Category Archives: Cheddar cheese

Pretzel Bites w/ Cheddar & Guinness Dipping Sauce

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Who doesn’t love pretzels? One of the best things about visiting Germany cities is the hot pretzels that are sold by street vendors on just about every corner. But since we can’t always visit Germany wen the cravings strike, I’ve taken to making my own homemade hot buttered pretzels. They are so good and disappear in minutes. For a change of pace, or when I want to feed a crowd, I’ve taken to making smaller, pretzel bites which are just as tasty. Also from King Arthur Flour, these little pretzels are almost as good as what you find on German street corners. I like to make mine savory and dip them in a hot beer and cheese sauce. If that isn’t your thing you can skip the salt coating and use a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. And while your at it, make a double batch. They are that good and disappear that quickly.

PRETZEL BITES w/ CHEDDAR & GUINNESS DIPPING SAUCE

For the pretzels:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast

1 cup warm water

For the topping:

1 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons baking soda

Coarse salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the dipping sauce:

1 tbsp butter

2 tbsps flour

3/4 cup milk

1 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup Guinness Stout

2 cups Cheddar cheese, grated

  • To make the pretzel dough, place the flour, salt, yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the dough hook, beat all of the ingredients until well combined.
  • Knead the dough, either by mixer or by hand for about 5 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth.
  • Flour the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  • While the dough is resting, combine the boiling water and baking soda in a large shallow dish, mixing until the soda is dissolved.
  • Set aside and cool to at least lukewarm temperature (or cooler).
  • Preheat the oven to 400. Lightly coat a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface and divide it into six equal pieces.
  • Roll each piece of dough into a 12 to 15 inch rope. Cut each rope crosswise into 12 pieces.
  • Place each piece of dough into the water and baking soda mixture, gently swish them around and allow them to sit for a few minutes.
  • Transfer the dough pieces to the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with the salt.
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until they are golden brown.
  • Remove the bites from the oven then roll them in the melted butter.
  • Place on a rack to cool slightly while you make the cheese sauce.
  • They taste best when eaten right away but you can also store them in an air tight container at room temperature for a couple of days. Reheat before serving.

To make the cheese sauce:

  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat.
  • Add the flour, stir well and cook for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the milk and whisking constantly, cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken.
  • Add the beer and stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a simmer.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the mustard, nutmeg and salt.
  • Add the grated cheese by the handful, stirring well after each addition.
  • Serve immediately with the pretzel bites.

 

Yields: 6 dozen bites and 2 cups of cheese sauce

 

 

Cheddar & Chive Scones

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Some may call them biscuits or others may call them scones; regardless of their name these are downright delicious. The trick to ensuring that the scones are light and fluffy is to use cold butter and to handle the dough as little as possible. I like to bake them on a pre-heated baking sheet since I think it makes them that much fluffier. If you don’t have chives on hand substitute fresh thyme or rosemary. Both are just as good. And I think these scones are good eaten all by themselves but they are also delicious served alongside corn and vegetable chowder or potato garlic soup.
And for the record, I prefer to call them scones. It just makes them sound more special.
CHEDDAR & CHIVE SCONES
1 3/4 cups all- flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
2 tablespoons fresh minced chives
1/4 cup butter, cut into a small dice
3/4 cup extra sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
2/3 cup milk
  • Plan an ungreased baking sheet in the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, dried mustard and chives.
  • Add the butter to the bowl and using a pastry blender, blend the flour and butter together until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
  • Add the cheese to the mixture and stir until throughly combined.
  • Add the milk and using a wooden spoon, quickly stir until a loose ball of dough forms.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and using a rolling pin, roll the dough to a 1 inch thickness.
  • Using a 2 inch round biscuit cutter, stamp out the dough. Re-roll the dough as necessary and repeat the process until all of the dough has been used.
  • Quickly open the oven door and place the scones on the heated baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the scones have risen and are lightly browned.
  • Transfer to a wire rack and cook for 5 minutes before serving.
Yields 8 scones

Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread

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I love cornbread and this spicy version doesn’t disappoint. It is slightly sweet without being too much so and the addition of jalapenos and Cheddar cheese adds complexity and makes it decidedly more sophisticated than your ordinary cornbread. It makes a tasty accompaniment to a spicy bowl of chili or corn and vegetable chowder  and in warmer weather a chilled gazpacho turning your soup into a full fledged meal. And since I prefer savory to sweet when it comes to breakfast I love eating a piece of this toasted and topped with a dab of butter. Now that is good.

JAPLAPENO-CHEDDAR CORNBREAD

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/3 cup canola oil

1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup Greek yogurt

3/4 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

1 4-ounce can minced jalapeno peppers

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 12 inch cast iron skillet. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In a separate medium sized bowl whisk together the butter, canola oil, sugar and eggs until a thick slurry forms.
  • Add in the buttermilk and yogurt and whisk until combined.
  • Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and using a rubber spatula, stir until just combined.
  • Fold in the jalapeno peppers and Cheddar cheese.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared skillet and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the top of the bread is golden brown.
  • Let cool on a wire rack before slicing into wedges. The cornbread can be served either warm or at room temperature.

Serves 12

 

 

Jalapeno-Cheddar Fried Potatoes

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I’m always on the lookout for new side dishes that are both fast and flavorful so I fell in love with these potatoes adapted from Cuisine At Home magazine the minute I saw the recipe. They are so easy to make and are the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats or chicken. You can adjust the amount of heat by using more or less of the jalapeno pepper and even substitute other types of cheese for the Cheddar. Yum!

Japapeno-Cheddar Fried Potatoes

1 pound, red skinned potatoes, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 cup diced pancetta (optional)

1 tablespoons canola oil

1/4 cup scallions, chopped

2 jalapeno peppers, sliced

!/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

  • Pre-heat the broiler.
  • Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with salted water.
  • Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain.
  • Place the pancetta in a large cast iron skillet and cook over medium-high heat until crispy.
  • Add the oil to the skillet with the pancetta.
  • Fry the potatoes in the oil and pancetta, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, 5-8 minutes.
  • Add the scallions and jalapenos and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
  • Sprinkle with the Cheddar cheese and place the skillet in the oven.
  • Broil for 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Serves 4

Cheddar & Portobello Quesadillas

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I’ve always loved quesadillas. Whether there are simply made with whatever cheese you have on hand and eaten like a grilled cheese sandwich or filled with interesting ingredients like these caramelized onions and mushrooms, they are an easy snack, appetizer, or even light dinner. They are that versatile. I love making them for my family. I can adjust the fillings to please even the most finicky of palates.

But, one of my all time favorite fillings is the combination of mushrooms, onions, and cheese. The mushrooms and onions are best when cooked down slowly. If you are pressed for time you can always cook the vegetables ahead of time then pop them into the tortillas when you are ready to make the quesadillas. Yum!

CHEDDAR & PORTOBELLO QUESADILLAS

4 small flour tortillas

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 pinches salt, divided

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

4 small portobello mushrooms, sliced

8 slices sharp cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

1/4 cup sour cream (for serving if desired)

  • Place two tablespoons of the olive oil in a small saute pan set over medium-low heat.
  • Add the sliced onions and 1 pinch of salt.
  • Saute, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft and lightly browned. about 15 to 20 minutes. Add a small amount of water if necessary to keep the onions from sticking. Set aside.
  • Place the remaining olive oil in another small saute pan set over medium-low heat.
  • Add the sliced mushrooms and the remaining pinch of salt.
  • Saute, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are soft, browned and have released their liquid, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Set a large saute pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, lightly coat it with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Reduce the temperature to medium.
  • Place one tortilla in the center of the pan and lay 2 slices of cheese in the center of the tortilla.
  • Add half of the onions and half of mushrooms, evenly distributing them over the top of the tortilla.
  • Top with 2 more slices of cheese and another tortilla.
  • Cook until the tortilla is lightly browned and toasted and the cheese has begun to melt, 2-3 minutes.
  • Flip the tortilla and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  • Slice the tortilla into four wedges and serve with sour cream if desired.

Yields: 8 tortilla wedges

 

Cheddar & Parsley Baked Rice

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If you are anything like me, whenever you cook up a pot of rice you inevitably make too much. No matter how many people I am serving I always end up with extra rice. Every single time. Rice is one of those grains that is difficult to reheat; the texture changes and I usually end up with a sticky mess that no one wants to eat. My solution? Repurposing the rice into a completely new side dish.

I love this baked rice dish that I adapted from Food 52. More of a method rather than an exact recipe, this dish combines your leftover rice with herbs, greens and cheese to create a tasty rice dish that is both creamy and crispy. I used green onions, parsley, and Cheddar cheese but you could easily substitute whatever aromatics and cheese you have on hand. Not only does this dish make for a great accompaniment to meat at dinner, it is a nice addition to a brunch buffet table. And if you have leftovers,  simply reheat them the next morning in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil. It will taste like a crispy risotto cake. Yum!

CHEDDAR & PARSLEY BAKED RICE

4 tablespoons butter

3 bunches green onions, white and light green parts thinly sliced

2 cups cooked white rice

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups milk

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1 cup chopped parsley

Salt & pepper to taste

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a round pie plate with either more butter or non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a large saute pan set over medium high heat.
  • Add the green onions and cook until they are soft and golden with just a bit of crispiness.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, season with salt and allow to cool slightly.
  • Add the cooked rice and stir to combine. All of the rice should be coated with the butter and onion mixture.
  • Combine the eggs and milk in a medium sized bowl then add to the rice mixture, stirring to form a thick batter.
  • Add the shredded cheese and the chopped parsley, stirring well.
  • Season again with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer the rice mixture to the prepared pie pan.
  • Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until the rice has set.
  • Allow to cool slightly then slice into wedges.

Serves 6-8

 

 

Ham & Cheddar Apple Muffins

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Chances are, if you are baking up a ham for dinner today, you will find yourself with quite a bit of leftover meat.  How about using some in these sweet and savory muffins?  Ham and cheese are a natural pairing but when you add some apples you have the perfect trifecta.  There are many types of ham out there but this recipe works best with a spiral cut honey ham since its sweetness is the perfect contrast for the sharpness of the Cheddar cheese.  If you find yourself with a boiled ham, increase its sweetness by tossing the ham in 1 tablespoon of brown sugar before adding it to the batter.

HAM & CHEDDAR APPLE MUFFINS

3 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cup plain yogurt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 cup diced cooked ham

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1 medium apple, shredded (I prefer Macintosh)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cooled

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Coat a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt and eggs.
  • Fold the yogurt mixture into the flour until just combined.
  • Add in the ham, cheese and apples and fold until just combined.
  • Gently stir in the melted butter.
  • Evenly divide the batter amongst the muffin cups.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes then allow to sit for 5 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool an additional 10  minutes before serving.  These muffins are best served warm.

Yields:  12 muffins

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