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When I see a recipe that uses cream cheese, it always catches my attention. Cream cheese can add so much flavor to salads, desserts and casseroles, making them extra creamy and tasty. Even if you’re not a fan of cream cheese, you might want to give a couple of these recipes a try. Who knows ... they might become one of your favorite recipes!

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups butter

8 ounces cream cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups flour

6 eggs

1 tablespoon lemon extract

Cream shortening, cheese and sugar. Add eggs and flour alternately. Add flavoring. Bake in a well-greased and floured tube or bundt pan. Start in a cold oven and bake 1 1/2 hours at 325°. Do not open oven door while cake is baking. Cool in pan for 10 minutes.

Cream Cheese Brownies

1 chocolate cake mix

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 egg

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix cake mix as directed and pour into pan. Mix cream cheese, egg, sugar and chocolate chips until smooth. Drop by tablespoons on top of cake batter and swirl a little. Bake at 350°. Do not over bake. These are good just plain or top with frosting.

Smooth ‘N‘ Creamy Frosting

1 small box vanilla instant pudding

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 cup cold milk

8 ounces Cool Whip

Mix ingredients and then spread over cooled brownies and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Miniature Cheesecakes

1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 tablespoon sugar

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

Strawberry or apricot preserves

Combine crumbs, margarine and sugar. Press rounded measuring tablespoonful of crumb mixture onto bottom of each of six paper-lined muffin cups. Bake at 325° for 5 minutes. Combine cream cheese, sugar, juice, peel and vanilla, mixing at medium speed on electric mixer until well blended. Blend in egg, pour over crust filling each cup 3/4 full. Bake at 325° for 25 minutes. Cool before removing from pan. Chill. Top with preserves just before serving.

Pumpkin Cheese Bread

2 1/2 cups sugar

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup margarine

4 eggs

1 16-ounce can pumpkin

3 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup chopped nuts

Combine sugar, cream cheese and margarine, mixing at medium speed on electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in pumpkin. Add combined dry ingredients, mixing just until moistened. Fold in nuts. Pour into two greased and floured 9-by-5-inch loaf pans. Bake at 350° 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan, then remove from pans to wire rack.

Pecan Tassies

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 cup margarine

2 cups flour

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Combine cream cheese and margarine, mixing until well blended. Add flour, mix well. Chill. Divide dough into quarters, divide each quarter into 12 balls. Press each ball onto bottom and sides of miniature muffin pans. Combine eggs, brown sugar and vanilla, stir in pecans. Spoon into pastry shells, filling each cup. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Cool 5 minutes, remove from pans. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if you want to.

Cinnamon Streusel Coffeecake

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup margarine

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup margarine

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 3/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk

Combine nuts, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine cream cheese, granulated sugar and margarine, mixing at medium speed on electric mixer until well blended. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add combined dry ingredients alternately with milk, mixing well after each addition. Pour batter into greased and floured 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with nut mixture. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Stroganoff Superb

1 pound beef sirloin steak, cut into thin strips

3 tablespoons margarine

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 4-ounce can mushrooms, drained

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, cubed

3/4 cup milk

Hot noodles

Brown steak in margarine in large skillet. Add onions, mushrooms and seasonings, cook until vegetables are tender. Add cream cheese and milk, stir over low heat until cream cheese is melted. Serve over hot noodles either parsley or buttered.

Garden Macaroni Salad

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sweet pickle relish, drained

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

2 cups (7 ounces) elbow macaroni, cooked, drained

1 cup chopped cucumber

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1/2 cup radish slices

2 tablespoons chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

Gradually add mayonnaise to cream cheese, mixing until well blended. Stir in relish and mustard. Add remaining ingredients, mix lightly. Spoon into lightly oiled 9-inch spring form pan with ring insert. Chill several hours or overnight. Un-mold and garnish with cucumber slices and radish roses. Serves 6 to 8.

Egg Salad Sandwiches

1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon chili sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

8 hard cooked eggs, chopped

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

1/4 cup chopped celery

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons diced pimientos, drained

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

12 slices white bread

6 lettuce leaves

6 slices tomatoes

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, mayonnaise, chili sauce, salt and pepper. Stir in the eggs, green pepper, celery, onion, pimientos and parsley. On six slices of bread, layer lettuce, tomato and 1/2 cup egg salad. Top with remaining bread.

Creamy Lasagna

1 pound ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 14 1/2-ounce can tomatoes, cut up

1 6-ounce can tomato paste

1/3 cup water

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, cubed

1/4 cup milk

8 ounces lasagna noodles, cooked, drained

2 6-ounce packages part skim Mozzarella cheese slices

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Brown meat in large skillet. Drain. Add onions, cook until tender. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, water, garlic and seasonings. Cover, simmer 30 minutes. Combine cream cheese and milk in saucepan, stir over low heat until smooth. In a 13-by-9-inch baking pan layer half of noodles, meat mixture, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6 to 8.

I hope you enjoy these recipes that include cream cheese. Keep your eye open for more recipes with cream cheese and see what it does for the recipes. If you need to reach me, you can email me at judyd2313@frontier.com or drop a line to my attention to the BCR, P.O. Box 340, Princeton, IL 61356.

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