Tag Archive for Cheddar cheese

Low Fat Potato Soup

I love soup, especially when the temperature dips into the 20s and teens like it is this week! I avoid creamy fattening soups because, well….I just don’t like to eat them. I found a recipe for a low fat potato soup in Cooking Light (January 2013) that I thought would be a big hit with my family. It takes some time to prepare, but well worth it. Part of the secret to making this healthier than traditional baked potato soup is the pureed roasted cauliflower. My son tried it and LOVED it. Of course, he had no idea that he was eating cauliflower, or a low fat soup. I just told him that if he liked baked potatoes he would like the soup!! Score one for Mom!!

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Time Required: Prep Time – 35 min; Cook Time – 1 hour

Ingredients:

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 
1 cup chopped onion 
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
5 garlic cloves, chopped 
1 pound cubed peeled baking potato (about 2) 
1 pound cubed Yukon gold potato (about 4)
5 cups unsalted chicken stock (I actually used salted chicken broth)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 bay leaf
1 pound cauliflower, cut into florets (about 1/2 head)
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided 
Cooking spray 
1 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk (to cut the fat more, I used 1% milk)
3/4 cup chopped green onions, divided
1/2 cup fat-free fromage blanc or sour cream (I used light sour cream)
2 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 1/2 cup)
4 slices center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Blender

Preparing Low Fat Potato Soup:

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, thyme, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add potatoes, stock, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes or until potatoes are very tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; discard bay leaf.

3. While potatoes simmer, combine remaining 1 tablespoon oil, cauliflower, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray; toss to coat. Roast at 450° for 30 minutes or until browned, turning once.

4. Place cauliflower mixture and milk in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour cauliflower mixture into a large bowl. Add half of potato mixture to blender; pulse 5 to 6 times or until coarsely chopped. Pour into bowl with cauliflower mixture. Repeat with remaining potato mixture. Place cauliflower-potato mixture in Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 cup green onions, and fromage blanc; stir until fromage blanc melts. Ladle soup into 8 bowls. Top evenly with remaining green onions, cheese, and bacon.

Low Fat Potato Soup

Variations:

You can put any topping you want on the soup. Just think of what you would normally put on top of a baked potato. Clearly if want to cut the fat even more, don’t use bacon and use a minimal amount of cheese.

Got Leftovers?:

This soup heats up very well. It’s a good thing because this recipe makes a lot of soup!

Bacon Cheese Ball

As much as I love cheese, I am typically not a huge fan of a cheese ball. However, since “everything tastes better with bacon, ” I thought I’d try this Bacon Cheese Ball to see if I could learn to love it. Yep! Everything really does taste better with bacon…plus it just looks so pretty!!

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 10 min; Chill Time – 30 minutes

Ingredients:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 c. sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 c.  sour cream

16 cooked bacon slices, finely chopped, divided in half

1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 c. chopped chives

Thick Cut Potato Chips for serving

Preparing Bacon Cheese Ball:

In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, sour cream, half of the bacon crumbles, and Dijon mustard. (This is one of those times when the best tools to mix the ingredients together are your hands).

Form into a large ball and place on a dish. Put in the refrigerator to chill. Before serving, roll the ball in the rest of the bacon crumbles and chives and serve with potato chips.

Bacon Cheese Ball

Variations:

You can add in whatever types of ingredients you would normally enjoy on a baked potato! Be creative!

Pimento Cheese with Candied Bacon

bacon pimento cheese

I was tasked with bringing an appetizer to a recent potluck and was trying to think of something simple but delicious. I wanted something different but also didn’t have a lot of time to spend on it. As I was browsing through McNack’s Kitchen recipes, I decided to put two amazing things together because I thought they would make the perfect marriage.

Pimento Cheese with Candied Bacon!

bacon pimento cheese

Oh my! The creamy and cheesy Pimento Cheese with a kick of cayenne heat paired with the crunchy, sweet and salty bacon were a match made in heaven. I loved it!!

Best part, both of these are already available on McNack’s! It was just the thought of putting the two together. Remember, the start to great pimento cheese is awesome cheese. Please don’t start with the pre-grated generic cheddar stuff. You’ll never be happy.

Amazing Buffalo Chicken Dip

Easy Cheesey Buffalo Chicken Dip

Every year, we have a “Kickoff to Football Season Party”. About 5 years ago, I thought I’d try something new and easy and decided to make amazing buffalo chicken dip. Little did I know that it would be such a hit and one of my most requested dishes. For Melissa’s birthday this past May, her husband asked if I could bring the dip to her party…..yes it was the milestone birthday (40) – so she had a party!!! I believe he wanted the dip more for himself since she had no idea he had even asked me to bring it! Personally, my husband insists I make it about every time we have a party because if I don’t “everyone will be disappointed since they expect you to make it”. That’s code for “I want the dip”!!! So, if you’ve been struggling with how to make a good, hot, easy buffalo chicken dip, here is your answer!

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken or 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 jar of MARIE’S light bleu cheese dressing
1 8 oz. container of low fat cream cheese
1 jar of Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Wing Sauce
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 bag of Stacy Chips (Naked Flavor) or Tortilla chips

Poach the chicken
– don’t be afraid, this is no big deal and makes all the difference

Making the Amazing Buffalo Chicken Dip:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once the chicken is shredded into your prepared 8×13 dish, pour the entire bottle of Frank’s wing sauce over the chicken and mix well.
Buffalo chicken layer of buffalo chicken dip
Place the bleu cheese dressing and cream cheese in a saucepan. Mix together over medium heat, stirring constantly until the cream cheese has melted. Pour over the chicken.
Bleu and cream cheese layer of buffalo chicken dip
Place the dip in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the dip and sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top to cover the dip. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with Stacy chips or tortilla chips.

Important Tips:

The key to this recipe is the LOW FAT dressing and LOW FAT cream cheese. I didn’t intend to make this a “healthier” dip, it just turned out that way. The first time I made it, I was so disgusted with the grease pool that formed after the cheese melted that I couldn’t serve it. I knew a lower fat cheese wouldn’t melt very well, so I used the lower fat bleu cheese and cream cheese and it made all the difference.

Variations:

This dip is too awesome to change a thing!! Trust me.