Cheesecake bars, meat loaf, pie & tips

Series: Recipe Column | Story 69

Last updated 2/1/2020 at 3:06pm

A bit of sunshine teases us into thinking winter is over. February and March have yet to come. Winter is not done so we might as well make the most of it.

Lemon flavored desserts can add a spark of spring to winter gathering menus. Charlene Kagele shared a recipe for Lemon Cheesecake Bars she found at This site features gluten free recipes. These bars would be a nice addition to a Superbowl gathering buffet, or anytime a gluten free dessert is desired.

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Cookie Base and Topping:

1 1/2 cups gluten free, all purpose flour, including xanthan gum

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Cheesecake Filling:

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 egg, at room temperature

2 Tbsp milk

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the gluten free flour, butter and brown sugar. Blend with a mixer until particles are fine. Stir in the nuts.

Reserve 1 cup of the mixture for topping. Press remaining mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.

Using the same mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and granulated sugar and mix until blended and creamy. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well blended.

Pour mixture over partially baked crust and spread evenly. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Return to oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Cool and cut into squares. Store in refrigerator. Yield: 16 bars.

I have received a number of cooking questions this past week. One concerned the safety of bringing eggs to room temperature. Thirty minutes is sufficient time for most recipes. Since you will be cooking the eggs in your recipe, any possible bacteria will be killed by the cooking temperature.

Another question involved cooking whole turkeys. Never thaw a turkey at room temperature. Thaw in the refrigerator, 24 hours for each 4-5 pounds of turkey. Remove the pop-up timer (they don’t work well) and roast at 325 degrees, 12 minutes per pound, or follow instructions with other cooking devices. Use an instant-read thermometer to test for an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Then, most important, the resting or standing time. Loosely tent the bird with foil and let rest at least 30 minutes (45 is better) before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute and the meat to settle for nice slices and juicy meat. Don’t worry about it getting cold, a whole turkey stays quite hot for up to an hour.

Meatloaf is another favorite for game day buffets. Double Good Meatloaf, a recipe in my collection since 1975, is great for large gatherings, as it makes 2 large loaves, and slices well for sandwiches and sliders. Pictures are posted on the Welcome to My Kitchen Facebook page.

Double Good Meat Loaf

2 1/2 pounds ground beef

2 pounds fresh ground pork sausage

4 eggs, well beaten

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

3/4 tsp poultry seasoning

1 package dry onion soup mix

2 cups minced, fresh onion

1 cup sour cream or buttermilk

2 cups cooked rice


1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp poultry seasoning or ground sage or savory

2 drops Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a very large mixing bowl, combine ground beef and sausage, mixing until well combined.

In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients except rice and topping, mixing until smooth. Pour evenly over meat mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Add rice and mix until evenly distributed.

Divide mixture equally between two loaf pans. Smooth surface with a fork, leaving ridges with the tines to capture the topping.

Combine topping ingredients and spread half over each loaf. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Let stand 10 minutes in pan. Remove to serving platter, tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes before slicing, or refrigerate to cool, and slice later. Yield: 2 large loaves, 10-12 slices each.

Note: This meat loaf freezes well, and also, slices reheat well in the microwave.

Reheating in the microwave was another question/frustration discussed in food preparation conversations.

Among the questions were power settings to use and frustration with over cooked on the outside, while cold in the middle. We could do a whole column on this subject, but a few simple rules apply. Bread slices, rolls and muffins reheat best at 50% power covered with a paper towel, about 20 to 30 seconds each (really, one at a time is best)

Reheating meat gets tricky, as it wants to splatter. 60% power for 30 seconds per each inch of width of 1/2 inch thick pieces, separated by 1/4 to 1/2 inch, covered with a microwave splatter guard or paper towel

Casseroles that you can’t stir reheat best at 60% to 70% power with a hole pressed into the center of the casserole about 2 inches or more in diameter. If you have a silicon microwave safe Bundt or tube pan, put your casserole in it. Time will be about 1 minute per inch across pan.

Pineapple Pie is an old time winter fruit pie my mother made, with no recipe. I finally came up with a close rendition

Pineapple Sticky Pie

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, juice included

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 eggs

1 unbaked 10 inch pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 10 inch pie plate with pie shell. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl and beat well with a wire whisk until sugar begins to dissolve. Pour into pie shell and bake 50 minutes or until set. Cool before slicing. Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

Share your favorite late winter and early spring recipes with your fellow readers by sending then to: Welcome to My Kitchen, c/o The Odessa Record, P.O. Box 458, Odessa WA 99159, email or drop them in the Welcome to My Kitchen mail tin in The Odessa Record office.

Still too early to be starting any garden seeds, wait until March.


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