Category Archives: Cheese

Super Bowl 46 – Some Appetizers!

I just love the Super Bowl because it is all about football food! It is a great “holiday” to make lots of fun little bites for. Especially out here on the West Coast, where festivities begin at noon, there are many hours of eating that happen. Growing up we always had snacks, but being that in the East the game doesn’t start until dinner time, we focused mostly on a big pot of chili and cornbread muffins. So, I really enjoy this new world of an appetizer “holiday’! In honor of the big game, I came up with these appetizers for this year’s party at a friend’s house. I know I am posting this past the big day, but these are versatile enough for any party.

Buffalo Chicken Cups. Makes 32 mini cups. (Recently I have seen similar recipes around, however, I thought this up on my very own before seeing any others.)


8 large egg roll wrappers

1 12.5 oz can of chicken breast meat, drained

1/4 C Frank Red Hot Sauce, or your favorite wing sauce

4 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, room temperature

2 oz blue cheese crumbles

3 green onions

blue cheese dressing

celery sticks


Preheat oven to 350.

Combine chicken, hot sauce, cream cheese and blue cheese crumbles in a bowl. Cut egg roll wrappers into quarters. Using a mini cupcake tray, grease cups (I use coconut oil, but you can use cooking spray) and line each one with one of the wrapper quarters. Fill each cup with a scoop of chicken mixture. Bake for 15 minutes. sprinkle with green onions. Serve with celery and blue cheese dressing.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Dip. (Recipe inspired by Healthy Food for Living)


8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 C Greek yogurt

4 T turbinado sugar

1/2 t vanilla extract

1/4 t kosher salt

1/2 C mini chocolate chips


With a hand mixer, combine cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Using a spatula, fold in chocolate chips. Put mixture in a serving dish and serve with dippers of choice, I like to use apple slices and graham crackers.

Go team!

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Filed under Appetizer, Casseroles/Bakes, Cheese, Chicken, Dip, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Holiday, Vegetarian

A-Photo-A-Day: Spent Grain Carnitas Paninis.

Spent grain no-knead bread, pork loin carnitas, cheddar cheese. Paninied!

Corresponding recipes:

No-knead Spent Grain Bread.

Pork Loin Carnitas. 



Filed under Bread, Cheese, Panini, Pork, Spent Grain

A-Photo-A-Day: Meatloaf Sandwich Panini.

One thick slice of meatloaf, BBQ sauce, fresh part skim mozzarella (not the balls, just not the bagged stuff with preservatives on it), two slices artisan bread. Heaven!!

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Filed under Beef, Bread, Cheese, Pork, Sandwich

A-Photo-A-Day: Breakfast Pockets.

Pizza dough stuffed with scrambled eggs, sausage, and cheese. Coat with egg wash and add cheese to the top of each pocket. Bake for 10 minutes (or until golden brown) on a pizza stone in an oven preheated to 500 (reduce heat to 450 to bake). Serve with a white pan gravy.

Corresponding recipes:

Spelt & Whole Wheat Pizza Dough.

Scrambled Eggs.

Basic White Gravy.



Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Casseroles/Bakes, Cheese, Eggs

A-Photo-A-Day: Egg & Cheese Breakfast Panini.

Fried egg and cheddar cheese on artisan bread, paninied. Yum!


Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Cheese, Eggs, Panini, Photo Series

Mexican Style Baked Eggs.

I get bored with breakfast, even though it is my favorite meal of the day. I get into ruts where I make the same thing over and over. It usually consists of potatoes, bacon and eggs. I feel like the sky is the limit, but I cannot seem to think out of the box. This is precisely why I got so excited when I saw this delicious looking dish on Pinterest. I headed over to check the recipe out at Closet Cooking. Though I have made baked eggs before, it was on potatoes. I had never made a Mexican inspired breakfast.

I modified this recipe slightly and slimmed down the method to make it a one dish meal. It ended up being really quick and easy to make and did not disappoint!

Mexican Style Baked Eggs. Serves 2-4.


1 T olive oil

1 small red onion, diced

2 fire roasted jalapeños, diced (can sub fresh here)

1 small bell pepper, diced

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1/2 C frozen corn (fresh/canned is fine)

1 t kosher salt

1 t ancho chili powder

1 t cumin

1 t Mexican oregano

1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

3 T chopped cilantro

1/2 C shredded cheese of choice

4 eggs

Using a 10 inch cast iron skillet, or other oven safe skillet, preheat oil over medium heat. Add onions and jalapeño and sauté 3-5 minutes or until onions are starting to soften. Add bell pepper, garlic, corn and spices and sauté for 3 minutes longer.

Preheat oven to 375.

Add tomatoes and black beans to vegetable mixture and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in cilantro and cheese. Flatten mixture and crack the eggs over the top. Place skillet in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until eggs are set.

Serve with heated corn tortillas, sour cream, avacado, or any of your other favorite toppings.



Filed under Beans, Breakfast, Casseroles/Bakes, Cheese, Fast & Easy, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Mexican Inspired, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Spelt Dough Pizza Pockets.

I had set out to make stromboli, but was using this new dough that I am in love with. I was not as familiar with it as I am now and ended up with a little softer product that I had thought. Working AP flour you have maximum gluten, which adds to the elasticity of the product. This dough has all the potential of working just fine, I was just not prepared for it. So the result was pizza pockets, which were just as wonderful and pizza-like as a stromboli. Good enough to make again anyway and if the dough is already in the refrigerator, this could totally be a quick weeknight dish.

Spelt Dough Pizza Pockets. Serves 4.


1 recipe of spelt & whole wheat dough

AP flour (for rolling out the dough)

4 T pizza sauce

Toppings of choice (we used olives, mushrooms, ham, turkey, mozzarella, and red onions)

Preheat a pizza stone to 500. Reduce heat to 400.

Divide dough into two equal pieces. Set one aside, covered with a towel. Roll out the first piece until it is thin, but not tearing, you do not want it to rip once it filled. Cut the rolled out piece in half and spread out 1 tablespoon of sauce on each half. Fill with 1/4 of the toppings. Fold in the sides and then roll closed. repeat with remaining dough.

Place pockets on the pizza stone and cook 15-25 minutes, until the top and bottom are golden brown.

If you do not have a pizza stone, cook these on your standard pizza sheet at 400 until golden brown.





Filed under Bread, Cheese, Grains/Rice, Pizza

Weeknight Quick & Easy Enchilada Casserole.

While weekends are mine in the kitchen, as of late it has taken some mental effort to get home from work and want to cook. This is not a normal thing for me. Usually I have no problem coming home after working for nine or ten hours and spending oodles of time in the kitchen, chopping, stewing, baking, sautéing. But for whatever reason, as of late this has been a daunting task. I get home and dig around for left overs, quick snacks, anything that doesn’t take too much effort. That is sort of why I started making all of the quick weeknight dinner posts you have been seeing. I know they are not gourmet or detailed, but they are real life, they are really what people make when they are busy or just plain don’t want to cook and they are, for the most part, not processed. Sure there was a waffle mix (made with whole grains), and store bought chorizo (organic and locally raised), but they are not full of corn by-product.

This is a dish that I grew up eating. It epitomizes the speedy weeknight one dish meal in my head. It can be made with a number of on hand ingredients and takes little effort to prepare. As children, my sister and I loved this dish. We would ask for it by name and devour it when it was placed on the table. For me, it is home.

Interestingly enough I was unable to get the recipe that my family uses for this dish, perhaps there isn’t one, that is exists only proverbially. So what you get below is my rendition, made with on hand ingredients. It is waiting to be modified by you!

Quick & Easy Enchilada Casserole.


6 corn tortillas, chopped up

5 oz red chile sauce (or other enchilada sauce)

1 C cooked chicken, chopped

1/2 C sliced black olives

1 small green pepper, diced

1 small red onion, diced

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 C shredded cheese

1 green onion, sliced

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine all ingredients except 1/2 cup of cheese in a large mixing bowl. Transfer to a 9×13 baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Top with reserved cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is melted and golden brown! Top with green onions and serve with lettuce and sour cream.


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Filed under Casseroles/Bakes, Cheese, Fast & Easy, Mexican Inspired

Skillet Macaroni & Cheese.

I have still got the itch to cook with the skillet we picked up while on vacation. I really don’t know why either. There is just something about it that makes me feel warm inside. With all of the comfort food rolling around the internet these days and my own uncontrollable urge to wrap myself in warm, gooey foods, I thought the next natural dish for the skillet would be mac and cheese!

This came together really quickly and I think the original recipe was written in a way that any home cook can replicate it. It uses one 11 inch skillet and one pasta pot. How simple is that! I found it over at Serious Eats, who credited Jennifer Hess of Last Night’s dinner. You can read the original here. The result was a beautiful dish that made my heart sing and I just had to share it.

Skillet Macaroni & Cheese.


1 pound dry pasta (I used tri-colored veggie shells)

1/4 C unsalted butter 

1/4 C flour

2 C whole milk

1 C heavy cream

dash of hot sauce (I used Frank’s)

1 t dried mustard

1 t kosher salt

2 C sharp farmhouse cheddar, shredded

1 C Gruyere, shredded

1 C fresh parmesan, grated (1/2 C reserved for topping and not put into sauce)

2 C panko bread crumbs

1/2 t dried thyme

1/2 t dried oregano

Get pasta boiling in a large stock pot, season water with salt if you like. Remove and drain when the pasta is al dente. (If you are using shells it is okay if the centers still have quite a bit of tooth.)

Preheat oven to 400.

Heat skillet over medium heat and melt butter. Add flour and whisk to ensure the mixture is smooth and silky. Slowly add milk and cream, whisking continuously. Add hot sauce, mustard, and salt and continue whisking.

Begin adding cheese a little bit at a time (like 1/2 handful) whisking until all of the cheese is melted before adding more. When all of the cheese is melted add pasta and mix to combine.

In a medium bowl mix reserved parmesan, bread crumbs, and herbs together and sprinkle over the top of the pasta and cheese.

Place in oven over a cookie sheet (in case anything drips while cooking) and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly before serving because it is going to be hot!


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Filed under Casseroles/Bakes, Cheese, Midwest Inspired, Pasta

Taco Dip for a Crowd.

Before I launch into this I have to tell you all something, this is the third time I have made this recipe for the blog. The first time was during our Eastern Oregon trip. I made the dip, but the measurements were altered because I did not have the right dish to make it in. The second time was this past weekend. I made a perfect batch for our camping trip…only to put it in the bottom of the cooler and have it fill with water. It was a complete loss. So I resolved to make this again and get it on the blog already! However, you will see in the photo below, I am just plain cursed…I forgot the cheese! Don’t fret, I added it to the top before we munched on it, but still! I cannot win with this one. So, onward!

This is one of my oldest recipes. It really isn’t a recipe at all. It is a combination of foods that are simply layered together in a typical party salad fashion. This dish was born out of my dislike for traditional seven layer salad. The one with the mayo and peas. Yuck! So in college I came up with this variation, which is actually just a taco dip. I will tell you though, I thought I was so smart!

Anyway, I still use this recipe when going to summer parties. It is quick, cheap and ingredients can easily be subbed if you don’t have something on hand. It is also plain enough to be enjoyed by even the pickiest of eaters.

Taco Dip for a Crowd.


1 can refried beans

10 oz sour cream

1/4-1/2 C taco sauce (use your favorite)

1-2 C cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 C shredded lettuce or green cabbage

1 large tomato, seeded and diced (drain on paper towel to avoid excess water in your dip)

15 black olives, sliced

2 scallions, chopped (can sub 1/4 C red onions if you prefer) ~ optional (I don’t normally add either)

1 bag of tortilla chips

Spread beans out in a 2 quart oblong baking dish. Combine sour cream and taco sauce in a bowl. Spread over beans with a spatula. Top with cheese, lettuce, tomato, olives, and scallions. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve.

And this is what it looks like when I remember all of the ingredients!


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Filed under Appetizer, Beans, Cheese, Dip, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Mexican Inspired, Snacks, Vegetables, Vegetarian