Archive for the ‘cheese’ Category

Herb-Rubbed Chicken with Creamy Orzo

August 14, 2010

I wasn’t 100% sold on this dish as I was cooking it — but it was a real winner! The flavors are simple, but come together beautifully. I chopped the chicken and mixed it with the orzo, but you could plate it with a whole chicken breast to make it a little fancier 🙂

Herb-Rubbed Chicken with Creamy Orzo

(Annie’s Eats)

8 oz. orzo pasta, uncooked
2 chicken breasts, butterflied into halves (4 pieces total)
Salt and pepper
2 tsp. Herbes de Provence (I made a homemade version here)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped (I used onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juices
2 cups broccoli florets
½ cup heavy cream
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
– Bring a saucepan of salted water to boil.  Add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes.  Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.

– Season both sides of the chicken breast halves with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle evenly with the Herbes de Provence.

– Heat the olive oil in a 12- or 14-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken breast halves to the pan and cook about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown.  Reduce the heat to medium, add the shallot to the pan and sautĂ© 2-3 minutes.

– Add the garlic and sautĂ© an additional minute, until fragrant.  Add the diced tomatoes with juices and the broccoli florets to the pan, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer over medium-low.  Cover and let cook until the broccoli florets are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes.

– Stir in the cooked orzo, heavy cream and Parmesan cheese.  Mix until well blended and the cheese has melted.

– If necessary, add some of the reserved pasta water to smooth out the sauce.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

– Serve immediately.

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Deep Dish Cheeseburger Pizza

June 13, 2010

This was a great weeknight meal – very tasty, and very quick to throw together!

I used a raw pizza dough ball purchased at a local pizzeria for my crust, but if you had pizza dough on hand in your freezer, that works too!

Deep Dish Cheeseburger Pizza

(Real Simple)

1/2 lb. ground beef (or turkey, or chicken)

1/4 cup barbeque sauce

1 lb. raw pizza dough (thawed, if frozen)

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded/grated

Directions

-Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

– Brown 1/2 lb of ground meat, add barbeque sauce and stir to mix

– Oil an oven-safe 10″ skillet (I used a cast iron skillet) and press the pizza dough into the bottom and up the sides of the skillet

– Top with the ground meat and cheese

– Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown

– Top with arugula, sliced red onion, sliced tomato, and a drizzle of olive oil (We skipped this step and had a side salad instead)

Last Minute Lasagna

January 3, 2010

This Real Simple recipe was quite tasty! I’d make it again for a fun twist on lasagna 🙂

Last Minute Lasagna

(Real Simple, via Carrots N Cake)

1 24- or 26-ounce jar pasta sauce
2 18-20-ounce refrigerated* large cheese ravioli
1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed dry
1 8-ounce bag shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan

Heat oven to 375° F. Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cover with a single layer of ravioli. Top with half the spinach, half the mozzarella, and a third of the sauce. Repeat with another layer of ravioli and the remaining spinach, mozzarella, and half the remaining sauce. Top with another layer of ravioli and the remaining sauce (not all the ravioli may be needed). Sprinkle with the Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes more.

Yield: Makes 6 servings

NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 385(40% from fat); FAT 17g (sat 8g); CHOLESTEROL 56mg; CALCIUM 507mg; CARBOHYDRATE 35g; SODIUM 1183mg; PROTEIN 22mg; FIBER 4g; IRON 3mg

* I used frozen ravioli instead of the expensive refrigerated kind. I defrosted the frozen ravioli before using them in the recipe. The frozen ravioli worked great!

Baked Ziti

November 21, 2009

Annie’s baked ziti is the best.

Hands down.

I’ve tried dozens of recipes, and DH was never quite satisfied with it….until now. He actually told me “Don’t change ANYTHING. Do it exactly this way, again”

That means he liked it. LOL

I did make some changes, and they’re noted below…

I also made this dish completely except for cooking it (I let the sauce mixture cool before assembling) and let my DH pop it in the oven for dinner the following night. The only change is it took about 20 more minutes in the oven, since it was cold from the fridge.

Baked Ziti

(Annie’s Eats)

1 lb. whole milk or 1% cottage cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 oz. grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 cups), divided
Table salt
1 lb. ziti
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
20 oz. turkey Italian sausage (I used 1 lb. regular sweet italian sausage)
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
5 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 (28 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves, divided (I used dried)
1 tsp. sugar
Ground black pepper
3/4 tsp. cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream (or whole milk)
8 oz. low-moisture mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

3 cups baby spinach (I added this to the cheese mixture)

Directions
– Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F.

– Whisk cottage cheese, eggs, and 1 cup Parmesan together in a medium bowl, gently stir in spinach; set aside.

– Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta; cook until pasta begins to soften but is not yet cooked through, 5-7 minutes.  Drain the pasta and leave in colander.

– Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Crumble in the turkey sausage and cook until nearly browned.

– Add in the onion and garlic and continue to cook until the onion is softened and the sausage is completely browned.

– Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and oregano; simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Off the heat, stir in 1/2 cup basil and the sugar, and season with salt and pepper.

– In a small bowl stir together the cornstarch and heavy cream.  Transfer the mixture to the now-empty stockpot over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 3-4 minutes.

– Remove the pot from the heat and add the cottage cheese mixture, 1 1/2 cups of the tomato sauce and 3/4 cup mozzarella.  Stir to combine.

– Add the pasta and toss to coat thoroughly with the sauce.

– Transfer the pasta to a 9Ă—13″ baking dish and spread the remaining tomato sauce evenly over the top.

– Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan over the top.

– Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

– Remove the foil from the pan and continue to cook until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes longer.

– Cool for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons basil and serve.

 

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites

November 8, 2009

YUM! These were delicious. My only regret was not making a double batch — the boys watching football on the Sunday I made these had them gone in 10 minutes!!

LOL

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I made some changes to the original recipe — which calls for a significantly fancier “ham” than I used, so please check out the link below for the original recipe.

We also were not impressed with the suggested mustard recipe at the link below, but others may enjoy it. I think next time I’ll just serve them with a variety of standard mustards — yellow, brown, spicy, etc.

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites

(adapted from Ezra Pound Cake)

Makes 4 dozen

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar, divided

1/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)

1 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees F)

2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup finely chopped ham (I used a brown sugar ham)

1/3 to 2/3 cup finely chopped sharp Cheddar, divided

6 cups water

4 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 to 2 tablespoons pretzel salt or coarse salt

Dip:

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons finely chopped seeded fresh jalapeños

1 tablespoon mild honey

Directions

– In a large bowl, stir together yeast, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, and warm water. Let it stand until foamy, 5 to 8 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast.)

– In a small bowl, stir remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar into warm milk until dissolved.

– Add 2 1/2 cups flour and milk mixture to yeast mixture; stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms, adding up to 1/2 cup additional flour, a little at a time, if necessary.

– Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and gently knead a few times to form a smooth ball. Transfer to a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at warm room temperature until doubled and bubbles appear on surface, about 2 hours.

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with rack in upper and lower thirds. Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper.

– Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and cut into 4 equal pieces. Lightly dust your hands with flour, then gently roll and stretch 1 piece of dough to form a 12-inch-long rope. Flatten dough and arrange so a long side is nearest you, then roll out to a roughly 12- by 4-inch rectangle with a lightly floured rolling pin.

– Gently press one fourth of ham and cheese into lower third of rectangle, leaving a 1/2-inch border along bottom edge. Stretch bottom edge of dough up over filling and press tightly to seal, then roll up as tightly as possible to form a rope. Cut rope into 12 pieces, and transfer to a sheet pan. Make 3 more ropes with remaining dough, ham, and cheese and cut into pieces, transferring to sheet pans. Let rest at room temperature, uncovered, 30 minutes (dough will rise slightly).

– Bring water to a boil in a 4-to 5-quart saucepan. Reduce heat until the water is gently simmering, and stir in baking soda. Add pretzel bites to the water in batches, turning once, until slightly puffed, about 20 seconds. Transfer with a slotted spoon to sheet pans.

– Bake until puffed and golden-brown, about 15 minutes.

– Meanwhile, stir together mustard, jalapeños and honey.

– Brush warm pretzel bites with butter, and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Serve warm or at room temperature with jalapeño mustard for dipping.

Note: Pretzels can be made 2 weeks ahead and frozen (once cooled). Thaw 30 minutes, then reheat in a 400 degree F oven about 10 minutes.

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I don’t usually make things up… (Vegetable Stuffed Shells with Tomato Cream Sauce)

August 12, 2009

IMG_1325

I don’t normally make up recipes.

I’m just bad at it.

Maybe that’s why I like baking — I love having precise measurements for EVERYTHING.

That being said, when someone on my cooking message board posted about “veggie stuffed shells in tomato cream sauce” last week, I was dying to try it.

And then she said she didn’t really have a recipe, and was just winging it.

Now, I could’ve panicked, or I could’ve just not made them.

But I foraged ahead.

And they were delicious.

Measurements are obviously approximate…I didn’t have a whole lot of faith in my abilities, and figured they would suck, so I didn’t really keep track LOL

Vegetable Stuffed Shells with Tomato Cream Sauce

(Me, with the assistance of StephnJohn on What’s Cooking)

1/4 cup finely chopped broccoli

1-1 1/2 cups fresh spinach

1/2 can artichoke hearts, chopped

1 small zucchini, shredded and squeezed of all it’s extra juice

1/2 lb white mushrooms, finely diced

1 box jumbo shells

2 large cans crushed tomatoes (You can easily do it with 1 — I made two so there would be leftover sauce….I used 1 can roasted garlic flavor and 1 can basil flavor, and added some oregano, additional garlic, salt and pepper to it)

1/2 – 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

16 oz part skim ricotta cheese

16 oz lowfat cottage cheese

1/2 cup – 3/4 cup light cream

1 tbsp olive oil

Directions

– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

– Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the jumbo shells according to the directions; drain and rinse and set aside to cool slightly

– Combined two cans  crushed tomatoes — I used one roasted garlic flavor and one basil flavor to automatically flavor the sauce. Add some oregano and a little more garlic and let simmer

– Chop up fresh spinach, fresh mushrooms, canned artichokes, fresh broccoli, and shredded fresh zucchini — really anything you like! Eggplant would be delicious….

– In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add chopped vegetables.  Cook it for 5 minutes or so until veggies begin to wilt/cook down.

– In a large bowl, mix the veggies with 16 oz ricotta and 16 oz cottage cheese, salt and pepper.

– Remove the sauce from the heat, and add the cream, stirring to incorporate it

– Place a small amount of sauce in your bakewear, then begin stuffing your shells and placing them in the dish

– Cover with sauce (you will definitely have leftover sauce if you use two big cans), then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese

– Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.


"Ben-chiladas"

April 19, 2009

These “enchiladas” have been floating around on a lot of the blogs I read, and EVERYONE has enjoyed them!

We gave them a shot as well, and found them to be delicious. They reeeeeeeeeally aren’t enchiladas…I’m not sure they have a single authentic ingredient…but they’re still amazing.

This recipe also makes a lot more food than it looks. We had ben-chiladas for dinner three times, and poor DH ate some for lunches as well! We enjoyed them plain the first night, but found on subsequent re-heating nights that the filling kind of congeals…so we added some canned enchilada sauce to our leftovers and it was delicious all over again!

To reheat, Annie recommends 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes

Ben-chiladas
(Annie’s Eats)

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 oz. reduced fat sour cream
8 oz. ranch salad dressing
flour tortillas (10-15)
jar of salsa (i used fresh)
shredded mexican cheese blend (as much as you want…anywhere from 2-4 cups!)

Directions
– Cook chicken breasts by preferred method, set aside to cool. When cool, shred or cube chicken (I skipped this step by baking my chicken and shredding it a few days before I made them)
– In a large mixing bowl, combine half the sour cream, and half the ranch dressing
– In a small bowl, combine the rest of the sour cream and the rest of the ranch dressing
– Stir both until well combined, then add shredded or cubed chicken to the large mixing bowl and mix well
– Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and grease a 9″x13″ pan (and possibly another, smaller pan if needed — it was needed for us)
– Take 1 tortilla and top with a little less than 1 tbsp of the sauce from the small bowl; spreading over the tortillas in an even layer
– Add some of the chicken mixture to the center of the tortilla, and top with salsa and cheese to taste
– Roll up the tortilla and place it seam-side down in your prepared baking dish
– Repeat until all ingredients are used up (Mine made 12 bursting-at-the-seams enchiladas on 10″ tortillas with 4 chicken breasts)
– Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes (30 for a crispier tortilla)
– Allow to cool a few minutes before serving

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts

January 11, 2009

Oh my god these were good. And, fast enough for a weeknight, but “nice” enough to serve to company!

We’ll definately be putting these in our rotation!

Bacon Wrapped Chicken (Stuffed with Cheese and Spinach)
(Adapted from: A Taste of Home Cooking)

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (this was 3 in my package)
black pepper
salt
4 oz. low fat cream cheese, softened
2 handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped
9 slices of bacon (3 on each breast)

Served with:
Mashed potatoes: 6-8 red potatoes, peeled and cubed, milk, butter
1 lb. fresh green beans, steamed

Directions
– Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F
– Cut a slice in the thickest part of the chicken breast, making a pocket in the breast to stuff
– Combine the softened cream cheese, chopped spinach, salt and pepper to taste, and stuff into the pocket in each chicken breast.
– Wrap each chicken breast tightly with the slices of bacon, covering the meat
– Place the chicken breasts in a roaster pan with a drip tray (or just a nonstick cookie sheet will do as well — but your juices and fat will accumulate on the bottom of your chicken) and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until bacon is crispy and chicken is firm to the touch.

King Ranch Chicken

January 3, 2009

Once again — casseroles and delicious things never photograph well. And this recipe is both, so that should explain the pictures!

This was tasty, though — I think DH liked it more than me, because I find the Rotel Tomato/Chilis mixture to be too spicy for my liking.

King Ranch Chicken
(I can’t remember where I found it!)
1/4 cup butter
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can (10 oz.) ROTEL Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
12 corn tortillas, torn into bite-sized pieces
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

– Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
– In a large saucepan, cook pepper and onion in melted margarine until tender, about 5 minutes. – Add soups, ROTEL and chicken, stirring until well blended.
– In a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan, alternately layer tortillas, soup mixture and cheese, repeating for three layers.
– Bake 30 minutes or until hot and bubbling.

Serves 8
Note: Not sure what the idea was behind making the tortillas bite-sized, but I think it would hold together better for cutting/serving if you left the tortillas whole.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

November 13, 2008

I’ve said before how much I love Picky Palate. But I don’t care, I’m saying it again — I love Picky Palate!

She always takes nice photographs, and her meals are fantastic for weeknights.

This week I made her chicken cordon bleu casserole. DH says it’s tasty, and to put it “on the rotation” — we have a winner, ladies and gents!

I used all mozzerella and cheddar tonight, because it’s what I had on hand…but I reeeeeeeeally think the shredded Swiss would make it taste more like actual Chicken Cordon Bleu.

And, as always…casseroles don’t photograph well. Just trust me, it’s tasty and it’s quick (with a little prep work).

Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
(Picky Palate)

6-8 servings

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1/2 lb. diced ham
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
14 oz. can chicken broth
3 cups cooked rice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup mozzarella or swiss cheese (I think I would recc: 1/2 cup mozz, 1/2 cup shredded swiss)

Directions
– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
– Heat oil in a large, rimmed skillet over medium heat
– Add onion and bell pepper; saute until softened, about 5 minutes
– Stir in garlic, ham, and chicken, cook for an additional 5 minutes
– Melt butter then stir in flour, salt, and pepper until combined (I melted the butter in the microwave and just added it to the pan)
– Slowly stir in chicken broth until well combined
– Stir in cooked rice, then transfer to a 9×13 baking dish.
– Top with cheddar and mozz/swiss cheeses
– Bake 20-25 minutes. Cover the dish with foil for the last 10 minutes for oozing cheese