Delicious Dishes

Sharing recipes is an act of love and kindness, don’t you think? Here are 4 new dishes for you to try this holiday season: Sweet Potato Cheesecake, Challah Bread, Peanut Soup and Sweet Potato Casserole (courtesy of Ruth’s Chris Steak House)

Christmas: Bryant Rhone’s Sweet Potato Cheesecake

A Gardener Media staff member’s relative provided us with this special recipe, which is always a big hit with their family at Christmastime. We’re sure your family will love it as well!




2 cups of  finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup of melted butter
1/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 8oz packages cream cheese – room temperature
3 eggs
1 2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 orange juice
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract

3 Medium cooked Sweet Potatoes


Place oven temperature to 350. While the oven pre-heats, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar in a separate bowl until mixed well. Hand press the mixture into a nonstick 9 in. spring form pan, being sure to evenly cover the bottom of the pan and partially cover the sides. Once the oven is preheated, place the pie crust in the oven for 3-5 minutes allowing it to brown slightly. Remove the crust and set it aside.

Puree 3 medium cooked sweet potatoes – should measure up to 1 ½ -2 cups*. In a separate mixing bowl combine cream cheese and sugar until fluffy, add eggs one at a time. Mix in sour cream, sweet potato puree and orange juice. Be sure to scrape mixing bowl periodically to ensure ingredients are evenly mixed. Mix in half and half, lemon extract, vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour filling into spring form pan that contains the crust. Place in oven on middle rack for approximately 1 hour, until the center appears set (it will still have slight movement). Remove from oven, allow to cool, refrigerate overnight. Loosen the sides of the spring form pan and remove before serving. Enjoy!

*canned sweet potatoes can be substituted but must be drained

(Photos courtesy Bryant Rhone)

Hanukkah: Challah Bread

Hanukkah, or Chanukah, is the eight day Jewish “Festival of Lights”. Challah is a sweet, cake-like bread, typically braided, and great when eaten plain or used to make French Toast!



2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs, plus 1 egg for glaze
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp poppy seeds (optional)


Add yeast and a pinch of sugar to water, stir to dissolve and let sit until foamy.

Mix together 4 cups of flour along with the remaining sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl or bowl of a standing mixer.

Add the eggs, egg yolk, and oil to flour, then whisk together.

Pour yeast mixture into egg and flour mixture. Mix until a thick, sticky dough forms.

Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until soft and smooth, about 10 minutes. Roll dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover bowl with damp kitchen towel and place somewhere warm for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. The dough will grow to about twice its original size.

Cut dough into three equal pieces. Roll each piece on work surface into a long rope shape, about an inch thick around. Then, take all three pieces and squeeze them together at one end. Braid dough strands together.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and place braided dough on top. Cover dough with a dry towel, place sheet in a warm area, and allow it to rise until loaf doubles in size (about an hour).

Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat egg with a little water, then brush over the bread and sprinkle with seeds. Bake the Challah for 30 minutes, or until browned. Let bread cool, then slice and eat.


Kwanzaa: West African Peanut Soup

The Kwanzaa holiday is a celebration of African-American traditions and values, represented over seven days with seven principles. On the final day, a feast called “Karamu” is held, where African-American inspired dishes are served.



Cook time: 45 minutes | Serves 6-8


2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
2 tbsp peeled, grated fresh ginger root
2 tsp hot sauce or 1/2 tsp cayenne
1 cup chopped carrot
2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
4 cups water
2 cups tomato juice
1 cup smooth peanut butter
Scallion, chopped cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

Cook the onions in oil until soft. Stir in the ginger and hot sauce (or cayenne). Add carrots, sweet potatoes and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add tomato juice and peanut butter, and simmer for 5 additional minutes. Use blender to blend soup in batches until smooth. Add salt and/or hot sauce to taste. Serve hot, sprinkled with chopped scallions and/or cilantro.


Ruth’s Chris’ Sweet Potato Casserole




1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans preferred)
1/3 stick butter, melted
Combine brown sugar, flour, nuts and butter in mixing bowl. Set aside.

Sweet Potato Mixture
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a medium-size casserole dish with nonstick spray.
Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs and butter in a large mixing bowl in the order listed. Beat thoroughly with a hand mixer to increase the fluffiness of the sweet potato mixture.
Pour mixture into buttered baking dish.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. (At this point, dish can be covered and refrigerated.)
Sprinkle the surface of the sweet potato mixture evenly with the crust mixture and return to oven for 10 minutes. Allow to set at least 30 minutes before serving.
The brown sugar and pecan crust should be slightly browned and crunchy. 

More Ruth’s Chris recipes can be found here.

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