Cheese

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham {Slow-Cooker}

Colorado never ceases to amaze me.  It’s May and we’re still getting snow.  Well, we got inches of snow last weekend, but still… SNOW!  In MAY!  What happened to Spring?

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Oh well, before you know it the sun comes out and melts everything away.  Plus, snow is an excuse for me to dust off the ol’ crock pot and make something that is warm and makes the entire house smell like awesome.

scalloped-potatoes1

Like these scalloped potatoes for example.  Oh my yum.  These are hot, cheesy, and the perfect amount of salty from the ham.  Just… drool-worthy.  I burnt the roof of my mouth because I couldn’t wait to get this into my mouth.

Totally worth it.

Snow and scalloped potatoes… who needs Spring?  Okay I do.  But for now, I have these flowers.
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Scalloped Potatoes and Ham {Slow-Cooker}

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Yields: 6-8 servings

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham {Slow-Cooker}

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut in half and sliced thin
  • 1-1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1-1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (NOT extra-sharp cheddar)
  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups diced thick-cut ham, cooked

Directions

  1. Prepare your slow-cooker: Fold a sheet of parchment paper into a 3-inch strip and place inside perimeter of slow-cooker insert (along the sides). Lightly spray parchment paper with cooking spray. This will prevent the potatoes around the edge of the cooker from burning.
  2. Par-cook potatoes: Toss potatoes with 2 tablespoons cream in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until the edges of potatoes are translucent, 6-8 minutes, shaking bowl (without moving plastic) to redistribute potatoes halfway through cooking.
  3. Whisk broth and cornstarch in large liquid measuring cup until smooth. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth mixture, remaining cream, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 1 minute. Off heat, add cheeses, whisking until smooth. Add ham and combine.
  4. Pour half of sauce into slow-cooker insert. Arrange potatoes in even layer over sauce and pour remaining sauce over potatoes. Cover and cook on low until potatoes are tender, 5-6 hours. Let cool 20 minutes. Remove parchment and serve.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/scalloped-potatoes-and-ham-slow-cooker/

Cheesy Polenta with Garlicky Spinach & Runny Egg

polenta cheesy spinach egg

Hello blog buddies,

2015 has already been such a busy year!  It’s amazing how little the weather affects life here in Colorado.  When there is snow, the people will play!  When it’s warm and the sun is shining, which is almost every day, Coloradans are outside and enjoying the outdoors.  I love being surrounded by people and places that are always hustling and bustling.

This is going to be a big year in regards to travel.  We were already saving up for a trip to London but now two friends have announced their wedding dates and we have an opportunity to visit family in Florida on the “cheap.”   That’s a lot of travel in one year for us (and a lot of $$$$ too)!  I’ve had an itch for awhile to travel internationally, but with everything else that is going, we are really going to have to pinch our pennies to make that happen.

Queue Salt-N-Pepa: “Puh-pinch ’em real good!”

Doing my best to prepare, I have been budgeting and saying no to things I want to do on the regular.  I know I need to nitpick and prioritize if I want to make every single one of my travel goals this year.  I plan to make more meals at home and eat the leftovers for lunch for as long as they last.  I will have to get creative with pantry ingredients too – like our very own series of Chopped!  This Cheesy Polenta dish is definitely on the cheap and tastes like a million bucks!

The polenta was super easy to make, just use a whisk and add plenty of liquid to make it smooth.  The Spinach adds a nice garlicky, spicy kick while adding some nutrients too.  And the runny egg on top really adds some richness to bring it all together.  Plus the egg adds some protein to help make this meal last longer.

When in doubt, put an egg on it!

I have always been good at budgeting, but this tight of a budget will be a challenge for me.  No useless shopping, no overspending when I go out for coffee, no nothing…

It’s London (and two weddings and maybe Florida too) or bust!

Wish me luck!

P.S. Sorry about the quality of the photo.  It’s off of my Instagram feed.  My laptop is still fighting with my camera. I’ve put them both in a time-out so here’s hoping that changes something.

Cheesy Polenta with Garlicky Spinach and Runny Egg

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal and 2 cups water (or 1-lb pre made polenta)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups fresh spinach or 1 cup frozen spinach, drained and roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (or to taste)
  • 2 eggs
  • Romano or Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (optional)
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Prepare the polenta: Bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium-side pot, then turn the heat down to low and slowly pour in the polenta while stirring briskly with a wooden spoon or whisk (stirring while pouring is crutial to keep the polenta creamy and smooth - no lumps!) Once the cornmeal becomes smooth and thick, place a lid on the pot with the spoon still in it so the steam can escape. Allow to cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, add a bit of olive oil to a pan on medium heat. Add the garlic and chili flakes. Let them cook until you can smell them, about 1 minute. Add spinach and toss. Allow to cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted. Drain and place contents into a bowl. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  3. Wipe the spinach pan with a paper towel and add a bit of olive oil then put it back on medium heat. Crack the two eggs into the pan and cover with a lid. This will steam them, making sunny-side-up eggs with fully cooked whites. You can also flip if you'd prefer over-easy eggs.
  4. Add some romano and lots of salt and pepper to the polenta (to taste). Add the corn now if you are using it. Heat until the cheese is melted and scoop the polenta into a pair of bowls. Divide the spinach evenly between the two bowls and add an egg to each too. Enjoy!

Notes

Recipe adapted from Good and Cheap: http://bit.ly/1APscGu

http://foodiemcbooty.com/cheesy-polenta-with-garlicky-spinach-and-runny-egg/

Easy Cheesy Stuffed Peppers {Vegetarian}

It’s getting to be that time of year again.  Every Fall we are rewarded with the bright colors and flavors of the bell pepper harvest.  And of course, a bell pepper can only be made better by stuffing it with a mound of tasty morsels!  There are so many ways to prepare stuffed peppers.  This is our lazy way.

Start by hollowing out your peppers and boiling them in a bit of water to steam them for a few minutes while you chop and prepare everything else.

 Mix all of your ingredients in a bowl and loosely stuff each pepper to the brim.  Bake until the meat is cooked through.

Finish these by broiling cheese on the tops and eating them with a bit of ketchup (if you’re into that sort of thing …think meatloaf people!).  You can also cut each cooked pepper lengthwise, lay them flat, filling-side up, and add the cheese at that point.  You’ll get more cheesy surface area that way.  Again, we were feeling lazy and didn’t bother this time around.

Try a healthier version of this recipe by substituting millet or quinoa for the rice or ground turkey for the ground beef.  For a vegetarian option, and cooked mushrooms and/or pinto beans and corn instead of meat.

Easy Cheesy Stuffed Peppers

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yields: Serves 6

Serving Size: 1 Pepper

Calories per serving: 462.3

Fat per serving: 25.2g

Easy Cheesy Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients

  • 6 bell peppers (any color you like)
  • 1 - 1 1/4 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 (15-ounce) can Italian stewed tomatoes
  • 6 large fresh basil leaves or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 8-ounces shredded cheese (we used cheddar and pepper jack)
  • olive oil

Directions

  1. If you haven't made the rice, start cooking the rice following the package instructions.
  2. Cut off the tops of the peppers, remove and discard the stem and seeds. Place bell peppers cut side up in a large pot with about two inches of water in it. Bring to a boil, cover and lower to a simmer. Steam for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together the meat, onion, cooked rice, egg, tomatoes, basil, seasonings, and Worcestershire sauce.
  4. Remove steamed bell peppers from the pot. Place cut side up in an oven-proof casserole or cast-iron pan. Gently stuff the peppers with the beef mixture. Drizzle olive oil over the stuffed peppers, along the outside of the peppers, and into the pan. Rub oil all over the outside of the peppers to help them brown.
  5. Place on the middle rack and bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through.
  6. Add cheese to the tops of the whole peppers or cut the cooked peppers in half length-wise and add cheese to each of those halves. Bake for another 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with ketchup.

Notes

Make ahead: You can prep these stuffed peppers to the point before you bake them. Keep them in the fridge for up to 24 hours. When you're ready for them, pull them out of the fridge while your oven preheats, then bake normally.

http://foodiemcbooty.com/easy-cheesy-stuffed-peppers/

Mac and Cheese With Buttery Goldfish Crust {Vegetarian}

I was at a friend’s house of mine a few nights ago enjoying an evening of fine conversation (and strong wine) when we started to get hungry.  Us ladies searched the pantry for scrumptious treats when she kindly suggested preparing a box of mac and cheese.  I looked at her, wide-eyed in disbelief, as if she had just told a child that Santa doesn’t really exist.

“Blasphemy!” I yelped and rambunctiously explained to her how powdered cheese doesn’t do a noodle justice. It should be banned from the United States for posing as a cheese, heck, all American cheeses should be banned from the cheese section  … but I digress.  I continued my snobbish manifesto until the crooked look on her face made me realize how absurd I was being (I get a little passionate when it comes to mac and cheese, sue me).

Instead of telling her, I decided to show her.  It is so easy to make real deal mac and cheese, you may never make boxed mac and cheese again.  Once you get the hang of things, you can add other ingredients and play with the concept a bit.

This recipe is adapted from Alton Brown’s Mac and Cheese recipe. 

Baked Mac and Cheese With Buttery Goldfish Crust

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yields: 6-8 Servings

Baked Mac and Cheese With Buttery Goldfish Crust

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound pasta (elbow macaroni, spirals, ziti... your choice)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 6-ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3-ounces gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 3-ounces colby-jack cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper
  • Topping:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup crushed Goldfish Cheddar Crackers or Cheez-It Crackers (or both!)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large pot of boiled, salted water, cook the pasta to al dente. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a separate pot. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, paprika and cayenne. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
  2. Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the cooked pasta into the cheese sauce and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
  3. Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the crackers to coat. Top the macaroni with the cracker mixture and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes before serving.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/baked-mac-and-cheese-with-buttery-goldfish-crust/

Bacon Spinach Quiche

Quiche is one of those dishes that is perfect for any occasion at any time of the day.  It makes a hearty breakfast accompanied by fresh fruit or a light lunch with a salad, plus there are so many varieties that you’re bound to please any picky palette.  They are also super easy to freeze and reheat (just defrost your quiche the night before you plan to bake it) if you want to make a few of them at a time.

I found a basic recipe from Paula Dean from the Food Network and made it my own (sorry Paula!).  My recipe changes depending on what I have in the fridge, garden, what I’m craving or who I’m catering to.  Although I think bacon should be in everything, I can understand if someone wants to omit it from their recipe.  🙂

Bacon Spinach Quiche

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yields: 6 to 8 Servings

Serving Size: 1 Slice

Bacon Spinach Quiche

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups packed fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 2 tablespoons dried dill
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4-ounces (or more) of cheese (mix your favorites: gruyere, mozzarella, cheddar, etc.)
  • 1/3 cup chopped cooked bacon, chorizo or MorningStar meat replacement (optional)
  • 1 9-inch prepared pie crust

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until sweated, about 2 minutes. Add your spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes and cook until the spinach is limp.
  2. In the mean time, combine the eggs, half & half, dill, salt and pepper, cheese, and meat if you are using it with a whisk in a bowl.
  3. Combine the egg mixture with the spinach mixture, fold together and pour into your pie crust.
  4. Place in the oven on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the egg mixture is set.
  5. Allow to cool and cut into wedges.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/bacon-spinach-quiche/

Photo courtesy of Fabulessly Frugal

Baked Mac and Cheese and the Kitchen Sink

Comfort Food is one of my biggest weaknesses (and equally strongest passion).  Chicken and dumplings, Shepherd’s pie and (of course) macaroni and cheese.  If the food takes me down memory lane and back to my youth, I’m a fan.

I am constantly updating this recipe.  Every time I make this dish, it turns out a little different each time. I throw in whatever ingredients I find laying about my kitchen (and surrounding areas).  It makes life a little more interesting maybe, but doesn’t make for a solid recipe.  Keep that in mind as you follow this thing.  I call this the “Mac and Cheese and the Kitchen Sink” recipe for that reason.

Baked Mac and Cheese and the Kitchen Sink

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yields: 8-10 Servings

Baked Mac and Cheese and the Kitchen Sink

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni (penne is mighty tasty too)
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1/2 cup monterey jack, shredded
  • 8 ounces processed cheese food
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Italian seasoning, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs or crushed croutons

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta to al dente. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and extra-virgin olive oil to keep from sticking.
  2. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes (the butter should be frothy and free of lumps). Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer on low for ten minutes (until yellow in color) and remove bay leaf.
  3. Temper in the egg by taking some of your butter sauce mixture and adding it to the beaten egg first to regulate the temperature (dumping the egg straight into the sauce results in what is essentially scrambled eggs). Stir in all of your cheese, reserving a bit to sprinkle over the top.
  4. Fold the noodles into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
  5. Melt the remaining butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the noodle mixture with the bread crumbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/baked-mac-and-cheese/

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