Tag Archives: cheese

Variations on Enchiladas

The seasons begin to turn, and I have been craving a little Mexican food this past week. It’s a fundamental part of my diet since I grew  up in a Southwest border town. But I also wanted to use a meatless variety choice, so I went for this adapted recipe for enchiladas. Just cheese in these logs of tortillas is common and can be found in most Mexican restaurants, so a little twist or two on the recipe makes it a more interesting and flavorful combination. This version is destined to become one of my favorites for a Meatless Monday or any time you want a light dinner.

For my ingredients, I used Great Value Fiesta Cheese mix, found at Wal-Mart, which includes four varieties of Mexican cheese and is really low in carbohydrates. You can select other cheese mixes or just Monterrey Jack cheese. I also used Jalapeno Cheese, which adds just a little kick. The butternut squash is a delicious, but mild stand-in for meat and adds a little substance to the dish.

Other add-ins could include chopped olives, chopped green chiles, green onions, chopped and cooked tomatillos, and additional seasonings such as cumin, cayenne pepper, and cilantro to adjust it to your preferences. Also, I made this batch with red enchilada sauce, but you can use green chile enchilada sauce or green chile salsa. Each change will affect the overall Carb count though. Anytime you are making Mexican food, you can expect the net carbs in the dish to push toward the 10 net carb mark, so figure any changes into the meal.

Photo: Enchilada cut open.
Enchilada cut open to reveal the cheesy interior. I served mine with a apple, kohlrabi, and cabbage coleslaw

Butternut and Cheese Enchiladas

4 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cups Salsa
1/4 cup Onions, chopped
1/2 cup Jalapeno Jack Cheese, grated or shredded
1 cup Butternut Squash, cubed
1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese or Mexican Cheese Mix
6 7-inch Low Carb Tortillas
1 cup Red Enchilada Sauce
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F.)

Cook the butternut squash cubes for 1 to 2 minutes in a microwave until they are just tender. Set aside.

In a large bowl, add the cream cheese and salsa and beat it to mix together. (I used a wooden spoon to work it together, but you can also use a hand mixer.) Add the onions and 1/2 cup Monterrey Jack or Fiesta Cheese and mix together well, then stir in the butternut squash. This is the filling for your enchiladas.

In a baking pan or a oven-safe skillet, add 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce to the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/6th of the filling down the middle of a tortilla and roll it into a log over the filling. Place seam down in the pan. Repeat with the next 5 tortillas, fitting them snugly into the pan or skillet. Spread the remaining enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle with 1/2 cup Cheddar Jack or more Mexican Cheese Mix.

Photo: Enchiladas in a pan.
Six enchiladas just out of the oven in a square copper skillet.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the cheese is melted. Let sit for a few minutes, then use a spatula to remove each enchilada to the plate. Serve with a salad or Spanish riced cauliflower.

Makes 6 servings.

You might also like Chicken Enchiladas with ZucchiniCast Iron Skillet Enchiladas, and Apple, Kohlrabi and Carrot Slaw.

Photo: Info for Enchiladas

Amp Up the Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Photo: Deluxe grilled cheese sandwich

Still looking for a “meatless Monday” option for lunch or dinner? Here’s an easy but delicious suggestion. A grilled cheese sandwich! Not just any grilled cheese, but the deluxe version.

I’ve heard about using cheese on the outside of your sandwich for some time now and I decided to try it while elevating the basic grilled cheese sandwich a little. To do this, you need a non-stick skillet. I used my copper saute skillet to make it. It worked perfectly.

I used a low carb Muffin-in-a-Minute made in a bowl to make a tasty low-carb bread roll that I sliced in two horizontally. You can find the basic recipe link below. While I used flax meal and Bakesquick for my roll, this is easily adaptable to any low carb flour options you prefer.

To complete your meal, you can add a side salad or fried zucchini sticks, or turnip, kohlrabi, acorn squash, or celery root fries.

Low-Carb Muffin in a Minute recipe.

Deluxe Grilled Cheese Sandwich

2 Muffin-in-a-minute rolls, sliced horizontally
1 cup Cheddar Jack cheese, or Cheddar Cheese, shredded
2 slices Colby Deli Cheese
2 oz Cream Cheese
1/4 teaspoons Mrs. Dash Chipotle Pepper Seasoning
2 small Sweet Peppers, seeded and sliced or chopped
2 to 4 slices Tomato, depending on tomato size
2 slice Onion, sliced (optional)

Prepare muffin bread in the microwave and slice across to form the top and bottom of each roll.

Mix cream cheese with seasoning and add 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Spread 1/4 of the cream cheese on the inside of each slice. On one slice. On one side, place the chopped sweet pepper. On the other side, place sliced tomatoes to cover the top. Add onion, if you wish.

Preheat skillet on burner until hot, then turn to medium heat.

Place cheese slice on top of the pepper side. Put about 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese into the middle of the pan and spread it around to form the shape of the bread. Combine the two sides of the roll with filling in the middle. Place sandwich on top of the shredded cheese in the pan. Press down with the spatula to make sure the bottom of the sandwich is sticking to the cheese.
Grill for about 1 minute or until the middle cheese is beginning to melt. Put another couple of tablespoons of shredded cheese on the top of the sandwich. Place a lid over the top to keep the heat in and melt the center piece of cheese.

Carefully, using the spatula and pressing down on the top, turn the sandwich so the grilled cheese is on top. Cook for another minute until the cheese on the bottom is grilled and toasty. Remove the pan and serve.

Makes two sandwiches.

Need a Substitute for Garlic Bread?

Photo: Garlic Cheese Waffle

Here’s a nice twist on a waffle to make a delicious toast to go with your savory dinner. It’s especially nice if you have anything with a sauce so you can soak up the goodness. It’s also great with chicken, pork, steak, or soups and stews. You can use buttermilk and a bit of cornmeal for extra flavor if you wish, but they do add a few carbs to each serving. The flax meal helps to bring some of the cornmeal texture and a nutty flavor, so the waffle is quite tasty without the added ingredients.

For a low carb flour, you can use almond flour, soy flour, coconut flour, or any low carb flour mix such as Bakesquick or Carbquick. If you use coconut flour, use 3 tablespoons instead of 1/3 cup low carb flour and add 1/4 cup egg whites.

Garlic Cheese Waffle

1/3 cup Low Carb Flour
2 tablespoons Golden Flax meal, ground
1 tablespoon Yellow Cornmeal (optional)
1 Egg, fresh
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Garlic powder
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Grated Parmesan & Romano Cheese
1 tablespoon Buttermilk(optional)
1 tablespoon Butter
1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella or Cheddar Cheese

Preheat your waffle iron while preparing the mix.

In a medium bowl, add low carb flour, Flax meal, egg, oil, Parmesan cheese, baking powder, and garlic powder and mix together until blended. Add buttermilk and stir it in. If the batter is too thick, thin with a little water. This should spread easily but not too quickly over the waffle iron grids.

Pour batter over the bottom plate of the waffle iron, close lid and cook the recommended time for your waffle maker. Mine takes about two minutes to cook. Watch the waffle iron for the steam coming out and when it is almost gone, try to lift the lid. If it resists, cook the waffle a little longer. Once it is done, the top will open easily.

Photo: Waffles under the broiler

Spread butter over the top and sprinkle mozzarella or cheddar cheese on top, then put under the broiler for about a minute to melt the cheese.

Delicious with any savory meal but especially good with Italian-style meals.

Makes 2 servings.

Photo: Nutrition Info

Delightful Bacon, Cheese, and Turnip Puffs

Photo: Turnip Puffs

Looking for a different way to prepare turnips or even potatoes? How making them into a puffed cake that is a nicely controlled serving as well as a delicious alternative to mashed or boiled vegetables.

This recipe originally used mashed potatoes, and you can still go that route if you don’t mind the higher carb count. Or you can swap them out for turnips for something a little different. Fresh turnips have a slightly sweet taste, so they bring a touch of sweet to the dish that marries well with the onions. For my version of the recipe, I use a tablespoon of low carb flour to help absorb some of the moisture from the turnips. I also added bacon because everything goes better with bacon, right? Also, if you don’t care for turnips, but want to keep the calories low, this works with mashed cauliflower.

As you’re preparing your New Year’s Eve party, or any other gathering of friends, keep these in mind. You can make them as tasty bite-sized appetizers by putting them in mini-cupcake molds. A simple topping on each adds a nice decorative touch.

Photo: Close up of Turnip Puffs

Bacon Turnip Cheese Puffs

1 cup Turnips, cooked and mashed (2 medium)
1 Egg, beaten (can use liquid eggs)
2 tablespoons Ricotta Cheese, whole milk
1/3 cup Cheddar Cheese
2 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese (Grated)
2 tablespoons Onions, chopped
2 slices Thick-cut Bacon, cooked and broken into pieces
1/4 teaspoon Lawry Seasoned Salt or to taste
1 tablespoon Low Carb Flour
2 tablespoons Butter (for coating the muffin cups)

Cut turnips into 2 to 3-inch cubes and cook in boiling water until fork tender. Drain well and mash or put in the food processor to mash until smooth.

Cook bacon until done, then break into small pieces.

Preheat the oven to 4oo degrees (F.) Butter six 1/3 cup cupcake molds. I used silicone molds, but standard ones will work fine.

Put the turnips in a medium-sized bowl. In a small bowl, beat egg until mixed or use prepackaged mixed eggs. Add all the remaining ingredients and egg to the turnips and mix together until well-distributed and smooth.

Using a tablespoon, distribute the turnip mixture evenly to the muffin cups. It should come almost to the top of the cup.

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until the tops are golden brown and the mixture pulls away from the side of the cup. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then gently remove the pan.

Top with a bit of sour cream, a sprinkle of cheese, a few slices of olives, a few chopped chives, or a tablespoon of salsa if you wish.

Makes six 1/2 cup servings.

Note: To make these as appetizers, use mini-cupcake pans or molds and put about one tablespoon in each cup. Makes 18 appetizer-sized puffs.

Photo: Nutrition Information

Find comfort in an easy Cottage Pie

Photp: Turkey Cottage PIe

I am resisting turning on my heater, but the temperatures in Reno have been chilly this past week. Snow has fallen at the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and fall has definitely hinted at the winter to come. So the idea of comfort food is really appealing.

Casserole dishes are always great in the cooler months. One of my favorites is the old British staple, Shepard’s Pie and it’s non-lamb variations of Cottage Pies. What is really nice about this version is that you make it using frozen vegetables and pre-made frozen mashed cauliflower to substitute for the potatoes.

This recipe is an adapted recipe that came with my lovely new 7″ square deep dish copper skillet. I picked up my first copper pan a couple of years ago and soon loved the ease of the cooking with it on the stove and taking it to the oven without having to dirty another pan. Although I have my cast iron that also works, I prefer the lighter weight and easier to clean copper pans, so I used that with this dish. This is not an ad for the copper skillets, but they are pretty snazzy.

Photo: Cottage Pie in Copper Pan

Anyway, this can be made in any stove-to-oven pan or transferred into a regular casserole dish. See the note below the recipe for the details on that.

Turkey Cottage Pie

1 lb Ground Turkey
1/2 Onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Salt
1 cup Mixed Vegetables, frozen (peas, carrots, green beans, & corn)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon Better than Bullion Chicken
1/2 cup boiling Water
1 package Family Size Mashed Cauliflower
1/2 cup Grated Cheddar or Cheddar Jack Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F.)

In a deep skillet that can go to the oven, add a dash of oil and heat over a medium-high burner. Add the onions and sauté a minute, then add the ground turkey and cook until the turkey is lightly browned. Add garlic salt and pepper and stir to mix well. If you wish, add seasoning salt or any other meat seasoning you prefer for added flavor. Remove from heat.

Prepare the frozen mashed cauliflower in the microwave as directed. Let it sit until the cauliflower thickens so it will spread and stay on top of the casserole. While it is sitting, finish the filling.

Heat water to a boil and add chicken bullion. Stir until melted in, then add to the turkey mixture. Add in frozen vegetables and mix to distribute them. Spread the mashed cauliflower over the top of the turkey mixture and sprinkle cheese over the top.

Bake for about 40 minutes until the cheese is melted and the cauliflower is lightly browned along the edges. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving:
Calories: 308.5 Fat: 16.7 g Net Carbs: 8.3 g Protein: 27.9 g

Note: If you don’t have a stove to oven pan, mix the meat, bullion, and vegetables in the skillet, then transfer to a 2-quart casserole dish. Spread the mashed cauliflower and cheese over the top, then sprinkle with cheese and bake as directed.