Tag Archives: Cheese

Oaxacan Steak Quesadillas

Oaxaca (wha-ha-ka) cheese is a delightful semi-soft, stringy, cows-milk white cheese that could be best compared to mozzarella!  The Oaxaca cheese is a stretched, curd cheese that is formed into a ball, often resembling a softball in size, that you can shred for the gooiest of dishes.

All of the quick info above being said, why not make a quesadilla inspired by the southern Mexico state!  To keep with the flavors of the real SOUTH of the border, I have decided to incorporate other commonly used ingredients from Oaxaca while infusing it with a couple of my own.  Plus, I just really NEED steak in my life, but by all means, make this a veggie’dilla if you wish!

*I LOVE these marindes and always have them on hand for many dishes!https://www.goya.com/en/products/cooking-bases-sauces-and-marinades/ready-to-use-marinades

 

The Starting Lineup

STEAK (& marinade)

  • 2-3 lbs flank steak (or pounded skirt steak)
  • 1/2 cup of GOYA Marinade Naranja Agria 
  • 1/2 cup of GOYA Marinade Mojo Criollo 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped with stems
  • 1 tsp cumin

QUESADILLA

  • Tortillas (fresh corn to be authentic, but flour will work and taste fust fine too)
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 1 serrano/or jalapeño, finely chopped (seeding optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves (or a few chopped Epazote leaves if possible)
  • 2 tsp kosher
  • 1 cup Oaxaca cheese, shredded or thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cheddar-jack cheese, shredded

OPTIONAL (fillers and garnish)

  • Avocado slices
  • Squash blossoms (though hard to find)
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Cilantro
  • Mexican crema or sour cream
  • Chopped cabbage/carrot slaw
  • Queso Fresco or Cotija cheese crumbles
  • Salsa/hot sauce

______________________________________________________________________________

STEAK:  In a gallon zip lock bag or baking dish/bowl, combine the meat with the marinade ingredients; toss and massage to coat.  Zip up or cover and let sit for 30 minutes on the counter or 2-3 hours in the refrigerator.

When ready to eat, remove the steak from fridge about 20-30 minutes prior to cooking.

Cook the steak (medium-high heat on the grill or cast iron pan on stove) till desired doneness.  Let rest for at least 5 minutes or more.  Cut across the grain into thin slices.

QUESADILLA:  Heat the canola oil and butter in a large sauté pan, over medium-high heat. When melted and butter is slightly browned, add in the onion and sauté about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the serrano (or jalapeno) and chopped garlic and cook until fragrant, for about a minute.

Next add in the sliced mushrooms and let cook down for 3-5 minutes, letting the juices come out, which will in turn allow them to dry out.  Follow that with the fresh spinach leaves and salt.  Continue to stir and sauté until mushrooms and spinach have wilted and the mixture is not too wet, but not too dry.

ASSEMBLY:  Again, whether grill or stove top pan, heat to medium and place a tortilla into a dry pan and warm/char (30 seconds).

Flip tortilla over and start to layer the 2 cheeses, the sliced steak and the mushroom-spinach mixture over half of the tortilla (I also added a bit of sliced avocado to this), fold in half and cook a couple minutes until golden brown.  Flip and cook the other side till browned and cheese is gooey!

SERVE:  Place on a platter and cut into wedges (pizza cutter!!); serve with your choice of accompaniments.  I chose pico de gallo, a crunchy cabbage slaw, cilantro, Mexican crema and salsa!  Enjoy!!

OaxacanSteakQuesadilla

 

BBQ Bacon Ranch Meatball Subs

Frozen meatballs are always a staple in my freezer for easy & quick last-minute dinner or appetizer ideas.  However, most of my friends and family get stuck in the rut of only using them for Italian flavored meals, which is great, but let’s change it up just a bit!

Awhile back when trying to think creatively, something struck me when my 6-year-old son asked for BBQ (we do live in Texas and a giant smoker owns our back porch) for dinner.  Well, I hadn’t made my weekly grocery run yet but I did have meatballs in the freezer, a slow-cooker and a few jars of barbecue sauce in the pantry…change my thinking and the standard marinara sopped hoagie was about to receive a southern twist!  After a few ingredients were added and the smells were filtering through my house (did you see there’s bacon too??), I just KNEW I had a winner on my hands!  Boy did I ever!

*You can leave the bacon in strips or chopped.  Ill often do simple crispy strips for my husband and I, but the chopped is easy for lil mouths.

*I also go back and forth with sliced cheese or shredded…sliced is gooey’er but shredded works in a pinch!  I still say cheddar is best here!

*If you’d like this as more of an appetizer you can make them into sliders or just pour onto a serving dish, sprinkle with bacon, cheese and green onions.  Keep toothpicks & cocktail napkins handy!

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 package frozen fully cooked home-style meatballs 
  • 2 jars of your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packet
  • 1 onion, rough chop
  • 1 package bacon, rough chopped and cooked
  • Sliced or shredded cheese (i.e. Cheddar, Jack, Colby)
  • Sub/hoagie rolls, lightly toasted

BBQRanchMeatball1.jpeg

Simple, simple, simple!  First, lightly spray your slow cooker with a non-stick spray and then add in the chopped onions.  Next, add in the frozen meatballs, sprinkle on the ranch dressing dry mix and pour the bbq sauce over top.  Toss to coat.  Cover and set on low for 4-6 hours.  Yep, you’re done until it’s time to assemble the subs!

Fast forward to dinner time…….this is how I serve ours:

I preheat my broiler and line a baking sheet with foil.  I first halve the hoagie buns lengthwise and give a light toast under the broiler (watch veryyyyy carefully as it goes quick!).  Then, buns still on baking sheet, I scoop on about 4-5 of the meatballs along with extra bbq sauce onto the toasted rolls from the slow cooker.  Finally, top with the crunchy cooked bacon and then copious amounts of cheese.  Place back under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly…enjoy!!

BBQMeatballSub4

Cheesy Jalapeno Bacon Brussels

Well, we’re under a tornado watch here in Texas.  Ah the beauty of Spring in the south, right?  That all being said, I’m not really keen on taking my boys and I outside to play this fine afternoon, so I figured it was time to update my other love.  My food blog.

This spin on one of my favorite recipes by Lisa Fain, aka The Homesick Texan, will even have your “I loathe Brussels sprouts” friend’s socks knocked right off!  I’m not kidding…I am a Libra and I do not lie, I am fair and loyal and tell no tales.  It’s damn good!

So next time you see those intimidating sprouts waiting for your approval and love in your local supermarket, please do your dinner party and that loathing friend a favor.  It’s easy, unique and impressive.  It’s Cheesy Jalapeno Bacon Brussels Sprouts!

*If you do not have a cast iron pan, pour the mix into a broiler proof baking dish prior to placing in the oven. 

**You can remove the seeds and pith from the jalapeno if desired…but I always ask, “why??” 😉

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved/quartered
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (1 Tbsp grease reserved)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, minced
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 heaping Tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 8oz pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 4oz cheddar cheese, shredded
  • a  hefty pinch each of salt, pepper, cayenne and cumin

Brussels1

Begin this tasty side dish by crisping up your bacon, while also bringing a stock pot of salted water to a boil.

Once the water has begun to boil, add in the prepared Brussels sprouts (stems trimmed and halved or quartered) and let cook for 6-7 minutes.  Once tender, pour into a colander and run cold water over to stop the cooking.  *Also set aside the now cooked bacon.

Preheat your ovens broiler and place a rack about 6″ from the top.

In a 10-inch cast iron skillet on low heat, melt the butter along with the reserved bacon grease.  Add in the minced jalapenos and let sweat down for 2 minutes, followed by the minced garlic for the last 30 seconds.  Next, add in the flour and whisk for about 1-2 minutes till browned and then pour in the whole milk while, again, continuously whisking.  Stir ever so often for the next 5-7 minutes as the mixture thickens.  Careful not to let it come to a boil.

Stir in 1/2 of the shredded cheese and the spices.  Keep stirring allowing for the cheese to turn into a real gooey cheese sauce.  Make sure to taste test here; I always add a bit more salt and cayenne than you may think needed.  Next fold in 3/4th of the cooked bacon and the par-cooked Brussels.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 of shredded cheese all over top of the Brussels and place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes.  Careful to watch closely and do not let burn!  Every oven is so very different!

Once browned and bubbly, remove, sprinkle with the remaining bacon crumbles and allow to rest for a few minutes..it is hot!!

Serve warm and ENJOY folks!!

Brussels2

 

 

 

Turkey and Brie Quesadillas w/ a Roasted Apple Pico de Gallo

Whether you’re hosting a ladies brunch, a dinner party or would just like to elevate your weeknight dinner with an EASY, yet impressive meal…this recipe will do the trick!  

The sweet and savory flavors are just outstanding!  You also have creaminess from the brie, sweetness from the roasted grapes and cranberries, freshness from the spinach and a nice crunch from the apples, pecans and browned tortilla.  Flavor sensation bliss!

…And don’t you dare say that you “cannot cook” or it sounds “too hard” or “too fancy”.  You can and it’s neither!  This entire recipe will take less than an hour to prepare whether you use it for a meal or an hors d’oeuvre.p at your next get together…and who can’t slap together a flipping quesadilla, because that’s exactly what it is!

*the Pico de Gallo can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until use.

*I recommend the best, quality deli roasted turkey.  My local grocer here in Texas, HEB, actually rotisserie’s whole turkeys and I have them slice up one pound on a number 2 setting.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb quality deli turkey, sliced thin
  • 8 oz wheel brie cheese, sliced
  • 4 10″ flour tortillas 
  • 1 1/2 cups Spinach leaves, fresh
  • 2 sweet onions, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • Butter, 1 /2 stick, divided

Roasted Apple Pico de Gallo

  • 1 large honey crisp apple, sliced and chopped
  • 1 cup seedless red grapes
  • 1/2 cup cranberries, fresh (frozen is fine)
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp honey, divided 1:1
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon, divided

Begin this simple, but oh so fancy tasting recipe by preparing the sweet pico de gallo…preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a small baking sheet with foil.

While the oven is preheating you’ll begin to caramelize the onions.  In a sauté pan over medium low heat, place the sliced onions and 3 tbsp butter (plus a pinch of salt and sugar) and allow to cook down till soft and that beautiful caramel color.  Meanwhile….


In a large bowl, gently fold together the grapes, cranberries (again, completely frozen here is just fine), 1 tablespoon of the honey,  1 Tbsp melted butter and 1/4 tsp of the cinnamon.  Pour onto the baking sheet in a single layer.  Place in the oven and allow to roast for 20 minutes.

Once finished, pour the roasted grapes and cranberries, plus juices, back into the large bowl and allow to cool.  Remember, you’re still cooking down those onions…

To the cooled, roasted fruit:  add the apples (I like to chop right before to avoid browning), green onions, pecans, jalapeño (optional) and remaining 1 Tbsp of honey and 1 tsp of cinnamon.  Toss gently to coat together. 


In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard and the honey.

Assembly time!!  Preheat a large skillet to medium heat and add 1 tbsp of butter to melt.  On each tortilla, spread 1 Tbsp of the Dijon-honey mixture on one side and lay (uncoated side down) into the hot pan.  Top half of the tortilla with the sliced turkey, spinach, brie slices and the caramelized onions.  Fold in half and allow to brown; flip to brown the other side.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Makes 4 filling quesadillas.

Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes and using a pizza cutter, slice each browned quesadilla into 4 triangles.  Place the slices on a large platter along with a bowl of the Roasted Apple Pico de Gallo for garnishing…enjoy!!  

Mexican Tater Tot Casserole

Some parts call this a casserole, others call it a hot-dish..but I simply call it goodness!  Growing up we ate many a meal where you would add meat, a cream of something soup, cheese and vegetables mixed in and it was always good.  However, it was always the same.  Same, same, same.  So now that we live in a more foodie inspired world (I know, the word “foodie” would gasp to hear her name in regards to a casserole), I thought we could take the standard, cream of mushroom tater tot casserole, up a notch or 5!

Like always, feel free to tweak to your likeness.  Swap out the beef for ground turkey or chicken, the pinto beans for black beans and corn, or change up the cheese a bit!  Just don’t change it too much or you will no longer have that comforting classic we all grew up with and loved!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1lb ground beef, lean
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 15oz can pinto beans, drained
  • 1 4oz can diced green chiles
  • 1 pckg Mexican blend cheese, shredded
  • 1 pckg tater tots, enough to cover evenly

Spices (You can also easily use a taco seasoning packet)

  • I used a mix of cumin, chili powder, coriander, mexican oregano, salt, chipotle chili powder and whisked together.

Garnish (optional)

  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro
  • Jalapeños
  • Black olives
  • Green onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Salsa



Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a baking dish (9×13 or similar) with non-stick spray.  Place on top of a baking sheet to catch any sauce drippings or melty cheese!
Next, bring a large skillet to medium/medium-high heat and add in the ground beef, chopped onion and the seasoning packet/spices, followed by the minced garlic for the last minute.  If necessary drain the grease from here.  I, however, used a very lean beef to avoid this one extra step. 😉  Cook through.

To that same skillet with the now cooked ground beef, add in the pinto beans, green chiles, half of the cheese and half of the enchilada sauce.  Stir to combine and then carefully pour into the casserole dish. Top with them taters!

Drizzle the remaining enchilada sauce overtop the taters and place in the oven (uncovered to get crispy) for 40-45 minutes.

Time is up, so sprinkle on that last bit of cheese overtop and allow to melt in the oven, about 3-5 minutes.  You can even broil it if you like that extra crispness!  

Once to your liking remove from the oven and allow to rest for about 5 minutes…this thing is HOT!!!

Finally top with the garnishes of your choice and serve up!  Enjoy!  **I recommend the sour cream once served as it’s quite hot and will melt quick! 😉 

Texas Taco Joes

This is another FUN meal that the entire family will love!!  A spin on the classic “Sloppy Joe” with an open-face, TexMex twist!  

The meat topping can be made to your desired heat level (or use ground turkey, pork or chicken if you’re not a beef fan) and then the toppings can range to what I listed below or can go waayyyy beyond that!!

*If your grocer doesn’t carry “Texas Toast” in the bread aisle…move.  

… Just kidding 😂, you may check the freezer section OR buy a large bread loaf in the bakery and just slice it at least a good 1-1/2″ thick!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, chopped 
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes, “Mexican Style lime & cilantro” (don’t drain)
  • 1 can green chilis
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Texas toast 

Garnish (optional)

  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Chopped onion
  • Diced tomatoes 
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Avocado slices
  • Black olives    

Heat a pan up to medium with the ground beef and the chopped onion *add about 2Tbsp of EVOO if using a very lean meat.  Cook until the onions are translucent and the meat is browned. 

 In that same pan (draining grease IF necessary), add in the taco seasoning along with the can of Rotel tomatoes, green chili’s and water.  Stir, bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer.   Cover the mixture and walk away till thickened *about 15 minutes. 

     While the meat mixture is thickening, we’ll toast those fat slices of bread.  Aka “Texas Toast”.  Now you can do this as you wish, oven or toaster, but I layed a bunch of slices down on a baking sheet and popped it under the broiler of my oven for just a minute till toasted!

The fun part has arrived!!  Preparing your own Texas Taco Joe with the toppings of your choice!  I’m a fan of “the works” and add everything but the kitchen sink to mine, but to each their own!!  Enjoy! 

 

Chili Blanco

I’ve never met a chili I didn’t like, seriously.  With beans, without beans (‘Bowl of Red’), smoked chipotle, turkey, molé style…I could go on and on and on..and I will.

Contrary to its pale appearance, the recipe below for Chili Blanco (blanco means white 😉) is hardly pale in flavor.  The roasted peppers add depth with a touch of heat, the Monterey Jack cheese and white beans add creaminess and the cumin, oregano, cayenne and garlic round out that south-of-the-border flavor.  This one here is a winner when you’re looking to branch out on your chili culinary adventure!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1lb white beans (Great White Northern), soaked overnight & rinsed OR 3 cans, drained & rinsed
  • 3 cups cooked shredded & chopped chicken (you can use a rotisserie chicken if needed)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 (4oz) cans of chopped green chilis
  • 1 roasted poblano, skinned, seeded & chopped
  • 1 roasted jalapeño, skinned, seeded & chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 48oz chicken broth
  • 1 cup Jack cheese, shredded
  • EVOO 

Garnish Ideas

  • Avocado slices
  • Cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Lime wedges
  • Jack cheese, shredded  

Assuming your chicken is cooked, beans are soaked and rinsed (if using dried) and your poblano & Jalapeno have been roasted, etc…let’s begin!! Whew!… 

 In a large dutch oven over medium heat, add in about 2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Once heated, toss in the onions and cook till translucent (about 10 minutes). 

 To the sweated down onions, add in the green chilis, poblano, jalapeño, garlic, cumin, mexican oregano & cayenne. Stir together for 1 minute. 
   Next add in the beans, chicken broth and the shredded & chopped chicken and bring to a low boil. 
 Once the bubbles start rolling, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Stir about every hour or so for 2-3 hours (1 hour if using canned beans…but the longer the better either way really).
Finally, about 30 minutes before you plan to eat, mix in that cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Re-cover and allow to melt in! 
 Serve this complex flavored chili with a dollop of sour cream, fresh cilantro, avocado slices and a lime wedge…oh and don’t forget more cheese and a fresh tortilla for dunking!! Enjoy! xo 
 

%d bloggers like this: