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Posts Tagged ‘Cheese’

Creamy Tomato Soup

Well Hello there… This is embarassing.  It appears that I have neglected to update this blog in, awhile… Oops.  I promise it’s not because I was lazy!  (Well, maybe a little.)  (Maybe a lot.)  My apologies.

But enough about that…on to the food!  One of the best parts of moving up to Chicago is now I actually get to attend all the weddings I get invited to over the summer.  One particularly special one a few weeks ago, featured the most amazing creamy cheesy tomato soup so good I may have…umm…kinda…maybe…licked the bowl when no one was looking…?? 

I absolutely had to have more because, well, clearly that little bowl was not enough for me.  And so began my first cooking project in the new apartment.  Now, I know that it’s summer and insanely hot/humid outside.  But if you can’t sweat a little for good food…well buddy, I’m afraid we can’t be friends anymore.  Sorry.

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I’m rather embarrassed to admit…but this recipe is wayyy old.  Way old.  Remember when I did all those Pork Recipes back in February? …Well, this is from even before those.   I am so neglectful.  And it’s sad, really, because this frittata is delicious and I have deprived you of a proper and timely introduction.

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Healthy Mac & Cheese

You wouldn’t think it would be possible to make a healthy Mac & Cheese that also tastes good…but it is!  This recipe is so easy and it’s made with things you probably already have in your kitchen (or at least I did).  What makes this ‘healthy’?  There’s no butter!!  I’ve made Mac & Cheese the traditional way – roux base, cheese sauce, baked with sticks and sticks of butter and breadcrumbs…it’s delicious but so rich and probably takes you a giant leap closer to heart disease.   This is a good way to help you get your mac & cheese fix more often without all the extra calories.

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Wow.  I’ve been surfing the internet looking for inspiration for new recipes…wow…there are a lot of awesome food blogs out there.  I am humbled…but then again, I’m just a poor college student living on a budget and cooking for fun.  So I guess I don’t feel too bad about the poor quality of this blog.  Because, as much as I am lacking now, I still remember the first time I ever tried to cook dinner for my family.  What a disaster.  Baking was easy but cooking was a whole other monster…learning how to have two things going on the stove at the same time and keeping it from burning took a lot of practice.  My brother still makes fun of me about it all.the.time.

For a project for my high school French class, we had to cook a three course french dinner for our families and journal the entire process.  I chose to make French Onion Soup, Ratatouille, and Chocolate Mousse.   All three dishes were catastrophes but the worst was the French Onion Soup.  Beef broth, onions, some seasonings…sounds easy, right?  How could one mess this up?  That’s what I thought!  But then again, I also thought that the order ingredients were listed in recipes were arbitrary and you could just dump stuff in whenever.  So, instead of adding flour to butter and making a roux at the very beginning of cooking, I added flour at the very end – after the broth.  What resulted was giant lumps of flour floating all around my soup instead of the smooth creamy texture you normally get from roux based soups.  Upon serving it to my family, they pretended to enjoy my horrible soup until my jerk brother pointed out the obvious and ridiculed my abilities to no end.   It wasn’t until winter break 2009 that I had recovered enough from this traumatic incident to attempt French Onion soup again.  But this time, it was wonderful.  Hmm…maybe this will be a future recipe post….

If you’ve ever had Caprese Salad before, it’s normally just tomato, mozzarella cheese, and basil – classic Italian flavor combo.  In an effort to add more flavor and depth into this dish, I decided to roast the tomatoes and top everything with a pesto.  The result is well worth the extra effort.

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Cheddar Cheese Puffs

While up for a visit in Chicago last fall, I had lunch at a restaurant in Water Tower Place on Michigan.  They served the most delicious cheese puffs and bread sticks pre-meal.  Late into the night yesterday I had a hankering for something bready and cheesy and it made me think of the cheese puffs I had in Chicago.  Half an hour later…yumm…my roommates and I almost finished the entire plate as soon as it came out of the oven.

For the full recipe go here.

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Today I had a cooking buddy!!  Chrissy, my lovely accounting bff + fellow slave to the CPA came over for a Thursday afternoon cooking session.

The recipe for today is not mine but my favorite food network chef: Ina Garten!  You can find the full recipe here.

::GOAT CHEESE TART::

I love goat cheese!  I know what you’re thinking…eww goat cheese.  Seriously!  Try it!  It’s creamy, sharp, and completely delicious.  If that’s not incentive enough to dry this dish…the crust is made out of puff pastry!  Crisp and flaky, the puff pastry really makes this tart elegant.  After you try this recipe, you could totally make variations of this tart with roasted asparagus or even a small slice of steak placed on top with cheese melting down over it…yum!

This tart starts out with puff pastry, rolled out and cut into circles, six inches across.  Half and inch from the edge, score a border around the pastry circle so the crust will puff up with you bake it.  Be careful not to cut through all the way.  I sautéed onions with garlic, white wine, and dried herbs.  Next: the assembly.  Sprinkle in the center of the puff pastry some grated Parmesan cheese.  Top with a mound of the onion mixture and then crumble some of the goat cheese on top.  Lay a thick slice of tomato in the center and season with basil cut into thin strips, salt and pepper.   Shave some Parmesan on top and drizzle a tsp of olive oil to finish it off.  Bake in the oven 475º F for 10-12 min or until the puff pastry rises and browns.

mmm…check out all that melted cheese!

::CINNAMON TWISTS::

Don’t throw away all the extra scraps of puff pastry you didn’t use for the tart!  Here’s a recipe to turn that flaky goodness into a dessert to follow up your tart with.

Contents:
Puff Pastry
1 tbs melted butter
3 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Cut the leftover puff pastry into small strips.  Brush butter onto the strips, just enough to cover so the cinnamon sugar will stick.  Sprinkle some of the cinnamon sugar mixture onto the strips.  Twist the strips lengthwise or into small knots.

Bake in the oven for 10-12 min at 375º F.

An amazing Thursday afternoon lunch!  Now time for some more CPA studying…

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Love this salad! It combines all my favorite things…fruit, nuts, and cheese.

::COMPONENTS::

Pear
Dried Cranberries
Pecans (Walnuts or Almonds would also be good)
Goat Cheese (my personal favorite but you could also use blue cheese)
Apple Cider
Brown Sugar
Lemon Juice
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper for dressing
Salad greens

To roast the pears, peel the pears and slice them in half lengthwise.  Scoop the core out with a melon-baller or spoon (this is where the cheese filling will go).  Shave a small slice off of the rounded side of the pear so it will sit flat in the pan for roasting.  Lay the pears core side up in a small baking dish.

Mix in a small bowl the cranberries, nuts, and cheese.  Divide the mixture among the pear halves and fill the pear cavities.

In a bowl, mix together 1/2 c Apple Cider and 2 tbs brown sugar.  Stir to dissolve the sugar and then pour over pears.

Bake the pears in a 375º F oven for 25-30 min, basting the pears every 10 min with the cider mixture.

After baking, set the pears aside to cool.  To make a dressing, whisk together 1/4 c of the remaining cider mixture, 1/4 c lemon juice, 1/3 c olive oil, and salt and pepper.

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