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
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
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.
AVOCADO TOMATO GRILLED CHEESE
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
Iron Skillet Bacon Chipotle Mac n Cheese. Preparing homemade mac n cheese in my house is a rare, but tasty occurence! Any recipe that involves more than one cup of cheese, according to my husband, is way too much cheese, LOl! You have to understand that Richard has worked in a large cheese producing factory for the past 33 years. He threatens to tell me the truth behind the cheese someday, but for now I will enjoy what I can, ha ha ha!! Recently, he was taking some time off of work and I asked him for a few suggestions on dinner ideas. I was shocked when I heard the words “mac n cheese” come out of his mouth! But, there was a catch. The catch was that he would love to try it, only if I added thick cut bacon and chipotle peppers. These are two of his favorite foods. Before he could even finish talking, I was pulling ingredients out of the pantry. It just so happened that I found this awesome Mexican Chihuahua cheese at the market a few days before. It was a win, win situation!! Let’s just say, that Richard enjoyed 4 out of the 6 servings from the Bacon Chipotle Mac n Cheese recipe. Cheese lovers unite!! LOl!
8 strips of thick cut bacon, chopped 5 cups penne pasta, cooked according to package *I used whole grain pasta 1 large sweet onion, sliced thin 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 1/2 tablespoons flour 2 cups milk 1 to 2 chipotles in adobo, minced 2 tablespoons dijon mustard 2 tablespoons hot sauce (Texas Pete or Franks) 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika 1 teaspoon annatto powder, optional (used mostly for color) 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon granulated garlic Pinch of nutmeg Salt and pepper to taste 1 1/2 cups Chihuahua cheese or Monterey jack, shredded 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, shredded 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs 1/2 teaspoon crushed Mexican oregano
Directions *Just a quick, but important note. I prepared this recipe using one cast iron skillet, besides the pot I cooked the pasta in.
1. In a the skillet, cook the bacon until crispy. Drain onto a plate lined with paper towels. Drain all of the grease leaving just 1 tablespoon. Reserve the bacon grease. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and all of the sliced onions. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
2. Turn the heat to medium/low on onions and continue cooking until caramelized. This could take up to 30 minutes and you need to stir often. While doing this, you could cook your pasta according to package directions, drain, rinse in cold water and drizzle with a little olive oil so it does not stick.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove onions from skillet onto a plate, set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to skillet and 1 tablespoon of bacon grease. Whisk in 2 1/2 tablesppons of flour and cook for a few minutes.
4. Whisk in the milk until there are no more lumps. To the milk, you are going to add all of the ingredients in the order listed minus the cheese. Cook on medium/low until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat, add 1 cup mozzarella and 1 cup Chihuahua cheese and stir just until melted.
5. Fold in the cooked pasta, half of the bacon and half of the caramelized onions. Top with remaining cheese, bacon and onions. In a bowl, mix panko with 1 1/2 tablespoons of bacon grease and oregano. Spread the breadcrumbs evenly over mac n cheese. Loosely cover with foil paper and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and cook under the broiler just until breadcrumbs turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let mac n cheese rest for 15 minutes before serving. Yields 6 servings.
Queso Blanco, a warm, silky and creamy cheese dip served in thousands of Tex Mex and Mexican restaurants through out the country. I did not have my first bowl of nachos until I moved to Texas from California in 1979. I was hooked! It was not this queso blanco version, but that bright orange version served over salty, round tortilla chips and topped with jalapeño rings. It was new and exciting, lol! Soon after that, we had Mom preparing nachos for us at home every weekend. I guess you could say, that nachos were not a California thing, but it did not take long to catch on. During my seven years in Texas, I had my fair share of nachos.
I ended up married to a wonderful man, that happens to not be so crazy about cheese, ha, ha, ha! Soon the nachos went by the wayside, but years later I found myself preparing a big batch of queso blanco every week for FiestaFriday’s. I prepared a mexican lunch once a week for a whole year at a specialty kitchen store, Front and Center, where I happen to teach cooking classes as well. This blog post is dedicated to queso, melted, shredded, crumbled and sliced…. These are some of my favorite cheese recipes.
Queso de Freir~ Fried Cheese Crostini September 23, 2014
Easy Peasy recipe! Lol! Sorry, had to say it.
1 package of Queso Tropical, queso de freir
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 baguette, sliced at a bias for crostini, toasted(8 half inch slices)
1 cup your favorite salsa, red or green recipe (check out all of my favorite salsa recipes under the category section. Many to choose from)
Salt and pepper to taste
Slice the cheese into 8 equal slices. In a large skillet at medium/low heat, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and toast the garlic slices until golden. Remove from oil, turn heat up to medium. When hot, add the cheese slices and cook for just a 20 to 30 seconds per side or until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on toasted crostini slices. Garnish with salsa, cilantro and oregano. Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Serve right away. Yields 4 servings as an appetizer.
Grilled Veggie Quesadillas August 11, 2014
Grilled Veggie Quesadillas can be made with a variety of vegetables. After a quick trip to the farmers market last weekend, it was time for a grilling session. One of my favorite things to do is to grill a big batch of my favorite vegetables and keep them in my refrigerator for different meals during the week. And if you are worried about not using up that quickly, just toss them lightly in your favorite vinegar and this will preserve them a little longer, until you are ready to use them. The vegetables are great for sandwiches, wraps, salads, soups and really tasty for preparing quesadillas. This was my first time grilling broccoli. It was not bad at all. The stem towards the end, was a a little tough, so I think that next time I would just steam them for a few minutes in the microwave before grilling. The tasty, melty Mexican cheese made up for the tough piece of broccoli though, ha, ha, ha!!
1 small head of broccoli 1summer squash or zucchini
1 small red bell pepper
1 small sweet onion
*Slice or chop your vegetables in big pieces so they are easier to grill. Try slicing the broccoli so it has one flat side.
Salt and pepper
2 cups Chihuahua, jack or any good melting cheese, shredded
8 Fajita size flour tortillas
Preheat grill to medium/high heat. Drizzle olive oil on veggies and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables directly on the grill or on a pan made for the grill. Grill for 7 to 10 minutes, turning as needed. Chop into smaller pieces before assembling quesadillas. For quesadillas, add about 1 ounce of shredded cheese to one tortilla, 4 tablespoons of grilled veggie mix, more cheese and then top with another tortilla. You can cook on the grill or on the stove top in a non stick pan at medium heat. I cover with a lid so it creates some steam and helps the cheese melt easier. I did not brush the tortillas with any oil or butter, but you can do this while cooking them for a crispier finish.
* Both of the cheeses pictured are excellent melting cheeses for quesadillas!
Tips~ The recipes for the red and green salsa’s and homemade flour tortillas can be found right on my blog. Just search under categories for ” A Trio of Summer Salsa’s” and “Tortillas” .
1 1/2 pounds american style cheese, diced
8 ounces monterey jack cheese, pepperjack or with jalapeño, shredded
12 ounces evaporated milk
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup diced pickled jalapeños, optional
* I found an 8 ounce pack of pepperjack slices and added that as well
Combine all of the ingredients in a sauce pan. Heat to medium/low and let come up to temperature and melt slowly. Stir as needed. Serve right away. Yields about 4 1/2 cups.
Tips~ Make sure the American cheese is not labeled as “Cheese Product” on the package.
Queso con Chiles Toreados
A slightly more complex recipe than the first, but still very tasty!
4 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup hot turkey or pork sausage (2 links; remove the casings) 4 to 6 large jalapeño peppers, stems removed (I left the seeds in, however)
1/3 cup diced sweet onions
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 cups Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 cup white extra sharp cheese, shredded
1 cup Oaxaca or string cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon Tabasco hot sauce or to taste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Tips~ You could substitute mexican style chorizo for the hot turkey sausage.
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil to medium heat. Cook the sausage for 8 to 10 minutes or until nicely browned. Remove from pan onto a plate.
2. To that same pan, add 1 more tablespoon of oil. Cook the jalapeños for a few minutes or until the skins start to blister and blacken in spots. Remove from pan.
3. Again to that same pan, add the last 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onions and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. While the onions are cooking, dice up the jalapeños. I left the seeds in.
4. Add the flour to the onions and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and continue cooking until it starts to form a thick sauce. Add in all of the remaining ingredients; remove from heat. The cheese will melt right away. Transfer to serving dish and serve with tortilla chips or tostadas. Yields about 4 cups.
Queso Fundido with Peppers and Chorizo
8 ounce block of Monterey jack cheese, shredded ¼ cup roasted, diced poblano ¼ cup, roasted, diced red bell pepper ½ cup cooked Mexican chorizo (drain on paper towels after cooking)
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. Combine all ingredients in a small casserole dish and bake, covered, at 350ºF for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook under broiler for 2 minutes. Serve with chips, crostini or as a taco filling.
Jalapeño Popper Dip, A great recipe I developed for Que Rica Vida. http://www.quericavida.com/en/recipes/jalapeno-popper-dip/ Click onto picture for recipe.
Guacamole Filled Queso Fundido, another of my recipes for Que Rica Vida. http://www.quericavida.com/en/recipes/guacamole-filled-queso-fundido/
Embracing my Mexican heritage and sharing all the wonderful flavors, colors and foods I grew up with. Join me on this journey as I also learn new foods and cooking techniques. Dedicated to my parents Ramiro and Blanca.