Chevre is a delicious, soft cheese that is so easy to make. All you need to do is add a packet of chevre culture to a gallon of goat’s milk, let it sit and then drain the curds in a butter muslin. You don’t always have to use goat’s milk either, you can easily use cow’s or sheep’s, using the same directions.
If you don’t feel like making your own Chevre, you can purchase it at Shisler’s Cheese House, our Goat’s is to die for!
Endive Stuffed With Goat Cheese
What You Need
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons honey, divided
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons orange juice
16 Belgian endive leaves (about 2 heads)
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese or blue cheese
16 small orange sections (about 2 navel oranges)
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
What To Do
Preheat oven to 350F
Combine walnuts and 1 tablespoon honey; spread on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes.
Combine 1 tablespoon honey, vinegar, and orange juice in a small saucepan.
Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, and cook until reduced to 3 tablespoons (about 5 minutes).
Fill each endive leaf with 1 orange section. Top each section with 1 teaspoon cheese and 1 teaspoon walnuts; arrange on a plate. Drizzle the vinegar mixture evenly over leaves, and sprinkle evenly with chives and pepper.
Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos With Chevre
What You Need
4 ounces soft goat cheese
7-8 slices low-sodium, center-cut bacon
What To Do
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Cut the bacon slices into thirds.
Slice the top off each jalapeno, then cut each jalapeno in half. Remove the stems and seeds.
Fill each half jalapeno with about one teaspoon of goat cheese. Wrap each jalapeno in a third of a slice of bacon.
Put the wrapped jalapenos on a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes. Then, turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 5 minutes.
NOTE: Serving size is two poppers.
Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadews
What You Need
6 ounces soft goat cheese, room temperature
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, chives, thyme, or other fresh herbs
2 tablespoons heavy cream or half-and-half (as needed)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 jar Peppadew peppers (about 20-30 peppers)
What To Do
In a bowl, combine goat cheese with garlic and herbs, stirring until evenly incorporated. Add cream as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, to thin out filling if necessary (the amount needed will depend mostly on the softness of your goat cheese). The filling should be the consistency of buttercream frosting.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Fill each Peppadew with about 1/2 teaspoon of filling. I find it helpful to load the filling into a piping bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round tip, which makes it very easy to neatly fill each pepper completely full.
Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 hours; let come to room temperature for 15 minutes prior to serving.
Let me start out by premising this article with this question… who loves chocolate? Wait… scratch that… who “doesn’t” love chocolate? If you are not a lover of one of the greatest inventions on this planet, then this read will not be for you. Chocolate has been around. seemingly, since the begin of the world, in a galaxy far, far away… sorry, was waiting for the day I could use a Star Wars reference (I’m sure even Yoda loves chocolate). Chocolate used to be a decadent treat, or dessert, but over the years, has since taken the thrown as a “superfood”, reaching the echelon of culinary supremacy in countless ways and forms.
Is chocolate a food or a dessert? Well, call it a food to someone baking chocolate chip cookies and call it a dessert to someone who is sprinkling chocolate shavings in their salad or dish, and see how far you get. Chocolate is a revolutionizing culinary food, errr… dessert. You get it, I hope. It is multi-functioning, multi-purposed and loved by so many. And, to top it off, chocolate can be healthy for you! No, seriously, it does have health benefits. Don’t believe it? Keep reading!
Here are a number of things you may or may not have known about Chocolate…
Cash Crop – Yes, at one point in history, chocolate was used as a form of currency. In the day of the Mayans, chocolate grew on trees in the form of cocoa beans. These cocoa beans were extracted from trees and used directly as forms of currency. The Aztecs followed suit.
As Body Paint – Don’t think I need to go into much further detail… use your imagination, and please, keep it to yourself.
With Cheese – Nothing too new or bold here, but adding a sweetness to cheese, even chocolate, can heighten the flavor of both the cheese and the chocolate. And, as old school as it may be, chocolate-swirled cheese cake is an incredible dessert.
Chocolate and Bacon – If you are not aware of this amazing culinary marriage, it’s about time to familiarize yourself with the existence of this fine creation. Bacon coated in chocolate might be the best thing ever created by the people, and for the people.
Dental Health – You’ve got to be kidding, right? Actually, not so much. A cocoa extract has recently been found to be more effective than fluoride in maintaining a healthy set of teeth.
A Happy Heart – Dark chocolate, studies have shown, actually improved coronary circulation. If that isn’t incentive to eat chocolate, I’m not sure what is.
Happy Skin – Cocoa Butter is said to improve the rich, smooth qualities of your skin with an added aroma that will make you the center of attention, in a good way, of course!
Put an End to Hypertension – Studies have shown that consuming dark chocolate can actually lower your blood pressure due to its link with polyphenol-rich chocolate.
Increasing your IQ – Yes, dark chocolate contains higher levels of flavanols that are known to improve blood circulation throughout your body and even your brain. This helps combat mental fatigue, making you more alert and responsive.
Putting that Smile on Your Face – Feeling a bit down? It’s almost natural and a cultural habit to go for that box of chocolates to make you feel better. But it there merit to this? Studies have shown that eating chocolate has similar physiological effects as that of kissing. Chocolate improves bodily circulation and serves as a mild stimulant, making you become more euphoric, which essentially, turns that frown upside down!
Cooked bacon adds smoky flavor to the cheese and bread crumb topping in this flavorful and creamy macaroni and cheese casserole. Feel free to make it without the addition of green onions. I thought they went well with the bacon flavor, but if you’re not a fan of onions, you can leave them out. Serve this macaroni and cheese with sliced tomatoes or a tossed salad for a satisfying family meal.
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni, about 2 cups dry
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- dash garlic powder
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 6 slices bacon, cooked, drained, crumbled
- 2 cups (8 ounces) sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 cup soft bread crumbs
- 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
Cook macaroni in boiling salted water following package directions. Drain the macaroni in a colander, rinse with hot water, and set aside.
Heat oven to 350° F (180° C/Gas 4). Lightly grease a 2 1/2-quart baking dish.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the green onions and garlic powder. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the flour and stir until well blended and smooth.
Continue cooking, stirring, for 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk and cook, stirring, until thickened. Stir in salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
Set 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese aside and stir the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cheese into the sauce. Continue cooking and stirring until the cheese has melted.
Combine the cheese sauce with the drained macaroni and then spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle bacon evenly over the casserole and then top with the reserved 1/2 cup of cheese.
Toss the bread crumbs with 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of melted butter and sprinkle over the casserole. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbly.
Struggling to find ideas for lunch? Tired of the same ol’ leftovers? We hear you and we want to help you solve this dilemma. Afterall, while breakfast is the most important meal of the day, lunch too often gets overlooked. Lunch is a critical meal in the middle of your day as it refuels you at the midway point in your day and recharges you to the finish line.
Without further adieu, here are some great ideas for you to make your next lunch creation. The best part about these recipes is that they have the cheese lover in mind!
MAC N’ CHEESE WITH BACON AND CHEESE
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 4 cups milk
- 2 or 3 sprigs thyme
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and divided
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 5 1/2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- Leaves from 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small saucepan heat the milk with the thyme sprigs and 2 garlic cloves. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, to keep lumps from forming. Strain the solids out of the milk and whisk it into the butter and flour mixture. Continue to whisk vigorously, and cook until the mixture is nice and smooth. Stir in the 4 cups of the cheese and continue to cook and stir to melt the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked macaroni and the parsley and fold that all in to coat the macaroni with the cheese mixture. Scrape into a 3-quart baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
While that bakes, heat a saute pan. Add the bacon, render the fat and cook until crispy. Add onion, garlic and thyme leaves and cook for about 5 minutes to soften the onion. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, scatter the bacon mixture over the mac and cheese. Use a big spoon to scoop out servings, making sure you get some of the smoking bacon mixture on each spoonful.
GRILLED CHEESE WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS
- 2 tablespoons/30ml olive oil
- 3 large onions, sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 8 thick slices bread
- 1/4 cup/60ml butter, room temperature
- 2 cups/500ml grated aged Cheddar
Generously butter both sides of each bread slice. In between two bread slices, pile the caramelized onions between two layers of cheese.
Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-low heat. Cook the sandwiches, flipping once, until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
SCALLOPED POTATOES AU GRATIN
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch slices
- 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar
- 1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until softened and beginning to brown. Add the garlic and continue cooking 1 minute longer. Stir in the cream, broth and thyme, and season with the salt and pepper. Add the potatoes and bring to a simmer. Continue cooking until the potatoes are fork-tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer the potatoes and cream to a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle the cheeses evenly over the potatoes. Bake until bubbly and the surface begins to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.
PARMESAN-CRUSTED GRILLED CHEESE
CREAMY STOVETOP BACON MAC AND CHEESE:
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 6 strips thick-cut smoked bacon, cut in 1/4-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups hot whole milk
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard, or more as needed
- 8 ounces sharp Cheddar, shredded (2 cups)
- 8 ounces Muenster cheese, shredded (2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
PARMESAN-CRUSTED GRILLED CHEESE:
- Eight 1/2-inch thick slices brioche
- 8 slices American cheese
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 4 tablespoons crushed Calabrian hot chile peppers, from jar
- 8 slices tomato, cut thin (or 4 large slices, depending on how big your tomato is)
- 2 1/2 cups grated Parmesan
For the grilled cheese: Top all 8 slices of bread with a slice of American cheese. This will act as your glue. Spoon 1/2 cup of the mac and cheese onto four of the slices, sprinkle with some basil, and then add a dollop of the spicy peppers. Top with 1 or 2 tomato slices, and cover with a second slice of bread.
In a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat, spread 1/3 cup of the grated Parmesan in an even circle roughly the same size as your bread. Let the Parmesan begin to melt and brown, 2 to 3 minutes. As soon as it gets golden brown, set a sandwich on top of the Parmesan. Cook for 2 minutes more. The Parmesan will adhere to the bread and create a nice crispy crust. Remove the sandwich from the skillet and repeat the same process for the other side of the sandwich. Depending on the size of your pan, you may be able to do two sandwiches at a time. If needed, keep finished sandwiches warm in a 200 degree F oven while the others are cooking.
Cheddar and Bacon Stuffed Chicken Breasts
So it’s about the end of the day at work and you’re struggling to come up with ideas of what to make for dinner. Not only that, but you also want to try to deviate away from the norm and let your taste buds reach a new level of extreme tastiness. Here is a recipe that will truly satisfy those taste buds without breaking the wallet and with simple, easy to find ingredients at the grocery store.
Cheddar-And-Bacon-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
1) 6 slices bacon
2) 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3) Salt and pepper
4) 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, if desired
5) 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Cook bacon on stove in oven-safe skillet until cooked but not crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
Flatten chicken breasts to about 1/4- to 1/8-inch thickness, and lightly season with salt and pepper.
Spread a teaspoon of Dijon mustard on each chicken breast, if desired.
Lay three pieces of bacon on each chicken breast, and top the bacon with the cheddar cheese.
Roll up each chicken breast, being careful to keep the bacon and cheddar tucked inside, and secure each with toothpicks.
Place the chicken rollups back in the pan with bacon grease and cook on the stove over medium heat, turning frequently, just to brown all sides.
Transfer the pan to the oven, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Feel free to baste the chicken with some of the bacon grease while it’s baking. (I warned you this was not diet food.)
Serve hot, preferably with some of these pretzel rolls.
Bacon Cooking Tips
If the packaged sliced bacon is refrigerator-cold, slowly slide the dull edge of a butter knife along the length between the strips, gently rocking to separate slices. Plan ahead and take the bacon out of the refrigerator thirty minutes before cooking. The slices should separate easily.
When frying bacon, it’s important to keep a close eye on it and turn it often. It can burn in the blink of an eye. Older bacon will cook and burn almost twice as quickly as fresh bacon.
If you prefer very crispy bacon, choose thinner slices to fry up. Pour or baste off the fat as it accumulates in the pan. Use medium to medium-low heat. Cook slowly, turning often, to render out the most fat and help reduce shrinkage.
Pricking with a fork will help alleviate any curling problems. Drain breakfast bacon on paper towels.
The fat rendered from the cooked bacon is highly-prized as cooking oil for its flavor. After cooking the bacon, cool the rendered oil to room temperature and then pour through a fine sieve into a glass container. Cover and store in the refrigerator or freezer for future use. If you do not need the rendered fat, let it cool to room temperature, pour it into a disposable metal or glass container, seal, tie it up in a plastic bag, and toss it into the trash. It’s not wise to pour it down the drain, because it will coagulate and clog up the drain.
There are fancy microwave bacon cookers on the market which work well, but they are not necessary. Place a microwave-safe paper towel in a micro dish large enough to fit a single layer of bacon slices (4 to 6 slices). Cover with another paper towel. Six slices should take about 4 to 5 minutes on high, depending on the wattage of your microwave and the thickness of the bacon. Start checking after the first two minutes, and continue cooking at one minute intervals until you can judge the cooking time for the way you like it.
Consult your microwave manual for more specific times. A rotating base in the microwave is highly recommended for even cooking, and most come with one built-in these days. Remember that foods continue to cook even after the timer goes off in a microwave, so let it rest a few minutes before you dive in to let it crisp up and avoid burns. Curly bacon never bothers me, but this method reduces curling of the bacon.
Bacon can also be easily baked in the oven, resulting in amazingly flat slices. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place a rack inside a baking sheet. Lay out slices and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on desired doneness level. Voila! Crispy bacon with no curls. You can also use your broiler, but I don’t recommend it. First of all, the splatters not only make a royal mess, but also cause flares. Secondly, it requires much more attention. Stick with frying, microwaving or baking.
How can you reduce splattering problems? Part of the problem arises from today’s quick salt-brining method (known as pickle-curing) used by producers. The liquid naturally soaks into the meat, and you know what happens when liquid hits hot oil — snap, crackle, pop! Be sure the bacon slices are cold from the refrigerator and start with a cold pan. Use medium to medium-low heat and take your time cooking the slices, turning often. It’s preferable to thaw frozen bacon in the refrigerator to reduce moisture, but even then some of the moisture may naturally seep out. Towel off the slices before cooking to avoid excess splattering.
If you must watch your fat intake, lean smoked ham or prosciutto can be substituted in many recipes where the rendered bacon fat is not needed. Turkey, chicken and vegetarian bacon products are also available.
Most slab bacon is sold with the rind attached. Remove the rind before using. Render the fat from the rind by frying and you have cracklings, a favorite Southern snack.