because what is life without good food?

Posts tagged “Cheddar

Turkey Tomato White Cheddar Melt

Smoked Turkey Tomato White Cheddar Melt

This is the sandwich I made with the Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade.

It is simply delicious and it’s something you can totally make in a rush. If you’ve got the tapenade in your fridge, the sandwich comes together in a few minutes. All you need is a whole wheat bun, some turkey, sweet onion, fresh garden tomato and some extra sharp white cheddar cheese. If you have a couple large basil leaves that is an excellent finishing touch.

I had about 30 minutes between errands and my daughter’s dance class last weekend to make myself and her something to eat. This is what I made for ME because while I had fed the kids breakfast, I ran out of time to feed myself, so by lunchtime I was starving. In a rush, I started grabbing things from the fridge and this was what became of it.

I managed to snap a few photos somehow before I chowed it down and ran out the door to get my girl to her dance class.

Turkey Tomato White Cheddar Melt

Turkey Tomato White Cheddar Melt

For each sandwich (two halves):

  • 1 whole wheat bun, sliced in half, lightly toasted
  • Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade (recipe here)
  • Thinly sliced sweet onion
  • A couple very thin slices natural smoked turkey
  • A slice or two of fresh garden tomato for each side
  • Slices of extra sharp white cheddar cheese
  • A couple large fresh basil leaves (or several smaller ones)


  1. Slice each half of the bun with a good layer of roasted pepper tomato tepenade.
  2. Set it on a baking sheet, then arrange several thin slices of sweet onion on top of the tepenade.
  3. Cover with the thin slices of smoked turkey and then a slice or two of tomato (whatever fits!). Top the tomato with a couple slices of white cheddar cheese.
  4. Bake at 400 until the cheese is good and hot and bubbly and melty.
  5. Top with a couple fresh basil leaves. Enjoy!

Turkey Tomato White Cheddar Melt

This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth MondayTotally Tasty TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowTasty TuesdayShow & Share WednesdayCast Party WednesdayNewlyweds Recipe LinkyThursday’s Treasures, Friday Food Fight and All my Bloggy Friends.

Happiness & a Mushroom Tomato Skillet Frittata

Smoky Mushroom & Tomato Skillet Frittata

Last night my facebook page zoomed past 10,000 “likes” when I wasn’t looking. I was out having a glass of wine with my friend, talking out all the things we needed to talk about, sharing things we probably wouldn’t ever tell anyone else.

How did it zoom by without me so quickly? I think it’s because I’ve been doing an A-Z health challenge on my facebook page. Every day there is a letter, you choose one thing that starts with that letter and share the health benefits of your chosen thing. A was Avocado, B was Basil, C was Cilantro, D was Dill. E was Eggs. F was Flax. Yesterday was G and I chose Garlic. Somewhere along the way I invited my foodie friends to join in and share facts or recipes on my page. That’s when things really got fun. Suddenly I wasn’t talking to myself anymore … everyone was joining in and we had such a spread of beautiful recipes and wonderful conversations going on everywhere.

10,063 likes on facebook

Today is the letter H and because I’m so HAPPY, I’ve asked everyone to share what makes them happy. And I thought I better take a minute to share what makes me happy. Each and every one of you that comment, visit, or like me on facebook or Pinterest or twitter: you make me happy. You are what makes all of the time and effort I put into this blog worthwhile.

What makes me happy?

Snuggling, hugs, curling up with my cat, the many shades of green leaves on the trees, joking with my son, hearing my daughter sing, seeing her dance, visiting my parents, talking with my sisters, playing with my nieces and nephews, going for long walks and hikes in beautiful, natural spaces, a text or visit from a friend, yoga, a genuine smile. Art. Live music. Singing. Beautiful architecture. History and Books. Sunrise on the lake.

Beautiful morning at Big Stone Lake

Thunderstorms and rain, rainbows, blue sky, clouds, flowers, sunshine, seeing a deer or beautiful bird or a bat flying in the sky. Dragonflies and butterflies. Mountains. Plants. ANYTHING purple. Looking at the stars somewhere away from the city where you can see so many more of them. Riding on a boat, canoeing, sailing. Swimming. Camping. Dancing. The sound of waves and the feel of water and sand on my toes. Opening the windows and feeling a slight breeze through my house. Travelling. Meeting new people and seeing new things, trying new foods and seeing the world from a different perspective. Coming home. Breathing freely. Being healthy and so grateful to be alive.

A hot cup of chai on a chilly morning, dinner on the patio, a really good smooth dark chocolate. Having a drawer full of different wonderful cheeses, a bottle of wine and several lovely dark beers in my refrigerator. Picking berries, vegetables, herbs or flowers and eating them fresh. Hot soup and the smell of fresh bread baking on a cool or rainy day. Thai food. Or Mexican or Greek or anything funky and ethnic. Baking cinnamon rolls with my daughter, making up new recipes with my son. A beautiful salad. Little toasts! Pizza. Cold sweet ice cream on a hot day. Cooking. Having a handsome man cook for me and rub my back or my feet. Growing herbs. Foraging. Writing and reading and sharing with all of the wonderful foodies that have graced my life with their presence.

Smoky Mushroom & Tomato Skillet Frittata

Smoky Mushroom Tomato Skillet Frittata

Cheese is one of those things that send me into a happy oblivion. Dofino cheese noticed this and sent me a bunch of cheeses. One of the cheeses they sent me was this smoked havarti which is very creamy and has an intense smoky taste, which blends so well with mushroom, tomato and eggs and a bit of smoky bacon.

  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • 2 cups mushrooms
  • 1/4  – 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh spinach or swiss chard
  • A small handful of fresh herbs (basil, oregano, thyme)
  • 2 – 4 eggs (depending on how fluffy you want your frittata … I used 2, but it was a little flat)
  • 1 slice lean bacon, fried crisp, cooled and crumbled or chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (sharp cheddar, smoked havarti, & asiago, mixed)


  1. In a skillet pan, melt the butter, then add the mushrooms. Sautee for a few minutes, add the tomato & onion. Cover and cook for a few minutes, then uncover and sautee until the onions are soft. Add the spinach and sautee briefly until wilted.
  2. Put the vegies in a bowl, mix with the herbs, and set aside. Clean out the pan. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with a spoonful of water for each egg. Sprinkle with Red Robin Seasoning (or just salt) and freshly ground pepper.
  3. Heat the skillet to medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Pour in the eggs and let them cook for just a moment to start setting up. Quickly spread the vegie mixture over the eggs, sprinkle with bacon and top with the shredded cheese. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and let cook till the cheese is melted. Remove from heat and serve immediately in wedges.

Smoky Mushroom & Tomato Skillet Frittata

What makes you happy? I would love to know!

This recipe was shared at Share It SaturdaysScrumptious SundaysRecipe of the WeekKatherine Martinelli’s Tomato Bloghop and Everyday Mom’s Meals.

Cheddar & Smoked Gouda Roasted Vegie-wich

Cheddar & Smoked Gouda Roasted Vegie Sandwich

Do you want to know a secret? Those Tarragon & Sunflower Roasted Vegetables that I shared the other day? There’s a way to make them even better … I didn’t think it was possible, but my gosh they make an incredible sandwich. Put them on a good bun and then melt smoked cheese over the top and oh my gosh it’s heaven. I’m telling you, you really need to try this.

It was Ann at the Fountain Avenue Kitchen that gave me the idea when she posted her Grilled Pesto Veggiewich, which looks totally yummy, and I LOVE that word: vegiewich! I didn’t have any of that gorgeous multi-grain bread, and I don’t have a panini maker, but I have some really good hot dog buns left over from our camping trip and I have a fridge drawer full of gourmet cheeses from Dofino cheeses that are just dying to be made into something delicious.

And thus a new sandwich is born. I have made this sandwich twice already and I’m going to have another one for lunch today. If you really must, you could add some chicken or something, but trust me, you won’t miss the meat. The vegies and cheese are just divine. It tastes like there’s some magical sauce in there, but I didn’t add any sauce.

Cheddar & Smoked Gouda Roasted Vegie Sandwich

 Cheddar & Smoked Gouda Roasted Vegie-wich

  • Good quality homemade or bakery buns (white or whole wheat … whole wheat of course is healthier)
  • A bunch of Tarragon & Sunflower Roasted Vegetables
  • Smoked gouda cheese, shredded
  • Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded


  1. Take your bun and pile a bunch of the roasted vegetables on it. Shred and mix the cheeses, then cover the vegies with the lovely cheese.
  2. Set the bun on a baking sheet, set it in the oven (or toaster oven) and bake at 350 for 10 minutes or so or until the cheese is nicely melted, the bun is toasted, and the vegies are hot.
  3. Take the vegiewich and put it on your plate and gobble it up while it’s still hot. A little bowl of melon is a lovely accompaniment. Have napkins handy because it might get a little messy …

Cheddar & Smoked Gouda Roasted Vegie Sandwich

This recipe was shared at Thursday’s Treasures, Everyday Mom’s Meals and Share It Saturdays.

Bacon Cheddar Spinach Dip

{a guest post for The Black Peppercorn}

Bacon Cheddar Spinach Dip

My friend Steve over at the Black Peppercorn is off on vacation, so I’m helping tend his blog while he’s away!

Steve is a great blogger who has some great recipes and beautiful photography. I’m proud to count him as one of my foodie friends.

So pop over to the Black Peppercorn for the recipe!

Bacon Cheddar Spinach Dip Recipe

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysCast Party Wednesday, and Weekend Potluck.

Cheddar Chile Chicken Avocado Sandwich on Focaccia

Cheddar Chile Chicken Avocado Sandwich on Toasted Focaccia

I had PLANNED to eat a salad today for lunch, but then the thunderstorms came … loudly announcing their arrival then drenching the world with a sudden rush of raindrops. It was wild and refreshing, definitely needed … but chilly. So the salad I thought would be just perfect for a hot summer day didn’t quite seem like the thing to eat just now. Soup sounded more fitting, but I didn’t want to cook a pot of soup, knowing more hot summer weather is just around the bend.

Right after the thunderstorms came a burst of sunshine. The plants and trees and grass were just beaming with happiness after the rain. You can water them, and they’re okay with that, but they just revel in a good, drenching rain.

I decided on a sandwich. A nice hot sandwich with a bit of spice. If you are lucky enough to have a whole roasted green chile pepper from New Mexico on hand, that would be the perfect addition …

Cheddar Chile Chicken Avocado Sandwich on Toasted Focaccia

Cheddar Chile Chicken Avocado Sandwich on Toasted Focaccia

  • 2 oz. low-fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup light mayo
  • 1 teaspoon green chile powder or 1 Tablespoon finely chopped roasted green chile
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Focaccia bread, sliced horizontally
  • Cooked chicken breast, sliced (or chicken or turkey sandwich meat)
  • Slices of cheddar cheese
  • Onion, sliced thin
  • Tomato slices
  • Lettuce
  • Ripe Avocado

Mix the cream cheese, mayo, green chile, onion powder and paprika. Spread this mixture lightly on the bottom of the focaccia bread, the arrange the sliced chicken to cover the bread. Cover the chicken evenly with sliced cheddar cheese, then set in the oven (or toaster oven) and bake or broil till the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Meanwhile, mash the avocado with a bit of the chile mayo spread and toast the top half of the focaccia. Spread a good thick layer of the mashed avocado on the toasted top half.

Take the bottom half of the sandwich out of the oven when it’s done and top with sliced onion, tomato, lettuce and the top half.

Enjoy immediately.

Cheddar Chile Chicken Avocado Sandwich on Toasted Focaccia

This recipe was shared at Cast Party WednesdayNewlyweds Recipe LinkyFull Plate ThursdayIt’s a Keeper ThursdayTastetastic Thursday, and Weekend Potluck.

Grilled Beer Cheese Sandwich

Grilled Beer Cheese Sandwich

It’s time for the Crazy Cooking Challenge and this month the challenge was to find another blogger’s recipe for Grilled Cheese and make it and blog about, posting it TODAY! I was so sad because I forgot … until Tina said I have all night to make one and get it posted! So yes, I’m in a bit of a scramble to make my sandwich, but I found the PERFECT recipe …

It’s one of my favorite favorite soups … but in a sandwich! Ooh yes! Beer & cheese! What could be better? and OMG this is some serious goodness on a sandwich. Heaven on bread …

Grilled Beer Cheese Sandwich

I should have known, but wasn’t quite prepared for the sweetness of the onion, which, since I didn’t have any beer bread, I caramelized in dark beer. The combination of that sweetness with the spicy garlic peppercorn mustard I used & the sharp cheddar cheese and then that crunch factor from the toasted bread. I just wasn’t ready for this taste explosion, even after sampling quite a few of the onions as I cooked. I grabbed a Leinenkugel Creamy Dark for this … one of my favorites from Leinenkugel.

Grilled Beer Cheese Sandwich

Grilled Beer Cheese Sandwich

Adapted from Honest Fare

  • Thinly sliced yellow onion (I cut up the whole onion, since I know how much they cook down when you caramelize them)
  • 1/2 cup dark beer
  • Olive oil and/or butter
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Some fresh oregano (I used several sprigs from my little plant)
  • Beer bread … but I don’t have any beer bread! So I used French …
  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Garlic Peppercorn (or Dijon) mustard


  1. Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add about 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and swirl around to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onions and cover to cook for a minute or two.
  2. Uncover the pan and stir, stir, stir. When the onions start to brown and stick to the pan, add a splash of beer, cover for a minute, then uncover and stir until the beer is evaporated. Add another splash of beer and do that whole thing again. I did this four times.
  3. Once the beer is gone, add a splash of worcestershire sauce and continue to cook and stir those onions until they are totally limp and caramelized. Season with a little sprinkle of salt and some freshly ground pepper and fresh oregano leaves.
  4. Spread one side of bread with a thin layer of mustard, cover with sliced cheese, a healthy pile of onions, then more cheese and the other side of bread.
  5. Heat a clean pan over medium-low heat and add about a teaspoon of butter and a teaspoon of olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
  6. Set the sandwiches in the pan, cover and cook for just a few minutes till brown on the bottom, then flip, cover and cook for a few minutes till brown on the other side and the cheese is melted.
  7. Enjoy! It’s best with a cold, dark beer, of course!

Grilled Beer Cheese Sandwich


This post is part of the Crazy Cooking Challenge, Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to see all the other great Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in the Cooking Challenge!

This recipe was also shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysTuesday Talent Show,  Cast Party WednesdaysTastetastic Thursday and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.

Chile con Queso y Frijoles

That’s “Mexican Cheese Dip with Beans” for those of us who don’t speak Spanish (and by the way, I don’t speak Spanish … I know a few words … cerveza, queso, chile, frijoles, “Donde es el banos?” and “No habla Espanol” … but that is it!)

Chile con Queso y Frijoles (Mexican Cheese Dip with Beans)

I have been craving some good spicy queso all day today … well, queso or bean dip, I wasn’t quite sure which … so I made both! I just put them together in one.

I used to make Chile con Queso with Velveeta or a can of cheddar cheese soup, but I’ve become increasingly more distrustful of the extra preservatives and things they put in pre-packaged foods, so I decided to make one without that pre-made cheesey stuff. Really, it wasn’t much more difficult, and it turned out just as (if not more) delicious than any Queso I’ve made before. It’s a creamy, cheesy spicy dip that would be perfect for Cinco de Mayo or any fiesta … or for a night alone without the kids (which is me tonight … ah! a little solitude is good for the soul sometimes …)

Chile con Queso y Frijoles (Mexican Cheese Dip with Beans)

Chile con Queso y Frijoles (Mexican Cheese Dip with Beans)

  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup of onion, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup lowfat milk (I used 1%)
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 oz.)
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup roasted, chopped Hatch green chile (I used extra hot, but use mild if you don’t like things too spicy)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons of your favorite salsa
  • 1 cup refried beans
  • 1 teaspoon Red Robin salt (or just add salt to taste)


  1. In a sautee pan or cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat till hot. Add the onion and garlic and sautee for a few minutes until the onion is translucent and soft. (If you like a little “crunch” of onion in your dip like me, reserved half of the onion and add it in later.)
  2. Add the flour and stir to coat all the onion and garlic pieces and soak up all the oil.
  3. Pour in the milk and whisk to dissolve the flour into the milk. Cook for a few minutes over medium heat, whisking constantly or until you have a thick white sauce.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the shredded cheeses. Stir the cheese into the mixture till it’s all melted, then add the green chile, salsa, beans, and Red Robin seasoning.
  5. Serve hot with tortilla chips.

Chile con Queso y Frijoles (Mexican Cheese Dip with Beans)

Guess who got her fingernails painted purple at the teenage slumber party last night?

This recipe was shared at Cinco de Mayo FiestaWeekend Potluck, Sweet & Simple SundaysEveryday Mom’s MealsTrick or Treat TuesdaysKatherine Martinelli’s Bean Blog Hop and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.

Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Confetti Pizza

Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Fiesta Pizza

Yesterday was another dance competition day. Dance competition days are always SO busy … I’m surprised I had time to do anything with food. But I did! While my daughter was getting ready, I had a little time to make myself some lunch. I pulled out a pizza crust from the freezer (one of my sunflower rosemary flatbreads) and started topping it. I went a little crazy with the toppings, but it was fun. And filling. And delicious. A fiesta on a pizza. I had to stop in the middle of it to go help my girl with her hair. Then I had to get my sewing machine out to fix the strap on her costume. But somehow I managed to get my belly happy and full before we left, and that was good.

I even found time to make lunch and a little food care package for my daughter to eat at the competition … they never seem to have any healthy food at dance competitions. I packed her a PB&J on a fresh bun, a package of strawberries and an apple … it was a VERY good thing to have along. Everyone else was eating greasy, over-salted popcorn, donuts, candy, soda and brownies — or fast food they ran out and bought. Some of these dancers were there for over 12 hours. Next time we decided we need to bring a cooler full of food so our kids have something good to eat.

Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Confetti Pizza

Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Confetti Pizza

Makes one individual-sized pizza. If you want a bigger pizza, double the ‘sauce’

  • 1 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/4 of a ripe avocado
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of salsa
  • 1 pizza crust
  • Black beans, cooked
  • Corn, cooked
  • Red onions, thinly sliced
  • Finely chopped jalapeno (or bell pepper, chopped, if you don’t want it so spicy)
  • Chopped fresh tomato
  • Goat cheese crumbles
  • A few slices of sharp cheddar cheese
  • Slices of avocado
  • Green onions, snipped


  1. In a small bowl, smash the avocado with a fork, then mix with the cream cheese and salsa. Spread it all over the pizza crust. If you have any left, use it as a dip with corn chips (oh SO good … Or you could just make extra for dip).
  2. Top with black beans, corn, red onions, jalapeno and tomato.
  3. Dot the pizza with goat cheese crumbles, then add bits of cheddar cheese here and there.
  4. Bake (on a pizza stone, if you have one) at 450 for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the pizza is nice and hot all the way through and the cheddar cheese is melted.
  5. Top with slices of avocado and green onion … and cilantro, if you have it. I didn’t. I wanted some, but they were all out at the store.

Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Confetti Pizza

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s Meals, Talent Show TuesdaysThursday’s Treasures and Recipe of the Week-Secret Ingredient: CornKatherine Martinelli’s Bean Blog Hop and Cinco de Mayo Fiesta.

Mexican Crunchwrap Supreme, My Way

Crunchwrap Supreme My Way

Taco Bell has this thing they call a Crunchwrap Supreme. It’s sort of like a tostada, with Nacho cheese sauce, wrapped in a tortilla, then “toasted” in a pan. It’s really a pretty good idea, but I’ve never actually tried one. Because whenever I saw one, I always thought, “I would have done it a little differently.”

So when Happy Little Tomato posted a Crunchwrap Supreme recipe, I thought, “hey, I could do that” … and then wondered, “hey, why haven’t I?”

And so, I did. Twice now. The first time with taco meat, and then the second time I made a vegetarian version. Both were delicious, and I’m certain they were WAY more nutritious than Taco Bell’s version.

So this is my thinking. It needs refried beans. And more vegies, especially jalapenos. I left out the “nacho cheese” sauce. How about if we just use REAL cheese? Yeah. Let’s do that. And why would you put lettuce INSIDE the crunchwrap? Then it’s gonna get cooked … ew. Let’s keep the lettuce on the outside, along with the salsa. Now you’re talkin’ …

Mexican Crunchwrap Supreme, My Way

Mexican Crunchwrap Supreme, My Way

Adapted from Happy Little Tomato

  • Large, burrito-sized tortillas or “wraps” (I used some uber-healthy whole wheat, high-fiber ones.)
  • Refried beans
  • Taco meat (optional … I included it on one, but not on the other, and I really couldn’t much tell the difference)
  • Chopped onion, green onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, tomato or other favorite “taco-style” vegies (maybe some corn?)
  • Tostado or taco shells or crushed tortilla chips (I found a whole grain taco shell I really like that I used here …)
  • Shredded sharp cheddar or mexican blend of cheeses
  • Condiments: salsa, lettuce, and greek yogurt


Warm up your refried beans (and taco meat, if you’re using it). I just put them together in a little bowl and microwaved them.

Spread some of that hot bean mixture in the middle of your gargantuan tortilla. Top with some cheese. Put it in the microwave and melt it a bit if you want.

Making a Mexican Crunchwrap Supreme, Step 1

Now top that with a bunch of your vegies of choice. I used onion, jalapeno, and bell pepper. Then top that with some tortilla chips or a tostada shell, or, like I did here, you can take a taco shell and break it in half.

Making a Mexican Crunchwrap Supreme, Step 2

At this point, you can add more vegies and a little more cheese if you want. Then you bend up the edges, sort of origami style, like this. I had to break the edges of my taco shell a bit to get it to fold nicely.

Making a Mexican Crunchwrap Supreme, Step 3

Now heat up a skillet pan to medium heat and spray it with cooking spray. Set your crunchwrap in the hot pan. You might get a little tired of holding those folds in place (I did!) …

Making a Mexican Crunchwrap Supreme, Step 4

So I covered it with a flat lid from one of my saucepans:

Making a Mexican Crunchwrap Supreme, Step 4

Test the bottom of the crunchwrap by lifting it a little with a spatula and when it is golden brown, use a spatula to flip it over and “toast” the other side.

Making a Mexican Crunchwrap Supreme, Step 5

When it’s nice and brown and toasty on the other side, it’s ready! I served mine on a bed of lettuce, with a bit of salsa and greek yogurt on top.

Making a Mexican Crunchwrap Supreme

This recipe was shared with Katherine Martinelli’s Pepper Blog HopRecipe of the Week: Hot & Spicy Recipes,  Tastetastic Thursdays and Trick or Treat Tuesdays and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.

Hoppin’ Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread

Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread

I love the round shape of this bread and the lovely brown color, the heat of the hot pepper, and the oozing cheese … and how quick and simple it was to make.

I really love the idea of adding the cheese in hunks to the bread instead of shredding it because then you hit spots of melted cheese in your bread if you eat it hot out of the oven. Some of the cheese slips out the side a bit while the bread is baking, too, and makes a little cheesey crust at the bottom edge of the bread too that I just loved.

Choose a beer that you like because even with the hot peppers and the cheese, the taste of the beer does shine through.  I chose a Leinenkugel Fireside Nut Brown beer for this bread. I wish they would make this beer year-round because it’s a smooth nutty brown beer that I really love the taste of. You might think this odd, but I like a nut brown ale when I want a lighter beer. I didn’t get to drink any of this beer, though, because the recipe calls for the entire bottle. Good thing it’s early in the morning or I might have had to be sad!

Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread

Hoppin’ Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread

Slightly adapted from The Carolina Sauce Company

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tablespoons to 1/2 cup finely chopped jalapenos or other hot pepper of your choice (I used 1/2 cup but adjust the amount according to what your taste buds can handle)
  • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1 12-oz bottle beer
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten, for brushing on top of the bread


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Stir in the cheese and chopped chiles, then pour in the beer and stir until just combined (the dough will be somewhat stiff and dry-looking).
  4. Turn dough onto a very lightly floured surface and knead for several turns, then shape the bread into a nice ball shape.
  5. Place on a greased baking sheet and brush the top with the beaten egg.
  6. Bake at 375° F for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Test the bread for done-ness with a knife or toothpick … if it comes out clean, it’s ALMOST done. Bake for about 5 minutes longer, then take it out and enjoy! (They say to let it rest a few minutes, but I cut it right away and it was just fine.)

Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread

This recipe was shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Game Day Blog Hop{Fusion Friday}, Weekend PotluckTrick or Treat Tuesdays and Talent Show Tuesdays.

Bacon Mushroom Beer Cheese Soup

Bacon Mushroom Beer Cheese Soup

I had the urge to make beer cheese soup the other day … and there was just a bit of bacon sitting there needing to be used, and then while retrieving the garlic, I ran across some mushrooms … so they hopped in the soup too. And then I stumbled across some pumpkin puree in the freezer, and because it was so good in the macaroni and cheese, I threw in some pumpkin puree too. And that’s how this soup happened.

Bacon Mushroom Beer Cheese Soup

Bacon Mushroom Beer Cheese Soup

Makes 2-4 bowls of soup, depending on how big your bowls are.

  • 2 slices of uncooked bacon
  • 3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 -3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups of 1 % milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 loose cup of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (gently place the cheese in the cup so it fluffs up–don’t pack it in)
  • 1/2 loose cup of shredded gouda cheese (again, very loosely placed in the cup)
  • 1 Tablespoon shredded gruyere cheese
  • 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons of Red Robin Seasoning (if you don’t have any, here’s a recipe … or use your favorite seasoned salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup brown ale (or your favorite brew–I used the Leinenkugel Fireside Nut Brown Ale)
  • For garnish: crumbled bits of bacon, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and fresh parsley leaves


  1. In a saucepan (I mean the pan you’re going to cook the soup in), fry the bacon until it’s crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and crumble it up into little bits. Set it aside for now.
  2. Pour some of the excess fat from the pan, then add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Over medium-high heat, sautee them in the bacon fat until the onions are soft and translucent and the mushrooms are limp.
  3. Add the flour to the pan and stir, coating all your little shrooms and onions and garlic bits in flour.
  4. Add the milk and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for about 5 – 10 minutes or so or until the mixture thickens.
  5. Add the pumpkin puree, shredded cheeses, most of the bacon bits (reserving a few for garnish), and the seasonings and cook for a few minutes longer until the cheese melts.
  6. Just before serving, stir in the beer. The soup will froth up for a moment, but then it will calm down again, just in time to serve it.
  7. Pour into bowls and top with shredded cheese, the reserved bacon bits, and fresh parsley leaves. Some people like to put popcorn on their beer cheese soup. That’s fun too.

Bacon Mushroom Beer Cheese Soup

This would go great with hot, crusty, fresh baked bread, or even better, in a bread bowl. I didn’t have any of that, though …

This recipe was shared at Sunday Night Soup Night and Full Plate Thursday.

Hashbrowns Supreme

Hashbrowns Supreme with Spinach, Prosciutto, Mushroom, Onion, Egg, and Gouda and Sharp Cheddar Cheese

My kids love to go to IHOP … frankly, I would much rather stay home and eat … it’s usually much tastier and it costs so much less, but once in a while I give in and we go. I will spare you my whining about paying $7 for a plate of pancakes that I can make for less than $1 … oh wait, did I say that? This coming from the same woman that will spend $5 on a small pack of raspberries to go with the chocolate stout cake or $8 on a single glass of wine. Yeah, I know it makes no sense, but you know, we all have different priorities …

But really, both of my kids get so excited about going to IHOP when we go that it is a joy to go. Never mind having to fight the SUVs for a decent-sized parking space because their compact parking spaces might possibly be big enough for a motorcycle. But the people there are usually  friendly. And the food is reasonably good. And my kids LOVE the pancakes. They debate over how to order so they can each get pancakes and hashbrowns and sausages in just the right portions. When I order coffee, I get a whole big pot of it, which is good in my book. And the hashbrowns are pretty good. I often just order a side of hashbrowns and  coffee.

But IHOP completely surprised me on our last visit. They had this thing they called “hashbrown stacks” … which was mounds of vegies and cheese and eggs and all kinds of yumminess on a bed of hashbrowns … oh, I had to have one of THOSE!

It wasn’t quite as good as I had hoped, but I don’t fault IHOP for it. They did come up with a pretty dang awesome idea. So of course I had to try it at home …

Hashbrowns Supreme with Spinach, Prosciutto, Mushroom, Onion, Egg, and Gouda and Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Hashbrowns Supreme

  • Hot cooked hashbrowns
  • Spinach, thawed and warmed, with the excess juice squeezed out
  • Mushrooms & red onions, sauteed and seasoned to taste
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Small slices or shredded cheese (I used slices of gouda and sharp cheddar)
  • Tomato, for the top (I thought of this after the fact, but a bit of chopped tomato on top would have been just perfect.)
First, make a flat layer of hashbrowns on your plate.

Hashbrowns Supreme with Spinach, Prosciutto, Mushroom, Onion, Egg, and Gouda and Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Top with spinach, then prosciutto.

Hashbrowns Supreme with Spinach, Prosciutto, Mushroom, Onion, Egg, and Gouda and Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Now add the mushrooms, onions and top with egg.

Hashbrowns Supreme with Spinach, Prosciutto, Mushroom, Onion, Egg, and Gouda and Sharp Cheddar Cheese

And finally top with cheese (and tomato) and put in the microwave for a minute or two to get the cheese all good and melted.

Hashbrowns Supreme with Spinach, Prosciutto, Mushroom, Onion, Egg, and Gouda and Sharp Cheddar Cheese

I think you could do this on a larger scale in a glass casserole dish if you have a crowd to feed. I would love to try that … maybe at the next family get together.

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe LinkyWednesday EatsThursday’s TreasuresMidweek FiestaFabulous Friday, Gooseberry Patch Comfort Foods and Foodie Friday.

Ham & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich on French Bread

Ham & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich on Toasted Gruyere-Basil French Bread

Perhaps I needed some protein … perhaps I was pulled into the thought of him having eggs and bacon for dinner the other night … perhaps my gruyere-basil french bread was just aching to be a beautiful sandwich … in any case, yesterday I was compelled to make myself a breakfast sandwich.

This is not really a recipe, is it? Ah well, I will tell you anyway …

Ham & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich on Toasted French Bread

  • French Bread
  • 1 egg
  • Extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • Lean ham slices


  1. Slice off a hunk of your french bread and then slice horizontally.
  2. Beat 1 egg with a tablespoon of water, sprinkle with Red Robin seasoning and pepper, cook in a frying pan coated with cooking spray, folding over the edges to make a rectangular shape that fits your bread.
  3. Take the bottom half of the french bread and carefully place the egg on the bread … then top with slices of extra sharp cheddar cheese. Place it in the toaster oven (or oven) to broil for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.
  4. While the cheese is melting, toast the top half of the bread along with slices of  lean ham in the hot frying pan.
  5. Remove the cheesy bottom half of the sandwich and top with the ham and top half of the bread. And enjoy …

Ham & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich on Toasted Gruyere-Basil French Bread

Oh my … that looks good. Hmm … another for breakfast today, perhaps?

This recipe was shared at Favorite Breakfast Recipes.

New Mexican Breakfast Burritos

New Mexican Breakfast Burritos

In New Mexico there is a special kind of magic. The skies are bluer, the sunsets are so more intense. The ground is mostly brown, but if you look closely you will see so many subtle, beautiful colors.

And in October, the whole sky fills with color when people all over the world come to Albuquerque for the International Balloon Fiesta. I am lucky to have experienced this beautiful event many times, and I have to tell you the story of how we used to do the fiesta.

At my office, we organized ahead of time, assigned each person something to bring. We would meet at a park near the festival. My boss would bring a campstove, and we would sip New Mexican champagne and drink coffee and Bailey’s while the burritos cooked in the dark before dawn. Then after we had eaten our fill of the spicy burritos, we’d pack up the cooking things and walk together to the fiesta.

We also had some fantastic brunches in New Mexico. I think I need to start a brunch club here … I miss those …

New Mexico Style Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast Burritos, New Mexico Style

Warning: These burritos take a little prep time. You NEED green chile stew to make these properly. My method here is for cooking the burritos at home … if you are cooking these up on a campstove, just wrap all the ingredients in a tortilla and serve with napkins to wipe up all the messy juices.

  • Large flour tortillas, warmed
  • Bacon or breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled (use lowfat sausage or bacon for healthier burritos)
  • Scrambled eggs (add 1 T. of water for each egg to keep the eggs moist)
  • Fried potatoes (or just cooked and diced if you want to cut down the fat content)
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese (lowfat or vegan cheese works too, but doesn’t melt quite as well)
  • Green chile stew (here’s my recipe for green chile stew)

First prepare your ingredients. Start with the green chile stew. Make that up ahead of time and reheat it on the morning you want to eat your burritos. Cook up your bacon and/or breakfast sausage (we would always have both on hand and we’d let people choose). Scramble your eggs. Fry up the potatoes. Shred the cheese.

Got that ready? Ok, let’s get started.

Warm the tortillas in a tortilla warmer or in the frying pan you used to cook up all those yummy ingredients. For each burrito, take a tortilla and add some scrambled eggs and sausage or bacon:

Assembling the Burritos: put the eggs and sausage or bacon on the tortilla

Top with potatoes and some shredded cheese and warm briefly in the microwave to melt the cheese. Sometimes I add a little chopped onion and maybe a bit of roasted green chile here too. Fold over the “short” edges.

Folding the burritos up

Next fold in one of the long sides:

Folding up the burrito

and then roll up the other side and flip it over, so the folded side is on the bottom.

Breakfast burrito: All rolled up!

Now, pour green chile stew all over the burrito and top with shredded cheese. Warm in the microwave till the cheese is melted.

If you are doing a bunch of these for a crowd, you can put the rolled burritos in a casserole dish, cover with green chile stew and cheese (like a tray of enchiladas!) and bake in an oven briefly to melt the cheese.

Breakfast Burritos with Green Chile Stew and Cheese ... mmm

Oh look at that beautiful burrito! Doesn’t it just make you hungry? Now it’s ready to bite into …

Breakfast Burritos, New Mexico Style

These burritos are very hearty and filling, and you can make them as spicy or mild as you like by using mild or hot green chiles in the stew.

This recipe was shared at Recipe of the Week: Mexican Cuisine and Katherine Martinelli’s Mexican Blog Hop.

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

To me, this isn’t really a recipe. I have been fascinated with twice baked potatoes since I started cooking I think, so it’s just second nature to me to take mashed potatoes, mix in some cheese, onion, bell pepper, bacon and bake. You don’t need any special seasonings or spices … just let the onion, bacon, bell pepper and cheese do their magic.

I love to put this mixture back into the potato skins if I have them, but if not, just throw it in a casserole or oven proof bowl and bake till everything is hot and the cheese is god and melted.

It’s so simple and so good. I just had it for lunch and it was oh so warm, comforting, filling, and delicious.

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

If you make it with low-fat mashed potatoes and don’t overdo it on the bacon or cheese, it’s even good for you.

Today I used shredded sharp cheddar and a bit of blue cheese crumbles, chopped red bell pepper, chopped onion, crumbled in a bit of crispy cooked bacon. Mixed it all together, topped with a little more cheese, then baked for about 10 – 15 minutes at 350. Then I topped it with a few snips of fresh chives. I like to use fresh onions and bell pepper for the crunch factor, but if you like your veggies soft, you can sautee them first. Sometimes I add mushrooms too, if I have them, and if the mashed potatoes are dry, a little cottage cheese, light sour cream or buttermilk. Sometimes a little dill is a nice addition.  Play with it to find a combination you like. You really can’t go wrong with this one.

You can make this in individual portions like I did today for lunch in my oven-safe bowl, or in a larger casserole for a crowd. It would be a nice touch to bake in ramekins for holiday meals. Larger dishes will take longer to cook.

Mmm. I’m in heaven.

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

This recipe was shared at Recipe of the Week: Potatoes and Weekend Potluck.


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