Posts Tagged With: cheese

Bacon Double Cheeseburger Pockets

Almost every Sunday morning, either Mr. Ginge or I roll out of bed, throw on some coffee and heat up a pan for breakfast.

bacon cheese burger pockets

Our usual rotation includes french toast, bacon and eggs, and sometimes pancakes thrown in. If we are really feeling fancy, we’ll head out to one of the local diners for breakfast.

So it goes with out saying that my initial idea for this month’s Improv Challenge, hosted by Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker, was to make breakfast.  Except, I could think of anything that I really loved, and that honestly as a challenge.

bacon double cheeseburger pockets

When I noticed some pizza dough in the freezer it hit me. One of my favourite treats when I was a kids was bacon double cheeseburger pizzas. I would  literally beg my dad to order it instead of  the usual pepperoni. We’ve also been on a bit of a calzone kick, every once and a while picking one up when we’re out visiting friends. And with that the idea was born. With a quick egg wash, I had something both delicious and challenge worthy.

Cheeseburger pockets
Bacon Double Cheese Burger Pockets

makes 6 pockets

  • Homemade or store bought pizza dough ( I made my own, but after the disaster I made last time, I used the recipe out of my Kitchen Aid manual ) 
  • 1 lb ( 454 g) ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp mustard
  • 6 strips of bacon, cooked till crisp
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F/ 180 ° C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large pan, brown the meat, onions, and garlic together, until onions are translucent and meat is no longer pink. Drain any excess fat and return to the pan. Add the beef broth, barbecue sauce, ketchup and mustard to the pan, stirring to combine.  Simmer the mixture until it is thickened.
  3. Divide the pizza dough into 6 equal sections. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each into a round to about 6 inches/ 15 cm across. I find it easiest to use a rolling pin, but feel free to stretch it out by hand.  Divide the meat mixture between the six rounds. Top with a strip of bacon and 1/3 cup of each of the cheeses.
  4. Fold one edge of the round over, so that you end up with a half moon shape. To seal the pocket, gently press the edges together, then fold over. Transfer to the paper lined sheet.
  5.  Brush each of the tops with some of the beaten egg, making sure to cover along the seams. Sprinkle with the reserved cheddar cheese
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for about  15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the dough is golden brown. Let cool on the tray for about 5 minutes, then serve along side a fresh salad.

Don’t forget to check out what others have come up with using Eggs and Bacon!

– Mel


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I also linked this recipe to The Weekend Potluck and Strut Your Stuff Saturdays! Click the link to check out more great recipes!

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Categories: Sandwiches and Side Dishes | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

Deep Dish Pizza

I have been 25 for 3 months now.

finally got around to one of my 25 while I’m 25 posts.

deep dish top - GB

Problem was, with a list of 25 things to make, I was having a hard time deciding what to make.  I finally decided to jump in with pizza dough because I was craving pizza and Mr. Ginge has been begging me to make deep dish pizza. Our small little town has yet to boast a place that makes it. Or a Starbucks.

First, the pizza dough. I’ve never made pizza dough before, and I’ve never really worked with it before, other than the stuff you pop out of a can.

I chose this dough, both because it was a Jamie Oliver recipe and because the instructions were detailed but easy to follow.  Because it was my first time, I followed the recipe very closely.  However I  did make some notes:

deep dish point - GB

  • I did weigh out my flour, per the instructions, and meant to make notes cup wise, but forgot. Sorry
  • I ended up using about 600g (about 1.5 lbs) of regular all purpose flour, and 400g ( about 1lb) of whole wheat flour.
  • When pouring your yeast mixture into the well in the flour, make sure it will contain all of the liquid, and allow you to mix it. Other wise you will  end up with a ginormous, sticky mess all over your kitchen.  Then you will have to start again. ( and you won’t have enough white flour, so you’ll have to use whole wheat)
  • I tried hand  forming the dough, but couldn’t hack it, and ended up with a weird shaped, thick on one side, holes on the other dough, so I ended up rolling it out with my rolling pin.
  • Because this recipe made a large batch, I did end up freezing some of the left over dough. I wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap a couple times, then popped it into the freezer.

Aside from nuking my kitchen with a pasty, yeasty mess, the recipe actually worked out really well for me, and in my deep dish pizza.  I didn’t really follow a recipe for the pizza. I got the basic idea from an episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and just kinda went from that, adding ingredients that we both liked and had around the house. Feel free to use whatever toppings tickle your fancy. In the end,  Mr. Ginge  finally got the deep dish pizza he was after, and enjoyed it for dinner that night and lunch the next day.

deep dish - GB

Deep Dish Pizza

makes 1 10in deep dish pizza.

Inspired by Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. 

  • 1/2 batch of dough 
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 lb Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled
  • 6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 6-8 slices of prosciutto
  • 1/4 cup pitted and sliced kalamata olives
  • 1/2 a small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced into rings
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Roll out the dough so that it is about 1/2 in/1 cm thick. In a lightly greased spring form pan, or other pan with high sides,  set in the dough, gently pressing it into the sides of the pan. I found it stayed it place a lot more easily if  some of the dough hung over the edges. If you get any holes, just pinch the dough back together. 
  3. Evenly spread the mozzarella cheese over the dough.  Top with the crumbled sausage and bacon,  then your veggies, then the slices of prosciutto.
  4. Evenly spread the tomato sauce over top, then sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning.  Fold over the dough hanging from the sides, trimming any excess if necessary.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, until the crust and the cheese is golden brown. Let it set for 10 minutes, then slice and enjoy.

The stupid thing is, Mr Ginge used to work in a pizza place in town many moons ago, and reputably made a mean pizza. His excuse:

” Weeelllll, I didn’t want to spoil it for you…..”

– Mel

Categories: Main Dishes | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Mom’s Lasagna

Top reasons why you should make this as soon as possible:

lasagna pan - GB

1. Mom’s lasagna is amazing. No bias here. You can ask Mr. Ginge

2. It is the most requested birthday meal in our family. Mom had to implement  a rule that people couldn’t ask for the same thing because everyone was requesting lasagna.

3. Because leftovers ( if there are any) are way better the next day.

lasagna 2- GB

4. It has magical properties. It turned my pasta-hating father into a lasagna-eating fool.30 years ago. True story.

5. It is the perfect vehicle for cheese. And it’s even better with cheesy garlic bread.

6.It freezes incredibly well, so you can have surprise / spur of the moment lasagna-that-is-already-next-day-better, without having any of the work. (just don’t tell anyone it’s in the freezer….shhhhh…..)

7. Because it is the ultimate comfort food. Nuff said.

lasagna 1 - GB

Mom’s Lasagna

makes 1 9×13 pan (about 12 servings)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb lean ground beef ( or any lean ground meat. We’ve used turkey, chicken, moose, venison. Basically, any ground meat you have on hand)
  • 1 can ( around 2 cups) tomato sauce
  • 1 box lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 lb / 500gr shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, stirring for a few minutes until fragrant and the onions are translucent.  Add the ground beef, stirring to break up and continue cooking until no longer pink. Add the tomato sauce, bring to a simmer to heat.
  2. In an ungreased 9×13 pan ( we almost always use glass), lay some cooked noodles length wise in the bottom of the pan. Spread some of the sauce over the noodles, then spread some cottage cheese over top. Sprinkle with mozzarella and  parmesan cheese.  For the next layer, lay the noodles width-wise, top with sauce, cottage cheese and shredded cheese. Repeat with remaining layers. ( I usually get about 5)
  3. For the top layer, top noodles with sauce cottage cheese, then sprinkle with mozzarella. Top with shredded cheddar cheese, and sprinkle with parmesan.
  4. Bake uncovered in an oven preheated to 350°F for 1 hour, broiling for the last 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes, then slice and serve.

Make this. Make this now.

-Mel

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I linked this recipe to The Weekend Potluck , Recipe Sharing Monday, and Strut Your Stuff Saturday!

Click the links for more great recipes!

Categories: Main Dishes | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

Pizza Rolls

It is Mr. Ginge’s and my 5th anniversary together.  That’s a long time, bro. Especially since I don’t turn 25 until the end of the month!

In honour of this momentous occasion, I am going to tell you the ultimate love story. You better be prepared.

Mr Ginge and I met by a combination of both mutual friends and the fact that we both worked at the same bar.  At the time I was the cook of all late night munchies, and he was helping out with security since they were short handed. In a stroke of fate, he gets stationed on the side of the bar where the kitchen resides, where I happen to be cooking up a combo platter.

The bar kitchen was “open concept”, so I was used to people, whether it be patrons, or the staff coming up and chatting with me on down times.  On this night, as I was checking on the done-ness of the fare in my fryer basket, Mr Ginge saunters up, leans up against the steel counter, and proceeds to tell me”You’re cooking that wrong”.

Having worked in a restaurant for several years that specialized in fried foods, I was very confident in my cooking abilities. My response to him, along with a dirty look, was “Excuse me?”

I tend to be on the defensive side, although apparently that wasn’t a deterrent.  He, being the smart-aleck that he is, decided that this was an excellent time to school me on the cooking of fried foods, particularly the pizza roll.

” You see” he said ” You have to watch them carefully. If you pull them too soon, then the filling is too cold. But if you wait to long for the cheese to melt, then you’ll burn the outside.”

He received an ” I know how to cook.” in response. Along with a classic Mel Death-stare.

Apparently for him my prickly nature was love -at-first sight. And the rest, my friends, is history.

Have I blown you away with my utterly romantic story? 😛

However romantic it may not be, in honour of the occasion I recreated the classic bar food snack that ultimately brought us together. And, five years later, I apparently still cook them wrong.

Pizza Rolls (according to Mr. Ginge)

This does make a fairly large batch (especially for 2 people) so I’ve included instructions for freezing them. Also I realize that deep frying is not everyones thing, and these also bake up wonderfully, so I’ve also included directions for baking.

makes 18 rolls

  • 1 package of egg roll wrapper (mine had 18 wrappers in it)
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced pepperoni , chopped in quarters
  • 1 1/4 cups pizza sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheese ( I used a mix of mozzarella and cheddar)
  • 1/4 cup each of your favorite pizza toppings ( mushrooms, peppers, onions, bacon, olives, etc.), optional

To make the rolls:

  1. Working with one egg roll wrapper at a time, position it so that it is in a diamond shape ( so a corner points towards you). Top with a few slices of pepperoni, followed by any of your favourite toppings.
  2. Spoon about a tablespoon of sauce on top of the toppings, then top with a bit of cheese.
  3. Using your finger, wet the top corner ( furthest away from you) with a bit of water. Fold the two edge corners in over the toppings. Bring the corner closest to you up over the toppings, rolling tightly. Press the moistened edge against the roll to seal.

To Freeze:

  1. Place the prepared rolls, seam side down on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet.
  2. Freeze for a couple hours, then transfer to an air tight container or a freezer bag.

To Deep-fry:

  1. Preheat your fryer ( or your pot of oil) to 350°F. Line a plate or tray with paper towel and set aside.
  2. Working in batches, drop them in the hot oil until golden brown and floating, about 5 minutes ( add a couple minutes if you are frying them from frozen). Set them on the paper lined plate or tray to absorb any excess oil.
  3. Serve immediately with some extra tomato sauce for dipping, if desired.

To Bake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.  Arrange your pizza rolls in a single layer, and lightly brush with a bit of vegetable oil.
  2. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn the rolls over so that they can brown on the other side, then bake for another 10 minutes. If you are baking them from frozen, then increase the time to 15 minutes per side. Let them cool a couple minutes on the tray.
  3. Serve immediately with some extra tomato sauce for dipping.

Honestly, even if I made them everyday for the next ten years, according to him, I would still cook them wrong. Men.

– Mel

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I shared this recipe at Strut your Stuff Saturdays and:

Categories: Appetizers | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Improv Challenge: Greek Pasta Salad

I won’t lie. Corn and Butter stumped me.

Greek Pasta Salad

For this month’s Improv Challenge,  hosted by Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker, I knew exactly what I was going to make. One thing immediately comes to mind when I think of Tomatoes and Peppers: Greek Pasta Salad.

When I was in high school ( and for a short time after I graduated), I worked as a cook in a small local restaurant  that did catering on the side. Especially in the summer.  Many nights were spent not only cooking, cleaning and prepping for the next morning, but also prepping for an upcoming event they were catering. I won’t lie, I hated the catering jobs. You were always fighting for space in the small kitchen, it was almost impossible to get on top of prep work, they made ten tons of dishes,  and it always meant you were in for an extra long shift.

Greek Pasta Salad

The good part about it is that you were almost always rewarded with a bowl of this pasta salad. It was sooo good. I lucked out one day, and was able to take some home with me.  I stuck the containers in the fridge, told my mom there was some leftovers from the restaurant there and then thought no more of it until I got home from and early shift the next day. It was gone. All gone.  And Mom was asking how they made it.

So we tinkered with it, and found something just as irresistible. My brother will literally mound this on his plate.  And it turns out we weren’t the only ones who thought so.  Whenever we took it to get-togethers, we were almost always asked for the recipe. A friend loved it so much, that when she got married, it was my job to bring the salad to the showers, Jack and Jill, and rehearsal dinners. Both her and her new mother-in-law ended up with the recipe afterwards.

Greek Pasta Salad

Greek Pasta Salad

  • 450g / 1 lb uncooked fusili or other curly pasta
  • 1 pint container of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup green onion, chopped or 1/2 red onion chopped ( Red onion is prettier in the salad, but gets to be overpowering if you  make it ahead of time)
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  •  greek dressing (recipe below) or store-bought creamy feta dressing.
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Rinse the pasta slightly ( otherwise I find you get a solid lump of pasta) then chill.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the pasta, cherry tomatoes, green pepper, onions and feta. Before serving, pour in the dressing and mix well. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

Greek Dressing

adapted from the restaurants house dressing and Best Recipes ever

  • 1 cup sour cream or greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp coarsely ground pepper
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the sour cream, feta cheese, garlic, oregano, parsley and 1/2 tsp pepper. Pulse a few times to combine and break up the feta.
  2. Add the vinegar and the olive oil and pulse for about 30 seconds. Give the dressing a taste and add the remainder of the pepper if desired. We like it quite peppery.
  3. Pour over your salad or into a container and store in the fridge.

Seriously, eat this now.

And don’t forget to check out what others came up with using tomatoes and peppers!

-Mel


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I also featured this recipe on The Weekend Potluck, the Stone Gable, and Strut Your Stuff Saturday. Click the link to check out more great recipes.

Categories: Sandwiches and Side Dishes | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

Cheesy Garlic Bubble Bread

So. Let’s talk pasta.

Cheesy Garlic Bubble Bread

Or, more importantly, what goes with pasta. Like bread. Garlic bread to be specific. With lots of cheese.  Spaghetti dinner is not the same without it.

Seriously, in my family, it think the pasta plays second fiddle to the garlic bread. My “I’m-not-that-hungry” sister will take a teeny tiny portion of pasta, then fill up on six slices of garlic bread. No joke.  I can hear her denials already.  🙂

Cheesy Garlic Bubble Bread

I was feeling like making bread the other day, and well bubble bread popped ( haha) in to my head. I mean seriously, I know you already eat garlic bread with your hands, but it’s way more fun to rip it from the loaf at the table.

If you aren’t feeling up to making bread, then you could always use store bought dough, just mix the Italian seasoning in with the garlic and melted butter before you dip. Make sure to snag an edge piece. Sooooo good.

Cheesy Garlic Bubble Bread

Cheesy Garlic Bubble Bread

makes 2 8” pans, adapted from my Cheddar Ranch Bubble Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water ( about 40°C/ 110° F )
  • 2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  1. Dissolve the yeast and the sugar into the warm water and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour, salt and Italian seasoning. Make a well in the middle of the bowl, then pour in the yeast and stir together with a wooden spoon. If the dough is still a bit sticky slowly add in more of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until you get a soft dough.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a flour surface and knead it, slowly working in the remaining flour until you get a smooth and elastic dough.
  4. Lightly grease a large bowl then set the dough in the bowl to rise, until it doubles in size ( about an hour).
  5. Meanwhile, brush the bottom and the sides of the two pans generously with some of the melted butter. Combine the remaining butter and garlic.
  6. Punch down the dough, then cut the dough into 1 in pieces, which ends up being about 30 – 40 pieces.  Dip each of the pieces into the garlic butter mixture, making sure to get some of the garlic on the dough, then nestle them into the prepared pans. You may have to squish them together a little to fit the last few pieces in the pan.
  7. Allow the dough to rise a second time, this time for about half an hour.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  9. When the dough has risen, pop the pans in for about 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes, sprinkles the tops with the cheese, then bake for another 15 minutes.
  10. Let the bread cool for a couple minutes, then slide out of the pan and enjoy warm.
  11. If you are only going to eat one of the loaves, then tightly wrap it in some plastic wrap. To reheat, just stick in the oven for about 5 minutes or so or until warm.

Seriously, way better than pasta. 🙂

– Mel

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I linked this post up to the Weekend Potluck, Wednesdays Adorned from Above, and Strut Your Stuff Saturdays! Click the link to check out more great recipes!

Categories: Breads | Tags: , , | 19 Comments

Improv Challenge: Cornmeal Thumbprints with Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling

Corn and butter.

Those were the ingredients assigned for this month’s Improv Cooking Challenge hosted by Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker

My first thought was fresh corn on the cob slathered in butter, but corn isn’t quite in season here yet, and let’s face it, it’s not much of a recipe; Boil corn, slather in butter, eat.  Also, I’m a baker, and I really wanted to bake something for my first challenge.

My next thought was corn bread.  Very yummy, but I couldn’t help but feel that it was a cop out.

So instead, I decided to go with my favourite thing to bake, and came up with these cookies.

Cornmeal Thumbprints with Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling

makes about 36 cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 pkg ( 4 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tbsp strawberry jam
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal and salt and set aside.
  3. In a  large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
  4. Slowly mix in the flour mix until combine.
  5. Roll about a tablespoon of dough in to a ball then place on the cookie sheet. Gently press the middle with your (clean!) thumb to make a slight indentation. Repeat with the remaining dough, placing about 2 inches/ 5 cm apart.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes. They should be slightly golden brown on the bottom.  As soon as you pull them out, gently press you indentation again with the end of a wooden spoon. Move to a wire rack and cool completely
  7. Meanwhile, beat together the jam and the cream cheese until smooth. Slowly beat in the sugar.
  8. Once the cookies have cooled completely, fill the indentations with the cream cheese mixture, about a teaspoon for each cookies. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

Don’t forget to check out the other great recipes from the rest of the participants!

-Mel



Categories: Cookies | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

Gran’s Cheese Sticks

When it comes to Gran’s recipes, often what I have to go on is a memory of what she used to make. Often they come up in the strangest times.

I was talking to Mom about some meat pies that I had made for Mr. Ginge, when she recalled these sticks that her mom used to make.

Gran was well known for her pies. Come the holidays she would always make a huge assortment; lemon meringue, raisin, blueberry, apple, peach, cherry, you name it it was probably there. One of my fondest memories was that as long as you ate your supper, you basically could go back indefinitely for pieces of pie. I’d wolf down my supper then rush back into the kitchen and then into the laundry  room ( she had acres of counter space in there. She made LOTS of pies) and choose my slice of pie. Usually blueberry or lemon, sometimes chocolate or raisin ( I was a weird kid).

Mom remembers her cheese sticks more than the pie. It was a treat that her whole family would look forward to. Since Gran would make so many pies at once, she was often left with some pastry.  She would gather it all up and roll it up with some cheddar cheese then bake it for a bit.  When the kitchen smelled of baking cheese, they would be pulled out. Grandpa would take his share, and Mom and her brothers would be allowed two sticks each.  Mom also remembers fighting over them, particularly if someone ended up with an end piece versus a middle piece.

Since I had some left over crust from making meat pies, I decided to make them for her. Her reaction?

“It feels weird to be able to eat more than just two!”

Gran’s Cheese Sticks

  • 1 9″ unbaked pie crust
  • 1 c sharp cheddar cheese ( like old or extra old)
  • pinch of salt.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly dust a sheet pan with flour. 
  2. On a floured surface, roll out your dough to about 1/8″/3mm thick.
  3. Sprinkle the top with the shredded cheese, then fold the dough in half, then half again.
  4. Roll the dough out again to an 1/8″/ 3mm, then transfer to a baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with salt then cut into strips. 
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes. The dough will only be very lightly brown and slightly puffy.
  6. Let cool a little bit on the pan, then enjoy!
Sashi cats think they look tasty too!
-Mel
Categories: Appetizers | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Cheddar Ranch Bubble Bread

Happy New Year!

Hoping that you are all recovering well from last nights festivities!

One of my goals for last year was to learn how to use yeast ( I choose goals since I very rarely keep any resolution I make). I have always held a sort of fear when it comes to yeast. I have many memories of making bread in the bread machine only to end up with heavy doorstop worthy bread, or loves that would rise so high that they would press up against the lid and not cook properly.  Not to mention all of the horror stories I’ve read about bread that won’t rise. I can’t say that I am no longer fearless when comes to yeast, however, after testing the water a bit, I am more comfortable using it now.

This was one of the successes of my bread making. I have made it three times in the past week. It’s that good.  I came across this idea on How Sweet Eats who came across the idea from Foodie with Family.

Cheddar Ranch Bubble Bread

comfortably serves 4-6

* Note: I made my own bread for this, however this recipe would work just as well with fresh or frozen ( and thawed!) dough.

  •  1 1/2 c warm water ( about 40°C/ 100°F)
  • 2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 1/2- 4 c flour
  • 1 pkg ranch dressing mix
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 c shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 green onions, chopped.
  1. Dissolve the yeast and the sugar in the warm water and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2 c flour and the salt, making a well in the middle. Add the yeast and stir with a wooden spoon, adding flour if necessary.
  3. Once you have a soft dough, turn it out and, knead it, slowly working in the remaining flour until you have a soft dough.
  4. Set it in a bowl to rise in a warm dry place, until it has doubled in size, about an hour.
  5. Punch it down knead it a few times, then let it rise it again, about 1/2 an hour.
  6. In a 10 in pan, generously brush the bottom and side with butter. ( I used an 8 in pan and ended up having to split it up)
  7. In another bowl, combine the rest of the  butter, the ranch dressing mix, onions, and 2/3 of the cheese.  Divide the dough in about 30 pieces, then coat in the butter mixture and arrange in the prepared pan. I found it easiest to coat each dough ball one by one. They didn’t gob together so much. Pour the remaining butter over the top and top with the remaining cheese.
  8. Bake in an oven preheated to 350°F for about 30 mins.
  9. Let cool for a few minutes, and enjoy warm.

adapted from How Sweet Eats who got it from Foodie With Family

It may not be the healthiest way to start the new year, but hey, your resolution can wait one more day can’t it?

– Mel

Categories: Appetizers, Breads | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Individual Cheddar and Bacon Cheese Balls

Last week it snowed. Enough that there was still snow on the ground in the morning. Enough that driving home, there we some near white out conditions. You know, normal weather for around these parts. It was kind of exciting. I always love the first snowfall. It never fails to put me in a festive mood. (I also couldn’t help but think it would have been an excellent day for snowsuit sales, but that’s just 5 years of retail talking.)

Sadly, the snow had completely melted by  noon the next day, and the temperatures are supposed to soar again by the weekend. Oh well. I’m sure there will be more to come. 🙂

Anyways enough about the weather. We need to talk cheese. And bacon. All whirled together into a delectable spread, then rolled into two-bite nuggets. Heaven

And really, who doesn’t want their own cheese ball?

This is a part of our holiday spread every year, and has been forever.  And usually, about July, my brother gets sick of waiting, and requests I make him one. It has morphed into many different shapes over the years, but last year, we made them into mini-balls and it worked out great.

Especially, since not a one of us can agree on how we like it.

These freeze absolutely amazing, and are actually a bit better  if they have some time to let the flavors meld.

Individual Cheddar and Bacon Cheese Balls

makes around 30 mini cheese balls, or 2 large ones

  • 12 slices of bacon, crisply cooked + 1 tbsp reserved bacon fat
  • 1 pkg cream cheese, softened.
  • 3 cups shredded old, sharp, cheddar cheese
  • dried parsley, to garnish
  •  finely chopped pecans, to garnish
  1. In a food processor, finely chop the bacon.
  2. Add the cream cheese and cheddar. You may have to work in a couple batches for this, depending on the size of your machine. Blitz together until combined.
  3. Pour in the reserved bacon fat, and blitz for a bit more.
  4. Carefully remove the blade.
  5. Scoop mixture out 2 tbsp at a time and roll in to balls. Roll into the chopped pecans then parsley. Alternatively, divide mixture in two, then roll in pecans and parsley. If you aren’t a nut lover like Mr. Ginge, then just omit the pecans.
  6. Cover in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for several hours. If possible let them sit for a couple days to let the flavors meld.  Set them out 30 mins before you are going to serve just to bring them up to room temp.
  7. If you aren’t planning on serving them right away, then bag them up in some freezer bags then stick them in the freezer for up to 3 months

Variation: Pecan and Cheddar Cheese Ball

My sister is a weirdo and doesn’t like bacon. So I tweaked the recipe a bit for her so that she could still enjoy.

  1. Omit the bacon for 1c. chopped pecans.
  2. Cream the cheeses like before. Add 1/2 c. of the pecans to the cheese.
  3. Pulse a couple times, then roll as above, rolling in the remaining chopped pecans.

Seriously try this.

-Mel

P.S- I totally put my tree up this weekend. Yes, that is a deer beside my tree. No it is not a decoration. Mr. Ginge is a bit of an outdoorsman, and “Miss November” was out of the way there. 🙂

Categories: Appetizers | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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