Tag Archives: Cheddar Cheese

Beer Cheese Dip

You’ve heard of Beer Cheese Soup I’m sure, but have you ever heard of, or tasted Beer Cheese Dip?

I made some Friday for my weekly get together with the NPA club, and I think they liked it.   I got the idea for the recipe from one I saw on Facebook, and then played with it.  And played a little more.

Well, I had to taste test it.

And the fact I had to use beer in it, not the whole bottle though, was a good thing.   There was no leftover beer when I was done.

Beer Cheese Dip

8 oz. Cream Cheese  (use low fat if you like), creamed
1-2 teaspoons Ranch Dressing Dip

1/2 cup-1/2 bottle of beer

4 oz. shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Mix all that together, and put in fridge to let the flavours come together and dance.

Serve with pretzels or salty potato chips or gee, put some on a baked potato.  I don’t know, I just know it was good, and really kinda different.

Ostestænger (Cheese Straws) og Ostemedaljer (Cheese Medallions)

I joined some friends for a little get together last Sunday   And was trying to think of what I could bring/make/share. I really didn’t want to run to town to get something special.    As it just so happened, I was looking through my copy of Danish Home Baking, by Karen Berg and found this recipe.   Simple, tasty and good.

A lot of the recipes in this book assume a certain level of expertise. Most recipes are baked in a moderate, fast or slow, or hot oven.   I’ve had very little difficulty in translating moderate, fast and slow to degrees, but will add the recommended temperatures here.

Oven 400-425 degrees  (depends on your oven)
Basic Recipe from the book
1 cup butter
1 2/3 cup flour
2 cups grated cheese, mild
pinch of paprika
pinch of salt
1 egg for brushing

Mix the grated cheese with the flour, salt and paprika.   Work in the butter.

Pat the dough into a rectangle and set aside to cool.   When cold, roll out to roughly 24 inches long by 5 inches wide.  Brush with egg and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Cut into approximately 50 straws.   Place on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake very pale golden.   On no account allow to get browned as they will then taste bitter.
I also made a roll of the dough and cut circles from it, the dough was so tender, I had to keep adding flour, and I thought, gee, cheese crackers, hmm, that might be fun too.   And I was running out of time to get them all baked and into the oven before I had to be there

So, I formed the dough into a roll and then just cut slices from it, and flattened them out just a little with my French Rolling Pin.

You can see the little bits of herb from the flavoured butter I used.   Do try this, it did add a lot to the flavour of the crackers.  In fact, next time I make them, I’m just going to add some fresh chopped garlic, parsley and whatever other herbs I have from the garden.   I’m thinking a touch of Rosemary would be awesome in these as well.
My changes:
I used a 1/4 cup of this herbed butter from Kerrygold instead of 1/4 cup of regular butter.  I keep a cube of this on hand when I want a little oomph from my butter.   A little goes a long way.  I use it a lot of different ways.

I also did not add any salt as I was already using salted butter.   I added a good 1/4 teaspoon of Cayenne powder and the cheese I used was a colby-jack cheese.    I baked one pan at 350 degrees, but it was not hot enough, and so the next pan was baked at 425 degrees.    It took about 15 minutes, to bake, but I did check after 10 minutes.

I liked them, but when I make them again, and I will, I am going to add a little more flour, maybe a little water, and make them less of a pie crust like cracker.   I think they would be better if they were a little more like a crisp cracker.

The feedback I got on these was positive, especially when they were crumbled into a bowl of home made baked beans.  Jon makes the best baked beans ever.   Had to plug them there.

Shrimp and Grits and Boat Club this month.

I love grits, plain with some butter and syrup on top, or loaded with cheese and served alongside some fish.   I’ve even had leftover grits, fried and with jam on top.  That was a little strange however.     But I think I now have a dish in my repertoire that I will make again and again.

I would have followed this recipe which I got from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage and she got from the Homesick Texan cookbook, but as I think I’ve said in the past, I live in a very small town and our little grocery store doesn’t carry a lot of stuff.   And when you have to drive over 30 miles to the next largest town to get some items, you make do.   And I made do, with some rather nice results.

This recipe called for fresh tomatillo’s, or canned.   Our grocery store doesn’t carry fresh tomatillo’s but they used to carry canned ones so I thought I was safe I could plan accordingly.  Well, gee, guess what, they don’t carry that either, anymore.   So I improvised, and it worked out well.  I always have at least 2 cans of La Costena Green Mexican Salsa in my cupboard.  It goes great over Peggy’s Paparito’s.    I served the Grits with Lime Tequila shrimp.

Cheezy Tomatillo Salsa Grits

2 cups milk

2 cups water

1 1/3 cup grits

2 cans La Costena Green Salsa (7.76 oz can or 220 gram)

4 oz. shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

4 oz. Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Cook grits in the milk/water until done.

Then stir in the green tomatillo salsa,

let it heat through a little, then stir in the cheeses.

Serve immediately with some Lime Tequila Shrimp.

Poaching  liquid  for Lime Tequila Shrimp

2 pounds shrimp, in shell or shelled.

2 quarts water

2 tablespoons lightly cracked peppercorns

1 teaspoon or more to taste, cayenne pepper

1 bottle beer

1 lemon, quartered and juice squeezed into pot

1 teaspoon dill

1 teaspoon celery seed

2 teaspoons salt

2 bay leaves

Prepare poaching liquid by letting it come to a boil and simmering it for a few minutes to release the spices into the water.   Avoid standing over the pot and inhaling the wonderful smell as the cayenne pepper can become rather strong.   Just keep your distance, not too far away.

Add the shrimp to the boiling water, one-third at a time.   Remove the shrimp after a couple of minutes, or when they start to float up and turn pink.

Place them on a baking sheet to cool down so you can peel them later if needed or desired.   Set them aside while poaching the rest of the shrimp.

Lime Tequila Shrimp

2 lbs. Poached Shrimp (use above recipe or make your own)

4 tablespoons melted butter

2 oz. tequila (I use Hornito Sauza)

2 oz fresh lime juice

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Melt butter in pan, add shrimp, tequila, lime juice and cilantro.

Warm through for just a couple of minutes or less, then serve alongside the Tomatillo Salsa Grits.

Oh,  and there were other dishes last night at the Boat Club as well:

Kathy made some Pork Tenderloins with a totally yummy dipping sauce and some stuffed mushrooms.   The dipping sauce is basically marmalade melted in the microwave, mixed with some soy sauce.   She had some ginger marmalade here and, oh was it good.   This is a great dip for coconut shrimp as well.

We also had an awesome Potato Salad with fresh apples and dill.

Tabouli, which I love.   I can’t wait for my parsley plant to recover from the butterfly caterpillars feasting on it so I can make some Tabouli again.  This was so fresh tasting.

We also had Ham

And some peas and snaps with fresh corn bread.  ( I think I love the south, all the legume dishes I’ve learned to cook here)

You have to cook cornbread in an iron skillet.  Really, you do.  Otherwise you don’t get that nice crust and the texture seems to come out all wrong as well.   This was some of the best cornbread I’ve had in a long time.

We also had some really great pickled cucumbers and beets.   Such a great accompaniment to the meal.

There is nothing as good as home pickled beets.  I think I could have eaten all the beets by myself.   I did practice some restraint however, I only ate some of them.

I can’t forget my contribution either, here’s the final Shrimp and Grits

As usual, great food, even better company and a good time was had by all.

Spinach Maria and Boat Club for June

I am so thankful for being able to attend our monthly potlucks at Boat Club, it means I get to try lots of new dishes and if I’m lucky I get recipes as well.  The best of both worlds.    And last night was no exception.

We had everything from ham to salad to desserts.    We really do have the best cooks here.  I say that every month, but it’s true.

And I have to admit to taking the easy way out this time.   I made my Blooming Onion bread and a Black Olive Tapenade, mainly cause I had the ingredients to hand and they were easy to make, and I wasn’t feeling inspired.  I did change up the Blooming Onion Bread a little, mainly cause I had some cheddar cheese and some Pepper Jack cheese that I’d already sliced and that were in the freezer.    And of course I always have at least one can of Black Olives on hand so I can make a quick Tapenade.  I used some Ciabatta rolls I had in the freezer for the Tapenade, and that worked well also.

Now without further ado, drum roll please….   Here are the dishes we had last night and I’m following that with the recipe for the Spinach Maria, which was OMG good.


Blooming Onion Bread


Tapenade with Ciabatta Roll slices  


Spicy Asian White Bean Dip




Fresh Sliced Cucumbers


Spinach Maria


Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno’s


Fresh carrots and tomatoes




More Dessert


Creamsicle Cookies



And here’s the recipe for the Spinach Maria.   And this was shamelessly copied from this blog Nibble Me This  which has some really yummy looking recipes and stunning photography.     This is usually served in little ramekins at Calhoun’s restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee.


Calhoun’s Spinach Maria


5 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach

4 1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 3/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper

1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon butter

5 tablespoons melted butter

6 tablespoons flour

8 ounces  Velveeta cheese

8 ounces cheddar cheese

4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese

1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese (for topping)

Thaw spinach in refrigerator for 24 hours. Squeeze as much excess water as possible out of spinach. Heat milk and spices in 4-quart saucepan on medium heat to just below a boil (190 degrees). Then reduce heat and simmer. Saute chopped onion in 1 tablespoon butter on medium heat for 5-8 minutes. Add to saucepan. Combine 5 tablespoons melted butter with flour in a small suate pan. (This is the first step of making a roux, which will thicken the sauce.) Mix until completely blended. Cook on low heat 3-4 minutes to make roux. Add roux to milk in saucepan and mix well. Continue to cook until sauce thickens.

Cut Velveeta, cheddar and Jack cheese into small cubes and add to saucepan. Continue to mix until all the cheese is completely melted and blended into sauce. Be careful not to burn the sauce while cheese is melted. Remove from heat. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Add drained spinach to cheese sauce, mix until completely blended. Spoon into 11-by-9-by-2-inch casserole dish and top with grated Monterey Jack cheese. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, until hot and bubbly.


‘Egg Rolls, Stuffed Mushrooms and May Boat Club.

Well even with the craziness here, I’m still cooking. This week was Boat Club, and I made ‘Egg Rolls’ from my friend Marge’s recipe. It’s not the first time I’ve made them and brought them to Boat Club, but they were well received again. It’s always fun to make stuff that others enjoy eating, for some reason it adds to my enjoyment of cooking.
I also made some stuffed mushrooms with some dried tomatoes I’d had in the cupboard, added them to some lovely ripe Brie cheese that needed to be eaten, as well as a couple of other ingredients and have to say they were very tasty. At least I liked them. And since they disappeared in short order I’m assuming that others thought they were as well.
And now for the moment you’ve been waiting for, the dishes that were brought and eaten at Boat Club this month. And after that will follow the recipe for the Egg Rolls as well as the Stuffed Brie Mushrooms. So, sit back, grab a napkin (to wipe the drool off with), and it wouldn’t hurt to have a snack handy either. As usual, everything was so good. And I regretted eating way too much, again. But, what can I say, when we have such awesome cooks, it’s really hard not to over do it a little.

Mushrooms and Egg Rolls
Roast Chicken
Fried Chicken
Cheesecake Bites
Veggie Casserole
Strawberries and Angel Food Cake
Lemon Bites
Black Bass
Chile Dip
‘Marge’s Egg Rolls’
12 hard cooked eggs, mashed up with a fork
½ – ¾ cup Miracle Whip (enough to moisten the eggs)
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon Mustard (I used Spicy Brown Mustard)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1-2 bunches green onions, minced
Sourdough Rolls, cut in half lengthwise, then cut into quarters or
I used 16 Brown and Serve rolls, cut in half. This tastes best on Sourdough Rolls, but hey, in my neck of the woods, we take what we can get.
8 oz. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Mix the eggs, Miracle Whip, Mustard, salt and pepper together, you want this moist but not too moist. Mound on top of the rolls, top with the shredded Cheddar Cheese and place under the broiler until the cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Egg Rolls ready for their cheese topping
Stuffed Brie Mushrooms
1 lb. Fresh Mushrooms, stems removed
4-6 oz. Brie cheese
4-6 slices Sun dried Mushrooms, (the kind that comes in oil), minced
6 oz. Cream Cheese
½ cup Panko Bread crumbs
Mix the cheese, tomatoes and bread crumbs together and stuff them into the mushroom caps. Bake in a moderate oven, 350 deg. for about 15-20 minutes, or until the mushrooms are done. Broil them for another minute or so to brown the tops, then serve.

Tomatoes, Brie and Cream cheese
Mushroom Stuffing mix
I think the next time I make these, I’ll add some fresh chopped Basil to the top when I serve them, I meant to this time, but as usual I got into a time crunch and forgot to ‘garnish’ them. But people ate them anyway.

Seriously Good Mac and Cheese

After making Mac and Cheese for the senior lunch a couple of weeks ago I received a lot of  comments on how good the dish was, and I posted the recipe that I used for that.  But that one made a whole lotta Mac and Cheese and would probably be more than you really need to make for a gathering.   So when I was asked to bring Mac and Cheese for Easter I decided to make a smaller amount.  And still ended up with more than we needed, but that’s OK, I like leftovers.

To start with, get a big old pot of water boiling.   You need to add a little salt and I like to add some olive oil to the water as well.    Cook the macaroni to your preferred level of done-ness.   Personally, I like mine cooked all the way, about 11 or 12 minutes.

While the macaroni is cooking, grate the cheese.   I used a pound of Colby Jack cheese, but you can use a mixture of Monterey Jack Cheese and Cheddar Cheese.   If you have some sharp cheddar handy, throw some of that in there.     Sprinkle the grated cheese with about a tablespoon of cornstarch and toss.   Set this aside while you make a white sauce.

Heat up 4 cups of half and half or whole milk, until almost boiling.  Then in a separate pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter and stir in 2 tablespoons flour, then add the hot milk and whisk together and cook until thickened.   Your sauce won’t be real thick, don’t worry about that.   As soon as it’s cooked a little to get rid of the raw flour taste, dump in the grated cheese and stir together.   The cheese will melt at this point and that bit of cornstarch on the cheese will help to keep the cheese from separating.   Add about 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/8th teaspoon hot mustard powder or two tablespoons prepared yellow mustard and 1/8th teaspoon cayenne pepper to the sauce at this point.   Taste, and adjust the seasonings, you can always add more, but taking out that cayenne pepper, well, let me just say this, it ain’t possible.  (I know this from experience).

Let it stand a couple of minutes while you cube up some Velveeta cheese.   I used the new Queso Blanco.   Just about a cup or so, again to your taste.   Mix the cubed velveeta into the hot macaroni and stir, then pour the cheese sauce over, mix it all together gently.

Top with some panko bread crumbs that you’ve mixed with a little butter, and sprinkle over the top.   I melt some butter in a little pan and then add the Panko to it and stir it around, and brown it just a little teensy bit.

This time round I also added about a half cup of shredded cheese to it as well.    Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Take out of oven and let stand for 10 minutes, then serve.    And at this point, stand well back from the pan, you’re going to have people elbowing into the line.     This is some seriously good Mac and Cheese.

Sauce Recipe for Mac and Cheese

4 cups half and half, heated almost to boiling.
2 tablespoons flour mixed with 2 tablespoons butter to form a roux
1 pound grated Colby Jack cheese, or,
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese grated and
1/2 pound Cheddar Cheese, grated
1 cup Sharp Cheddar cheese grated (optional)
1 tablespoon cornstarch, sprinkled over the cheese
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot mustard powder or
2 tablespoons yellow mustard,
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Heat milk almost to boiling and set aside.   Melt butter in a saucepan, add flour and stir together to make a roux.    Add the hot half and half and whisk together until it has thickened.   Add the spices, whisk together and then add the cheese.   Stir together until melted and the sauce has thickened a little.   Pour over the cooked macaroni and Velveeta Cheese cubes.   Mix together gently and sprinkle some buttered Panko bread crumbs on top.   Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until nice and bubbly and hot.  Take out and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.   This stuff is HOT when it comes out of the oven, and needs to rest, besides which, you’ll just burn your tongue if you try to eat it fresh out of the oven.   I know this because, well, let me just say my tongue is just fine now.

Senior’s Lunch 3/29 and Mac and Cheese for a crowd.

I think I left you with the fact that as I was trying to make a chocolate sauce last week, I managed to scorch it, sigh, which meant I had to start all over again.  But I made it.  I got another sauce done and on the cake and it was good.   We also did our usual crazy last-minute stuff and managed to get the food ready and waiting for our people to come and eat.   The menu this week was:

Fried Tilapia
Mac and Cheese
Chicken and Rice Casserole
Sliced Red and Yellow Tomatoes
Sliced Bread and Fresh Home Made Butter
Deviled Eggs

Fried Tilapia
Mac and Cheese


Chicken and Rice Casserole




Sliced tomatoes


Home Made Butter and Bread


Hush Puppies


Deviled Eggs

And I have to say that the Mac and Cheese was really good, and just to give you an idea of how much I made, here’s the recipe, but please remember I eyeballed a lot of this, and added until it tasted right.

3- 3 pound boxes of Elbow Macaroni, cooked.  (this really makes a lot, each box serves 24)
1 lb. grated Monterey Jack Cheese
1 lb. grated Cheddar Cheese
1/2 lb. grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Toss the grated cheese with a couple tablespoons of cornstarch, keeps it from sticking to itself and, very important, keeps it from separating while cooking.
2 lbs. Velveeta Queso Cheese, cut into cubes

2 quarts Half and Half
4-6 tbsp.  Cornstarch
1/2 cup yellow mustard,   (could have been a little more, I was eyeballing it).
3 tsp.  onion powder
1 tsp Cayenne powder.

1 1/2 packages of Panko Bread Crumbs
1 cup butter (approx).

Grease two large baking pans, I’ll have to measure them next week and let you know just how big they were, but anyway, then divide the cooked macaroni into the dishes, half into each one.
Divide the grated cheese into two portions, and add half to each pan of macaroni, give it a little stir, you don’t want it clumping up into one big cheesy clump.    Then chunk up each one pound package of Velveeta and add the cubes to the hot macaroni, stir.   Set aside while you make a white sauce out of the half and half and cornstarch.   Then pour half of the white sauce over each pan of macaroni, give it a stir and top with the buttered Panko Bread crumbs.   Bake until heated through, about 45 minutes or so, and the crumbs are browned a little.     This made a lot, and it was very good.    I’m actually going to be making this again, and taking it to a friends house for part of Easter dinner, so I’ll post the more reasonable proportions for a family size recipe later.     However, if you’re making Mac and Cheese for a large group of people, this recipe is spot on.