Tag Archives: cheese

Cheesy Casserole Love

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c broccoli florets
  • 1 c mezze penne (dry)
  • 3/4 c white beans (cooked)
  • 1 whole head roasted garlic
  • 1/3 c colby jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 c mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 10.5 oz can cream of [celery] soup
  • 1 tbsp reserved bacon grease [butter for vegetarian option]
  • 1/3 c plain soy milk
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt/pepper
  • dash asafoetida
  • 1/4 c Panko bread crumbs

casseroleWhen my better half walked out the door for work this morning, I promised to have some manner of cheesy casserole in the oven to greet her upon return. On the heels of that promise, I released broccoli from its crisper drawer prison. Then, well… I just kinda winged it.

Nope, not quite clear enough...

Nope, not clear enough…

Mince onions and let cook in bacon grease on ML until onions become translucent. Salt and pepper them for the heck of it (oh, and add in the asafoetida now). While that’s going on, boil pasta until al dente (so that it won’t get too mushy cooking in the ‘role). When done, drain and rinse under cold water; set aside.

In hindsight, I probably should have used a bigger pan. Please learn from my mistake.

In hindsight, I probably should have used a bigger pan. Please learn from my mistake.

When the onions have reached desired glassiness, dump your florets in that pan and mix until everything’s hog-tied in pig drippings [again, butter can be used here for a vegetarian option… I just happened to have some bacon, and, well, you know what happened]. Crank the heat up to M and let them cook, tossing occasionally, until the pan in its entirety blushes a bright green.

And while that’s going on, mix together those mashed up cloves of garlic, “cream of” soup, soy milk and cheeses. Grease the bottom of a casserole dish, then mix all once-individual tasks together — pasta, broccoli/onions, beans, cheese sauce. Bake covered in a 350° oven for about 25-30m, then remove from oven and dust with panko. Let it sit for five minutes, then dig on in to your night’s official flavor destination. 5 spoons!

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Spicy Kale-sadilla

In my pantry today:

  • 2 large whole wheat tortillas
  • 6 oz refried beans
  • 1/3 c kale, minced
  • 3 oz monterey jack, shredded
  • 2 oz extra sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 2.5 tsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • dash asafoetida
  • salsa/sour cream to taste

P1100876So I’ve been hanging out for the last week with my good friend Rhinovirus, who brought along his girlfriend Anosmia. By the time I could yank my snotty face up out of bed, there was nothing left to smell. I probably don’t need to reiterate what a bad idea cooking without smelling is; probably more for whomever is cooked for, but fortunately I was pliable enough in illness to allow more prepackaged food into my kitchen than I might want to for the next six months.

Tonight I’m stepping gingerly back onto the stovefront with something so simple not even an anosmic monkey could fail.

P1100860Start by slicing your garlic very thinly and letting it simmer in 2 tsp on ML for 15m or so while you mince that kale. After mincing, sprinkle with  and cayenne then rub 1/2 tsp olive oil into your palms and grab the whole bunch. Massage then transfer to a ziplock bag for more massaging. Set aside for at least 15m, but for an hour or more if’n you got it.

P1100860tShred and mix cheeses. Mix refried beans into olive oil/garlic mix and let everything congeal together on L for at least 20m, but for an hour or more if’m you got it. When kale-sadilla time happens at last, lightly oil a pan heated to the M side of ML. While the heating is going on, spread some beans on a tortilla and sprinkle on a bit of kale for good measure since it will stick with a purpose to the beans and not get all over the counter or stove. Put the open tortilla in the pan, sprinkle in cheese and fold it closed. Flip it every 15-30 seconds until cheese begins to show, melted, around its edges. Serve with sour cream and salsa if’n you desire. This turns out to be a great way to sneak kale into a meal without knowing you’re chomping the superfood!  4 spoons, says my wife, who has all of her nasal faculties intact.

Enchilasagna

IMAG0155Don’t be fooled by the title: the only thing Italian about this is a can of tomato sauce and an arrangement in layers. Even the layering thing could be called into cultural question. The eyes stop seeing once the fork goes into the mouth, however — this ended up being more delicious than expected. I’m using camera phone shots so please bear with it.

Enchilasagna

  • 3 small corn tortillas
  • 1/2 can refried beans
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  •  2 tbsp onion, minced
  • 1 orange sweet pepper, minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 c shredded mozzerella
  • 1/2 c shredded colby
  • 2-3 c enchilada sauce (below)

beansCook your minced items over ML heat until a delicious odor begins to rise.  Mix in beans and let cook over ML heat while you make that enchilada sauce.

Easy enchilada sauce:

  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 6oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 c broth
  • 2 tsp garlic paste 
  • 1/4 c chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin

IMAG0164Heat oil to MH and add flour, garlic paste and seasonings. Mix everything and add tomato sauce as soon as they are; continue mixing over M-ML heat, adding water while doing so. Lightly oil the bottom of a glass casserole dish and layer tortilla-beans-cheese-sauce three times and cover it all in sauce. Cover lightly with foil and bake at 350 for 15 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 10. This is the most visually unappealing item to photograph, but ended up being one of my most delicious. 5 spoons!

 

 

Stuffed Cauliflower

In my pantry today:

  • 1 lg head cauliflower
  • 1 c quinoa, cooked
  • 1/2 c finely shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, in thin spears
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

stuffedcauliflowerSo this one is a doozy of a dish that I both went into suspecting and came out knowing with which I can do better. I will master this. It might not have helped that I decided to go my own way with the stuffing (as opposed to the scant every recipe online). I don’t blame myself, of course, I blame my cupboards. Regardless, the fundamentals won’t change. Start out by getting the bottom greenery off of and core out of your cauliflower, then wash it before submerging it for 15m or so in a large pot of boiling water laced with all of the above slated turmeric. Take it out and let it cool for another 10 or however long it takes you to complete the following:

Mix together 3/4 c quinoa with all the cheese and above-listed seasonings then set it aside. There will be time, too, to make the sauce to top it before baking.

  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 c half and half
  • 2/3 c vegetable broth
  • 2/3 c tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

Chunk up your onion and garlic and let cook in ghee over ML heat for 5-10 minutes. Puree like hell in the food processor. In the pan from which they came, heat the olive oil and pour the pureed contents back in. Cook over ML (erring on the side of M), scraping off the bottom as you go and adding in the coriander and cumin. Make it into a cohesive paste and begin adding your liquids while heating, now, to full M. Add the cayenne last then let sit until the big white head gets  turned upside down then stuffed gently and lovingly with the mixture from a couple paragraphs back. This is a little more difficult than it sounds like it might be — you see from the picture up there that a full stuff will take some training. Put in glass baking dish right-side up, cover with sauce and remaining quinoa and bake at 425° for 1 hour. 4 spoons for taste and aesthetics — when I figure out how to better stuff this thing, we’ll see about making it 5.

Cheddar Chicken Pie with Broccoli Sentinels (is Only Platonic Friends with the Curry Cabbage)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 frozen, unbaked pie shell
  • 1 can chicken breast, drained and rinsed
  • 2 c large broccoli florets
  • 2/3 c cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 “roasted chicken” flavored gravy packet
  • 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 c vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c minced onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • pinch asafoetida

I have had so. much. pie. this holiday season. It really is kind of ridiculous how pies culminate for an annual winter slaughter of the human diet and pride: pecan, caramel apple cheesecake, plain cheesecake with a mandarin orange pie winning the pie-ze this year for both deliciousness and moxie. After rounding out the last family jaunt yesterday with a pizza, I feel it is safe to start officially distancing myself from rich meals and desserts that do nothing but inadvertently complicate my health and/or well-being.

That being said, I made a pie for dinner tonight. Don’t you judge me.

In the freezer still lived the other half of a crust two-set I’d gotten on sale, canned chicken in the cupboard and cheese in the fridge. Oh, and fresh broccoli; that’s probably the healthiest and therefore most important part of things. Before you get to arranging health around the edge of your pie, start your onion and garlic in butter heating to M. After five or so minutes of making sure everything gets coated and tossed, add the turmeric and asafoetida; stir. While that’s being perpetrated drain and rinse the can of chicken and mix your gravy packet with almond milk. Add eggs to this mixture one at a time and whisk until blended. Return to the stove and stir in 1/3 c of broth and the chicken; toss everything together and spoon into the pie crust. Add the remainder of broth to the egg/gravy mixture. Arrange chunky florets around the edges and secure it all with a pour-over of casserole gravy. Bake in a 375° oven for 45 minutes, remove to sprinkle 1/3 c cheddar over and into the florets and continue baking until a knife comes out of the middle clean. And because I made this earlier today in advance of dinnertime, when I warm it back up at 35o° for 10m I will have sprinkled on another 1/3 c cheddar. This ended up being delicious in flavor, but a little unsatisfactory to me in consistency… then again, the bottom crust I found too soggy was forked off my plate and eaten by my wife. Still, my conscience tells me to go with just 3 spoons on this.

Also, while making that I had also started some cabbage that’s been waiting patiently in the fridge. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it yet — I don’t want to take the easy way out by throwing it into broth and declaring a soup; I’ve got plenty of that in the freezer right now. No, I want this cabbage to go places, travel the world and be better than freezer soup:

  • 1 medium head cabbage
  • 1/2 c onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1-2 c vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

cabbageThis one’s easy. Start the mustard seeds out in a ghee-oiled pot heating to M. When it’s near full heat, add the onion and garlic. When the seeds start snapping, add the spices and stir into a pasty mess. Add a dash of broth. Add cabbage in by little handfuls, all the while mixing and adding broth as needed to get everything spiced right proper. Add enough broth to cover the pan bottom, then put a lid on it and dial the heat down to the L side of ML. I cannot yet give this spoons because I do not feel it is yet a finished product. Good luck to my imagination!

 

Vegetarian “Not Pie”

In my pantry today:

  • 1 can crescent rolls
  • 1/2 can red beans, drained
  • 2 c broccoli florets
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2/3 c sharp cheddar cheese, 1/2″ cubes
  • 1.5 c unsweeteend almond milk
  • 1 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch asafoetida

notpie2It’s not a pot pie. In fact, it’s not even really a pie as the crow flies; having simply the spirit of a pie does not really qualify. Let’s just go with “Not Pie.” It’s not really macaroni and cheese either, since there’s no macaroni. But the spirit is strong in this one!

Sliver your garlic and cut your onion into tiny rectangles and saute them on ML until translucent; remove from the pan and set aside — but erstwhile you’ll have plenty of time to cut the veggies and mix a sauce. Give a quick stir fry to notpie1the small dices of carrot and broccoli florets until the broccoli goes from a waning HULK green to a more vibrant “HULK SMASH!” hue. Toss the broccoli, carrots, garlic and onions together in a baking dish. Cover them with the sauce you made by mixing cornstarch, egg and all above mentioned seasonings in with the almond milk; pour over dish and let bake for an hour at 350. Remove dish from oven, roll out from their can some crescent rolls and lay on top of the buffet below. Bake according to can-structions until golden browning appears. Remove from oven and let cool for a minute or two before digging in to see how this hot mess-erole turned out. Turns out, it was entrancingly delicious… but texturally deficient. I give it 4 spoons for flavor, but 3 spoons for consistency. Next time, I might be adventurous enough to try a bottom crust or perhaps a roux instead of cornstarch. We’ll see, because there will be a next time on this.

Broccoli Casserole-ish (or, “Well, There’s Only Everything Good in It”)

  • 3 c broccoli florets
  • 1/3 c yellow onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 10 oz  can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 egg
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 1.5 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 c panko bread crumbs
  • dash of salt

I’m going to have to tell you all something.

I’m not proud, and hope to use this public forum to ensure I bear the full responsibility for having held such a simple secret for so long.

…I’ve never made a broccoli casserole.

There. You got it out of me. Proud?

broccasseroleishAnyway, please suffer through this, my first time, as an experiment in both flavor and safety. Mince the garlic and onion and saute on ML in butter until onions become translucent. While that’s going on, cut florets to a medium-small proportion, set aside. Beat the egg into the can of cream of mushroom soup. Melt the cream cheese into the butter/onions/garlic, remove from heat and fold everything together. In large bowl, combine the contents of that pan and the egg-soup mixture. Shake in a smidge of salt and mix well. Toss your florets with this goop, put in a baking pan then top with cheddar cheese and panko. Bake in a 350° oven for 20-30m. What comes out will work well either as a stand-alone side or as a slightly saucy accessory to penne pasta; I didn’t know exactly what to expect, and I will strive in the future to perfect this concoction’s consistency. As it stands, though, this was really, really tasty and earns 4 spoons.

Alfredioliflower Bake (Or, “Cheese is the New Meat”)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 package mini cheese ravioli
  • 1-1.5c cauliflower florets
  • 2 tbsp vegetable ghee
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 c unsweeteened almond milk
  • 2/3 c shredded mozzarella
  • 1 c grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

alfredibakeMince your garlic and onion, then put in ghee on ML for as long as it takes for them to look apologetically droopy. Add 1.5 c milk and cornstarch and increase heat to MH until a boil barely begins to yawn, then reduce the temperature back to ML. Start stirrin in them cheeses. Well, 1/3c of the mozzarella and 3/4c of the Parm (the rest will go on top). Stir in the salt, other cup of milk and intermittently between said stirrings get your ravioli boiling to almost al dente. Drain and put in a baking pan. Break up any cauliflower florets that are obnoxiously large and tuck them into the pasta. Then drench it all with the cheesy sauce, then top said sauce with the remainder of your cheeses and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Bake in a 350* oven for 20-30m (or until hot).

 

Broccotta Casserole (Or, “Where DID I put my camera?!”)

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c broccoli florets
  • 1 c quinoa (cooked)
  • 1/4 c rice (cooked)
  • 3/4 c ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 c shredded cheese (jack/colby/mozzarella blend)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp dill
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (or to taste)

Broccoli, you say? With ricotta cheese, you say?And while there is rice in the dish, there is little and this isn’t just one of those “sauce over rice’ numbers you’re all so used to seeing from me. Actually, I’ve never made a broccoli casserole before (did I say that out loud?) so this was largely an effort in adventure. There was a head of broccoli in the fridge, and ricotta cheese that’d been sitting on the top shelf unopened for two weeks. There was (ass usual) onion and garlic. There was leftover quinoa and rice. Really, didn’t this build itself?

Start your finely diced onion and garlic in olive oil on ML then turn to dicing the broccoli into whatever sizes your palate dictates; set aside. In a bowl, mix together ricotta, beaten egg, garlic paste and a pinch of salt; set aside. Now that the onion and garlic are becoming soft, stir in the turmeric for that fun bright yellow color for which I would like to become the poster child. Stir in dill and let sit for a minute while you begin building within the pan’s walls.

Lay broccoli florets across the bottom and layer in the quinoa/rice mix. Go to the stove, fetch the garlic and onion and gently fold everything together. Sprinkle 1/4 c of shredded cheese on that. Layer the ricotta/egg blend over it all and sprinkle the top with remaining shredded cheese, black pepper and breadcrumbs like some kind of otherworldly pot pie crust. This is a good vegetarian fall dish that’s hearty, filling and feels decadent. 4 spoons!

Now, about fitting into something for that wedding I’m having in two weeks./squee

 

 

 

Jiffy® Rellenos!

In my pantry today:

  • 4-6 m-l poblano peppers
  • 1/2 lb ground sirloin
  • 1 hot Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 box Jiffy® cornbread mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c milk
  • 1 c shredded jack cheese
  • 1 tsp chili powder

When we came into a recent bounty of poblano peppers, one thought entered my mindsphere immediately as an easy use: chile relleno! And I actually looked into how they were made with authenticity, then took a step back into a comfort zone.  I was already cautious at the prospect of roasting peppers for the first time, but harken and take heart: the hardest part will be waiting for the broiler to preheat. Place your peppers on a baking sheet and put under the broiler on the rack closest it. Roast about ten minutes, then flip and roast another ten. Once they come out, let them cool enough to not torch your phalanges then gently roll the skin off their bodies. Remove stems and seeds, split the skins in half.

Stuff the peppers however you’d like. For this recipe, I used a 2:1 ratio of ground sirloin and Italian sausage seasoned with a little chili powder. Make cornbread batter, mix in 3/4 c cheese, and pour into greased pan. Lay rolled peppers in the batter and drizzle a little batter over them. Top the pan wit the other 1/4 c shredded cheese, then bake according to Jiffy’s instructions.  This will only get 3 spoons until I can figure out how to make cornbread not dry.