Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

 

Mashed Potatoes are my favorite food and these are one of my favorites. These would be a perfect side for Thanksgiving, an alternative to the traditional mashed potatoes, or a weeknight meal.

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

6 large Gold Potatoes peeled and quartered

1 1/2 c peeled baby carrots

1/2 c cream or milk

1 t salt

1/2 t pepper

4 T butter

1/2 t dried thyme

1/2 c sharp cheddar cheese

Add potatoes and carrots to a pot of boiling salted water, cook until fork tender ( your fork should be able to mash them easily). Drain and return to the pot, add cream/milk, salt, Pepper, butter, and thyme. Use and electric mixer or mash by hand until smooth. Stir in cheese and serve. These also make a great topping for Shepherds or Cottage Pie.

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

Ham and Cheese Casserole

Ham and Cheese Casserole

 

Do you have ham you need to use up, leftover lunch meat or ham from brunch? Here’s and easy comforting casserole to try.

Ham and Cheese Casserole

16 0z box ziti cooked and rinsed

2 T butter

2 T flour

1 t dijon mustard

2 c milk

1/4 ham cut into chunks or bite sized pieces

1/2 cup canned corn

1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 c shredded swiss cheese

1/4 t black pepper

 

Preheat oven to 350

In a medium saucepan melt butter over low heat, stir in flour and cook 1 minute. slowly add milk, stirring constantly and turn heat up to med high. When sauce begins to bubble turn back to low and stir until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. add dijon mustard, and both cheeses. stir until cheese is melted. add pepper and stir.

add cooked pasta, chopped ham and corn to a large baking dish. Pour cheese sauce over top and combine. Bake for 25 -30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and crust form on top.

If you want  you can add breadcrumbs or more shredded cheese on top before putting in the oven.

Ham and Cheese Casserole

 

Old is New Again: Pimento Cheese

Pimento Cheese

There has been a lot of “buzz” about pimento cheese lately. It is turning up on restaurant menus, in food magazines, and in the dairy section of my grocery store. I remember having it as a kid and I remember hating it. I tried it on our trip to St. Augustine last week on top of broiled oysters, not half bad. So now if you know me I have to make it myself. It’s just my thing. I of course do things the hard way which means roasting my own red peppers, (they sell them in a jar right next to the pickles in my store). Not at all required, but yes I did it, also I like a little heat so I roasted some of the jalapenos from my garden, again not necessary, add some red pepper flakes or hot sauce to your cheese and I am sure it will be just as good. But in case your like me here is what I did.

Wash and dry 3 red bell peppers and 2 jalapenos. Turn on the grill ( mine is gas) You can also do over the stove if you have gas or under the broiler.  Place the peppers on the grill and close the lid, roast pepper until skin is completely black, turning occasionally  to get all sides.

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When all sides are charred place in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap, leave for about 15 minutes, this helps the skins peel off easily

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using your fingers or small knife peel all the black parts off of the pepper.

roasted red pepper

Then chop the top off of the pepper and removed the seeds, chop into tiny pieces.

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Now you are ready to make the cheese.

Pimento Cheese

8 0z grated yellow cheddar

8 oz grated white cheddar

3 roasted red peppers chopped finely

2 roasted jalapenos seeded and chopped finely (omit if you don’t want the heat)

3/4 c mayo

1 T dijon mustard

2 t sweet paprika

1/4 t cayenne

Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir, and stir until the cheese starts to get pasty. cover and chill. Sprinkle with paprika and serve with crackers or celery or try it on a grilled cheese sandwich.

Pimento Cheese

Chicken and Cheese Fondue Sandwiches

Chicken and Cheese Fondue Sandwiches

 

I love pretzels and cheese fondue, ok I love cheese fondue with everything. I would eat cheese fondue for dinner every night but let’s admit it that is really an appetizer. So how to make it into a real dinner….. I will put it on a sandwich, and add some healthier things and hey, its dinner. So I put fondue, chicken, apples, and spinach on a pretzel roll and voila dinner is served. I made my own pretzel rolls because I like to set myself up to fail. I am not a baker, in fact I hate it and I am not very good at it either. I had to make a second batch because the first batch looked like a dog had chewed on all my rolls. The second batch was slightly better and tasted great but from now on these will be an item I get from my bakery.

Chicken and Cheese Fondue Sandwiches

4 large or 8 small pretzel rolls

4  thinly sliced chicken cutlets

1/2 t thyme

1/2 t nutmeg

1T oil

1 apple sliced thin

1 c  fresh baby spinach

2 oz goat cheese

1 c shredded cheddar cheese

1/8 c flour

1 t chopped garlic

1 c white wine, beer or water

Sprinkle the chicken cutlets with the thyme and nutmeg. Heat oil in a skillet and cook chicken for about 3 minutes per side, or until cooked through and no longer pink. Cover with foil and set aside. Add garlic and wine/beer/water to a small sauce pan, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Toss flour with shredded cheese to coat, add to sauce pan with goat cheese and whisk over med.heat until melted and well combined, turn heat to low.

Goat Cheese and Cheddar Fondue

Slice rolls and add chicken spinach and sliced apples, spoon fondue on top and serve. If fondue gets too thick, turn heat up and stir until melted.

I think they were great without the chicken too, so they would be a good vegetarian option.

Chicken and Cheese Fondue Sandwiches

Chicken Frito Pie

Chicken Frito Pie

Chicken Frito Pie

As promised here is the recipe for Chicken Frito Pie that I made for Gone Girl Book Club

Chicken Frito Pie

1 T vegetable oil

2 c cooked chicken ( I used a rotisserie, one from my grocers deli)

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 tsp chopped garlic

1 can cannelli beans drained (white beans)

1 can tomatoes with green chilies (rotel)

1 T chili powder

1 2 c bag shredded cheddar cheese

1 bag fritos (not scoops)

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. add oil. Then add chicken, onion, and garlic, saute about 3-5 minutes or until onion is soft and garlic is browned. add beans, tomatoes, and chili powder. Continue cooking until all ingredients are heated through.

Chicken Frito Pie

Preheat oven to 350

Pour fritos into the bottom of a pie pan ( enough to cover the bottom) take the heel of your hand and slightly crush the corn chips so the lay flat. add 1 c shredded cheese, then chicken mixture, then 1 more cup cheese and then cover with fritos. Bake for about 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with sour cream.

Chicken Frito Pie

Cheesy Poblano, Sausage and Grits Casserole

 

This casserole is great for Brunch, Lunch or Dinner or for a potluck, don’t like it spicy, then use green peppers instead of poblanos.

Cheesy Poblano, Sausage and Grits Casserole

4 c water

1 cup grits (not instant or quick)

1 tsp salt

2 1/2 c grated sharp cheddar

1/2 c butter

2 eggs beaten

4 poblano peppers roasted and skin and seeds removed, cut into 4ths

1 package of smoked sausage cut into 1 ” rounds

1/4 c sliced green onions

In a large pan boil water, add grits and salt and stir, cover and reduce heat to low, cook for 5 minutes. Let cool slightly, add 2 c grated cheese, 2 eggs (slowly so they do not scramble, and butter, stir. Add 1/3 grit mixture to the bottom of a 9×13 pan, Layer the poblanos on to of the grits

Cover with another 1/3 of the grits and then a layer of the smoked sausage.

 

Cover with the remaining grits and then top with 1/2 c cheese and the green onions.

Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees, let cool to room temp before cutting if you want it to be cut into squares, if not the casserole will be runny (still delicious though, just serve with a spoon).

 

I’m a Little Bit Country: Classic Tomato Pie

As much as I like big bold flavors and exotic dishes, sometimes I just have to get back to my roots. Born and raised in the South, comfort cooking will always have a place in my heart and kitchen. One of my favorite recipes is old-fashioned tomato pie. I love this easy, take anywhere, dish. The tomatoes have been good here the last couple of weeks so I decided to whip one up. These are great for a vegetarian dinner, bring along to a potluck, picnic or party or as a side to some classic southern fried chicken.

1 9″ pie crust cooked ( I used the frozen variety)

2 large ripe tomatoes sliced

2 T chopped fresh basil

1 c mayonnaise

1/2 c cheddar cheese

1/2 c mozzarella cheese

1 T chopped chives

Salt

Cut tomatoes in slices, place in colander and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for about 20 min, so juices run out. Preheat over to 350.

Place a layer tomatoes in bottom of cooked pie crust

Sprinkle with chopped basil, then repeat with another layer of tomatoes and basil.

Mix mayo, chives and cheeses in a medium sized bowl

Spoon mounds of the mixture on top of the pie

Then smooth out evenly over pie and bake for 30 minutes or until top is browned.

Let cool before slicing, serve warm or at room temperature.

Beer Makes it Better: Beer Macaroni and Cheese

Beer makes everything better and that holds true in this recipe. Give your mac and cheese new life and depth of flavor with this little twist on a classic.

Beer Macaroni and Cheese

1 lb elbow macaroni cooked and drained

4 T butter

1 tsp chopped garlic

1/4 c flour

2 t hot sauce

1/2 c beer

4 c milk

1 t smoked paprika

3 cups of shredded cheese

1/2 t pepper

1 t salt

Melt butter over low heat in a large oven safe pan, add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add flour and stir, cook 2-3 minutes over low heat. Add beer, paprika and hot sauce. cook 1 minute. Will become a thick paste like consistency.

Slowly add milk and hot sauce while whisking, bring up temperature to almost boiling and heat until thickened (so it coats a spoon). Add salt and pepper.

Whisk in cheese. I used Sharp Cheddar, Parmesan and Monterey Jack. This is a good recipe to clean out the cheese drawer in the fridge, try your favorite combo, the good thing is beer goes with all types of cheese.

Add Macaroni to pan, stir until macaroni is evenly coated.

Place in a 300 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes. Sauce will thicken and crust will form on top, add grated cheese and herbs if desired.

Serve as a main dish or as a side to your favorite meal, like Raspberry Chipotle Pork Chops

Andouille Sausage and Peppers over Smoked Gouda Cheese Grits

It’s been a week of go to, easy favorites for dinner in our house. We have graduations, birthdays, and baby showers to plan, not to mention Memorial Day. My kids are not huge seafood fans so this is a nice alternative to the classic shrimp and grits which I regularly crave. It is super quick and easy, yet filling and comforting.

5 links andouille sausage ( you could use Kielbasa if you don’t like the spice or the spice doesn’t like you ) sliced on the bias into bite sized rounds

1 green pepper sliced into thin strips

1 small yellow onion sliced

Saute the sausage in a large skillet for about 3 minutes, add onion and peppers and continue cooking over med heat until they are soft and sausage is cooked through.

Meanwhile cook 4 servings of Quick grits (not instant) according to package directions.

Add the following to the cooked grits:

2 T butter

1/2 c of milk

1 clove of minced garlic

2 cups shredded smoked gouda cheese

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 t cayenne pepper

1/2 t salt

1/4 black pepper

Stir to combine, add more milk if needed

Add grits to serving bowls and top with sausage and pepper mixture.