Tag 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

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Gnocchi Mac & Cheese

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I love macaroni and cheese; actually my entire family does. The premise behind the dish is so simple, noodles and cheese baked together in the oven but the execution can be anything but ordinary. Classic macaroni and cheese is delicious as is roasted garlic mac & cheese and broccoli mac & cheese. Or perhaps you prefer your mac and cheese even a bit more different; in that case, beer and jack chili mac n’ cheese might be what you want or if you are looking for an impressive presentation sausage macaroni & cheese stuffed squash is what you need. But what if your mac and cheese doesn’t include the traditional noodles?

That is exactly what this mac and cheese, adapted from Sugar & Soul, is all about. Here, gnocchi, those little Italian pillows of potato goodness, take the place of traditional noodles. The cheese sauce remains the same and is comprised of a variety of cheeses which only adds to the complexity of the sauce. Its so easy and so good.

Serve these cheesy gnocchi with a green salad and dinner is ready. Yum!

GNOCCHI MAC & CHEESE

1/4 pound diced pancetta

1 pound potato gnocchi

1 tablespoon butter

1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

3/4 cup milk

1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/3 cup shredded asiago cheese

1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat a ceramic casserole dish with non-stick baking spray and set aside.
  • Cook the gnocchi according to package instructions. When the gnocchi is cooked, drain it a colander and transfer it to the prepared casserole dish.
  • Fry the pancetta in a medium sized skillet set over medium-high heat until browned and crisp.
  • Drain the pancetta onto a paper towel then sprinkle evenly over the gnocchi.
  • Add the butter to the pancetta fat and stir in the garlic. Cook until fragrant.
  • Stir in the flour and wisk until bubbly.
  • Add in the milk, salt, and pepper and stir until thick, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the cheddar, mozzarella, and the parmesan cheese to the skillet and then immediately remove it from heat.
  • Wisk until cheese has melted.
  • Pour cheese sauce over the gnocchi and sprinkle with the asiago cheese and the bread crumbs.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until top layer of cheese is melted and golden brown.

Serves 6

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Potatoes Dauphinoise

potatoes

What is more comforting than ooey, gooey, cheesy potatoes? While I’ve been known to enjoy a bowl of them by themselves, they are also the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats, roasts or even a big green salad. They seem to turn any dish into a meal. And while there are many versions of this potato dish out there, I love this one which I’ve adapted from Cooking Light.

And what isn’t to love? This dish never fails to satisfy and it can easily be reduced in half or doubled in size depending upon the crowd you are serving. It is wonderful piping hot out of the oven and I think it tastes even better reheated the next day. And sometimes when I’m looking to save time, I use a bag of pre-cut and partially cooked potato slices. Doing this will reduce your preparation time meaning you can be enjoying this mouthwatering dish that much sooner.

POTATOS DAUPHINOISE

2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Coat an 11 x 7-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Place potatoes in a large saucepan; fill pan with enough cold water to cover potatoes by 2 inches. Place pan over high heat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or just until tender. Drain well.
  • Gently layer one-third of potatoes in overlapping rows in prepared dish.
  • Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil, swirling to coat.
  • Add the onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Combine the flour, milk, half-and-half, salt, nutmeg, and pepper in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
  • Add the milk mixture to pan; cook 3 minutes or until smooth and mixture thickens slightly, stirring constantly with a whisk.
  • Add the sherry to the mixture and stir well to combine.
  • Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl; discard solids.
  • Pour one-third of milk mixture over potatoes in baking dish.
  • Repeat layers twice with remaining potatoes and milk mixture. Sprinkle evenly with cheese.
  • Place pan in upper third of oven; bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until bubbling around edges. Turn broiler to high, leaving pan in oven; broil 1 minute or until browned.
  • Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 10

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

Pretzel Bites w/ Cheddar & Guinness Dipping Sauce

IMG_3990

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 & 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

 

Roasted Garlic Mac & Cheese

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Who doesn’t love a good macaroni and cheese? I know it is a favorite dish in our household. But to keep things interesting I’m always looking for new takes on this classic dish. This version, adapted from Cooking Light adds the mild yet distinctive taste of roasted garlic to two types of cheese and noodles. While raw garlic can be harsh and is definitely an acquired taste, roasted garlic is mild and mellow and frankly, delicious.

There is more than one way to roast garlic. The traditional way involves your oven and more time. If time is an issue simply “roast” your garlic in the microwave. Both methods yield the same mild and flavorful results.

GARLIC ROASTED MAC & CHEESE

2 whole garlic heads
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces dry pasta
3 cups milk, divided
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
1 cup Emmental cheese, shredded
To roast the garlic:
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Remove the papery skin from the garlic heads and place both garlic heads on a large piece of aluminum foil.
  • Drizzle with the olive oil then wrap the foil around the garlic to from a sealed packet.
  • Place the garlic in an ovenproof dish and roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the garlic is very soft and fragrant.

OR

  • Remove the papery skin from the garlic heads.
  • Place the garlic heads in a microwave-safe bowl and drizzle with the olive oil.
  • Pour 3 tablespoons of water in the bottom of the bowl.
  • Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave on HIGH for 4 to 5 minutes or until the garlic is very soft.

To make the pasta:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions; drain and set aside.
  • Once the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the soft pulp of each clove into a medium sized bowl. Pour in two cups of the milk and use a stick blender to puree the mixture until smooth. Set aside.
  • Place the remaining 1 cup of milk and the flour in a large saucepan. Stirring continually with a whisk, bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Cook for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  • Add in the milk and garlic mixture, stirring well to combine. Continue cooking for an additional minute. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Stir in the salt, pepper, dried mustard, the cheddar cheese and half of the Emmental cheese. Mix until smooth.
  • Stir the reserved pasta into the cheese mixture.
  • Lightly coat a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Pour the pasta into the dish, then top with the remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is brown and bubbly.
  • Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

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