Make Mine a Sandwich! Grilled, Melted and Toasted!

I was pleasantly surprised when I received this wonderful email from the nice people over at Cabot Creamery. They asked me if I would like to join and be a new member of the Cabot Cheeseboard? What was the catch? I would be forced to eat and enjoy their wonderful cheese products! Darn, lol! And not just one or two flavors, but a whole box full of flavors such as Spicy Pepper Jack, Seriously Sharp Aged Cheddar, Horseradish and a few other aged cheddar varietes that I had never tried. Ok, twist my arm! I was in! With the big game, Super Bowl, coming this weekend I put together a few of my most favorite sandwich recipes, all with Cabot Cheese of course. These sandwiches, one or all are a must try for this weekend!

 

MACARONI & CHEESE GRILLED CHEESE 

Take any leftover mac n cheese add add some shredded Alpine Aged Cheddar
Take any leftover mac n cheese add add some shredded Alpine Aged Cheddar

Ingredients

8 slices whole wheat or white sandwich bread
2 to 3 cups leftover macaroni and cheese (cold)
Hot sauce, to taste
1 1/2 cups Aged Alpine Cheddar, shredded
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

 

Directions

 

Preheat large griddle pan to medium heat. Brush 4 slices of bread with butter and place on hot griddle. Layer with a little cheese,  hot sauce, macaroni and cheese, more cheese and top with bread slice. Brush tops with more butter. Cook until toasted and crispy. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving. Yields 4 sandwiches.

Cabot Aged Alpine Cheddar
Cabot Aged Alpine Cheddar

 

 

AVOCADO TOMATO GRILLED CHEESE

A few fresh ingredients combined with
A few fresh ingredients combined with some Seriously Sharp Cheddar, Wow!

 

Ingredients

8 slices Italian sandwich bread
Olive oil
1 1/2 cups Seriously Sharp Cheddar, shredded
2 roma tomatoes, sliced
1 large avocado, sliced
1/2 cup chimichurri sauce

 

For Chimichurri  Style Sauce

3 tablespoon parsley
3 tablespoons cilantro
2 green onions
1/2 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, optional
4 cloves garlic
1 chile serrano or jalapeño
1/2 teaspoon crushed cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
Salt to taste
Juice of 3 key limes or 1 regular lime
2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup olive oil
* I also added 1 teaspoon of crushed red chile flakes to the marinade, but it’s optional

Combine all ingredients in the order listed 1 to 2 hours before serving.

 

 Directions

Preheat Large griddle pan to medium heat. Brush 4 slices of bread with olive oil (on one side). Place the oil side down on hot griddle. Add some cheese, avocado slices, chimichurri, tomato slices, more cheese and top with bread slice. Brush tops with a little more olive oil. Cook until toasted and crispy. If serving individual sandwiches, top with any leftover avocado, tomato, cheese and chimichurri. Yields 4 sandwiches. 

 

Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar
Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar

 

CHICKEN CHEESESTEAK

Chicken Cheesesteak with Cabot Pepper Jack and Seriously Sharp Cheddar
Chicken Cheesesteak with Cabot Pepper Jack and Seriously Sharp Cheddar

 

Ingredients

Olive oil
2 jalapeños, red or green, sliced thin
1 cup sweet onions, sliced thin
Salt and fresh cracked pepper
4 hard rolls (about 5 inches in diameter)
1 1/2 pounds to 2 pounds roasted chicken sliced thin from the deli counter
1 cup pepper jack, shredded
1 cup seriously sharp chedded, shredded

Directions 

Preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat in a skillet for a few minutes. Add the onions and jalapeños, season lightly with salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes.  Add the deli sliced chicken to the pan and cook just until warmed through. Add all of the cheese and fold into the chicken/onion mixture. Reduce heat to lowest setting, cover with lid and cook just until cheese has melted. Fill sliced rolls and serve right away. Yields 4 cheesesteak sandwiches.

Cabot Pepper Jack Cheese
Cabot Pepper Jack Cheese

 

Preparing chili for the big game? Top with some Seriously Sharp Cheddar, frito corn chips, pickled jalapeños and green onions! The ultimate frito chili pie!

Seriously Sharp Cheddar is perfect for my Frito Chili Pie!
Seriously Sharp Cheddar is perfect for my Frito Chili Pie!

 

Top Recipe Picks For Game Day

The following recipes are my top picks for a complete game day  or super bowl party. I must confess, I am not the biggest football fan, but I do love how people get excited about the dishes prepared, lol! They really go all out. For recipes, click onto the picture of the recipe you like and it will take to the full recipe.

 

GAUCAMOLE RECIPES

One Guacamole, Two Guacamole, Three!!
One Guacamole, Two Guacamole, Three!!

 

HOMEMADE CHIPS/TOTOPOS

Must have homemade chips for all that guacamole, queso blanco and pico de gallo!
Must have homemade chips for all that guacamole, queso blanco and pico de gallo!

 

QUESO BLANCO

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups monterey pepper jack
1 cup asadero or chihuahua cheese, shredded
Pinch of cumin
Salt and fresh cracked pepper

Heat the butter to medium heat in a sauce pan, add the flour and whisk together. Cook for a few minutes, add the cumin, salt and pepper. Add the milk and cook until it almost comes to a boil(don’t let it boil). Add the cheese, stir well to combine….done!

Variation: you can use a mix of cheeses if you’d like, use olive oil, instead of butter…add a little chicken broth to thin out the sauce….add roasted green chiles to the sauce.

 

BEEF CHILI

Learning to prepare competition beef chili
Learning to prepare competition beef chili

 

FRITO CHILI PIE

One of my all time favorite Tex Mex treats! Frito Beef Chili Pie!
One of my all time favorite Tex Mex treats! Frito Beef Chili Pie!

However you layer your Frito Chili Pie, the key ingredients are a spicy beef chili, fritos and cheese! Then the skies the limit on how you want to pile it high.

 

BACON WRAPPED POPPERS

Bacon Wrapped Cheese Stuufed Poppers
Bacon Wrapped Cheese Stuffed Poppers

 

PICO DE GALLO/SALSA FRESCA

A must have for any game day party!
A must have for any game day party!

 

HOMEMADE CHILI SAUCE RECIPE FOLLOWS PICTURE

For chili dogs, chili cheese fries or nachos, this is a tasty homemade recipe.
For chili dogs, chili cheese fries or nachos, this is a tasty homemade recipe.

 

BEEF CHILI SAUCE

3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken or beef broth
14 oz can diced tomato w/ green chiles
8 oz can jalapeno “El Pato” brand tomato sauce or use regular tomato sauce w/ 2 tablespoons hot sauce
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon smoked parika
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
salt to taste
1/2 pound ground chuck (You could use 1 pound if you like, but I wanted it to be more of a chili sauce with just some beef)

Directions

1. In a large skillet, heat oil to medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and jalapeno. Saute for 6 to 8 minutes.
Add in the flour and cook for another minute.

2. Add all ingredients in the order listed, minus the beef. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and taste for salt. Add in the beef and break into smaller pieces using a flat edge wooden spoon. As is cooks down break the beef down until it looks like fine crumbles. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until the sauce reduces and thickens slightly. Yields 6 servings. Flavor will improve overnight, so I would suggest preparing a day or two ahead. Great for chili dogs, nachos, chili cheese fries!

 

SRIRACHA WINGS/DRUMMETTES

Both Baked and Grilled Recipes included on this post!
Both Baked and Grilled Recipes included on this post!

 

BLOODY MARY CHIPOTLE SHRIMP

Bloody Mary combined with some chipotle and spices make a tasty marinade for this jumbo shrimp!
Bloody Mary combined with some chipotle and spices make a tasty marinade for this jumbo shrimp!

 

TOMATILLO AVOCADO SALSA

My friends request this salsa recipe at every get together!
My friends request this salsa recipe at every get together!

 

QUESO FUNDIDO

Melty cheese, savory mexican chorizo, smoky roasted poblanos!
Melty cheese, savory mexican chorizo, smoky roasted poblanos!

 

CHICKEN TAQUITOS

Call them tquitos, flautas or dorados, just get some on my plate, please!
Call them tquitos, flautas or dorados, just get some on my plate, please!

 

GRILLED SHRIMP AND CHORIZO POPPER

One of my all time favorite ways to prepare and enjoy jalapeño poppers!
One of my all time favorite ways to prepare and enjoy jalapeño poppers!

 

SINCRONIZADAS/ DOUBLE STACK QUESADILLAS

Veggie, chicken or all cheese!
Veggie, chicken or all cheese!

 

BACON AVOCADO & TOMATO FLATBREAD

Top this flatbread recipe with your favorite ingredients!
Top this flatbread recipe with your favorite ingredients!

 

GRILLED BEEF OR CHICKEN SLIDERS

Grilled outdoors or on the stove top grill, this is a great recipe for game day!
Grilled outdoors or on the stove top grill, this is a great recipe for game day!

 

MANGO SALSA

Mango salsa with plenty od fresh habanero is just the way I like it!
Mango salsa with plenty od fresh habanero is just the way I like it!

 

BAKED TORTILLA CHIPS

A lighter version to the traditional fried tortilla chip. Bring on the fresh salsa!
A lighter version to the traditional fried tortilla chip. Bring on the fresh salsa!

For Chile Infused Chips, Brush one side of corn tortillas with chile oil. Cut into thirds or quarters, sprinkle with salt and bake for about 16 to 20 minutes at 395 degrees F., turning halfway through baking time. Sprinkle with chile limon powder as soon as they come out of the oven.

A Little Chile Brushed On One Side Of The Corn Tortilla Before Baking Adds Some Heat And Great Color!
A Little Chile Brushed On One Side Of The Corn Tortilla Before Baking Adds Some Heat And Great Color!

 

And finally for my last pick, I want to end on a sweet note. Because after all that spicy, savory and zesty food, I always crave a sweet ending. My favorite cookie recipe spiked with a little espresso and cinnamon.

A little added espresso to your favorite chocolate cookie or brownie recipe is tasty!
A little added espresso to your favorite chocolate cookie or brownie recipe is tasty!

 

ESPRESSO CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons instant espresso
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
10 oz. bag Ghirardelli bittersweet chips (60% Cacao)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

2. Combine the flour (both varieties), espresso, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.

3. Cream together the butter with both brown and granulated sugar until creamy. Mix in one egg at a time and vanilla.

4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet until well incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls or cookie scoop 24 large cookie dough balls onto lined baking sheets. Flatten slightly and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time. You want the edges to just turn a light golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool before removing from pan. Yields 24 large cookies.

 

Beef Chili~ A Spicy Point of View

Learning to prepare competition beef chili was a fun cooking experience. A couple years back my friend Sue asked me to enter a chili cook off with her. My experience with beef chili growing up consisted of that pre-packed envelope of chili spices that you added to ground beef. Growning up in a very Mexican environment, I always saw chili as a more American dish and something that I really came to love when I moved to Texas. I will never forget when I tasted my first frito chili pie at Deady Jr. High in Houston, Texas. Wow! I was hooked! The debate is still out on where the frito chili pie first originated, bit I am just happy to have discovered it no matter who invented it. There are many rules and regulations when it comes to preparing competition chili. Most often a typical  Texas Red style chili recipe is prepared with no fillers. When I say fillers, I mean no beans, macaroni or other type of fillers. It’s most often straight beef with dry spices, beef broth or bouillon. For today’s recipe I tried to stay true to the “cook-off” style chili to test out the flavors as compared to the homestyle chili I usually prepared with fresh onions, garlic and diced tomatoes. I did use some tomato product, green chiles and beans at the end since we would be enjoying this chili at home. I was happy with the results and would definitely prepare it this way again.  Although we did not place for our tasty version of competition chili, I did bring home a trophy for 1st place in the salsa competion! Lol! That’s a whole other blog post…#confessionsofachilehead

Learning to prepare competition beef chili
Learning to prepare competition beef chili

Ingredients

1 1/2  tablespoons olive or canola oil
2 pounds ground chuck or chuck roast, sliced small
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

First Dump
6 ounces tomato paste
8 ounces tomato sauce
1/2 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hickory flavored liquid smoke
1 packet Goya beef bouillon granules (enough for 2 cups of water)
2 1/2 cups water

Second Dump
2 tablespoon dark chili powder
2 tablespoons light chili powder
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 ounce Mexican chocolate
1 1/2 teaspoons ground oregano
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground jalapeño
1 teaspoon Goya beef bouillon powder
2 cups water
1/4 cup masa harina mixed with 1/3 cup water
1 large Anaheim or poblano pepper, remove seeds and stems and dice finely.
*if you like, you could roast the pepper before adding, but I did not
15 oz. can pinto beans, drained
15 oz. can dark red kidney beans, drained

Third Dump
Check for chili spices, maybe add in another 1/2 tablespoon of each…cumin…check for salt

Preparing Competition Beef Chili
Preparing Competition Beef Chili
Preparing Competition Beef Chili
Preparing Competition Beef Chili. We used chuck roast and sliced it small for the cook off.

 

Directions

 

This is as simple as it gets!

1. In a large dutch oven style pot, preheat the oil to medium high heat until just before smoking. Add the beef and season with  1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon granulated garlic. Stir fry until meat is nicely seared and somewhat charred in some spots. I start light with the seasonings because you will season as you go.

 

2. Once the meat is nice and seared, add all of the ingredients listed for the First Dump. I know it makes me laugh everytime I read that, but it makes sense in the world of chili cook off competitions. Stir well to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and taste for salt. Cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring as needed. You really want the raw flavors of of the tomato products to cook out and deepen the flavors.

 

3. When ready, add all of the ingredients listed for the Second Dump. Repeat by stirring well to combine, bringing up to a simmer, tasting for salt. In a small bowl, whisk the masa harina with 1/2 cup of water and stir into the chili until well incorporated.  Add in the green chile and drained beans. Continue cooking for another 35 to 40 minutes, stirring as needed.

4. Now once you reach the Third Dump, this is where you can make the recipe your own by adjusting the spice levels to your taste. I usually end up adding a little more of each spice, minus the salt and a couple dashes of hot sauce. Simmer for another 25 to 30 minutes. Yields  up to 8 servings.

Competition Beef Chili
Competition Beef Chili. I thought the chili was tasty, but alas, the judges thought ir was a little too spicy for competiotion, lol! Story of my life!
In the midst of the chili cook off!
In the midst of the chili cook off! It was a great experience and alot of fun, but I prefer to cook a feast for friends instead of competing in any food competition.
Sue and I testing out the beef chili at the cook off
Sue and I testing out the beef chili at the cook off. I really love hanging out with my friend Sue. She has great knowledge of all that is food. She owns a quaint kitchen store in our local town where the most fabulous dishes are created at her international cooking classes.
Test Run Beef Chili
Test Run Beef Chili
One of my all time favorite Tex Mex treats! Frito Beef Chili Pie!
One of my all time favorite Tex Mex treats! Frito Beef Chili Pie! Pile on the cheese, chili, fritos, hot peppers, green onions and extra hot sauce!!