Recipe Boredom? Try Making These Cheesy “Gourmet-ish” Snacks


With the end of the year looming large I find I have several days of unscheduled time on my hands and nothing but the diabetes inducing holiday “chick flick” movies on the tube. Nothing is open because of “plague” and of course those lucky souls trapped ooops I mean quarantining with me expect me to feed them. At this point I’ve decided to abdicate common sense and good nutritional values and indulge in “gourmet junk food”.

If you are reading this post, you like to cook. No, I take that back, you LOVE to cook. You cook when you are happy, you cook when you are sad. You cook when you are bored you cook when you don’t have time to cook because well, you just have to create. Also, when you are not cooking, you are reading about cooking. So, here are a few “gourmet” not quite healthy but oh so cheesy delicious recipes to whip up and stuff your face with while you’re waiting for December 26th or the ball to drop on the 31st.

FYI use the best cheese you can find (certified of course) because the better the cheese the deeper and richer the flavor. Try and avoid the processed, sliced and prepackaged stuff if you can. While it will work it’s typically chock full of chemicals and preservatives and nobody needs more of that stuff in your diet.

PEPPER JACK STUFFED ONIONS

2 hours or longer depending on buttermilk soaking time

2 large, Vidalia onions, cut into 1/2 inch thick rings

3 cups buttermilk

1 lb. block Pepper Jack cheese, cut in 1/4 inch strips

1 cup flour + 1/3 cup flour

3 large eggs

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 cup panko bread crumbs OR toast bread crumbs (yes they must be toasted)

2/3 cup cornflakes, crushed fine

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Nonstick cooking spray

In a large resealable plastic bag combine the onion slices and butter milk. Shake to coat and refrigerate at least 2 to 3 hours but I prefer overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425. Line 2 baking sheets with sides with aluminum foil and spray them with nonstick spray.  Set them aside. Drain the onions and place them prepared baking sheet. Arrange the onion slices in pairs (one slightly smaller than the other ( You are going to be putting the cheese between the two so there needs to be enough space to put the cheese in and have the 3 layers hold together).

Take the slices of cheese and place it between the two rings and then set it aside. You may need several pieces of cheese to fit.

Place the 1 cup of flour in a bowl and set it aside. In another bowl beat the eggs then set it aside. In the 3rd bowl combine the 1/3 cup flour, corn meal, panko, crushed corn flakes, parsley, paprika, salt, and pepper. Gently dredge the cheese stuffed onion rings, in the flour (coat it well), then dip the stuffed onions into the egg and then dredge it again in the flour. Once again dip the stuffed onion in the beaten eggs an then dredge in the crumb mixture. Make sure you press this mixture on the surface. Place the coated onions on the greased cookie sheets. Spray the top with the nonstick spray. Bake until crisp 12 minutes then flip the onions. Bake an additional 12 to 15 minutes until golden. Makes 20 to 30 rings depending on the size of the onions. Great with a marinara sauce.

ULTIMATE VEGGIE NACHOS

1 large bag corn chips (I like the triangle shape best)

2 cans pinto beans, drained but save the liquid, pureed in a food processer (add little liquid to the beans as you process to thin them a bit.)

1 diced red bell pepper

1 small red onion, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, minced

1 can black olives, drained and sliced

1 can black beans from one (15-ounce) can, drained and rinsed

8 ounces cheddar and/or Monterey Jack cheese, grated

1 to 2 cups favorite salsa

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/4 cup picked cilantro or parsley leaves

3 Roma or 1 large tomato, diced

1/2 cup sour cream

2 handfuls shredded lettuce

3 avocados or your favorite guacamole recipe

Preheat oven to 375. Place a layer of aluminum foil on a large cookie sheet with sides. Cover the bottom with 1/2 of chips. Place dollops of 1/2 of the pureed pinto beans all over the top of the chips. Sprinkle 1/2 the cheeses over the beans. Then spoon ½ the black beans, 1/2 the olives and chopped onions over the beans. Spoon 1/3 of the salsa over the top.  Repeat the process starting with the chips and ending with the cheese. Place the cookie sheet in the preheated oven and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and, using a spatula and trying to keep the layers intact, place the mixture on a serving platter with sides (you may need 2) Top with the shredded lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, dollops of sour cream and chunks of avocado. When done, sprinkle the chopped cilantro or parsley over the top and serve with additional chips. Serves 6 to 8.

SMOKED SALMON WAFFLE POTATO SUPREME

1 package (22 ounces) frozen waffle fries (you can use more)

1 package smoked salmon, flaked, 8 to 10 oz. (I like the honey smoked variety)

1 can (6 ounces) sliced black olives, drained

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped

2/3 cup salsa (optional)

1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese

1-1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

4 green onions, sliced

Preheat the oven to 400 and bake fries until they are sizzling and crispy. Immediately transfer them to an oven proof serving dish (you may want to divide it between 2 dishes for easier serving at the table). Sprinkle the salmon, olives and tomatoes over the top. Spoon the salsa over the top, if using, then sprinkle the cheeses over the top. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven, top with dollops of sour cream and salsa if using and sprinkle the sliced green onions over the top.  Serves 6 as an appetizer. This recipe can be doubled or tripled for a larger crowd.

© Eileen Goltz gooey snacks 20

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