For those accustomed to the Orthodox Great Fast, Cheesefare week is easy! After some years of it, we know the routine and pull out our family favorites for using up and enjoying the last fling with milk, eggs and butter – until after the fast.
For those new to Orthodox fasting traditions, even Cheesefare week might be a bit of a challenge. What does one do after the family says no more blini and quesadillas? Even though the week is quickly waning, we’ll share a few ideas and some of our family favorites to help you get through!
Some of the following will simply be menu suggestions. For some ideas, we will also share some recipes. Enjoy the rest of this most blessed week & season of preparation!
Easy & Not-Easy Breakfasts or Brunches:
Fruit & Yogurt Smoothies
Quesadillas, with an egg on the side
Breakfast Burritos (without meat)
Bagels with Cream Cheese
Blini, Pancakes or Waffles
Breakfast Casserole (without sausage!)
Huevos Rancheros w/o meat
Easy Lunches or Quick Suppers:
Cheese or Cheese & Veggie Pizzas (can do homemade or start w/frozen)
Haystacks – Recipe Below
Bean & Cheese Burritos
Veggie Cheese Burgers
Baked Potatoes w/Sour Cream, Grated Cheese & Diced Onions & other Veggies
Macaroni & Cheese – boxed type, w/soy hot dogs cut up in it
REAL Macaroni & Cheese – Recipe Below
Potatoes Au Gratin - w/Onions, Garlic, etc.
Chalupas – w/Cheese, Beans & Guacamole
Creamy Pumpkin or Winter Squash Soup
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches w/Tomato Soup on the side
Cheese Submarine/Hoggie Sandwiches
Blini, Pancakes or Waffles, w/sour cream and/or soft cheeses
Taco Salad – with beans, cheese & ground (soy) crumbles
Chef Salad – with cheese cubes, boiled eggs, etc.
Potato & Cheese Pirogies
Cheese & Spinach Ravioli (Italian pirogies!)
Pasta with Pesto or Alfredo Sauce
Pasta Salad w/veggies, cubed cheese, boiled eggs
Huevos Rancheros w/o meat
A Few Recipes:
Huevos Rancheros de Colorado (Colorado Ranch-style Eggs)
A very hearty breakfast or special supper meal. We often will make the sauce without the meat or meat stock, and have it for one dinner meal during Cheese Fare Week. This particular recipe was inspired by those super “huevos” we’ve eaten as an annual treat with “Grandpa,” which are served at a locally owned restaurant in my parent’s hometown of Montrose, Colorado.
1 Can Vegetable Broth Stock (or homemade)
1 Can Diced Tomatoes, Plus Liquid
1 Can Green Chiles (Or, Frozen) & Liquid, Chopped
2 Tbsp. NM Red Powdered Chile
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced or Pressed
1 Med. Onion, Chopped Small
2 Tbsp. Fresh Oregano, Minced (Or, 1 Tsp. Dried Oregano)
1 Tsp. Ground Cominos (Cumin) Powder
1 Tsp. Fresh Epazote Leaves, Minced, Optional
Salt, to taste
1 Pkg. Corn Tortillas, Warmed
1 Can (or Homemade) Refried Beans (vegetarian are fine)
1 Can (or Homemade) Whole Pinto Beans, Cooked
Eggs, Salt & Pepper
Sharp Cheddar, Mexican Queso or Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
Warm and soften the corn tortillas in a heavy skillet in a small amount of corn oil. Set aside in a tortilla warmer. Mix together the refried beans and the whole pinto beans. Warm these up in a saucepan or in the microwave. Fry eggs to your liking, 1 or 2 per person. Salt and pepper them to taste. Serve on a plate in this order: Place several warm tortillas (2 – 3) on the plate. Spread the tortillas with warm beans. Top the beans with 1 or 2 fried eggs. Cover the eggs with a generous ladle of warm Ranchero Sauce. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Eat and enjoy!
Breakfast Egg Casserole
When we lived in Georgia, there was a time when Father served a small Mission which was just beginning up in the North Georgia Mountains. The Mission was housed in a home located just outside the small town of Dahlonega. After services, we would always share a pot luck brunch together and enjoy the lovely scenery as well as one another’s company. Sausage and Egg Casserole was a favorite dish that was often made by the wife of our host family, Marina Oberbillig. This recipe is slightly Southwestern-ized from the version which Marina used. One of the best things about this filling dish is that it can be made up the night before, and just stuck in the oven when it’s time to bake.
8+ Slices of White or Whole Wheat Bread, Cubed or Torn
½ C. Onion, Minced
2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, Minced
Green Chiles, Minced (Optional)
Several Sprigs or Leaves Fresh Cilantro, Minced, Optional
1 Tsp. Salt, or to taste
1+ Doz. Eggs
3 C. Milk
1 ½ C. Sharp Cheddar Cheese, or Mexican or Feta
NM Red Chile Powder, for garnish
Place bread pieces on the bottom of a greased 3 Qt. Baking Dish. Set aside. Brown the onion, garlic, cilantro and green chiles, sautéing until soft. Combine eggs and milk, stirring until blended. Add to this 1 C. of the cheese. Mix with vegetables, and pour over the bread. Cover and allow to sit, refrigerated, overnight. Just before baking, sprinkle the remaining ½ C. of cheese over the casserole’s top, and cover this with a sprinkling of red chile powder. Bake at 350 F. for 50 minutes, until golden brown and set in the middle. We will often bake this at a lower temperature and longer, while Church is going on, and serve it as a Coffee Hour brunch dish.
Perdomo Girl’s Favorite Italian Calzone Recipe
Our two oldest daughters, Analucia and Cristina, came up with this wonderful recipe, and served it after Sunday Divine Liturgy Sunday at Church both in New Mexico and in Texas. It has become a family favorite, even though they are usually too busy to prepare it these days.
Easy Dough to make 5-6 generously-sized Calzones’s:
2 Pkgs. Active Dry Yeast (or, approx. ½ Ounce or 1 ½ Tbsp. Dry Yeast)
2 Cups Warm Water (105-115 Degrees F.)
2 Tsp. EACH Sugar & Salt
½ Cup Oil (Olive, Cooking Oil or a combination)
6 – 7 Cups All Purpose Flour (can use up to 1/3 whole wheat if desired)
Dissolve yeast in warm water in large mixing bowl (or in bread-type food processor). Stir in sugar, salt, oil and 4 Cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, approximately 5 minutes. Place dough in greased bowl, turn greased side up, cover and let rise in a warm place for approx. 45 minutes. Dough is ready if an indention remains when touched.
Pre-heat oven to 400 Degrees, F.
Lots of Mozzarella Cheese, grated
(During the fasting seasons, use soft tofu, blended in food processor with the Spinach, some salt to taste and a few Cloves of Fresh Garlic)
1 Lg. Pkg. Frozen, Chopped Spinach, thawed
Optional Suggestions: Sliced Mushroom, Chopped Onion, Summer Squash, Grated, Chile Peppers, Diced, etc.
If not Fasting: Quartered Meatballs or Italian Sausage cut into bite-sized pieces
Keep all ingredients in separate bowls and fill as directed below.
Finishing the Calzone Dough:
Lightly oil 2 large baking sheets. Set aside. Punch down dough. Divide into 5 – 6 equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece of dough out onto a lightly-floured surface until it is a circular piece, relatively but not overly thin. Try to keep edges thin.
Filling & Finishing the Calzones:
Take each piece of rolled out dough (1 at a time) and lay it on the oiled baking sheet. On half of the dough (leaving a generous edge), put a generous handful of cheese, add spinach and any other ingredients you wish to include. Bring the empty half of the dough over the filling, and crimp and well-seal all edges. The end product will look rather oval in shape, like a large empanada. Poke a few air holes in the top with a toothpick. Continue to roll out and fill each calzone.
Bake at 400 Degrees, F. for approximately 15 – 20 minutes, until done. Serve warm, or can covered well and refrigerated or frozen for later use. These are actually much easier to make than it perhaps sounds.
Italian Style Sauce: Warm a can of store-bought or some homemade Italian-style Pasta Sauce and serve on the side. Dollop on top of calzones, or use as a dip for bite-sized pieces. These Calzone’s are Very good – even when served cold – like when the microwave oven unexpectedly ceases working after Church! (Smile!)
Joe’s Firehouse Quiche
Joe Huyett is a faithful St. George’s Parishioner who, along with his lovely wife, Hazel, lives in the Brownsville area. A former high school teacher, for the sake of sanity, Joe changed professions and is now un bombero – a firefighter! The following is one of Joe’s specialties which he sometimes prepares for the hungry gang at the fire station.
1 - 11 oz package pie crust mix
1 - 10 oz. package frozen spinach
5-6 whole green onions minced (optional)
1 clove garlic minced (maybe a lot more)
5 Tbsp. butter (olive oil works OK too)
1 Tsb. dried dill (or just salt and pepper)
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
a dash of nutmeg
1 cup feta cheese (or equivalent package of french fromage de chevre)
Prepare pie crust, or buy a prepared pie crust. Cook spinach in a little water, drain. Saute onions, garlic in 2 TB butter (or oil). Add spinach and dill, set aside. Melt 3 TB butter (or oil). Blend in flour until smooth. Add milk. Cook over low heat (really low). Stir until it just bubbles and starts to thicken (will thicken quickly). Remove. Stir in salt, pepper,
nutmeg and spinach mixture. Get a new bowl (yes, another), beat eggs until smooth and a little bubbly. Stir in cheese until well mixed. Blend in spinach mixture and sauce. Pour into pie shells. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees F. for 40-45 minutes.
Baked Cheese Grits
This dish is a truly Southern specialty. It makes a wonderful side dish to eggs, or can be almost a meal by itself. It is great for a special breakfast or brunch, but can also serve as a supper dish. We first ate this when it was prepared by our old friend, Kevin Reily, a native of Louisiana. It has been a family favorite ever since.
5 Cups Water or Vegetable Stock
1 Tsp. Salt
1 ½ C. Quick Grits, uncooked
6 Oz. Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Yellow or White
2 -3 Cloves Fresh Garlic, Finely Minced or Pressed
½ C. Butter
4 Eggs, Beaten
½ C. Milk
Louisiana Hot Sauce or Tabasco Sauce, to taste
Black Pepper, to taste
Bring salted water to a boil in a large, heavy pan. Gradually stir in the instant grits. Reduce heat and cook, stirring often, for approximately 3 minutes. Add cheese, garlic and butter. Stir these in until butter has melted. Stir together the eggs, milk, pepper and Tabasco. Add this mixture to the grits. Pour into an oiled or sprayed 3 Qt. casserole serving container. Bake the grit casserole at 350 F. for 1 hour. Serve immediately.
Variation: For a simple, every-day-type variation, simply put plain instant grits in a bowl. Add milk and sharp cheddar cheese (cut into small pieces), to taste. Microwave for 1 ½ minutes. Serve and eat! This is one of the girls favorite non-fast day breakfasts.
Southwestern Pumpkin Soup
If you happen to be so blessed, this soup is perfectly suited for warming up a chilly autumn night. This is what we do with our annual Thanksgiving Pumpkin’s leftovers, all cooked up, frozen and waiting for that just right winter evening!
2 Med. Onions, Chopped
3-4 Green New Mexico Chile Peppers, Roasted, Peeled, Seeded, Chopped
3 – 4 Cloves Fresh Garlic, Minced
3 Tbsp. Butter, Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil
5 C. Pumpkin Purée (from canned or fresh pumpkin)
1 Tsp. Salt
1/2 Tsp. White Pepper
1/2 Tsp. Winter Savory or Mexican Oregano, Crumbled
2 C. Yogurt or Buttermilk
1/4 Lb. Sharp Cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese
1/4 C. Fresh Cilantro or Parsley, Chopped (Optional for Garnish)
Pepita (Pumpkin) Seeds, (Optional for Garnish)
Heat oil in a heavy pan. Sauté onion, garlic and chile peppers until the vegetables have wilted. Add pumpkin purée, salt, white pepper and savory. Whisk to blend together. Simmer until warm. Add yogurt or buttermilk. Whisk again and gently bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. When thoroughly heated, add cheese, whisk in and serve immediately. If desired, garnish each bowl of soup with a sprinkle or cilantro or parsley and top with a few pepita seeds.
Southwestern Corn Chowder
Several years ago, we returned home to Texas from an August trip to visit family and friends in Colorado. We came home with a cooler full of Colorado’s famous Olatha Sweet Corn. After a few rounds of corn on the cob, our friend and former chef, Michael Price, put the remaining ears to excellent use by making a large batch of his savory corn chowder. Of course, the fresh batch of NM roasted green chiles didn’t hurt the end result one bit! Even without access to Olatha Sweet Corn, this is an excellent, special occasion treat. It is definitely not a carb or cholesterol reducing meal, but it is delicious! Vary the quantity of vegetables according to their availability and your personal taste.
12+ ears Sweet Corn, Cut from Cob (Frozen Corn can be used as a substitute)
1 – 2 Onions, Chopped
1 C.+ Celery, Chopped
1 C.+ Carrots, Chopped
1 Tbsp.+ Fresh Garlic, Minced
4+ Potatoes, Cubed (Optional)
10 + Fresh or Frozen Mild NM-style Green Chile Peppers (or Canned)
2 Qts. Half & Half Cream
Milk, to desired quantity
1/3 C. Flour (Approximately)
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Pinch Ground Cumin, Optional
1 Bunch Scallions, Chopped
1 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro or Parsley, Minced (Optional)
½ C. White Wine, Optional
Place cut corn in a heavy, large soup pot. Sauté onion, corn, celery, carrots and garlic in olive oil, until vegetables are soft. If you are using potatoes, add them as well. [Although unnecessary for the flavor, adding potatoes or cooked rice (stirred in at the end) can help stretch a batch of chowder if you are serving many people.] When vegetables are soft, blend approximately 1/3 C. of flour in to the vegetables and bacon grease. This makes a sort of “rue.” After the flour has warmed and blended well, stir the cooked vegetables into the pot with the corn and bacon. Thoroughly mix all ingredients. Turn burner to medium heat and add the Half & Half Cream. Add milk until the chowder is the quantity and consistency you want. Stir well and often, making sure the bottom does not scorch. Add the green chiles. Stir and cook until the soup thickens and all vegetables are tender. If too thick, add a bit more milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. If desired, add just a small pinch of ground cumin. Just before serving, add the scallions and the optional fresh cilantro or parsley and white wine. Stir well and serve. Add a side salad and some crusty French bread to make this a memorable meal! This makes a large pot of chowder, but the recipe can easily be increased or decreased, depending on your requirements.
Kathy Moran, long-time Director of the St. Peter the Aleut Orthodox Summer Camp and active member of the St. Anthony the Great Orthodox Church (OCA) in San Antonio, sent us this wonderful recipe. It’s very easy to make these in either a fasting or a non-fasting version. Kathy shares, “Chalupas are a great summer food. The broiler gets used for half a minute, (minimizing kitchen heat build up), and there are many options for picky eaters. It's an easy Lenten meal and also a great party food. Young children often prefer the beans and cheese only version, but the sophisticated palettes will appreciate the condiments.”
Chalupa shells (also called tostada shells- they look like flat crunchy taco shells)
Refried beans (reg. canned or vegetarian, or make your own, or use dehydrated)
Cheese: (Cheddar, Monterey Jack, cheddar/jack, imitation cheese for fast days, or my favorite, Mexican Queso)
Condiments: Salsa (Picante Sauce), Pica de Gallo (diced tomatoes, mango, jalapenos, and onions, and chopped cilantro), shredded lettuce or cabbage, Guacamole or sliced avocados, chopped shrimp or crabmeat.
Directions: Spread a layer of refried beans on each chalupa shell. Top with cheese. If using shrimp or crabmeat, layer in between the beans and cheese. Place the chalupas on a cookie sheet and pop under the broiler until the cheese begins to bubble, half a minute or so. Top with condiments. She recommends the guacamole and pica de gallo. The mango makes the pica de gallo unique.
Kathy continues, “I often serve chalupas when entertaining. Bowls of condiments are provided for guests, buffet style. Mexican rice, Pozole (hominy), a green salad, and a tropical fruit salad compliment the Chalupas nicely. This meal is both healthy and easy! For several years when my children were young, we had Chalupas at least three times per week!”
Haystacks are by far one of my daughter’s favorite lunch or supper meals. The recipe definitely goes for easy rather than any particularly grand cuisine. Haystacks can easily be made in a non-fasting version by adding ground meat.* However, at our house, we usually prepare Haystacks in a fasting version. It is a protein-rich meal so quickly put together that we often prepare it in just a few minutes on a Wednesday night after attending Daily Vespers, or on some other Lenten evening.
1 Lg. Can Pasta Sauce (No Meat)
Or, 1 Can Tomato Sauce + Seasonings (Or, some homemade or store bought salsa)
1 Tsp. Dried Italian Seasoning or Dried Oregano
1 Pkt. Ground Meatless (Soy Ground Burger Substitute), Optional
1 Lg. Can Refried Beans (Vegetarian)
1 Can Pinto Beans
2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, Minced or Pressed
1 Small Pkg. Taco or Mexican-type Seasoning
1 Mild Onion, Minced
3 – 4 Ripe Roma Tomatoes, Chopped
Leaf Lettuce, Washed, Dried, Torn or Shredded
Black Olives, Drained & Cut into Halves, Optional
Salsa of Choice, Optional
Frito-type Corn Chips – Regular or “Scoops”
At our house, making haystacks is always a group effort. This is what we do: Add the dried herbs to the pasta or tomato sauce. Then, one person heats up the sauce in the microwave. Another mixes together the refried and pinto beans, and stirs in the taco seasoning and garlic. This is warmed it in the microwave or on the stove top. Whoever is available warms up the ground meatless. Someone minces the onion, chops the tomato, washes and tears the lettuce, cuts the olives and place each of these in individual bowls on the table. Another opens the Fritos and puts them on the table as well. Someone sets the table, and it’s time to eat! Haystacks are assembled at the table by each person on their own plate. Start with a bed of Fritos. Follow with beans. Top with ground meatless. Pour on some sauce. Then add whatever other vegetables you wish. Top with your salsa of choice. Yum!
During Cheesefare week, to the basics above, add grated cheese (cheddar or Monterey jack) and/or sour cream.
Cheese Day Staked Enchiladas (Flat, not Rolled)
A reasonably quick to prepare and delicious stacked enchilada, good to serve for a fast day supper.
1 Small Can Vegetarian Re-fried Beans
1 Can Pinto Beans
1 Onion, Minced
1 Ear Fresh Corn, Cooked, Grilled or Raw, Cut off the Cob
1 Small Can Green Chiles, Chopped (Or, we use fresh, frozen)
2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, Minced or Pressed
3 Ripe Roma Tomatoes, Finely Chopped
2 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro, Minced
1 Tsp. Dried Mexican Oregano (or regular)
Monterrey Jack, Cheddar, Mexican or other cheese, grated
Salt, to taste
Mix these ingredients together and warm in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Quick Enchilada Sauce:
¼ C. Mike’s NM Red Chile Mix
2 Tbsp. Masa Harina
1 Can Vegetable Broth (Or, equivalent, homemade.)
1 Can Enchilada Sauce (Such as El Paso)
Stir together the Red Chile Mix and the Masa. Mix these into the vegetable broth. Add the enchilada sauce, and heat these up together, either in the microwave or on the stovetop.
1 Lg. Pkg.* of Corn Tortillas, Warmed & Softened in a Microwave (Wrapped, or in a Tortilla Warmer)
In a large, lightly oiled or sprayed pyrex-type 2 or 3 Qt. Baking Pan, put a layer of corn tortillas (6 or 8*) on the bottom. Cover this with a layer of the warm bean mixture, then a layer of cheese. Top with another layer of corn tortillas. Add an additional layer of beans, then more cheese. Top with another layer of tortillas. On top of this, pour the warmed enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with a small amount of cheese and bake in an oven preheated to 350 F. for 20 – 30 minutes, until bubbly and thoroughly warmed. *Note: For a 2 Qt. Pan, it will take 18 tortillas; for a 3 Qt. size, 24 tortillas.
The Very Best Chile Rellenos (Stuffed Green Chile Peppers)
Although we don’t do it very frequently since its making is rather time consuming, our daughters love to make this delicious Chile Relleno dish. It is exquisitely good!
12 Green NM Chile Peppers (Poblano?), Roasted, Peeled & Seeded (see pg_)
1 Lb. Monterrey Jack Cheese or Queso Fresca (Mexican Cheese), Cut into 12 Strips
1 Onion, Chopped
2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, Minced or Pressed
1 Tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil, if required
2 Cans Vegetable Broth (or homemade)
¼ C. Mike’s NM Powdered Chile Mix, pg_
2 + Tbsps. Masa Harina
1 Tsp. Ground Cominos (Cumin)
Brown the onion, garlic and salt. Add olive oil, if necessary. Drain and set aside. Heat the vegetable broth. Mix together the Powdered Chile Mix and the Masa Harina. Stir this into the warm broth. Let this boil, then reduce heat and cook until slightly thickened. Adjust seasonings as needed and allow this to continue to simmer until it is required.
6 Eggs, at room temperature
6 Tbsps. Flour
Prepare this just prior to using it as it won’t keep long. Separate the eggs. Beat the whites until they are very stiff. Beat the yolks until they are creamy and stiff. Gently fold them into the beaten egg whites. Slowly and carefully add the flour. Use this batter to coat the chile peppers.
Carefully fill each pepper with long slices of cheese. Heat up a heavy skillet (such as cast iron) and place oil in the bottom. One at a time, drop stuffed chile peppers into the batter. Carefully remove from the batter, using 2 forks. When the oil is hot, add one pepper at a time. Cook one side until the batter is slightly browned; turn; cook and remove to a pyrex pan or serving dish. Continue cooking peppers, one at a time. After all of the chiles have been cooked, place 2 chiles on each individual serving plate. Smother with the warm chile sauce. Eat with warm tortillas or Indian Fry Bread (pg._) on the side.
This is wonderful either spread on bread or crackers, or served on top of hot Pasta, such as fettuchine. We are beginning to enjoy it from the garden we're growing with our friend, Peggy Kathryn in Pojoaque. This is Ana's recipe given to her from her Godmother, Mary Kathryn Hagge, who is part of the St. Elias Antiochian Parish back in Atlanta, GA.
3 Cups, Fresh Basil Leaves, tightly packed (dry basil will Not work!)
2+ Large Cloves Fresh Garlic (to taste)
1/2 C. Piñon Nuts, and/or Pecans, Walnuts or Almonds - a combination will do
3/4 C. Parmesan (or, if fasting, the rice-parmesan substitute)
1/2 C. Olive Oil (or, if fasting, some other sort of oil)
1/4 C. Softened Butter (or, if fasting, margarine)
Salt to taste
Put fresh basil into food processor. Add oil and blend well. Add all other ingredients and blend. Taste and adjust to your liking. Excellent served immediately, or it can be chilled or even frozen, if it is to be served later.
Chile Relleno Casserole (Cheese & Green Chiles)
This wonderfully flavored casserole was served at St. Dimitri’s Mission in New Mexico when our Bishop came for his Annual visitation of the area. It was served again on the next day, at the Pilgrimage to St. Michael the Archangel’s Monastic Skete in Cañones, and was really enjoyed by folks at both events. Archbishop DMITRI has asked us for the recipe. So, since it was invented for the occasion, I came up with this one!
NM Green Chile Strips or Pieces, Roasted, Peeled, Seeded (Mild or Hot, your choice)
1 Lg. Onion and/or Scallions, Finely Chopped
4 C. Monterey Jack or similar Cheese, Grated
1 Can or 2 C. Vegetable Stock
6 Eggs, whisked or beaten
1/2 C. Flour, adjusted
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1/2 Tsp. +/- Powdered Red Chile, or to taste
Flour or Corn Tortillas, Optional
(The above amounts are “rough estimates.” Please adjust all ingredient quantities depending on the size of your pan and the number of people you wish to serve.)
Lightly oil both the bottom and the sides of a large Pyrex-type, rectangular baking pan. If desired, tear up and place a layer of corn or flour tortillas on the bottom of the pan. Then place a well-filled layer of Green Chile Strips on the bottom of the pan. Cover this layer with a moderate sprinkling of finely chopped Onion and/or Scallions. Over this, sprinkle a good layer of grated Jack Cheese. Top this layer with a mixture of batter, made by mixing together the Flour, Salt, Pepper and Powdered Red Chile. Gradually stir into the dry ingredients the whisked Eggs, and then gradually add to this the Vegetable Stock. Adjust ingredients until the batter is neither overly thick nor overly thin.
After pouring half of the batter on top of the casserole’s layers, begin again with Chile Peppers, Onions and Cheese, then end with the second half of the Batter. Bake at 350 Degrees for 30 minutes, until all is thoroughly hot, with the casserole being set up in the middle and its top slightly browned. This dish can easily be made up in advance of an occasion, to be covered and refrigerated until it is time to bake and serve.
1 Can Corn, Drained
1 Can Black Beans, Drained
Pico de Gallo - Homemade or Store-Bought
Grated Cheese - Monterey Jack or Mixed
Mix together corn, black beans and pico de gallo. Place a flour tortilla in a hot cast iron skillet. Spoon desired amount of corn, bean, salsa mixture on the tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with a second tortilla. Brown; flip; brown; serve! A yummy, quick "Cheese Fare" lunch meal. Enjoy!
Low Country Shrimp & Cheese Grits
My dear friend Denise, Choir Director & Iconographer in Savannah, GA has a great blog site called, "What I'm Cooking Now" - at: http://whatimcookingnow.blogspot.com/
Below is one of her yummy blog entries, or should I say, entrees! And, feel free to share back with me some of your favorite Cheese Fare Week Family Favorites! Remember: No Meat at all starting today through the completion of Pascha Liturgy. This week: Cheese, Eggs, Butter & Milk Products allowed, until & through Sunday. So, enjoy it while you can!
A few months ago, I was watching Food TV (aka cartoons for grown ups) and watched Paula Deen drool over her version of shrimp and cheese grits. She made it seem so delicious that I knew I'd have to try it. Last night, I took a half pound of shrimp out of the freezer for tonights supper but hadn't decided how to cook it. As I was driving home from work, I was thinking maybe I'd make scampi, and in fact, that's what I told my cousin Ethel as we talked while I was driving. But then when I got home, it came to me: shrimp and cheese grits!
I knew I had some instant grits in the pantry and some sharp cheddar in the fridge. I didn't think I'd need more than that. So, I cooked the grits according to the package, but I used veggie broth instead of water (I used Vogue Veggie Base to make the broth) and no salt.
While I was waiting for the grits to cook, I finely chopped half an onion and sauteed it in 2 Tbs butter and 2 Tbs olive oil. Then I added about 3 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp of Bell's seafood seasoning, 1 tsp dried parsley, and the shrimp. When the shrimp turned pink, I tasted for salt - it needed just a pinch more - and drizzled about 1 Tbs of lemon juice over all. By then, the grits had thickened nicely, and I added 2 oz sharp cheddar per serving, using a whisk to stir well.
It took just a minute or so for the cheese to melt and then it was time to eat. I spooned out the grits into two bowls and topped with the shrimp and butter sauce. Dear daughter loved it, but that was because I told her it was polenta. Which it actually was. But she has not had happy experiences with southern style grits, so I told her it was cheese polenta and she was happy. I waited until she was half way through before I told her the truth! LOL! Mothers have to be devious sometimes!
This was surprisingly quick (15 minutes total), easy, tasy and FILLING. Oh yes, it is definitely filling. I don't think we'll need a snack later in the evening at ALL.
If you don't have grits, you can definitely use polenta, and once the little box of grits is used up, I won't replace it. I prefer the stronger corn flavor of polenta.
Russian Style Blini
This is modified from Yul Brynner's "King and I Cookbook," with amplification
2 cups milk
1/4 warm water
1 tsp. sugar
1 pkg yeast
1/2 cup white flour
1 cup buckwheat flour
(or, if your family doesn't care for buckwheat, substitute whte flour)
1/2 tsp. salt
3 egg yolks
3TBS sour cream
1 tsp. sugar
3 TBS melted butter
3 egg whites
1 TBSP butter per pancake for frying.
Please remember the Russian proverb, "Pervi blin komon" -- the first pancake
is always lumpy.
Heat milk till boiling point, remove from heat.
When cool, remove skin.
In small bowl, combine water, sugar, yeast.
In another bowl, sift flour and salt together.
In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast and water mixture with one cup
scalded, cooled milk.
Add one cup for the flour mixture.
Mix until just well blended.
Cover bowl with large plate or pot cover.
Let stand 30 minutes.
(This is your sponge.)
Beat egg yolks slightly.
Combine with sour cream, sugar, and melted butter.
Add this mixture, remaining milk, and remaining flour mixture to the sponge
in the large bowl.
Cover. Let rise until doubled in bulk (about an hour).
At this point, beat egg whites until stiff.
Fold egg whites into batter.
Cover. Let stand 15 minutes.
Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a 7" skillet for each pancake.
Add enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan.
Cook on first side until bubbles form on the surface.
Turn and cook on second side.
Keep warm in very low (250 degree) oven until all batter is used.
Serve with melted butter, sour cream, and whatever fishy treats you like and
can afford: caviar, pickled herring, smoked salmon, etc. Kids may prefer them
with strawberry jam, and someone usually smuggles in maple syrup for
Americans who can't face the idea of pickled herring on a pancake.
To make at least 25 decent blini, with rejects for the kids to munch on, use:
4 cups milk
1/2 cup warm water
2 tsp. sugar
2 pkgs. dry yeast
3 cups white flour.
1 tsp. salt
6 egg yolks
6 Tbsp. sour cream
2 tsp. sugar
6 Tbsp. melted butter.
6 egg whites.
Scald the milk, remove the skin.
Soften yeast in water w/sugar.
Mix the flour and salt.
Make sponge w/half the scalded milk, half the flour mixture, and then
continue the rest of the recipe only with the new quantities.
I usually double the huge recipe to make 50 for church or school. We set up
three non-stick frying pans, a plate with foil for the Keeps, a reject plate
off to the side, and melted butter in something that pours (pyrex measuring
cup, cream pitcher, gravy boat, whatever). Double Huge makes at least 50
keeps and enough rejects to thrill my eager children. Make sure you put the
melted butter exactly in the middle of the pan, or be prepared to reset the
smoke detector. To store for the day you serve them, place strip of foil a
little more than 3x longer than the intended height of the stack of blini (in
other words, enough foil that you can stack the blini in the middle and wrap
foil over both sides and have everything covered). Pour a little butter on
the foil before you cook up the blini, place mb 15 or 20 blini in a stack on
the foil, pour on a little more butter, then cover with foil. To reheat the
blini, place all the foil-wrapped stacks on a cookie sheet in the oven at
250 degrees. (Our Senior Sister wraps them in cloth napkins and places them
in the crock pot on low.) If you decide to reheat these in the microwave, be
careful, use less than 100% heat or you get buttery frisbees.
Freezes nicely if wrapped well. Shared by my friend: Matushka Ann Lardas
DO YOU APPRECIATE THESE RECIPES? If so, please consider donating to St. George’s Outreach Ministries (Food Pantry, etc.) or St. George’s Building Fund (for a new hall). One can easily do so via PayPal at: www.stgeorgepantry.org
Please state where you would most like your donation to be designated for use. Thanks!