cheese

Pasta with Gorgonzola Cheese and Roasted Cauliflower

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My nephew, Dalton (sister’s son), and niece, Laurel, (brother’s daughter), got together on Christmas eve and cooked up this “boujee” (their description!) version of my favorite dish - mac’n cheese.

Tender roasted cauliflower florets, Gorgonzola cheese, and the organic pasta they used, sets this apart from my typical elbow macaroni and cheddar dish, and make it special enough to serve at any dinner party of distinction. It’s versatile enough to use as a vegetarian main, or a side. (Perhaps to a halibut filet?)

Dalton and Laurel, a very Cousin Christmas!

Dalton and Laurel, a very Cousin Christmas!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets (less than an inch)

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • ¾ teaspoon

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 large leeks, halved and thinly sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 8 ounces pasta like farfalle, bowtie, or fusilli

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

  • 6 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

  • chives for serving

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

  2. In a large bowl, toss cauliflower, leeks, and garlic with olive oil, salt and 3-4 twists of freshly ground black pepper. Spread in a single layer onto a baking sheet or roulade pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes until cauliflower is tender and all veggies are caramelized.

  3. Cook pasta in large stock pot of salted boiling water - remove from heat just BEFORE it is al dente. Remove about 1 cup of the water - set aside, then drain the pot.

  4. Return the pasta to the pot, add the butter, Gorgonzola, a few more twists of the black pepper and 1/2 cup pasta water. Stir thoroughly until cheese is melted and evenly distributed.

  5. Add the roasted florets. leeks, and garlic to the pasta, then season with additional salt and pepper (if desired). If it is too dry, add more of the reserved pasta water.

  6. Dish into shallow serving bowls and garnish with chopped chives. Serve it up warm and delicious!

After carefully taste-testing and much discussion, our two burgeoning chefs decided it could be made even a little more extra by adding crab or lobster to the mix. I have to agree.

Gobble It Up Cheeseball

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I was cruising the internet 'tother day looking for some holiday party inspiration and crashed into a rendition of this fine not-so-feathered fella.

He's so cheesy! And completely nuts! In fact, he's gone crackers! (And that is how I humor myself friends...) So if you find this appetizer funny, and clever, and aren't worried about your teenagers groaning and rolling their eyes when you present him with a proud-as-a peacock (er, turkey) flourish. Then get your nutty cheese on!

Ingredients:

  • Your favorite cheese ball recipe (I've included a recipe below if you don’t have one. Don’t be afraid to improvise and add/subtract spices and ingredients.)

  • Red, yellow, and orange bell pepper slices (the mini's do the trick!)

  • Pecan Halves

  • Almond Slices

  • Pumpkin Seeds

  • Crackers for tail feathers - oblong work best

  • Pepper Corns (or other edible "eyes".)


Directions:

  1. Make your cheese ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm.

  2. Remove from fridge, place on center of serving plate.

  3. Insert "tail feathers" in a wide fan - I placed a smaller number in front and in back of the wide row.

  4. Press Pecans in at the "shoulders" working down and toward the back.

  5. Press the sliced almonds in near the tail feathers.

  6. Press the pumpkin seeds in in front of the almonds.

  7. Cut a slice of the Orange Bell Pepper to form a "head and neck (experiment with this) an press into the front of the cheese ball.

  8. Cut a "wiggly" slice of Red Bell Pepper and "glue" to the neck with a bit of the cream cheese.

  9. Cut a tiny bit of Yellow Bell Pepper for the beak. I used the tip of a paring knife to poke a hole in the "head" and inserted the bit for the beak.

  10. Find some "eyes." I used a bit of cracker, but I thought later that pepper corns would have been perfect! Glue the eyes on with another little bit of cream cheese.

  11. Now, present that proud fine "bird" with a bowl of crackers and shake your tail feathers!!!

Cheese Ball Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature.

  • 3/4 cups finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

  • 1 tablespoon bacon bits.

  • 1 tablespoon chives, chopped.

  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt

  • Pinch cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

Directions:

  1. Mix together all ingredients by hand, or using a mixer, in large bowl until well blended and an even consistency.

  2. Form into a ball inside the bowl.

  3. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap.

  4. Place in the refrigerator until firm (about 2-3 hours.) Use the freezer for 30 minutes if you rarely think ahead (like me.)

  5. Decorate your bird! OR

  6. Roll in almond slices and serve with a basket of crackers.

Jalapeño Popper Dip

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It’s football season! Which for a lot of us mean it’s chip and dip season! Here’s a favorite of mine and for the studio folks. Jalapeño Popper Dip - so crispy, so cheesy, so packed with flavor!

Serve it up in the den, on the tailgate, or in the studio break room - no matter where or when, it’s going to be gobbled up and enjoyed!

Ingredients:

  • 2 8oz packages of cream cheese

  • 1/2 cup mayonaise

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • 4 medium Jalapeño peppers, seeds removed and finely chopped (for extra spicy dip, leave some seeds!)

  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • 1cup shredded mozzarella cheese

  • 3/4 cup chopped green onion

  • 1 cup crispy bacon (or turkey bacon) bits

Topping:

  • 6 Tblsp melted butter

  • 2 1/2 cup Ritz crackers crushed

  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic powder, black pepper, and chopped jalepenos. Stir well making sure all ingredients are well blended.

  3. Add cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, green onion and bacon bits to cream cheese mixture and stir well again.

  4. Place mixture in a 7x11” oven proof pan. (Any casserole or baking dish that is at least 1” deep will work.)

  5. In a separate bowl, combine melted butter, Ritz crackers, parmesan cheese, and spread over top of dip mixture.

  6. Cover pan with foil and cook for approximately 45 minutes, remove foil and cook for approximately 10 minutes more or until topping is crisp.

The next step is to grab your favorite bag of chip and get to dippin’! This dip also is the bomb to top your tacos or any Tex-Mex sorta meal!

Cheesy Jalepeño Loaf

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Fall is in the air, in fact, we tried to have a BBQ at the studio recently and even though the sun was shining brightly, the wind was from the north and so cold we picked up our plates and headed in to eat in the dining room!

I can't think of a better way to eat my way through this transitional time that with a mix of fresh veggies and fruits from the garden and some warm comfort foods like soups. Paired with those items, there can be nothing better than a thick slice of this dense cheesy bread.

Made with a beer batter base, and incorporating a little spice (not too much) with jalepeño peppers, it's just the ticket to a tailgater, an office potluck, or your next family meal.

It's "Steve Made" of course, so you know it's been tried and tested.  Here ya go!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup packed shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalepeño peppers, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons green onion (green part), chopped
  • 12 ounces of beer 
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing


Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Grease a 9 x 5 bread loaf pan with butter.
3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, garlic salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
4. Add the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, jalepeños, and green onion, stir until combined.
5. Add beer to mixture, using a spatula stir until combined and batter is wet.
6. Transfer the batter to the greased loaf pan. Use the spatula to level the top.
7. Add the melted butter to the top of the batter, making sure to cover the entire top of the batter.
8. Bake for 1 hour, or until a knife inserted in the middle of bread comes out clean.
9. Remove bread pan from oven to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Then remove bread from loaf pan and let cool on wire rack for 5 more minutes.


Mmmmm. Thanks Steve!

Recipes | Better with Borden® Cheese

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Get all the delicious recipes from Borden® Cheese HERE

My awesome sponsor, Borden® Cheese, is THE place to go for the most incredible, cheesy recipes! They generously send me selections to share with you in my newsletter, and here on my web page, and have dozens more on their site www.BordenCheese.com.

Take a look and see how these might fit into your winter meal planning and make sure to visit Borden® Cheese for more gooey goodness!


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Cheesy Sausage Vegetable Soup

This hearty meat,vegetable and cheeeeezy soup, looks especially satisfying for a cold and crisp, (or more likely wet and dreary,) day. I'll try it if you will!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. sausage links, cut into ½ inch-thick slices
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 lbs. zucchini, diced
  • 4 to 5 large carrots, cut into thin slices
  • 2 tbsp. Borden® Butter
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 2 cans (12 oz. each) chicken or beef broth
  • 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
  • 1½ cups Borden® Cheese Finely Shredded Mild Cheddar Shreds

Directions:

  1. HEAT oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add sausage; cook and stir until browned. Remove sausage from skillet and keep warm. Add onions and garlic to skillet and cook until onions are tender. Stir in zucchini and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are crisp-tender; set aside.
  2. MELT butter in a large saucepan. Whisk in flour until it forms a paste. Add the broth a little at a time, whisking after each addition until the mixture is smooth. Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and stir in the evaporated milk and 1 cup cheese. Continue cooking, stirring continuously, until the cheese has melted. Stir in the reserved sausage and vegetable mixture.  
  3. TOP with remaining ½ cup cheese before serving.
  4. VARIATIONS:
    Add 1 head of chopped cabbage; or add 2 bunches of torn Swiss chard, torn spinach into the soup when you stir in the cheese.

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Cheesy Flatbread Pizza

MmMm! I'm all about this recipe! Perfect for every holiday get-together, there won't be a cheesy slice left! Visit Borden® Cheese for more fantasically cheesy recipes and ideas!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil, plus a small amount for brushing
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) Borden® Cheese Mild Cheddar Shreds
  • 8 strips thick sliced bacon, cooked crisp and broken into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 whole garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 plum tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ red onion, cut in strips
  • ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley

Directions:

  1. PREHEAT oven to 400°F.
  2. BRUSH the bread with a small amount of olive oil and place on cookie sheet. Spread 1½ cups cheese evenly around the bread. Top evenly with bacon pieces.
  3. HEAT 1 tbsp. olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the sliced garlic cloves and sauté until lightly browned. Sprinkle onto the pizza. Arrange sliced tomatoes and red onions over the pizza.
  4. ADD parsley to the remaining ½ cup cheese and spread over other ingredients.
  5. BAKE for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut into squares and serve immediately.  Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if desired.

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Elsie's Mac and Cheese

Oh my word has it been windy at the farm! The kids are blowing in from school, cold and hungry! Absolutely nothing does the trick this time of year better than (my) original comfort food, mac'n cheese!

And Elsie's Mac and Cheese from Borden® Cheese is THE best! Warm, and smooth, and oh-so-cheesy, it's like a big, delicious hug!


Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups Borden® Cheese Triple Cheddar Shreds
  • 1 cup Borden® Cheese Colby & Monterey Jack Shreds
  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni noodles
  • 2 tbsp. Borden® butter
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup Borden® Vitamin D Milk
  • 1 cup Borden® Half & Half
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F.  Spray a 1½-quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Combine cheeses in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. COOK macaroni in boiling salted water according to package directions; drain well and set aside.
  3. MEANWHILE, melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly. Gradually whisk in milk and half & half. Stir constantly, until mixture boils and thickens (about 2 to 3 minutes). Remove from heat and add cayenne and black peppers, and 2 cups of the reserved cheese mixture; stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.
  4. STIR cooked macaroni into the sauce and season to taste. Place in the prepared casserole dish. Top with remaining ½ cup of cheese and dot with additional butter, if desired. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through and lightly browned.

And don't feed it all to the kids, us parents need some cheesy comfort too!

Get more delicious recipes from Borden® Cheese HERE