Tag Archives: cheese

Hot Black Bean Dip {Football Food}

3 Nov

Hot Black Bean Dip
Those that know me well know that chips are my downfall, my nemesis, that one food I just can’t resist. I seriously have a hard time practicing self control when they are around. Which is why they are only in my house on rare occasions. Football games being such times since they are the perfect snack to inhale while watching the game. And although I would be perfectly happy with a bowl of chips (sea salt kettle chips to be precise), it’s nice to whip up a dip so that I can say I had black beans for dinner instead of just chips……
Hot Black Bean Dip
Tortilla chips are the perfect vehicle for this spicy, smoky, cheesy black bean dip. This dip takes a few steps but it’s very simple and can even be prepared ahead of time then put in the oven right before kick off, giving you time to whip up more delicious food to chow down on during the game. Because I guess eating chips and dip for dinner is not the appropriate adult thing to do.

And if for some totally indescribable reason you don’t like chips (I’m not sure we can be friends anymore), this dip is also very tasty atop crispy baked sweet potato fries.
Hot Black Bean Dip
Hot Black Bean Dip
recipe slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 (15½-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed well, divided
2 canned chipotle chiles, minced + 3 tablespoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce)
¾ cup water
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1½ cups frozen corn, thawed
6 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1½ cups), divided
6 ounces sharp Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 1½ cups), divided
¾ cup chopped cilantro, divided
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and spray a baking pan (I used an 8×8) with non-stick spray.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and salt, cooking until softened and translucent (about 4 minutes).Add the garlic and chili powder and cook another minute. Stir in 1 can of black beans, chipotles and adobo sauce, water and tomatoes. Simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, 2-3 minutes.

3. Transfer the black bean mixture to a food processor or blender then add the vinegar. Process until smooth then pour into a large mixing bowl. Mix in the remaining black beans, corn, half of the cheeses, 1/2 cup cilantro and pepper. Dump into prepared pan then top with the remaining cheese. (At this point you can cover and refrigerate until you are ready to bake and serve – if you do this add 5-10 minutes to the baking time). Bake for 15 minutes, or until bubbly and golden. Top with remaining cilantro for garnish.

Cheeseburger Quesadillas

30 Sep

Cheeseburger Quesadillas 1
Besides cooking and photography, one of my big hobbies is crafting. I guess I have a love for creating and capturing. Recently I have been working on a quilt that I have grown to love; every time I pick it up to work on it, I adore it even more. I know quilting is an uncommon hobby for a 20-something but I am kind of addicted and I’m not afraid to say it. Call me granny if you wish but I’m creating awesomeness around here. The concept of this quilt started at Christmas when Joel’s mom was given 12 quilt squares made by her grandma and great grandma. She wasn’t planning on doing anything with them so she offered them to me to create something with them. After several months of brainstorming, I came up with a concept and created 18 of my own quilt blocks to go along with the vintage ones. Each and every square has a different fabric yet they look like they were made for each other. Along the border are names, places, dates and special family jokes quilted to evoke memories each time it’s used. It’s a quilt decades in the making and something I am so proud to have had a part of creating.
heritage quilt
Just like this quilt, I love dreaming up and creating in my kitchen. The quilt nourishes my soul and these cheeseburger quesadillas nourish our bellies. They come together in less than 30 minutes and will definitely be a crowd pleaser. Even my impossible 4 year old ate these without complaint and he almost never eats meat. I’m telling you, tortillas are magic makers in getting your kids to eat. The fact that they taste like a rich, meaty cheeseburger helps too.
Cheeseburger Quesadillas 3
Cheeseburger Quesadillas

8-12 whole wheat tortillas
1 lb. lean ground beef
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. mustard
1 Tbsp. worchestershire
S&P
1-1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar (1/4 cup per quesadilla)

1. In a skillet over medium heat, cook ground beef until cooked through. Drain grease then stir in ketchup, mustard and worchestershire.

2. Meanwhile, preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Lay a tortilla in the skillet then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese, desired amount of ground beef (we divided this to make 6 quesadillas but if you want yours a bit meatier, add 1/4 of the ground beef mixture), bacon and another 2 tablespoons of cheese then top with another tortilla. Cook until brown and crisp then flip and cook other side until golden. Remove from skillet and cut with a pizza wheel. Serve with pickles on the side.
Cheeseburger Quesadillas 4

Meatball Pizza

4 Sep

Meatball Pizza 1
So remember when I made spaghetti and meatballs for you last week? A big ‘ole delicious batch. But have I ever told you how much I dislike leftovers? They are ok for a day but after that no bueno. I just hate eating the same thing over and over. And Joel now has lunch provided for him at work so that means there are even more leftovers for me to eat. The smart thing here would have been to freeze half the batch for another time but alas, that didn’t happen so I got creative instead.
Meatball Pizza 4
I always have pizza dough in my freezer for quick weeknight meals. Lately I have been creating lots of delicious and non-traditional pizza’s so why not make one with leftovers for the ultimate quick and easy meal?
Meatball Pizza 3
And that’s exactly what I did after 2 days of spaghetti and meatballs for lunch and dinner. I’m pretty sure this was the first time I was thankful for leftovers because it turned out so tasty. I’m pretty sure I’ll be making extra meatballs from now on just so I can make this pizza.

Meatball Pizza

2 disks whole wheat pizza dough
Leftover meatballs and sauce
2-4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Preheat pizza stone for 30 minutes.

2. Roll pizza dough disks together into a 12-inch round then place on preheated pizza stone. Slather desired amount of pizza sauce over crust and top with cheeses. Thinly slice 4-5 meatballs and layer on top of cheese.

3. Bake pizza for 10-12 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Roasted Garlic Chicken Bacon and Gouda Pizza

10 Jun

Roasted Garlic Chicken Bacon and Gouda Pizza 5
Have you had enough of all my talk about roasted garlic yet? If you have, so sorry but here’s one last recipe for awhile. I told you I was going to share this with you last week but life happened and this didn’t.

This pizza has some of my very favorite things in life, chicken, bacon, cheese and of course the garlic. Seriously, how could it not be good?
Roasted Garlic Chicken Bacon and Gouda Pizza 3
The pizza feels lighter than most since there’s not really a sauce but I’m sure it’s not (calorie wise) due to all the deliciousness. Joel missed not having sauce so he drizzled it with ranch for a spin on a chicken bacon ranch pizza.
Roasted Garlic Chicken Bacon and Gouda Pizza 1
Another thing I love is black pepper and I just happened to find a black peppercorn smoked gouda that was an amazing addition to this creation.
Roasted Garlic Chicken Bacon and Gouda Pizza 4

Most of the prep for this pizza can be done ahead of time (think pizza dough in the freezer, cook bacon and chicken the night before, shred cheese) so you can just throw it together when you are ready to eat. I love that with a little planning and prep work we can have fresh, homemade pizza on a busy weeknight. And fancy pizza at that. Especially seeing that my boys are “fantastic lovers of pizza.” Yep, the 3 year old came up with that. How could you not serve pizza?

Roasted Garlic Chicken Bacon and Gouda Pizza

1/2 whole wheat crust recipe (2 disks)
2 heads of roasted garlic, mashed very well
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large chicken breast, grilled and cut into small bite size pieces
6 strips of bacon, crisp and crumbled
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded smoked gouda

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Roll out pizza crust to desired thickness and place on a pizza stone.

2. Mix together roasted garlic and olive oil then spread evenly over the crust. Top crust with chicken, bacon and cheeses.

3. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden and bubbly.

Three Cheese Fondue

13 May

Three Cheese Fondue 2
Fondue is usually our go to meal on evenings when Noah spends the night at my parent’s house. He’s a cheese and carboholic but I’ve just never felt comfortable letting him eat something with so much wine in it. Poor guy would be ticked if he knew what was going on when he wasn’t around.

I’ve made many different fondue recipes, I’ve never actually made the same one twice. That is, until now. This will most definitely be my go-to recipe going forward. I am not a fan of swiss cheese so after trying several different versions of the classic fondue, I decided it was time to switch up the cheese and break tradition.
Three Cheese Fondue 3
This fondue recipe combines smoked gouda, extra sharp cheddar and parmesan to create the ultimate ooey, gooey dip for all your favorite accompaniments. Some of our favorite dippers are chicken, steak, crusty French bread, ciabatta, steamed broccoli and lightly sautéed zucchini. Soft pretzels are also pretty darn amazing if you are really feeling wild.

Three Cheese Fondue
recipe adapted from Nugget Market

1/2 lb. smoked gouda, shredded
1/2 lb. extra sharp cheddar, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan, shredded
2 cloves garlic
1 cup white wine
¼ cup cornstarch, enough to coat the cheese
Kosher or sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Grated nutmeg to taste
Shot of hot sauce
Assorted dippers such as bread, chicken, steak, broccoli, zucchini, soft pretzels, carrots

1. Smash the garlic cloves and rub inside of fondue pot or heavy saucepan; then discard the garlic.

2. Put saucepan on the stovetop over medium heat (or heat fondue pot to medium heat) and add the white wine, scraping with a wooden spoon to dissolve the garlic residue. Toss the gouda, cheddar and parmesan in a bowl with cornstarch, add the cheese to the saucepan or fondue pot and melt; stir to prevent scorching. When melted, add the nutmeg and hot sauce. Adjust seasoning to taste.

 

Whole Wheat Pizza Rolls

21 Mar

Whole Wheat Pizza Rolls
Remember that fun dinner I talked about on Wednesday using whole wheat pizza dough? Well, here it is. Pizza rolls baked in a muffin tin.

Noah had a lot of fun helping me roll out the dough and spread the toppings. He’s been really into helping me in the kitchen again which means he’s super proud and is a lot more likely to eat what we are having. Not that it’s ever a problem when it’s pizza. But when he gets to help cut up the broccoli or cauliflower (with his kid knives) then he won’t complain as much when it comes to eating it. Sometimes the “help” isn’t all that helpful but we both enjoy it so much and sometimes the fun messy chaos is much more important than getting things done. I know these memories will be cherished for a long time to come.
Whole Wheat Pizza Rolls
But back to the recipe at hand. These rolls are fun and kid friendly. I mean, who doesn’t love to eat with their hands. If you’re all fancy pants, you can cut them up with a knife but Noah and I preferred grabbing them with our hands and dunking them in the sauce. Dipping totally makes things more fun for kids too (and maybe adults).
Whole Wheat Pizza Rolls
If you have the dough and sauce made up in the freezer, this would be an incredibly easy weeknight meal to whip up. I always make a big batch of both those things and freeze the leftovers for this very reason. Then all you have to do is thaw everything and grate some cheese.

Whole Wheat Pizza Rolls
recipe from Foodie Crush

Olive oil
Pizza sauce (make it clean by replacing brown sugar with honey)
1 cup shredded fresh mozzarella cheese
Any other toppings, I put pepperoni in half of them (for the boys)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly grease a muffin tin with olive oil.
2. Roll out dough into a 10×20 inch rectangle. Spread a light layer of sauce over the dough then sprinkle with cheese and additional toppings of choice.
3. Roll lengthwise (like cinnamon rolls) to make a 20-inch log and pinch edges to seal. Slice into 2-inch sections then place them in the muffin cups, pressing down slightly.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and dough in the center is fully cooked. Serve with additional pizza sauce on the side.

Cauliflower Mac-n-Cheese

19 Feb

Cauliflower Mac-n-Cheese
Since I’ve started dieting, the thing I’ve missed the most by far has been pasta….and bread. But mostly pasta. I’m kind of a carboholic if you hadn’t noticed by now.

A big pasta craving struck recently so I went to my pasta pinterest board in hopes that I had something somewhat healthy there that I could add to the menu for that week. And I was totally in luck when I came across this cauliflower mac-n-cheese recipe.
Cauliflower Mac-n-Cheese
Skim milk and some reduced fat cheeses along with cauliflower combine to make this a lightened up and filling mac-n-cheese. I love that the cauliflower adds lots of bulk and replaces some of the pasta. That way, I can still get my pasta fix but not overload on it. Plus there’s cheese so that’s always a win.
Cauliflower Mac-n-Cheese
Cauliflower Mac-n-Cheese
recipe slightly adapted from Eat Yourself Skinny

1 (12 oz.) box elbow macaroni (I used veggie pasta)
1/2 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
4 Tbsp. reduced-fat grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz. grated sharp cheddar
4 oz. fat-free cream cheese
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.   Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt liberally. Add macaroni. When there are 5 minutes remaining for the macaroni, add the cauliflower. Reserve 1/2 cup of the water then drain macaroni and cauliflower.

2. In a small bowl, combine Italian breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan cheese and the chopped parsley.

3. Dump cheddar, cream cheese, 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, milk, salt and pepper in the pot you used to boil the macaroni. Mix in the macaroni and cauliflower.  Stir until combined and cheese is completely melted.  Add reserved water.

4. Place in a 9×13 baking dish and top with bread crumb mixture (I used fun, colorful mini loaf pans for part of it and an 8×8 pan for the remaining pasta).  Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until bubbling and the crumbs are browned.

Cheesy Broccoli Bites

24 Jan

Cheesy Broccoli Bites
On our quest for healthier eating, I have been looking for recipes that are lighter but still have enough heft to fill us up and keep the boys happy. I personally love steamed broccoli and would eat it everyday but Joel thinks it tastes like dirt. He is totally for it though when slathered with cheese.

Speaking of cheese and healthy, I don’t know about you but I have never been and never will be down with low fat/fat free cheese. It’s just not right. I would rather have no cheese at all. I’m fine with other light products like sour cream, milk, mayo, even cream cheese or ricotta but cheddar…no way, won’t do it.
Cheesy Broccoli Bites
I’ve had my eye on these cheesy broccoli bites for quite awhile but just never got around to making them until now. And now I’m kicking myself for taking so long to try them. They are a fun, healthy and delicious way to eat your veggies. The cheese melts into gooey goodness and the outside gets crispy.

And they got the approval of both boys. I’m thinking of trying them with cauliflower next time. I have a feeling these will be gracing our table very often.
Cheesy Broccoli Bites
Cheesy Broccoli Bites
recipe adapted from Stacey Snacks
yields 9

8 oz. fresh broccoli, lightly steamed and chopped
1/2 cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 egg
1 egg white

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Thoroughly combine all the ingredients and form patties, 1/4 cup each. Place on parchment.

2. Bake for 12 minutes, flip then bake another 12 minutes.
Cheesy Broccoli Bites

Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Mustard Cheddar Sauce

10 Jan

Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Mustard Cheddar Sauce
Pretzels are one of Noah and my favorite snacks so there is always a big ‘ole jar of them sitting on the counter. When I saw this recipe, I knew it had to be in my life. Pronto.

Chicken? Pretzels? Cheese? This is totally up my alley. I made this a few week ago and it was glorious. The crunchy pretzels coating juicy chicken was good enough but then top it with a cheesy mustard sauce? Delish.
Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Mustard Cheddar Sauce
I am totally drooling because since making this I have embarked on a pretty strict diet to lose this baby weight. Womp womp. It actually hasn’t been too bad. I’m using the My Fitness Pal app on my phone to track my calories (1410/day) and exercise. I am a major visual person and love lists so it really helps me to see it all written down. And knowing that something is going to be tracked and calories calculated makes me think twice about what I eat. I just started on Sunday but I haven’t gone over my caloric count yet but it’s been hard. I’m hoping this diet will result in a lifestyle change with mostly clean eating around here.

I’ve been trying out a lot of new smoothie recipes so I will be sharing those with you all soon.
Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Mustard Cheddar Sauce
But back to this chicken….you have to make it. A piece of it would be worth having to eat spinach the rest of the day.

Pretzel Crusted Chicken with a Mustard-Cheddar  Sauce
recipe from Taste and Tell
serves 4

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
about 6 ounces of salted pretzels
salt and pepper
2 eggs
vegetable oil

Mustard Cheddar Sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon spicy mustard
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1. Slice each chicken breast in half (horizontally to make them thin), making a total of 4 thin chicken breasts.  Place each chicken breast in between plastic wrap and whack with a mallet to flatten slightly.

2. Place pretzels in a food processor and process until you have fine crumbs.  Put the crumbs in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper.  In another shallow dish, beat the eggs.

3. In a large saute pan over medium heat, heat up the oil, about 1/8″ deep.

4. Dip each chicken piece into the pretzels, then eggs, then back into the pretzels. Carefully place chicken into the hot oil and cook until browned and the chicken is cooked through (about 3-4 minutes per side).

5. Meanwhile, make the sauce.  In a saucepan, melt the butter.  Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute.  Whisk in the milk and the mustard, and cook until slightly thickened.  Stir in the cheese.  Season with salt and pepper, if needed.

6. Serve the chicken with the Mustard-Cheddar Sauce.

Cheesesteak Rolls

22 Dec

Cheesesteak Rolls
I have been sharing a lot of sweets recently with Christmas coming up so I thought you all might appreciate a quick and easy dinner recipe instead. A recipe that only require 6 ingredients and comes together in less than 30 minutes.
Cheesesteak Rolls
Cut them into strips and they  would be perfect to snack on while watching a football game. Joel devoured these and may just request them on New Years for the Gator Bowl.
Cheesesteak Rolls
I love anything that involves puff pastry…add meat and cheese and I’m a happy girl. Delicious, simple and quick for the win.
Cheesesteak Rolls
Cheesesteak Rolls
recipe from Pepperidge Farm

All-purpose flour
 1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed
1 Tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1/4 of a 24-ounce package frozen sandwich steak (4 portions)
4 slices provolone cheese
1 egg, beaten
1. Heat the oven to 400°F.
2. Sprinkle the flour on the work surface.  Unfold the pastry sheet on the work surface.  Roll the pastry sheet into a 10-inch square.  Cut into 4(5-inch) squares.
3. Heat the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until tender, stirring occasionally.  Remove the onion from the skillet.
4. Increase the heat to medium-high.  Add the sandwich steaks to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes, breaking into pieces, or until cooked through, stirring occasionally.
5. Spoon one-fourth of the onion and one-fourth of the sandwich steaks on the bottom third of each pastry square.  Top each with 1 slice cheese.  Fold 2 opposite sides over the filling.  Roll up like a jelly roll.  Brush the pastries with the egg.  Place the pastries onto a baking sheet
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.  Let the pastries cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Cut the pastries in half diagonally to serve.
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