Ease into summer with simple recipes from McCormick

May 14, 2013 

As we enter the season of graduations, weddings and showers, it's nice to have a few simple and inexpensive dishes to prepare for company.

Here are few recipes, courtesy McCormick, maker of spices and extracts. Find more at www.mccormick.com.

Easy Mini Cheesecakes

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

2/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

12 vanilla wafers

1 cup fresh berries

Preheat oven to 325 degress. Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and extracts; beat well.

Line 12 muffin cups with paper baking cups. Place a wafer in bottom of each muffin cup. Spoon batter into each cup, filling each 2/3 full.

Bake 22 to 24 minutes or until centers are almost set. Cool in pan on wire rack. (Mini cheesecakes will deflate in center upon cooling.)

Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with berries.

Very Vanilla Fruit Salad

2 cups strawberries, halved

1 cup blueberries

1 cup fresh or canned pineapple chunks

1 cup cantaloupe chunks

2 kiwis, peeled and sliced

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix fruit, confectioners' sugar and vanilla in large bowl. Cover. Refrigerate 1 hour or until ready to serve.

Cheesy Bacon and Egg Brunch casserole

8 slices bacon

1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)

1 loaf (8 ounces) Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (5 cups)

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup cottage cheese

5 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the drippings. Drain bacon on paper towels; crumble and set aside. Add onion to drippings in skillet; cook 3 minutes or until softened.

Spread 1/2 of the bread cubes in 13x9-inch baking dish. Layer with 1/2 each of the onion, bacon, Cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese. Spread evenly with cottage cheese. Top with remaining bread cubes, onion, bacon, Cheddar and mozzarella.

Beat eggs in medium bowl until foamy. Add milk, mustard, nutmeg and pepper; beat until well blended. Pour evenly over top. Press bread cubes lightly into egg mixture until completely covered. Let stand 10 minutes.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until center is set and top is golden brown.

Dawn Minty can be reached at 706-571-8512 and dminty@ledger-enquirer.com. Check out Dawn's Dish food blog at ledger-enquirer.com/dawn.

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