Sunday Dinner

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Roasted Beef Tenderloin
Green Salad

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Sometimes people ask me how I am going to decide on what to have for dinner. Well, whether it's a weeknight dinner or a Sunday dinner, it usually depends on the season and the weather.  Sometimes, it's because I am in the mood, had a craving or I just feel like it. And then there are meals where the refrigerator or freezer decide for me, like tonight's menu.

I was actually in the mood for lasagna, but I needed to clear some space in the freezer before I make lasagna. (I make two batches; one to eat and one to freeze.) You'd think I would have enough freezer space since I have three freezers! Anyways, I decided to take out a beautiful beef tenderloin to free up some shelf space. As far as the deciding factor to the other components tonight, I just felt like it. And seeing how some of you might be looking for a last minute recipe for the turkey day dessert table, I thought I would share this recipe today. 

These aren't just good, they are super good! In fact, other than using extra large eggs instead of large eggs, I didn't change any ingredients or measurements. Buuuttt, I did change the technique. The original recipe suggested making the filling in a stand mixer, but I already had out my food processor to make the graham cracker crust. So, I just cleaned and dried the food processor while the crust was cooling. Less messy dishes make me a happy cooker and I think it'll make you happy too. 

*Wait a minute...Sometimes blogging is like going to the grocery store; I am always forgetting something!
Another thing I changed was the portion size.  The original said this made 24 bars and that would be the perfect size for a mini dessert buffet, but I like a more substantial bar, so I cut them into 12 squares; hence the 12-24 squares/bars. And lastly, since I serve them as a fork and plate dessert instead of a hand-held, I spoon a nice dollop of sweetened whipped cream on top. I find it necessary😋.  Happy Sunday!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
yields 12-24 squares/bars

1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin purée
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
15 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces
1/4 cup plus 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
8 Tablespoons (4-ounces) unsalted butter, melted
1 pound (16-ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 extra large eggs

Combine pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in small saucepan. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, over medium heat until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 1 hour.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325° F. Make a foil sling for 13 by 9-inch baking pan and lightly spray with baking spray.

In the bowl of a food processor, process graham crackers, 1/4 cup sugar, and ginger to fine crumbs, about 15 seconds. Add butter and pulse until combined, about 5 pulses. Sprinkle mixture into prepared pan and press into even layer. Bake until just starting to brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Let crust cool completely on wire rack. 

Meanwhile, clean and dry the food processor and blade.

In the food processor, purĂ©e the cream cheese, remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar , lemon juice, vanilla and pumpkin mixture until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse until no lumps remain. Pour over cooled crust and spread into even layer. Bake until edges are slightly puffed and center is just set, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cheesecake cool in pan on wire rack for 2 hours. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate cheesecake for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours. Using foil overhang, lift cheesecake out of pan. Cut into 12-24 squares. Serve with sweetened whipped cream if using.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from cooksillustrated.com


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