Memories... Like Mom Made!

Memories... Like Mom Made!
Out of dark moments, flowers grow.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cheese Sauce, and Many Ways to Use it!!!

Ok so in case you didn't know... We recently found out that I am pregnant!!!!!!

Well so far this baby has been very... hmmm... let's just say picky. Very, very picky.... And by picky I mean that if this baby doesn't get exactly what he or she wants, mama gets very VERY sick... Needless to say, this is a hard task to accomplish, so I am sick a lot...

But there has been one thing that I have been craving nonstop, and that I have managed to keep down about 50% of the time (that is actually a really big deal right now, believe it or not!).

Cheese sauce... Yes, you read right: cheese sauce.... on EVERYTHING!!!!

The first time I made the sauce it was to make a homemade au gratin potatoes for my husband's birthday dinner... It was so tasty and I liked it so much I made it again a few nights later and steamed some broccoli and some rice and then mixed it all together to make homemade cheesy broccoli rice (I used to love the stuff in a bag, but that is sooooo not good for you... so this is a good alternative).

Then I made pasta the next night, steamed some more broccoli, and cut up some cooked chicken into chunks and tossed it all in cheese sauce...

Oh and if those three ideas weren't enough, I made another recipe involving crescent roll dough stuffed with chicken and cheese, topped with a cheese sauce (to which I added a can of cream of chicken and mushroom soup) then baked in the oven... super yum...

Okay so anyway... Cheese sauce...

Start with 1/4 c butter and a few tablespoons flour. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then stir in the flour and mix well. Add about a cup and a half of milk, stirring well. After the mixture bubbles, add 1 cup of cheese into the pot and stir well. Once the sauce slightly bubbles and thickens it is finished...

The type of cheese can be changed for the recipe... I have used sharp cheddar, mild cheddar, and a four cheese mixture... All of them were good, though the sharp cheddar is my personal favorite...

A few ideas for using it:

Fondue!!! Cube a loaf of french bread and dip in the cheese sauce (you can use a fancier cheese for this, or just plain old cheddar).

Broccoli Chicken Cheesy Mac: Cook pasta according to package. Meanwhile make the cheese sauce, when adding the cheese also add 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or chili powder. Steam broccoli florets and cut cooked chicken into cubes. Toss with pasta and sauce and serve. If you use already cooked chicken this recipe takes 15 minutes to make, start to finish!

Cheddar Broccoli Rice: Steam 1-2 cups of rice. Steam 1 cup of broccoli. Make cheese sauce and toss with rice and broccoli. This recipe only takes about 15 minutes to make if you use minute rice.

Cheddar Broccoli Rice Bake: Make cheddar broccoli rice. Layer a casserole dish with thinly sliced chicken tenders. Top with cheddar broccoli rice and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes, then top with cheese (and French Fried Onions if you want some fun texture!!!) and bake for 5-10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Au Gratin Potatoes: Thinly slice four to six large potatoes. Layer potatoes in a casserole dish, pouring half of the sauce over the first layer, followed by another layer of potatoes, and topped with the rest of the sauce and grated cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 300 degrees for an hour and a half.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Steak and Bean Quesadillas with Tomatillos!!!

So tonight's post doesn't have any pictures, but I think I am doing good to post anything at all with the rate I've been at lately...

We had these last night and a friend asked for the recipe, so I figured I might as well share it... These were delicious and, like most of my recipes, are VERY easily customized or adapted... Have at it! And like always, if you make them yourself, I would love to know any adjustments you make, or ideas you have!

You need:

1/2 lb tomatillos, husked and washed (the husks are the little green wrapper looking thing... gently peel it off and then scrub the sticky residue off of the tomatillo)
generous spoonful of minced garlic
1/2 c shredded carrot
2 tsp cumin
olive oil

2-3 london broil steaks (I don't know the exact term for them... but they are the big flat thin cuts of meat... great for salads and whatnot... if you have trouble finding them, just ask the meat guy at your grocery store for help!)

1 15 oz can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 cup frozen corn (rinsed and drained)


a pack of tortillas... I used the 8 inch kind.. but the huge burrito kind would have been good for folding over... i did mine sandwich style with two tortillas.

1 - 2 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded

salsa (homemade if you can help it ;) of course )

shred the carrot and chop the tomatillos... saute garlic in a good glug of oil over medium high heat until fragrant... add the veggies and the cumin and stir well. cook until the veggies are tender, taking care to not burn the garlic.

add the beans and corn and heat until heated through, then transfer to a bowl, cover with foil, and set aside.

while the veggies are cooking, salt and pepper the steaks and set on a broiler pan... broil on high for about 2 minutes on each side or until brown but not over cooked.. i like mine to be the tiniest bit of pink in the middle, but that is hard to achieve with a cut this thin, so cook it to your preference. let set for a few minutes, then slice at an angle into very thin strips and set aside.

wipe out the pan you cooked the filling in and heat over medium high heat. spray a tortilla with cooking spray and lay spray side down on the hot pan... heat until browned and then spray the up side with cooking spray and flip over. top with a handful of cheese, some steak strips, a big scoop of the bean mixture, some cilantro if you have it, and some salsa. top with another tortilla (or fold over if you are using the huge ones), and spray the upside with cooking spray. once the bottom tortilla is browned, carefully flip the quesadilla and brown the other side...

remove to a cookie sheet and place in the oven to keep warm... i ended up wrapping ours up in foil first and then passed the foil wrapped quesadillas out to each individual.. it worked out well... serve cut into triangles and with salsa and lime (if you want to be fancy)...

these were delicious! I hope you enjoy them!