Tag Archives: Cheese

cheesy comfort

Broccoli, Red Pepper, Cheddar Chowder

For a few semesters of college, I got a job working at Panera a few days a week. It was a perfect college job. Never had to show up too early since I wasn’t actually baking anything and it also wasn’t too late since the cafe closed at 9PM. The best thing about working the closing shift in the bakery was the free food. We were free to make up a bag of bread and bakery goodies to take home with us (all the leftover bakery stuff was donated every night and there was always plenty). This was also the semester that I lived in my sorority house so I would come home and stick the bag of goodies outside my door. I think my popularity got kicked up a few notches those semesters. But the greatest thing about Panera, at least I thought so at the time, are the soups. Specifically, the broccoli cheese soup. Cheesy, comforting, almost always on the menu, perfect. Now that I make more and more of my own soups, I really dislike store bought because they are always flavorless except for the obscene amounts of salt. Continue reading

Smoky Baked Mac and Cheese

Last weekend I had the craving for something warm and comforting but all of my normal, go-to recipes just seemed uninspiring.  I wanted to try something new.  Whenever I am on the search for a new recipe, I look at my starred posts in my reader and slowly make my way through a stack of magazines and recipe books.  However, it never fails that I end up finding the perfect thing to try over at the Kitchen Sink.   Continue reading

Quick White Bean Soup


It has been cold in Chicago this week. Granted it is only my third winter since moving from the Lone Star State, but it hasn’t been this cold for so many days in a row in Dec. I have a feeling its going to be a long winter. Brrrzees!


Since I am in finals mode, I am loving quick, easy and satisfying recipes. This one fits the bill. You quickly dice up some onions, garlic and two kinds of peppers (red bell and poblano). I find vegetable chopping very therapeutic and stress relieving. Is that weird?


Then you saute them in some olive oil for 5 mins, dump in a box of vegetable broth (I like the TJs brand but if you are super fancy you can make your own). Simmer for another 10 then add in 2 cans of white beans, cumin and lime juice.

Serve it with some grated Monterey jack and a dollop of sour cream. Its the perfect light december dinner. And if you are lucky, there will be plenty leftover for a quick lunch tomorrow.


White Bean Soup
From Cooking LIght Magazine

2 cups chopped white onion
2 cups chopped seeded poblano chile
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 (14 oz) cans of navy or great northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 (15 oz) cans low sodium vegetable broth (I used 1 box worth of TJs brand)
1/4 cup lime juice (I just squeeze the juice from one lime)
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 cup shredded queso chihuahua or Monterey Jack
2 1/2 tablespoons sour cream

Heat a dutch oven (or a big pot if you don’t have one like me) with a little olive oil. Add the onion, poblano, bell pepper and garlic and saute for 5 mins. Add broth, bring to a bowl. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 mins. Remove from heat. Add the beans, lime juice and cumin. Cover and let stand for 5 mins. Ladle soup into a bowl and top with cheese and sour cream to taste.

Make this as fast as you can

If you haven’t stumbled upon The Pioneer Woman please go when you have a day to kill. Ree has created a wonderful website full of great knowledge and entertainment. One of the best things that I have found on this website is a recipe for Mac and Cheese.

goodness in a bowl

goodness in a bowl

It is spicy. It is colorful. It is really bad for you. It is AWESOME. I made it when I was in PA for Dave’s little sister’s college graduation and it was one of the hits of the party. Just make sure that you scrape the jalapeno seeds and membranes out with a spoon and not your hands and that you wash your hands well before they get anywhere close to your eyes, mouth, etc. I made the mistake of using my hands to scrape down the jalapenos, washed them (with soap!) then went to the cheese tray (I was cooking during the party-its how I roll) and popped a piece of parm in my mouth. Suddenly my entire face felt like it was literally in flames. After 30 mins with a gallon of milk and a towel (yes-its a funny mental imagine), my face finally felt better. My hands were swollen for the next day. I don’t know what was wrong with me because I handle spice really well but you have been warned. USE A SPOON.

Those little buggars were HOT.

Those little buggers were HOT.

So much color!

So much color!