Recipes You’ll Love On National Cheese Day

Recipes You’ll Love On National Cheese Day

When is National Cheese Day this year?

June 4th, 2022 is a day to celebrate in your kitchen with these easy, cheesy dishes!

What should I make for National Cheese Day?

I always find ways to let cheese creep into my recipes, slowly but surely.

Take a walk on the cheesy side with a few of my favorite dishes that answer the call of your Cheese Day cravings!

how to make easy grilled veggies for memorial day

Hearty, Cheesy Butternut Squash Soup

Soup happens! This easy, hearty soup is perfect for those impromptu dinners when you need something cozy and cheesy.

Happily, the base is easy to get started and the soup will accommodate your cheese on hand.

how to make easy grilled veggies for memorial day

Chicken Ravioli

Too much chicken? Leftovers for what feels this for days? Make these on a day when your chicken overrunneth.

You can store your extra ravioli in a single layer in a resealable plastic bag in the freezer, making this a recipe remix with a cheesy twist that is as efficient as it is delicious! 

Original Eggplant Parm

Eggplant Parm, The Old Fashioned Way

A cast-iron skillet. Thick slices of eggplant. A ladleful of marinara sauce and a double-topping of cheese. 

Take advantage of your favorite variety of eggplant using this simple frying technique to create a super Italian inspired dish and make eggplant parm magic tonight!

how to make easy grilled veggies for memorial day

Cheese and Crackers Chicken

Cheese and crackers are my go-to food when the tummy rumbles and that fasting headache emerges. Just a little bite of cheese takes the edge off. This works…for a while.

What happens next is that cheese begins to sneak its way into my dish. I love cheese on my scrambled eggs. Cheese in my salad. Cheese and crackers for my snack. Then inspiration hits.

So why not cheese and crackers in my chicken dinner? 

Want More Ideas?

Grillin’ and Chillin’ This Memorial Day Weekend

Grillin’ and Chillin’ This Memorial Day Weekend

Strawberry Recipes for Desserts

Make and take this effortless side, or get it going while your main course is on the grill or stovetop! It’s all about grilling and chilling this Memorial Day Weekend.

Whether it’s burgers, brats, ribs, or steaks, the sides are just as important as the main course when you’re planning your Memorial Day bash.

There’s lots of planning and lots of dishes to prepare. Here’s a way for you to make things just a little bit easier on yourself this year. 

Start with grilled veggies!

Any veggie will work here. My favorites are thick asparagus spears, bell peppers, red onions, zucchini and yellow squash, eggplant and portobello mushrooms. 

For the asparagus, break off the tough ends and trim. For the mushrooms remove the cap and inner gills. Slice the eggplant and red onion into ½-inch circles. Cut the squash diagonally into ½-inch ovals.

As you slice your veggies lay them onto a baking sheet. You can use parchment paper to layer everything on top of each other. Brush both sides with vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Now you are ready to grill.

Use an open flame or your trusty grill pan to cook each slice turning once so that you have grill marks on both sides.

Make sure you do not over-cook. You want firm veggies, not mushy ones. Remember things keep on cooking after you remove them from the heat.

Transfer the veggies from the grill to the baking sheet. You can cook these the day before your barbecue. Cool to room temperature and cover with plastic wrap. Chill ‘til you are ready to serve. 

 

how to make easy grilled veggies for memorial day

Now, here is where we get creative!

1: Layer the veggies onto a platter. Drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Shave thin slices of Parmesan cheese over top and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

2: Stack the veggies, beginning with eggplant and layering from largest slices to smallest. Layer in a slice or two of mozzarella cheese and add a few leaves of fresh basil on the top. Drizzle with olive oil.

3: Layer the veggies onto a platter and add slices of tomato and watermelon. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out circles of the watermelon that are about the same size as the tomato slices. Add a sprinkling of blue cheese and drizzle with balsamic reduction.  

4: Chop the veggies into similar size pieces and stir into rice for grilled veggie pilaf.

5:  Slice the veggies into thin strips and pair them with your grilled beef or chicken for fajitas, enchiladas, or quesadillas.

The secret here is that you can grill the veggies in advance and with little effort assemble the dish while the main course is sitting on the grill. What a great plan!

Go Nana Bananas!

Go Nana Bananas!

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Watch Nana GO BANANAS!

When you want something homemade to gather grandkids around the kitchen…

Join me in the kitchen for more memories and recipes with our featured ingredient: BANANAS! 

I will show you how to whip bananas into delicious homemade delights, from breakfast (or anytime!) bread to donuts and finally my one-of-a-kind Banana Pudding Ice Cream!

Join Jorj In The Kitchen!

The Art of The Fresh Market

Grab the book that contains my favorite travel adventures, with inspired original artwork by artist Susan Fazio.

New Year, Old Friends and the Birth of This Book

Beer Battered Fried Things for National Beer Day!

Beer Battered Fried Things for National Beer Day!

Beer brings best friends together in the backyard! Serve these fried things up with beer batter and be the hit of the backyard party this National Beer Day.

Frying things is FUN.

Frying things and then eating those fried things with a cold, crisp brew is even more FUN!

If you want some real FUN, invite your pals to a backyard barbecue and fry things in a beer batter and then toast the pals with a chilled cold one.

Yes…that works.

You can use this batter for other things like shrimp, pickles, mushrooms and cauliflower.

Everything tastes better when it’s battered in beer and fried in hot oil.

In honor of National Beer Day, here’s my take on big, fat, puffy fried onion rings with a really yummy sauce.

Beer Battered Fried Onion Rings
With Spicy Dipping Sauce

These fried onion rings are a perfect pass around, backyard appy! The dipping sauce is reminiscent of that Aussie-style dish. (You know the one I’m talking about…) In early summer markets, you’ll find smaller, tender spring onions with white or purple bulbs.  You can use the same technique described here to fry up these babies. They turn into crispy, golden strings which you can mound on top of your favorite burger. It’s all yummy!

Serves:

A  Crowd

Ready In:

30 – 45 minutes

Ingredients

For Onions

2 large white sweet onions, cut into ¼-inch slices

2 cups buttermilk


For Dipping Sauce:

½ cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons ketchup

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon ground oregano

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

2 or more drops hot pepper sauce

For the batter:

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup rice flour

2 cups club soda

1 (12-ounce) bottle beer

For dredging:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon chili powder

For big finish:

Vegetable oil for frying

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Flaky salt (like sea salt)

Directions

Separate the onion rings and place into a shallow bowl or baking dish. Cover with buttermilk pushing the rings down into the liquid while you get everything else ready to go.

Whisk together mayonnaise, ketchup, horseradish, paprika and oregano. Season with some of the salt and pepper. Stir in as much hot sauce as you like. Pour the dipping sauce into a bowl.

Whisk together 1 cup all-purpose flour with 1 cup rice flour in a shallow bowl or baking dish. Stir in the club soda and beer. 

Place the remaining 2 cups all-purpose flour into a shallow baking dish. Whisk in chili powder and season generously with salt and pepper.

Heat about 3-inches of vegetable oil in a deep, large pot over medium-high heat to 350°. The vegetable oil should come no higher than one third up the side of the pot. Once you add the onion rings, the oil will bubble up. The temperature of the oil will go down when you add battered onion rings and then come up again as they cook. I use a candy thermometer to make sure that the temperature is hot before I add more onion rings to the oil.

Lift an onion ring out of the buttermilk and shake off the extra liquid. Dredge into the seasoned flour and then dip into the beer batter, again shaking off the excess liquid. Place the battered onion ring into the hot oil. Continue this process to fry several rings at a time, being careful not to place too many into the oil at the same time. You want them to swim freely as they fry. Use a slotted spoon or spider strainer to turn the rings in the oil until golden brown on both sides, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the rings to a paper towel lined baking sheet.

Continue with the remaining rings until there are none left. Once you remove the onion rings from the oil, immediately sprinkle with parsley and flakey salt.

Serve with dipping sauce.

Cook’s Tip

For a really FUN presentation at your next barbecue, serve these onion rings right out of the fryer and onto a foot-long wooden dowel mounted onto a wooden block. You won’t find this in the restaurant supply store. Instead, you’ll have to get your best DIY buddy to make them for you. Your friends will love plucking a puffy onion ring right off the stick.

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Chips and Dip For All Occasions: Party Dip Recipe Ideas

Chips and Dip For All Occasions: Party Dip Recipe Ideas

mardi gras king cake donuts

Chips and Dip Day celebrates all things crunchy, gooey, dippable, shareable, snackable, and delectable! Get inspired with my best party dip recipes, whether it’s for one, two, or a whole crowd.

 

I have made my fair share of chips and dips over the years, every which way and for just about every occasion.

From appetizers to party take-along to afternoon snacks, the versatile chips and dip dish strikes a satisfying balance of keeping us just the right amount of full before a big meal (or in-between them)!

Chips and dip are a staple in my household, and maybe yours, as well!  But I know you must be wondering…

Are chips and dip healthy?

The wonderful thing about home-cooking is that you have control over your ingredients and preparation process.

I have made both potato chips and veggie chips in my oven with great results and prefer this extra step over store-bought when making chips and dip fresh for my family and friends.

Get my “Oven Baked Seasoned Potato Chips
with Caramelized Onion Dip” recipe for National Chips and Dip Day, or try these fun recipes from my archives!

Roasted Red Pepper Cheese Spread

Servings

1 Cup Dip
2 tablespoons per serving size

Ready In:

15 minutes

Ingredients

1 (3-ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese
2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped roasted red pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 ounces reduced-fat grated cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

Place the cream cheese, mayonnaise, red pepper, parsley and cheese into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with assorted cut vegetables and homemade potato or veggie chips.

 

Peace, Love and Far Out Recipe for Chips n’ Dip

Jorj’s Kale Chips

Servings

6

Ready In:

12 – 18 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound fresh kale
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions

Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat liner or parchment paper. Prepare the kale for baking by using a sharp knife to remove the leaves from the thick stems; tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.

Wash and pat dry the kale. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle generously with the salt and pepper. Add a few sprinkles of red pepper flakes.

Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, between 12 to 18 minutes.

Peace, Love and Far Out Recipe for Chips n’ Dip

Southern Super Supper Book Club Menu

Southern Super Supper Book Club Menu

It’s “Read An eBook Week” and my recipes and read are available for immediate download! Host a Southern-style book club supper with “Almost Sisters” by Joshilyn Jackson and my “Sunday Best Dishes” menu.

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. 

Last year I discovered author Joshilyn Jackson and devoured every book she’s written in record time.

For me, her characters, strong Southern women, strike a chord with so many attributes I aspire to. Her heroines face challenges that we can identify with, although hopefully in not such a dramatic manner!

For this book club, I’ve chosen the book “The Almost Sisters”.

This is not her most recent book, but I find it to be very current given our present political climate. And although this book is in no way political, it does deal with issues in the headlines.

Here is a summary from Amazon:

“With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality—the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.

 

Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.

 

It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She’s having a baby boy—an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight-year-old’s life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel’s marriage implodes.

 

Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she’s been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.

 

Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she’s pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding.

 

Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.”

There’s a pivotal scene in the book that serves as the catalyst for bringing Leia home to Alabama and her grandmother. Birchie and her caretaker, Wattie attend a potluck supper after Sunday church. It’s Birchie’s out-of-character outburst in front of the parishioners that sends a distress call to Leia.

Sunday after church potluck suppers are a tradition in the South. I must have been on the same wavelength with Ms. Jackson when I wrote an entire chapter of the potluck recipes in my book, “Sunday Best Dishes.”

This book is the perfect one for recipes for your book club menus. Buy one and share it with all of your book club members!

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. 

Here’s a menu that will work perfectly for your book discussion of “The Almost Sisters”:

Pretty Potluck Beans

Sunday Best Dishes, page 73

Southern-Style Chicken Pot with Okra and Collards

Sunday Best Dishes, page 79

Scalloped Potatoes with Ham and Green Onions

Sunday Best Dishes, page 83

Trio of Picnic Salads

Sunday Best Dishes, page 123

#RecipesAndReads

 

Here are a couple of book club discussion questions to get you started:

  • There are multiple relationships in the novel that fit the title The Almost Sisters description. How did the title take on new meaning to you as the story developed?
  • Despite her worsening dementia, Birchie is still a strong character throughout the book. How would you describe her lifelong friendship with Wattie? Did your impressions change throughout the novel? Why do you think Birchie chose to keep their true relationship a secret even as times changed?
  • Leia makes the decision to hide her pregnancy early on and keeps her secret throughout much of the story. Do you think Leia made the right decision? Were you surprised by the characters’ reactions when her pregnancy was revealed?

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