#365Recipes :: Penne with Four Cheeses

Penne with Four Cheeses

It’s been a while since I made something to contribute to the #365Recipes project, but here you go!

Who doesn’t like a nice warm, cozy bowl of creamy pasta?  On these cooler fall nights, it’s one of my favoritest things to eat.  This penne with four cheeses pasta recipe is one I dug out from the bottom of my recipe archives, and old favorite that I had long forgotten about, after omitting grains from my diet for so long.  When I saw it sitting in my old recipe binder, I immediately remembered it – the smell, the creaminess, the pungent, grown-up flavor of grown-up cheeses.  I just love comfy pasta dishes, I could actually inhale them but I try to be a civilized human being whenever possible.

This dish is easily halved for smaller portions, and would reheat well if you could heat it slowly with a little bit of milk or cream to keep the cheese sauce intact.

Penne with Four Cheeses
Serves 4-6

Ingredients
1 pound penne pasta
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces grated Fontina cheese
3 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
3 ounces Mascarpone cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions
Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente, and drain. Meanwhile, heat butter and cream in a saucepan and whisk together over low heat until butter has melted. Stir in all of the cheeses, and continue whisking until they have all completely melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the drained pasta back into the pot you cooked it in, and pour the sauce over top. Stir to combine, keeping warm over medium-low heat. Serve hot, along with additional Parmesan cheese if you wish.

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#52NewEats :: Week 42 :: Blue Cheese Dressing

Blue Cheese Dressing

I have previously //waxed poetic here// about my love for blue cheese dressing.  I consider myself a blue cheese dressing expert.  I know what restaurants have good blue cheese dressing, and what restaurants have meh blue cheese dressing.  I have had my go-to recipe for forever, which is straight out of a //Morton’s Steakhouse cookbook//, and it is amazing.  But, it does require you to have a couple specialty ingredients on hand, or at least to buy them and then wonder what to do with the rest of them until the next time you make blue cheese dressing.

So, when I found //this recipe for blue cheese dressing//, and actually got sucked into the written blog post (for once – I usually skip over the writing and go right to the recipe 🙊), I knew I had to try it.  The author seems to love blue cheese dressing as much as I do, and there are not too many of us out there in this world.  She and I are on the same level concerning this creamy, chunky dressing, in a land where ranch tends to dominate.  Someone who waxes poetic about blue cheese dressing like I do HAS to make a good blue cheese dressing!

AND SHE DOES.  Folks, this is quite frankly my new go-to blue cheese dressing.  I don’t have to buy any special ingredients and it was SO good.  The only thing I would cut back on is the garlic – it was a little strong for me, BUT, I grate my garlic instead of chopping it, so that might have intensified it.  It didn’t taste bad at all, but the garlic flavor was a little strong for me.  So next time, I’ll halve the garlic, and drown a salad in this dressing and chomp away happily.

If you are a blue cheese dressing fan like I am, you should give this recipe a try!

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Vegetarian Enchiladas Suizas

Vegetarian Enchiladas Suizas

So I know I just shared a recipe last week for //chicken enchiladas suizas//, but I loved it so much that I immediately wanted to come up with a vegetarian version, so here it is!

To me, there is just something about the combination of black beans, corn, and poblanos and that really sets my soul ablaze.  I know, I’m corny, but I really do love Mexican food so much.  I could wax poetic about it for hours; I could eat it every day, every meal of the week; I am positive I have Mexican in me somewhere in my blood line, or I was Mexican in a past life.

So, my vegetarian friends, here is a version for you!  (I’m not lying when I say I actually preferred this version!)  Note that it is most definitely not vegan with all the cheesy, creamy deliciousness, but it’s a splurge for my veg peeps fo’ sho’.

Give it a go and let me know how much you love it!!

Vegetarian Enchiladas Suizas
Serves 6

Ingredients
1 lb tomatillos, husks removed, washed
4 jalapenos
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 medium white onion, sliced into quarters
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper
Handful of fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup heavy cream

For the enchiladas:
1 can refried black beans
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 poblano peppers, diced
10-12 flour tortillas
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 tub creme fraiche
1 cup crumbled queso fresco

Directions
1. Prepare the veggies: Empty the can of refried beans into a small saucepan and warm over medium heat. When thoroughly heated, reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to assemble enchiladas. Add the corn and poblano to a dry nonstick skillet, and heat over medium heat. Saute until corn starts to brown, then turn off the heat and set aside until ready to assemble enchiladas.

2. Prepare the verde sauce: Place the tomatillos, jalapenos, garlic cloves, and onion quarters onto a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Broil under a high flame for about 7-10 minutes, rotating the baking sheet as needed to ensure all vegetables start to blacken. When they are nicely blistered, but not completely burnt, remove from the oven and scrape everything off the baking sheet into a blender. Be sure to secure the lid and vent if necessary, as you will be blending hot items. Holding the lid in place, blend until well mixed and combined. You should not have any large chunks, it should be the consistency of a smooth salsa. When finished, pour into a saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Add heavy cream, and whisk to combine. Keep warm.

3. Assemble enchiladas: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spoon a little bit of the verde sauce into the bottom of a greased baking dish, about 9×13 in size, and spread it around into a thin layer. Spread a little bit of refried beans down the center of a tortilla. Spoon some of the corn and poblano mixture on top. Top with some of the Monterey Jack cheese. I don’t measure this, I eyeball it; so just don’t overstuff your enchiladas so much that they won’t close when you roll them up. It’s trial and error, but you’ll figure it out, I promise. Place each rolled tortilla seam-side down on top of the sauce. When your baking dish is full or you are out of veggies, spread the creme fraiche on top of the enchiladas in an even layer. Top with remaining Monterey Jack cheese, if you have any left. Bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese has melted.

4. Prepare enchiladas for serving: When the enchiladas have finished baking, remove from the oven. Pour the verde sauce all over the top of the enchiladas. Let set for a minute or two. Top with crumbled queso fresco, if desired. Carefully remove from the baking pan and serve alongside Spanish rice or a fresh salad!

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#52NewEats :: Week 41 :: Creamy Tomato Mascarpone Pasta

Creamy Tomato Mascarpone Pasta

It is pretty much a given, that if a recipe has the word “creamy” in the title, I will be all about it.  I looooove creamy sauces and dishes.  Can’t get enough.  Creamy sauces for drowning, dousing, blanketing, dipping, smothering… are all my favoritest sauces ever.  I would eat piles of vegetables if I could drown them all in creamy sauces.

Which… maybe isn’t such a bad idea… but I digress.

So when I happened upon //this pasta dish for Creamy Tomato Mascarpone Pasta//, I couldn’t wait to make it.  This kind of pasta is the best – you get some vegetable matter with the tomatoes and the spinach, but you also get the velvety lusciousness of a creamy sauce.  This was a DELICIOUS pasta dish, and it was so easy, since you make everything in one pot!!

The original recipe makes A LOT, so I cut it in half and it was more than enough for us, and I gave the rest to my brother and his wife, who just had a baby!  Also, instead of tomato puree, I used tomato paste.  I always chop the spinach a little bit so it wilts faster.

This recipe really is a keeper, head on over to //the original recipe// and try it out!

 

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Chicken Enchiladas Suizas

Chicken Enchiladas Suizas

Despite how much I positively adore Mexican food, I have not always been much a fan of verde salsa or sauces.  Why?  I feel like they can be inconsistent from restaurant to restaurant.  Some places, it’s ridiculously spicy; some places, it’s really tangy.  Some places it’s well-balanced and I really like it.  But I haven’t met many verde sauces I’ve enjoyed.

Until, that is, I bought //Aaron Sanchez’s cookbook// and tried his verde sauce.  There’s a recipe in his cookbook for chilaquiles, that is just out of this world, that uses this verde sauce.  And I was sold.

This recipe is adapted from the chilaquiles recipe.  I love those chilaquiles so much – I made them for a New Year’s Day party I had at the beginning of this year, and my brother wouldn’t shut up about the verde sauce.  I thought hm, what if I used this sauce and method to make chicken enchiladas?  And many many months later, this recipe was born!

I have modified the verde sauce recipe slightly, mostly to be less spicy.  The original recipe calls for 5 fresh serrano peppers (which may not be that bad, but could be pretty damn spicy), OR 10 jalapeno chilies.  I typically make this recipe with serranos, but at the point I was recipe testing this I couldn’t find them, so I subbed 10 jalapenos.  And I legit cried, it was so spicy.  It was not edible the first time I made this.  I had such a sad dumping a full pan of too-spicy enchiladas, but they really were not edible!  So, follow my recipe below for a moderately-spiced dish, and if you can’t even handle moderate heat, lose a jalapeno or two – I promise the dish won’t suffer.  😊

Chicken Enchiladas Suizas
Serves 6

Ingredients
For the verde sauce:
1 lb tomatillos, husks removed, washed
4 jalapenos
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 medium white onion, sliced into quarters
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper
Handful of fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup heavy cream

For the enchiladas:
1 jar of your favorite salsa verde
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
10-12 flour tortillas
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 tub creme fraiche
1 cup crumbled queso fresco

Directions
1. Prepare the chicken: Place chicken breasts in a slow cooker and pour the jar of salsa verde on top. Cook on high for two hours, and then switch to low for two hours. Alternatively, you could cook on low for 8 hours. When the chicken is finished, shred right in the crockpot. You can use this for taco filling, taco salad topping, quesadillas, etc. Refrigerate or keep warm until ready to assemble enchiladas, depending on how long you have to wait.

2. Prepare the verde sauce: Place the tomatillos, jalapenos, garlic cloves, and onion quarters onto a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Broil under a high flame for about 7-10 minutes, rotating the baking sheet as needed to ensure all vegetables start to blacken. When they are nicely blistered, but not completely burnt, remove from the oven and scrape everything off the baking sheet into a blender. Be sure to secure the lid and vent if necessary, as you will be blending hot items. Holding the lid in place, blend until well mixed and combined. You should not have any large chunks, it should be the consistency of a smooth salsa. When finished, pour into a saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Add heavy cream, and whisk to combine. Keep warm.

3. Assemble enchiladas: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spoon a little bit of the verde sauce into the bottom of a greased baking dish, about 9×13 in size, and spread it around into a thin layer. Fill each tortilla with some of the chicken mixture and some of the Monterey Jack cheese. I never measure this part, who has time? Just don’t overstuff your enchiladas so much that they won’t close when you roll them up. It’s trial and error, but you’ll figure it out, I promise. Place each rolled tortilla seam-side down on top of the sauce. When your baking dish is full or you are out of chicken, spread the creme fraiche on top of the enchiladas in an even layer. Top with remaining Monterey Jack cheese, if you have any left. Bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese has melted.

4. Prepare enchiladas for serving: When the enchiladas have finished baking, remove from the oven. Pour the verde sauce all over the top of the enchiladas. Let set for a minute or two. Top with crumbled queso fresco, if desired. Carefully remove from the baking pan and serve alongside Spanish rice or a fresh salad!

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#52NewEats :: Week 40 :: Sriracha Ranch

Sriracha Ranch

If you know me at all, you know how much I like dips.  I like to dip things in dips.  Especially, especially, especially creamy, mayo-based dips!  I do not dip fries in ketchup.  Why would I do that when I could use the excuse to ingest more mayo?!

My favorite thing to dip things into is my //chipotle mayo//.  Seriously, this stuff is amazing, and I pretty much make a batch every week or so.  But, I recently became a fan of //Just Foods Sriracha Mayo//, and when I came upon //this recipe for Sriracha Ranch//, I was totally jazzed to try it!

My verdict?  Hm.  It was tasty, but, I like thick dips, and this was thinner, like a dressing.  In fact, it would have made a GREAT salad dressing, as written.  Also, it wasn’t all that spicy; it could have used more sriracha (note how not-pink my dip is above).  I followed the recipe exactly, and as a recipe writer myself, I know I like to err on the side of less spicy for my more sensitive readers.  And, it made a large amount, that I didn’t think I would finish before it wasn’t good to eat anymore.  SO.  Final verdict is:  I would make it again; I would halve the recipe, and further halve the milk; I would add more sriracha.  😊  All in all, this recipe was a great starting point for a sriracha-based dip, which is exactly what I was looking for!  Click the link above to check it out and give it a try yourself!

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