Category Archives: cheese

Tex-Mex Tortilla Pockets

This recipe is super easy to make.  I cooked my chicken ahead of time, then added the rest of the ingredients once cooled.  This recipe is taken from Kraft’s “What’s Cooking” magazine Summer 2013.  My kids love Mexican food, so I like to change up our usual recipes.  I found that 1/2 a pound of chicken wasn’t enough, I ended up using 3 breasts of chicken and made 6 good sized tortilla pockets.  I did not need the egg to seal the tortillas that I put the refried beans in as they stuck just fine.  I made 3 tortillas without the beans for my kids and used the egg to seal those ones.  I served my tortilla pockets with the left-over refried beans and freshly made guacamole.

2 tablespoons oil, divided
1/2 lb. (225 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup Kraft 3 Cheese Mexicana Finely Shredded Cheese
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup frozen corn
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
6 large flour tortillas
3/4 cup canned retried beans
1 egg, beaten

1. Heat oven to 400F.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet.  Add chicken; cook and stir 4 minutes or until done.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cheese, salsa, corn, cilantro and cumin.
3.  Spread tortillas with beans.  Spoon chicken mixture down centres of tortillas.  Fold in opposite sides of each tortilla, then fold bottom over filling and once again to make rectangular packet.  Brush top edge with egg; press onto packet to seal.  Place, seam-sides down on baking sheet; brush with remaining oil.
4.  Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.  

Sonja’s Cheeseburger Soup

This recipe was given to me by my amazing friend Krista.  She says when she shares this recipe with other people they love it…kids too!  Krista makes her soup with ground chicken and chicken broth.  I made the ground beef version.  Everyone in our house gobbled it up! Who knew that adding ketchup and mustard to a soup would be so good! A perfect soup on a cold night.  

1 lb lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
2 teaspoons garlic
3 cups beef broth
2 cups diced potatoes
1 teaspoon basil
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons mustard

1.  Brown together ground beef, onions, celery and carrots until ground beef is cooked and the vegetables are tender.
2.  Stir in beef broth, potatoes and basil.
3.  In a small saucepan melt butter.  Whisk in flour and slowly add milk until thickened. Stir in cheddar cheese, ketchup and mustard. Add to soup.
5.  Serve with a crusty French loaf.  Garnish with chopped pickles.

Lasagna Rolls

I like this fun way of serving lasagna.  My kids loved having their own individual rolls of goodness. This recipe was taken from “Giada’s Family Dinners” by Giada De Laurentis.  The recipe calls for 3 ounces of thinly sliced prosciutto. I always order from my deli in grams, so I converted from ounces to grams and it works out to 85 grams.  The recipe asks to be sure to squeeze the spinach totally dry in order to avoid a watery dish.  The ” Quick Marinara Sauce” recipe is also on this blog.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg

1 (15-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
12 dried lasagna noodles
Butter, for baking dish
2 cups “Quick Marinara Sauce”
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)

To make the sauce:
1. Melt the butter in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, whisking continuously.  Whisk in the milk.  Increase the heat to medium-high.  Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes.  Whisk the salt, pepper, and nutmeg into the cream sauce.

To make the lasagna:
1. In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, prosciutto, egg, the 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and the pepper until blended.
2. Bring a very large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the lasagna noodles and cook until just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently to prevent the noodles from sticking together. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking.
3. Preheat the oven to 450F. Butter a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.  Spread the cream sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish.
4. Lay out 4 lasagna noodles on a work surface, then spread about 3 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. Roll the noodles up and arrange the rolls, seam sides down and not touching one another, atop the cream sauce.  Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture.  Spoon 1 cup of the marinara sauce over the lasagna rooms, then sprinkle with the mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.  Cover the dish tightly with foil.  Bake until the rolls are heated through and sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake until the cheese on top is golden, about 15 minutes longer.  Let stand for 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat until hot.  Transfer the sauce to a sauce boat and serve alongside.

Makes: 6 Main-course servings

Grilled Portabella Veggie "Pizzas"

What a great way to substitute the dough in pizza!  These “pizzas” were super easy to make and you could put anything you want on them really.  I followed this recipe but added my own toppings.  I could not find the Laughing Cow cheese recommended in this recipe so i just used shredded mozzarella cheese. In the frying pan I added garlic, onion and yellow pepper to top the cheese, then I mixed up freshly diced tomatoes and fresh basil. The notes in the recipe are not mine but the creator of this recipe that I found on Twitter. (@NicoleHCook)  

2 large portabella mushroom caps
2 cloves of garlic, chopped (or minced)
2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil (you really don’t need much)
4 wedges of Laughing Cow – Light Garlic & Herb cheese
1 cup red peppers, chopped
1 cup green peppers, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup baby kale, chopped

1. In a large saucepan on your stove, heat the olive oil on low.
2. Pop your portabella mushrooms in there and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Flip them over and saute the other side for about 1-2 minutes or just until they are slightly softened.  Remove the mushrooms to a baking pan lined with tin foil.
3. Add the garlic, onions, kale and both peppers to the oil.
4. Saute for a few minutes or until the onions are translucent.  Stir around frequently.  I also added a dash of salt and pepper but it’s definitely not needed.
5. Remove from heat when done.
6. Add two wedges of Laughing Cow Light Garlic and Herb cheese to each portabella cap. Kinda smoosh it down in there.
7. Divide the veggies from the saucepan between the two portabella mushrooms.
8. Broil the mushrooms for about 2-3 minutes (I did this in my toaster oven on the broil setting, if using a large oven, just pay attention to it and don’t walk away so you don’t burn anything).

Chicken Tortilla Pie

This recipe is basically a chicken enchilada made easy, but it does take some time, especially to cook and rest. This amazing recipe was taken from “Whitewater Cooks at Home” by Shelley Adams.  A spring form pan is a must in this recipe.  I made this with the salsa found in the “Lime-grilled Chicken Breasts with Avocado Salsa” recipe found on this blog.  I found the La Victoria enchilada sauce at Sobeys.

1 10-inch spring form pan
6 10-inch flour tortillas
2 tbsp canola oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 red peppers, thinly sliced
6 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless and thinly sliced or 2 lbs ground chicken meat
1 tbsp seasoning salt
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups monterey jack cheese, grated
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup chopped canned jalapeno peppers
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
2 (398 ml) cans refried beans
1 can (283 g) enchilada sauce (La Victoria is best)

1.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat
2. Saute the onions and peppers for about 10 minutes until softened.
3. Add the sliced chicken and cook until chicken is just cooked, about 15 minutes.
4. Add seasoning salt, cumin, oregano, chili powder and saute for another 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and add the cream cheese, sour cream and 1 cup monterey jack cheese.
5. Stir until combined
6. Mix in the cilantro and jalapeno peppers.
7. Brush a flour tortilla on both sides with some of the enchilada sauce.  Lay tortilla in the bottom of an oiled spring form pan.
8. Spread a layer of chicken mixture on top.  You will need to make 3 layers so only use 1/3 of the mix.  Brush another tortilla with enchilada sauce and place on top.  Press down with your fingers to glue the layers together a bit.
9. Spread this layer with one can of the refried beans, the other can is for another layer.  Sprinkle with a 1/3 cup of the remaining cheese and top with another tortilla that has been brushed with enchilada sauce.
10. Continue to alternate layers of the chicken mixture with beans and cheese using the remaining 3 tortillas and enchilada sauce.  Top the pie with remaining monterey jack and cheddar and cover with tin foil.
11. Bake in 350F oven for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes.  Take the pie out of the oven and let rest for about 15 minutes.
12. Slice the pie into wedges and serve on top of a bed of shredded lettuce.  Top with sour cream, fresh cilantro, diced avocado and salsa.  

Onion Soup with loads of Thyme and Giant Gruyere Crostini

This onion soup is the best recipe I have ever made.  I doubled this recipe for 4 people and it was enough.  I cut the ciabatta bread into cubes and I used mozzarella cheese.  If you have a mandolin, use it to cut the onions, it makes more uniform slices, plus it’s faster. This recipe is taken from the Epicurious website.

1 pound yellow onions, halved and thinly cut lengthwise
3 to 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh cracked pepper
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups beef stock
1 cup water
1 1/2 inch thick slice of ciabatta bread cut in half
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups grated Swiss Gruyere cheese

1. In a heavy 5-quart pot melt the butter over low heat. Add the onions, thyme, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste and cook until the onions are deep amber and exceedingly soft, stirring occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes. Add the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the wine, increase the heat, and let the wine bubble away for 2 to 3 minutes. 

2.  Add the beef stock and water, and let the soup simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3.  Preheat the oven to broil. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven.
Place the ciabatta on the middle rack of the oven and toast until crispy, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

4.  Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs from the soup and discard. Pour the soup into two ovenproof bowls, float the toasted ciabatta on top, and cover it with a thick layer of the Gruyère. Put the soup bowls under the broiler on the middle rack and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted and golden.

Like Red Lobster’s cheese-garlic biscuits

This recipe is taken from the Winnipeg Free Press “Recipe Swap Favorites” by Iiana Simon.  I have made this recipe many times and I find that you need parchment paper or else the biscuits will stick to an ungreased cookie sheet.  I use 1/2 tsp of garlic powder, and I use just less then the 1/4 cup of melted butter.

2 cups Bisquick Baking Mix
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup margarine or butter, melted
1/4 tsp garlic powder

1. Mix Bisquick, milk and cheese until soft dough forms; beat vigorously 30 seconds.  Drop dough by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in 450F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Mix margarine or butter and garlic powder; brush over warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheet.  Serve warm.

Makes 10-12 biscuits.  

Like Hy’s Cheese Toast

This recipe isn’t exactly healthy, but I only make it once or twice a year.  I have never had the original Hy’s cheese toast, so I’m unsure if this recipe is close to it or not.  This recipe came from the Winnipeg Free Press “Recipe Swap” section. The taste tester notes on the bottom of the page are from the person who wrote the column. I added them as I found the notes helpful. When I personally make this, I use Campbell’s cheddar cheese soup for the cheese sauce.  

2 500 (16oz) loaves of French bread
375 ml (12 oz) cheese sauce (canned soup will do)
375 ml (12 oz) Parmesan cheese
250 g (8 oz) clarified butter
2 garlic cloves

BUTTER: Crush fresh garlic cloves in clarified butter and leave on medium-low stove for 5 minutes. (To clarify butter, heat butter in small saucepan over low heat until melted. Pour into a glass measuring cup and stand for 3 minutes. Skim off and discard the foam on top. Slowly pour the yellow liquid into a saucepan, being careful not to use the thick, white milk solids that have settled to the bottom of the cup.)

1. Slice bread lengthwise. Toast on both sides on your oven on broil. With a spatula, apply a thick layer of cheese sauce (you can use undiluted Campbell’s cheddar soup). Evenly cover this with a layer of Parmesan cheese. The butter should be sprinkled over the cheese with a pastry brush. Put back in oven until the Parmesan browns. Slice into pieces. Serve hot. 

Taste Tester Notes: Very cheesy, rich and good. The amounts of Parmesan and butter are generous, and once you start putting them on, you may want to use less according to your own discretion. If using canned soup, it comes in a 284ml (10oz) can, and you can get away with using this amount. This makes a lot of cheese bread, so depending on the number of people you are serving, you can make half recipe with one loaf of bread. but if you have leftovers, I tried reheating slices of the leftover bread on a baking sheet in a toaster oven at 350F (about 10 minutes or until heated through and cheese starts to bubble) with good results. 

Stuffed Mushrooms

These were a big hit at the dinner party I hosted last night. They are super easy to make. The recipe asks for pecorino cheese (which I found out is a Romano cheese). Pecorino cheese is available at Deluca’s. I used Kraft Parmesan for the 1/2 cup Parmesan and freshly grated Parmesan to replace the 1/4 cup of pecorino with great results. This recipe is taken from “The Italian Way – Cooking with the Deluca’s”.

12 large button mushrooms
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons Italian flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pecorino cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheeses, grated and then chopped fine, either by hand or with a food processor

1. Wash and dry the mushrooms and remove the stems. Using a paring knife, cut away some of the mushroom cap to form a larger cavity. Set aside. (Mushrooms can be cleaned and refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to two days before use).

2. Melt the butter over low heat in a saucepan and add the oil, garlic, salt, pepper, parsley, oregano, and chili pepper. Let the spices steep in the liquid for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the three cheeses in a small bowl.

3. Place the mushroom caps in a baking dish. Spoon the butter and oil mixture evenly into the mushroom caps and fill with the cheese mixture. Broil the mushrooms until cheese is golden, about 8-10 minutes. Serve hot.

Serves 4-6

Bruschetta ‘n Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Here’s another quick dinner recipe from Kraft’s What’s Cooking magazine 2008.

1 can (19 fl oz/540 ml) diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil, undrained
1 1/4 cups Kraft Mozzarella shredded cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 pkg. Stove Top stuffing for chicken
8 boneless skinless chicken breasts (2lb/900g)
1/3 cup Kraft Signature Roasted Red Pepper with Parmesan dressing

1. Preheat oven 350F. Combine tomatoes, 1/2 cup of the cheese, the basil and dry stuffing; stir just until moistened.
2. Place 2 chicken breasts in large freezer-weight resealable plastic bag. Pound chicken with meat mallet or side of heavy can until chicken is 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with remaining chicken, adding 2 at a time to bag. Place chicken, top sides down, on cutting board; spread evenly with stuffing mixture. Starting at one of the narrow ends, tightly roll up chicken. Place, seams-sides down, in 13×9-inch baking dish. Drizzle evenly with dressing.
3. Bake 40 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (170F) and cheese is melted.

Variation: For a spicy-style chicken dish, simply use diced tomatoes with bell or jalapeño peppers, Kraft Tex Mex Shredded Cheese instead of the mozzarella cheese and chopped cilantro instead of the basil.