Thursday, March 24, 2011

dinner in a springform pan

If you're like me, you find recipes on the Internet that sound so absolutely wonderful that you just want to stop what you're doing and start cooking/baking.  Trouble is, I find most of these said recipes while at work.  So I end up printing off countless recipes and bring them home with every intention of trying them. Some of them make it on my table and many don't. 

I host a family dinner at my house every other Sunday, so this is a good excuse to try some of these recipes.  This past Sunday was my turn to host and I thought it'd be a great time to "experiment". Now, whipping out new stuff while cooking for the usual suspects (aka Countrymouse and the pups) isn't all that intimating. They've lived through my culinary mishaps over the years so they are pretty nonplussed. (Like the time I made ham and bean soup that was so salty I thought we'd need IV fluids to rehydrate but Countrymouse, ever my biggest supporter, threatened the pups with an early bedtime if they all didn't eat the soup. (Obviously, back in the day when that still worked.) They still talk about it.  And yes, they ate it. Oh and no, I didn't.)

I love having people over to eat and fellowship... especially people I care about. When I have guests at my table, I always try to prepare food that I am proud to serve.  So many times during the work week I find myself cutting corners, whether it's paper plates or Rice-a-Roni, so Sunday dinners are an opportunity to do things "right".  However, when everything is said and done, it's about the people.  The food and drink just contribute to the experience. I bring this up because dinner on Sunday didn't go as planned.

I found the best recipe for Pasta Pie on the Noble Pig blog and was totally psyched to make it.  It sounded easy enough and I knew the presentation would be memorable.  After cooking the rigatoni and patiently standing them on end tightly in my springform pan, I came to the step where you fill each little noodle with meat sauce.  The Noble Pig's picture of this step shows the rigatoni standing at attention with it's tubular shape in tact.  Mine?  Not so much.  My noodles were all kinda collapsed on themselves making stuffing them quite the endeavor. I did try.  I swear I did.  But faced with getting spazzed out over stuffing noodles or moving on to Plan B (and a glass of wine) and salvaging my mood, I opted for Plan B and a very nice baked ziti style dish. (Which was met with happy diners at my table.)

Not what my version looked like!
Photo courtesy of The Noble Pig

The rest of our dinner went off without a hitch. For starters we had bruschetta and Italian Amaretto Margaritas (very yummy).  Then, my "Plan B Pasta" and salad with a nice red wine.  For dessert we finished things off with coffee and Cheesecake Factory Oreo Cheesecake.  I ended up making the cheesecake Friday night because it needed to season for at least 24 hours before eating it. I almost never use my springform pan, so to plan two dishes that required me to use it in the same meal was a real oddity. 

Needless to say, I am not sharing the pasta recipe since I really didn't follow one. The link for the Noble Pig's dish is above. If any of you end up making it, please let me know.  I'm dying to know if it was just me or not.  The margaritas were tasty and I will make them again (but maybe add a little more ice).  The real standout at dinner was the cheesecake.  The recipe is below.  It is worth the time spent making it and is definitely a keeper. 

The moral of this story is to enjoy what you do. (And remember why you do what you do.)  My goal was to prepare a delicious meal that would be enjoyed by the people I love and to spend time enjoying them.  Did I accomplish that?  Yes. Did they care if the pasta was standing upright or laying flat in a pan. No. (Thankfully) Was changing my plan and keeping my sanity worth it? Absolutely!

Cheesecake Factory  Oreo Cheesecake

Yield: 16 servings.
1 1/2 C. Oreo Cookie Crumbs (about 23 Oreo cookies finely chopped)
2 Tbsp. Melted Butter
9″ Spring Form Pan (buttered on bottom and sides)

1 1/2 lb. Cream Cheese
1 C. Sugar
5 Large Eggs
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 C Flour
8 oz Sour Cream
5 Oreo Cookies (coarsely chopped for the batter)
10 Oreo Cookies (coarsely chopped for the top of cheesecake)
Mix melted butter with Oreo crumbs and press in spring pan cover the bottom and 1 1/2″ up the sides with crumbs, set aside.

All Ingredients need to be at room temperature before beginning. Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Keep mixer on a low setting during the mixing and beating process. Add sugar gradually and continue beating cream cheese until mixed through. Add eggs one at a time and continue to beat until blended. Measure the vanilla, salt and flour, pour into cream cheese and egg mixture and beat until smooth. Add the sour cream and beat well. Turn off the mixer and stir in the coarsely chopped Oreo cookies with a spoon.
Pour cream cheese mixture into the spring pan and place the ten coarsely chopped Oreo Cookies on top of the cream mixture. Place pan on the top rack and in the middle of a preheated oven at 325 degrees and bake for one hour and 15 minutes. When time is up prop the oven door open and let the cheese cake stay in the oven for one hour. Remove from oven and let cool enough to place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. It is worth the anticipation. A cheese cake should season. The flavor ripens and becomes enriched.


  1. So important to enjoy what we are doing instead of getting stressed out about the way it is going.

  2. This all looks so good and you are right--the food may be important, but it's the good times with friends that's more important.

  3. I think you came-up with a great solution! Heck, making a cheesecake is about the limit of my patience (actually time--i've got the patience) these days. And the amaretto margaritas would have likley had me "not caring" about the rest of the meal!
    We're looking forward to the good weather and our outdoor entertaining to resume. Glad you enjoyed yourself!

  4. Love your blog and I'm now following you. What a great idea to have regular family dinners. I'm looking forward to getting to know you better through your blog - Regards, Mari

  5. I've awarded you a Stylish Blogger Award

  6. As a non-cook I cannot believe people would take the time to stand those tubey pasta things on their ends. How funny!

  7. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you play along with us Thursday for our Recipe Swap Meet. Mmmm all of your recipes looking tasty! NUMMERS! And thanks for your loving comment today>

  8. I like the idea of that rigatoni dish for sure. Bummer it did not work...but if you had oreo cheesecake...who cares..yum! Thanks for entering the mocha mitt giveaway.
    504 Main

  9. What a great post! You really must come link up this Oreo Cheesecake in my recipe link up!

    Oh and as for the noodle situation...I bet you cooked your noodles too long. I would think that they needed to be more al dente to be able to stand up like that. FUNNY that you picked 2 things that needed your spring form pan. That is truly something I would do. It is a pan that I don't use very often but would need it for the same meal.

    I'm glad it all turned out! Thanks for stopping in and visiting me during Bacon Monday!! I'm your newest GFC follower! Susie

  10. I got lost looking around your blog and when I went back to my blog I remember why I came to your blog... to ask you about this bacon guacamole that you spoke of...ummmm you must share your recipe! Would you like to be guest chef on my blog and feature your recipe, maybe a photo if you have one? You get full credit and I link it back to your blog! LMK!! Susie

  11. I love the Noble Pig! I have never heard of baking pasta in a springform pan. Kudos to you for trying it out! I am sure everything was delicious!

  12. Well that would have turned out really cool, but sounds like a lot of work that I probably wouldn't have even attempted, so kudos to you!

    And cheesecake to finish, who cares what the meal was?!

    Debi, I'm going to BlogLove tomorrow, thanks for the tip... and wish me luck :)

  13. Hi! I'm a new follower from the To-the-Top Tuesday hop. This oreo cheesecake sounds delicious!


Random love is always welcomed...