Cheese lovers will love these recipes

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“101 Things to do with Cheese*,” by Melissa Barlow and Jennifer Adams, is one of those cookbooks where almost every recipe sounds good, the preparation is easy, and the ingredients are readily available. I have tried lots of the recipes, and really liked them. There are good ideas for breakfasts, snacks, salads, pizza, pasta, breads, even desserts. Try one of these, and see what you think.

Grandpa’s Eggs a la Goldenrod
12 eggs
4 T. butter
4 T. flour
½ t. dry mustard
½ t. salt
¼ t. white pepper (can use black pepper)
2 c. milk
2 c. grated cheddar cheese (or your favorite cheese)
6 English muffins, split
Hard boil the eggs and keep warm.  Put butter in medium saucepan and melt.  Blend in flour, dry mustard, salt and pepper.  Stir until well-blended.  Add the milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth, bubbly and thickened.  Add cheese and stir until melted.  Toast the English muffins and top each muffin half with 1 chopped hard-boiled egg, cheese sauce, and extra cheese, if desired.  Six servings, two muffin halves per serving.  (My mom used to make something very similar to this, but I think she used a soft-boiled or poached egg. Yummy!)

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
1 (8oz) pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 c. powdered sugar
2 ¼ c. flour
2 c. sugar
½ t. salt
2 t. baking powder
¼ t. baking soda
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs
1 (15oz) can pumpkin
¾ c. oil
½ t. vanilla
Beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar till smooth; set aside.  In a second bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and pie spice.  In a third bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, oil, and vanilla.  Stir into flour mixture and mix till smooth.  Fill greased muffin tins about 1/3 full of batter and then drop a teaspoon of cream cheese filling in the center.  Top off with a little more batter so muffin cup is 2/3 full.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or till toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Makes 24 muffins.
Variation:  Add a streusel topping.  Combine  ½ c. sugar, ¼ c. flour, 4 T. cold butter, and 1 t. cinnamon.  Mix with a fork till crumbly.  Sprinkle over muffins before baking. This is very good.

Blue Cheese & Bacon Dip
6-7 slices bacon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (8oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
¼ c. half and half
1 c. blue cheese crumbles
2 T. chopped fresh chives
Cook bacon until crisp.  Drain on paper towels.  When cool enough to handle, crumble bacon.  Drain excess fat from skillet and add garlic.  Cook and stir over medium heat, for about three minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In medium bowl, beat cream cheese till smooth.  Add half and half and mix till combined.  Stir in crumbled bacon, garlic, blue cheese, and chives.  Transfer to small ovenproof dish and cover with foil.  Bake until thoroughly heated, about 30 minutes.  Serve with crackers, veggies, or apple slices.  Six to eight servings

Caprese Bites
1 basket cherry tomatoes (about 2 c.)
1 (12oz) container mini fresh mozzarella balls
Fresh basil leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt, pepper to taste
On toothpicks, spear one tomato, one mini mozzarella ball, and one basil leaf.  Repeat till all tomatoes and/or cheese are used.  Set on  serving tray.  Drizzle with oil and vinegar, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Makes 16 servings. (If you can’t find the mini fresh mozzarella balls, just cut a large ball fresh mozzarella into chunks.)  This is so simple, but you’ll be surprised how good it is.

Tortellini Pasta Salad
1 c. sugar
1 c. mayonnaise
1 ¼ T. cider vinegar
3 c. broccoli florets
¾ c. diced roasted red peppers
1 lb. white meat chicken, cooked and cubed
1 (13oz) pkg. cheese tortellini, cooked, drained, and cooled
1 lb. bacon, cooked, drained, crumbled
½ c. sunflower seeds (or cashews, pecans, walnuts)
1 c. crumbled feta cheese
In small bowl, combine the sugar, mayonnaise and vinegar until smooth; set aside.  In a large bowl, combine salad ingredients and pour dressing over the top.  Stir and chill at least two hours before serving.  Serves six.

So Easy Chicken
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (12oz) jar marinara sauce
1 (8oz) pkg. Swiss cheese slices (can also use provolone cheese)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lay chicken in 9x13 glass dish that has been greased with olive oil or butter.  Cover with marinara sauce.  Lay slices of cheese on top.  Bake 40 minutes, or till chicken is done.  Serves four to six.  Good served with pasta or Italian garlic bread.