Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Sometimes a fat kid just wants cheese sauce on his veggies!  There, I said it.  For all the refined meals, healthy snacks and exotic ingredients there are times when you want the comfort of steamed broccoli and cauliflower smothered in rich cheesy melty goodness.  Don’t buy the awful frozen stuff from the store.  It takes just a few minutes to make my easy recipe and you’ll be good to go when you get your next craving!

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CHEDDAR CHEESE SAUCE

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs. Butter
  • 2 Tbs. Flour
  • 1 Cup Milk (2% or Whole)
  • 6 Ounces Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 Tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 Tsp. White Pepper
  • 2 Dashes Worcestershire Sauce

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, warm milk over low heat.
  • While milk is warming, melt butter is a medium saucepan.
  • Add flour and stir together.  Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes to cook out raw flour and make a light rue.
  • Slowly pour warm milk into rue and stir together with a whisk until smooth.  Continue to cook for a few minutes until mixture has thickened.
  • Turn heat to low and stir in cheddar until melted.  Do not use pre-shredded cheese as the mixture will get too thick and won’t be as smooth.
  • Add salt, pepper and Worcestershire and stir.
  • Immediately serve over your favorite steamed veggies.

Better than a fake-cheese mess you find in the frozen section of your grocery store, this will quickly become a standard in your house.  Get your kids to eat their vegetables and enjoy the treat yourself.  Mostly, just enjoy the comfy goodness and dig in!

Basic Pesto

We’re in the heat of summer and there’s an abundance of basil in my herb pots!  Sounds like it’s time to make some pesto – don’t worry, this is the easiest no-cook sauce in the world and will make you look like a Food Network Star!  Pesto is a versatile sauce that can be used on hot or cold pastas, chicken, fish, pizza, etc.  Start with this super-simple recipe and then let your imagination take you to some tasty places…

BASIC PESTO

Ingredients

  • 25-30 Fresh Basil Leaves, Washed & Dried
  • 1 Small Handful Fresh Parsley
  • 4-5 Cloves Garlic, Peeled
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Pine Nuts
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

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Instructions

  • In a food processor (I have a small one) place basil, parsley and whole garlic cloves.  Pulse several times until chopped evenly.
  • Add olive oil and then pulse again until evenly blended.  Mixture will not be smooth, but herbs and garlic will be finely chopped.
  • Add pine nuts and Parmesan and pulse until mixed thoroughly.
  • Toss with warm pasta and/or spoon over cooked chicken or fish.  The recipe above is good for about 8 ounces of pasta, so you may need to double it for a family meal.

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See, I told you this was easy!  I tossed my pesto with bowtie pasta and peas and served with grilled marinated chicken thighs.  Try it as a base for pizza or a dollop in your tomato soup.  There are a ton of possibilities and a little can go a long way to add a burst of fresh flavor to your recipes.  Also, consider variations of basic pesto by using different herbs and nuts.  What about walnuts with chives and parsley?  Add a little lemon zest and juice to brighten the flavor – especially with fish.  You can also alter the amount of olive oil depending on your preference and flavor intensity you like.  Any way you make it, enjoy it all summer and fall while you have a great supply of fresh herbs!!

Grilled Greek Lamb Chops with Tzatziki

I love finding grilled lamb chops as an appetizer at parties.  You don’t have to be at a party though, they also make an easy dinner!  Some people are intimidated by lamb or aren’t sure how to season and cook it properly.  Using classic Greek flavors is an easy and fool-proof way to make perfect lamb chops every time!  I always pair them with my easy tzatziki recipe – you can use it with the lamb, pitas and veggies to dip in.

GRILLED GREEK LAMB CHOPS

Ingredients

  • 8 Lamb Chops
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Chopped
  • 1 Tsp Lemon Zest
  • 2 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbs Oregano
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste

Directions

  • Place lamb chops in a 9×9 dish or ziplock bag.
  • Mix remaining ingredients together and pour over lamb chops.
  • Cover or seal to marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight.
  • Remove lamb chops from refrigerator 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking.
  • Grill lamb chops over medium heat 3-4 minutes per side for medium doneness.
  • Remove from grill, cover with foil and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

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EASY TZATZIKI

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cups Greek Yogurt (don’t go fat-free here, use 2% or full-fat for best results)
  • 1 Tsp Lemon Zest
  • 2 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Finely Chopped
  • 1/2 Cucumber, Seeded and Diced
  • 2 Tsp Chopped Dill (dried works well here too)
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, mix all ingredients thoroughly.  Don’t over-mix as you want to keep the thick texture of the Greek yogurt.
  • You can eat it immediately, but I love to let it set in the refrigerator to meld the flavors.
  • Use as a dipping sauce for the lamb chops, pitas and vegetables.

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