Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pistachio and Cranberry Biscotti

I love biscotti, even though I don't drink coffee.  :)  It's such a nice, but quite pricey dessert.  This recipe makes about 3 dozens of it and it's very inexpensive.  So, it's a win-win situation here.  I love the combination of the crunchy and slightly salty pistachio with the sweetness and softness of the dried cranberries.  Such a delight!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 1/2 cups flour
-1 cup sugar
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-1 Tbs vanilla extract
-3 large eggs, slightly beaten
-1 cup roasted, salted, shelled pistachios
-1 cup dried cranberries
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In your mixer's bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking soda and baking power.  Mix well.  Add the vanilla and eggs.  Mix until a dough forms.  Stir in the pistachios and cranberries and mix until evenly distributed.
Divide the dough into three and shape into 2x6 logs.  Place on prepared baking sheet.  
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown or toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from the oven, but keep the heat on.  
Cool the logs on the wire rack for 5 minutes.  Using a serrated knife, cut logs diagonally into 1/2 inch slices.  Arrange the slices back on the baking sheet with the cut side up and leaning on one another.  Return to the oven and bake for 5-7 more minutes or until very lightly browned.  Transfer slices back on the rack and cool completely.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chicken with Garlic, Peas and Spaghetti

Easy, quick and delicious.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-salt
-1 lb spaghetti, uncooked
-2 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless, cut into bite-size chunks
-2 cups frozen peas
-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-ground pepper
-1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Once boiling, stir in some salt and the spaghetti.  Cook, stirring continually, for 2 minutes.  Stop stirring and cook for 4 more minutes.  Add the chicken chunks and peas.  Bring the water back to a boil.  After that, simmer for 2 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
Heat the oil in a wok.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the drained pasta, chicken and peas.  Stir-fry for 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Season with some salt and pepper.  Add the cheese and give it a good stir.  Serve and enjoy!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Kielbasa with Vegetables and Orzo

I had half of a Kielbasa in the fridge and wanted to try something new with it.  This dish came to mind.  It's easy and quite delicious.  I also love the orzo in it and the little kick from the tomatoes with jalapenos.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-cooking spray
-8 oz Polska Kielbasa
-1 small onion, chopped
-1 bell pepper, chopped
-1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes with zesty jalapenos
-1 1/4 cup uncooked orzo pasta
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 tsp dried thyme
-2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Coat a large oven proof saucepan with cooking spray and place on stove over medium-high heat. Slice the sausage halfway, then slice in 1/2 inch slices.  Add to the hot pan and cook until nice and brown.  Add the onion and pepper.  Cook for about 3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes with the juice and give it a good stir.  Add the pasta, water and thyme.  Mix well, cover and place in preheated oven.
Bake, covered, for 50 minutes.  Remove from the oven, add the oil and stir.  Cover and bake for 10 more minutes.
Remove from the oven, stir again and scoop into plates.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pudding

There's nothing that compares with homemade pudding.  There is none of that powdery residue from the pre-made mix, the pudding is creamier and healthier.  This one is delicious and a must try!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3/4 cup brown sugar, divided
-1/8 tsp salt
-3 Tbs cornstarch
-2 cups whole milk
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 Tbs unsalted butter
-1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
Directions:
Put 1/2 cup of the brown sugar along with the salt and cornstarch into a saucepan.  Whisk over medium heat until no more lumps.  Add the milk and heavy cream, and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and starts to bubble (about 7 minutes).  Lower the heat to medium-low and keep on whisking for 5 more minutes.  The mixture will be nice and thick then.
Remove from heat and stir in the last 1/4 cup brown sugar, along with the vanilla and butter.  Stir until well combined.  pour into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Remove from the fridge, scoop into serving bowls and top with chocolate chips.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Slow Cooker Wild Mushroom Beef Stew

This is another delicious and wonderful meal for a busy night.  My schedule is insanely busy, so I rely a great deal on my crock pot.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-cooking spray
-1 1/2 lbs beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
-1/8 cup flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1 1/2 cups beef broth
-1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
-1 garlic clove, minced
-1 bay leaf
-1 tsp paprika
-15 oz wild mushrooms, sliced
-1 cup baby carrots
-2 medium potatoes, cubed
-1 onion, chopped
Directions:
Generously coat the slow cooker with cooking spray on the bottom and sides.  Add the beef chunks.
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, salt and pepper.  Pour over beef and stir to coat evenly.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Give it a good stir until everything is nicely mixed.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Gnocchi with Bacon and Sweet Peas

This is such a yummy and filling dish.  It's very quick to put together.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 lb package potato gnocchi
-8 slices bacon, chopped
-5 cloves garlic, minced
-2 Tbs butter
-1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1 Tbs lemon juice
Directions:
In a large pot bring some water to boil.   Add some salt to it, then the gnocchi.  Cook according to package instructions.
While gnocchi is cooking, cook bacon in a large skillet until lightly crisp.  Discard excess fat and add garlic.  Cook for about 30 seconds.  Drain the gnocchi and add it to the pan.  Stir in butter, peas and pepper.  Combine well.  Add lemon juice and allow flavors to blend.  Enjoy!
Adapted from an Aaron McCargo Jr. recipe

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Melt in Your Mouth Shrimp

This is super easy and absolutely delicious!  The shrimp melts in your mouth; literally!  Super yum.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 stick salted butter
-1 lemon, sliced
-12 oz shrimp, shelled, deveined, with tails removed
-1 (0.6 oz) package zesty Italian mix
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Melt the butter and pour it in an 9x13 pan.  Top with the lemon slices.  Distribute the shrimp evenly on top of lemon.  Sprinkle seasoning mix all over the shrimp.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Slow Cooker Country-Style Pork Ribs

This is another great dish for those busy nights.  It can be served with a variety of side dishes, veggies or salads.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-cooking spray
-1 large onion, sliced
-2.5-3 lbs country-style pork ribs
-2 Tbs tomato paste
-1/4 cup molasses
-3 Tbs vinegar
-1 tsp dry mustard
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
-1 1/2 cups vegetable juice, divided
Directions:
Generously coat your slow cooker with cooking spray (on the sides too).  Layer the bottom with the onion slices.  Top the onion with the pork ribs.
In a bowl, combine the tomato paste with the molasses, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, rosemary and 1/2 cup of the juice.  Mix well and pour over pork.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
In the last few minutes of cooking, pour the remaining 1 cup vegetable juice into a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove the meat, without the sauce, from the slow cooker.  Pour the simmered sauce on top and enjoy!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pumpkin Whip with Homemade Gingersnaps

Yum, yum, yum!  Double delicious on this one!  The whip is awesome and the gingersnaps are the best ever because they're fresh and homemade.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For pumpkin whip:
-1 (3.4 oz) package instant butterscotch pudding mix
-1 1/2 cups cold milk
-1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
-1 cup canned pumpkin
-1 1/2 cups whipped topping, thawed
For gingersnaps (makes about 3 dozens):
-1 stick butter, at room temperature
-1 cup brown sugar
-1/4 cup molasses
-1 egg
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 Tbs ground ginger
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-a pinch of ground cloves
-2 cups flour
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
Directions:
First, prepare the whip.  Beat pudding and milk until smooth and thick.  Blend in spice and pumpkin.  Mix well.  Fold in the whipped topping.  Scoop into dessert dishes and set in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile, make the cookies.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
cream the butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the molasses and egg and beat until smooth.  Add the baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and cloves and mix well.  Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time and mix until well blended.
Pinch off a little dough and roll it into a 1-inch ball.  Roll it through the granulated sugar and place it on the prepared sheet.  Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake in preheated oven for about 11 minutes or until the top is cracked.  Remove from the oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Skinny Fancy Alfredo

This is such a nice twist on the regular Alfredo sauce, because it's way lower in calories, plus it has veggies in it and it's still creamy and delicious.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-8 oz fettuccine pasta
-1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, packed in water
-1 Tbs salted butter
-8 oz mushrooms, sliced
-1/2 package of Lipton's savory herb with garlic recipe soup and dip mix
-1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
-1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
-1/2 cup shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese
-1 Tbs flour
Directions:
Cook pasta according to the box directions.
Meanwhile, drain and roughly chop the artichoke hearts.
Melt the butter into saucepan.  Add the artichokes and mushrooms, and cook for about 3 minutes, or until nice and soft.  Add the soup mix and give it a good stir.  Add the milk and the cheeses, and stir until smooth.  Sprinkle in the flour and stir well.  Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is smooth and thickened (about 5 minutes).  Toss with the cooked and drained pasta.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Microwave Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

These are super quick to make (~15 minutes) and delicious.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1/4 cup unsalted butter
-1/3 cup brown sugar
-1/4 cup honey
-1/8 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-2 cups quick oats
-1 1/4 cups rice krispy cereal
-3 Tbs mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Directions:
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and set aside.
Add the butter, sugar and honey to a large microwave safe bowl.  Heat on high for 1 minute.  Stir and microwave on high for 1 1/2 more minutes.  Carefully remove from microwave oven and give it a good stir.  Add the salt and vanilla.  Mix well.  Stir in the oats until well blended.  Fold in the cereal.
Pour mixture onto prepared sheet and press down with the spoon you used to mix.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly and press down into the mixture.
Place sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes.  Remove from freezer, cut into bars and enjoy! Store in airtight container and make sure to wrap each bar in wax paper so that they don't stick together.:)
Slightly adapted from a recipe found here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thai Corn Soup with Shrimp

So simple and so delicious!  This soup is perfect for these cold autumn days.  There is a bit of a kick to it, but it's counterbalanced by the sweetness of the corn.  Simply delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 tsp vegetable oil
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-1/2 tsp ground ginger
-1/2 tsp hot chili sauce (Sriracha)
-4 cups chicken stock
-1 (14 3/4 oz) can cream-style corn
-2 tsp Thai fish sauce
-1 Tbs water
-2 tsp cornstarch
-1 tsp sugar
-1 tsp sesame oil
-12 oz uncooked shrimp, deveined, with tails removed
-1 large egg, beaten
-1 Tbs dried cilantro leaves
-1/4 tsp paprika
Directions:
Heat oil in large saucepan.  Add the garlic, ginger and chili sauce.  Cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. 
Add the stock, corn and fish sauce.  Bring to a boil.  Let it simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
While that simmers, combine the water, cornstarch, sugar and sesame oil in a small boil.  Add to the soup.  Stir in the shrimp and egg, stirring, while dropping the egg.  Let the soup simmer for about 3 minutes so that the shrimp cooks, the soup thickens and the egg sets into long strands.  Stir in the cilantro and paprika.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Snickers Cake

Say what?????  This cake is pure decadence!  There's the yumminess of the German chocolate cake with the gooeyness of the caramel and crunch of the pecans, plus the sweetness of the chocolate chips.  Top that off with some vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup and you'll feel like you're in Heaven.  So, so, so good!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 box German chocolate cake mix PLUS all the ingredients needed to make (eggs, oil, water)
-13 oz caramels
-1/4 cup milk
-1/3 cup unsalted butter
-2 cups milk chocolate chips
-1 cup chopped pecans
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease 9x13 baking dish and set aside.
Prepare cake mix as instructed on the box.  Pour half of the batter into prepared pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Do NOT turn off the oven after this!
While that's baking, unwrap the caramels and place them in a sauce pan.  Add the milk and butter and melt until nice and smooth.
As soon as the cake is finished, pour the hot caramel on top.   You'll hear that beautiful sizzling sound.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips and pecans on top.  Spread evenly the remaining cake batter on top.  Bake for 15-20 more minutes.
Serve hot by itself or with some vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup.  Yum!  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Romanian Pork Stew with Leeks, Potatoes and Pickles (Tocanita de Porc cu Praz, Cartofi si Castraveti Murati)

That's quite a name for this dish, but it's worth it because it's finger-licking good!  I love stews and this is one of my favorites.  Normally I prefer to use salt-brined pickles.  However, those are hard to find in the store, and unless you make them yourself, you only find the ones pickled in vinegar.  If you do have the ones brined in salt, then skip the part about soaking.  That aside, get to work and make this stew.  You will not regret it!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1 lb pork chops, boneless, cut into bite-size chunks
-1 leek, cleaned and thinly sliced
-1 large onion, diced
-2 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1 tsp paprika
-3 cups water
-2 Tbs tomato paste
-2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
-6 baby pickles, medium size
Directions:
Heat the oil in large pan.  Add the pork and cook until golden brown on all sides.
Add the leek, onion, salt, pepper and paprika.  Give it a good stir and cook for about 10 minutes.  Add the water and tomato paste.  Stir until well combined.  Add the potatoes.  Bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, cover and let it simmer, stirring occasionally for about 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the ends of the pickles.  Slice the pickles into 1 inch chunks.  Place in a bowl, cover with water and let them soak while the potatoes are cooking.
At the end of the 35 minutes, drain the pickles and add them to the stew.  Cook on low, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes.  Adjust the seasoning if necessary.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mama's Romanian Pumpkin Pie (Placinta cu Dovleac)

Oh how I love this pie!  This is my mom's recipe.  The main difference between the Romanian and American pumpkin pie is probably the texture.  For the Romanian recipe, you grate the squash rather than puree it.  Also, instead of the actual pumpkin, Romanians use butternut squash.  It is sweeter and better suited for the pie.  You can also make it with apples if you don't like pumpkin or if you want a different fruit.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 butternut squashes, peeled, seeded and grated (use the large grating side) or 3 lbs apples, cored (peel on) and grated
-1 Tbs cinnamon
-1 cup sugar
-2 tsp vanilla
-1 cup vegetable oil
-1 cup warm water
-4 + cups flour
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 cup crushed pecans (optional)
-powder sugar
Directions:
Mix grated squash (apples) with cinnamon, sugar and vanilla.  Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Prepare the pastry by mixing oil, warm water, salt and flour (a little at a time) until you get a nice soft but not sticky dough. 
Spray cookie sheet with the baking PAM (the one that has flour in it).  On a lightly floured surface spread the dough until nice and thin, but be careful not to break it.  Gently place the dough on the prepared cookie sheet.  Spread the squash mixture on top of dough.  Sprinkle with crushed pecans, if desired.  Gently roll the dough like a burrito.  Poke it with a fork all over the top (this will help it cook evenly without the dough busting open).  Brush a little oil on top.  Bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool it a bit, dust it with some powder sugar and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Steak Pizzaiola

This is a wonderful dish, low fat with lots of veggies, which I love. :)  I served ours with a simple, yet delicious foccacia bread.  They were amazing together.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 1/4 lbs boneless sirloin steak, about 1 inch thick
-salt
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
-1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
-1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
-4 Tbs jarred pepperoncini, deli sliced, drained
-15 oz crushed tomatoes
-1/2 tsp dried oregano
-3/4 cup water
- a pinch of red pepper flakes
Directions:
Sprinkle the steak with salt and both sides. 
Heat the oil in large skillet.  Add the steak and quickly brown on both sides (about 2 minutes per side).  Remove onto a plate and set aside.
To the same skillet add the garlic.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add the onion and peppers.  Stir occasionally and cook for about 4 minutes.  Add the pepperoncini, tomatoes, oregano, water and red pepper flakes.  Give it a good stir.  Once it starts simmering, nestle the steak in the sauce.  Simmer, turning the steak once, until medium well (about 7 minutes).  Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes.  Continue simmering the sauce until thickened, for about 3 more minutes.
Slice the steak thinly and divide among the plates.  Add the sauce with all the veggies.  Serve with foccacia.  Enjoy!


Monday, October 7, 2013

Cream of Bean Soup

Not only does this soup taste delicious; it is also a great use of your food storage.  You get to use dry beans, whole wheat, powdered milk and spices.  Super easy and delicious.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 1/4 cups dry pinto beans
-1 Tbs vegetable oil
-2 Tbs whole wheat flour
-6 1/4 cups water
-2 1/2 tsp salt, divided
-3/4 cup powdered milk
-1 tsp garlic powder
-pinch of cayenne pepper
Directions:
Sort and clean the beans.  Place into large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover and let soak for 1 hour.
Drain water and rinse beans.  Cover again with water and cook on low for 1 1/2 hours.  Drain and rinse well.  Set aside.
In a soup pot, mix the oil and flour over medium heat.  Mix until well blended.  Add the cooked beans, water, 1/2 tsp salt, powdered milk and garlic powder.  Stir and cook for 15-20 minutes.  Add the rest of the salt and cook for 5 more minutes.  Using your immersion blender, or taking turns in a normal blender, process until smooth.  Cook for 5 more minutes or until thick and creamy.
Ladle into bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of cayenne.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Romanian Sweet Marble Bread (Chec)

This is another sweet memory from my childhood.  My mom would make this as often as she could.  It is simple and delicious.  Enjoy!
Yields one large loaf
Ingredients:
-1 1/4 cups sugar
-3 eggs
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-1 cup milk
-1 tsp imitation rum extract
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 cups flour
-1 Tbs baking powder
-2 Tbs lemon juice
-2 Tbs cocoa powder
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat a 10x6 pan (a large one) with the baking spray (the one with flour in it).  Set aside.
Cream the sugar with the eggs and oil.  Add the milk and extracts.  Mix well.  Add 1 cup of flour.  Mix well.  While that's mixing, combine the baking powder with the lemon juice in a separate bowl.  It will bubble up.  Add that mixture to the sugar one.  Mix well.  Add the remaining cup of flour and mix until well incorporated.
Pour 3/4 of the batter into the prepared pan.  Mix the remaining batter with the cocoa powder.  Pour it into the plain batter and swirl it, like this:
Bake in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Let it cool in the pan for about 15-20 minutes.
Remove from pan and let it cool completely on wire rack.  Slice and enjoy!
Adapted from my mom's recipe.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Easy Tilapia Corn Chowder

This is comfort food for me.  Hubby called it gourmet food.  He said this should be on every restaurant's menu.  It is so good!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 slices bacon, cut into chunks
-1 leek, halved lengthwise, rinsed and thinly sliced
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-4 cups chicken broth
-2 small potatoes, peeled and diced
-1 (15.5 oz) can corn, drained
-1 1/2 lbs tilapia fillets, cut into bite size chunks
-1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
-2 tsp lemon juice
-chopped chives to garnish
Directions:
Cook bacon in large soup pot until crispy.  Remove onto plate with a slotted spoon.  Leave the bacon grease in the pot and add the leak, salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring often for about 2 minutes.  Add the broth and potatoes.  Bring to a boil and let it simmer for about 8 minutes. Stir in tilapia and corn and cook for 4 more minutes.
Remove pot from the heat.  Stir in cream, lemon juice and reserved bacon.
Ladle into bowls, garnish with chives and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Creamy Baked Mashed Potatoes

These truly are the creamiest, tastiest mashed potatoes.  Yes, there's a ton of butter involved, along with cream cheese and heavy cream.  So this is definitely not good for your waistline.  But it's a nice indulgence once in a while.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, divided
-5 lbs potatoes
-8 oz cream cheese, softened
-1 cup heavy cream
-1 tsp seasoned salt
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Generously coat a 9x13 pan with the butter cooking spray.  Set aside.
Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks.  Boil until fork tender.  Drain.  Return to the stove and mash over low heat until all the steam is gone.  Turn off the heat and add 1 1/2 sticks butter and the rest of the ingredients.  Mash and mix well.
Pour mixture into prepared pan.  Cut the remaining butter into small chunks and spread all over potatoes.
Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Danna's Pear Torte

A couple of years ago, during a girls' night out, my friend Danna brought this.  I was hooked!  It's so, so good and easy too!  It took a while to get the recipe from her, but I finally got it, made it and now I'm sharing it with you.:)  It's also perfect now when the pears are in their full glory.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:
For the crust:
-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
-1/3 cup sugar
-1 cup flour
For the filling:
-8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
-1 egg
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/3 cup sugar
For topping:
-2 small pears, cored and thinly sliced
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 Tbs cinnamon
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Mix crust ingredients until crumbly.  Press into pie dish on the bottom and up the sides.  Set aside.
Combine filling ingredients until nice and smooth.  Pour on top of crust.
Mix sugar and cinnamon.  Toss the pear slices with the mixture.  Arrange pears on top of filling.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.  Let it cool and enjoy!
Slightly adapted from my friend, Danna's recipe.

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