(all available at LaVerde's--in much larger quantities, of course)
  • 2- 8oz packages of cream cheese (any variety will do)
  • 1/2 cup regular granulated sugar (sugar and spice make everything nice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (you can get drunk off of this stuff; it's 70 proof)
  • 2 eggs (any size or quality)
  • 1 9" prepackaged graham cracker crust (Keebler makes some good ones)


  • 1 large mixing spoon or whisk
  • 1 large mixing bowl (Tupperware works great...just make sure it's big enough!)
  • 1 oven
  • 1 refrigerator
  • 1 set measuring cups and spoons
  • 1 knife, 1 fork, & 1 plate (for eating on--of course, your friends will have to bring their own...hey, you baked it...)


  1. Let the cream cheese stand in room temperature for about an hour to allow it to soften.
    If you want to speed up the process, unwrap the cheese completely into a microwave safe bowl and nuke it for 5 minutes at half power.
  2. Now, with the cheese softened in the mixing bowl, add the sugar and vanilla and mix throughly. (This is when having softened cream cheese is good--the mixture would be too hard otherwise.)
  3. With the cheese mixed, add one egg, stirring until well blended.
  4. Then add the other egg (don't add the shell, though!), and mix until the entire mixture is smooth (or your arm is about to fall off).
  5. Pour the cheese mixture into the crust (remove the clear plastic lid, leaving the crust in the pie tin.)
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  7. Place the cake in the middle rack, baking for 50 minutes or until the center is almost set and the sides are a light brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cook for at least an hour.
  9. Replace the plastic cover on the pie, and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
  10. Before serving, you can also add a cherry or strawberry pie topping.
  11. A strawberry topping can be made by microwaving 1/2 cup of frozen strawberries with a 1/4 cup of sugar for 1 minute on high power.

Cincinnati chili


  • 6 cups water
  • 1-1.5 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 large finely chopped onion
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp ground allspice
  • 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1.5 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 3 large bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp total dry spices/salt
  • 1 pound mild cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 2 pounds thin spaghetti
  • Tabasco sauce


  1. Put water and beef in a large pot.
  2. Crumble beef in the water with your hands until there are no clumps.
  3. Place pot over high heat and add tomato paste.
  4. Add the rest of ingredients.
  5. Cover and bring to a boil stirring frequently.
  6. Uncover and reduce heat to a moderate boil.
  7. Cook for 1-2 hours.
  8. Gradually reduce heat to maintain a boil without making a mess of the kitchen.
  9. Stir frequently.
  10. When chili is slowly boiling and splattering significantly, reduce heat to make this bearable and cook for another 15 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile cook (slightly overcooked is best) the spaghetti.
  12. Serve chili over spaghetti and top with a heap of shredded mild cheddar cheese.
  13. Add Tobasco to taste.

Serves 8 hungry people.


For the more adventurous, here's an easy chocolate-rich treat.
(Don't ask me about the calories though)

  • Ingredients
    (LaVerde's run...but Star Market is cheaper.)

    • 1 package of oreo cookies
    • 1/3 cup of orange juice
    • 1 8oz package of milk chocolate chips
  • Utensils

    • 1 baking sheet
    • 2 sheets of wax paper
    • 1 blender or one ziploc bag
    • 1 spoon
    • 2 mixing bowls (again Tupperware works nicely)
    • 1 double boiler (or 2 pots, one which fits inside the other (except the handle))
    • 1 sandwich bag
    • 1 Stove
    • 1 Refrigerator
  • Directions:

  • Wash your hands!!
  • Now, separate out 24 cookies, coarsely crushing these by either placing 6 in the ziploc bag and grinding them up by hand, or putting them into a blender and using the blend button (be careful here--make sure the lid is on--oreo cookies can really fly. Also, you will need to periodically empty the blender as the crumbs tend to clog the bottom and prevent all of the cookies from being crushed.)
  • Now, with the crushed cookies, add the orange juice and mix well. It should be a gooey mess.
  • Place the entire mixture into the freezer for about 5 minutes.
  • While that cools, take the remaining cookies, and finely crush these.
  • Set these aside in a separate container.
  • Going back to the cookie/juice mixture, remove it from the freezer and proceed to use a teaspoon to scoop out a lump of the mixture.
  • Roll this, in your hand, into a ball.
  • Place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet.
  • Work quickly, as the mixture will start to become gooey again in your hand. (Now do you see why you needed to wash your hands?)
  • If the mixture becomes too soft to work, place it back into the freezer to harden.
  • Also, the balls should be roughly bite-sized-- not golf-ball sized!
  • With all of the mixture formed into balls, place the baking sheet into the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Now, in the double boiler, add water to the bottom pot and heat to a boil.
  • In the upper pot, melt all of the chocolate.
  • Remove the pot from the stove.
  • An alternate method to melt the chocolate is to place it in a microwave bowl and heat it for 1 minute.
  • Stir it, then if it is not completely melted, repeat the process. Careful, the bowl may get extremely hot.
  • Now, get the truffles from the refrigerator.
  • Dip each truffle into the chocolate, allowing the excess to drip back into the pot.
  • Roll the dipped truffles in the finely crushed cookies.
  • Place it back on the waxed paper-lined baking sheet.
  • If the chocolate gets too hard to dip well, reheat it over the double boiler, or in the microwave.
  • Now with all of the truffles dipped and coated, take the remainder of the chocolate and place it into the sandwich bag.
  • Squeeze it into one of the corners, then carefully snip the edge of the corner, such that a thin stream of melted chocolate can come out.
  • Drizzle the chocolate over your truffles.
  • Then chill the truffles in the freezer until firm (about 30 minutes).
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or serve as is.