Category Archives: Cheese

Grilled Pizza Margherita

Yesterday was my hubby’s birthday and we made grilled pizza. I know, I know, it doesn’t sound all that special or glamorous, but take my word for it, this pizza was MAGNIFICENT! It  should have a song written about it or something. It was that good. I am still swooning over it.  It is always amazing to me how good it tastes with so few ingredients.  Not only does it taste fantastic, but with a little preparation, it can be thrown together pretty quickly. I think the next time we have people over, I am going to make this and serve it as an appetizer. If you are going to make one thing from this blog this summer, make this pizza.

Grilled Pizza Margherita

1 lb. ball of pizza dough, homemade or store-bought

3 (or more) cloves of garlic, minced

@ 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

2-3 Roma tomatoes, sliced

1 ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced (DO NOT use regular mozzarella. It won’t be the same.)

A few leaves fresh basil

Coarse Sea Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Hot Pepper Flakes

  1. About 30 minutes before you grill the pizza, mix the garlic and olive oil together and let it stand. Fire up the grill.
  2. Stretch your pizza dough into a round. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It looks rustic if it isn’t perfect. Brush one side of the dough lightly with some of the garlic oil.
  3. Placed the dough on the grill, oiled side down. Grill until lightly charred and the bottom is cooked.  Brush a little more of the oil on the uncooked side and flip it over on the grill.
  4. Brush the remaining oil, along with all the garlic on the grilled top of the pizza. Place the mozzarella and tomato slices randomly all over the pizza. Grill the pizza until the bottom is fully cooked and the mozzarella is melted.
  5. Sprinkle some basil leaves, sea salt and cracked pepper all over the pizza. Cut into uneven slices.  Devour.



Filed under Cheese, Pizza, Vegetarian, Warm Weather Food

Buffalo and Blue Cheese Chicken Salad

In past posts I have mentioned my deep affection for all things with Buffalo sauce and Blue Cheese.  I adore it. Almost unnaturally so.  So, when I needed to use up some leftover grilled chicken breasts, I remembered this recipe from my beloved Cook’s Country magazine and decided to make it. This chicken salad is just awesome. This is not the kind of chicken salad that is lettuce with chicken on it. This is the yummy, creamy, bad for you kind that you put on white bread and snarf down. It is filled with chicken, blue cheese, mayo, hot sauce AND blue cheese dressing.  This is not gourmet food people. This is comfort food and it is ROCKIN’. If you have some leftover chicken from all that summertime grillin’ I know you are doing, then try this chicken salad. You will be so happy.

Buffalo and Blue Cheese Chicken Salad

from Cook’s Country magazine June 2007

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (or more!)
3 tablespoons hot sauce (Use MORE!! And, use Frank’s)
2 tablespoons bottled blue cheese salad dressing (We used Naturally Fresh)
2 celery ribs chopped
5 cups cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped
Salt and pepper

Combine mayonnaise, cheese, hot sauce, dressing, celery, and carrot in large bowl. Add chicken and toss until coated. Season with salt and pepper. Serve or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

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Filed under Cheese, Chicken, Salad, Sandwiches

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

If you like Italian food at all, you will LOVE this casserole. It is full of yummy goodies like pepperoni, pasta, sausage and cheese. And, best of all, it is a super easy weeknight dinner. All you need to do is make a salad and you have an awesome meal. Of course, I didn’t make a salad. That would be too healthy for us. We just gorged on the pasta and called it a night. Another BIG plus to this casserole is that both of my kids at it. It was a little Christmas miracle. This would be the perfect casserole to take to a potluck because it is so quick and easy and it makes a lot. Enjoy!!

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

From the AJC

8 ounces (about 3 cups) uncooked spiral pasta
1 pound Italian sausage (casings removed) or ground beef  (I used hot turkey Italian sausage)
4 cups spaghetti sauce
1 (4-ounce) can mushrooms, drained (I left these out)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 (6-ounce) package sliced pepperoni
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (I used pre-shredded Italian blend cheese)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On the stovetop, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain. Return the pasta to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saute pan over medium heat, cook the sausage; drain. Add the sausage, spaghetti sauce and mushrooms to the pasta and stir to combine. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and half the pepperoni slices.
  3. Spread pasta mixture into a lightly greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Top with the mozzarella cheese. Arrange remaining half of pepperoni slices over top. Bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly.


Filed under Casserole, Cheese, Pasta, Pork

Tamale Pie

This is the first time I have ever made Tamale Pie. I have had this recipe for 5 years and just never could get it together and make it. Every time I try a new recipe I have this moment of total panic as I am about to serve it. I always worried it is going to suck and then I have wasted my time, energy and ingredients making a crappy dish. Well, my worries over this one were for naught. It was really good. I wouldn’t say it was my all time favorite recipe ever, but it is definitely something I will make again. The only thing is, it was a bit of trouble to make on a weeknight. But, it was tasty. The topping doesn’t taste like cornbread. It is more like an authentic tamale flavor. I know, I know, it isn’t a real tamale, but the topping has the same flavor. I think Ren really loved it because he is from Arizona and adores tamales.  This would also be very good with some shredded chicken instead of beef. Oh yeah, one other thing, if you are a salt-a-holic like me, this will need some serious salting. If you are normal, just ignore this suggestion.

Tamale Pie

from the America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 pound 90% lean ground beef

1 onion , minced

1 jalapeno chile , stemmed, seeded, and minced (I used 2)


2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried (I left this out)

2 cloves garlic , minced

1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans , rinsed

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes

1 cup fresh or frozen corn

Ground black pepper

2 1/2 cups water

3/4 cup coarse cornmeal (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese , shredded (I used more than this. I love cheese.)

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up large clumps, until just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes.

2. Stir in the onion, jalapeño, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, oregano, and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the beans, the tomatoes and their juices, and corn and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then set aside.

3. Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and then slowly pour in the cornmeal while whisking vigorously to prevent clumping. Turn the heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly, until the cornmeal thickens, about 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil.

4. Stir the cheese into the beef mixture, then scrape into a deep-dish pie plate (or other 3-quart baking dish). Spread the cornmeal mixture over the top and seal against the edge of the dish. Cover with foil and bake until the crust has set and the pie is heated through, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

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Filed under Beans, Beef, Casserole, Cheese, Spicy

Orzo with Spinach and Pine Nuts

Unfortunately, I can’t think of one clever thing to say about this orzo, so suffice it to say, this is, quite possibly, one of the yummiest side dishes ever. I love it because it is quick, delicious and you can kill two birds with one stone because it has your starch and veggie all rolled into one side dish. Perfect. I would definitely recommend doubling the recipe since it only serves 2.

Orzo with Spinach and Pine Nuts

from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook

2 TBS pine nuts

1 clove garlic, minced (I used more)

1 TBS butter, melted

1 ¾ C. water

¾ C. uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)

¼ tsp. salt

1 C. tightly packed chopped fresh spinach

¼ C. grated Parmesan cheese

½ C. crumbled Feta cheese (optional, but awesome)

  1. Spread pine nuts in a small skillet. Cook over medium heat 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring often.  Set aside.
  2. Sauté garlic in butter in a saucepan over medium heat 1 minute. Add water, orzo, and salt, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and cook 12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  3. Stir in spinach, cheeses, and pine nuts. Serve hot.

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Filed under Cheese, Pasta, Side Dish, Vegetarian, Veggie

Grilled Pesto Sandwiches

I  had this sandwich for the first time the other day at a friend’s house. She made this for me and I absolutely loved it. In fact, I loved it so much I decided to make it for dinner last night. The weird thing is, I don’t even like tomatoes and I STILL liked this sandwich. It is so gooey and flavorful. It is definitely a step above regular ole grilled cheese sandwiches. Another awesome thing about this sandwich is for the second night in a row, my kids ate pretty much what Ren and I ate. CRAZY!!!! I hope you like it!! Oh yeah, don’t skimp on the pesto. It is what makes this sandwich great.

Grilled Pesto Sandwiches

From the AJC


6 to 8 tablespoons prepared pesto
8 slices sourdough bread
6 slices Provolone cheese-We used 3 pieces per sandwich.
4 to 6 slices fresh tomato-We used 2 slices per sandwich.
1 to 2 tablespoons butter, softened


1. Spread pesto on one side of each piece of bread. Top with 1 1/2 slices of cheese and 1 to 2 tomato slices. Sandwich the bread, pesto sides inside. On the other sides of the bread, spread the butter to lightly coat.

2. On a stove-top griddle or in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sandwiches until the bottom is golden and the cheese melts, about 2 minutes per side.


Filed under Cheese, Sandwiches, Vegetarian

Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas

I know. I know. You are wondering what my obsession with all things Buffalo is. I think I would try any recipe that had Buffalo in the title. Anyway, I made these the other night for about the 5th time in just a couple of months. These are perfect for those nights that you have some leftover chicken and don’t know what to do with it. I clipped recipe out of the AJC many years ago with the intention of making it and I never did. When I finally got around to making it for the first time, Ren and I ate the whole quesadilla standing up. We didn’t even have the decency to sit down. They are that tasty and that easy.

Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution

1 cup chopped cooked chicken breast

Enough Frank’s hot sauce to really coat the chicken

4 tortillas (We used 6)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Crumbled blue cheese

1. In a bowl, combine chicken and hot sauce.

2. Butter the tortillas. Turn on griddle or skillet to medium heat.

3. Sprinkle tortilla with cheddar and blue cheeses, then top with chicken. Then, sprinkle with a little bit of extra cheddar to help top tortilla stick. Top with second tortilla and cook until golden brown. Carefully flip and cook until underside is golden and cheese has melted. Yum.

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Filed under Cheese, Chicken, Spicy