Ingredient Spotlight: Parmesan, Romano, Asiago, Gorgonzola etc.

Today is Ingredient Spotlight: Stinky Cheese edition!

I love cheese.  Recently, I’ve encountered people who say they are embarrassed to admit they eat cheese.  I say that’s crazy.  I refuse to be embarrassed by my fondness for cheese.  Life’s too short to waste time on such a small thing.  Besides, there are many other things I could choose to be self-conscious about.  Cheese is just not worth it.

On that note, let’s enjoy these cheeses together!  [Read more…]

Garden Rotini with Grilled Zucchini and Chicken

garden rotini with grilled zucchini and chicken done

Oh, my merciful heavens!  This was so very delicious.

Inspired by the grilled zucchini and a container of gorgonzola cheese, I quickly pulled this together for dinner one night.  Five of us were home to eat and we all loved it.  My oldest daughter worked late and came in after we had gone to bed.  She scrounged in the fridge and found the leftovers.  She said she ate some cold before she realized it was meant to be served hot, but it tasted good both ways.

I also used homemade seasoned salt in this dish.  If you haven’t made any of it yet, please take a couple minutes to stir a batch together.  Your taste buds will thank you.

[Read more…]

Cajun Beef Southwestern Salad – Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner

southwest beef salad done

I was contacted recently by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.  They have asked several bloggers to be part of “It’s What’s for Dinner Wednesday” challenge.  Each week in September NCBA will share a recipe on their facebook page and the bloggers will create the recipe at home  (or our version of it) and share it on our blogs.  You can also participate and enter to win a cool prize pack from the NCBA by visiting the facebook page.

The recipe this week is Cajun Southwestern Salad.  The original recipe can be found here.  I will say that I altered the recipe quite a bit.  I had a couple reasons for doing this.  First, I have a bunch of grape tomatoes that my sister-in-law gave me and I needed to use them.  Second, the original recipe called for figs and blood oranges.  I wasn’t at all sure I would be able to find those ingredients.  Besides, the closest I’ve ever gotten to a fig is in a Newton.  So, I’ve altered the recipe for the average, non-adventurous family.

[Read more…]

Penne Gorgonzola with Grilled Chicken

We don’t eat out often, but when we do I really like to go to Johnny Carino’s. The last time we were in there, my husband and I shared an order of Penne Gorgonzola and I got the bright idea that I could cook up a knock-off version at home. I was right! This tastes almost exactly like the restaurant version.

Here’s what you’ll need:

penne pasta
2 cups half & half
Gorgonzola cheese (the package I used was 5 oz)
Parmesan cheese, about 1/2 cup grated
1 clove garlic, minced
4 Tbs. butter
fresh ground pepper
tomato for garnish
grilled chicken, sliced thin

I was so focused on trying to re-create this dish that I forgot about taking a picture of the chicken. Unfortunately, it was pouring the rain so I had to grill it on the George Foreman. The outside grill would have made it taste better, but it was still fine. I just sprinkled it with salt and pepper before grilling.

Heat the water for the pasta and cook it according to the package directions. While that’s cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan. Saute the garlic for a bit in the butter. Whisk in the half & half and heat it over medium heat, then whisk in the cheeses. Allow the cheese to melt and add the pepper. I tried to keep mine hot, but not boiling but I wasn’t successful. It boiled just before I was about to pour it on the pasta. At first the sauce seemed very thin, but then after adding it to the pasta it thickened up.

Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir in the thinly sliced grilled chicken. The Carino’s version also has mushrooms, so if you like those you could add them in. Top with chopped tomato and extra cheese if you like.

This was a hit with everyone in the family. Now I need to conquer my other favorite dish from Carino’s, Bowtie Festival.

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