By the end of December we’re all a little tired of the same ole pumpkin pie and banana bread. Why not switch it up this year with a pumpkin cheesecake and zucchini bread?  These recipes will have your family and friends clamoring for more.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

This recipe makes two 9 inch pies and for easy clean up, I make the crust in the food processor.

Graham Cracker Crust

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups finely ground graham crackers
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 12 tbsp softened butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Crumble graham crackers and place in food processor. Finely grind them.
  2. Add sugar and cinnamon. Pulse to mix.
  3. Add butter and pulse until blended.
  4. Press into bottom and up sides of two 9 inch pie pans.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling

Ingredients:

  • 1 8 ounce package softened cream cheese
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup half and half
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese using either a mixer or hand mixer.  Add pumpkin and beat until combined.
  3. Add sugar and salt and beat until combined.
  4. Add slightly beaten eggs, half and half and melted butter and beat until well combined.
  5. Add vanilla, cinnamon and ginger and beat until incorporated.
  6. Pour the filling into the cooled graham cracker crusts and bake for 50 minutes or until the center is set.

Serve this pumpkin cheesecake pie with whipped cream for a lighter pumpkin tasting fare.

Zucchini Bread

Almost everyone serves some type of rolls with their Christmas dinner.  For a switch-up, try this zucchini bread recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded raw zucchini (about 3)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar and oil together.
  3. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, vanilla and walnut (if using), mixing ingredients just until combined.
  4. Add zucchini and mix well.
  5. Pour into 2 greased and floured 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pans.
  6. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick or cake tester inserted in center of pans comes out with little or no crumbs attached to it.

Serve this in place of rolls for a little sweet touch to your holiday dinner.