Archives for category: cheese

Here’s an easy recipe for light puffy breadsticks: just throw some cheese and herbs on a sheet of puff pastry and bake! You can customize these with your favorite pizza/breadstick toppings.

Puff Pastry and Cheese for an awesome batch of breadsticks

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • to taste: garlic powder, parsley flakes, and/or oregano
  • crushed red pepper flakes

WHAT YOU DO:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Lay the puff pastry flat on the parchment paper and sprinkle on the cheese. Add garlic powder, parsley flakes and/or oregano to taste.

Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut puff pastry in half (going the short direction). Then cut the long way into 1-inch strips.

Bake for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Before serving, top with crushed red pepper flakes.

Just add cheese and herbs to puff pastry and cut into breadsticks - So easy and delicious

 

recipe adapted from 4 Ingredients by Kim McCosker & Rachael Bermingham
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spiral slicer

ZUCCHINI NOODLE CAPRESE SALAD

Ahhhh the spiralizer. I love this kitchen gadget. You can turn veggies like zucchinis, cucumbers, and carrots into awesome healthy low-carb dishes. Turn zucchinis into noodles = Zoodles!

Here’s an easy no-cook salad that’s perfect for summer veggies from the Farmer’s Market or your garden. It has the delicious flavor of a traditional Italian caprese pasta salad, but without the pasta.

ZUCCHINI NOODLE CAPRESE SALAD

Zucchini Caprese Salad

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 medium zucchinis, cut into spiral “noodles”
  • 1 c. cherry tomatoes (I used a combination of orange and red)
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • 1/3 c. thinly sliced basil leaves
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbs. white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • salt & pepper, to taste

WHAT YOU DO:

Place zucchini and tomatoes in a mixing bowl.

Make the marinade in a separate bowl by combining the lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, and garlic.

Pour marinade over the zucchini and tomatoes and stir gently to combine. Place in fridge to marinade for 10-20 minutes (the longer the zucchini marinates the more flavorful it will become).

Remove from fridge, add the cheese and basil to the bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine, and serve.

recipe adapted from Inspiralized by Ali Maffucci

Here’s a fun and easy muffin-tin recipe: mix up frozen hash browns with some cheese and melted butter, then bake.

Cheesy Hash Brown Cups- Easy Muffin Tin Recipe

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 16 oz. frozen shredded hash browns (I used a package that had onions, and green and red peppers mixed in)
  • 4 Tbs. melted butter
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • optional add-ins: crumbled bacon bits, cubed ham, sliced mushrooms, etc.

WHAT YOU DO:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease muffin tin (or spray with nonstick spray).

Mix all ingredients in a bowl then spoon into muffin pan.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until crispy around the edges, remove from oven, and serve.

Muffin Tin

Cheesy Hash Brown Cups in a Muffin Tin

 

 

I am officially obsessed with handmade pasta! You need only a few simple ingredients and the combinations of flavors, herbs, spices, and fillings you can add are endless. The kids love cranking out the pasta into sheets, and noodles, and cutting ravioli shapes. Here’s some ravioli we made with my favorite red sauce:

Cheese Stuffed Ravioli Recipe with Red Wine Marinara Sauce Recipe - pasta dough with just 2 ingredients!
WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 ½ cups (14 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus any additional needed for dusting/kneading
  • 1 container ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • optional: grated cheese for topping
  • Red Wine Marinara Sauce

WHAT YOU DO:

STEP 1. MAKE THE DOUGH

MIX: Mound the flour in the center of your work surface. Using your hands, make a well in the middle that will be wide enough and deep enough to hold 4 eggs. Add 4 eggs (save 1 egg for the filling), and add any optional liquids or flavoring (for example chopped spinach, or ½ cup dry white wine, and/or herbs and spices such as basil or parsley). Using a fork, beat the eggs (and any liquids/flavors). Gradually incorporate small amounts of flour from the sides of the well as you go, until all the flour is mixed in. This will be a lumpy mess, but the next step will take care of that.

KNEAD: Knead for 3 minutes or so. If the dough is really sticky, add a little more flour. The dough should be slightly springy and just a tiny bit sticky. Knead for 10 additional minutes until the dough becomes smooth. Wrap ball-shaped dough in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature, for an hour or so.

STEP 2. WHILE THE DOUGH RESTS, MAKE THE FILLING
In a bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 1 lightly-beaten egg, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

STEP 3. After dough has rested, roll into sheets. I used a hand-crank pasta machine, but you could use a rolling pin and flour as well.

Place dough sheets on work surface and place dollops of ricotta cheese every few inches. Wet the dough with a few drops of water around each cheese, then place a second dough sheet on top, and seal with your fingers. I used a cutter to cut out square shapes (a roller tool or knife would work well too). If you want to get really gadget-y (ha) I have also seen molds/forms for homemade ravioli.

STEP 4. COOK

Bring 6-8 quarts of salted water to a rapid boil. Add pasta, and boil until firm but not mushy (fresh pasta only takes a few minutes). Drain and serve with red wine marinara sauce.

adapted from The Splendid Table: Recipes from Emilia-Romagna, the Heartland of Northern Italian Food by Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Here’s a basic recipe you can use in tons of cooking: Mornay sauce. This classic old-school cheesy French white sauce is an awesomely versatile sauce, which goes great with poultry, fish, vegetables, eggs, and pasta. It takes only a few minutes to make; it’s basically a bechamel sauce with extras added in (cheese, butter, cream, curry, etc).

I decided to make a mac & cheese with a Mornay sauce recipe adapted from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I had all of the ingredients already, which was a bonus. Hurray for simple basics! 🙂

Here’s how my Mac & Mornay turned out – both the plain version and then one with sauteed portobello mushroom strips tossed in.

Mac and Cheese - French Mornay Sauce - Simple but delicious recipe

 

Pasta with Cheesy Mornay Sauce Recipe - tossed with sauteed portabello mushroom strips

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 lb. boxed Penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 3 Tbs. flour
  • 1/2 c. grated cheese (Swiss, Gruyere, white cheddar, or a Swiss/Parmesan mix)
  • 1 Tbs. softened butter
  • white pepper, to taste
  • additional salt, if needed for taste
  • freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • optional add-ins: sauteed mushrooms, etc.

WHAT YOU DO:

In a small saucepan, heat milk and 1/4 tsp. salt to a boil. Keep hot.

Make the roux: In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Blend in flour, and stir gently until the mixture froths together for two minutes without changing color.

Remove from heat. As soon as bubbles stop, pour in the milk/salt from the saucepan. Whisk quickly to blend, making sure to incorporate all the roux from the pan’s edges.

Place saucepan on medium-high heat and whisk until sauce comes to a boil. Boil for one minute while stirring.  Remove from heat. Add cheese and stir until melted, then add butter, and remaining spices (pepper, salt, nutmeg, cayenne) to taste.

Add the sauce to the pasta, and any optional add-ins, and stir to combine. Voila!

Here’s an awesome way to use leftover risotto! Arancini di Riso. Which is a way to say fried risotto balls in Italian and make it sound way prettier than “fried risotto balls.” 🙂

Arancini di Riso - Cheesy Risotto Balls - Delicious way to use leftover risotto!.jpg

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 c. cooled risotto (I used this recipe, but didn’t add any cheese – YET!)
  • 2 c. Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 6 oz. fontina cheese, cut into cubes
  • 2 Tbs. freshly grated Parmesan cheese + more for topping
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • oil for frying (I used a mixture of vegetable and canola)
  • optional: marinara sauce for dipping

WHAT YOU DO:

In a mixing bowl, stir together cooled risotto, garlic, egg, parmesan, salt, pepper and 1/2 c. Panko breadcrumbs. Using your hands, roll the mixture into round balls (1 to 2 inches in diameter).

Gently push a cube (or two!) of fontina cheese in the center of each ball then seal it all around. Roll each ball in the remaining Panko and place on a baking sheet. Once all the panko is rolled, place baking sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes.

After removing from the freezer, heat 1 or so inches of oil in a large pot, until it’s 325-350°F.

Add about 3-4 risotto balls to the oil at one time, frying until golden on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel covered plate to remove excess grease. Repeat until all have been fried.

While still hot, grate some parmesan cheese on top, and serve. Optional: Use marinara for a dipping sauce.

recipe adapted from howsweeteats.com

Arancini di Riso Recipe - Cheesy Risotto Balls - easy way to use leftover risotto!

Italian Red Sauce - so easy and fresh and homemade - includes an awesome lasagna recipe - I make giant batches and freeze for later

French Onion Soup Recipe

Cold weather makes me crave soup, soup, and more soup! Here’s a French Onion Soup Recipe, which I love because you can freeze some for later and use it in your next batch for an even richer soup.

Also, since I am a make-ahead junkie, I love that you can cook this up to two days beforehand, and refrigerate it until you are ready to broil it in the oven topped with sliced baguettes and delicious cheeses.

The basic steps are pretty easy too: saute some onions, make the broth, then portion into cute little soup crocks, and broil to melt the cheese for a minute until it’s bubbly and starts to brown.

French Onion Soup Recipe - YUM

WHAT YOU NEED:

For the soup:

  • 1 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced thinly
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 c. red wine
  • 6 c. beef stock
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

For the topping:

  • 1/2 French baguette, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 4 slices Provolone cheese
  • 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

WHAT YOU DO:

STEP 1: CARAMELIZE THE ONIONS
– Melt butter in large pot over med-heat
– Add onions with a pinch of salt, and stir to coat with melted butter
– Sprinkle cayenne pepper and black pepper on top and stir every few minutes, for approximately 20 minutes, until the onions become soft and brown

STEP 2: DEGLAZE THE PAN
– Bring mixture to a boil over high heat
– Add wine
– Cook, stirring to release browned pieces
– Reduce heat to medium and simmer for approximately 5 minutes, until the wine has reduced slightly

STEP 3: ADD THE STOCK
– Pour beef stock into onions and stir
– Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to low
– Let simmer for at least 1 hour (longer simmering will lead to more flavor)
– If liquid reduces too much add more stock or water until it has a soup-like consistency again

STEP 4: ASSEMBLE
– Just prior to serving, place oven rack near the top and set broiler to high
– Ladle soup into 4 soup cups (save any leftover for next time – you can freeze the unused soup and add it to your next batch to make it more flavorful)
Place a baguette slice on top of each, covering with soup
– Lay a slice of provolone on top of the bread, then sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano
– Place cups on a baking sheet and set under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until cheese becomes bubbly and brown (be careful so it doesn’t burn) and serve

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Makes: 4 Servings

Make-Ahead Option: Complete STEPS 1-3. Refrigerate for up to two days until ready to complete STEP 4.

French Onion Soup Recipe

Season With Sage Cookbook - French Onion Soup Recipe - Page 89

recipe adapted from Season With Sage (2011)

 

 

Here’s a delicious risotto recipe I tried. It is creamy and delicious, with three cheeses: fontina, mozzarella, and parmesan; and a touch of white wine.

THREE CHEESE RISOTTO RECIPE:

Three Cheese Risotto Recipe

WHAT YOU NEED:

3 c. chicken broth
2 Tbs. butter
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 c. Arborio rice
1/4 c. dry white wine
1/2 c. freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. freshly shredded fontina cheese
1/2 c. freshly shredded parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

WHAT YOU DO:

In a saucepan, heat broth over medium heat. Lower heat a little while you prepare the rice in a large pan. (I used the back burner for the broth and the front burner for the rice so it was easy to ladle in the broth.)

Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat.

Stir in onions and cook until they are translucent, approximately 5 minutes or so.

Stir in rice just until it is coated in the butter. Do not brown.

Pour in wine and cook until wine absorbs.

Pour in one ladle of hot chicken broth.

Stir consistently until liquid is absorbed. Repeat process, one ladle at a time, until all broth has been absorbed by the rice.

Remove from heat. Stir in cheeses until they melt. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand a few minutes. Serve.

recipe adapted from lifesambrosia.com

 

P.S. Here’s a show and tell of my new ladle, which was perfect for adding in the broth as I went: Nessie!!!

 

Have leftovers? Use them in some cheesy fried risotto goodness!

Arancini di Riso - Cheesy Risotto Balls - Delicious way to use leftover risotto!

 

Crock Pot Black Bean Enchiladas Recipe - easy and delicious slow cooker meal

Slow-Cooker Cheesy Black Bean Enchiladas Recipe

  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 can (16 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 c. of your favorite shredded cheese (Monterey jack, colby, cheddar, etc.)
  • 2 jars (approx. 16 oz. each) salsa
  • 1 package corn tortillas, warmed according to instructions on pkg.
  • 1 lb ground meat (beef, turkey, or chicken), browned and drained
  • optional toppings: sliced olives, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, jalapenos, etc.

In a medium bowl, mix together the filling: onion, beans, spices, meat, and approx. 1/2 to 1 c. of the cheese.

Spread approximately 1 c. of salsa over the bottom of slow cooker, enough to evenly coat the bottom with a thin layer.

Fill each of the tortillas with about 1/3 c. of filling, roll tightly, and pack seam-side down into the bottom of the slow cooker.

Spread another cup of salsa over the top and sprinkle with more (but not all) of the remaining cheese. Continue rolling the remaining tortillas with the remaining filling to make one more layer; sprinkle any leftover filling on top. Finish by pouring another cup of salsa over the top of the enchiladas.

Reserve the last part of the cheese to add later.

Cover slow cooker with lid and cook on HIGH for 2 to 4 hours. For the final 15 min. of cooking, sprinkle remaining cheese over the top, re-cover, and finish cooking.

Serve enchiladas with optional toppings.

recipe adapted from thekitchn.com

Slow Cooker liners for Crock Pot recipes

Crock-Pot Programmable Cook and Carry Slow Cooker

Healthy Eating: Creamy Black Bean and Chicken Soup

21 Day Fix

21 Day Fix Creamy Chicken Black Bean Corn Soup - greek nonfat plain yogurt instead of cream. Includes 21 day fix container counts, WW points, and nutrition information.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1/2 red container of plain nonfat Greek yogurt (6 Tablespoons)
  • 1/2 red container baked chicken breast, cut into chunks (approximately 3 ounces)
  • 1 blue container of shredded cheddar cheese (1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 yellow container of black beans (1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 yellow container of frozen corn, thawed (1/4 cup)
  • Mixture of spices, to taste:

chili powder

crushed red pepper

onion powder

garlic powder

sea salt

dried oregano

paprika

WHAT YOU DO:

In a pan, combine black beans, corn, broth, and the spices. Simmer for 10 minutes or so. Add in the chicken and stir.
Before serving add yogurt and cheese, then stir to melt.
21 Day Fix = 1 red, 1 blue, 1 yellow
* you could also add 1 green container of chopped tomatoes in with the beans and corn for added veggies, for a total count of 1 red, 1 blue, 1 yellow, and 1 green

Weight Watchers = 6 “old” points *or* 8 WW+ points

Estimated Nutrition Information

  • 300 calories
  • 9 grams fat
  • 22 grams carbohydrate
  • 4 grams fiber
  • 40 grams protein

I am trying out a different approach to eating healthy: using 21 Day Fix portions. It’s similar to Weight Watchers in that you are allotted a certain amount of food each day, but instead of a certain number of “points,” with the 21 Day Fix you get a certain number of containers, which are color coded to the food. For example, proteins are measured in red containers, veggies are measured in green, fruits in purple, and so on. Here’s a recipe for homemade soup that I made: Creamy Black Bean and Chicken Soup. You don’t have to use the actual containers; I included the regular measurements too. Either way you end up with a healthy, filling soup. The plain yogurt makes the soup creamy without using actual cream. Yay!

Since this is just 1 serving you can always multiply it accordingly. I bet a big batch of this would be delicious in the slow cooker.

For this soup, I used chicken that was already baked. At the beginning of the week, I had a prep day to cook and divide up individual portions. I cooked a few pounds of chicken breasts (marinated in lemon juice with garlic, then baked at 400F for 25-30 minutes) and separated them into individual portions, made whole grain pasta then separated into servings, and froze for later, and I browned some lean ground turkey, mixed with homemade taco seasoning, and froze individual portions. Just some ideas if you’re a make-ahead junkie like me. 🙂