Tag: 101

Pumpkin Cheesecake | 101 Cooking For Two by Gordon Ramsay


Easy pumpkin cheesecake that you can bake at home. Inspired by The Cheese Cake Factory, it comes complete with a graham cracker crust and a creamy pumpkin filling spiced just right.
pumpkin cheesecake on an orange plate.

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Introduction and My Rating

Give it as a gift or take one to the party—everybody deserves something very special this year. This is the perfect make-ahead dessert to get everybody talking.

NOTE: THIS IS A FULL-SIZE CHEESECAKE AND IS NOT “FOR TWO” FRIENDLY.

We needed a special treat for out of town company, and my wife AKA “pumpkin hound” had a hard week recovering from a cold. So this one was for her.

Inspired by Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake which has top reviews. This recipe has been around the internet for over 20 years. Just a few minor adjustments for ease and complete step by step instructions for you.

This is a Philadelphia-style cheesecake which means mainly cream cheese with additives. New York style cheesecake will usually have sour cream or heavy cream mixed in the batter. An interesting fact is that the original recipe (probably similar to this one) reportedly had a thin sour cream layer on top.

My Rating

My rating system. Great 5 out of 5


A wife rating… way up there.

📋Ingredients

The Pumpkin: This recipe calls for pumpkin puree. You can make your own or buy it. Be sure not to get pumpkin pie filling—it is not the same thing.

Cream Cheese: Use a quality full-fat cream cheese that is allowed to rest at room temperature to soften. You can cheat and do a brief microwave. The softening is important to prevent lumps.

The Eggs: Should also be room temperature.

Spicing: cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice is recommend or use 1 teaspoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice which will have some ginger and cloves also.

The Crust

This uses a simple graham cracker crust. Crumble the crackers then add some melted butter and cinnamon. Then spread it over the bottom a well-buttered springform pan and slightly up the side and bake to firm it up. You could use gingersnaps of something similar if you wish instead of graham crackers.

♨️Baking

Bake on a middle rack of a preheated 350° oven. Total baking time can vary a bit but a good estimate is one hour but do a quick check for done at 50 minutes.

You are looking for the edges to be slightly browned and a little bit of puffiness. The center will look like it is just setting up and still have some jiggle.

When the cheesecake is done, turn off the oven and use a wooden spoon to prop open the oven do0r about 1/2 inch to allow slow cooling for about 1 hour more. Then move to room temperature for a few hours before refrigerating.

The Pan

This uses an 8 to 9-inch spring-form pan which are very common. Do not use a regular pan. A 10-inch spring-form pan is too big here.

Cracking

There are several causes of cheesecakes cracking.

>Sudden large changes in temperature so don’t open the oven door if possible.
>Over mixing can trap air in the batter. Just get it completely mixed and then stop.
>Over baking will cause a firm top leading to cracking while cooling.

Water Bath

Many recipes recommend a “water bath” for baking cheesecakes. Briefly, you warp outside of the spring-form pan in foil and set it in about 1 inch of very hot (boiling or close) water in the oven.

The benefits are the added moisture will help decrease cracking and slow the cooking a bit to help the texture. I have done this number of times on cheesecakes and except for me making a mess, I don’t see much difference for me. I now generally skip it. So the choice is yours.

Storage

Good refrigerated for 3-4 days. Good in the freeze for 2-3 months.

📖Cheesecake Recipes

Easy Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

New York Cheesecake Bars

Easy Cheesecake Cupcakes

Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

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🖼️Instructions

cream cheese and pumpkin for cheese cake

Allow cream cheese and eggs to come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350° with the rack in the center of the oven.

crushing Graham crackers in bag

Crush 9-12 graham crackers but not into dust. You need 1 1/2 cup of crumbs.

pouring melted butter into crushed crackers in glass bowl

Melt 5 tablespoons butter and mix into the graham cracker crumbs with one tablespoon sugar and mix until coated.

baked crust in spring-form pan

Prep an 8 or 9-inch spring-form pan with a good coat of butter. Mash the graham cracker into the bottom and about one inch up the side. Bake for 5 minutes then remove to cool while making the filling.

adding vanilla to bowl with sugar and cream cheese

In a large bowl, combine the three 8 oz packages cream cheese, one cup sugar, and one teaspoon vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth.

adding spices to filling in white bowl with mixer

Add one cup pumpkin,  three eggs, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon allspice. Optional if you want more “pumpkin pie” taste change the spices out for 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Mix until completely combined but do not over mix.

pour batter into springform pan with crust

Mix until smooth and pour the filling into the pan.

cooked pumplkin cheese cake in pan

Bake until browning around the edges. That will be about 60 minutes depending on your oven. But take a fast peak at 50 minutes to be sure it is not cooking too fast. Turn off the oven and prop open door slightly for 60 minutes. Then, cool at room temperature for a few hours then refrigerate until cold (4-6 hours or overnight.) Blue ribbon divider used for visual effect

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📖 Recipe

pumpkin cheesecake on an orange plate.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

From Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan

Easy pumpkin cheesecake that you can bake at home. Inspired by The Cheese Cake Factory, it comes complete with a graham cracker crust and a creamy pumpkin filling spiced just right.

Prep Time 15 mins

Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins

Total Time 1 hr 25 mins

Servings #/Adjust if desired 8

Ingredients

Spices or use 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice

Recipe Notes

Pro Tips

  1. This is not a recipe to adjust the size. You are asking for failure.
  2. Commercial pumpkin puree is recommended. It seems to have more flavor than homemade.
  3. The cream cheese and eggs do need to be room temperature to mix smoothly.
  4. Use an 8 to 9-inch springform pan. Give it a good coat of butter. Do not try to use a different pans.
  5. Spicing as suggested or 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Not both.
  6. Do not over mix. It will add air and cause cracking.
  7. Done is when the edges are browning and puffing some. The center is starting to set. It will still jiggle some.
  8. A water bath baking method is optional. You may have less cracking.
  9. Cook in the oven with the door slightly open (about 1/2 inch) for about an hour then another few hours at room temperature. Then refrigerate until cold before cutting.
  10. I like to run a spatula around the edge of the pan when it comes out of the oven to loosen it while still soft.
  11. Good refrigerated for 3-4 days and frozen for 2-3 months.
  12.  
  13.  
Have More Questions?Make it Perfect First Time and Every Time. Don’t miss out, check the full post above. Almost every recipe includes easy step by step photo instructions so you can visualize yourself cooking this recipe along with helpful tips and options.

TO ADJUST THE RECIPE SIZE:You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.

Nutrition

Calories : 559kcalCarbohydrates : 45gProtein : 9gFat : 39gSaturated Fat : 22gCholesterol : 174mgSodium : 465mgPotassium : 231mgFiber : 1gSugar : 34gVitamin A : 6216IUVitamin C : 1mgCalcium : 115mgIron : 2mg

Serving size is my estimate of a normal size unless stated otherwise. The number of servings per recipe is stated above. This is home cooking, and there are many variables. All nutritional information are estimates and may vary from your actual results. To taste ingredients such as salt will be my estimate of the average used.

Course :Dessert

Cuisine :American

Editor’s note: Originally Published October 22, 2015. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.

Molly and Lilly dogs in Michigan bandanas in our living room

Crock Pot Scalloped Potatoes | 101 Cooking For Two by Gordon Ramsay


A perfect side-dish or add ham to make the classic scalloped potatoes with ham. Either way, this is great comfort food you can now make in your crock pot.image of Scalloped Potatoes on white plate

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Introduction and My Rating

I love potatoes but make them cheesy, creamy, and tender, then I will follow you home. This recipe is a crock pot adoption of my oven version of scalloped potatoes.

My oven recipe is very good, but it takes me longer to wipe up than I like. I have to pay attention, and it seems to eat up my time when I’m working on other components of the meal. So I don’t do it often.

A crock pot recipe would seem to address some of those issues by time-shifting the work and if possible, simplify even more.

One thing I have against many crock pot recipes is that can of soup. I just don’t like the idea or the taste. So mine is slightly more involved with making an easy roux-based sauce—slightly more work but worth it.

I read many crock pot scalloped potatoes recipes, but there were way too many cans of soup just dumped in lots of crock pots—nothing I would want to eat. A few looked ok, but I liked my oven recipe better. So it was conversion time.

My original recipe was based this on food.com Scalloped Potatoes recipe. It still looked great, just not a crock pot recipe. A change here and a simplification there, and I had what I wanted. I will enjoy them over and over as long as my mandolin holds up.

My Rating

My rating system. Great 5 out of 5


Excellent. My wife is guarding the leftovers.

👨‍🍳Scalloped vs. Au Gratin

I call this scalloped mainly because, in my mind, that is what they are, but other terms apply. So, scalloped is anything baked in a casserole with a sauce with or without the cheese.

Au Gratin means grated and usually refers to cheese. So this recipe could be called Scalloped or Au Gratin or Scalloped Au Gratin.

🥔Potatoes

All potatoes will cook about the same. The main difference will be the thick skin on Russets, and they will have a bit more starch.  So Russets are an excellent choice here and what we usually use.

But other potatoes, like a Yukon Gold, would work great here. I would not use a small potato just because it will cause extra work for no real return.

If you use Russets, they should be peeled due to the tough skin. Thinner skin potatoes can be peeled or unpeeled.

✔️Tips

The Cheese

Most people will use mild or sharp cheddar, but Monterey Jack or Gruyere would be nice also.

The Crock Pot Size

I like to use a large crock pot of 6-quarts or above. This will be a thinner casserole but allow more crispy top and edges. You can fit this in a 4-quart crock pot.

How Long to Cook

This takes about 8 hours on low and 4-5 hours on high. If you use a smaller crock pot or a double recipe, it can take a bit longer to cook.

Also, remember that crock pot varies a lot. Pay attention and cook to the endpoints of temperature and color, especially if you are cooking on high.

The potatoes are done when the edge turns crusty and dark brown – almost burnt. It is not; think of it as a scallop potato version of “burnt ends” from the BBQ joint. You will be tempted to end the cooking early but don’t.

Remember, potatoes are done at 200+°. The texture was great, but it took 8 hours. You may only get to 190° in some crock pots, that is still good.

If your crock pot runs hot, then your edges may burn. So know your pot. But that very dark brown is tasty.

Storage and Reheating

Good refrigerated for 3-4 days and frozen for 3-4 months.

We much prefer this reheated in an oven, but a microwave works well, also.

🐖Adding Ham

You can easily make this Scalloped Potatoes with Ham. Just mix some well-trimmed ham in with the potato slices. Use about 3 cups of diced or sliced ham. That will be about 3/4 to 1 pound of ham. But use more or less for your taste.

📖Potato Recipes

Old Fashion Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

Old Fashion Scalloped Potatoes

Crock Pot Cheesy Potatoes from Real Potatoes

Crispy Parmesan Baked Potatoes

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🖼️Instructions

potatoes with cheese and spices


2 pounds of russet potatoes is about 5-6 medium potatoes.

slicing potatoes with a mandolin


Slice potatoes about 1/8 inch. I recommend a mandolin here. Here is my new Oxy mandolin. It is highly recommended. Let’s be careful and not end up in the ER. Soak the potato slices in cold water until needed and then rinse and pat dry.

making a roux in a pan with a whisk


Start the sauce with 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. When melted, add 3 tablespoon flour and whisk for a few minutes.

adding milk to pan with a roux and whisk

Add 1 1/2 cup milk. Frequently whisk for a couple of minutes and add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Bring to a light boil, and this will start to thicken in a few more minutes.

adding cheese to pan with a roux


Remove from heat and add 1 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. I used sharp cheddar. Whisk until smooth.

layering slices of potato into crock pot


Layer half of the potatoes into a large crock pot that has been sprayed with PAM. Put them in individually, so they are not stuck together. Do not just dump them in.

pouring cheese mixture onto the potatoes in a large crock pot

Pour half the cheese sauce over the first half of the potatoes. Add the second half of the potatoes, then the rest of the cheese sauce.

a light sprinkle of paprika on the cheese layer


Now give a light sprinkle of paprika. Cook on low for about 8 hours.

cooked potatoe casserole in crock pot

The edges will appear dark brown, but they are just crispy like the best part of many casseroles. The internal temperature should be 200+° if possible. Some crock pots will only get to 190° which is fine.

large spoon full of browned scallloped potatoes


Be sure to let the casserole rest for 10-15 minutes after cooking to firm up before serving.

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📖 Recipe

image of Scalloped Potatoes on white plate

Crock Pot Scalloped Potatoes

From Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan

A perfect side-dish or add ham to make the classic scalloped potatoes with ham. Either way, this is great comfort food you can now make in your crock pot.

Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time 8 hrs

Total Time 8 hrs 20 mins

Servings #/Adjust if desired 8

Ingredients

To Make It Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

Recipe Notes

Pro Tips

  1. This needs a 4 quart or bigger crock pot but I suggest a 6 quart to get more crispy edge.
  2. A half recipe works in a 3-quart crock pot.
  3. Use the potatoes you want but Russets are standard and work well but they should be peeled. Other potatoes with thinner skin do not need to be peeled.
  4. Try to use a mandolin to cut the potatoes. It works much better. BUT PLEASE BE SAFE.
  5. Put the potato slices in one at a time to prevent sticking. Also, be sure to soak, rinse, and pat dry the potato slices.
  6. Cheap generic cheese can separate from long cooking. If you have this problem, use a better cheese.
  7. You can add diced or sliced ham with the potatoes. About 3 cups is a good amount but a bit more or less is fine. That is 3/4 to 1 pound.
  8. The endpoint of cooking is the color of the top and edges along with 190+°. but 200+° preferred. That should take about 8 hours on low and about 5 on high.
  9. REMEMBER CROCK POTS VARY A LOT, especially older crock pots. So pay attention to the endpoints. Do not burn the edges, dark brown is good, burnt is not.
  10. If it finishes early, just turn off the crock pot and keep covered. It will stay warm a long time.
  11. Good refrigerated for 3-4 days and in the freezer for 3-4 months. Reheat is nicer in an oven but microwave is OK. Be sure it is thawed if frozen.
Have More Questions?Make it Perfect First Time and Every Time. Don’t miss out, check the full post above. Almost every recipe includes easy step by step photo instructions so you can visualize yourself cooking this recipe along with helpful tips and options.

TO ADJUST THE RECIPE SIZE:You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.

Nutrition

Calories : 317kcalCarbohydrates : 28gProtein : 10gFat : 19gSaturated Fat : 8gPolyunsaturated Fat : 4gMonounsaturated Fat : 4gCholesterol : 13mgSodium : 552mgPotassium : 624mgFiber : 3gSugar : 3gVitamin A : 250IUVitamin C : 28.1mgCalcium : 70mgIron : 1.3mg

Serving size is my estimate of a normal size unless stated otherwise. The number of servings per recipe is stated above. This is home cooking, and there are many variables. All nutritional information are estimates and may vary from your actual results. To taste ingredients such as salt will be my estimate of the average used.

Course :Side Dish|Vegetable

Cuisine :American

Editor’s Note: Originally Published January 9, 2017. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.
Dogs at play in the yard

Easy Oven Carnitas | 101 Cooking For Two by Gordon Ramsay


Pork carnitas are simple. Cut up the pork butt, add a few spices, and a lime. Pop them into the oven for a slow roast—no big fuss or mess. Have one of your favorites at home today.
close up image of Carnitas on a plate


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Introduction and My Rating

One of our standard restaurant meals is carnitas. If you are unaware of this Mexican classic, they are basically chunks of pork butt cooked with seasoning.

Also known as “little meats,” and sometimes called Mexican pulled pork, they can be found on the street in Mexico cooking in large vats of lard. Not a good option for us home cooking Yankees.

I have done carnitas multiple ways (never in lard). The most common method that I see recommended is braising chuck of pork butt in a spiced up fluid of some type and then cooking off the liquid either on the stovetop or in an oven.

That method works nicely but is a fair amount of work and makes a heck of a mess.  I have done this a number of times (not published), and it was very tasting. But the work to food ratio was high for me.

There is a much easier method, and the major issue, which is the horrible mess I usually make at home, is gone.

My Rating

My rating system. Great 5 out of 5

Low 5 or high 4 range. Much of the fat drains due to the rack, so the “greasy factor” is markedly decreased.

🐖Pork Butt

Like many cuts of meat, there are multiple names about the same thing. Pork butt, Boston butt, and Pork shoulder are the same in common usage.

A “real” pork shoulder is really the thinner area of this cut but is commonly cooked and used the same as the butt, but usually, the term pork shoulder is used interchangeably with pork butt and Boston butt.

I do suggest a boneless butt to simplify by letting the butcher cut the bone out. Just make your life easier.

♨️The Method

I needed a really simple technique. And finding a recipe to model was a major problem.

The simplest was at instructables.com, but I had a few issues. It required flipping, I felt it would probably overcook, and it was not on a rack, so the pork would cook in the drained out fat and juice, which I wanted to avoid.

My method is simple enough for the average home cook to make. So here, we cut the pork into chunks, season, spread on a rack, cover and bake for a while in a low oven then uncover for a while, almost everybody can do this.

I do suggest a boneless pork butt to simplify by letting the butcher cut the bone out, which can be more work than you appreciate.

The rack will lift the meat out of the rendered fat and improve cooking on all sides without flipping.

🧂Seasoning

The seasoning of carnitas is highly variable. It can just be salt or use lots of other spices and herbs.  There may or may not be citruses like lime or orange. So season to your taste.

📖Other Carnitas Recipes

Crock Pot Pork Carnitas

Healthier Pork Tenderloin Carnitas

Chicken Carnitas AKA Carnitas de Pollo

Blue ribbon divider used for visual effect🖼️Instructions

raw pork butt with spices and a lime

Preheat oven to 250° convection or 275° conventional.

spary rack on tray and foil with pam

Prepare a sheet pan with foil and a rack. Give the rack a heavy spray of PAM.

pork butt cut into chunks on black board

Cut a 3-4 pound boneless pork butt into about 2-inch chunks. Trim big chunks of fat only. You could do bone-in butt, but you will just be making your life harder.

mixing chunks of pork butt with spices in a white bowl

Place pork in a large mixing bowl. Add the juice of one lime. Mix well. Add 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mix well. Change the seasoning if you wish.

spice covered pork on the rack and tray

Transfer meat to the prepared pan. Distribute evenly but largest chunks in the corners.

Covering tray of raw pork with foil

Cover with foil.

cooked carnitas still on the rack

Roast in the preheated oven for 2 1/2 hours. Remove foil and continue to roast about 2 more hours until internal temperature is 195° to 200° on the biggest pieces.

pile of baked carnitas on a white plate

Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

shredded pork in tortilla

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📖 Recipe

image of a carnitas on a orange plate

Easy Oven Carnitas

From Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan

Pork carnitas are simple. Cut up the pork butt, add a few spices, and a lime. Pop them into the oven for a slow roast—no big fuss or mess. Have one of your favorites at home today.

Prep Time 15 mins

Cook Time 4 hrs 30 mins

Total Time 4 hrs 45 mins

Servings #/Adjust if desired 6

Ingredients

Recipe Notes

Pro Tips

  1. The recipe calls for a 3-4 pounds boneless pork butt but you can use a bigger butt with no problem. A bone-in butt is fine but just more work.
  2. It is important to put the thicker pieces of pork to the corners and the outside edge of the tray.
  3. You can do this without the rack but the bottom will be setting in the fat and drainage.
  4. Season as you want.
  5. The final temperature endpoint is the most important part of this recipe. Never cook by time alone.
  6. Serve with tortillas and toppings of your choice.
  7. Good refrigerated for 3-4 days or frozen for 3-4 months.

The nutrition information on this is obviously variable due to the nature of pork butt.

Have More Questions?Make it Perfect First Time and Every Time. Don’t miss out, check the full post above. Almost every recipe includes easy step by step photo instructions so you can visualize yourself cooking this recipe along with helpful tips and options.

TO ADJUST THE RECIPE SIZE:You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.

Nutrition

Calories : 307kcalCarbohydrates : 2gProtein : 43gFat : 13gSaturated Fat : 5gCholesterol : 136mgSodium : 558mgPotassium : 801mgFiber : 1gSugar : 1gVitamin A : 395IUVitamin C : 2mgCalcium : 39mgIron : 3mg

Serving size is my estimate of a normal size unless stated otherwise. The number of servings per recipe is stated above. This is home cooking, and there are many variables. All nutritional information are estimates and may vary from your actual results. To taste ingredients such as salt will be my estimate of the average used.

Course :Main Course

Cuisine :Mexican

Editor’s Note: Originally Published October 1, 2017. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.

dogs walking in the green grass

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