Tag Archives: cheese

Broccoli Soup in the Instant Pot, for Niall

Read over the entire recipe before beginning.

Place into the Instant Pot:

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • big handful of baby carrots, chopped (or a couple of regular carrots, scrubbed and chopped)
  • 1 large celery stock, chopped
  • large bunch of broccoli, chopped roughly (2-3 crowns, plus their stems)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup water

Set the Instant Pot to “Soup” for 7 minutes (most recently, I’ve been manually setting on High for 4 minutes, and it works very well).  When the cycle ends, do a quick release of the pressure valve, and remove the lid.

Using a hand blender, or potato masher, puree the contents of the instant pot.  If desired, add about:

  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

and then add chicken stock until you reach the desired consistency; I use chicken stock paste and water.  Add:

  • 2 – 3 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Let sit for a moment in order to melt, then stir the soup or use the hand blender again.

Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

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Filed under comfort food, food, Soups, Vegetables

Spinach Mushroom and Feta Crustless Quiche

Adapted from “Budget Bytes”
6 servings

 

  • 225g mushrooms, chopped or sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • box frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry and chopped again
  • 57g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ to 1 tsp fresh or dried herbs of choice (I like za’atar)
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350F, and coat a 9” pie plate with non-stick spray.

Sauté the mushrooms, garlic, and pinch of salt and pepper in a non-stick skillet until mushrooms are soft and all of their moisture has evaporated away, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Spread the spinach across the bottom of the pie plate, then top with the mushrooms, and finally, the feta cheese.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and parmesan cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the egg mixture carefully over the ingredients in the pie pan.

Top with the mozzarella.

Place the pie dish onto a baking sheet, and place in oven.  Bake for 45 minutes or so, until top is golden brown.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Filed under Breakfast, dinner, food, lunch, Main Course, Protein, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo), whole food

Lyn’s Cheddar Honey-Mustard Muffins

Have been making these since the seventies, when my dear friend Lyn gave the recipe to me.  Sweet and savoury at the same time; delicious cut in half and toasted.

Picture of muffins

Lyn’s Cheddar Honey-mustard Muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tablespoons honey mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated (plus a few more shreds for on top)
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Butter a 12 muffin muffin tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, thoroughly combine dry ingredients with a whisk.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together until smooth and uniform.
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, adding the cheddar cheese about half way through mixing.  Do not over mix.
  5. Scoop batter into 12 muffin cups.
  6. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.

Continue reading

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Filed under baking, Breads/Muffins/Biscuits

Tuna Melt

From the Basic Shelf Cookbook.  Good for when there’s “nothing in the fridge”.

 

  • 1 tin light tuna, drained
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 Tbsp (or more) mayonnaise
  • 6 slices whole wheat bread or English muffins

 

Preheat oven to 375F

Mix tuna, cheese, celery, onion and mayo in a medium bowl.  Add freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Put equal amounts of tuna mixture on each bread slice and spread out evenly.

Bake in oven until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.

Cut each slice of bread into four pieces.  Serve immediately.

 

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Pierogis, Perogies, Etc

True comfort food for me — my great Aunt Rose made the very best “cheese pillows” ever, and my Grandmother’s and Mom’s were fantastic.  The “Kleckner Girls” made two varieties:  one with dry curd cottage cheese, and another with basically mashed potatoes with lots of sharp cheddar mixed into the mashed potatoes while they were hot.  A fiddle to make, but worth the effort.  This is the recipe for the dough, and the filling. Makes approximately 75 perogies.

  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 4 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  1. In a large bowl, miss all of the ingredients and knead into a soft, pliable dough.
  2. Cut in half and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
  3. Roll out each half into a thin circle ( about 1/8”).
  4. Using a drinking glass or biscuit cutter, cut the dough into round circles.
  5. Fill them with desired filling (we like a potato/sharp cheese filling*).  Place less than a tablespoon of filling in the centre of each circle, and fold in half.
  6. Press and seal into a half moon.  If desired, rub a bit of water around the edges to ensure a tight seal.
  7. Cook for 10 minutes in boiling salted water, until they float to the top.  Drain.
  8. Pan fry in butter, and serve with caramelized onions, fried crumbled bacon, and sour cream.

*For potato and cheese filling, boil approximately 1 ½ pounds of peeled potatoes.  Drain and mash well with a little butter and milk.  Add grated sharp cheddar, to taste (lots is good — a ratio of 1:1 is my favourite).  Taste, and season with salt and pepper.  Sometimes some caramelized minced onions can be added for a change.

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All-dressed Cheese Oven Fries

This is adapted from a  recipe at “Skinnytaste.com”, which I highly recommend!  Reminds us of New York Fries’ “The Works”

  • 2 medium potatoes, yukon gold or russet, washed and dried (peel if desired)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 slice center cut bacon, cooked & finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup sharp shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp diced scallions
  • 1 tbsp sliced pickled Jalapeno (jarred on canned)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Lightly coat a large cookie sheet with olive oil.
  2. Cut each potato lengthwise into 1/4 inch thin slices; then cut each slice into 1/4 inch fries.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cut potatoes and oil; toss well.
  4. Add seasoning (paprika to salt and pepper). Toss to coat.
  5. Place potatoes in a single layer on a lightly greased large baking sheet.
  6. Bake uncovered for about 25 minutes or until tender, turning once half way through.
  7. Remove from oven, place fries into two small oven safe dishes (or one large dish for sharing), top with cheddar cheese, sliced jalapenos, scallions and bacon bits and return to oven for  about 2 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
  8. Serve with sour cream.

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Marinated Goat Cheese

  • 8 oz creamy goat cheese log

Marinade:

  • 3⁄4 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1⁄4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • 1⁄2 cup sundried tomatoes, julienned (soak dried ones in hot water or can use a combination of dried and jarred ones in oil)
  • 1⁄4 cup black olives, pitted, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of thyme (or can use fresh thyme)
  • Pinch of hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (1/2 c oil, about as much as provided by the jar of oil- packed tomatoes, is adequate)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl and let stand to let flavours blend.
  2. Spoon over the cheese, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Serve on large platter with crisp toasts,crackers, and/or fresh sliced baguette.

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Filed under Appetizers, food, Marinade, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

White Sauce: four ways

This is a very good, basic recipe to have in your repertoire.  It is a base for so many things, such as cheese sauce, and with added flavours, can substitute for processed canned soup in other recipes.

Ingredients:

I.  Thick:

  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk, warmed up
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

II. Medium

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk, warmed up
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

III. Medium Thin

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk, warmed up
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

IV. Thin

  • 1 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk, warmed up
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Melt butter over medium-low heat.  Blend in flour, and cook, stirring constantly until smooth; cook for a minute or two.  Add the warm/hot milk, stirring constantly.  Cook over medium heat until sauce thickens and comes to a boil.  Reduce heat, simmer for two or three minutes to remove floury taste.

For added flavour, toss in whatever you feel like.  For example, try one of the following, or a combination:

  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of dried mustard, or Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of shredded cheese
  • hot pepper flakes or Tabasco
  • sautéed minced onions (sauté in the butter before adding the flour)
  • herbs, fresh or dried
  • sautéed vegetables, minced

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Filed under food, Sauce, Soups

Niall’s Summer Pasta Salad

Really an “anything goes” kind of salad, adapted from LLL’s “Whole Foods for the Whole Family

The Salad Ingredients:

  • ½ lb pasta, cooked and drained
  • ½ cup celery, chopped small
  • ¼ cup red or Vidalia onion, finely diced (use spring onions if you don’t have)
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • ½ red or green pepper, diced
  • 2 tins water-packed tuna –no hydrolyzed plant protein – flaked
  • ½ cup cottage cheese
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded, a handful
  • ½ cup cucumber, seeded and chopped

The Dressing/dip Ingredients:

This makes way more than the above recipe requires!

  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 cup real mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Whisk all dressing ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Gently combine all of the salad ingredients.  Add dressing, tossing, until the salad is coated to your preference; it’s likely that you’ll have about 2/3 to ½ of the dressing left over.  Refrigerate until flavours mingle.

The left over dressing makes a great raw veggie dip.


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Filed under food, Grains, Main Course, Protein, Salad Dressing, Salads, Vegetables

Cheese Straws

From The Smitten Kitchen.  These addictive cheese straws are the best recipe EVER.  EVER.

1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
3/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon half-and-half, cream, or milk

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, flour, salt and red pepper in five 5-second pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the half-and-half and process until the dough forms a ball, about 10 seconds. (it never forms a ball for me, but when it holds together when squeezed between finger and thumb, I remove it then knead by hand for a moment until it forms a nice ball).

3. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 8- by 10-inch rectangle that is 1/8-inch thick. With a sharp knife (or a pizza or pastry wheel; both worked great), cut the dough into thin 8-inch strips, each 1/4- to 1/3-inch wide (dipping the knife in flour after every few inches ensures a clean cut). Gently transfer the strips to an ungreased cookie sheet (though I lined mine with parchment), leaving at least 1/4-inch between them. The dough may sag or may break occasionally in the transfer, but don’t be concerned — just do your best. The straws can be any length, from 2 to 10 inches.

4. Bake the straws on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the ends are barely browned; these taste bad if they brown all over. Remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a rack to cool.

5. Serve at room temperature.

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Niall’s Cheese Quesadillas

  • Whole-wheat flour, or soft corn tortillas
  • Shredded cheese of choice
  • Oil to coat frying pan

Other fillings:

  • Red or green pepper, small dice
  • Sliced green onions
  • Red or sweet white onion, small dice
  • Tomatoes, chopped
  • Jalapeno pepper, finely diced
  • Chopped cilantro

Serve with:

  • Sour cream
  • Salsa

1.     In a frying pan, pour enough oil to coat bottom; set heat to medium-high

2.     When oil is hot, place a tortilla on it.  Sprinkle one half with cheese, and fillings of choice.

3.     Fold the tortilla in half to make a half-moon shape.

4.     Brown the quesadilla on one side, and then carefully flip to brown other side.  The cheese should melt nicely during this time.

5.     Cut into wedges.

6.     Serve with sour cream, salsa.

 

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Three-cheese Spinach Dip

Allegedly, this is the “real” recipe from Kelsey’s Restaurant:

  • 750g cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ¼  cups jarred alfredo sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 Tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 Tbsp cajun spice*
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 500 grams chopped, frozen spinach

Garnish:

  • 1/4 cup finely diced red pepper
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp finely diced red onion
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp sharp cheddar, grated

Thoroughly mix all ingredients — except for garnish — together in a bowl.  Spoon into a shallow, oven-proof serving dish; sprinkle with the sharp cheddar.  Bake in a hot oven (~350F – 375F) until completely piping hot.  Sprinkle with red pepper and onion before serving with pita crisps, pita bread, or whatever you like.

*Cajun dry Spice rub recipe is here

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Quiche: Using a Frozen Pie Shell

I have an irrational fear of making pie crust, in spite of many lessons from my mother (pie crust maker Extraordinaire) and from my dear patient friend Leslie.  We have been using the America’s Test Kitchen recipe for pastry, and it really is easier to make, and tastes delicious!

  • 1 (8” or 9”) premade pie shell in foil pan (or from scratch)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream  OR milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Herbs of choice, if desired
  • 1 cup or so of grated cheese of any kind (or cr blue some soft goat cheese — our favourite)
  • Filling ingredients of choice, totalling approximately 1 cup: sautéed onions, sautéed mushrooms, sautéed leeks, sautéed zucchini, chopped scallions, sautéed or steamed broccoli, sautéed bacon, finely chopped ham, tinned or marinated artichoke hearts, steamed asparagus, chopped baby spinach; use your imagination and personal preferences.

Preheat oven to 400F, and remove pie shell from freezer to thaw in its foil pan for approximately 15 minutes.  Prick the shell generously, line it with foil or parchment paper, and put in some pie weights or dried beans.  Bake for about 11 minutes.

Place warm pie crust — in its foil pan — on top of a cookie sheet.  Cover the bottom of the pie shell with your chosen ingredients.  Top with cheese.  Set aside.  Reduce oven heat to 350F.

Crack eggs into a medium sized bowl and lightly whisk.  Add cream, salt, and a few grinds of pepper.  If you like, add some thyme, tarragon, basil, or oregano – or any other herb you like — if they go well with your ingredients.  Whisk very well.  Pour gently into the pie shell.

Place quiche, on cookie sheet, into the preheated 350F oven for 35 – 40 minutes or until egg mixture has set.  It should be slightly browned, and a knife inserted into the egg mixture, about 1″ from the edge should come out clean.

Of  course, this filling tastes even better when baked inside a home made pie crust 🙂

* Our most recent favourite is to use approximately 3/4 of a small log of herbed soft goat cheese, layered with 10 or so steamed asparagus spears and half a dozen or so crisply fried bacon rashers (or shaved ham).  We leave out the bacon if we want a vegetarian version, and it is just as delicious.  Butter-sauteed mushrooms & zucchini are also excellent with the goat cheese.

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Filed under food, Main Course, Protein, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Lyn’s Cheddar Dill Muffins

These are rather like a scone or fluffy tea biscuit, but in muffin form.  Add three crisply fried and crumbled strips of bacon if you wish.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (or substitute whole wheat)
  • 1 Tablespoon white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup Old Cheddar, shredded
  • 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons dried dill weed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Grease a standard 12-compartment muffin tin.

In a largish bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, dill, and baking powder.   Stir shredded cheese until it is all coated with flour and well distributed. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and oil.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and all at once, pour the wet ingredients into the well.

Using a large spoon, quickly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stopping when all of the dry ingredients have been moistened. The batter should be quite lumpy; this is a very thick batter.

Spoon or scoop the batter evenly into the 12 muffin compartments (about 2/3 full).  Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, until nicely browned, and a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

Let rest for 5 minutes before removing from pan and cooling on a rack.

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Filed under Breads/Muffins/Biscuits, food, Grains, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Onion Soup for Four

Part One:

  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 5 large onions, peeled and sliced thinly
  • Splash of water
  • Salt
  1. Place the butter, oil, onions and water into a large soup pot with a few pinches of salt.
  2. Cover with a tight fitting lid and let the onions soften over a medium high heat, about 10 minutes.
  3. When the water has evaporated, remove the lid, turn heat to low and begin to slowly caramelize the onions, stirring frequently;  I like to get a book and set a timer for every ten minutes or so to remind me to stir them.  This will take about one hour in total.  This part of the recipe is crucial!

Part Two:

  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • a few pinches of dried thyme or a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 6 cups excellent chicken broth (use home made, or organic chicken broth from a carton – the kind that you do not dilute)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • excellent bread, cut into slices about 1.5cm thick, toasted, and cut to fit into your four bowls
  • 2 cups Gruyère or Emmenthal cheese, grated (Swiss cheese will do in a pinch)


  1. When the onions are a deep golden colour and have shrunk dramatically, add the brandy, thyme and broth.
  2. Season with salt and pepper and let simmer for 15 minutes. Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings.
  3. Preheat your oven’s broiler. Ladle the soup into 4 onion soup or ovenproof bowls and fit a slice of toast over each bowl.
  4. Sprinkle each evenly with the cheese and place bowls onto a baking sheet.
  5. Place under the broiler and broil until the soup is bubbling and the tops are golden brown.

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The Kids’ Favourite Mac and Cheese

image

  • 2 cups uncooked whole wheat (or regular in a pinch) macaroni noodles
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 cups skim milk (or other)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2+3/4 sharp (extra old) cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese for topping
  • OPTIONAL:  2 green onions, sliced, and 4 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

Boil a large pot of water, add a teaspoon or so of salt.  Add macaroni noodles and cook until tender but firm, about 8 minutes.  Drain, and return to pot.

Meanwhile, in saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat; coon onion in the butter for about 5 minutes or until softened.  Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Gradually whisk in the milk, and cook, whisking, for about 8 minutes, or until sauce is thickened enough to coat back of a spoon.

Add mustard, salt and pepper.  Stir in cheese just until melted.  Pour over macaroni.

If using green onions and bacon, add now, and stir just until combined.

Spread into an 8″ square baking dish.  Top with the 1/2 cup shredded cheese.  Bake, uncovered, in a 350F oven for about 30 minutes, or until bubbly.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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Filed under food, Grains, Main Course, Protein, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Jan’s Broccoli Salad

Serves six to twelve people.

  

For the Salad:

  • 3 Large Broccoli stems with florets (or combination of broccoli and cauliflower)
  • 1 lb. bacon fried crisp and crumbled up very small (or use just a few slices rather than a whole pound!)
  • 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries (I prefer cranberries)
  • 1/2 cup toasted sliced or slivered almonds
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • a big handful of shredded sharp cheddar cheese 

Peel broccoli stems and cut into bite-sized pieces. Cut up the florets into ~1cm square pieces, and add to the stems with the bacon, raisins, almonds, red onion, and cheese (if using). Toss with following dressing:
Creamy Cider Dressing:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise (the real stuff tastes best)
  • 3 Tbsp sugar, or less if preferred
  • 2 tbsp. cider vinegar

Mix the dressing ingredients together with a whisk.

Add the dressing to the broccoli mixture, and allow to mellow for a while before serving. Keeps well for one day.

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Filed under Salads