Baked Cheese Balls

Ingredients:

  • 7 ounces Swiss cheese, grated
  • 7 ounces all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Preparation:

Bring the water to a boil, then add the salt and the butter. When the butter melts, remove from heat and add the flour. Mix well. Add the grated cheese and the eggs. Mix everything very well, until you get a homogeneous composition. Let it cool for about one hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Put baking paper on the bottom of an oven tray. With your palms, start forming balls from the mixture. Put the balls on the baking paper, making sure there’s enough room around them, so they don’t get it touch with each other.

Bake the cheese balls for 30 minutes. You can serve them either hot or cold. Suggestion for serving: place several lettuce leaves on a big platter and arrange the cheese balls on top.

This recipe makes about 40-50 cheese balls.

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Easy Cheese Straws With Caraway Seeds

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound feta cheese, grated
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1 pound all purpose white flour
  • 1-2 egg yolks (for glazing the cheese straws)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pound butter
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt

Preparation:

Mix the flour, grated feta cheese, yogurt, butter and baking powder, until you get a firm dough. Cool it in the fridge for 1 hour. Divide the dough in 4 parts. Roll each of them until you get a 1/8 inch thick sheet. Try to shape it rectangular, if you can. If not, it’s not a problem, use a knife to cut the round edges and mix them into another dough ball.

In a small bowl, separate the egg yolks. Save the whites to use for other foods. With a pastry brush, glaze the dough sheet generously. Spread caraway seeds all over it.

Cut the dough sheet in stripes about 1/2 inch wide. The length can be anything you wish.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Put baking paper in a tray, then transfer the dough stripes on it, carefully not to break them.

Bake the straws for 10-15 minutes. Watch them closely after 10 minutes, because it’s easy to overcook them.

Serve them at room temperature. If you have any of them left (although I doubt that) you can store them in the fridge and eat them the next day.

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Crispy Potato Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 7-8 medium size potatoes, grated
  • 2 onions, finely chopped or grated
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1-2 eggs, beaten (if you have large eggs, one is enough)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:
Peel and mince the garlic cloves. Peel and grate the onion. Peel the potatoes. Grate them. Squeeze the excess liquid from the grated potatoes with the help of your hands. As we are not going to use that liquid, you can just take handfuls of grated potatoes and squeeze them over the kitchen sink.

In a large bowl combine the grated potatoes with onion, garlic flour and beaten eggs. Add salt and pepper. Stir very well.

Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick pan. Form the potato mix into balls, then flatten them as much as you can, making sure they don’t fall apart. Cook the potato pancakes for about 5 minutes on each side. If they turn brown too quickly, lower the heat. When pancakes are cooked, remove them from the pan and drain them on paper towels.

Potato pancakes are best hot. If you prepare them in more than one-two batches, put the cooked ones in the warm oven until you’re done.

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Scalloped Potatoes Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium baking potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup diced ham
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Preparation:
Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add salt, pepper and flour. Stir frequently, until you get a smooth mixture, then start adding the milk, little by little. Bring it to boil and cook for about one minute. Set aside.

Oil a baking dish, then arrange one layer of potatoes on the bottom. Cover with half of the chopped onion, add half cup of diced ham, then pour one third of the milk sauce over it. Add a new layer of potatoes, the rest of chopped onion and ham, then cover with the remaining sauce.

Cover the dish and bake it in the oven for about 90 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with dried oregano, then return to the oven and bake it uncovered for 10 minutes.

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Mushroom Quiche With Potato Crust

Yummy quiche with pickled beetroot decor

Yummy quiche with pickled beetroot decor

Basic quiche recipes call for pastry for the crust. However, if you want, you can replace the pastry with potatoes. I did this and here’s my potato crust quiche recipe, which you can use as base for any kind of quiche you like: mine has mushrooms, red bell pepper, parsley, dill and onions, but variations are welcome.

The first step is to make the crust. You need two onions…

Two peeled onions

Two peeled onions

and about 6 medium size potatoes. Don’t ask me why my onions were one yellow and one red. Use whatever you have, the color makes no difference in this situation.

Peeled potatoes

Peeled potatoes

Peel and grate the onions. Here’s the part where you start to cry, so take your time, wash your face, grate some more, cry some more… the whole operation shouldn’t take you more than 5-6 minutes.

Grating onions

Grating onions

Peel and grate the potatoes. I grated them coarsely, but if you want a finer crust, use the fine side of the grater box.

Grating potatoes

Grating potatoes

Pre-heat the oven at 450F.

Squeeze the grated onions and potatoes very well to drain the liquid, then put them in a bowl and mix them.

Mix grated potatoes and onions

Mix grated potatoes and onions

Use both your hands, not one like I did. You won’t have to hold the camera, I guess ;)

Add a teaspoon of salt, some ground black pepper and 2 tablespoons of all purpose white flour. If you want, you can add spices. I added about a teaspoon dried thyme. Mix everything very well.

Grated potatoes - onions - flour mix

Grated potatoes - onions - flour mix

Oil a baking dish (bottom and edges). Shape the onion-potato mix into a pie crust, trying to get even thickness all over.

Raw potato quiche crust

Raw potato quiche crust

Bake the potato crust at 450F for about 15 minutes.

Take the baking dish out of the oven, brush the crust with extra virgin olive oil and put it back in the oven again for 10 more minutes. If you don’t have a special brush, you can use a folded paper towel to oil the crust evenly.

Oiled quiche crust

Oiled quiche crust

While the crust is baking, we are going to prepare the filling for our quiche. You need one onion, 15-20 button mushrooms, half red bell pepper, parsley and dill.

Button mushrooms

Button mushrooms

Peel and chop the onion. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a pan, add the onion and fry it for about 2 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

Chopped red onion in pan

Chopped red onion in pan

Thoroughly clean the mushrooms, chop them and add them to the frying pan. I also added about a teaspoon of fresh rosemary, minced, but that’s optional.

Chop about half of a red bell pepper. Add it to the food. Stir and cook over medium heat. Chop the parsley and the dill and add them to the pan.

Vegetables in pan

Vegetables in pan

Continue cooking and stirring until the vegetables are soft and there’s a lot of liquid from the mushrooms in the pan. This process should take about 10 minutes.

Remove vegetables from heat, transfer them into a colander and drain them very well. You can use a wooden spatula or a spoon to squeeze them dry.

Draining stir fried vegetables

Draining stir fried vegetables

Pour the vegetables over the quiche crust, spreading them evenly onto the surface.

Quiche recipe - work in progress

Quiche recipe - work in progress

Grate the cheese. You’ll need about 1 cup of grated cheese. I used feta, but you can use any cheese you want such as Cheddar or Swiss cheese.

Grated Feta cheese

Grated Feta cheese

Spread the grated cheese on top of the baking dish.

Spread the grated cheese over the quiche

Spread the grated cheese over the quiche

In a small bowl, beat 3 eggs. Please note that there are only two eggs in the photo, but after I beat those, I decided to add one more.

Beat three eggs and add milk

Beat three eggs and add milk

Add about 1/4 cup of milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon paprika powder and some freshly ground black pepper.

Beaten eggs - milk - spices

Beaten eggs - milk - spices

Mix well and pour over the grated cheese layer in the quiche dish.

Quiche - ready to bake

Quiche - ready to bake

Bake over medium heat for one hour.

Mushroom quiche with potato crust

Mushroom quiche with potato crust

Let the quiche cool for 10 minutes after removing it from the oven. Cut and serve hot.

Mushroom quiche slice

Mushroom quiche slice

Serving suggestion: decorate the quiche slices with pickled beetroot or gherkins.

Mushroom quiche with potato crust topped with beetroot

Mushroom quiche with potato crust topped with beetroot

Ingredients for this quiche recipe:

  • 3 medium size onions
  • 20 button mushrooms
  • 6 medium size potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose white flour
  • 1 cup parsley and dill, chopped
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup grated cheese

This recipe serves 4-6 people. I ate two big slices while writing the recipe for you, however :)

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Macaroni Cheese With Parsley

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb macaroni (penne, shells, fusilli, elbow macaroni or any other type of pasta you like)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup mascarpone
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • salt, pepper

Directions:
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water with a teaspoon of salt, respecting the cooking time indicated on the pasta pack.

In a pan, heat one tablespoon of butter, add the shallots and saute them until they turn light brown. In another pan, melt the remaining butter and add the flour. Cook it on low to medium heat, stirring continuously. Start adding the milk gradually, stirring well, until the composition becomes smooth.

When the mixture starts boiling, reduce the heat and keep on cooking for about two more minutes. Remove it from the heat, add the cheese and stir until it melts.

Drain the pasta, put it in a pot, then pour the melted cheese over it and stir until it gets evenly coated. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and with parsley and serve hot.

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Crab and Green Onions Quiche

Ingredients:

  • 1 pie crust, not baked
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 can crab meat, drained and minced
  • 2 cups Swiss cheese, grated
  • 1 cup green onions, chopped small
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup cream (you can replace it with low fat yogurt for a healthier version of this recipe)
  • salt, pepper to taste

Directions:
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then add flour and cream. Add about 1/2 teaspoon salt (or less, if you prefer the quiche less salty). Mix well.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Melt the butter in a pan, then add the green onions and cook for about 3-4 minutes over medium heat.If you want, you can use olive oil instead of butter. However, butter gives a special flavor to green onions, so that’s my favorite combination.

Add the cooked onions, the cheese and the crab meat to the egg mix, stir well and pour into the pie crust. Bake at 350F for about 45-50 minutes.

This quiche recipe is a quick one, because it doesn’t call for blind-baking the pie crust. Nonetheless, if you fear the pastry won’t bake well together with the filling, you can bake it separately for 30 minutes, then add the filling and bake it for 40 minutes more. Again, if you have plenty of time and you want homemade pie crust, that would add one more hour to the total time required for preparing this recipe from scratch to serving it on the dinner table.

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Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon and Tomatoes

Macaroni cheese is such a great dish! Not only the basic mac & cheese recipe is delicious, but also its variations are really good. For example, bacon and tomatoes give it an awesome flavor, turning it into a complete meal for the whole family.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4-5 bacon slices (about 1/2 pound)
  • 2 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded (you can use a mix of various cheeses if you want)
  • 2 average size tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a big pot, cook the pasta in boiling salty water, as per instructions on the pack.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and brown the onion for about 2-3 minutes. Cook the bacon until it becomes crispy, then remove it from the pan. Add flour, salt and pepper to the browned onion, then gradually add the milk, while stirring frequently. Bring it to a boil, them lower the heat and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, add the cheese and stir until it melts and blends into the mix.

Drain the pasta very well, return it into the pot, then add the cheese mixture and the crumbled bacon to it. Blend well and transfer in a greased casserole. Bake it uncovered for 15-20 minutes, then arrange the tomato slices on top of the food and put it back in the oven. Let it bake for maximum 10 minutes more. Serve hot.

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Crockpot Macaroni And Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons white flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups Cheddar cheese, grated
  • paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:
In a pot, mix the flour with dry mustard, salt, pepper and milk. Cook it on stovetop, on low temperature, stirring frequently, until it thickens. Remove from heat. Add the butter and 2 cups of Cheddar cheese. Stir well, until the cheese melts.

Cook the macaroni in salty, boiling water according to the instructions on the pack, but 1-2 minutes less. You want the pasta to be cooked “al dente”. Drain it well. Mix it with the cheesy sauce.

Butter the slow cooker dish on the bottom and on the sides, then place a layer of macaroni, followed by a layer of extra cheese, then repeat until you finish the macaroni. Sprinkle with paprika. Set the slow cooker on Low and cook the macaroni and cheese for about 3 hours.

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Easy Stovetop Mac And Cheese

This is a simple macaroni and cheese recipe which can be ready in as little as 30 minutes. It’s a great idea for an easy, yet delicious dinner. This recipe serves 3-4 persons.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Cook the macaroni as per instructions on the pack. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan over low heat. When butter is melted, stir in flour and salt, then add the milk. Keep on stirring and cooking until the mixture becomes bubbly. Add the cheese, stir and cook until it melts. Drain the cooked macaroni, add to the cheese mix and stir well.

Serve hot with freshly ground black pepper on top.

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