Queso Fundido

Queso Fundido

Dana and I love Chuy’s Tex-Mex Restaurant!  If you have one near you I recommend that you try it ASAP.  Last year during their Hatch Chili Festival they had a limited time special menu that included Queso Fundido. What is Queso Fundido you ask?  Well it is freaking glorious!  Basically it is a Chorizo and cheese dip that you serve on warm flour tortillas.  It is quite possibly the best cheese dish that I have ever had!  The ooey gooey cheese and chorizo on a warm tortilla is straight up gold.  My mouth is watering as I write this up!  You have to try it.

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Bacon Onion Jam Grilled Cheese

Bacon Onion Jam Grilled Cheese

A couple of weeks ago, I made a batch of Bacon Onion Jam.  It was the one of the greatest condiments that I have ever had.  I love it so much, that I put it on everything.  During one of my tests I put it on a grilled cheese sandwich.  After a little testing with various cheeses and breads, I discovered the perfect combination.  It was the most delicious grilled cheese that I had ever had.  You have to check it out!

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Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

My son loves meatballs. Therefore, we have them at least once a week in our house. Since we have them so much, I get a little meatballed out. So I decided to make a little twist on the traditional meatball. I stuffed them with soft and gooey mozzarella cheese. These mozzarella stuffed meatballs are amazing! They are a must try, and have become the go to meatball recipe for our weekly meatball meal.

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Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pull Bread

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pull Bread

Ever since I was a kid, the holidays meant it was time for hors d’ouerves / appetizers.  Since everyone is coming and going, my Mom would always have a table full of them.  For this reason, I am always on the lookout for new and interesting ideas.  I stumbled upon a single picture that excited my taste buds.  It was a picture of a round of sourdough bread that was sliced to resemble a porcupine and then covered with bacon and cheese.  To my surprise, the bread was also drenched in ranch flavored butter.  So I made it for Dana and it was a hit.  I can see why it is nicknamed “Crack Bread”.

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Noodles and Co. Wisconsin Mac and Cheese – Hacked

Noodles and Co. Wisconsin Mac and Cheese – Hacked

I love Noodles and Company. Every chance I get, I go there to eat. However, since I have moved, the closest one is 20 minutes away. My favorite dish is their Wisconsin Mac and Cheese. It is a fun dish where there is a cheesy sauce in the bottom of the bowl. Then, it is topped with macaroni noodles. To finish it off, it is topped with cheese. At your table you mix it all together to make a great mac and cheese. After a few iterations I have found a suitable substitute.

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One Pot Mac and Cheese – Super Creamy

One Pot Mac and Cheese – Super Creamy

I love the blue box stuff, but sometimes you just want to make it from scratch.  Well I have tried over and over again, and it always seems to fail.  My mac and cheese is never as creamy.  So I looked for a little wisdom from Alton Brown and figured I would give it a shot.  I modified his recipe to include a bit of processed cheese.  I know it is not natural, but the added ingredients in the cheese help the mac stay nice and creamy.

One Pot Mac and Cheese – (Adapted from Alton Brown)

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 ounces evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 6 ounces processed American cheese – (aka Velveeta)
  • 6 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, shred the cheese and portion out the american cheese.

The Cheese

When the pasta is cooked, drain it and return to the pot and melt in the butter. Toss to coat.

Drained Pasta

Whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and mustard.

Eggs and milk

Stir into the pasta and add the cheese. Over low heat continue to stir for 3 minutes or until creamy.

Stir in the cheese and milk mixture

Serve and it is ready to go.

Creamy Mac and Cheese

Basically the best mac and cheese ever.   The addition of the processed cheese helps this mac to be super creamy and delicious.

Mac and Cheese

Alton hit the nail on the head with this one.

Single Serve Cheesecakes

Single Serve Cheesecakes

The other day, Dana and I were watching TV and it suddenly hit me.  I have never made cheesecake on the website.  I had to remedy the situation immediately.  So I went to the store and picked up the ingredients.  I then noticed that I did not have a spring form pan and was unable to make a standard cheesecake.  So I looked around to see what I had.  Then it hit me.  Why don’t I make individual cheesecakes using parchment paper. So I did.

Single Serve Cheesecakes – (adapted from Joy of Baking)

  • Pre-requisites
    • Parchment Paper
    • sheet pan
    • butter or non-stick spray
  • Crust
    • 1 cup crushed graham wafer crumbs
    • 1 tbs granulated white sugar
    • 4 tbs unsalted butter, melted
  • Filling
    • 2 – 8 oz packages of cream cheese, room temperature
    • 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
    • 2 large eggs, room temperature
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the cheesecake pans, I used four sheets of parchment paper cut 4 inches wide to make four individual cups.  This makes four perfect little cheesecakes that are easy to get out of the forms.  The reason is that the parchment just peels off the cheesecakes.

Use parchment to make the pans

I wrapped the parchment around a can that was the diameter that I wanted.  In this case it was a large can of pineapple chunks.

Form the rings around a can or jar

Then I stapled the edges together.  At first I was going to use tape, but then I realized that the tape would melt. So then I grabbed my trusty stapler and made four perfect cups.

A perfect ring

Place the parchment cups on a greased cookie sheet.

In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar.

Mix up the crust ingredients

Once mixed, equally divide the mixture between the four parchment cups.  Then using a smaller diameter can than the one that you used to form your parchment cups, stamp down the crust.

Stamp down the crust with a can or jar

Make sure to hold the parchment cups down while you stamp the crust.  Having a good seal on the bottom will make it so that the filling does not ooze out.

The Filling

In the bowl of your mixer, beat the cream cheese on low until it is smooth.  Add the sugar and continue beating.  Make sure to scrape the bowl down a couple of times while your are mixing.  Then add the eggs one at a time.  Once the eggs are mixed in, add the vanilla and sour cream.  Continue to mix until everything is incorporated.

Distribute the filling evenly between the four rings

At this time either spoon the filling evenly between the cups, or transfer the mixture to a plastic bag and pipe the mixture into each of the cups.

Cook until solid around the edges

Bake the cups for 30-35 minutes or until firm around the edges and a little wobbly in the middle.  Let cool on a wire rack.  Once cool transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours.

Unwrap the cheesecakes and serve

To serve – unwrap the parchment paper and serve with a garnish.  I melted some chocolate and swirled it over the cake before I unwrapped it.  Then I topped it with a strawberry.

Mini Cheesecakes

The cheesecake was creamy and delicious.

The Cheesecake

The cakes were a little big for a single serving, but everyone did their best to eat them.  I will definitely be making these again.

Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

I have said it and I will say it again.  I love potatoes.  They are tasty, filling, and go great with cheese.  A couple of days ago I posted Braised Short Ribs.  They were delicious and created some of the tastiest gravy that I have ever had.  What goes great with gravy?  Potatoes.  What goes great with braised short rib gravy?  Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes.

Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

They were creamy and delicious.  They had just enough goat cheese to taste the cheese without overpowering the potatoes.  Amazing!!!

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Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Yesterday I made homemade Tomato Soup.  Nothing pairs better with Tomato Soup than a grilled cheese.  I wanted to create the ultimate grilled cheese.  To do that I had to take a trip to the supermarket.  I wanted a nice thick crust so I started with a Rustic Wheat Bread.  Hand sliced to perfection.  Then I picked up the only ripe tomato available in all of DC.  Finally I spent a little time in the cheese department.  The base was Mozzarella.  Great flavor and melts wonderfully.  Next came the nice cured Manchego cheese.  This sheep’s milk cheese melts great when shredded and has an amazing creamy texture and a slight salty taste.  Perfect for a grilled cheese.  Finally came the Gruyere.  A cow’s milk cheese that has a great texture and flavor that works well with the other cheeses used in this Ultimate Grilled Cheese.

Grilled Cheese
Grilled Cheese

I love grilled cheese and this is the best I have had.

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Poutine, Oh Glorious Poutine!!!

So I have been searching the DC metro area for cheese curds for a couple of weeks. The other night I went out to dinner with my friends Ryan and Melissa and they informed me that you can purchase cheese curds at Trader Joes.  This is awesome as it is right down the street. So yes, Trader Joes carries cheese curds in the DC metro area, if you were looking. Once I had my hands on the magnificent curds I only had one thought in my head, Poutine. What is Poutine you ask? It is a dish that is popular in Canada that contains cheese curds, french fries, and beef gravy. Well our Neighbors to the North (Canada) know how to pile on the calories in a single meal (roughly 1000 calories in a single serving). Sounds a little overkill, but it is completely amazing.

It is so tasty that you don't need to count the calories. - It's a free pass!!
It is so tasty that you don’t need to count the calories. – It’s a free pass!!

The standard is white cheddar curds but all I could find were yellow curds. Tastes the same, just looks a bit different.

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Dill Havarti Soup

In my home town there is a little restaurant that serves a great soup that I used to share with my Grandma Donna. She and I both loved it. It was a Dill Havarti Soup. It was light and refreshing even though it was cheese and cream based. The taste of the dill made the soup fresh and it always reminded me of summer. So today I wanted to recreate that beautiful soup.

This soup screams summer
This soup screams summer

I haven’t had the soup in a couple of years, but it was a smooth creamy soup. I wanted a little texture in mine so I didn’t blend it. I also added some potato.

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Cheesy Poofs – Cheap Eats

Yesterday I reviewed “I’m just here for MORE FOOD” and there was a recipe for Cheesy Poofs. Yes, those cheesy staples of Eric Cartman from South Park.  So I had to try them.  They are amazing.  Not quite the cheddar ones that have the cheetah on them, but they are tasty none the less.  This is the ultimate cheap eats.  Making snacks at home can save you a ton of money.  Plus, you know what goes into each snack, so they are good for the kids.

Below I have included Eric’s ode to Cheesy Poofs.

I love cheesy poofs almost as much as Cartman, although I have never written a song about them.

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