Tag Archives: blue cheese

Bacon & Blue Stuffed Mushrooms

Whether you’re planning a party, enjoying a romantic steak dinner at home or need a new creative idea for some football game snacks, this is a fun twist on a classic appetizer!

More often than not, when I think of blue cheese, I often think of bacon.  They pair together as well as peanut butter and jelly in my book!  So while I was at our local grocer last week, I saw they had a special on their packages of bacon AND mushrooms and figured I could make something great happen between them!  With the few simple ingredients listed below, you truly get a rich and indulgent, highly umami kick-in-the-butt of flavor!  These are oh so good and “fancy”….yet insanely easy!

*For the larger sized button mushroom, pick from the crate of individual mushrooms; not the prepackaged variety.  At home, store unwashed in a paper bag for up to 2-3 days in your refrigerator before use.  **Simply double the ingredients if making 2 dozen, etc.  ***These are naughty and rich, so I always allot about 2-3 per person.  ****Can be assembled earlier in the day and popped in the oven to warm through when needed.

The Starting Lineup

  • 4 strips bacon, chopped
  • 12 large button mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 oz. blue cheese crumbles
  • 2 Tbsp chives, fresh, divided 1:1

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Clean any dirt off your mushrooms with a vegetable brush or dry paper towel (do not rinse with water, as they become water logged and wont hold up well).  Gently “snap” the stem off of each mushroom, while leaving the cap whole (set caps aside on a foil lined baking sheet).  Then give a rough chop to all of the stems.

In a skillet over medium heat, crisp up the chopped bacon.  Once done, remove the bacon to a paper towel lined dish and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease in the pan.  To that bacon grease, add in the chopped mushroom stems and sauté for 3-4 minutes, then add in the minced garlic for 1 minute more.

In a medium size bowl, thoroughly combine the sautéed stems and garlic with the crisped bacon, softened cream cheese, blue cheese and 1 tablespoon of the fresh chives.

Using a spoon (I use two spoons myself), stuff each mushroom cap with the filling you just made.

Transfer your tray of stuffed mushrooms to the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Serve immediately.

Garnish with the remaining tablespoon of fresh chives and enjoy!

*Makes 12.  Literally double the ingredients to double the recipe. 🙂

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Seared Filet with Roasted Butternut Squash & Blue Cheese Ravioli

My husband and I do not get a lot of “date nights” as we have two young boys, rarely a babysitter and he has the craziest schedule working for the railroad.  No set schedule actually.  All that combined leads me to craving fancy-dressed, wine-filled nights out even more!  That being said, I knew I could do it!  Not the literally leaving my house to enjoy a quiet kid free atmosphere, but create that upscale dining experience here at home!

I already knew I could make a fantastic steak, so I wanted to try my hand at homemade pasta.  Like REAL homemade pasta, no attachment to my Kitchen-Aide or anything.  So out came my flour coated rolling pin and I finally attacked the somewhat scary mound of welled flour and eggs.  You know what?  It wasn’t that hard.   I’ve been scared all these years for nothing!  Now, if I’m making a crockpot meal asking for the filled pasta, then frozen is fine, but for this meal all the slight extra work was sooooo worth it!!

So please, next time you can’t get away, or maybe your budget is a bit tight, please give this a whirl!

The Starting Lineup

Dough

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
    3 eggs
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Filling

  • 1 small butternut squash
    2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
    1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon butter
    1 tablespoon olive oil 
    5-6 sage leaves, minced

Protein (optional)

  • (2-4) Filet mignon or Ribeye Steaks
  • Fresh ground black pepper and kosher salt
  • 2 vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), softened

 

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Roasted butternut squash and blue cheese filling!

 

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To begin…..

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Next, (this is a great tip!) prick your butternut squash with a fork all over.  Cut off the ends of the squash and place on a plate in your microwave for 4 minutes (if you don’t, this vegetable is extremely hard to cut).  Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin and then cut in half length-wise.  Discard of the seeds and then cut into rough cubes.  Place on a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil, salt & pepper and place in the oven for 30 minutes until fork tender.

Meanwhile…..

Mound the flour on a clean work surface and make a well with a fork in the center, creating almost a “volcano” in appearance.  In the well, crack the eggs and add in the salt and oil.  Using your fork, slightly beat together while gathering a bit of flour at a time until it forms a dough ball.

Using your hands, start needing the dough until it forms a perfectly smooth ball with a shiny appearance (10 minutes).  Add more flour if it seems sticky or a tbsp. at a time of water if it feels too dry.  Wrap your dough ball with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes.

Now that your butternut squash is roasted, transfer to a large bowl along with the blue cheese crumbles and the salt & pepper.  Mash together with a fork to your desired consistency. Cover and set aside.

With your dough ball, unwrap pasta and cut into four sections. You will work with one section at a time. Wrap the remaining three up in plastic in the mean time. Flour your work surface liberally. Roll out dough with a floured rolling pin, working from the middle and rolling out. Try to get the thinnest and longest piece of dough you can. Keep rotating and turning the dough to prevent sticking. Once your dough is rolled very thin, place a small amounts of the filling {about a teaspoon} onto the dough about 1 1/2-2 inches apart. Fold the top of the dough over the filling. Press the top piece of dough over and around the filling to remove any air bubbles. Now using either a ravioli stamp, pastry cutter or a pizza cutter, cut into perfect squares {you will need to crimp the edges with a fork if using a pizza cutter}. Place on a floured tray and cover with a tea towel as you make these. Form any leftover dough into a ball and place in the plastic wrap to rest. Continue this pattern until all the raviolis are filled and cut out.

To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Drop in your raviolis (4-5 at a time) and stir gently. Raviolis will be finished cooking once they float to the top. Drain.  Once finished add to a warm sauté pan of melted butter, oil and sage that is slightly crisped.  Toss gently to coat.

Now you can eat these delish ravioli’s as is or pair with a great steak!  If you choose the steak route, here is my favorite way..

Set the steak out of the fridge to come to room temp for 20-30 minutes {I did so while I’m preparing the ravioli’s} and heat oven to 400 degrees, rub the steak all over with oil and coat in freshly ground pepper and kosher salt.  Heat your cast iron pan on med-high heat till about smoking.  Add in the butter and then the steaks, let cook (do NOT move) for 4 minutes on each side.  Transfer the skillet with the seared steaks to the oven and let cook for 5 minutes (for medium-rare).  Remove the steaks to a platter and cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  {Here is where I cooked and sautéed the ravioli’s.}  ***Make sure you have a well ventilated kitchen as cast irons smoke something crazy.  You can absolutely grill your meat too if preferred.

So, whether you decide to make this a vegetarian inspired meal or are a true carnivore like myself, you will not be disappointed!  Serve with a great red and you have a true 5-star restaurant meal!  Enjoy!!

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Shredded Buffalo Chicken (Crockpot)

Just about everyone I know enjoys eating a plate of buffalo wings every now & again.  For me, the hotter the better really…but unfortunately, I’m usually still a bit hungry after.  Here you get that exact same great flavor, but in a fat and tasty sandwich form!  It’s filling for your entire family, kiddos included!!

Now if you’re eating on the lighter side these days or are perhaps gluten-free, you can simply stuff the buffalo chicken into some crunchy celery sticks alongside your favorite dipping sauce!  

Seriously, there is A LOT that can be done with this fantastic chicken filling!  Quesadillas, tacos, made into a dip with cream cheese, on grilled cheese, stuffed into an avocado…the options are almost endless!

The Starting Lineup

  • 4 boneless, skinless Chicken breasts
  • 12oz bottle Franks Red Hot (original)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste*
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • Garlic powder, to taste
  • Onion powder, to taste
  • Pinch of salt

*to taste: I used about 1/2 tsp of each

To Make Sandwiches (optional)

  • Large kaiser rolls or slider buns
  • Blue cheese crumbles 
  • Ranch dressing
  • Thick cut dill pickles
  • Red onion slices

Keeping light (optional)

  • Celery sticks
  • Ranch/blue cheese dressing for dipping  

Simple.  Simple.  Simple.  Spray your crockpot with a bit of nonstick spray and place the chicken breast in the bottom.  Sprinkle the 5 seasonings over the chicken (cayenne & black pepper, garlic & onion powder, pinch of salt). 

 Next pour in 3/4th of the bottle of Franks Red Hot Original sauce, cover, and set to low for 8 hours or high for about 5 hours.

Times up!!!  Add the butter to the now cooked chicken and using two forks, shred away!  Next, add in the remaining 1/4 cup of wing sauce and toss to coat.  Done!  Easy right?? 

     Now if you’re making these into sandwiches, here’s how we like them!  I toast the buns first and place a heaping portion of the shredded buffalo chicken on top (depending, I’ll lather on a bit of ranch dressing onto the inside of each toasted bun before adding the chicken).  Then I top with a bit of the blue cheese crumbles and a few slices of thick cut dill pickles and red onion!  Delish!! 

 Lighter fare??  Clean and cut up some celery and simply stuff full of the shredded buffalo chicken.  Serve alongside either ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping!  *The blue cheese fanatic that I am, I also like to add the crumbles to the top of these

 

Baked Panko Chicken (w/ a Greek yogurt bleu cheese) and Mashed Buffalo Cauliflower 

Wait…am I eating “healthy”??  Well kinda of..our household has been craving some crispy, drippy, Friday-night, spicy, buffalo wings….but I wondered if I could make a MEAL out of those flavors?!  Something to sustain us all.  Perhaps a healthier version at that!  Could I??

After a bit of strategic thought and planning, I am pretty sure that I achieved a great balance of texture & flavor considering my whole family was happy AND full after this recipe!!  Full?!?  Off of baked chicken and mock potatoes?..Happy momma right here!…we even had leftovers, sincerely!

*If you do not care for blue cheese, than purely omit or add in a packet of ranch seasoning to the Panko crumbs.

*If you do not like buffalo wing sauce, than purely omit and leave the cauliflower with just the beginning ingredients.  That’s how I served it to my toddlers before I added the wing sauce for my hubby & I.

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 thick chicken breasts, butterflied into 2 each (4 total)
  • 1 cup Japanese Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 whole cauliflower
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4oz reduced-fat cream cheese 
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp+ Bleu cheese crumbles
  • Non-stick spray
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper 
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Green onions, sliced (garnish, optional)  

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, while also preparing a baking sheet & rack sprayed with non-stick spray.

Next, in two seperate shallow dishes, combine first the mustard, salt, pepper & cayenne.  In the second dish, combine the Panko and the 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. 

 Evenly dredge the filet’d chicken breasts into the mustard and spices (each side) followed immediately with the Panko-parmesan mix.  Press the coating into the poultry.  Once dredged, place the coated chicken onto the wire rack that is set over the baking sheet. 

     Ok, that chicken can sit for just a second now…So let us bring a pot of water (with a pinch of salt) up to a low boil.  Meanwhile, roughly cut the cauliflower, rinse and carefully place into the boiling water.  *Allow to boil till fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.  Also, once your water starts to boil, put that dredged chicken into the oven!  *The chicken will bake for 15-20 minutes. 

  

  The cauliflower is now cooked tender and drained…*Up to you, this can be “mashed” with a potato masher, blender, food processor or immersion blender.  Add the cooked cauliflower to your respected source (..or not, if using an immersion blender like myself).  Then add the butter, cream cheese, garlic, pinch of salt & pepper and the buffalo wing sauce (if using it).  Purée till smooth!!!  *Word to the wise, IF you’re using the wing sauce, and I suggest you do, still TRY a bite of these without.  Shockingly good!!   Both my boys were convinced they were mashed ‘taters and they’re about guilt-free!! S-N-E-A-K-Y! 😉 

     Now that your mock buffalo potatoes are done, the chicken should be as well!! Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes (*yes, you may be multitasking..not sorry).

While the chicken is resting you can quickly make a simple sauce.  Mix 1 cup of Greek yogurt with 2 Tbsp+ of Bleu cheese crumbles and a pinch of pepper.  Stir, mash, stir.  *This can also be made in advance, wrapped up, and set in fridge till din-din time. 

 By now I am guessing that you’re on a roll and ..well..everything is done!!!

Plate this healthier mock chicken wing meal with a hefty spoonful of puréed buffalo cauliflower underneath a crispy Panko fried chicken breast.  Top it off with a drizzle of Bleu cheese sauce and a few scallions!  Enjoy!!….and don’t feel guilty! 😉 

  

Roasted Red, White & Bleu Potato Salad

This is a knock out for an All-American 🇺🇸 weekend side dish!!  I mean c’mon, the name alone says it all…

The roasted potatoes give fantastic texture (vs boiled), plus great tang from the sour cream addition and you can never ever everrr go wrong with bacon! Duh..

Also, if you do not care for Bleu cheese (were as we love it), by all means omit it and carry on.  It’s takes on more of a “ranch” flavor and is equally amazing.

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 1/2 lbs of red potatoes
  • 1 package bacon, cooked (keep grease)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup green onion, sliced 
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt & pepper 

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.   Wash, pat dry and cut your potatoes into roughly 1×1″ squares.  Transfer the cut potatoes into a large bow.

   Start your bacon.  Cook till desired doneness (I prefer crisp) and transfer to a paper towl lined plate to drain.  Do NOT throw out that grease!!

Once the bacon has finished….go with me here….pour that delectable grease over the cut, raw potatoes.  Toss to coat.  (Sooo good!)   Now that the cut potatoes are coated, transfer evenly onto a large baking sheet and liberally sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Place in your preheated oven for 30-40 minutes.  Turning once or twice.

While your potatoes are roasting, chop and slice up the red & green onions.

In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, red onion, green onion and salt & pepper to taste.

Next, mix in your desired amount of blue cheese.  Remember, a little can go a long way…*again, if you’re not a blue cheese fan, just leave it out!  This is incredibly delicious either way.  You could even add shredded cheddar!

Alrighty, potatoes are cooked through and crisp!  Once removed from the oven, sprinkle over the apple cider vinegar.  While warm, these potatoes really suck it up and helps cut the richness from the cream & bacon elements.

Pour these guys back into the large bowl.  Add in the cream mixture, the bacon and gently toss to coat.

I like to garnish the top with a bit more crunchy bacon pieces and green onions.  A great take on a typical side dish!!  Enjoy!

Buffalo Shrimp Po’Boy

This is a naughty, messy and oh so tasty sandwich!  Toasted, crusty bread.  Spicy & smooth buffalo sauce.  Battered, fried shrimp.  Cool, tangy Bleu cheese spread.  Omg.  

The Starting Lineup

Shrimp

  • 15-20 Large shrimp, (cleaned, peeled, deveined)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning blend
  • 1 Tbsp creole mustard
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Canola oil
  • Crusty bread loaves
  • Mayonnaise 
  • Lettuce, chopped
  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Celery, finely diced 

Buffalo Sauce

  • 1 cup your preferred hot sauce (Crystal, Franks, etc)
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Bleu Cheese Mayo

  • 1 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1/2 cup Bleu cheese crumbles
  • 1/3 cup Celery, finely diced
  • Salt & Pepper

Batter

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp+ Cajun seasoning blend  

Make sure to properly clean, devein and remove all the shell/tail from your shrimp.  ….and wash those hands!

In 2 shallow dishes…Dish A.  Combine the pepper, garlic powder, Cajun seasoning blend and salt.  Dish B.  Beat together the egg and creole mustard.

In a large freezer bag, have your cornmeal, flour and Cajun seasoning evenly mixed. 

Pour the spice blend over your shrimp and toss to coat..next up, the egg/mustard mixture.  Finally, after a thorough coating of all of that, place the shrimp into your cornmeal batter and shake.  Set aside while warming the oil. 

 

In a large heavy bottomed pot, skillet or your deep fryer, heat the cooking oil to 350 degrees.  Also set your oven broiler on.

While those are preheating, let’s prepare the garnishes!

  • In small sauce pan, simmer together the hot sauce, butter, lemon juice and garlic powder.  
  • On to our Bleu Cheese Mayo spread!  Super easy, just combine all of the ingredients (mayo, Bleu cheese, celery, salt & pepper).  Mix well, cover and refrigerate till time to use.  *If you do not like Bleu cheese, simply use just mayo or even ranch dressing. 
  • Chop, shred, tear, whatever…that lettuce.  Slice up your tomatoes and if you have any extra celery, finely dice up a bit more of that! 
  • Lastly, the crusty bread!  Slice in half lengthwise and slather a good amount of mayonnaise on the inside of each roll.  Lay (mayo side up) on a baking sheet. *yes, I said mayonnaise.  NOT butter.  Mayo will make it a golden brown with a crust, where as butter will make it too soggy and soft.  This sandwich needs to hold up to the buffalo shrimp.  Place the rolls into your oven about 6″ under your broiler.  Watch carefully.  These will brown in just a minute or two. 

Ok, that oil should be hot and ready to go!!  With about 1/3rd of the shrimp at a time, carefully place into the hot oil.  Cook the shrimp batches for 2 minutes on each side.  Set on a paper towel lined plate to drain any extra grease.

Assembly time!  Let’s make ‘dem Po’Boys!

Slather a good amount of your bleu-cheese-mayo onto your toasted roll.  Toss the now cooked & battered shrimp into your buffalo sauce and place an even amount on each sandwich.  Garnish each with a layer of tomato slices, shredded lettuce and a sprinkle of celery.  Dig in friends!!…you’ll also need a napkin or 5 for this tasty Po’Boy, enjoy!!!! 

Served with a side of Zapp’s chips of course!

 

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