Thanksgiving 2011 + Pumpkin "Cheesecake"


Thanksgiving 2011 has come and gone.

Let me just say: Holy Food, Batman/Things didn’t totally go as planned, Batman.

I’m sorry Christian Bale Batman, please don’t yell at me like you did at that one guy.

Good news, most of the food was good:

Turkey, amazing mashed potatoes, addicting pumpkin cheesecake, Steve had a secretive apple pie and mac and cheese, there was beer, my roommate said my sweet potatoes were amazing, great gravy, and green bean casserole, from cans-don’t ever try it another way howdareyou.

Bad news, some food was not so good:

Gooey stuffing that had a little love affair with turkey stock, Rolls: Did not happen. Funny story – I assumed that when the frozen dinner rolls you buy say “keep frozen until ready to use” they can go straight from freezer to oven. Wrong. Ready to use means ready to wait 3-5 hours to thaw and rise. Got that? I just saved your Christmas/Winter Holiday dinner.

Also I managed to break only one bowl and have a bottle of cranberry juice fall out of the fridge and explode on the floor.

Here’s where I curtsy.

And tell you notes for a successful thanksgiving:

  • Thoroughly read directions on frozen dinner roll packages. Or no dinner rolls for you.
  • Take it easy with the turkey stock in the stuffing.
  • Drink at least one beer while preparing the meal.
  • Listen to good music.
  • Don’t freak out – something I need to work on.
  • Clean the house not on the same day.
  • Wear cool aprons. I need to show you all mine.
  • Shoot for an hour before you tell everyone to get there. You’ll need it.
  • Start cooking earlier than 12:30.
  • Make cheesecake and apple pie the day before, maybe even the mashed potatoes, and the stuffing.
  • Throw up some cool lights or a nice tablecloth to make not eating at a table because it’s too small a cool thing.
  • Learn that Thanksgiving isn’t filled with puppies and rainbows and sunshine and Norman Rockwell paintings. Just embrace it for what it is: a day for you to cook endlessly and break bowls and throw your face into thousands of calories in one sitting, and I love that. 

There you have it. Instant Success. Just add water, maybe some beer.

Also, I have some pumpkin cheesecake for you.

It’s almost like pumpkin pie and a cheesecake had a baby.

It’s like tangy cream cheese and sweet pumpkin were meant to get married and live happily ever after and have more babies than the Duggars. It’s insanely easy to make and the extra special crust adds some flavor and crunch with walnuts and oats. You’ll sneak bites out of the fridge when nobody’s looking, or maybe it’s so good you won’t care if anyone can see you.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Makes 1 9×13″ dish of deliciousness

1 sleeve, 9 graham crackers
1/2 chopped walnuts
1/2 c oats
1 stick butter, melted

12 oz cream cheese, 1 1/2 bricks*
3 eggs*
1 1/3 c brown sugar
1 T pumpkin pie spice
1 c milk, I used 1%
1 t vanilla
1 15 oz can pumpkin
*leave out on the counter for about an hour so the cream cheese can soften and eggs come to room temp, it makes the mixing a lot easier.

Preheat your oven to 425

In the bowl of a food processor, break up the graham crackers, then throw in the walnuts, oats, and sugar. Pulse a few times, without turning the crackers into powder. Pour in the butter and pulse a couple more times to combine.

Grease a 9×13″ pan and press the crust evenly into the bottom. Bake in the oven for 5 min.

While this is baking, grab a blender and throw all the filling ingredients in there. Start with a low speed for a sec, then bust it up to high until everything is combined (no giants chunks of cream cheese).

Carefully pour the mixture into the crust.

Bake at 425 for 15 min, then turn down to 350 for 25-30 min.

The center will still seem a little undercooked, but the top should be lightly browned. It’ll set fully while it cools, and it can totally be made the day ahead.

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