Tag Archives: cheese

Mini Casseroles

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If you like to cook, then a muffin tin is a necessity in your kitchen, I think. You can make virtually anything! I have made pancakes, omelets, cheese muffins, corn muffins, popovers, pancake popovers, and now mini casseroles. Mini meals, I have discovered, are simply wonderful! They are great for portion tracking, experimenting with recipes, and having pre-made service for family and guests.

Note that the measurements (excepting the rice) may not be totally accurate because this was not an official recipe. It was just something I whipped together and then decided to blog about. But it was SO delicious! I just looked in the fridge, got out leftovers, and got cooking.

Another note: Leftovers are GREAT! Use them! Besides the eggs and milk, obviously, everything I used in this recipe is leftover. (I actually recommend leftover rice/broccoli)

Lastly, this recipe made 4 1/2 – 5 mini casseroles, due to my uneven distribution of egg. In the future, I think I will add a third egg and more filling. Play around with the recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1/4-1/3 cup rice, cooked
  • 1/4-1/2 cup broccoli, chopped into small pieces
  • chicken, shredded/cut up
  • 2 eggs
  • milk, for eggs
  • shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prep a muffin tin with Pam or non-stick spray
  • Mix rice, broccoli, and chicken together in a small bowl
  • Whisk eggs and milk together in a separate bowl
  • Add equal amounts of filling to 5 muffin cups (or more, depending on how much ingredients you use)
  • Next, pour equal amounts of egg mixture into each muffin cup
  • Bake for 10-13 minutes
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

(Leftover mini casseroles are great, too!)

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My Grandmother’s Baked Mac and Cheese

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I have tried to eat healthier lately, but I have been saving and waiting for a moment to indulge in one of my favorite treats: macaroni and cheese. Not only is this recipe absolutely delicious, it is my grandmother’s recipe and one of my new favorites!

While it is a bit lengthy to prepare, it is so easy and uses common ingredients. There is no flour or tedious cheese sauce preparation involved whatsoever. It is just a super cheesy, easy, baked dish. I can’t get over how amazing it is. It was difficult to stop eating, even once I was full. I just wanted to eat the whole dish! Luckily I have quite a bit of leftovers.

I made a lot because it was for three people, and there were still TONS of leftovers!

Ingredients:

  • 24 oz Elbow Macaroni, gluten free
  • 24 oz Cottage Cheese
  • 8 oz Sour Cream
  • 4 cups Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • GF Bread Crumbs or Parmesan Cheese, grated (to add a thin layer on top)

Instructions;

  • Cook Pasta according to package directions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix the cottage cheese, sour cream, cheddar, and eggs in a large bowl
  • Add to pasta and mix until well combined/even
  • Put mac and cheese into a greased casserole dish and top with your choice of GF bread crumbs or Parmesan
  • Bake Mac and Cheese for about 35 minutes
  • Let cool for 5 minutes or so
  • Enjoy!

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

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These are healthy, easy, and delicious. My one recommendation would be to eat these with a fork and knife at hand. The tomatoes will be, not mushy, but the texture of a roasted pepper, sort of. I don’t have much to say about these except when can I make tem next?!

Ingredients:

  • Tomato, sliced 1/4-1/3 inch thick
  • Parmesan
  • Pesto -OR- Basil

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees and cover a baking sheet/pan with tin foil.
  • Slice tomatoes (make a few, or a lot) and place each slice on your pan as you go.
  • Spread a small dollop of pesto on each tomato (about 2 tsp worth) -OR- place a couple fresh basil leaves on the tomato
  • Then sprinkle some parmesan on each tomato, to taste. At least cover tomato with a thin layer. I spread cheese to edges and put enough to cover tomato.
  • Put the pan in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Mini Margaritas

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Is it news that I love pizza? Well last night I wanted something pretty light, but also easy and quick. I was sort of in the mood for pizza so I decided to make some tortilla pizzas. Now, I use to use La Tortilla Factory, but honestly, I didn’t love it. The taste wasn’t my favorite and they were just way too big. I had been looking out for Mission corn tortillas, what I have wanted all along but have never been able to find. Until about a week ago. At 55 calories each they are perfect. So, last night. I made two little pizzas. Margarita pizzas, my favorite kind after cheese and pepperoni! And instead of using basil (mine was dead, sadly), I used some homemade pesto sauce. These pizzas are so easy to make and SO quick to cook! It’s effortless to spread a little pesto, cut a few mozzarella slices and tomatoes, and stick them in the toaster or oven for 10 minutes.

These were delicious! I will definitely be making them again soon! I haven’t made something that good in a while. Just a simple margarita. A simple tortilla pizza. Quick, easy, 4-ingredient meal.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small Mission corn tortillas
  • 1-2 tbsp pesto, per tortilla (I love homemade)
  • 2-4 cherry tomatoes, sliced/diced
  • Mozzarella, thinly sliced or shredded, to cover tortillas with a single layer (about a half-inch from edge)

Instructions:

  • Spread pesto out on each tortilla in a thin layer, about a half-inch from the edge.
  • Top with your choice of mozzarella.
  • According to taste/love of tomatoes, cut desired amount and spread evenly on top.
  • Place the pizzas in a toaster for about 8-12 minutes and let cool before cutting.

Broccoli Parmesan Fritters

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Last night my mom and I discovered a new recipe through Pinterest, a great way to discover new things…especially food! There are tons of gluten free recipes, including broccoli-parmesan fritters, my new favorite food. These things were amazing! I have never tasted anything like them and they were simply out-of-this-world delicious! These fritters, by Smitten Kitchen, are so easy and simple to make. Quick and rewarding, I wish I could make these every day. I already love broccoli, and my family has made a recipe in the past involving broccoli and cheese (which I really should post because it is delicious!), so I had high expectations for this recipe.

I cut the broccoli as dictated and let my mom steam it. Meanwhile, I mixed the other ingredients while the greens cooked. My favorite part, honestly? Mashing everything together before frying. Now, for this, we were not entirely sure how much oil to use. Some people have a layer of oil covering the pan, but if have not already noticed, I like to keep things healthier if and whenever possible. So we just had a little oil, which mostly gathered at the edges of the pan we were using, but also left a thin film in the center.

So finally, we compressed and patted our…dough? Mixture? Whatever you want to call it, into little patties. We got 7 good-sized fritters out of this recipe, each being about 3-4 inches or so in diameter, and about 1/2-1 inch thick. Once all the fritters were finished, and a beautiful golden-brown, I could hardly wait to try them. But first we lined the fritters up on a paper towel-lined plate and let them cool for just a minute. Finally I just couldn’t stand it. Abandoning any sort of utensils, I picked one up and took a tentative bite. I think I went to Heaven. It almost melted in my mouth (not actually). I didn’t want that first bite to end. I wanted to keep chewing. In short, the broccoli parmesan fritters were delicious, to say the least.

It was just my mom and I eating them, too, so we each got three (saving one for the next day) and then had some smoked salmon on the side. I was so full by the end of dinner. My mom ate her salmon with sour cream, and I had some cottage cheese on the side instead. We both agreed that this would definitely become a more common meal (which means I will hopefully have some pictures up soon), so I am simply dying to devour these once more!

Get the recipe for these delicious broccoli parmesan fritters now at Smitten Kitchen!

ALSO: Why just broccoli and parmesan? There are so many fritter options! I really want to experiment some with these delicious treats…potatoes, cauliflower, squash, zucchini…who knows what else!

Fabulous First Frittata Attempt

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Today I was planning on making more mini quiche/omelets, but with different ingredients. However, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to bag that and try to make a frittata instead. I have seen all sorts of frittatas online and have been dying to try one. I really love the ones that use broccoli and/or spinach, but unfortunately, I had neither. One wonderful ingredient I did have, however, was potatoes (note: I really want to try to make a Spanish tortilla sometime). Potatoes, mushrooms, and turkey bacon. I usually only use chicken or turkey as my meats, because they are healthier and, in my opinion, better–tastier. I don’t even really like meats like bacon, but I will occasionally make an exception, like here. Notice that I used turkey bacon, so even though it is not great, it is better than regular bacon.

This was not a perfect, traditional frittata. In other words, I do not own a cast iron skillet (I should…) so I left out the bake-in-the-oven step. Nonetheless, this recipe turned out fabulous! It was so delicious and I can’t wait to make more and experiment with different ingredients. The texture was perfect: not mushy or slimy or anything like that. Everything was cooked to perfection!

For a vegetarian frittata, omit the bacon and use more of the other ingredients, or add your own.

Lastly, because I only used 3 eggs, this frittata was a little thinner than most…almost like a pizza frittata (Hmmm…)! But you can always add more eggs and ingredients, although I can’t say how the cooking time/method would change. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp milk, approx (I don’t even measure)
  • 2 bacon strips
  • Cheese
  • Potatoes (I used a quarter of a large potato)
  • Portabella Mushrooms, cut up (1-3 handfuls)

Instructions

  • Preheat a medium frying pan with a little olive oil over medium high heat.
  • Slice potatoes (about 1/8-1/4 inch) and cook in pan until golden-brown (careful when flipping–oil is very hot).
  • While the potatoes are cooking, whisk eggs, milk, and a handful of cheese together well until smooth (I used a fork to mix) and cut/tear bacon into small pieces.
  • Once potatoes are done, remove them from the pan onto a paper towel (or two) to absorb any excess oil.
  • Then pour most (not all) of the remaining oil in the pan into the sink and cook mushrooms over a lowered temperature (they will still cook very fast; do NOT leave them). Once the mushrooms are done, remove them to a plate or paper towel.
  • Move pan to a new, cool burner and wait a minute for the pan to cool some.
  • Spread all of the bacon bits, mushrooms, and potatoes in an even, single layer on the bottom of the pan, and then pour the egg mixture on top. Sprinkle a little more cheese around on top.
  • Turn the heat to medium low and cook for about 10 minutes. After a while, when the egg begins to set on the edges, use a spatula to separate the frittata from the edge of the pan and tilt it so that the uncooked egg goes to the bottom.
  • The frittata will be finished when the egg is almost entirely set, and there is just a tiny bit of uncooked egg. But even that should not really move around if you tilt the pan. At this point, the frittata should easily come off/out of the pan. Gently and carefully slide your spatula underneath and slide the frittata off of the pan and onto a plate.
  • I like to cut mine into quarters (using the spatula). Serve immediately.

Mini Quiche – Crustless or with a Crepe Crust

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Mini quiche. Omelette muffins. Egg muffins. Quiche muffins. Whatever you want to call them…

I have wanted to make a quiche for a while, but I haven’t really known where to start or what kind of crust to use. So I decided to combine a quiche with another recipe I’ve been wanting to make, because, I realized, they are actually sort of the same thing. Quiche and omelette muffins. But isn’t an egg or omelette muffin just like a mini, crustless quiche? Of course.

So this morning, as  was getting all excited to make these, I realized I only had two eggs left. Oh well. I was very pleased when I discovered that 2 eggs actually makes exactly 3 mini quiches. I didn’t have any special toppings today: no peppers, mushrooms, onions, nothing. All I had to work with was cheese and some turkey bacon that need to be used up. I like to avoid unhealthy meats as much as possibly, including bacon, but I made the exception since this was turkey bacon and I had nothing else. These are so easy and quick to prepare, and also quick to cook. Mine only took 10 minutes, and so the whole time I spent preparing/making these was about 15, maybe 20 minutes total. These are great because you can use so many fillings, just like a normal quiche or omelette. What will you use?

Oh my goodness these crustless quiches were AMAZING. So delicious! I will definitely be making these again, hopefully soon, and hopefully with some new and different fillings. The egg set wonderfully and was not runny at all. The bacon was perfect and not tough, and the cheese…wow. The cheese was melty and complemented each quiche beautifully, deliciously, amazingly. These crustless mini quiches were just all-around perfect. I highly recommend making some.

Mini Crustless Quiche

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk, approx
  • 1/3 cup cheese
  • 2 pieces turkey bacon, precooked
  • Any additional omelette/quiche toppings or seasonings desired (other meat, veggies, spices, etc)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 3 muffin cups
  • Whisk eggs and milk together well until smooth (I used a fork for this).
  • Cut/tear bacon into small pieces and divide bacon into two piles. Add 1/3 of the bacon from ONE pile to each cup.
  • Evenly add the egg mixture to each cup ( did a little at a time and got them perfectly matched). Just use your best judgement, and if one cup has a little more or less, do not worry.
  • Add about half the cheese your going to use into each cup and use a fork to slightly stir it into the quiche mixture. Add the other half of the cheese on top of each cup.
  • Bake “muffins” for 10-15 minutes or until egg has set.

Mini Crepe Quiche

For a crepe quiche, use the same recipe above, but use a crepe crust. All you need to do is make the crepes first (3 for the recipe above) and line each muffin cup with one crepe. You can use cornstarch or rice flour crepes, or the crepe recipe of your choosing. Then add the egg and other ingredients according to the crustless quiche recipe. You may want to check on these mini quiches a little more, to make sure the crepe is not overdone, but you should be fine. The crepe will be like a crust-a little crunchy but not too hard.

This crepe quiche recipe is inspired by a post over at Lexie’s Kitchen.

Get through those midmorning/midday cravings

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Usually a good breakfast and lunch are enough to keep me going, and if I have a sudden craving, it passes within minutes. Sometimes, however, I have cravings in between meals that just won’t go away. When this happens, I try not to munch on unhealthy snack foods. I decided to compile a simple list of my go-to foods when I just want a snack. If I mention cheese, I usually refer to a couple bites of cottage cheese.

  • Gluten free Chex Mix
  • Some fruit, fresh or dried (with cheese)
    • apple/orange slices, any berries, grapes, clementine/tangerine, etc
  • Veggies with hummus, peanut/almond butter, cottage cheese, or plain!
    • celery, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, pepper, etc
  • A small spoonful of peanut/almond butter
  • Various trail mixes (see below)
  • A few cheese or peanut/almond butter crackers (with fruit or veggies)
  • One hard-boiled egg
  • A little plain popcorn (or lightly salted)
  • A rice cake with peanut/almond butter
  • Yogurt-covered raisins

Below are also some quick homemade trail mix ideas (I have not tried them all myself). You can add or take away from any to reach your perfect snack mix. A general mix is a combination of: a grain (like Chex), nuts, seeds, dried fruit, popcorn, pretzels. My mixes include almonds, rice chex, smartfood/plain popcorn, Glutino pretzels. Then I love adding seeds, dried fruit, and other types of nuts whenever they are available. A last note: dried fruits include raisins, apple chips, banana chips, etc.

  • Rice chex, smart food, and almonds
  • Rice chex, pretzels, raisins, nuts
  • Popcorn, pretzels, nuts
  • Rice chex, raisins, almonds, dried apple chips
  • Sunflower seeds, nuts, popcorn, dried fruit
  • Sunflower seeds, almonds, dried fruit

For a touch of sweetness, you can also add some M ‘n Ms or chocolate chips. Just make sure they are gluten free, because candy like M ‘n Ms are often processed in the same facilities as wheat/gluten.

Not only are all these great go-to snacks in case of food cravings, but they are also awesome snacks in general. They are delicious things to munch on for people of ALL ages as well. Pack them for lunch, add them to a breakfast, or serve them as appetizers (depending on which one you choose, of course!).

If your cravings or rumblies continue, drink WATER. Fill up a water bottle or a large glass to the top and take a big sip whenever thoughts of food take over your mind. Just drink a lot. If the water trick does not work, take a walk or go for a jog. Exercise actually suppresses your appetite, and even just a 15-minute walk should do the trick. If exercise is not your thing, do something. Occupy your mind, your hands. Play with your kids, play an active Wii game, read a book your really in to, do some yard work, run those errands you’ve been putting off, whatever. Distract yourself. Finally, GUM. Gum is my savior. My sugar-free, no artifiacial flavor gum is one of the most wonderfully simple appetite suppressers out there. My favorite is Orbit spearmint, and it actually does work. Gum also helps me focus and concentrate on tasks at hand.

My last note is this: do not think too much about food, if you’re dieting or in general. If you are tempted to grab a snack, or if you are standing in front of your pantry tempted to eat something, just ask yourself a simple question. Am I hungry? Are you hungry? If not, walk away. If you are, get something healthy, like from the list above.

Fajita or Quesadilla on the Panini Maker

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When I think quesadilla, I always imagine a cheese quesadilla, with the cheese oozing out and stretching when I bite into it. Because other than adding some chicken occasionally, the only quesadillas I eat are cheese. When I think of fajitas, I imagine stuffing the tortillas with as much cheese, vegetables, chicken, and other fillings as possible without breaking the tortilla or making it explode. In conclusion: I consider anything more than cheese, and maybe some chicken, in tortillas a fajita. They really are very similar. Let me add in here that you can make this completely vegetarian by omitting the chicken.

Last night I had fajitas for dinner, and for lunch today I made a delicious quesadilla, both on my family’s Panini maker. The great thing about a Panini maker is you can cook almost anything on it, and quickly too. It doesn’t alter the taste of whatever you are cooking, or if it does, not in a negative way. I have made quesadillas and fajitas, but I have also cooked grilled cheeses, sandwiches, steak, and am planning on experimenting with other types of foods and even batters on it.

For the tortilla, I always use La Tortilla Factory. I have looked for the Mission Corn Tortillas in the past, but none of my stores ever have them. I’m okay with that, however, because the La Tortilla Factory tortillas are so delicious. The only downside (if it’s even a bad thing) is they are HUGE. I mean, they are about 12 inches in diameter or so, so I usually only use them in halves. That is actually a positive thing, though, because each package only comes with 6 tortillas. Oh well, they are very yummy, and they don’t break or crumble. La Tortilla Factory tortillas are just like wheat tortillas, with none of the expected gluten free issues. You can roll them with no problems.

One thing I absolutely love about fajitas and quesadillas is they are SO easy and quick, even without a Panini maker. They are also great for getting rid of left overs.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tortillas, gluten free (I use La Tortilla Factory)
  • Cheese
  • Pepper/onion mix, sliced (I like to leave the onions out)
  • Chicken, precooked
  • Any additional veggies/fillings you desire
  • Olive oil (to brush on top of tortillas)
  • Sour cream, salsa, guacamole or other fajita toppings ( I actually use cottage cheese because it is healthier than sour cream an d, in my opinion, tastier)

Instructions:

  • Place a large frying pan on the stove top and dump in your veggies and chicken. Turn the temperature to about medium high. Once veggies and chicken begin to sizzle, stir them around until the fajita mixture is done.
  • Meanwhile, plug in your Panini maker or prepare another pan to cook your fajita.
  • Once fillings are finished cooking, put your desired amount (not too much or the tortillas might get soggy or break) on the tortilla. Fold the tortilla over and lightly cover the top with olive oil. Place fajita on the Panini maker and quickly brush a small amount of olive oil on the other side (If you are using two tortillas, put the fillings on one and cover with the other, and make sure to put a little olive oil on both sides).
  • Cook fajita for about 2 minutes.
  • Cut into slices, fold, or roll and ENJOY.

FOR QUESADILLA: Just cover one tortilla well with a single but generous layer of cheese, about an inch from the edges (don’t need more than that), and place second tortilla on top (or break one in half). Then cook the same way as the fajita on the Panini maker. If you do not have a Panini maker, you can also bake your quesadilla (which I actually like better if I have the time). That was my first original recipe, because it is so easy. You can find that post HERE.

Baked Mozzarella Sticks Using Rice Chex Bread Crumbs

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Today I was deciding which recipe I should make next. I saw mozzarella sticks on my Recipe Index, and knew that would have to be it. I apologize, because that was probably one of the first recipes I have wanted to make, and it has been on my to-do list for far too long.

Quick back story: I decided to try these after making a favorite dish of mine, chicken parmesan, which uses my Rice Chex bread crumbs. After my discovery of these simple gluten free bread crumbs, I thought of all the recipes I could make gluten free. My mouth simply started watering when I thought of gluten free mozzarella sticks. I have only had mozzarella sticks one other time, and those were in Mexico before my gluten free days. In other words, I had a lot to live up to. I went about making these like I would the parmesan chicken, except I omitted the parmesan, of course. The only additional ingredient was the flour to ensure everything would stick better, because I didn’t want the cheese leaking all over the place! For the egg mixture, I just made that like I would a breakfast egg: 1 egg to 1 tbsp milk.

My excitement at making these delicious gluten free treats was temporarily short-lived when I discovered that I had no cheese sticks. However, I did have a giant block of mozzarella cheese staring me in the face. Why no? I cut some strips from the block and evened them out to the proper size. You can make however many of these you want, as long as you have room. The amount in the ingredients is half the amount of mozzarella sticks you will have. 16 was a good amount for me. I take that back…my family LOVED these way too much–I should have made more! Even though they weren’t perfect, they were delicious! And I think if I make these again, I will use my cut-cheese-sticks-from-a-block method, because that worked just fine and it’s cheaper.

Like I said, these were delicious! They turned out beautifully…sort of. Some of them did leak, but others were perfect. I sort of cheated and only left the precooked mozzarella sticks in the freezer for 20 minutes, and I don’t think that was long enough. The mozzarella sticks didn’t leak a ton, but that was partially due to me taking them out of the oven at only 5 minutes, so the rice chex bread crumbs didn’t brown as much as they could have. I do think that the 5 extra minutes would’ve been enough, but 30 might be the magic number. They were close…notice in the picture above how the top row is perfect, the middle row is pretty darn good, and the major leakage is in the bottom. I don’t know if this is coincidence, or if it has to do with the position in the freezer. And even though the rice chex bread crumbs weren’t as toasted as they could have been, they were definitely cooked and the cheese sticks were SO melty! I tried to get a photo of how much the cheese stretched, but none of them turned out.

I definitely hope to make these again! They are great little appetizers, but make sure to make a LOT because they will be gone in seconds!

Ingredients:

  • 8 pieces string cheese, mozzarella
  • 3-4 tbsp rice flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2-1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 1/2 cups Rice Chex, NOT crushed

Instructions:

  • Cut string cheese pieces in half (for 16 pieces).
  • Place flour in a small bowl and mix/whisk eggs and milk in a separate, small bowl.
  • Crush rice chex thoroughly for rice chex bread crumbs (as fine as you can make it) and combine with basil in a third bowl (I used a deep plate so it would be easier to roll the cheese sticks).
  • Lastly, cover a baking sheet with tin foil and lightly grease with oil or Pam.
  • Individually, roll each mozzarella stick in flour, dip in egg mixture, and carefully and completely roll in Rice Chex crumbs.
  • Carefully put each mozzarella stick on the greased baking sheet. Continue until all mozzarella sticks are prepared and on the pan.
  • Put tray in freezer (make sure it’s flat!) for about 25 minutes (do NOT skip this step)
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • After about 25 minutes of freezer time, place pan in oven (no higher than middle rack) and cook for about 5-8 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.