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Posts Tagged ‘cheddar’


I always thought I didn’t like tuna noodle casserole until college. We had a wonderful southern cook for a few weeks who introduced me to this delicious variation on mac and cheese. I like to think the tuna gives it more nutritional value, but this dish is not about being healthy. I go to this when I’m in need of some cheesy comfort food, like I was this week. The creamy, cheesy sauce along with the flavorful mushrooms and crunchy crust on top make this one of my favorites. There’s truly nothing better.

I like to use Italian tuna in olive oil– it’s generally about twice as expensive as the American kind, but it’s so much more tasty. And the texture is more like actual fish. Try it if you haven’t, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

1/2 box small pasta such as egg noodles, mini ziti, mini shells, etc

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

1/4 cup Marsala wine or white wine

1 jar or can tuna in oil with oil drained out

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

1 cup chicken stock

1 tablespoon ground nutmeg

1 cup cheddar, grated

1 cup parmesan, grated

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

truffle butter (optional)

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to box instructions but stop about 5 minutes early and drain.

Meanwhile, saute the mushrooms in a little olive oil until they have softened. Add the rosemary and toss through. Add the wine and continue to cook for 2 minutes.

Combine the flour and butter in a separate pan and cook until the paste starts to brown. Add the milk and whisk so that there are no lumps. Add the chicken stock and whisk again. Add the mushroom mixture, the tuna, nutmeg, and about 3/4 of the cheeses. Reserve the rest of the cheese and combine with the breadcrumbs in another bowl.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir through. Pour into a baking dish and top with the breadcrumbs mixture. If you have some truffle butter, you can dot the top with little bits of it. You may want to reserve it and add before serving as well. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until it starts to get bubbly and browned on top.

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The menu for New Year’s Eve included these crackers along with some homemade chocolate covered strawberries and prosecco. I brought the second batch last night to a New Year’s Day Party as well, and they disappeared quickly. I think these are going to be a good substitute for the gougeres I usually make. Because they don’t have a lot of butter, they aren’t flaky but more crunchy from all the cheese. Definitely addictive. A great start to the New Year!

Parmesan Cheddar Crackers

1 cup flour

1/3 cup spelt flour or whole wheat flour

3/4 cup grated cheddar

1/2 cup grated parmesan

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 pinch cayenne

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 eggs

Combine the flours, sugar, salt, and cayenne into a bowl. Add the butter and squeeze between your fingers until the butter pieces have broken down and the mixture is crumbly. Add the cheeses and stir to combine, making sure all the cheese is distributed. Add the olive oil and eggs and stir together. Divide into two halves and wrap in plastic wrap. Let them rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

After resting, roll out each half between two pieces of parchment paper as thinly as possible. Cut with a pizza wheel and place the crackers on silpat-lined baking sheets. They will puff up a little while cooking, so you want to spread them out a little. Bake them at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until starting to brown on the edges. Let cool a few minutes before moving them so that they can crisp up as they cool.

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I always forget how much I actually like quiche until I have some leftover pie dough and make one. It’s a perfect lunch with some salad on the side and so easy to make. Plus, you can use up any leftovers in the fridge. Just substitute or add to the ingredients below, and you can even mix together the night before and pour into the dough in the morning to make a really quick breakfast. I recommend putting it on a baking sheet though, because the last thing you want to be doing is cleaning the bottom of the oven if it overflows.

Next week in my week off I’m planning on making a bunch of pie dough and freezing it so I have it whenever I need it….stay tuned…

Leek and Mushroom Quiche

6 eggs, beaten

6 mushrooms, sliced

1 leek, chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup white wine

1/2 cup parmesan, grated

1/4 cup cheddar, grated

1 pie crust, homemade or frozen, docked (poked several times with a fork so that the air bubbles can get out)

Saute the onion, leek, and garlic in some olive oil for a couple minutes until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Deglaze with the wine and let cool. Add the cheese and eggs and stir to combine. Pour into the pie crust and top with a little extra grated parmesan if you like.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until browned and bubbling on top and the crust is browned on the edges. Let cool a few minutes before slicing.

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A couple years ago I came across a recipe for savory bread pudding and tried it out. Ever since, it’s been my go-to dish for using up leftovers in the fridge. There are endless varieties that you can make, and it’s actually better if you make it the night before and let it sit. All you have to do is pop it in the oven and breakfast is ready. It can easily be made in large quantities for groups, and it’s always a big hit. You can use whole eggs, egg whites, or a mixture depending on what you have. I had a couple egg whites leftover from making ice cream so I threw those in. You can also use any hard cheese, I happened to have some leftover manchego from the grilled corn I made earlier this week. And you can always add bacon to take it over the top.

Mushroom and Spinach Bread Pudding

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 eggs and 3 egg whites

2 cups crusty bread, cubed

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

1/2 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon rosemary, minced

1/2 cup frozen spinach, drained by squeezing in towel or paper towel

1/4 cup Marsala

1 tablespoon marjoram or oregano, chopped

1 tablespoon chives, chopped

1.5 cups grated cheese (cheddar, manchego, and parmesan)

salt and pepper

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and rosemary and cook until softened.

Add the spinach and cook through a minute. Add the Marsala and continue to cook until the wine has cooked away.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and add salt and pepper. Add the bread and allow it to soak in. Once the mushrooms have cooled a little, add them to the mixture along with the rest of the herbs and a cup of the grated cheese.

Stir to combine and pour into a baking dish. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until the top gets browned and crusty.

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This recipe was the product of having corn and wanting to do something different without looking up a recipe. It’s a cross between a gratin and a corn pudding, and it was really good. Sort of sweet, part savory, and definitely cheesy. Looking forward to the leftovers!!

Corn Pudding Gratin

2 ears corn, kernels removed from cobs

1/4 onion, diced

1/2 cup white wine or sherry

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

2 eggs

1/2 cup grated cheddar

2 tablespoons butter

Saute the onion in 1 tablespoon of the butter until they have softened. Add the corn and stir through. Add the wine and milk and let cook for 3-4 minutes. Put half the mixture in a blender, blend and return to pan. Let it cook for another minute while you blend up the eggs in the blender to add some air to them. Turn the heat off the corn mixture and add the paprika and nutmeg. Let cool for a few minutes and then add the eggs and remove to a baking dish.

Spread the grated cheddar over the top and dot it with pieces of the remaining butter. Put under the broiler for a few minutes until brown and bubbly and puffed. If it hasn’t puffed up, leave it in the oven for a few minutes at 375. Let cool for a couple minutes before serving so it has time to set.

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