Category Archives: Cheese

Feta Cheese and Mint Dip

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to one of the family’s annual pool party. With that said, I needed to come up with something to make. I normally do a spin on one of my taco dips, but this year I wanted to make something different. That’s when I immediately turned to all of the mint growing in my garden. Let me just say this, I have a TON of mint. I normally use the mint in dishes such as larb, or give handfuls to my daughter when she picks fresh raspberries from the backyard, but here I wanted to make a dip, using mint, and that is when I came up with a feta cheese and mint dip. It was great.

Feta Cheese and Mint Dip

The great thing about this dip, besides all of the wonderful flavor, is that you can serve it with pretzels or chips, or better yet, some nice garden vegetables.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dill weed
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Pita chips

This recipe is super quick to make, so lets get busy.

Heat a skillet on medium heat. Add in one tablespoon of the olive oil.  Once heated through, toss in the onions, and cook just until they begin to caramelize. Remove from the heat and set to the side.

To a mixing bowl, add in the cheese, lemon juice and zest, mint, dill weed, and cracked black pepper. Using a fork, begin mashing all of the ingredients.

Slowly add in the olive oil, and half of the cooked onions.  Stir until you have a lightly creamy texture.  Scoop the mixture into a serving dish, and garnish with the remaining cooked onions.

How to make Feta Cheese and Mint Dip

Serve with pita chips and fresh cut vegetables.

The result is a well balanced dip that has that great punch of feta cheese, while the mint just takes it into a whole other direction. Give this one a shot if you are looking for something other than a taco dip to bring to a party, especially if you love feta cheese. I wish I would have made more as this would probably be great on a grilled burger. Hope you enjoy!

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Pizza

It was not too long ago when some friends of ours said they were heading up north Wisconsin to visit some friends and that there was some cheese, the best cheese, in Wisconsin there. They had asked if I wanted some to bring back, and I said sure, get me twenty dollars worth of cheese, a mixture of a creamy blue, and some cheddar. I love soft blue cheese. I truly do. About a week later, I met up with them at our kids baseball game, and she forked over a bag of cheese, as promised, and she also threw in a blended cheese called Jamaican Jerk. They were not too pleased with the blend, however she said that I could probably make something out of it. I did. This pizza.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Pizza

At first bite, I really did not care for the cheese to be quiet honest with you, however I wasn’t going to let it go to waste. I figured I was going to make a queso fundido out of it, and then it sparked of how much I love Jamaican jerk chicken, that I would make a pizza out of it as I already had made a batch of pizza dough for the family.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of your favorite pizza dough, rolled or tossed to your desire
  • 2 cups of cooked chicken, shredded
  • 2 1/2 cups of Jamaican Jerk cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite pizza sauce

That’s it. Pretty simple. The Jamaican Jerk cheese is actually a blend of a mozzarella style jack cheese so it went perfect when melted.

Start  by preheating your oven to the highest temperature, mine only goes to 500. If you have a pizza stone, preheat that as well.

Next, get your dough tossed or rolled out to your desired thickness. I went a bit on the thinner side on this pizza.

Spread a thin amount of pizza sauce on the pizza. Top with the Jamaican jerk cheese, and then add the shredded chicken. If you have some cheese left over, sprinkle it onto the chicken.

How to make a Jamaican Jerk Chicken Pizza

Place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the crust is nice and golden and the cheese is nice and melted.

I’ll admit, the result was pretty darn good. The cheese did still have some of the funk that it had when eaten by itself, but the pizza sauce, along with the chicken somewhat balanced it out.

Have you ever tried Jamaican jerk cheese? What are your thoughts? Hope you enjoy!

Larb Quesadillas

I’m a huge fan of larb. Often referred to as laab, larb, laap, or lahp, it is a minced meat dish that can utilize chicken, pork, beef, or heck, even shrimp for all I know. The real key to larb is the combination of the ingredients that really make this dish shine. You get fresh herbs, toasted rice, and shallots, chilies, and lime that when brought together gets you wanting more, and more. Larb could possibly be one of my favorite dishes to eat along with Thai sticky rice.  My kids are a big fans of larb as well, and when I make it for them, I typically leave out the fresh chilies and serve them on the side. This past week I made a fairly big batch of larb and had plenty of leftovers. That’s when it came to me, well it came to me as I was looking at the leftover larb and grated cheddar cheese in the refrigerator that I would make a larb quesadilla. It was awesome.

Larb Quesadilla

Get started by making your favorite larb.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb of ground chicken
  • 2 shallots, minced (approximately 3 tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of toasted rice powder
  • 2-5 Thai chile peppers, minced
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp palm sugar, or regular sugar
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts (optional)
  • 1 whole lime, juiced
  • 2 flour tortillas
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Begin by adding the oil to a large skillet and warm it to a medium, high heat. Once the oil is heated, add the ground chicken and begin cooking until it is fully cooked. This is will take about 10 to 15 minutes.

During this time, prepare the remaining ingredients. If you have never toasted rice before, add about 1/2 cup of rice to a dry skillet. Bring it to medium heat, and give it a good shake about every 2-3 minutes. Your goal is to brown the rice, and once brown, add it to a coffee grinder to make into a course powder.

Once the chicken is fully cooked, make sure you break it all up with a wooden spoon as you do not want any clumps. Drain off any excess water from the chicken, then add the chicken to a mixing bowl.

Add in all of the remaining ingredients, and give it a good mix. If you are serving kids, I would suggest removing the chile peppers from this recipe, or divide the mixture before adding the chile peppers. I would recommend 1-2 chile peppers for the mild at heart, and 3-4 chile peppers for those that love the heat. Regardless if it is one chile or four, the balance is perfect.

How to make a larb quesadilla

To make the quesadilla, add a flour tortilla to the bottom of a skillet, and keep on medium heat.

Add 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese to the tortilla. Add about 1 cup of the larb on top of the cheese. Top with remaining cheese, and place the second tortilla on top. Lightly press. Cook for a few minutes, or until the tortilla lightly chars. You should be able to smell it, if not, lift with a spatula to check. Flip over, and cook on the remaining side, for another few minutes.

Remove, and slice, or eat whole, you’re call.

This larb quesadilla was was ridiculously good. It had everything you love in a classic quesadilla, but elevated with great Thai flavors. Give this one a shot, and let me know what you think. Hope you enjoy!

Larb Quesadillas
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb of ground chicken
  • 2 shallots, minced (approximately 3 tbsp)
  • ½ cup of fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • ⅓ cup of toasted rice powder
  • 2-5 Thai chile peppers, minced
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • ½ tbsp palm sugar, or regular sugar
  • ½ cup roasted peanuts (optional)
  • 1 whole lime, juiced
  • 2 flour tortillas
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Instructions
  1. Begin by adding the oil to a large skillet and warm it to a medium, high heat. Once the oil is heated, add the ground chicken and begin cooking until it is fully cooked. This is will take about 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. During this time, prepare the remaining ingredients. If you have never toasted rice before, add about ½ cup of rice to a dry skillet. Bring it to medium heat, and give it a good shake about every 2-3 minutes. Your goal is to brown the rice, and once brown, add it to a coffee grinder to make into a course powder.
  3. Once the chicken is fully cooked, make sure you break it all up with a wooden spoon as you do not want any clumps. Drain off any excess water from the chicken, then add the chicken to a mixing bowl.
  4. Add in all of the remaining ingredients, and give it a good mix. If you are serving kids, I would suggest removing the chile peppers from this recipe, or divide the mixture before adding the chile peppers. I would recommend 1-2 chile peppers for the mild at heart, and 3-4 chile peppers for those that love the heat. Regardless if it is one chile or four, the balance is perfect.
  5. To make the quesadilla, add a flour tortilla to the bottom of a skillet, and keep on medium heat.
  6. Add ½ cup of the cheddar cheese to the tortilla. Add about 1 cup of the larb on top of the cheese. Top with remaining cheese, and place the second tortilla on top. Lightly press. Cook for a few minutes, or until the tortilla lightly chars. You should be able to smell it, if not, lift with a spatula to check. Flip over, and cook on the remaining side, for another few minutes.
  7. Remove, and slice, or eat whole, you’re call.

 

Ham, Cheese, and Pineapple Egg Rolls

As you might have seen from my last post regarding my Root Beer Glazed Ham, it is obvious that I had plenty of leftovers due to the size of that beast. As my son pretty much devoured much of it through the next couple of days, I made sure to save a bag of scraps, if you will, for my own pleasure as I had a couple of ideas up my sleeve in terms of recipes. I’m not going to kid around, and I will be honest in admitting that I love ham. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and now, with this idea, I can eat it as a snack.

As I normally do during the weekend hours, I snoop around my pantry, refrigerator, and freezer, taking a more detailed inventory as to what I have in stock. I do this to come up with ideas for recipes during the week, but also come up with quick ideas as to what I can remove on a more immediate basis and throw something together. That’s when I saw my leftover bag of ham, a package of spring roll wrappers, a can of pineapple, and well, cheese sticks. This is why I am now serving ham, cheese, and pineapple egg rolls.

Ham, Cheese, and Pineapple Egg Rolls

I also made these because, well, I love egg rolls. Hands down one of the simplest and most delicious things to eat, plus you can get super creative when it comes to stuffing these bad boys.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Spring Roll Wrappers, thawed
  • 4 Mozzarella cheese sticks
  • 1 cup of cooked ham, chopped
  • 1 pineapple ring, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups cooking oil
  • 1 egg, beaten

Now let me just say that I was never a fan of the ham and pineapple combination, especially when it came to pizza, however there is something to be said about the combination whereas the the pineapple really does cut through some of that fatty and oiliness. I knew this would be a great combination, and it was.

Start by preparing all of your ingredients, then heat a small pot, with the oil, on medium heat.

As the oil is heating, start making your egg rolls. I’m a huge fan of Tyj Spring Roll Pastry wrappers from Spring Home, and as a matter of fact, they are my go-to wrappers, but you use what you like.

How to make ham, cheese, and pineapple egg rolls

Lay a spring roll wrapper onto your plate, and add a cheese stick near the middle of the wrapper. Make sure the point of the egg roll faces you (See how to roll an egg roll), then add a quarter of the diced ham, and pineapple, laying along the cheese stick. Roll, fold the edges, then brush the top point with the beaten egg. Roll and seal.

Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Place in the preheated oil, about 350 degrees. Deep fry until they are golden brown. Remove with tongs, and place on a paper lined plate to drain any excess oil.

Dig in.

These ham, cheese, and pineapple egg rolls were pretty awesome. They are everything you love in a ham and cheese, but then you get that sweetness from the pineapple, and that just locks in the deal. It’s a wonderful surprise of flavor! These are perfect any time of the day if you ask me. Hope you enjoy!