Category: cheese

“Holy moley!” Shrimp and Parmesan Grits

The only way to enjoy grits is to add butter and cheese. Then add more butter and cheese.  This was the first time I made this dish, and while it’s delish, it’s also decidedly not heart healthy. Which makes this recipe perfect for sharing!

For our first Friends-giving this week, B and I each made a memorable dish. His German Potato Salad is practically legendary now, but my shrimp and grits held their own in the taste test. I’d make this again. In fact, the hubby declared, “Holy moley! These are good!” Thanks for the recipe, Aunt Judy – and Southern Living.

PARMESAN GRITS:
1 tsp salt
2 cups uncooked quick-cooking grits
14 oz. grated Parmesan cheese (not the powdery stuff)
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 TBS butter
SHRIMP SAUCEshrimp n grits
At least 2 pounds unpeeled, medium-size, raw shrimp
pepper and salt
vegetable cooking spray
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS all-purpose flour
1 tsp corn starch mixed with 1 TBS water til smooth
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped green onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/2 tsp hot sauce
2 cups fresh baby spinach
parsley and lemon slices for topping
DIRECTIONS:

1. Prepare Parmesan Grits: Bring 1 tsp. salt and 8 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in grits. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes or until thickened. Whisk in cheese and pepper and butter until smooth. Taste and keep warm. TIP: Use a whisk – it helps the fluffiness factor.2. Prepare Creamy Shrimp Sauce: Peel shrimp; devein and/or detail, if desired. Sprinkle shrimp with pepper and 1/8 tsp. salt – I tossed them with salt and pepper in a colander. Cook in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat 1 to 2 minutes on each side or just until shrimp turn pink. Remove shrimp from skillet with slotted spoon.
3. Keep the skillet on the stove. Reduce heat to medium. Add oil; heat 30 seconds. Whisk in flour; cook 30 seconds to 1 minute. Whisk in broth, green onions, grlic, lemon juice, half of the lemon rind and all the hot sauce. Bring to a boil and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened. TIP: If the roux never thickens add the corn starch mixture and boil one minute. Stir in shrimp until heated through. Taste broth and add salt, pepper and/or more hot sauce as desired.
4. Pour grits into serving dish. Add spinach leaves. Top spinach with shrimp and sauce. Sprinkle with parsley, lemon slices and lemon rind. Serve immediately or keep warm. TIP: Nobody likes congealed grits.
This made a LOT of grits — more than one 9×13 pan could handle. Next time I’ll serve in two pans, but in the meantime, who is excited about leftovers? This girl!

No Cook Main Meal: Chicken Caprese Salad

It’s summer. They tell me we’ll hit 100 here in Austin for the next 3 months. For the sake of our electric bill and my sanity, I’m hunting for low-to-no cook dinners. I found this lil’ beauty on The Skinny Chick Can Bake, and made a few changes.

You’ll spend time on the prep side with chopping and dicing, so pour a glass of wine and carry on.

Ingredients:1823189

  • 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, chopped (or halved grape/ cherry tomatoes )
  • 12 – 16 oz. fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • I.5 cups diced celery – this sounds odd but it’s necessary for the crunch and color
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1 cup sliced basil (or combo of dried, paste and nearly-dead leaves from your patio plant)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup+ balsamic vinegar
  • Salt to taste (like guacamole, don’t under-salt)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups diced, cooked chicken (optional)

Instructions:

1. Chop tomatoes, mozzarella, celery, cucumber and basil. Combine them one bowl. If adding chicken, put it in too.

2. In a smaller bowl, combine garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil. Whisk together and pour over vegetables and chicken. Toss gently.

3. Eat! We ate it straight up with forks, but pita pockets or naan would also work well. I might add avocado or chilled pasta next time. Taste and see what you think. A pinch of sugar?

Red Lobster Cheesy Biscuits

Recently given a  choice between dining at a hole-in-the wall Cuban restaurant, a Mom ‘n Pop Indian food spot and a local Irish pub, I chose Red Lobster. It’s inexplicable. Folks, I haven’t been to Red Lobster in…[counts on both hands]…6 years? Yet all I wanted in that moment were baskets of cheddar bay biscuits.

After appropriately stuffing my face with four course for $14.99 including unlimited biscuits, I was quite happy –  and also curious. How hard is it to make their famous biscuits? A Google search reveals a host of copycat recipes but I wanted one with instant gratification. Enter this super easy recipe from Love Bakes Good Cakes.

raw biscuits
Faux cheese, plus biscuit dough topped with margarine.

Drawback: that whole lactose intolerance thing means I don’t keep dairy milk or shredded cheddar cheese around. Turns out, it doesn’t matter! The almond milk and veggie shreds incorporated perfectly, along a few tweaks for personal preference.  I just ate 3 of these babies, 2 with ham and mustard and honey, and one straight up. Ho boy, this is going in the stack of new favorites:

Ingredients
2 cups Bisquick mix
⅔ cup milk – I used almond
½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded – I used Go Veggie! Parmesan, Mozzarella and Romano blend
1 TB butter, melted
2 TBS margarine, divided
1 tsp. olive oil
⅛ tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp. parsley flakes
⅛ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. garlic powder – I used onion powder

finished cheese biscuits
Picture 2: Ta da! Finished, delicious cheesy biscuits

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the Bisquick, milk and cheese until a soft dough forms. Drop by 9 spoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet. Top each biscuit with a spread of margarine (see picture 1).
3. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown on the tops and sides. Remove from oven. top each biscuit with another sliver of margarine. (I’m not going for health here, people, and these biscuits need salty tops).
4. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, 1 TBS margarine, olive oil, Old Bay, salt, garlic or onion powder and parsley. Brush the butter mixture over the warm biscuits.
5. Eat! Repeat.

Next time I’ll probably use faux cheddar cheese to obtain that classic orange color, and garlic powder in the butter topping blend. But I am very pleased overall. To boot, the entire process took 15 minutes!

I wonder how many I can eat before the bf notices?

The Lazy Man’s Eggs: Frittata

I admit it; I can’t make an omelet. But I love dressed up, flavorful, fluffy eggs full of color and vegetables. Enter the frittata. A frittata is an egg-based dish similar to an omelet or crustless quiche, with additional ingredients such as meats, cheeses, vegetables or pasta.

It looks complicated and impressive on the table, but is really super easy to prepare. I started with a basic recipe then played around a bit using what I had on hand. You can double it easily enough, depending on your crowd and skillet size. Check it:

frit 2 Ingredients
5 eggs + 1/2 cup egg whites (just 5 eggs is fine, too — the whites make it a bit puffier)
2-3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
3-4 oz. baby spinach
1/2 tomato, sliced/diced
4-5 baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
1/4 onion or 1 clove garlic
1-2 TB vegetable oil
1 TB olive oil
salt and pepper

Process
1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Crack eggs in a bowl. Add salt and pepper and whisk to blend.
2. Heat oils in an oven-safe skillet. TIP: I used a cast iron skillet, so if you have a nonstick skillet you might use less oil.  When oil is hot, add mushrooms and onion/garlic, sauteing until slightly tender. Add spinach and stir to wilt.
3. Pour in eggs, top with tomatoes and goat cheese. Allow to sit on the stove cooking for about 5 minutes.
4. Transfer pan to oven and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until springy to the touch. Allow to sit for a few minutes before serving.

I made another frittata the next day, using Parmesan and orange bell pepper. Delish! This is a good recipe to keep on hand for weekends and company. Oh, and don’t forget to pair it with a Bloody Mary.

Broccoli Cheese Quinoa Casserole

I generally consider casseroles to be sad, overcooked, under-spiced concoctions served lukewarm at church dinners with low expectations.

But lo! It is not so!  This recipe changed my mind and I can’t get enough of it. No… really, I try not to eat the whole pan in one sitting. After trying this at a friends’ home where two kiddos live, I modified it from the original recipe for a more adult palate. My significant other tops it with hot sauce for a bit more punch.

Ingredients

It’s not gonna win any beauty contests, but it is a fiiiine piece of comfort food eating.

10 oz can condensed cream of broccoli OR cream of mushroom soup
– 1/3 cup mayonnaise (I use canola mayonnaise to avoid trans fats)
– 2 TBS milk or milk-product
– 1 1/2 cups-ish reduced fat sharp cheddar shredded cheese
– 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
– 1 TB white sugar
– 1 tsp black pepper
– 4 TBS+ whole grain mustard (Don’t skip this)
– 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (Don’t overdo this)
– 1 tsp+ salt, to taste
– 32 oz bag of frozen broccoli, thawed in the microwave and coarsely chopped
– 1 1/2 cups  COOKED quinoa (see below)

Directions

1.  Cook quinoa: combine 3/4 cup quinoa, 1 1/2 cups water and 1/4 tsp salt. Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for 18-20 minutes, or until fluffy and the white ring/tail is visible.  Fluff with a fork.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a shallow 9×13 casserole dish with vegetable cooking spray.

3. In a large bowl combine the soup, mayonnaise, milk, shredded cheese, sugar, pepper, mustard, 1/2 cup Parmesan and nutmeg until well mixed. Stir in the quinoa and chopped broccoli.

4. Spoon mixture into prepared dish.  Top with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly on the edges and golden. Let it cool for 10 minutes before serving — or dive in and scald your tongue.

Makes 6 adult-sized portions.

Superbowl Leftovers Revamped

I don’t know about you, but our Superbowl Party averaged at least 1.5 bags of chips per person and awesome amounts of nachos, hummus, baby veggies, bean dip (two kinds!) and beer. Needless to say, we brought home leftovers. Up for a challenge of re-purposing cheese dip for something other than consumption with  corn chips, I created the following recipe.

Before: Half a crock-pot of cold Rotel dip, which – for the uninitiated – consists of a block of Velveeta cheese + 2 cans of Rotel

After: Spicy  Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli

Process: I bought 2 boxes of elbow pasta (buy one, get one free!) and brought one box to a boil. With about 6 minutes left, I dumped in a bag of frozen broccoli. Why use an extra pot when it’s all mixing together anyway?

I drained the pasta/broccoli mix, and scopped out half of the leftover Rotel dip into the bottom of pot. I topped this with the pasta/broccoli mix and then added the rest of the leftover Rotel dip on top. I let it sit about a minute or so to start melting. Stir, stir, and viola! 5-6 servings of mac ‘n cheese with a side of broccoli thrown in for healthy good measure.

Rating: 5 stars. I ate 3 bowls of this before pulling down the Tupperwares and freezing the rest.  Quick, easy comfort food.

TIP: You could thrown in other vegetables or meat you have on hand, and use any dried pasta that’s languishing in your cabinet.

Hmm, apparently I’m not all that innovative. Check out this list of recipes for macaroni and cheese with Rotel.