Tag Archives: Cheese

Baked Ziti

6 Sep

My husband and I are taking dance classes every Friday this month (P.S. I’m pretty excited about typing this post because I’m using my pinkie again – stitches are out and, though it looks terrible still, I can use it without being scared it is going to split in half…yay me). It was so fun! And, unlike most of the husbands, mine was actually excited to be there. 🙂 I’m not a huge dancer, but I wish I was. Baby steps…

Of course, while we were out, baby boy decided to shove a spoon down his throat and bleed all over poor auntie (she has the worst luck – last time one of the kids puked all over her…I swear I don’t plan these things). We’re still up waiting for the on-call doctor to give us a buzz and make sure we don’t need to get his pretty little gash checked. Poor kid. He’s a bink-baby and having a spoon shaped gouge at the back of your throat kind of puts a damper on things when you want to suck. It’s going to be a long night, so I might as well get a blog entry in.

Baked Ziti –  as easy as spaghetti, but it sounds way fancier. 😉 The recipe calls for three different kinds of cheeses, but lazy-o me just used a bag of pre-shredded pizza-mix cheese (I figure it has a bit of everything in there anyways!). So, a pretty easy recipe jumped all the way to no-brainer. Cool beans. I told you I’m not a fancy cook. 🙂

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Ingredients:

1 pkg.  (16 oz.) ziti pasta
1 jar  (26 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1 container  (15 oz.)  Original Ricotta Cheese
1 pkg.  (8 oz.)  Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

MIX spaghetti sauce, ricotta cheese and reserved 1/2 cup pasta cooking water in large bowl. Add pasta and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese; mix lightly. Spoon into 13×9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese. Cover.

BAKE 30 min.; uncover. Bake an additional 10 min. or until heated through.

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/baked-ziti-54590.aspx

Empanadas de Jamon y Queso (Ham & Cheese Empanadas)

10 Jun

 

My daughter’s class at school got to earn ‘trips’ this year. They went to Florida, Italy, and…a few other places that now I can’t remember, and she’s gone to bed so I can’t ask! The point being: My husband took the class on a ‘trip’ to Peru. He served a mission there for the LDS church for two years, so he got to show off some of his souvenirs, share pictures, teach a little Spanish, and treat the kids to some of the things Peruvians eat. We joked about having him bring one of our pet guinea pigs in and offer to cook him up for the class. 🙂 We thought we were pretty funny,. But kids never really laugh when they find out that that is as common as chicken down there. The usual reaction is horror – we decided to keep the guinea pigs home.

So, if you are in the mood for some authentic Peruvian and don’t have a large, hairy rodent handy or have children that may frown upon you poaching their pets, whip up one of these pretty darn awesome empanadas. I think the smoked gouda is what really takes these a few giant leaps up from a hot pocket – that, and the fact that they are homemade and not stuffed full of preservatives. They are a little cheater because you use puff pastry dough instead of making your own, but if you don’t tell, I won’t.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package frozen puff pastry dough
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (smoked gouda, edam, or similar)
  • 4 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 pound deli ham
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in saucepan on medium-low heat. Whisk flour into butter, and increase heat to medium. Cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Whisk milk into flour/butter mixture and bring to boil, stirring. Sauce will thicken slightly. Whisk 2 eggs into mixture and cook, stirring, for 1 -2 minutes more or until sauce has thickened. Add grated cheese and parmesan and stir until melted. Remove from heat and add cayenne pepper and salt to taste. Roll out 1 sheet of puff pastry dough on a floured surface to 12 inches square. With a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut dough into 12 3 x 4 inch rectangles. Mix egg yolk with water, and brush the edges of half of the rectangles with the egg yolk mixture. Place a piece of ham in the center of the rectangles brushed with egg yolk. There should be an edge of dough all around the ham. Top ham with 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture. Cover the ham and cheese with one of the plain rectangles, and firmly press down around the edges to seal. Repeat with other sheet of puff pastry. Pastries may be frozen at this point, or kept in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours before baking. Prick the top of the empanadas several times with a fork, and brush tops lightly with the egg yolk mixture. Bake 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Serve hot.

 

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Original recipe: http://southamericanfood.about.com/od/snacksstreetfood/r/empanadascheese.htm

 

Chicken-Dressing Bake

20 May

My three-year-old just had a massive potty accident in bed. We’re talking torrential. And I’m pretty sure it’s mostly my fault. After putting her to bed approximately forty-seven times, I got a little frustrated and in so many words gave her the idea that ‘You better not get out of bed again, or else!’ Well, ‘or else’ back fired. We had another little talk explaining that having to go potty is always an ok reason to get out of bed. And if you have to go potty as bad as she apparently did, I highly suggest running out of bed! Ah, the joys of parenting. At least it is laundry day. I didn’t even blink at having to wash another load. 🙂

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Ingredients:

10 boneless chicken breasts

10 slices of swiss cheese

1 (10 oz) can cream of chicken

10 oz milk

1 pkg Stove Top stuffing mix

1/2 cup butter, melted

Place chicken breasts in a buttered 9×13 baking dish. Place a slice of cheese on top of each breast. Spread the following over chicken pieces: Mixture of 1 can of cream of chicken soup mixed with 1 soup can filled with milk. For stuffing mix: Mix the vegetable seasoning packet with dried bread crumbs (do not add any water or butter). Sprinkle the dry bread crumbs on top of the chicken pieces. Drizzle 1/2 cup melted butter over everything. Bake at 350^F for 1 hour and 15 minutes, uncovered.

Nacho Cheese

6 May

I have a great dislike for Velveeta. It has its place in the universe, just not in my kitchen. “But what about Nacho Cheese,” you ask? Behold, the answer. A very tasty one at that!

Two versions – one for the wimpy-s out there like me 🙂 and one for those who like a bit more kick. Easy as pie…except it’s cheese.

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MILD:

8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk, divided

2 tsp mild sauce, or salsa

pinch of salt

SPICY:

4 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded

4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

1 Tbsp corn starch

1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk, divided

2 tsp hot sauce

pinch of salt

Toss together cheese and cornstarch in a medium-sized saucepan, until evenly coated. Stir in 1 cup evaporated milk, the hot sauce, and salt. Cook, stirring ofter, over medium-low heat until thickened., smooth, and bubbly. Stir in additional evaporated milk, if needed, until desired consistency is reached.

Original recipe: www.kitchensimplicity.com

Neiman Marcus Dip

26 Apr

Good dips are hard to leave alone. If you skip the plate altogether and count the serving bowl as your personal trough, you have a winner. 😉 photo 2

Ingredients:

5-6 green onions

8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

1 1/2 cups mayo

1 jar real bacon bits (or 5-6 pieces cooked crisp and broken into bits)

1 pkg slivered almonds

Chop the green onions. Shred the cheese. Mix the onions, cheese, mayo, bacon bits, and almonds together. Chill for a couple of hours. Serve with Ritz crackers or corn chips.

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Skillet Dinner

1 Apr

Watching the movie ‘Frozen’ the other day, I paused it on the part where Rapunzel and Eugene make a little guest appearance at the coronation. My kids were so excited! We had to rewind that 2 second clip at least ten times. 🙂 And then they remembered how much they liked the movie ‘Tangled’ and wanted to watch it too! “Frying pans…who knew?”

I’m going to add skillets to the wonderfully versatile world of frying pans. This dinner was so easy and really good! It’s a down-home kind of comfort meal that everyone in my family enjoyed.

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Ingredients:

1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled

4 Tbsp butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups cooked shredded chicken

4 cups cooked rice

1 cup additional shredded cheddar cheese

Cook bacon, drain and set aside. Reserve 2 Tbsp bacon drippings.

Place butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in flour, salt, and pepper until smooth and bubbly. Slowly whisk in chicken broth and mix until thickened. Reduce heat to low and stir in 1 1/2 cups of cheese. Reduce heat to a simmer, and set aside.

 

Place reserved 2 Tbsp bacon drippings back into a cast iron skillet. Stir in cooked rice, coating well. Add chicken and cheese sauce, mixing to combine. Top with 1 cup cheese, then top with crumbled bacon. Place under oven’s broiler for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted.photo 3

Chicken Enchiladas with White Sauce

11 Mar

I was ridiculously productive today. I cleaned the kitchen, tidied the family room, managed to keep my room and the girls’ room clean, washed 6 loads of laundry, folded and put away four of those loads (this is a huge feat for me…usually they sit all week and haunt me), I vacuumed and did the dishes…the one thing I forgot to do was get dressed.

I love enchiladas, but I have never been a super huge fan of the recipes that call for cream of chicken soup. They are all right, but they don’t taste very authentic. I finally found a winner! Sigh of relief. 🙂

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Ingredients:

10 soft taco shells or tortillas
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 (4 oz) can diced green chillies or enchilada sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan. Mix chicken and 1 cup cheese. Roll up in tortillas and place in pan. In a sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Stir in sour cream and chilies. Do not bring to boil, you don’t want curdled sour cream. Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese. Bake 22 min and then under high broil for 3 min to brown the cheese.

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Bacon Cheddar Pinwheels

21 Nov

“Mom! These are the best ever!” Palm to the forehead…why do I bother cooking anything that takes even a smidgen of effort? My kids always rant and rave about the things I throw together last minute, and poke their fork hesitantly at the things I slave over. I’ll tell you why I bother; I do it because I like my food to be interesting. So, I’ll keep doing it until one day my children develop taste buds and an appreciation for good food. In the mean time, however, I do thank my lucky stars that there are quick fixes out there that do taste pretty darn good.

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Ingredients:

1 pkg refrigerated crescent rolls

6 pieces of bacon, cooked crispy and broken in bits

shredded cheddar cheese

Lay out crescent roll dough in 2 rectangles, and cover with cheese and bacon bits. Tightly roll dough, sealing the edges and cut 4-5 individual pinwheels from each rectangle. Place on baking sheet and bake 375^F for 12-15 min.

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Mozzarella Rolls

1 Nov

Happy Halloween! I have a confession to make. My kids filled their trick-or-treat buckets three times this year: my in-laws always have a Halloween party where the kids bust open a piñata and load up on goodies, our neighborhood does a trunk-or-treat, and then there’s the regular door-to-door stuff on Halloween night. Aka: my kids got a lot of candy. So, here goes my confession…I dumped all of their previously hoarded candy into ziplock bags (so they would actually have room in their buckets for anything more than a Jr. Mint), dutifully writing their names on the bags so that they wouldn’t mix, and sent them on their way with Dad to trick-or-treat. I then went through their bags and re-treated a good selection of their candy to the trick-or-treaters coming to my house. Gasp! I know…kind of a mean mom. I did, in fact, have candy that I had prepared for the costumed cuties roaming the neighborhood, but we really get a lot of trick-or-treaters and I didn’t want to run out. I also didn’t want to deal with having candy coming out of my children’s ears for the next three months. Good news is, they didn’t notice.

Trick or treating started early this year – I think most of the kids wanted to get going before it got frigid outside…I don’t blame them. But that meant that I sent my munchkins out before dinner was ready, plus I didn’t have much time to get anything prepared because I was going back and forth to the door every two seconds. Enter my new favorite thing…egg roll wraps + string cheese. When I finally convinced my kids that eating dinner before gorging themselves on candy was actually a good idea after they got back from trekking round the neighborhood, my four year old reluctantly sat down, took a bite, and said, “Wow, Mom! This is so good! It may be the best ever!” And it took 5 minutes to prepare and 5 minutes to cook. Winner, winner!!! I used deli ham tonight, but pepperoni is really good too – I really see endless possibilities! You can use them as sides – they are perfect finger foods – an after-school snack, or for a quickie dinner on Halloween night. 🙂

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Ingredients:

egg roll wrappers

string cheese

sliced deli ham, pepperoni, or other filling of choice

On top of an egg roll wrapper, place ham or pepperoni across middle of wrapper – corner to corner leaving enough space to fold top corners inward. Place a piece of string cheese on top. Fold the two top corners over the cheese. Fold unfolded edges over cheese and pepperoni, meeting corners and forming a triangle. Roll until cheese is tightly sealed. Moisten corners with water to seal. Repeat with the rest of wrappers. Deep fry until golden brown or bake at 375^F for 20 minutes or until desired brownness.

*Tip: I tried using only cheese in a few of them and the cheese ended up bubbling out. The meat forms a barrier around the cheese so that when it melts it doesn’t leak out of the folds in the egg roll wrappers.

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Cheeseburger Casserole

17 Sep

Sometimes, you just need a no-brainer recipe. I actually had to think hard about this one, because I don’t usually use a recipe! I’m not a dumper, typically – I like to be told exactly what to put in and when – but this one is really hard to mess up and it turns out pretty much the same every time, even if I don’t do it the same every time. This is second only to my Mac and Cheese when it comes to my kids’ favorite meals. Funny how they love the things that take no time and no effort, but if you spend hours and hours making the most fantabulous meal ever…no one will touch it. Alas.

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Ingredients:

Prepared elbow noodles

1 lb hamburger

1 can tomato soup (or equivalent measure of Roasted Tomato Soup)

1/4 cup milk

2 cups corn (frozen or 1 small can of corn)

1/4 lb grated cheddar cheese

Brown hamburger and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix together tomato soup and milk and combine with hamburger, noodles, and corn. Pour into 9×13 baking dish. Top with cheese and bake at 350^F for 20-25 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

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