Posts tagged ‘cheese’

Pumpkin Lasagna

I’m on a roll with the pumpkin recipes this season.

I’ve made some yearly favorites (pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin French toast, etc.), and I’ve also made some new favorites, namely pumpkin lasagna and pumpkin flan. I’m saving my pumpkin cheesecake for either Thanksgiving or Christmas, but I also have a few more pumpkin foods I want to try making. I’m thinking pumpkin scones, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin bread pudding, and maybe some pumpkin granola…

Poor apples. They’re being so looked over by me this fall. Don’t worry my pretty apples, I will soon turn my attention to you as well.

Anyway, I really wanted to make something savory with pumpkin, other than pumpkin soup, and I decided pumpkin lasagna sounded pretty awesome. I couldn’t find a recipe online that I liked though, so I ended up making my own with very satisfying results.

Instead of pumpkin puree, I wanted to you slices of roasted pumpkin, so I turned to my absolute favorite pumpkin, kabocha. I’m sure I’ve talked about it before, but kabocha is also known as Japanese pumpkin. It looks similar to acorn squash, but with more of a small pumpkin shape with a green outer skin and bright orange flesh on the inside. It’s one of sweetest types of squash out there and very delicious. You can usually find it at Asian grocery stores and places like Whole Foods and Central Market. If you can’t find any, feel free to use acorn squash or butternut squash, but I encourage you to try out kabocha. It really is tasty.

The kabocha I sliced and baked on a baking sheet with some olive oil, dried sage, and salt and pepper until tender. You don’t have to peel kabocha (the outer peeling, more like a rind really, is edible, and tastes the same as the orange inside)

For the sauce, I made a bechamel, or white sauce. Basically just butter, flour, and milk. I cooked the butter until it browned, however, and then added some dried sage (sage goes great with most winter squashes and sweet potatoes) before adding the flour and milk.

For the cheeses, I used large curd cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese (it doesn’t really matter which you use though), grated Parmesan cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, and crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (the last is amazing with sweet winter squashes and sweet potatoes). Yes, I used four kinds of cheese in this lasagna. That’s how awesome it is.

I used oven ready lasagna noodles, because they just make life so much simpler, and I topped off the lasagna with some pumpkin seeds/pepitas.

This is a vegetarian dish, but not really what I would call a “light” dish. It’s a nice change from regular lasagna though, and a delicious treat for welcoming the Fall/Winter seasons. And it has four kinds of cheeses in it. Come on, you can’t go wrong with that. You know I’m right.

 

Pumpkin Lasagna

(serves 5 – 6)

  • 1 box oven-ready lasagna noodles (you won’t use the entire box)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 whole kabocha (Japanese pumpkin)
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 container large curd cottage cheese (or ricotta cheese)
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 c. crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/4 c. butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1  tsp. dried sage
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. whole milk
  • salt and pepper
  • plain pepitos (pumpkin seeds) for sprinkling on top
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400° F. Scoop the seeds out of the kabocha. Cut off any brown, rough spots on the outside of the squash. Thinly slice the kabocha about 1/2 centimeter in thickness, and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, add 1 tsp. dried sage, and add dash of salt and pepper on top. Toss the slices to coat them. Bake until tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add the cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, and egg. Mix everything until well combined.
  3. In a skillet or saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add 1 tsp. dried sage and continue cooking the butter just until it starts to brown. Sprinkle in the flour, mix until a paste forms, and continue cooking and stirring for about 5 minutes (you want to cook the flour, but you don’t want it to brown). Gradually pour in the milk, a little at a time, while whisking vigorously. Raise the temperature to med-high, and continue whisking until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency. Remove from heat, and season with salt to taste.
  4. In a deep, 2 quart casserole dish, add a little bit of the sauce, and spread it around the bottom of the dish evenly. On top of that, layer lasagna noodles, half of the kabocha slices, half of the cottage cheese mixture, 2/3 c. of the mozzarella cheese, and 1/4 c. of the Gorgonzola cheese. Repeat with noodles, sauce, the remaining kabocha slices, the remaining cottage cheese mixture, 2/3 c. mozzarella cheese, 1/4 c. Gorgonzola cheese, noodles, the last of the sauce, the last 2/3 c. mozzarella cheese, and then sprinkle with pepitos.
  5. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400° F for 20 – 25 minutes. Then, remove the foil and continue baking for another 15 – 20 minutes, or until noodles are tender. Let cool 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

 

 

 

October 12, 2012 at 11:17 am Leave a comment

Egg, Ham, & Spinach Hashbrown Casserole

I know I’ve mentioned I like egg dishes before. But really, they never get old! And there’s so many variations!

Quiches! Stratas! Frittatas!

Let us not forget, though, the mighty breakfast casserole!
So many things you can add, and all delicious.

I made mine a hashbrown casserole with onion, spinach, and ham added with the hashbrowns, cheese sprinkled over the top, and then beaten eggs and milk poured over everything and baked. Lovely.

Don’t think you can only serve this for breakfast/brunch. Like all those lovely egg dishes, I strongly believe they’re good for any meal. I served mine for dinner with a tossed salad. I say, go for it.

Egg, Ham, & Spinach Hashbrown Casserole

(serves 4)

  • 3 large russet potatoes (or frozen hash browns)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 – 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 c. diced ham
  • 1/2 bag (6 – 7 oz.) fresh spinach
  • 1 c. shredded colby jack cheese (or the shredded cheese of your choice)
  • 4 – 5 large eggs
  • 1 c. milk or cream
  • salt and pepper
  1. Pre-heat oven to 360° F.
  2. If using frozen hash browns, cook according to package instructions. If using fresh potatoes, peel, wash, and grate potatoes. Add olive oil to a large skillet over med-high heat. Place grated potatoes in an even layer in skillet. Cook until browned on one side, then flip and cook on the remaining side until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper. Place hashbrowns in a sprayed 3 quart, rectangle baking dish. Return skillet to heat.
  3. Turn heat down to medium. Add onion and garlic, and saute for 3 minutes. Add spinach and ham, and continue cooking until spinach wilts. Remove from heat.
  4. Sprinkle half the cheese on top of the hashbrowns. On top of that, spread the onion spinach mixture in an even layer, then sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
  5. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and milk (or cream) together. Season with salt and pepper, then slowly pour the egg mixture over the casserole so that everything is evenly covered.
  6. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes, or until top is golden brown, and the egg is completely cooked. Let cool 5 – 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

 

September 26, 2012 at 11:55 am Leave a comment

Breakfast Pizza

If you’re like me, then the idea of cold, leftover pizza is a horrifying thing.

But we all know people who’ve done it. Even more terrible, people who ate it, and enjoyed it. *collective gasp*

Do not fear the title of this post, fair readers, as I would never suggest you commit such a vile act against our lovely delicious friend, the pizza, such as eat it when it’s a day old and cold.

Instead, I’m suggesting you make a special pizza, just for breakfast (or brunch, or whenever the heck you want), using common breakfast foods: scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage, cheese etc.

Yes, my friends. Enter, The Breakfast Pizza.

I wasn’t a believe either until recently, when I tried this delicious bit of breakfast-y pizza heaven, but oh, it’s good. Like, really good.

The key to breakfast pizza, however, is to have pre-made pizza dough, ready to go. I usually make extra whenever I make a batch of pizza dough, and then freeze the extra in personal pizza size. That way, I can just get out a de-frosted (take it out of the freezer and stick it in the fridge the night before you need it) ball of dough whenever I want a quick pizza, roll it out, throw on some toppings, bake it, and have me some pizza. Good times guys, good times.

For this pizza, I spread a little sun-dried tomato pesto on the dough instead of sauce, but if that’s a bit too much in the morning for you, you can just brush a little olive oil on the dough instead. Do whatever sounds tasty to you.
Also, I used ground turkey sausage, scrambled eggs, mini tomatoes, and spinach as toppings for this pizza, but again, don’t limit yourself to just those. Try additional or different toppings. Crumbled bacon or diced ham would be great too, and even hash browns or sauteed mushrooms would be yummy. Let loose and add whatever floats your boat. That’s the great thing about pizza.

Breakfast Pizza

(makes 1 large pizza)

  • 1/2 batch of pizza dough
  • 3 Tbsp. sun-dried tomato pesto (or 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 lb. ground breakfast turkey sausage
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c. mini tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 5 oz. fresh spinach (or a couple large handfuls)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425° F (220° C). Spray a large pizza pan/stone or baking sheet.
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned and crumbly. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Add eggs and cook until scrambled. Add tomatoes, season everything with salt and pepper to taste, and remove from heat.
  3. Roll out dough to desired size, and place on pan. Spread pesto (or olive oil if using) evenly over dough, leaving 1/2″ – 1″ along the edge.
  4. Spread mozzarella cheese over dough, add the toppings, then sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top of everything.
  5. Bake pizza 20 minutes, or until the crust edges are golden brown. Cut into slices and serve immediately.

 

August 30, 2012 at 2:09 pm Leave a comment

Waffles with Roasted Sweet Potato, Ham, and Gorgonzola Cheese

It’s a long name, I know.

Actually, the full name today’s recipe is “Savory Waffles with Roasted Sweet Potato, Ham, Gorgonzola Cheese, and Browned Sage Butter”. That seemed a bit excessive though, so I left out the browned sage butter and savory part.
Trust me though, the long name is worth it. These waffles rock.

It all started at Starbucks. Hisa and I somehow started discussing waffles (go figure), and then we started talking about what make good savory toppings for waffles. This is one that I came up with, and it sounded so good, I ended up making it for dinner later that week.

These waffles exceeded my expectations in the best way. They’re really, really good. They’re regular waffles topped with roasted sweet potato, green onions, diced smoked ham, crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, topped with a fried egg (although a poached egg would be great as well), and then lightly drizzled with browned sage butter.

The flavors complement each other wonderfully. The sweetness of the roasted sweet potato is fantastic paired with the tangy Gorgonzola cheese. The smoked ham adds a wonderful depth to it, and the browned sage butter pulls it all together in the best way possible. Hisa and I were both surprised at just how good these were.

These waffles would be great for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner, but I think they would be particularly great for an elegant brunch.
If you’re tired of the same old waffles with syrup, and want to try something different, give these a try.

First, peeled and cut one regular sweet potato into cubes. Drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Mix it up a bit so everything is well coated, then bake in a 350° F oven for about 20 minutes, or until tender.

Dice several green onions (or chives) and ham. Cook them in a skillet together over medium heat for 3 – 4 minutes. You don’t need to add any salt, as ham has enough salt in it.

Mix up your favorite waffle batter, and make your waffles like normal. I don’t add any sugar to my waffle batter, but if you do, you should probably leave it out for these.
While your making your waffles in your waffle maker, fry or poach an egg for each person.
Also while your making the waffles, melt some butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add fresh sage leaves, if you have any, or dried sage if you don’t. Gently cook the butter until it turns brown (don’t cook it on too high heat or it will burn!). Remove from heat and remove the fresh sage leaves if you used them (leave in the dried sage if you used that).

To assemble, put two waffles on each plate. Spread some of the roasted sweet potato onto to the waffles, and then some of the ham and green onions. Sprinkle the crumbled Gorgonzola cheese on top.

Place the fried or poached egg on top of everything, and then drizzle a small amount of the browned sage butter over everything. Sprinkle a little bit of dried parsley on top (optional), and serve.

Yum.

Savory Waffles with Roasted Sweet Potato, Ham, Gorgonzola Cheese, and Browned Sage Butter

(serves 4)

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 c. diced green onions (or chives)
  • 2/3 c. diced smoked ham
  • waffle batter (enough to make 8 regular waffles or 4 Belgium waffles)
  • crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 c. (half a stick) butter
  • 8 fresh sage leaves (or 1/2 tsp. dried sage)
  • dried parsley for garnish (optional)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Place cubed sweet potato into a baking pan, drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Stir around so sweet potato is well coated. Bake about 20 minutes, stirring once or twice, or until sweet potato is tender.
  2. Add green onions and ham to a skillet over medium heat. Saute for 3 – 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
  3. Make waffles in waffle maker like normal.
  4. While waffles are cooking, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When melted, add the sage leaves (or dried sage). Continue to cook gently until butter turns brown in color (don’t cook on too high a temperature or for too long or butter will burn). Remove from heat, and remove the whole sage leaves (dried sage can be left in). Set aside.
  5. Fry the eggs sunny-side up or poach them.
  6. To assemble: Place 2 waffles (or 1 Belgium waffle) on each plate. Spread some of the roasted sweet potato onto to the waffles, and then some of the ham and green onions. Sprinkle crumbled Gorgonzola cheese on top. Place one fried or poached egg on top of everything, and then drizzle a small amount of browned sage butter over everything. Garnish with a little dried parsley (optional), and serve.

August 22, 2012 at 8:50 am Leave a comment

Sausage, Sun-dried Tomato, and Spinach Quiche

If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good quiche.

They’re so versatile and easy, yet delicious. Good for breakfast, good for lunch, good for dinner. A good quiche is hard to beat.

This is similar to a frittata I made a few weeks ago, but with sun-dried tomatoes instead of roasted peppers, and in quiche form.

I usually make my own pie crusts, but I’ve been buying pre-made crusts lately. Whole Foods has some really good ground spelt and whole wheat pie crusts in their frozen foods section. I especially like the ground spelt ones.

Feel free to use your favorite pie crust recipe for this quiche or buy a pre-made crust. It’s up to you. Do whatever floats your boat. We’re flexible around here.

One thing. While you can make quiche using all milk, it’s really good if you use half milk and half cream. The cream gives it a bit of lusciousness and depth of flavor that you don’t quite get with just milk. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still great with just milk, but if you’re looking to impress, add some cream.

 

Sausage, Sun-dried Tomato, and Spinach Quiche

(makes 1 quiche)

  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 – 1/2 lb. Italian sausage (ground or links cut into slices; pork or turkey)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 c. sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 2 c. fresh spinach
  • 1 c. shredded cheese
  • 4 – 5 large eggs
  • 1 c. whole milk (or 1/2 c. milk and 1/2 c. heavy cream)
  • salt and pepper
  1. Pre-heat oven to 360° F.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage and cook until almost completely browned.
  3. Add onion and garlic, and continue cooking for 2 – 3 minutes. Add spinach and cook until spinach wilts. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, and cream (if using) together. Add a dash of salt and pepper.
  5. Place prepared pie crust on a baking sheet. In the crust layer half the cheese, the meat and vegetable mixture, and the rest of the cheese. Pour the egg mixture over everything.
  6. Bake, uncovered, 45 minutes, or until top of quiche is golden brown and the egg filling doesn’t jiggle when gently shaken.

August 21, 2012 at 10:37 am Leave a comment

Fajita Shrimp and Veggie Quesadillas

I love quesadillas.

Who doesn’t love quesadillas though, right? It’s like a Mexican grilled cheese sandwich, but somehow better than a grilled cheese sandwich. Kids love em. Adults love em. I suppose someone who doesn’t like cheese probably wouldn’t like them, but… I don’t understand how someone can’t like cheese, so there ya go. It’s like not liking chocolate… *shudder*

These quesadillas are easy to make and fast, but they taste like restaurant quesadillas and fajitas in one. In other words, really really good.

I used shrimp for these, but you can use chicken, beef, etc. Whatever meat you chose, you cook it in enchilada sauce. I use my own homemade enchilada sauce (also easy to make), but you can use the canned stuff if you want.

Fajita Shrimp and Veggie Quesadillas

(serves 2)

  • 6 oz.(approximately) small to medium size shrimp (raw, de-veined, and peeled)
  • 1 1/2 c. enchilada sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 c. shredded Colby and Monterrey Jack cheese (any kind of shredded cheese is fine)
  • 4 soft taco size flour tortillas (or 2 burrito size tortillas)
  • salsa, sour cream, and guacamole for serving (optional)
  1. Chop shrimp into small pieces. Add the shrimp and enchilada sauce to a bowl. Mix until shrimp is well coated. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet over med-high to high heat. Add oil. Add onion, red bell pepper, and green bell pepper. Let cook for about a minute without stirring. After a minute begin stirring around. Continue cooking on high heat until vegetables become tender, browned, and even a little blackened in places. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and remove from heat.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Add shrimp and enchilada sauce to skillet. Saute until shrimp is cooked through. Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Discard leftover enchilada sauce.
  4. Heat a clean non-stick skillet over med-high heat. Spray with non-stick spray.
  5. Place one tortilla in the skillet. On top of the tortilla, spread 1/4 c. cheese, 1/2 the veggie mixture, and then another 1/4 c. cheese, in that order. Place another tortilla on top, and gently press the tortilla down with a spatula.
    [note: If using burrito size tortillas, place cheese and veggies on one half of the tortilla, then fold over the other half and press it down.]
  6. After the bottom of the tortilla has browned and the cheese is melting (3 – 4 minutes), carefully flip the quesadilla. Brown on the remaining side another 3 – 4 minutes. Remove to a cutting board, and cut into fourths. Repeat with remaining tortillas, cheese, and veggie mixture.
  7. Serve with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.

 

August 14, 2012 at 9:20 am Leave a comment

Gaulois Sandwiches

One of the things I missed while living in Japan was good sandwiches. They don’t really have many sandwich places, so it’s hard to find a good sandwich (No, fast food burger places don’t count. They’re not sandwiches. They’re burgers. They’re different). About the closest you can get is Subway (yes, they have Subway in Japan), and believe me, Hisa and I ate at Subway many times when we were out and wanted a sandwich.

I always like finding new and interesting sandwich recipes. This one sparked my interest as it has pecans, brie cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes in it; A combination I would probably never think to try, but sounded delicious.

Enter the Gaulois sandwich.

From what I found online, this recipe originates from a little cafe in Philadelphia owned by a French couple. I originally found the recipe at Eat, Live, Run, but I’ve found it since then on other websites.

If you’re pressed for time, but want to try something new and somewhat gourmet tasting, I suggest you give this sandwich a try. Unless you’re a vegetarian and/or hate cheese (really? really?!), I think you’ll like this sandwich.

I’m not putting specific amounts for the sandwich ingredients, because everyone is a little different, and likes their sandwiches different ways. Some people may only want one or two slices of ham, whereas some might want four. You may want a lot of cheese or just a dab. Who knows.
I’m just going to list the ingredients, and simply put on as much or as little of each ingredient as you like.

Layer ham, sun-dried tomatoes, and Brie cheese on the bread, then put it under the broiler.

Until the cheese gets all melted and delicious…. Mmmm, melted cheese…..
Add toasted pecan pieces, torn leaf lettuce, and drizzle it with lemon juice and olive oil.
C’est magnifique!

 

Gaulois Sandwiches

  • French baguette or Ciabatta rolls
  • black forest ham
  • Brie cheese, cut into pieces
  • sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • toasted pecan pieces
  • any leaf lettuce, torn into pieces
  • 1 lemon wedge (per sandwich)
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  1. Pre-heat the broiled in  your oven or toaster oven.
  2. Cut open the French baguette or Ciabatta roll, and layer the ham, sun-dried tomatoes, and Brie cheese on the bread.
  3. Place under that broiled for a few minutes until the cheese melts. Remove from broiler.
  4. Add pecan pieces and lettuce, then squeeze lemon juice and a light drizzle of olive oil over everything. Serve.

 

August 8, 2012 at 8:23 am Leave a comment

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About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

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