Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

Okay, remember that pesto pasta salad?

This one?

The only problem with it is that it only uses half a container of pesto. So you have a few options. You can:

A.) Double the recipe and have pesto pasta salad sitting in your fridge for weeks in that bowl you always want to use but can never find because it’s sitting in the fridge with pesto pasta salad in it

B.) Leave the half-used container of pesto in your fridge to “do something with,” forget about it, and find it two months later in an unusable state

C.) Make this pesto chicken

This was really good, really easy, and tasted awesome. JW commented several times how good it was. A huge thank you to Pinterest for this find (which if you are any sort of creative or foodie or fashion type and you are not on Pinterest, you are missing out on a whole world of new and exciting things), and of course, many thanks to Kalyn’s Kitchen for the recipe.

Baked Pesto Chicken (This is how I made it, when I didn’t have the recipe in front of me. Here is the original if you want to compare.)

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 3)
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper for seasoning chicken
  • Half of a 7-8oz container of basil pesto
  • Mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375F. Cut chicken breasts into strips, or pieces. Whatever you prefer.
Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Lay chicken strips over the pesto, then spread pesto over the chicken. Stir it around a bit so the chicken is covered with the pesto.

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil (or use a baking dish with a tight-fitting lid) and bake the chicken for 25-30 minutes, just until chicken is barely firm and cooked through. Don’t cook too much at this point, or the chicken will be overcooked by the time the cheese is melted and browned.

When chicken is barely cooked through, remove foil and sprinkle chicken with mozzarella cheese. Put dish back into the oven without foil and cook 5 minutes more, just until cheese is melted. (If your broiler is separate from the oven, start preheating it when you take the chicken out.) Kalyn’s note: After I melted the cheese for 5 minutes I switched my oven to broil and broiled for 5 minutes more, just long enough to get the cheese lightly browned.

We had this over the same tri-colored curly pasta I had used for the pasta salad, and the juice from the chicken dish was delicious over the pasta. You could also use angel hair, or even rice.


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Split chicken breasts were on sale at the grocery this week, and I thought I’d make a yummy chicken pot pie with a latticed puff pastry crust, like I saw somewhere on Pinterest. Now… JW does not like chicken pot pie. I know this. But I thought maybe he’d like it with the puff pastry.

So I cook, debone, and shred the chicken, and as I start to get the rest of the ingredients out, JW comes around the corner.

“What’s for dinner?”

“Chicken pot pie.”


He walks over to the pantry, opens the door, glances inside for a brief minute, then proceeds to pull out a box of spaghetti noodles and lay it on the counter in front of me.

Okay, I can take a hint.

So chicken spaghetti it is. Except I don’t have any rotel tomatoes. What I do have is green salsa, which I decide will have to do. I also added a bit of sour cream. And do you know… it was great! And Kathryn loved it too.

Now I have some puff pastry to use. Oh, the possibilities! Love me some puff pastry.

Chicken Spaghetti Remake

  • 1/2 lb spaghetti, cooked
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • Half of an 8-oz container sour cream
  • 1 7-oz can green salsa
  • Couple handfuls of cheese

Mix it all together and bake in a casserole dish until heated through and cheese is melted. Yum.

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We love making pizza at home. For the longest time I’ve been using the Olive Oil dough recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, which is good and easy to make. But this time around I decided to try Pioneer Woman’s pizza crust recipe, which she raves about, and when have I ever made anything of PW’s that’s been less than stellar? Answer: never.

So I got started and I wasn’t too far into the recipe when I realized it called for 1/3 cup of olive oil, and I had… none. There was no going back at this point, so I used regular ol’ vegetable oil. Did it make a difference? No idea. The crust was awesome. A definite winner over the crust I’ve been making. But I shouldn’t have been surprised. When has PW ever steered me wrong? Answer: never.

This was supposed to be a pepperoni and olive pizza. Unfortunately as I started to put the pepperoni on, I realized they’d been in the fridge a little too long and had mold on them. Sad ­čśŽ So we had olive pizza. And it was delicious! I really didn’t miss the pepperoni at all. You can use whatever toppings you like, of course. Even if it’s just olives.

Pioneer Woman’s Pizza Crust (from her cookbook)

  • 1 tsp or 1/2 packet active dry yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup olive (or vegetable) oil, plus more for drizzling

Pour 1 1/2 cups warm water into a bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water.

Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.

With an electric mixer on low speed, drizzle in the oil until just incorporated. Or, you can use a spoon. Which is what I did.

In a separate bowl, gently stir the yeast/water mixture, and drizzle it into the flour/oil mixture. Mix until the dough forms a ball. You can use your hands if you like, which I did here, until the dough comes together.

Drizzle a little oil into a clean bowl, or mist with cooking spray. Toss the ball of dough in the bowl and turn over to coat in oil.

Cover the bowl with a moist kitchen towel and set in a warm place for 1-2 hours, or cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.

To prepare the pizza, preheat oven to 500 degrees. Divide the dough in half. Lightly drizzle olive oil on a pizza pan or baking sheet. Or use parchment paper and no oil.

Using your hands, stretch the dough to the desired shape. Spread sauce and/or desired toppings over the dough and bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges of the crust are golden brown.

The other half of the dough may be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 3 days before use, or frozen for up to 6 months.

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Sincerest apologies for the terrible photo – but I figured a phone photo would be better than no photo at all.

This was SO good. I love muenster, and I have Annie of Annie’s Eats to thank for turning it into a scrumptious mac & cheese. Plus its near-ridiculous simplicity just made it that much better. It isn’t diet food by any means, with a cup of heavy cream, 8 oz of muenster cheese, and a buttery Ritz cracker topping, but it sure is worth the calorie splurge!

Muenster Macaroni and Cheese (Original recipe here)

  • 16 oz macaroni pasta
  • 5 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz Muenster cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste (Important – salt is hugely important in mac & cheese!)
  • ┬╝ cup Ritz cracker crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to the package directions just until 1-2 minutes shy of al dente.

Meanwhile, dice 4 tablespoons of the butter and place in a large mixing bowl.  Warm the cream in a small saucepan or the microwave.  Cover to keep warm.

Once the pasta is cooked, add to the bowl with the butter and toss to coat well.  Stir in the warm cream and the Muenster until the cheese starts to melt.  Mix in salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the mixture into a buttered 2-quart casserole dish (or in my case, a regular ol’ 9×13). ┬áIn a small bowl, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. ┬áMix in the cracker crumbs. ┬áToss with a fork to coat evenly with the butter. ┬áSprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the pasta in the baking dish.

Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the topping turns golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.  Serve immediately.

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I have thoroughly been enjoying Ree’s “boy-centric” week at The Pioneer Woman. A series of 16-minute meals that taste great? Sign me up!

This week we made the beef and been burritos, and JW declared them a smashing success. You can tweak her basic recipe however you like it (leaving onions out, for example, because you don’t feel like chopping one up), and although it looks basic and simple (and it is), it tastes beyond delicious. It’s kind of like individual enchiladas.

Here’s my modified recipe, but you can go back and look at Ree’s, or create your own version to your liking.

Ree’s 16-Minute Bean and Beef Burritos

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 can Mexican tomato sauce or enchilada sauce (I used El Pato enchilada sauce)
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 can refried beans
  • Grated cheese (cheddar, colby, or colby-jack), one handful for the beans and more for sprinkling on top
  • Burrito-sized flour tortillas

Brown and drain ground beef, and add chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper if desired, and add enough sauce to make it moist but not wet. Simmer.

Heat refried beans in saucepan or microwave. Add cheese and stir until melted. Keep warm.

Heat tortillas in microwave.

Spread a small amount of beans on a tortilla, followed by meat. Fold ends in and roll up. Place on a microwave-safe plate, drizzle with additional sauce, and sprinkle with more cheese. Microwave for one minute, until cheese is melted and burrito is very hot. Serve immediately.

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I had never made corn casserole before last night. Eaten it? Sure. Enjoyed it? Absolutely. But never made it. And this one turned out great. What I like about it is that it is a nice starchy side that isn’t potatoes, pasta, or rice.

An added plus? JW, who does not like corn, cornbread, or sweet things, ate two helpings of this and said I should make it again. THAT, my friends, is success ­čÖé

I researched several recipes and this one kind of came together as a result of personal preferences and things that sounded good. Sorry… no picture… we ate it too fast.

Corn Casserole

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 (15-oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (15-oz) can cream style corn
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 box (8.5 oz) Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used Colby Jack, but probably would be great with sharp Cheddar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8×8 baking dish.

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and spread into dish.

Bake 45-55 min. or until golden brown and set.

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What I loved about this macaroni and cheese is that it was quick, easy, delicious, and still homemade. I was in the mood for a creamy mac & cheese, so I used Velveeta, although in the future I may use a combination of Velveeta and cheddar, or something else, for a little stronger cheese flavor. That said, this was delicious and it will definitely be staying in my repertoire for future meals (although not too frequent as it’s not a dish for the super health conscious)!

Macaroni and Cheese (Recipe found here)

  • 16 oz elbow macaroni, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 lb cheese, cut into cubes
  • Breadcrumbs, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a pan, cook butter, salt, pepper, and flour, and stir until smooth.

Remove from heat and stir as you gradually add milk. Return to heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil 1 minute.

Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir until melted.

Pour over macaroni noodles, sprinkle with breadcrumbs if desired, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cover with foil before baking if you do not use breadcrumbs and you do not want a crust to form on top.

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