Category: Dairy

Mexican Red Bell Pepper and Cheese Soup

mexican red bell pepper soup

Mexican Red Bell Pepper Soup

This soup is very easy to make in just a few minutes. It is the classic tale of looking in the refrigerator and finding no food. What I did find was a red bell pepper, and a few hunks of cheese. The old potato in the wire basket made the dish almost complete. The cheese and the potato give this soup a creamy consistency which is really amazing. The sweetness and distinct flavor of the pepper really come through, even with the intensity of the cheese. You can also use low fat versions of the cheeses with great results. Sometimes I add a chile pepper to give it a nice kick, and pepper jack cheese would do the trick as well. I will also generally use whatever cheese I have on hand, the choice is yours. One really nice aspect of this soup is that by adding the shredded cheese and incorporating it into the hot soup off the heat, most of the cheese melts in, however you will still find cheese strands throughout the soup, giving it a really wonderful combination of textures.

1 big red bell pepper (or 2 small ones), seeded with the pith (ribs) removed
1 medium potato
4 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
2 cups mixed shredded cheese (I usually use Cheddar, Queso Fresco, & Asadero), regular or low fat

1. Cut the pepper and potato into small pieces and place in a pot with the stock, cooking it at a medium-high heat.

2. After 10 minutes or so, use a hand blender to puree the soup (this can be done by pouring it into a blender as well if you don’t have the hand version).

3. Turn off the heat and add the cheese, stirring to melt it thoroughly. When the cheese has melted, which takes a minute or so, you are ready to serve.

Makes 4 – 6 servings.

Petti di Pollo alla Bolognese

2 whole chicken breasts, split, skinned & boned
3 Tbsp. finely minced parsley
salt and ground black pepper
1/2 lb. Bel Paese cheese, cut into thin slices
flour for dusting
1 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan
3 Tbsp. butter
6 Tbsp. chicken stock
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter, firm, cut into little bits
8 very thin slices prosciutto

1. With a very sharp knife, slice each breast in half horizontally. Place each piece between sheets of waxed paper and lightly pound with the flat side of a wooden mallet until the chicken is about 1/4” thick. Salt and pepper breasts and coat with flour, shaking to remove excess.

2. Butter an ovenproof serving dish with 1Tbsp. butter. Be sure dish will hold all the chicken in one layer. Set aside.

3. Heat 3 Tbsp. butter and 2 Tbsp. oil together in large, heavy skillet over fairly high heat. Add chicken and saute 2 minutes on each side, without over browning. Place in a serving dish.

4. Completely mask each piece of chicken with a single layer of prosciutto. Lightly sprinkle with parsley and mask completely with the Bel Paese. Be sure the cheese comes down over the edges of the chicken so it will become sealed.

5. Sprinkle Parmesan evenly over chicken. Gently pour in chicken stock around the chicken, dot with bits of butter and place in upper third of a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Run under broiler for a minute or less to brown slightly if necessary. Garnish with parsley.

Serves 2 to 4

NOTE: To do ahead, stop after sprinkling with Parmesan and refrigerate. Add stock and butter and heat before serving

Cheddar Cheese Soup

1/4 c. butter
12 oz. sharp cheddar, grated
1/2 c. finely chopped carrots
2 c. milk
1/2 c. finely chopped celery
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 c. finely chopped onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 c. finely chopped green pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. finely chopped parsley
1 quart chicken stock
5 slices bacon, fried, drained and crumbled

1. Melt butter over moderate heat in heavy 2-3 quart saucepan.

2. When foam subsides, add all vegetables (not parsley) and saute for 15 minutes over low heat. Be sure not to brown them. Remove pan from heat and sprinkle in flour

3. Stir until  flour “disappears” into the mix.

4. Cook over moderate heat 12-3 minutes.

5. Remove from heat and whisk in stock.

6. Return to heat and bring to and maintain at a simmer for 1 or 2 minutes.

7. Whisk in the cheese and keep whisking until cheese has been smoothly incorporated into the soup.

8. Add milk, pepper, salt and mustard whisk again. Bring to the bubble and serve.

Garnish with parsley and bacon.

NOTE: When making ahead do not bring to final bubble. Do that just before serving.

Serves 6

Sour Cream Biscuits

sour cream biscuitsThese are a great little item to serve at parties. They are very rich in flavor and texture, so there is no need to offer additional butter when serving these biscuits.

1 stick butter
1 cup sour cream
2 cups Bisquick

1. Melt the butter and mix with the sour cream.

2. Mix in the Bisquick.

3. Spray small muffin tins with Pam and fill 3/4 full with batter, leaving room at the top for the biscuits to rise.

4. Bake at 400° for 10 to 12 minutes (a little longer if regular muffin tins are used)

Cheese Cookies

These are actually a savory cookie rather than a dessert cookie, and make great appetizers.

¼ cup butter
½ cup flour
1 cup grated cheddar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 large dash cayenne pepper
½ tsp. Dry mustard

1. Mix butter, flour, grated cheddar, and salt together in a bowl.

2. Add the the dash of cayenne pepper and the dry mustard and incorporate.

3.  Roll the mixture into a log, then chill for ½ hour (or freeze until needed) and slice into1/2 inch thick “cookies.”

4. Bake the cookies at 350° for 10 to 15 minutes on a cookie sheet.

I often double the recipe for cocktail parties as these go over quite well.