Caramel Apple Cheesecake Trifle

Hey y’all, remember me? I’m finally coming up for air after working the Utah State Fair for 11 days straight. It was so fun but totally exhausting! I got to meet so many Utah foodies that I’ve been following and made lots of new friends! I also got to be around SO MUCH amazing food everyday! The demonstrations and contests were lots of fun to be a part of and I loved doing my own demos. I ended up doing four cooking demonstrations and this Caramel Apple Cheesecake Trifle was one of them. I’ve been dreaming this one up for months and am more than happy with the final recipe.

Getting ready to demo my Caramel Apple Cheesecake Trifle at the Utah State Fair!

Even though I’m super excited for “pumpkin everything” season, right now I’m thinking about apples. I absolutely love anything caramel apple flavored. Add cheesecake and I’m obsessed! This trifle is similar to the Carrot Cake Trifle that I made back in April because it has the same cream cheese layer. This one uses spice cake instead of carrot but I doctored up the cake mix the same way by replacing the oil with applesauce and adding an extra egg. Doing this keeps the cake super moist but slightly more dense so that it holds up in the trifle better.

I have made this Caramel Apple Cheesecake Trifle about SIX times over the last month and I’m still not over it. It tastes like fall and I know it will make its way to your family gatherings over the next few months. It would even be amazing at Christmas!

Also, just a note, but you don’t need a fancy trifle bowl to make this. Any glass bowl will do! I was recently hired to do a cooking class for a corporate training event and needed to have a double batch of this ready beforehand. I just used a large, plastic rectangular container and it worked great! If you do want a trifle bowl like mine, I have this one.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Trifle

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

For the cake:
1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist Spice Cake Mix
1 cup water
½ cup applesauce
4 eggs

For the apple layer:
4 Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored, and diced small
¼ cup butter
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the cream layer:
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

1-1 ½ cups caramel sauce (I use Torani sauce in the squeeze bottle)
6-8 Biscoff cookies, crushed

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9×13 pan. Add dry cake mix to medium-sized mixing bowl. Add water, applesauce, and eggs. Beat for 2 minutes. Add batter to prepared pan and bake for 27-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely. Once cool, cut cake (while in the pan) into small squares.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until apples are just starting to soften. In a small bowl, mix water and cornstarch with a fork or whisk. Add cornstarch to apples and stir. Add brown sugar and cinnamon then stir. Bring to a low boil, stirring often. Once thickened (about 1-2 minutes), remove from heat and cool completely.

In a small bowl, beat heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
In a larger bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, salt, and vanilla until smooth. Fold whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Set in fridge until ready to use.

In a trifle bowl (or large glass bowl), layer 1/3 of the cake cubes, 1/3 of the apple filling, 1/3 of the cream, then drizzle generously with caramel sauce. Repeat two more times ending in cream. Top with crushed cookies and caramel sauce.
Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.

*Notes:
1. Graham crackers can be used instead of Biscoff cookies if preferred.
2. If using a different brand of spice cake, water, egg and oil measurements may be different. Just make sure to use applesauce instead of oil an add an extra egg.

Creamy Pasta Primavera

Ahhh summer! I certainly have veggies on my mind lately as my garden starts to flourish, farmers markets are everywhere, and every time I shop at Lee’s Marketplace I find the BEST local produce. My garden is pretty small so I love knowing that I can find whatever it lacks when I shop at Lee’s! I wanted to make something this week that was full of fresh vegetables, kid-approved, and didn’t require my oven because it’s just too hot outside. My Creamy Pasta Primavera checked all those boxes and then some! Make it your own with whatever vegetables or fresh herbs you like. Check the recipe notes for ideas! From start to finish it took me only 45 minutes to make. The thing that took the longest was chopping the vegetables but that’s the fun part anyway! The creamy alfredo sauce is divine and will be your new go-to for sure. This is a super easy, delicious meal and it makes a lot! (Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace)

Items on sale at Lee’s this week: Penne pasta, butter, bell peppers, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese (also fresh green beans and tomatoes if you’d like to use those in the recipe!)

Creamy Pasta Primavera

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

16 oz penne pasta
4 Tablespoons butter
1 red bell pepper, sliced into 2 inch pieces
1 broccoli crown, chopped into florets (about 2 cups)
1 yellow squash, sliced into half-moons
¾ cup shredded carrots
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz cream cheese
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

Directions

Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain, set aside.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, broccoli, squash, carrots and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until crisp tender.

Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add cream cheese, heavy cream, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Stir for a few minutes until everything melts and thickens a little.

Add parsley and chicken then stir to combine. Add drained pasta and stir until pasta is coated in sauce. Garnish wish more parsley and Parmesan if desired. Serve immediately.

*Notes: Many different vegetables can be subbed or added to those used in this recipe such as green beans, zucchini, red onion, and tomatoes as well as other herbs such as rosemary or basil.

I think we need a closer look! Beautiful and delicious!

White Chocolate Cherry Blondies

Utah cherries are my favorite! We have a giant, beautiful cherry tree at my house but it didn’t do well this year. I was so sad but got excited when I saw that fresh, local cherries were on sale at Lee’s Marketplace this week. I knew that cherries would be amazing in my go-to blondie recipe and love how it turned out! My son proclaimed this my “best Lee’s recipe so far!” With the pop of red from the cherries and the white chocolate chips, they are the perfect 4th of July dessert but you don’t need a holiday for an excuse to make them!

Items on sale for July 2-July 8: cherries, butter, brown sugar, eggs, almond extract, flour

This is a sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. My posts for them are usually only posted to my Instagram but I’ll be posting them on my blog as well now. I love working with them! It gets my creative juices flowing as I think of recipes based on their weekly sale ads! Even if you aren’t local, these are still great recipes that anyone can use!

White Chocolate Cherry Blondies

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

1 cup butter, mostly melted and slightly cooled
2 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon almond extract
2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup fresh dark cherries, pitted and cut in half

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 9×13 baking dish by lightly coating with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix together the butter and brown sugar then mix in the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract.

Add flour and salt then stir until everything is well combined. In a separate small bowl, toss cherries in 1 tablespoon flour until coated. Fold white chocolate chips and cherries into the batter.

Pour batter into baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes or until edges just start to brown and center is set. (The top will have a shiny look to it and that is ok.) Let cool completely before cutting.

The BEST Baked Beans

Me to my husband, “What title should I give my baked beans? I can’t just call them Baked Beans.” He replied with, “You just need to call them The BEST Baked Beans because that’s what everyone says after they take a bite of them.” So there you have it, these really are the BEST Baked Beans ever!

Before I started making these, I really wasn’t a fan of baked beans. When I saw them at a BBQ or potluck, I’d pass them by. Why? Because they were always full of floppy bacon and long stringy onions. Yuck. About 10 years ago, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I based my recipe off of my mother-in-law’s because the sauce in hers had good flavor. I decided to cook the bacon FIRST until it was nice and crispy. Then I cooked the diced onions in some of the bacon grease until they were brown and flavorful. GAME CHANGER. The rest of the ingredients are pretty basic as far as baked beans go. The sauce is the perfect amount of sweet from the brown sugar but still tangy and savory with ingredients like Worcestershire and dry mustard.

Do not pass this recipe by because the ingredient list looks like “basic baked beans.” I’m telling you, the technique is what takes these beans to the next level. If you’re taking these to a potluck, you’re going to need to quadruple this recipe. I always do and come home with an empty pot. Every time I’ve taken them to a potluck I hear someone yelling, “Who made the beans?” Haha! You’ll be the star of all the BBQs this summer if you make them!

The BEST Baked Beans

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

2 one lb cans Pork and Beans, undrained
2/3 cup ketchup
1 1/2 cup yellow onions, chopped
3/4 cup brown sugar
8 slices bacon, chopped in bite sized pieces
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 325. Heat a large oven-safe pan (or pot) to medium-high and cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan to drain on a paper towel-lined plated. Remove all but 2 tablespoons bacon grease from pan. Add the onions and cook until onions are tender and browned. Add beans, ketchup, brown sugar, dry mustard, Worcestershire, bacon, and S&P to the pan. Stir to combine. Cover and bake 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 30 minutes.

*Note: The beans will not thicken properly if made in a slow cooker. If you need to keep them warm, bake in oven as directed then transfer to a slow cooker.

Rosemary Parmesan Biscuit Pot Pie

I have been dreaming of making this for weeks and after making it just once, it is a new family favorite! My Chicken Pot Pie has been a favorite in our home for over 10 years. The first time I made it, I knew that was the end of trying out pot pie recipes. It is easy and perfect! Then last summer I created these Rosemary Parmesan Drop Biscuits that I now make ALL the time. A couple of weeks ago I thought, “What if I combine the two?” Well, here it is folks! My 16 year old food-loving son said it was one of the best things I’ve ever made and declared it the “definition of comfort food.” Success! I don’t think I could ever go back to using pie crust!

Rosemary Parmesan Biscuit Pot Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

For the biscuits:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup melted butter
1 cup whole milk
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, divided
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped and divided
For the chicken mixture:
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons butter (11 TB)
2/3 Cup flour
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 Cups water
1 1/3 Cup milk
4 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base (or 4 chicken bouillon cubes)
3-4 Cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
12 oz frozen mixed vegetables

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400° degrees. In a medium sized bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add ½ C melted butter and milk. Stir until just moistened. Fold in ½ cup parmesan and 2 TB rosemary. Set aside.

2. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

3. Melt butter in a large skillet with high sides or a pot. Stir in flour, garlic, and S&P until blended. Gradually stir in water, milk, and bouillon. Bring to a boil and stir for 2 minutes. Mixture will be thick. Remove from heat and stir in chicken and veggies.

4. Pour chicken mixture into prepared baking dish. Using a large scoop, drop biscuits on top of the chicken mixture. Makes about 12 large biscuits. Sprinkle remaining 2 TB of parmesan on top of biscuits.

5. Bake for 30 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown and mixture is bubbly. After removing from oven, garnish with remaining rosemary.

Better Late Than Never!

Welcome to my food blog! It’s about darn time right? I had a food blog years ago but when life got busy, I quit posting there. I always missed having a good platform to share my recipes so I started using Instagram and Facebook for that a few years ago. We all know that isn’t ideal because people want to search and print my recipes! I want to create a space that is simple, easy to navigate, and full of amazing recipes that you’ll come back to for years. I really have no idea how to create a blog but I’m grateful that you are here and ready to join me on this fun journey! Delicious, unique, flavor-packed recipes coming your way soon!