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    Entries in cheesy goodness (30)


    Goat Cheese Dip

    Last week, Hubby and I went to a nearby tavern for dinner.  They have a goat cheese dip appetizer he really wanted.  I’m not entirely sure he didn’t want to go there because the waitresses wear kilts that barely cover their… assets.  He assured me he isn’t a ‘leg man’, and I assured him that if any of those girls leaned over a table, it wouldn’t be the legs he’d be looking at.  As for the dip, he was definitely right about that.  It was fabulous!  It was simple enough that I figured I could create a similar recipe that would be just as delicious.  Even better, I wouldn’t have to pay 10 bucks for it, I’d be able to control the quality of the ingredients, and no scantily clad girls prancing about. 

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 8 oz. goat cheese
    • ¼ cup sour cream
    • ¼ cup green onions
    • 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • Marinara sauce
    • Slivered almonds

    Go ahead and preheat your oven to 350°.  This is super quick to put together.  Throw your goat cheese and sour cream into a mixing bowl. 

    Break up the goat cheese, and smoosh them together.  A silicone spatula works perfectly for this job.  When you have a fairly smooth and consistent texture, throw in the green onions, parsley, salt, and pepper. 

    Stir again until everything is evenly distributed. 

    Scoop the goat cheese mixture into a shallow dish and smooth out the top. 

    Onto a sheet pan and into the oven for 25 minutes. 

    Pull it out, spoon on ⅓ cup or so of marinara sauce, and put it back in for another 10 minutes. 

    This time when you take it out, move the dish off of the sheet pan and set it aside to rest, then sprinkle on a couple tablespoons of slivered almonds.  It’s always best to toast nuts before using them if you can.  It really brings deepens their flavor.  Put them in for maybe 10 minutes.  I say maybe because nuts are very easy to burn.  Pretty much, when you can smell them, they’re done.  They’ll just barely start to change color. 

    Now just sprinkle them over the dip. 

    Seriously, who needs to go to a restaurant for something that simple to make?  Serve with pita wedges.  You can heat them by just wrapping them in foil and throwing them into the oven with the almonds. 

    What restaurant dish would you like to see recreated? 




    Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Shells

    If there are two kinds of food just about everyone loves, they would have to be buffalo chicken wings and stuffed shells.  I think this may even be a case where the final outcome is greater than the sum of its parts. 

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 15 jumbo pasta shells
    • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 8 oz cream cheese
    • 2 Tablespoons chopped chives
    • 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
    • ¼  teaspoon each of salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder
    • 5 Tablespoons butter
    • 1 bottle of Cholula (5 fl. oz) (or whatever hot sauce you like)
    • ¼  teaspoon each of salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder (yes, again)
    • ¾ cup grated cheese

    Before starting anything else, go ahead put a large pan of water on the hot burner so it can come to a boil.  Add lots of salt and your shells and follow the package instructions for cooking them.  You’ll probably want to add a couple extra shells in case any of them crack.  When they’re finished cooking, drain them and rinse them well with cool water.  Next, start on the sauce.  In a pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the hot sauce. 

    Once it’s melted, go ahead and add ¼ teaspoon of each of the spices.

    Stir and bring it just to a simmer, then remove it from the heat and set it aside.  It should look something like this:

    Cut the chicken breasts into cubes. 

    Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and sauté over medium heat. 

    Once it’s cooked through, use your spatula and chop it into smaller bits.  Could you use a knife?  Sure, but that would require dirtying a cutting board and knife, so I opted for this method.

    You want them fairly small. 

    Pour the hot chicken over the cream cheese. 

    Stir them until they are thoroughly mixed together.  Add the herbs and spices and stir them in, as well.  As you know from my buffalo wings post, I like ranch dressing with my wings, rather than blue cheese, so these are the herbs and spices used to make ranch.  If you prefer blue cheese with your wings, you're weird, but feel free to experiment using a mixture of cream cheese and blue cheese. 

    Open one of your cooked shells and fill it with the chicken and cheese mixture. 

    Coat the bottom of a pan (8x8 was perfect) with a thin layer of the buffalo sauce and place your shell inside. 

    Repeat with the rest of the shells and pour the remaining buffalo sauce over the top. 

    Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350° for 25 minutes, then uncover and top with grated cheese. 

    Back into the oven just long enough to make the cheese ooey, gooey, and delicious. (like 10 minutes) 

    Hubby had a friend over that evening, and I warned him it was experiment night because I’d never made these before and, as usual, wasn’t using a recipe.  When we finished he asked when the next experiment night was, so I guess that means he approves.  Personally, I thought they were absolutely fabulous.  Next time I think I might use ground chicken because, well, I’m lazy, and that will make less work for me.  I’ll probably also double the recipe.  We didn’t have any leftover, but if we had, I’m sure they’d have reheated beautifully. 

    What two dishes would you like to see combined into one?



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