Category Archives: Cheese

Creamy Walleye Scramble, For One

I may never eat scrambled eggs again without cream cheese!

Even though the fillets were small at less than 3 oz, each, two were too many for me, and three eggs was too much. Still, I persevered 😉

Creamy Walleye Scramble

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Walleye fillets—my fish, including both fillets, was 5.5 oz. 3-4 oz might be a more typical single serving.
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
  • butter and olive oil for sauteing
  • salt & pepper
  • optional: fresh or dried herbs, like dill or chives

Preparation

  1. I’m using two of my favorite pans for this dish—stainless steel for cooking and browning the fish and nonstick for making the omelet. That poor nonstick pan has suffered abuse and will need to be replaced soon â˜č
  2. Begin by cooking the fish.
    1. Heat a stainless steel or cast iron pan, because you want some nice browning, over medium-high heat.
    2. Add 2 tablespoons butter or a combination of butter and oil, and as soon as the butter has melted, place the seasoned fillets in and saute for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Turn the fillets and cook the other side.
    3. Set aside while making the eggs. You could loosely cover the fish in the pan with foil, but do not put a lid on and let it steam and get all watery.
  3. To make the eggs:
    1. Whisk 3 eggs in a medium bowl. Don’t be like me and try to pick the smallest bowl possible, so that your egg splashes over the sides.
    2. Whisk in the cream cheese until mostly incorporated. It really doesn’t matter if there are little bits left in it, because they will melt in the cooking.
    3. Heat a nonstick pan over medium to medium-high heat. When hot add 2 tablespoons butter (and a few drops of oil to prevent burning). Add the eggs and let them set for a few seconds. Season with salt and pepper and herbs, if using. Begin to lightly stir and fold with silicone spatula, just to move them around and prevent browning.
    4. Crumble in half your fish, continuing to stir and fold. Remove from heat while the eggs are still moist.
    5. Plate the eggs and crumble the rest of the fish over the top.

Roasted Garden Panzanella Pasta

I tried to get the essentials into the title—roasting, garden harvest, classic panzanella, and pasta. From the garden, I’m roasting tomatoes and green beans. My husband doesn’t care for tomatoes, but he tends the garden—sometimes you have to eat what you sow. The green beans are meant to draw him into the dish. I’m going to roast the bread cubes, as well, instead of toasting the bread in a skillet. Then it’s just a matter of making the right dressing and tossing it all with pasta and cheese curds. I know mozzarella is traditional, but I’m in love with Yancey’s FancyÂź Fresh Cheddar Cheese Curds, and I think they will be perfect.

I’m going to use rice vinegar in the dressing, because it’s the mildest of the vinegars. I’m also going to seed the tomatoes before roasting and add all that liquidy stuff to the dressing, straining out the tomato seeds. But olive oil will be the star. The bread cubes, green beans, and tomatoes will all be tossed with extra virgin olive oil before roasting, and then some more will be in the final dressing.

I’m roasting more ingredients than I will use, but nothing is lost. The extra roasted tomatoes, beans, and bread cubes, will probably end up in lunches or snacks.

Roasted Garden Panzanella Pasta

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups cubed crusty bread, such as from a batard or baguette—I toasted the whole loaf, but only used 2 cups in the dish
  • enough tomatoes to make about 1.5-2 cups—use any type of tomato; mine were Early Girls, the first to ripen here. I roasted 10 tomatoes, but used only 4 in the dish.
  • 1.5 cups fresh green beans
  • 4 oz. pasta cooked according to package directions—I used whole wheat penne
  • 6 oz. cheese curds—mine were fresh cheddar, which is much more mild than aged cheddar
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil for dressing
  • 4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil for roasting vegetables
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar or other mild vinegar
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely grated
  • salt & pepper

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425Âș; line 2-3 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

  1. Bread: Toss bread cubes in large bowl with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil—I used 3 for the whole loaf—don’t overdo it. Spread on one of the baking sheets and toast in oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and set aside 2 cups for the dish.
  2. Vegetables: Core and seed the tomatoes, reserving the tomato seeds and pulp for the dressing—I had about 1 cup of liquid from the tomatoes. Place the halved tomatoes, cut side up, on one of the lined baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil. Salt and pepper.
  3. Toss the green beans with about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Spread on the second lined sheet; salt and pepper.
  4. Roast the vegetables on separate racks in the oven, about 15 minutes for the green beans and about 30 minutes for the tomatoes. I like a little caramelization on the tomatoes.
  5. Dressing: In bowl with reserved tomato seeds and pulp, add the 3/4 cup olive oil and vinegar. Whisk until combined, then pour through strainer to remove seeds—whisking helps to separate the gel from the seeds before you strain them out. Whisk in garlic. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more oil or vinegar to taste.
  6. Panzanella: In large bowl toss pasta, bread, vegetables, and cheese with dressing until well coated. Set aside and allow the dressing to be absorbed by all the ingredients. Serve at room temperature.

We also had a roasted pork tenderloin, but that was really just a bonus for the gardener, who did eat a few of the tomatoes.

Ricotta-VelveetaÂź Mac ‘n Cheese

You can never have too many mac and cheese recipes.

Sometimes you might be in the mood for a sharp cheddar or a nutty Gruyere or even a little blue, but you just about always want a creamy texture, not one that separates, leaving an oily trail and little curds of cheese—well, I would eat that, too. The following recipe starts out with this one from Kraft and adds whipped ricotta to the sauce, so that it’s extra creamy. I am not adding any cheddar to the top of the casserole, just a panko topping. I like to get a little crust on my mac and cheese, but sometimes you just want to eat it out of the pan, so skip the crumb topping and baking if you like.

The base recipe starts out with a very thick white sauce, into which cubes of VelveetaÂź are stirred. I usually make my white sauce with 2 tablespoons of flour per cup of milk, but this one uses 4 tablespoons per cup. Like any other cheese sauce, you need this flour base to keep the cheese from separating. I’ve tried that recipe making the rounds, where you use only evaporated milk and cheese, and it does not hold up—beware fads.

Ricotta-VelveetaÂź Mac 'n Cheese

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 350°; butter a 2-quart casserole dish.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 oz. original VelveetaÂź cheese, cut into cubes
  • 8 oz. whole milk ricotta, whipped in a food processor until smooth and fluffy
  • 8 oz. macaroni or other pasta shape—I used whole wheat fusilli
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preparation

  1. Boil the pasta according to the package directions while making the sauce. Drain the pasta and place in casserole dish.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until fully combined. Stir in milk and continue stirring until smooth and thickened.
  3. Stir cheese cubes into thickened white sauce until all the cheese is melted. This takes a few minutes.
  4. Stir whipped ricotta into cheese sauce until combined.
  5. Pour sauce over pasta and stir to combine. You could serve it at this point without baking, or go to the next step.
  6. Combine panko crumbs and 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle over macaroni. Bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned and bubbly.

 

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Penne, Peas, and Ricotta

A dish for two, unless one of those two has lactose intolerance, in which case I get to eat it twice.

To make a sauce, half the ricotta and peas are pulsed in a food processor until green and creamy. The rest are left in their natural state for texture.

Penne, Peas, and Ricotta

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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I roasted some peppers early in the day to use in several recipes; otherwise you may use roasted peppers in a jar, which I rely on all the time.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz whole wheat penne or your favorite pasta
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta, divided
  • 1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed and divided
  • 1 generous tablespoon roasted garlic (I freeze mine in mini muffin pans to keep handy in the freezer)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1-1 1/2 roasted red pepper, cut in large dice
  • 1/4 cup grated or shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (I like the texture of the shaved cheese)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions and your taste. Whole wheat pasta takes a little longer to cook, about 12-15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Saute onions until translucent, season with salt and pepper, then stir in peppers and 1/2 cup of the thawed peas. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of the food processor, add 1/2 cup ricotta, garlic, and 1/2 cup thawed peas. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Process until mixture is smooth and creamy and bright green. Set aside.
  4. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water; drain off the rest.
  5. Add to the drained pasta the sauce, the vegetables, the remaining 1/2 cup ricotta, and 2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Stir to combine, adding a little cooking water if you need to thin the sauce. I added about 2 tablespoons water.
  6. Serve with more Parmesan.