March 5, 2014

Dinner Club - Theme: Cheese

A big thank you to Lynn for hosting this months dinner club!  What a great theme "cheese".  How can you go wring with that? The dishes were beautiful and tasty.  Lynn really knows how to entertain!  Not to mention she also had two dishes for everyone to try.  I instantly fell in love with the truffles you see above and the tart you see below.
The truffles were so delicious, creamy and decadent.  There were several different coatings which completely transformed the flavor of each.  I loved them.

Easy Cream Cheese Truffles
Recipe from MyRecipes

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 1/4 cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 5 (1 oz) squares unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup almonds, toasted and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
Cooking Directions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until fluffy.
  2. Slowly add 4 cups of powdered sugar.
  3. Beat until smooth.
  4. Add the melted chocolate and beat until blended.
  5. Chill for approximately 1 hour.
  6. Shape chilled mixture into balls and roll in 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, some in cocoa powder, some in nuts and some in coconut.
  7. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Another dish made by our host Lynn.  So tasty.  I am a huge dill fan and this tart had me right from the start because of the fresh dill taste.  So refreshing and cheesy.

Zucchini and Ricotta Tart
Recipe from Rachael Ray 

  • 4 zucchini (2 1/2 pounds) thinly sliced crosswise
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º
  2. Layer the zucchini into a colander with salt sprinkled in between.  Set in your sink and let drip for about 20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. 
  3. While the zucchini is dripping, on a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out and seal up the seams.  Press the pasty into a 9" pie plate and cut off the excess, leaving the top even with the top of the pie plate.  Use a fork to poke the bottom so it won't create bubbles.  Refrigerate. 
  4. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the zucchini and cook until golden brown on both sides.  About 5 minutes. 
  5. Stir in the dill and remove from the heat.  Let cool to room temperature. 
  6. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan and the half and half.  Season with the salt and pepper to taste and add the nutmeg. 
  7. Stir in the zucchini.  Pour the mixture into the chilled pastry crust and sprinkle with more Parmesan. 
  8. Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  9. Cool slightly before slicing. 

We have Shannon to thank for this one.  It was one of my favorite's from this night's dinner, mostly because I'm a self admitted Macaroni and Cheese addict.  This was creamy and smooth and delicious.  One of my favorites!  I'm already planning the next time I can have it.

Over The Rainbow Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe from Mangio da sola

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb box elbow macaroni, or other small shaped pasta
  • 8 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) Muenster cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) Mild cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) Velveeta
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º
  2. Lightly grease a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the oil and the pasta. Cook the noodles for about 6-7 minutes but do not overcook.
  4. Drain and return to the cooking pot.
  5. In small saucepan, melt 8 ounces (1 stick) of butter and combine with the macaroni.
  6. In a large bowl still the Muenster, mild and sharp cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheeses together.
  7. Add the half-and-half and 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheeses to the cooked macaroni. Cube the Velveeta and add all of it to the macaroni and also the eggs.
  8. Transfer to the buttered casserole dish, salt and pepper and top with the remaining shredded cheese and then dot with 1 Tbsp of butter.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the sides are bubbly.

This is one of mine, it was already posted about here

Spicy Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Barbecue Sauce
Recipe modified slightly from Ring Finger Tan Line

  • 8 slices bread (your choice but I used sourdough)
  •  sharp cheddar cheese, sliced (about 1 slice per sandwich but it depends on bread size)
  •  pepper jack cheese, sliced (depends on bread size)
  • 1 large red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup or more of your favorite barbecue sauce
Cooking Directions
  1. Slice the onion thinly and place into a large skillet with about a Tbsp of oil or butter.
  2. Cook on medium low for about 15 minutes or until the onions are soft and turning golden.
  3. Remove the onions to a small bowl and top with barbecue sauce, stir together until coated. Add more sauce depending on how saucy you want it.
  4. Butter one side of each piece of bread and lay on piece of bread on a hot skillet or griddle.  Lay both the cheeses on top of that slice of bread, top the cheese with the saucy onions and place another piece of bread (butter side up) on top the onions. 
  5. Repeat with the remaining bread, cheese and onion mixture.  
  6. Watch the sandwiches carefully so they do not get over brown on the bottom, when golden flip them over and cook the other side until golden over medium heat.  Takes about 4-5 minutes on the first side and 2-3 minutes on the second side

This was the other dish that I brought, I've already posted about it here.

Bacon-Wrapped Dates
Recipe from Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist

  • 1 (8 ounce) package pitted dates
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 (16 oz) package bacon
Cooking Directions
  1. Slice each date in half length wise.
  2. Scoop in a small amount of goat cheese, close the date around the cheese.
  3. Cut the bacon in half length wise and wrap one slice around the cheese filled date. Place in a foil lined baking dish or rimmed cookie sheet, seam side down.
  4. Bake at 400º for 20-25 minutes.

Pepperoni Pizza pull apart bread made by Wendy, no recipe submitted.

Pizza with Artichokes, chicken and pesto made by Lisa, no recipe submitted

Broccoli and cheese casserole made by Lisette, no recipe submitted

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