Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

Cookbook Review: Barefoot Contessa At Home (Plus, Blue Cheese Coleslaw)

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Sometimes I wish that I could grow up to be the Barefoot Contessa. No, really. She has a gorgeous house, as far as I can tell, she spends her life having people over for brunch, lunch, or dinner, grows all of her own herbs, buys the best possible ingredients, and everything she makes is somehow beautiful and elegant. So naturally, I love her cookbooks.

I got a new one for Christmas, Barefoot Contessa At Home. Just like Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, (see my review here) this book is full of fabulous recipes and gorgeous glossy photographs. I find myself wanting to try something new every time I turn the page.

After an extensive introduction, the book is divided into sections for Soup & Sandwiches, Salads, Dinner, Veggies, Desserts, Breakfast, and followed other other resources about visiting the Hamptons and planning out party menus. Here’s a list of the recipes in each section:

  1. Soup & Sandwich: California BLT’s, Summer Borscht, Caesar Club Sandwich, Mexican Chicken Soup, Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Ribollita, Smoked Salmon & Egg Salad Tartines, Fresh Pea Soup, Garlic Croutons, Roasted Pepper & Goat Cheese Sandwiches, Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup, Tomato Mozzarella & Pesto Panini, Shrimp Bisque, and Honey White Bread.
  2. Salads: Heirloom Tomatoes with Blue Cheese Dressing, Chicken Salad Veronique, Grilled Tuna Salad, Bibb Salad with Basil Green Goddess Dressing, Jon Snow’s Fish Salad, Roasted Shrimp & Orzo, Pesto Pea Salad, Warm Duck Salad, Tomato Feta Salad, Blue Cheese Coleslaw (recipe below), Guacamole Salad, and Old-Fashioned Potato Salad.
  3. Dinner: Blue Cheese Burgers, Cornish Hens with Cornbread Stuffing; Chicken Piccata; Lamb Kebabs with Couscous; Roast Capon; Loin of Pork with Fennel, Stuffed Cabbage, Rib-Eye Steaks with Cornmeal-Fried Onion Rings, Portobello Mushroom Lasagna, Chicken with Goat Cheese & Basil, Seafood Gratin, Eli’s Asian Salmon, Lmon Fusilli with Arugula, Summer Garden Pasta, Seared Tuna with Mango Chutney, Easy Lobster Paella.
  4. Vegetables: Garlic & Herb Tomatoes, Orange-Honey Glazed Carrots, Broccolini & Balsamic Vinaigrette, Zucchini Pancakes, Herbed Basmati Rice, Green Green Spring Vegetables, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, Stewed Lentils & Tomatoes, Parmesan-Roasted Cauliflower, Creamy Rosemary Polenta, Broccoli Rabe with Garlic, Maple Baked Beans, Mustard-Roasted Potatoes, Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread, Herb Roasted Onions
  5. Desserts: Frozen Berries with Hot White Chocolate, Beatty’s Chocolate Cake, Lemon Yogurt Cake, Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars, Mixed Berry Pavlova, Coconut Cake, Pumpkin Mousse Parfait, Chocolate Sorbet, Black & White Angel Food Cake, Chocolate Cupcakes & Peanut Butter Icing, Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries, Ultimate Ginger Cookie, Fruitcake Cookies, Peach  & Blueberry Crumbles, Pear Apple & Cranberry Crisp, Summer Fruit Crostata, Caramel Pecan Sundaes.
  6. Tri-Berry Muffins, Cranberry Orange Scones, Chunky Banana Bran Muffins, Easy Cheese Danish, Omelet for Two, Scrambled Eggs & Salmon, Maple-Roasted Bacon, Breakfast Fruit Crunch, Sunday Morning Oatmeal, Blueberry Crumb Cake, Anna’s Orange Marmalade, Irish Soda Bread, Fresh Peach Bellinis, Spicy Bloody Marys.

Doesn’t that sound fantastic? All of it, I mean? If I was going to have my own Julie & Julia challenge, I think I’d work my way through Ina Garten’s recipes. At the very least, there’d be more lobster in my life.

Finally, as a sneak peak, here’s my adaptation of Ina’s Blue Cheese Coleslaw.

Blue Cheese Coleslaw
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa At Home

  • 2 cups shredded cole slaw mix
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, two mustards, vinegar, celery salt, kosher salt, and pepper. Place the shredded cole slaw mix in a large bowl. Pour enough of the mayonnaise dressing over the vegetables to moisten, and toss well. Add the cheese and parsley and toss together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours to allow the flavors to meld.

Very, very tasty. If you’re a fan of blue cheese dressing, you should give this one a try.

Lasagna Burgers

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

I’ll admit that the idea of this burger came out of Everyday with Rachael Ray. I thought it was a good idea, but only skimmed the recipe. When it came time to try my hand at the lasagna burgers, I didn’t have the recipe handy, so I basically just threw it all together. Here’s what you need:

Lasagna Burgers

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup your favorite spaghetti sauce
  • 4 good-quality sandwich buns (recommended: ciabatta)
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • garlic salt
  • Italian seasoning
  • 1  cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1) In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese, bread crumbs, garlic, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, and salt and pepper. Use your finger tips to mix, then score into four sections and shape into four patties.

2) Grill as you would hamburgers (we used a grill pan on the stove), using a little bit of olive oil or nonstick spray to keep the burgers from sticking.

3) While the burgers are cooking, melt the the butter in a small glass dish in the microwave. Stir in the garlic salt and Italian seasoning. Brush onto both halves of each sandwich bun and toast in a toaster oven or under a broiler until golden and crisp.

4) While you toast the bread and cook the burgers, combine the spaghetti sauce and remaining ricotta cheese in a small sauce pan over medium-low. Cook until the cheese melts into the sauce and the mixture is warmed through.

5) When the burgers are done, it’s time to assemble! Take the bottom half of a toasted sandwich bun and spread it with 2 tablespoons of the cheesy sauce mixture. Top with a burger patty and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Finish with the other half of the garlic toasted sandwich bun.

And there you have it–a burger with all the classic flavors of a cheesy lasagna with garlic bread.

Stuffed Shells

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

This is a great healthy Italian dish. It’s classic stuffed shells, but lightened. The combination of cottage cheese and ricotta cheese makes a rich, cheesy stuffing that melts beautifully. (If you aren’t a fan of cottage cheese, don’t worry–this doesn’t taste a thing like cottage cheese) Though you could serve this meatless, and I’m sure it would be good, I added a spicy chicken Italian sausage, which was delicious.

Stuffed Shells with Italian Sausage

  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder, or to taste
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 cup canned tomato sauce
  • 1 pound cooked pasta, jumbo shells, approximately 24 shells
  • 1 pound cooked Italian Sausage (I used Amy’s Spicy Italian Chicken Sausages)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375̊°F.

Mix together cheeses, salt, garlic powder, oregano and pepper. Spread a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce on bottom of a 9- x 13-inch baking dish.

When cooked shells are cool enough to handle, fill each shell with cheese mixture and place in baking dish. When all shells are in dish, spoon remaining tomato sauce over shells. Cover pan and bake for 20 minutes. Yields about 4 shells per serving.

Note: I’m sure we’ll be trying this one again. It was very tasty, though a little too saucy. Next time, I think I’ll cut back on the sauce a bit. The Italian Sausage I used was precooked, so all I did was slice it and saute it in a skillet with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil.

AuGratin Potatoes – Lightened

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

I found this Au Gratin Potatoes recipe on the main Weight Watchers website. They post free recipes from time to time, and this was one of them. The notes on the recipe promise that these cheesy potatoes are spouse and kid-friendly, and I can see that. They didn’t taste light at all. The potatoes were creamy and cheesy–reminded me a lot of our family’s standard scalloped potatoes recipe, but with added cheese flavor. I didn’t mind the onion, but if you don’t like onions, you could certainly skip it, and it would turn out just fine.

Au Gratin Potatoes
Adapted from weightwatchers.com

  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, very thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups fat-free milk
  • 2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup 2% cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 2-quart covered baking dish with cooking spray.

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour; add milk slowly, stirring. Add potatoes and stir to mix. Bring to a boil. Stir in 3/4 cup of cheese, salt and pepper.

Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and level out surface. Bake for 1 hour, uncovered. Cover and bake until potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes more.

Change oven temperature to broil. Sprinkle remaining cheese over potatoes. Broil 6 inches from the heating element until the cheese is golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing into 8 pieces. Works out to three points a serving, according to Weight Watchers.

Note: I’m sure we’ll make these again. The potatoes were creamy, and cheesy, and definitely worth making. The only drawback is the lengthy cooking time–I may experiment with parboiling or starting the potatoes in the microwave a little bit to cut down on the time in the oven next time. Almost an hour and a half in the oven is too long to make these practical for a weeknight, unfortunately.

Potato & Chorizo Taquitos

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Taquitos are something that I’d never considered making or even as a real food until I saw this recipe in Everyday with Rachael Ray. The only way I’d ever seen taquitos was in a box from the freezer. The recipe looked manageable enough, and I was excited to try it.

I’m glad I did. They were easier than you’d think to make, and delicious. So much more crispy and fresh-tasting than the kind that come from a box.  We had these for dinner, but they’d make an awesome appetizer. Just serve with some salsa and sour cream.

Potato and Chorizo Taquitos
Adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray

Ingredients:

  • 1 baking potato, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying
  • 7 ounces Mexican chorizo (about 2 links), casings discarded
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jarred roasted red pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons diced green chiles from a can
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 18 corn tortillas

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, add the potato and enough salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and cook until just tender, about 20 minutes; drain.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook, breaking it up, until browned, about 3 minutes; mash into the potatoes. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet along with the onion, tomato, roasted pepper and chile; season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Stir into the potato mixture along with the cheese and cilantro.
  3. Fill a large, deep skillet with enough oil to reach a depth of 3/4 inch and heat over medium-high heat. Microwave the tortillas in a sealed plastic bag for 25 seconds. Roll up 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture in each tortilla. Add to the oil seam side down; repeat until the pan is full. Fry, turning once, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes; drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup from 101 Cookbooks

Monday, November 30th, 2009

I made a broccoli cheddar soup recipe that I found on another blog, 101 Cookbooks. Though I, personally, am not very fond of broccoli, my husband is a fan. So is our roommate.

Plus, after Thanksgiving, I had another pound of fresh leftover broccoli, and I wanted to use it up.

The recipe looked so pretty. And I was excited about the croutons (which I may have made out of leftover dinner rolls…we are all about the leftovers this week). It also didn’t use velveeta or heavy cream, unlike most of the broccoli cheese soup recipes I came across. Plus, we had a bunch of leftover cheddar, too. This seemed like a place that all that cheese could shine.

The good news is, the cheese did shine in this soup, by the time I was done. If you like broccoli, the original recipe–found here–might very well be your new favorite soup. But me? I had to just about triple the amount of cheese in the soup to make it palatable. I guess that’s what I get for trying to stay on the healthy side of a broccoli cheese soup. The recipe below is what I ended up making. It’s full of delicious, cheesy goodness.

brocchedar

Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks; serves 4-6

For the croutons:

  • 5-6 ounce chunk of bread, cut or torn into 1-inch pieces (About 3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt 

For the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I used chicken)
  • 1 large head of broccoli (12 ounces or 3/4 lb.), cut into small florets
  • 2 cups freshly grated aged Cheddar, plus more for grating over the top
  • 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard, to taste
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or creme fraiche (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees and place the bread chunks in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, olive oil, and salt, and pour this mixture over the bread pieces.  Toss to coat, then spread the bread out on a baking sheet and bake for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the croutons are golden and crunchy.

While the croutons are toasting heat the remaining olive oil over medium high heat. Stir in the onion and sprinkle with salt. Saute for about two minutes minutes. Next, stir in the diced potatoes, cover, and cook for about four minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender. Uncover, add the minced garlic and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, check to make sure the potatoes are completely cooked. Once the potatoes are soft enough to eat, stir in the broccoli. Simmer just long enough for the broccoli to get tender throughout, 2 – 4 minutes. The broccoli will turn a lovely bright green color in the pot.

Immediately remove the soup from heat and puree with an immersion blender. Add the two cups of cheddar cheese and the dijon mustard, if using. Stir in about 1/2 a cup of sour cream or creme fraiche. You can adjust the thickness off the soup by adding more water or broth.

Serve sprinkled with croutons and shredded cheese.

Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

This was a nice, quick recipe that we enjoyed quite a bit. I butterflied or normal extra-thick pork chops, which cut down quite a bit on the cooking time, and made these a nice weeknight dinner. The recipe comes from Giada De Laurentis from the Food Network. This recipe was super-easy and will be a nice addition to our regular pork-chop rotation (There are only a handful of ways that we normally have pork chops, but I think this made the list). The lemon juice added a surprisingly delicious tang to the chops.

parmesan crusted pork chops

Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops
Adapted from Giada De Laurentis’ Everyday Italian

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup dried Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan
  • 4 (1/2 to 3/4-inch thick) center-cut pork loin chops (each about 10 to 12 ounces)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

1. Whisk the eggs in a pie plate to blend. Place the bread crumbs in another pie plate. Place the cheese in a third pie plate. Sprinkle the pork chops generously with salt and pepper. Coat the chops completely with the cheese, patting to adhere. Dip the chops into the eggs, then coat completely with the bread crumbs, patting to adhere.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add pork chops, in batches if necessary, and cook until golden brown and the center reaches 150 degrees, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to plates and serve with lemon wedges.

Mini Ham & Cheddar Quiches

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Last weekend was my first weekend back on Weight Watchers, but we also had two parties to attend. To help mitigate some of the party point damage, I brought a couple of tasty treats that also happened to be healthy. This was the first.

These Ham & Cheese Quiches are meant to be made with pre-made phyllo dough cups, but our store was out, so I had to make my own from sheets of phylly dough. (Super easy, by the way: Thaw the phyllo dough completely, cut into small squares, press four single squares into each cup of a mini-muffin pan sprayed with non-stick spray.) I’m writing the recipe out below with phyllo cups, but if you can’t find them don’t worry. Just follow those quick steps above.

quiche

Mini Ham & Cheddar Quiches
Adapted from Weight Watchers Comfort Classics (makes 15 quiche)

  • 1 ounce ham, chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded fat free cheddar cheese
  • 1 box frozen pre-made phyllo dough cups (15 count), frozen
  • 2 egg whites plus one whole egg
  • 2 tablespoons fat free half & half
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley, to garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Sprinkle the ham and cheese evenly into each pastry shell. Whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour evenly into the prepared quiche cups.

3. Bake until the pastry shells are lightly crisped and the filling is set, about 12 minutes. Be careful not to overbake.

Note: These were very tasty little bites. I’ll probably make them again sometime, but the possiblities for fillings are pretty much endless. I’m sure I’ll be experimenting with them (especially since we bought WAY too much phyllo dough, and I have plenty leftover just hanging out in my freezer).

Ravioli with Apples and Walnuts

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

This recipe caught my eye on the cover of last month’s Real Simple magazine. I’m not really prepared to admit how much I liked the rest of the magazine or what that says about my life stage (I clearly have more in common with the Real Simple crowd than the Cosmo one), but I definitely enjoyed the feature on “A Month of Easy Dinners.”

This ravioli dish was very tasty. Just a little bit out of the ordinary, but quick to throw together. An excellent weeknight dish, since I spent 20 minutes, at most, throwing it together.

Ravioli with Apples and Walnuts

  • 1 pound cheese ravioli (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 crisp apple (I used a honeycrisp), cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)

1) Cook the ravioli according to the package directions.

2) Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the walnuts and cook, stirring often, until lightly toasted and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes.

3) Add the apple, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and toss to combine. Spoon over the ravioli and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Virtual Kitchen Stadium with Stephanie Izard, Round 2

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Today’s blog post is already up…over at the Chicago Redeye blog.

I entered a contest to try and incorporate ground pork, camembert cheese, and haricots vert into the tastiest dish. I don’t know if I’ll win, but the dish I made sure was tasty. We ate it two days in a row and it even got David eating green beans! There’s a picture below, but be sure to check out the post on the Redeye blog, and feel free to leave your comments over there. Maybe you can sway Stephanie towards my dish. 😉

VK2 salad burger 2

Check the recipe out here.