Pour into casserole.

Bake uncovered 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from edge of casserole comes out clean.

I later made another batch of this hodge-podge pudding (pictured above), this time using biscuits, waffles, saltines, and cereal crumbs, and baked it in a 9x13. It turned out really good.

To make this into a great dessert, try topping it with a dessert sauce as found in any of these recipes: cottage pudding, Woodford pudding, Irish soda bread pudding.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lime Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce

Our Easter meal yesterday was so yummy. Jeff and I made Pork Chops with Apples and Stuffing (last time we made it we did it in the crock pot, this time we baked it according to the original instructions, it's delicious either way!), Jeff's sister and her family brought homemade rolls and a relish tray with olives and other marinated goodness. It was all wonderfully tasty, but for me the crowning jewel was the dessert.

I'm a HUGE fan of cheesecakes, and this one was great. The cheesecake was rich but not too rich, and the flavors were light and fresh, perfect for springtime. I used this recipe from Southern Living, but used regular lime juice instead of Key lime.

Lime Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime rind (skipped this, Jeff hates any kind of citrus rind)
1/2 cup lime juice
Strawberry Sauce
1 1/4 cups fresh strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime rind (substituted lime juice)

Stir together first 3 ingredients, and firmly press on bottom and 1 inch up sides of a greased 9-inch springform pan.

Bake at 350° for 8 minutes; cool.

Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add 1 1/4 cups sugar, beating until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in sour cream, rind, and juice. Pour batter into crust.

Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 5 minutes; turn oven off. Partially open oven door; let stand in oven 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and immediately run a knife around edge of pan, releasing sides.

Cool completely in pan on a wire rack; cover and chill 8 hours.

Just before serving, make strawberry sauce - process all sauce ingredients in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Spoon sauce over each slice.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Skillet Pizza

I found this recipe in an old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook I got at the thrift store a long time ago. I had to adjust it quite a bit, because it called for a pizza mix, which included a crust mix, sauce packet, and cheese. I just made my own crust, used some spaghetti sauce, and my own cheese. Really, it was the concept of the recipe that got my attention. We love making pizza, and it's so fun to find new ways to do it. This pizza, cooked in a skillet on the stove, turned out really good, much better than I was expecting. Crispy crust, gooey melty cheese. The only downside is that it only made 4 servings. Next time I'll double the recipe and have two skillets of pizza going at once - when I make pizza I like there to be a lot of it!

Skillet Pizza
1 1/4 tsp. yeast
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. warm water
1 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups flour
1/2 cup spaghetti sauce (or add Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder to 1/2 cup tomato sauce)
1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (preferably mozzarella, but I used cheddar and Monterey Jack because we're out of mozzarella)
Toppings of choice - I used salami

To make crust, combine yeast, warm water, oil, salt, and flour. Knead for a few minutes until smooth. Spread in a cold, greased, 10-inch skillet, pressing onto bottom and a bit up the sides. Cook for 7 minutes over medium-low heat with lid ajar.

Remove lid and spread with sauce, cheese, and desired toppings. Cook for 15 minutes with lid ajar. Remove lid and cook 7 minutes more.

Loosen crust from pan and slide pizza out onto a plate. Slice and serve!