17 regular-sized oreo cookies, crushed finely (or 1½ cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs)
¼ cup butter, melted
1 Tbs granulated sugar

Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1½ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tbs unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sour cream
½ cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
Two 1-ounce bottles red food coloring

One 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
fresh mint sprigs, for garnish
heavy duty foil

1. Prepare crust: Stir together oreo crumbs, melted butter, and 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar; press mixture into bottom of 9-inch springform pan.

2. Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare water bath: Fill large roasting pan (big enough for springform pan to fit into) with about 1 inch of water. Place in oven and allow to preheat along with the oven.

3. Prepare filling: Beat cream cheese and sugar at medium-low speed with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Add eggs and remaining cheesecake ingredients, mixing on low speed just until fully combined. Pour batter into prepared crust.

4. Take out two sheets of heavy duty foil and layer them on top of one another. Place springform pan on top of the foil and wrap the foil gently around the pan and up the sides. Make sure that there are no tears or holes and that the foil comes all the way up around all sides of the cake. Carefully place the foil-protected pan into the water bath in the preheated oven.

5. Bake for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 300°F. Bake for an additional 75 minutes or until the center is firm. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in oven for 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven. Carefully remove cheesecake from water bath and place on wire rack. Run a thin knife around the outer edge of the cheesecake. Cool on rack for a couple of hours, until the cheesecake becomes close to room temperature. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours (or overnight). Remove sides of springform pan.

6. Prepare frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth. Spread evenly on top of cheesecake. Garnish, if desired.

Cooking Tips
*You may choose to bake the cheesecake instead with no water bath. Bake at 325 for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 300 and bake for an additional 75 minutes. Let cheesecake stand in oven 30 minutes. Remove from oven; cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes. (Baking without a water bath – you run the risk of cracking the top of the cheesecake).
*Some readers have indicated that there is far too much frosting for this recipe. I personally like a lot of frosting, so you can see a thick layer of frosting in the photograph. If you’re not big on frosting, you can leave it off entirely or cut the frosting recipe in half.

Read more:

Notes from Tracey: 
*I only used one bottle of red food coloring.  Sometimes red food coloring has a bitter taste and one bottle gave plenty of color. 
*I did not bother using the water bath.  I figured that it didn’t matter if the cheesecake cracked since it was going to have the frosting on top anyway to cover up any imperfections.

My version (and lower calorie) of chili’s southwest egg rolls. 
3 cups of shredded chicken (this is always great to make when you have leftover roasted chicken)
1 bag of frozen corn, or one can drained
1 small package of frozen, chopped spinach
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 can of black beans, drained
2 cups of chicken broth
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder—-all to taste
one package of flour tortillas

Place chicken, beans, spinach, bell pepper, and corn in a large skillet with a cup of the chicken broth.  Mix to combine and add seasonings,  I would estimate that I add about a tsp of salt, pepper, and chili powder, probably 2 tsp of cumin and a TBSP each of garlic and onion powder.  Once all is warmed through and/or the majority of the liquid has cooked off add the second cup of broth.  Warm until about 1/2 of the liquid has cooked off. Add cheese, stir well to combine and remove from heat.  Spoon filling into tortillas and roll up like a burrito/taco.  Secure with toothpicks if necesssary.  Place on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 until tortillas are crisp and slightly brown. 

8 oz of sour cream and 1 package of premadeguacamole (I get the one in the produce section of my grocery store).  Mix together and serve with your tacos.  YUMMY! This is one of our family’s favorite meals. 


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