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Archive for the ‘Cheese’ Category

bbqchickenpizzaafter

Homemade pizza is one of our favorite easy dinners and BBQ chicken pizza is one of our favorite ways to use leftover chicken. You use BBQ sauce for the base, shredded cooked chicken, caramelized onions and cheese. It’s a different taste than your traditional pizza but we think it’s delicous!

BBQ Chicken Pizza
(Recipe source Bakin’ and Eggs)

Ingredients:

1 ball pizza dough (homemade or we recommend Publix or Trader Joe’s)
1/4 cup bbq sauce (we recommend a mix of a sweet BBQ sauce and this hot BBQ sauce)
1/2 cup cooked chicken, shredded
1/4 cup caramelized onions
1-2 cups shredded cheese (depending on how cheesy you like it, we recommend a mix of Mozzarella and cheddar)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425-450 degrees (follow directions on dough).

Working on a floured work surface, roll the pizza dough out into about a 12-inch round circle. Spread a layer of the BBQ sauce over the surface, leaving about 1/4-inch border around the edges. Evenly spread the onions and chicken over the sauce and top with cheese.

Place in oven (on a pizza stone or a baking sheet) and bake for about 18-22 minutes. Start checking it at about 15 minutes.

bbqchickenpizza

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fetaflounder

I love fish with Greek preparations. I had some delicious whole milk feta in the fridge and a craving for fish. I picked up some flounder and Roma tomatoes at the grocery and came home with a mission of creating a Greek inspired fish entree.

I was extremely pleased with how this turned out. It was ready in about 20 minutes and full of flavor. Unfortunately, Brandon is out of town so I didn’t have anyone to taste test for me but I told him all about it and he’s excited to try it out.

So if you’re a feta/Greek flavor lover like me and looking for a new preparation for flaky white fish, this is a dish you want to make!

Greek Inspired Flounder
(Recipe source Bakin’ and Eggs)

Ingredients:

2 flounder fillets (can sub any other flaky white fish like tilapia, snapper, etc)
2 tablespoons flour
1 Roma tomato, sliced
2 ounces of high-quality feta cheese
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

Rinse fish with water and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with flour and shake off excess.Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add fish to skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes per side, until lightly golden.

Remove fish from pan and place in prepared baking dish. Squeeze lemon juice over fish. Sprinkle with basil and oregano. Line fish with 3-4 tomato slices and top with crumbled feta cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.

Place in preheated oven and cook for about 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and cook for another 2-3 minutes,  until feta very lightly browns.

Remove from oven and carefully transfer from baking dish to plate. I served mine over cous cous with a small green salad.

Yield: 2 servings

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goatcheesestuffedchicken

Last week the stars aligned and I found my kitchen stocked with all the ingredients to make a killer stuffed chicken. The beauty of stuffed chicken is that it’s fairly easy to put together but looks impressive when sliced and plated. It’s a great option for dinner for two at home or entertaining (and relatively affordable). Also, it’s customizable based on what you have in your kitchen and what you like. Try out different filling combinations once you get comfortable with the method of preparing it.

Stuffed Chicken with Goat Cheese, Sundried Tomatoes and Basil
(Recipe source Bakin’ and Eggs)
Printable Recipe: Stuffed Chicken with Goat Cheese, Sundried Tomatoes and Basil

Ingredients:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 ounces goat cheese
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
3-4 tablespoons fresh basil, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons flour, separated
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chicken broth

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sundried tomatoes in a bowl and pour about 1 cup of boiling water over them. Let stand for 10 minutes to rehydrate and soften.

In the meantime, clean and rinse chicken. Pat dry. Working one breast at a time, place chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap (or in a gallon ziploc bag) and pound to about 1/4 inch thickness.

Place pounded chicken on a large cutting board. The chicken breasts should be the shape of a large oval (more or less). You’ll want to place the filling across the breast so it goes across the bottom half of the longest part of the oval. Place one ounce of goat cheese across each breast. Top with sundried tomatoes and basil. Roll chicken tightly (starting at the end with your filling) and secure with about 4-5 toothpicks. Like so…

chickenexample

Season with salt and pepper and dredge in 2 tablespoons of flour. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully place chicken in skillet and saute for about 5-6 minutes, turning frequently, until browned. Don’t worry if you lose a little bit of your filling (the cheese may ooze a little). You’ll have to work around the toothpicks but it’s doable.

Remove chicken from skillet and place in a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Place dish in oven and bake for about 5-10 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

While chicken is in the oven, keep your skillet over medium heat. Melt butter in pan drippings from chicken and add 1 tablespoon of flour. Whisk to combine. Add wine and let simmer a minute or two. Add chicken broth and let simmer until thickened and reduced a little (about 3-5 minutes). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To plate, remove toothpicks and slice chicken into medallions. Arrange on a plate and drizzle with sauce.

Yield: 2 servings

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baconwrappedchicken

Bacon…cheese…chicken…BBQ sauce…all wrapped up together and grilled. What’s not to love about that combination? Brandon got the idea for this chicken from the Egghead forum a few months ago when I put him in charge of figuring out what to do with chicken breasts for dinner. I was super impressed by how great he did creating this. If you’re a bacon lover, this is a MUST try on the grill during the upcoming warm months.

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Cheese Stuffed Chicken
(Recipes source Bakin’ and Eggs, inspired by the Egghead forum)
Printable Recipe: Grilled Bacon Wrapped Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Ingredients:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 slices of bacon
6-8 slices of cheese – mozzarella, cheddar, colby jack – anything you like! (off of a block of cheese, if you’re using pre-sliced for sandwiches 2 slices)
2 tsp barbecue sauce, plus extra for serving
Grilling rub of your choice (we use the Dizzy Pig’s Raging River)
Toothpicks, soaked in water (optional, to prevent excessive  burning while grilling)

Directions:

Preheat grill to 350 degrees.

Pound out chicken breasts (in a plastic bag or between two sheets of wax paper) to about 1/4 inch thickness. Coat the top of chicken with grill rub. Turn over so rub side is down on work surface. Spread one teaspoon of barbeque sauce in a thin layer over each chicken breast. Layer cheese in the middle of the chicken. Roll chicken tightly. Wrap with bacon, using as many slices of bacon as you need and using toothpicks to hold bacon in place.

Grill for 20-25 minutes, turning every 4-5 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken breast has reached 165 degrees.

Remove toothpicks and serve with barbecue sauce on the side.

Yield: 2 servings

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easyspanakopita

I had some great feta in the fridge and ever since I starred a few spanakopita recipes in my Google Reader I had been craving it. I went back to read the recipes I starred and realized there was no way I would have time to make them on a weekday. Working with the phylo dough was going to be extremely time intesive. Not something I want to tackle when I don’t get home until 7 p.m. and it’s all I can do to feed us by 8 or 8:30.

So off I went in search of “easy” spanakopita recipes. I checked one of my favorite blogs for Greek inspired food, Elly Says Opa!, and sure enough she had a Cheater Spanakopita recipe. The real time saver is that this recipe uses puff pastry instead of the phylo dough.

We loved these spanakopitas. While they weren’t quite the real deal, they definitely got the job done for a quick dinner. I served them with a big Greek salad and it made a nice vegetarian meal. This recipe makes a ton of spanakopitas but the leftovers were great for lunch. During dinner we also talked about how great these would be for an appetizer at a party.

Easy Spanakopita
(Recipe source Elly Says Opa!)

Ingredients:

2 sheets puff pastry (one box), thawed
Olive oil
1/4 cup onion, diced
fresh dill, to taste (omitted, dill is my least favorite herb!)
2-3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 lb fresh spinach (about 1 bag)
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
2 eggs, divided
salt and pepper

Directions:

Remove puff pastry from freezer and follow directions on box for thawing. We let ours sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions and saute until they begin to get tender and translucent. Stir in the spinach and then turn off the heat. Let the spinach wilt down a bit (but not completely, you still want it to have a little life).

Roll the puff pastry dough into a square, making it slightly thinner. Cut each sheet into 9 equal squares by making 2 horizontal cuts and 2 vertical cuts.

Transfer spinach mixture to a bowl. Add in feta, dill, parsley and salt and pepper. Beat one egg and add to mixture. Stir well.

Spoon about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the spinach mixture in each puff pastry square. Bring the 2 opposite sides together to form a triangle and press with your fingers to seal. Place on a baking sheet. Beat the second egg and then brush the tops of the triangles with the egg. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden.

Yield: 18 spanakopita triangles

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This is an easy breakfast casserole that you can whip up on a weekend morning for a delicious breakfast or brunch. Brandon had been asking me to make his aunt’s “breakfast pizza” for years. I’m not exaggerating. I finally gave in and had him describe it to me. It was definitely less pizza and more casserole. I did some research online and through a variety of sources came up with this. While I’m not sure if it’s an exact replica of  “breakfast pizza” he enjoyed it and we’ll be making it again.

Crescent Breakfast Casserole
(Recipe source…kind of came up with this one on my own after online research)
Printable Recipe: Crescent Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients:

8 oz. can of crescent rolls (I used reduced fat)
8-10 slices of bacon, fried and crumbled OR your choice of breakfast meat (ham, sausage, etc.)
6-8 eggs, beaten
2 cups shredded cheese (jack, cheddar, colby – whatever you have on hand)
2-3 tbsp milk
salt and pepper, to taste
cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare a 13 x 9 or 11 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray (use 6ish eggs if you’re using the 11 x 9 and 8ish if you’re using the 13 x 9).

Line the prepared baking dish with unrolled crescent roll dough, letting it come up the sides a bit. Press together seams.

Layer the crumbled bacon and cheese over the crescent dough. Beat eggs with milk, salt and pepper and pour over bacon and cheese.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the center is set. Let cool for a few minutes and then cut into squares and serve.

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tommozzsalad

We’re back from the cruise! We enjoyed a fun and relaxing week in the Caribbean. We spent every day exploring the best beaches on the islands we visited and enjoyed lunch and rum punch at beach bars. I went on a bit of a “tour de fish sandwich.” I must say the tastiest one I had was in Barbados at a little place called Carib Cafe. We’re going to attempt to recreate it at  home soon so be on the lookout!

My parents so kindly offered to keep Sullie while we were gone. Our flight got in Sunday evening and my dad had dinner waiting for us when we picked her up. He made an amazing pasta dish from Cook’s Illustrated. He sent me home with a ton of leftover fresh basil. One of Brandon’s favorites is Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella and Basil Salad so I decided to get all the ingredients for it on my weekly shopping trip. We’ve been able to enjoy it as an appetizer/salad this week. I thought I’d share this easy and flavorful dish.

Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella and Basil Salad
(Recipe source Bakin’ and Eggs)

Ingredients:

SALAD
Cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
Fresh mozzarella, diced
Sprig/bunch of fresh basil, julienned
Salt and pepper, to taste

BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil

Directions

You’ll notice I didn’t give quantities for the salad. You really can adjust the amounts to your hunger/taste. For example, I like a little more basil than Brandon and he probably likes more cheese (hey, he’s a man!).

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey and balsamic vinegar. Once incorporated, slowly whisk in the olive oil.

To assemble the salad. Layer the tomatoes, cheese and basil in a small dish/plate. Season with salt and pepper and then drizzle the balsamic vinagrette over it.

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briechicken

I came across this recipe last year when I had leftover brie and chicken breasts in the fridge. It was a good find! The flavor is great – what’s not to love about warm melty brie, apricot preserves and crunchy almonds? It’s also a fairly simple recipe that comes together quickly. Brandon requested this to be on the menu last week and I was happy to oblige.

Brie and Apricot Chicken with Almonds
(Recipe source cooksrecipes.com – originally from National Chicken Council)

Ingredients:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Extra virgin olive oil
6-8 slices of brie
4 tbsp apricot preserves (we prefer Bon Mamon)
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken between two sheets of wax paper or in a gallon bag and gently pound to 1/4-inch thickness.

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add chicken and saute for about 3 minutes per side, until golden colored.

Remove chicken from pan and place in a greased baking dish. Spread 2 tbsp of preserves on chicken  (I usually don’t measure – just smear it on) and cover with slices of brie. Sprinkle almonds on top.

Cook for about 6-7 minutes until cheese is melted. At this point, I usually turn on the broiler for a minute to get the cheese to get a little more melted and bubbly.

Yield: 2 servings

* Tip – if you don’t have almonds on hand or don’t want to buy a whole bag of sliced almonds buy frozen green beans and almonds (I like Green Giant). Serve the green beans with your dinner and use the almonds for the chicken (they come in a separate packet in the box).

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