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Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

(adapted from Cooking Light)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb. peeled gold or russet potatoes, cut into 1/4-in slices

1 tsp. salt, divided
olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/4 c. flour
1 c. chicken broth
1 c. milk
1/2 c. grated Asiago
1/2 c. grated Parmesan
1/4 c. chopped chives (i used green onions on xmas)
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled (i didn’t use this on xmas, but it’s AMAZING with it in)
1/4 c. grated Parmesan

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°.
1)  Place potatoes in large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 min or until potatoes are almost tender. Drain. Sprinkle potatoes evenly with ¼ tsp salt; set side and keep warm.
2)  Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook 2 min or until tender, stirring frequently. Sprinkle flour over onions and garlic. Combine broth and milk in measuring cup; gradually add ½ cup of mixture into saucepan, stirring with whisk until well blended. Add remaining liquid, stirring constantly. Cook on medium 9 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat; stir in ¾ tsp salt, cheeses, chives, pepper, and bacon.
3)  Arrange half of potatoes in bottom of 8×8 pan. Pour half of cheese sauce over potatoes. Top with remaining potatoes, then remaining sauce. Sprinkle with ¼ cup Parmesan. Bake for 35 minutes.
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and yet another one of my favorite soups from my childhood. i think my mom got this recipe from one of those cookbooks that schools sell as a fundraising, so i know i am not giving proper credit to someone out there. i apologize! i don’t know who you are, but i love you…because this recipe is amazing! the perfect way to warm your insides (other than a shot of whiskey!) on a cold winter evening. you can serve this with bread, but i normally don’t just because of the carbs in the potatoes: it’s not exactly a bread-dipping soup.

 

ingredients:

4 c. potatoes, peeled and sliced
¼ c. chopped onion
2½ c. water
1 tsp. salt
¼ c. butter
¼ c. flour
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. dry mustard
1½ tsp. soy sauce
2 c. milk
1 tsp. fresh parsley
1 to 2 c. shredded cheddar (the original recipe calls for 12oz. velveeta, but i don’t like to buy processed foods)
2 c. milk

 

instructions:

1)  in a dutch oven pot, add the first four ingredients (potatoes through salt). Bring to a boil; simmer for 15 minutes.

2)  while simmering, melt butter in a medium saucepan; add flour and stir with a whisk until blended.  add pepper, mustard, soy sauce, 2 cups milk, and parsley; whisk to combine, until flour lumps are dissolved into the milk. cook, whisking constantly, until smooth and thick.

3)  add milk mixture to potato mixture.  add cheese and remaining 2 cups milk; stir until smooth. simmer for about 5 minutes.

 

yields: 6-8 servings.  freeze leftovers in an airtight container.

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apricot brie dip

 

i first had this dip at my friend Rachel‘s house. with the first bit i took of this, i instantly knew what heaven must be like. it’s one of those foods you crave just thinking about it. even people (including men!) who have either never had brie before or don’t typically like brie like this dip. it looks and tastes classy, but is oh-so-simple to make.

(a Pampered Chef recipe)

 

ingredients:

1 brie round (with rind)

½ c. apricot jam

¼ c. pecans, chopped

1-2 jalepeños, seeds and veins removed, and finely diced

 

instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

1)  cut brie in half side to side. place one half on a pizza stone or baking dish, cut side up.

2)  in a small bowl, combine apricot jam and peppers.  spoon half of jam mixture on top of cut side of brie. top with half of the chopped nuts.

3)  top with other half of brie round, cut side up.  top with remaining jam then remaining pecans.

4)  bake at 400°F for 8-10 minutes.

 

serve with toasted baguette slices, crackers, and/or pita chips.  if you are cooking this on a pizza stone, put the brie in the middle and arrange the baguette slices around the outside of it, then spray with a little bit of olive and bake according to directions.

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So I’ve talked about how my husband is not a huge fan of vegetables. For the most part, he is a good sport about eating them, even if they aren’t as mushy as he’d prefer. I mostly think he does this to spare the heartache of listening to me give him a lecture on the nutritional benefits of veggies. However, as much as he loves me, there are certain vegetables he absolutely positively will not touch,  no matter how mushy they are or how much cheese I put on them.  Cauliflower is one of these.  This past Christmas, a friend gave me a cookbook written by Jerry Seinfeld’s wife, Jessica Seinfeld. It’s called Deceptively Delicious.  The main trick she does is steam and puree certain veggies and then use the puree to sneak into dishes:  like pureed beets into pancakes, pureed sweet potatoes or butternut squash into spaghetti sauce, or cauliflower into soup.  Last week I received a cauliflower head in my CSA box.  Not wanting it to go to waste (and not wanting to eat the whole thing myself), I decided to copy Mrs. Seinfeld’s cauliflower trick.  So in this soup you get double the benefits.  Only after hubby ate a couple of bite of the soup did I tell him the secret ingredient; he said he couldn’t even taste it, and that he loved, loved, loved the soup. Success!

 

Ingredients:

olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloved, minced or pressed
4 c. chicken or vegetable broth
4 red potatoes, diced
2 broccoli crowns, chopped
broccoli rabe (optional; I had it in my CSA box, so I threw it in here to get rid of it)
1 cauliflower floret, stems removed, and chopped
3 T.  olive oil (or butter)
3 T. flour
2 c. milk
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
salt
pepper
tabasco sauce (or paprika)

Instructions:

1)  In a stockpot over medium heat, “caramelize” your onions for about 10 minutes.  Add garlic; cook another 5 minutes.

2)  Pour in broth; bring to a boil.  Add potatoes to pot; boil over medium heat for about 10 minutes.

3)  Add broccoli and cauliflower; return to a boil.  Turn down to medium heat; steam 10-15 minutes, or until veggies are tender.  Turn down to a low simmer. 

4)  Using a slotted spoon, scoop broccoli and cauliflower into a blender or food processor.  (I left a few little chunks of broccoli in the soup cuz I like it a bit chunky.)  And it’s ok if you get little pieces of onions and potatoes in the processor.  However, if you would like for your entire soup to be creamy, place all the soup into the fodd processor or blender.  (You can even use an immersion blender, if that strikes your fancy.)  Process until smooth.

          a)  if you processed only the broccoli and cauliflower, leave the puree in the blender until after the next step (step 5)

          b)  if you processed the whole soup, you can return it to the stockpot and leave it, covered, on a low simmer.

5)  In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil.  Add in flour; stir quickly with a gravy whisk (or regular whisk) to combine.

6)  Add milk to flour mixture; whisk until lumps dissolve.  Pour in pureed broccoli and cauliflower to milk mixture; stir to combine.  Pour into stockpot with rest of soup.  Add extra milk if you desire it to be thinner.  Heat through, then remove from heat.  Stir in cheese until melted.

7)  Season to taste using the salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce (or paprika).

Yields 4-5 one-cup servings.

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(adapted from Cooking Light)

the original recipe called for asparagus and peas. i didn’t have either on hand (hubby doesn’t like asparagus anyways); instead i used broccoli and green beans, as that is what i had from the farmers market. so if you do like and/or have asparagus and peas, use those instead. or, if you really like veggies, add all four! (whoa! gettin’ kinda crazy over here with all these veggies!). other veggies could very easily be substituted or added in. i decided to start with the basic this time.

ingredients:

8 oz. rotini, penne, fettucine, or linguine (i had tri-colored rotini on hand)

1 broccoli crown, chopped into bit-size pieces

½ – 1 lb. fresh green beans, diced (hubby doesn’t care too much for green beans so i cut them really small. but you could leave them whole or just cut in half)

olive oil

1 c. chicken or vegetable stock

1 ½ tsp. cornstarch

1 T. butter

1 garlic clove, minced or pressed

½ c. half and half

juice of 1 lemon

½ c. shredded parmesan or asiago cheese

salt

freshly ground pepper

a dash or two of cayenne powder

instructions:

1)  cook pasta according to instructions. drain; set aside.

2)  in skillet, saute veggies in olive oil until desired cruchiness (or mushiness, as the case may be. if you prefer it on the mushy side, add some broth to steam them a bit). place into separate bowl and set aside.

3)  whisk together broth and cornstarch; set aside.

4)  add butter to skillet over medium/medium-high heat.  add garlic; saute until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. add broth mixture. bring to a boil; cook until thickened, stirring constantly. add cream and lemon juice. stir with whisk to combine; remove from heat.

5)  add cheese and stir until melted. stir in veggie mixture. add pasta and toss to combine. serve with shredded parmesan cheese on top.

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(adapted from Cooking Light)

i know. everyone claims that they have the recipe for the best mac and cheese ever. and here i am claiming just the same. but believe me, this is goooood. if not for his loving and caring wife, my husband would eat stouffers mac and cheese every day for every meal: believe me, he is pretty high maintenance when it comes to mac and cheese. after experimenting a few different times, he finally gave me permission to call it quits at this recipe.  i have made these for potlucks and have always received rave reviews. (hopefully they weren’t just being nice!) but my husband has an amazingly great palette, so if he likes it, i figure it must be good.

also, don’t shy away from the mac because it’s a kid food. this is america, after all. just embrace the mac.

 

ingredients:

2 c. uncooked elbow noodles (actually, I prefer to use medium shells or rotini for the extra crevices that trap the cheese sauce. i also use whole wheat pasta, just to make myself feel better about consuming all that cheese.)

4 T. flour

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 c. milk (i’ve made these using 1% and using non-fat, and they both turned out the same)

1/4 c. cream cheese or neufchatel, softened

2 tsp. dijon mustard

2 tsp. worcestershire sauce

1 1/4 c. shredded cheese (i use a mixture of somewhere around 1 c. extra sharp cheddar and 1/4 c. parmesan.)

 

instructions:

1)  cook pasta according to directions on box. (continue with following directions while past is cooking.) drain and return to pot.

2) while pasta cooks:  place flour, salt, and pepper in a large sauce pan over medium heat. add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk until well blended.

3)  drop cream cheese by teaspoonfuls into milk mixture; bring to boil over medium-high heat while continuing to stir constantly with whisk. once starts to boil, immediately reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes, or until thick and cream cheese is melted.

4)  stir in mustard and worcestershire sauce; simmer for 1 minutes or so. remove from heat.

5) add cheeses, stirring until melted. if it’s too thick, add more milk to thin down, but only a few splashes at a time to avoid putting too much in. as it cools, though, it will thicken up a bit.

5) add to cooked noodles in pot. stir well to combine.

 

this yields a really creamy pasta, so if you don’t like more sauce than pasta, feel free to add another cup of noodles.

variations:

*try experimenting with adding different kinds of cheeses in, like brie or pepperjack. you could probably even substitute gorgonzola and other white cheeses for the cheddar for a completely different dish!

*for another completely different dish, use cubed potatoes instead of noodles!

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easy alfredo sauce

(note: i was so focused on eating dinner that i completely forgot to take a photo until it was too late. please don’t let that deter you; trust me, it’s delicious! 🙂 )

the first thing i found out about my husband when i met him: fettuccine alfredo. (nevermind, nix that: the first thing was actually beer; fettuccine alfredo would be second on the list. forgive me, my love, for forgetting myself.) not that he IS fettucine alfredo or that he can make it, but rather that he loves, loves, loves it. we could go into a little mom-and-pop italian restaurant that has all these delicious sounding entrees on the menu, and he will choose the one that has ALFREDO attached to it. “but, honey, don’t you want to reach out and try something else, something different, something unique to this restaurant only?” “hm, no.” it used to drive me up the wall. but then i learned to embrace it. and now i am thankful for it because it led me on one of my many food quests — my search for the perfect alfredo sauce recipe.

as i searched, however, i discovered that alfredo sauce is extremely hard to make! and it’s pretty fattening…duh, what delicious make-your-mouth-water food isn’t fattening? isn’t that one of the biggest curses in life? but, as those of you who keep up with my recipe posts might have discovered, i refuse to give in to fat and refuse to surrender completely to health. in life i’m all about finding the perfect balance (isn’t that, in a sense, what “all things in moderation” is about, finding the balance — or the fulcrum, for you science peeps — in life?). while not all my recipes are the healthiest foods in the world, i try to tweak any recipe as much as possible to make it as healthy as possible without sacrificing taste.

well, after that huge tangent, i hopefully didn’t loose your attention. and you’re probably thinking, “yeah, yeah. give it to me already!” but all good things must wait. wait, i think i mixed my idioms up. i always do that. it is one of the greatest joys in my husband’s life — “what is my crazy, silly wife going to say next?” he would swear that english is my second language the way i mix my words up. does anyone watch NCIS? you know Ziva, and how she is always mixing up idioms/metaphors? that’s me, only she has an excuse; i don’t. oh, i remember it now: good things come to those who wait. (and have i ever mentioned how i like to talk in stream of consciousness?) and because you have been so patient, here is my scrumptiously delicious easy alfredo sauce. if it’s good enough for my husband and his sometimes-annoyingly precise palate, then it’s good enough for my recipe box; hence, my mission — accomplished.

 

ingredients:
1 T. butter (i use earth balance)
2 T. flour (since I’m using it as a thickening agent, i use straight flour, not my typical half wheat-half white mix)
2 c. hot milk (i’ve used 1% and non-fat; both work just fine. traditionally it calls for whole or heavy cream)
1 c. shredded parmesan cheese (or, if you’re feeling gluttonous as i often do when it comes to cheese, add an extra 1/2 cup)
salt & pepper

optional flavorings:
freshly squeezed lemon juice (or maybe even a bit of lemon zest)
nutmeg
sage
minced or pressed garlic

instructions:

1)  in a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. add flour; stir with a wire whisk (because i have non-stick pans, i use a silicone-covered wire whisk) until combined into lumps.

2)  slowly add hot milk, stirring constantly w/ whisk until the flour/butter lumps are dissolved into the milk. reduce heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently.

3)  add cheese, salt, and pepper; stir until cheese is melter. remove immediately from heat.

4)  season with any of the optional ingredients as desired.

 

i like serving this sauce over whole wheat pasta and steamed fresh spinach leaves. therefore, i tend to mostly add nutmeg to my sauce.

i went to a restaurant one time that had chicken spinach alfredo pizza, and it was probably the best pizza i have ever had. one day i mean to attempt recreating this heavenly masterpiece.

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