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Burrata and Roasted Asparagus and Tomato Salad

Burrata and Roasted Asparagus and Tomato Salad

This recipe doesn’t require exact measurements, just make it to fit your appetite.


Burrata cheese
Tomato slices
Asparagus spears
Fresh basil leaves
French bread slices
Good quality extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper and kosher salt

Remove burrata from container and let rest to drain. Place tomato slices and asparagus spears on a baking sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt and roast in oven set to broil for 5 minutes or until asparagus becomes soft and tomatoes begin to brown. Thicker stalks of asparagus will take longer to roast. Remove from oven and let cool. Top French bread slices with a drizzle of olive oil and toast in oven or toaster oven. Tear pieces of French bread slices and burrata into chunks or sections. Layer in a bowl with tomato, prosciutto, arugula and fresh basil leaves and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with pepper and salt.

Caprese Salad Re-Do

Caprese Salad Re-Do

Caprese-SaladEveryone loves a caprese salad!  What’s not to like – a little tomato, fresh mozzarella, a few basil leaves, some olive oil and balsamic vinegar – perfect ingredients all stacked up into one salad.   But what if you don’t want to stack them up?

Try freshening up your presentation with this idea:

Take a whole tomato and cut slices into it (about 1/4″ thick) without cutting all the way thru the other side.  Insert a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese and a basil leaf in between each slice.  Once the tomato is stuffed (it should “fan” out a bit) drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the top.  Drizzle it with your favorite sea salt – and voila!  An update to everyone’s favorite caprese salad!

Caramelized Shallot and Crispy Sage Macaroni and Cheese

Caramelized Shallot and Crispy Sage Macaroni and Cheese

carmelized-shallot-and-crispy-sage-macaroni-and-cheese-cake-batter-and-bowl-blog-kerstin-sinkevicius1 pound orecchiette pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Briefly, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender and drain. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add shallots and cook 15 to 17 minutes, stirring frequently, or until caramelized. Add garlic and sauté one additional minute. Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth and cook one minute or until mixture starts to brown. Whisk in buttermilk and cream, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and mix in cheddar cheese, gruyere cheese, and salt. Cook 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add sage and turn off heat. Mix orecchiette pasta, caramelized shallots, cheese sauce, and crispy sage in a large bowl until well combined.

Yield: 8 servings
Calories: 685
Fat: 41g
Fiber: 2g

No Boil Mac & Cheese

No Boil Mac & Cheese

1/2 orecchietteC. (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/4 C. all-purpose flour
3 C. whole milk
1 T. kosher salt plus more
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper plus more
1 pound elbow macaroni (or other small pasta like orecchiette)
2 C. shredded cheddar, divided
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 C. panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 T. chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 400°. Melt 1/4 C. of the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in milk and 3 C. water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, whisking often, until a very thin, glossy sauce forms, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 T. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Remove sauce from heat.

Toss pasta and 1 1/2 C. cheese in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch or other shallow 3-quart baking dish. Pour sauce over (pasta should be submerged; do not stir) and cover with foil. Bake until pasta is almost tender, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt remaining 1/4 C. butter in a large skillet over medium heat (at this point, I sautéed about 1/4 C. chopped pancetta for a few minutes before adding the remaining ingredients). Add garlic, panko, and parsley and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Remove foil from dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 C. cheese, then panko mixture. Bake until pasta is tender, edges are bubbling, and top is golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Crescent Wrapped Cranberry & Brie

Crescent Wrapped Cranberry & Brie

1 can (8 o12ae70ebde163dc7de324edaf5ab751dz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet
1 round (8 oz) Brie cheese
3 T. whole berry cranberry sauce or cranberry chutney
1 T. chopped pecans
1 egg, beaten
8 small seedless red or green grape clusters
1 pear, unpeeled, sliced
1 apple, unpeeled, sliced

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. If using crescent rolls: Unroll dough; separate dough crosswise into 2 sections. Press dough to form 2 squares, firmly pressing perforations to seal. If using dough sheet: Unroll dough; cut crosswise into 2 sections. Press dough to form 2 squares. Cut corners off both dough squares and reserve to use for cutouts. Place 1 dough round on cookie sheet. Cut cheese crosswise into 2 equal layers. Place bottom half of cheese on center of dough circle on cookie sheet. Spread cranberry sauce over cheese. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Top with remaining cheese half. Bring dough up around side of cheese, pressing and pinching dough. With small cookie or canapé cutter, cut shapes from reserved corners of dough; set aside. Place remaining dough on top of cheese round. Press dough evenly around side of cheese. Brush dough with beaten egg. Top with cutouts; brush with additional beaten egg. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool 15 minutes before serving. To serve, place warm pastry-wrapped cheese on platter. Arrange fruit around cheese.

Griddled Haloumi with Caramelized Fennel, Shallots and Parsley

Griddled Haloumi with Caramelized Fennel, Shallots and Parsley

halloumi16oz. halloumi cheese

2 large bulbs of fennel

5 shallots

Olive oil

Lemon juice

Freshly ground black pepper

a bunch of flat-leaf parsley

Slice the shallots and the fennel bulb fairly thinly. Heat 2 T. olive oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan and sauté over medium heat. A little bit of browning is fine, but don’t let them burn. Once all the liquid is absorbed, add a splash of white wine to the pan and continue to cook over medium heat until they are soft and pliable. Allow to cool. Wash and roughly chop the parsley, then toss together with the vegetables in a mixture of about 3/4 olive oil and 1/4 lemon juice. Divide between 6 serving plates. Slice the cheese into fairly thick slices so that there are at least 12 slices. Heat an oiled griddle pan (or indoor grill) until very hot, then fry/grill the halloumi slices. Lift carefully with a spatula and be warned that they may stick! Turn when you have good grill marks on the bottom and repeat the process with the other side of each slice.   Top each serving of caramelized vegetables with 2 halloumi slices, garnish with more flat-leaf parsley and serve.

Ham & Cheese Puff Pastry Squares

Ham & Cheese Puff Pastry Squares

hammy1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1-2 tablespoons of Thyme leaves, picked

1/4 pound black forest ham, sliced

1/2 pound Swiss Gruyere cheese, sliced

1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Lay 1 sheet of puff pastry on a floured board and carefully roll it out to 10 by 12 inches. Place it on a sheet pan and brush the center with the mustard and sprinkle with thyme leaves, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Place a layer first of ham and then cheese, also leaving a 1-inch border. Brush the border with the egg wash. Place the second sheet of puff pastry on the floured board and roll it out to 10 by 12inches. Place the second sheet on top of the filled pastry, lining up the edges. Cut the edges straight with a small, sharp knife and press together lightly. Brush the top with egg wash and cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes and serve hot or warm.

Welsh Rarebit Cheese Dream

Welsh Rarebit Cheese Dream

welsh-rarebit-cheese-dream-recipe-photo-420-FF0505SANDA033 egg yolks

1 C. milk

1 pound extra sharp or sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

2 T. butter, in several pieces

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

4 to 6 whole English muffins, split

2 large ripe tomatoes, at room temperature, thickly sliced

Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)


In a medium saucepan, whisk the egg yolks. Then add the milk and stir the liquid gently over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes, gradually raising the heat to medium low. Add a large handful of the cheese to the liquid and stir. Continue adding and stirring in this manner until all the cheese is melted (it’s fine if the previous batch is still somewhat lumpy before adding the next). Continue to stir nonstop, keeping a close eye on the rarebit. Do not let it come to a boil. After 5 to 7 minutes of constant stirring, the mixture should start to thicken noticeably as the yolks cook and the cheese fully melts. Keep stirring and do not let it boil. When the sauce is thick and smooth, stir in the butter, one piece at a time, and then the mustard. Remove the pan from the heat. Toast the English muffins, then place 2 tomato slices on each half. Spoon the rarebit over each sandwich, reheating it first if it’s not still hot (the sauce can become grainy as it cools). Garnish with parsley, if desired, and serve immediately. Makes 4 to 6 sandwiches.



Deep-Dish Skillet Pizza

Deep-Dish Skillet Pizza

skillet1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed

1 to 2 15-oz. jars pizza sauce

1/2 lb. ground pork sausage, browned and drained

5-oz. pkg. sliced pepperoni

1/2 c. sliced mushrooms

1/2 c. green pepper, sliced

Italian seasoning to taste

1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese


Generously grease a large cast-iron skillet. Press thawed dough into the bottom and up the sides of skillet. Spread desired amount of pizza sauce over dough. Add favorite toppings, ending with cheeses on top. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Carefully remove skillet from oven. Let stand several minutes; pizza will finish baking in the skillet. Cut into wedges to serve. Serves 4.

Garlic Cheese-Stuffed Pretzel Bombs

Garlic Cheese-Stuffed Pretzel Bombs

1 recipe Pretzel Bread Dough

All-purpose flour

1 egg

Garlic and herb cheese (I used a Garlic and Pesto Monterey Jack cheese from the specialty cheese section of my grocery store), cut into 1-inch cubes

1 C. baking soda

Coarse sea salt


Once dough has risen, heat the oven to 400F. Half fill a large pot with water and add the baking soda. Bring to a boil. Turn the risen dough onto a lightly floured board and cut into 32 pieces. Put a cube of cheese on each, and form the dough around the cheese pressing the seams very well to seal the cheese in completely. Working in batches, boil the dough balls in the poaching liquid 1 minute. Remove from the water to a greased baking sheet (make sure it’s greased or the bread will stick when it cooks). Slice a small, shallow “X” on the top of each roll with a sharp knife (be careful to not cut through to the cheese!). Add a little water to the egg to make an egg wash (~2 t). Brush dough balls with the egg wash. Sprinkle tops with sea salt. Bake 15-20 minutes at 400 or until well browned. Yields 32 bites.



Three Cheese Enchiladas

Three Cheese Enchiladas

2 C. Freshly Made Salsa

4 oz. Jack Cheese, grated

5 oz. Mozzarella Cheese, grated

2 oz. Queso Fresco, crumbled

4 large Flour Tortillas

¾ C. Crème Fraîche or Mexican Crema



Preheat oven to 350. Mix cheeses together in a small bowl. Place a frying pan over medium high heat and dry fry each tortilla for 6 seconds on each side Place a tortilla on a flat surface and spread a T. of salsa on it, not quite to the edges. Sprinkle a T. of the cheese over the salsa and spread with a T. of crème fraîche. Roll up each tortilla and place in a lightly oiled ovenproof baking dish with seam side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Spread remaining crème fraîche over the filled tortillas, cover with remaining salsa, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake in upper third of oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro if desired.

Full Moon’s Macaroni and Cheese

Full Moon’s Macaroni and Cheese

full-moons-macaroni-and-cheese-recipe-photo-420-FF1003RESTA056 slices French baguette

1 stick unsalted butter

5 1/2 C. milk

1/2 C. flour

2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cayenne

4 1/2 C. grated sharp Cheddar cheese (18 oz.)

2 C. grated Gruyere (8 oz.)

1 1/4 C. grated Pecorino Romano (5 oz.)

1 lb. elbow or shell pasta


Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3 1/2-quart casserole dish. Make bread crumbs from the baguette in a food processor or blender. Mix the crumbs with 2 T. of melted butter and set aside. Warm the milk over medium heat. In a separate pan, melt the remaining butter until bubbly. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Then, still whisking, add the warm milk a bit at a time. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove it from the heat. Stir in the salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne, and cheeses. Set aside. Cook the pasta until slightly underdone, then rinse it under cold water. Combine it with the cheese sauce and pour it into the buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle with the buttered bread crumbs and bake for about 30 minutes, until the mixture bubbles and the crumbs are brown. Let the dish set for 5 minutes before serving.


Apple, Kale & Cheddar Melt with Red Onion-Rosemary Marmalade

Apple, Kale & Cheddar Melt with Red Onion-Rosemary Marmalade

For the Red Onion Marmalade

2 large red onions, thinly sliced

2 T olive oil

1/2 t salt

1/4 c sugar

1/4 c balsamic vinegar

1 t fresh rosemary leaves (dried is fine, too)


For the sandwich

2 slices of bread (French, sourdough, Italian, etc.)

1/2 T butter

2-3 slices of sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced

1 medium kale leaf, torn in half

1-2 T Red Onion Marmalade


Prepare the red onion marmalade. In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium low heat. Add the onions & salt, and cook for about 15 minutes, until softened, translucent, and beginning to caramelize. Add the sugar and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Increase heat to medium, add the balsamic vinegar & rosemary, and bring to a simmer. Cook until the onions have completely caramelized and tender, stirring constantly. (Note: if you need to, reduce the flame just a little during cooking, to ensure the onions don’t burn.) Remove from heat and set aside.* Now for the easy part! Preheat a pan or griddle over medium heat. Butter one side of each slice of bread, and add the cheese, apple slices and onion marmalade to the unbuttered sides. Place on the griddle and cook for about 2 minutes or so, then add the kale. Put both halves together and grill for another 1-2 minutes on each side, until the golden brown on the outside and warm, gooey and melty on the inside. Serve on its own or with a nice salad (a kale one, for good measure!), and enjoy! * The red onion marmalade can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks. That is, if it lasts that long!

Cheddar Corn Bread

Cheddar Corn Bread

1/2 C. yellow cornmeal

1/2 C. all-purpose flour 1 T. sugar

1/2 tsp. Salt

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

2 T. unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 C. well-shaken buttermilk

1 large egg

2 ounces grated Cheddar (about 1/2 C.)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Into a large bowl sift together cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Put butter in a well seasoned 8-inch cast iron skillet or a 1-quart baking dish and heat in middle of oven until melted. Swirl skillet or baking dish to coat bottom and sides with butter and pour excess into another large bowl. Whisk buttermilk and egg into bowl with butter. Stir buttermilk mixture and Cheddar into cornmeal mixture until just combined. Pour batter into hot skillet or baking dish and bake 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool corn bread in skillet or baking dish on a rack 10 minutes. Corn bread may be made 1 day ahead and cooled to room temperature before being chilled, wrapped in foil. Cut corn bread into 8 wedges. Reheat corn bread, covered with a paper towel to retain moisture, in a microwave oven 30 seconds on high.


Apple Cheddar Bread

Apple Cheddar Bread


2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. kosher salt

8 T. butter, room temperature

¼ cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature & fork beaten

2 cups apples (any favorite), unpeeled & finely shredded

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

2-3 T. minced sage, to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9” loaf pan with cooking spray. (Insert parchment paper overlapping over the long sides if you’d like.) In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs until combined. By hand, mix in the flour mixture. Fold in the apples, cheese and sage. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake until risen and a wooden skewer comes out of the center clean, about 45 minutes. Cool to room temperature before slicing



Saganaki dishes take their name from the pan in which they are made. A sagani is a two-handled pan that is made in many different materials. In the market, look for a small paella pan, small cast iron skillet, or even an oval au gratin dish.


1 pound (about 1/2 kg) of kefalotyri or kasseri cheese
1/2 cup of olive oil
2/3 cup of flour for dredging
2-3 lemons, quartered

Cut the cheese into slices or wedges that are 1/2 inch thick by 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide. Moisten each slice with cold water and dredge in the flour. In a sagani (Greek pan used for this dish) or a small heavy-bottomed frying pan (cast-iron works best), heat the oil over medium-high heat, getting the oil very hot, not quite smoking, and sear each slice in 1 tablespoon of oil until golden-brown on both sides. Serve hot with a last-minute squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Easy Cheesy Stuffed Shells

Easy Cheesy Stuffed Shells

shells1 (12 ounce) package jumbo pasta shells
2 eggs, beaten
1 (32 ounce) container ricotta cheese OR mix 1/2 with cottage cheese
1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
8 ounces grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 tablespoon dried parsley (I use fresh)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (28 ounce) jar pasta sauce OR make your own

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. In a large bowl, mix eggs, ricotta, half the mozzarella, half the Parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper until well combined. Stuff cooked shells with ricotta mixture and place in a 9×13 inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, stir together pasta sauce, and reserved mozzarella and Parmesan. Pour over stuffed shells. Bake in preheated oven 45 to 60 minutes, until edges are bubbly and shells are slightly set.

Southern Style Macaroni & Cheese

Southern Style Macaroni & Cheese

129-elbow-room_southern-style-mac-and-cheese4001 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
8 oz. hollow pasta, preferably elbow macaroni
Butter, for greasing
7 oz. extra-sharp cheddar, cut into 1⁄2″ cubes (about 1 1⁄2 cups), plus 6 oz. grated (about 2 cups)
2 T. plus 1 tsp. flour
1 1⁄2 tsp. dry mustard
1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1⁄8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2⁄3 cup sour cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1⁄2 cups half-and-half
1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream
1⁄3 cup grated onion
1 tsp. Worcestershire

Heat oven to 350°. Bring a 4-qt. saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until cooked halfway through, about 3 minutes. Drain pasta and transfer to a greased 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Stir in the cubed cheddar cheese and set aside. Combine 1 1⁄2 tsp. salt, flour, mustard, black pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne in a large mixing bowl. Add the sour cream and the eggs and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, heavy cream, onions, and Worcestershire. Pour egg mixture over the reserved pasta mixture and stir to combine. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the surface. Bake until the pasta mixture is set around the edges but still a bit loose in the center, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving

Cheddar Ale Soup

Cheddar Ale Soup

cheddaralesoupo½ cup diced bacon

1 T. butter

1 cup chopped carrot

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

¾ cup chopped green pepper

3 cups chicken stock

1 ½ cups beer

3 ½ cups milk

1 pound of sharp Vermont Cheddar Cheese, shredded

²⁄ ³ cup flour

½ cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped parsley for garnish


Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Sauté the bacon in the butter until crisp and brown. Remove bacon and let it drain on paper towels. Add the vegetables to the bacon drippings and cook, stirring until the onion is transparent. Add the chicken stock and the beer to the pot and bring to boiling. Then lower the heat to simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender. In a separate pan scald the milk over medium heat. Combine the cheese and flour in a bowl and toss to combine. When the milk is hot, add the cheese-flour mixture. Cook and stir until the cheese melts and the mixture thickens. Add the cheese mixture to the soup pot along with the heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat to serving temperature. Garnish with the reserved bacon and parsley.


Broccoli and Cheddar-Stuffed Potato Skins with Avocado Cream

Broccoli and Cheddar-Stuffed Potato Skins with Avocado Cream


8 small Idaho potatoes (about 2 1/2 lb. total), scrubbed and dried

4 tsp. canola oil

1/4 tsp. salt

8 ounces broccoli florets, coarsely chopped (about 4 C.)

Cooking spray

3 pieces Canadian bacon, finely diced (about 3 ounces)

3/4 C. grated extra-sharp Cheddar (about 3 ounces)

Avocado Creme:

2 scallions, thinly sliced, greens reserved

1 medium avocado

2 T. reduced-fat sour cream

2 T. lime juice

1/4 C. cilantro leaves

1 clove garlic

1/4 tsp. salt


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Pierce potatoes several times with a fork and wrap in paper towels. Microwave on high for 13 to 15 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through. Remove from microwave and cool until potatoes are easy to handle. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop all but 1/8 inch of the inside of the potato, leaving skin intact. Reserve scooped potato flesh for another use. Brush both inside and outside of potatoes with oil and sprinkle with salt. Place potatoes, skin-side down, on a baking sheet and bake until skins are crisp and edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the filling. Steam the broccoli until crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and set aside. Spray a nonstick pan with cooking spray and preheat over medium-high heat. Add the Canadian bacon and cook until crisp stirring often, about 3 to 4 minutes. Reserve. To make avocado cream, combine scallion whites, avocado, sour cream lime juice, cilantro, garlic and salt in the small bowl of a food processor and process on high until smooth. About 30 seconds. Toss the broccoli with cheese and spoon filling evenly among potatoes. Lower oven to 400 degrees F and return potatoes to oven until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Spoon 1 T. of the avocado cream on top of broccoli-filled potatoes, then top with scallion greens and 1 tsp. crisped bacon bits.


Yield:  8 servings

Serving Size: 2 potato halves, 1 T. avocado cream, 1/2 tsp. scallions and 1 tsp. bacon bits

Calories:  180

Fat: 10g

Fiber: 3g




Creamy Broccoli Soup with Cheddar and Chive Toast

Creamy Broccoli Soup with Cheddar and Chive Toast

2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 T. fresh thyme leaves, chopped (from about 4 sprigs)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
A couple of dashes of hot sauce
2 10-oz boxes of frozen broccoli, defrosted
1 qt. chicken stock or broth
1/2 C. heavy cream or half-and-half
8 slices baguette bread
1 C. shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 C. flat leaf parsley, chopped
zest and juice of 1 lemon

Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and the onions, garlic, and thyme to the pot and season with salt, pepper, and a few dashes of hot sauce. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are tender. Add the broccoli and continue to cook until the broccoli is heated through. Transfer the broccoli and the onions to a blender or food processor with 1/2 C. chicken stock and puree until smooth. Add the pureed broccoli back to the soup pot and stir in the remaining 3 1/2 C. chicken stock and the cream. Bring the whole thing to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. While the soup is simmering, toast the baguette slices until golden in the broiler or toaster oven. Mix the cheddar and parsley and sprinkle over the golden toast slices. Return to the broiler or toaster oven to melt and lightly brown the cheese. To finish the soup, add the lemon zest and juice, stir to combine, and transfer the soup to serving bowls. Serve immediately.








Zucchini, Cheddar and Bacon Cakes

Zucchini, Cheddar and Bacon Cakes

4 slices of bacon chopped into small pieces and fried until crisp

1 small zucchini shredded in a box grater

1 C shredded cheese

2-3 scallions, thinly chopped, white and green parts

2 eggs separated

½ C white flour

½ C yellow corn meal

2 T sour cream

dash of cayenne pepper



Garnish: Fresh tomato, avocado, sour cream

Oil and Butter for frying


In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the egg whites. You will want to whip those up until soft peaks form and gently fold those into the mixture. Play with the batter until it is the texture of thick pancake batter. Heat up a large flat skillet with both a pad of butter and some olive oil until it is hot. Add a generous dollop of the batter to the hot pan and watch carefully (I lost a few because they burned!) and flatten into discs with a spatula. Be sure to fiddle with the cakes so that they don’t stick to the bottom. Once they get brown on one side flip. Place on a plate with paper towels. Serve warm with fresh tomatoes, avocado and sour cream!







Cheddar-Bacon-Ranch Pull Apart Bread

Cheddar-Bacon-Ranch Pull Apart Bread

1 unsliced loaf of (round is preferable) sourdough bread
8-12 oz cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
3 oz bag Oscar Mayer Real Bacon bits
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp Ranch dressing mix

Using a sharp bread knife cut the bread going both directions. Do not cut through the bottom crust. Place slices of cheese in between cuts. Sprinkle bacon bits on bread, making sure to get in between cuts. Mix together butter and Ranch dressing mix. Pour over bread. Wrap in foil the entire loaf in foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Unwrap. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

cheddar bacon ranch pulls

Smoked Cheddar Grits with Broiled Heirloom Tomatoes

Smoked Cheddar Grits with Broiled Heirloom Tomatoes


2 cups water

2 cups reduced-fat milk

1 cup grits

2/3 cup shredded smoked cheddar cheese

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon butter

Salt and pepper to taste

4 slices heirloom tomatoes


Bring the water and milk to a boil in a large saucepan. Whisk in the grits, cover, and reduce heat to low. Stir often and cook until thick and creamy, 30-45 minutes.  Preheat broiler. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in the cheese, garlic, and butter, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the grits into four large ramekins that have been sprayed with oil or cooking spray. (If you don’t have large ramekins or mini cocottes, about 6 small ramekins will work.) Top each ramekin with a slice of tomato, lightly spray the tomato with oil, and then sprinkle a little additional salt and pepper on top. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and broil for 5-10 minutes, or until the tomato is softened and starting to blister.

Cheddar Pinwheels

Cheddar Pinwheels

2 C. Unbleached Flour; Sifted

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 T. Baking Powder

1/4 C. Butter

2/3 C. Skim Milk

1 C. reduced fat Cheddar; sharpest possible, Grated


Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a mixing bowl and then cut into the butter. Add the milk and stir together quickly but thoroughly. Turn out on a floured board and knead for 30 seconds then roll out to a 1/8-inch thickness. Spread with the grated cheese and roll up tightly like cinnamon rolls. Cut into 3/4-inch slices and transfer to baking sheets and bake in a moderate oven (375 degrees F.) for 20 minutes or until delicately browned.


Roasted Veggies with Brie

Roasted Veggies with Brie

Roasted Veggies with Brie1 wheel of brie
1 medium zucchini, cut into rounds
Roasted red pepper
30-40 garlic cloves, roasted
olive oil, kosher salt and black pepper
Finely chopped fresh rosemary
Baguette for serving

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Put peeled garlic cloves in an oven safe dish, sprinkle with about a teaspoon of black pepper, a teaspoon of kosher salt and about a tablespoon of olive oil. Cover tightly with foil & bake for about 30 minutes. Slice zucchini into rounds and put into a pan that has been heating over medium heat with a few swirls of olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt. Cook for about 10-12 minutes & give them a flip with a spatula and cook down about another 10 minutes. Slice the brie wheel & roasted red pepper into long strips, set aside, finely chop 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary. Cut the baguette and lightly toast on a sheet pan. Your oven should already be hot, so only about 5-7 minutes will do. Assemble roasted red pepper strips, roasted garlic & zucchini in separate piles in an oven proof pan; stack the brie like a fan. Sprinkle the veggies and brie with kosher salt and finely chopped fresh rosemary. Place the whole pan in the oven for about 5 minutes… until the brie starts to melt; serve with toasted baguette.

Bacon Cheddar Bread

Bacon Cheddar Bread

Cheddar-Bacon-Bread6 cups all purpose flour

3 1/4 cups warm water

2 tsp. instant yeast

2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. sugar

2 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

10 strips cooked bacon, chopped and divided

fresh ground black pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl combine water, yeast, salt and sugar. Allow mixture to sit for several minutes.  Add flour, two cups of cheese, 1/2 bacon and fresh ground black pepper. Stir with spoon until combined. Dough will be shaggy. Don’t stress if it looks messy. It will come together in the end.  Cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place for an hour.  After an hour, turn dough out onto a floured board and knead for a few minutes. It does not need to be completely smooth. Just knead it long enough to come together and place dough into a loaf pan.  Cover loaf with remaining cheese and bacon. Cover with towel and allow to rest for thirty minutes.  Bake in a 400º oven for fifteen minutes. Cover loosely with foil and reduce heat to 350º and continue baking for another 25 minutes. Remove foil and allow to bake for another 5 minutes.   NOTE! Readers have alerted me that the pan I use is apparently larger than the standard 9×5. Therefore, either divide the batch in half and make two smaller loaves, or cut off about 1 1/2 cups of the dough for a taller loaf. Use the leftovers to make a couple of mini loaves or bake in muffin cups.

Grilled Cheese with Tomato Jam

Grilled Cheese with Tomato Jam

Grilled Cheese with Tomato Jam


2 T. unsalted butter, softened

4 slices crusty sourdough bread

6 oz sliced fresh mozzarella cheese

1/4 C. chopped fresh basil

1/2 C. Homemade Tomato Jam


Butter one side of each of the pieces of sourdough bread. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. If your pan is large enough, you can make two sandwiches at a time. Otherwise, proceed with steps 3-4 for one sandwich, and then repeat the process. Once the pan is hot, place two slices of bread in the pan, buttered side down. Top each slice of bread with half of the mozzarella, half of the chopped basil, and half of the tomato jam. Place another slice of bread on top of each, buttered side up. Cook until the bottom of each is browned, approximately 2-3 minutes. Flip carefully with a spatula, cooking again until the bottom is browned and the cheese is melted. Remove from the pan, and slice in half with a serrated knife if desired. Serve immediately.

Cheddar Potato Slices

Cheddar Potato Slices

1 10 3/4 ounce can condensed cream of mushroom soup

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. pepper

4 russet potatoes, sliced

1 C. shredded low-fat cheddar cheese

In a small bowl, combine soup, paprika, and pepper. Spray a 2 qt. baking dish with nonstick spray. Arrange potatoes in overlapping rows. Sprinkle with cheese. Spoon soup mixture over cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 400F for 45 minutes. Uncover, and continue to bake 10 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.

Harvest Cheddar Soup

Harvest Cheddar Soup

Harvest Cheddar Soup

2 cups (480 ml) chicken broth

2 Tablespoons white wine

¼ (40 g) onion

½ (50 g) celery stalk

2 (400 g) granny smith apples

1 (285 g) russet potato

â…› teaspoon dried thyme

â…› teaspoon ground nutmeg

â…› teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup (115 g) cheddar cheese, shredded


Place chicken broth, wine, onion, celery, apples, potatoes, thyme, nutmeg, pepper, and salt into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid. Select Hot Soups program or Variable speed 1. Start the machine slowly increase to its highest speed and blend for 5:45 or allow machine to complete programmed Hot Soups program. Once you have turned off the machine or the Hot Soups program has come to a stop, Select Variable 1. Start the machine and slowly increase speed to Variable 6 and remove the lid plug. Drop in cheese through the lid plug opening. Blend an additional 10 seconds. Notes: Garnish with sour cream and diced apples. This recipe can be reduced by half and made in smaller containers. Soup may vary in color depending on the types of apples and cheese that you use. Season soups to your liking a little salt and pepper can go along way or spice it up with a little jalapeno! Potatoes should be baked, veggies are raw. By cooking all ingredients beforehand, you will get a sweeter soup. This soup is an apple forward soup with rich sweetness for a heartier flavor use 1 apple and then season to taste at the end with more spices, herbs, and cheese to make it to your liking.

Butternut Squash Gratin

Butternut Squash Gratin

Butternut Squash Gratin


3 T. butter

1 large onion, chopped

2 tsp. garlic

1 large butternut, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks

1 T. brown sugar

¾ cup broth

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated

1 cup bread crumbs

1 T. Rosemary

1 T. Thyme


Grease bottom and sides of slow cooker. Over medium-high heat melt butter in skillet. Add onions and garlic. Continue cooking over medium heat until onions turn golden brown. Add the butternut squash and brown sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally until squash begins to brown, but is still firm in the middle. Put squash mixture into slow cooker, pour in broth and stir well. Cover and bake 1 1/2 hour on low. While cooking mix together cheeses, bread crumbs, and spices. After 1 1/2 hour remove lid and sprinkle squash with cheese mixture. Continue baking for 15 more minutes until cheese is melted.

Warm Asparagus Salad with Fava Beans and Fresh Ricotta

Warm Asparagus Salad with Fava Beans and Fresh Ricotta

Warm Asparagus Salad with Fava Beans and Fresh Ricotta


1 cup fresh ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/4 pounds fresh fava beans, shelled (about 1 cup)

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

1 tablespoon finely chopped mint

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound thin asparagus

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Fleur de sel, for sprinkling


In a medium bowl, whisk the ricotta cheese with the lemon zest and season with kosher salt and black pepper. In a medium saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the fava beans until the skins start to loosen, about 2 minutes. Drain and cool under running water, then squeeze the fava beans from their skins. In a medium bowl, toss the favas with the parsley, mint and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil; season with kosher salt and black pepper. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the asparagus until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes, then drain. In a medium bowl, toss the asparagus with the lemon juice and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil; season with kosher salt and black pepper. Transfer the asparagus to plates and spoon the ricotta and favas over the top. Sprinkle the salads with fleur de sel and serve.

Creamy Four Cheese Spinach Butternut Squash

Creamy Four Cheese Spinach Butternut Squash

Creamy Four Cheese Spinach Butternut Squash

1 butternut squash

1/2 C. (125ml) vegetable broth

1 C. (250ml) heavy cream

5 garlic cloves (or to taste), minced

1 C. Italian 4 cheese mix

1 C. freshly chopped spinach

Fresh thyme, to taste

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

Red chili pepper flakes (optional)


Preheat the oven to 400°F(200°C). Scrub the outside of the squash clean and cut each in half down the middle from the stem to the root end. Scoop out the seeds and scrape a bit of the flesh with a melon baller, leaving a nice border all the way around. Sprinkle each half with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, combine minced garlic, heavy cream with 1/2 C. vegetable broth, cheese and spinach. Mix well. Divide the mixture into each halves, then top with additional cheese and sprinkle with additional pepper, fresh thyme and red chili flakes.. Roast in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, depending on the thickness of your squash, or until the flesh of the butternut squash is very tender when poked with a fork. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Cheesy Steak Bake

Cheesy Steak Bake

Cheesy Steak Bake

1 lb. steak tips

1 C. sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1 C. fontina cheese, grated

6 slices bacon, optional

2 white onions, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 T. herbs de Provence

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375º F. If using, cook bacon to personal preference. (Don’t make it too crispy, as it will also be baked later.) In a large pan or skillet over high heat sear steak tips until browned on all sides. Transfer steak to a plate or bowl and drain off fat, leaving 1 T. in the skillet.

Reduce heat to medium-low heat and add sliced onion. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until onions are softened, translucent and golden brown. Add minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant. Place steak tips in a large baking dish, add bacon strips (if using) and cover with caramelized onions and garlic.

Top with both cheeses and sprinkle with herbs de Provence. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly and steak is cooked through. Remove from oven and serve hot.

Blue Bayou Monte Cristo Sandwich

Blue Bayou Monte Cristo Sandwich

Blue Bayou Monte Cristo Sandwich

1 egg

1 3/4 C. plus 2 T. water

1 3/4 C. all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

8 slices egg bread (challah works well), sliced 1/2-inch thick

8 thin slices ham

8 thin slices turkey

8 thin slices Swiss cheese

3 C. canola oil

Confectioners’ sugar

Blackberry preserves


Line a cookie sheet with paper towels; set aside. Whisk the egg and water together in a mixing bowl. Add flour, salt, and baking powder and whisk thoroughly for 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth, scraping sides of bowl. On one slice of bread, arrange 2 slices of ham, turkey, and cheese, covering the bread evenly. Place another slice of bread on top and slice each sandwich in half diagonally. Heat oil to between 365 degrees F and 375 degrees F in a 10-inch pan. Do not let the oil reach a higher temperature than this; if the oil starts to smoke, turn the heat down. Dip half of the sandwich into the batter, allowing excess to drain, and very carefully place into the oil. Repeat with the other sandwich half. Cook 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Place the cooked sandwich on the prepared cookie sheet in a warm oven until ready to serve. Repeat with the other three sandwiches. Cook one at a time and allow the oil to reach the desired temperature between each. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and serve with blackberry preserves on the side.

Breakfast Cheese Bread

Breakfast Cheese Bread

Breakfast Cheese Bread


Cooking spray

2 2/3 cups baking mix

3/4 cup whole milk

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

2 tablespoons butter


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a large loaf pan. In a large bowl stir the baking mix and milk with a spoon. Add the eggs, mustard, and 1 cup of the cheese. Pour into the loaf pan. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and dot with butter. Bake 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then remove and cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Puff Pastry Cheese Twists

Puff Pastry Cheese Twists

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, 1/2 (17.3-oz.) package

1/3 C. grated Parmesan

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cayenne

1 large egg

All-purpose flour, for dusting


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Thaw the pastry sheet at room temperature covered by a clean kitchen cloth, about 30 minutes. While the pastry is thawing, combine cheese, olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt and cayenne in a small mixing bowl. Stir well to combine. In a clean small mixing bowl, beat the egg with a fork. On a lightly floured surface, gently unfold the pastry.  Sprinkle the pastry lightly with flour and using a rolling pin, roll into a 14 by 10-inch rectangle. Brush the top of the pastry with a beaten egg. Cut in 1/2 lengthwise to form 2 (7 by 10-inch) rectangles. Spread the herb-cheese mixture with the back of a spoon evenly across 1 rectangle. Lay the second rectangle across the coated piece, egg side-down. With the rolling pin lightly roll the 2 sheets together to seal. With a large knife cut crosswise into strips, about 1/3-inch wide each. (Alternately, you can use a pizza wheel to cut the strips.) One at a time, grab the ends of each strip and twist in opposite directions to form a spiral. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Bake until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheets until cool enough to handle. Serve either warm or at room temperature.

Fluffy Cheese Puffs

Fluffy Cheese Puffs

Fluffy Cheese Puffs


1 C. water

1 T. butter

1 T. olive oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 C. unbleached flour

4 large eggs

1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

2 T. minced chives or scallions


Heat the oven to 400° F. Lightly coat 2 cookie sheets with cooking spray.  In a medium saucepan, combine the water, butter, oil, salt, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour all at once. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until it forms a smooth paste.  With the wooden spoon, beat in the eggs one at a time, blending completely each time. Stir in the Cheddar cheese and minced chives or scallions.  Using a tablespoon, drop balls of batter onto the cookie sheets. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the puffs are firm and well browned. Serve them warm or at room temperature. Makes 30 to 40 puffs.