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Posts tagged as “cheese”

Menu Idea: Tapas Tonight

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In my house, warm weather, when nobody feels like looking or standing over a stove, calls for something quick and easy to eat. If the last thing that you can imagine doing is turning on the stove and you're craving something easy to nosh on that doesn't take a lot of time to assemble, try tapas.

Tapas are Spanish-style appetizers or small bites that are really fun to eat. It's one of my favorite things to enjoy at a restaurant—and going to restaurants that serve tapas is probably one of the things I've missed the most lately about "normal" life—where typically 2-4 per person makes for a good main course meal. And it's more fun when you have a variety to share with your partner or a group: some seafood, cheese and fruit; some hot and some cold.

Try these ideas a spread of Mediterranean-style tapas that you can make at home for a quick lunch or dinner.

Baked Pimento Cheese Dip

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The Super Bowl is this Sunday and, well, I'm not a football fan. A red-blooded Patriot I still am, yes, but no, I don't have a favorite football team, and I don't care who wins or loses the game.

As a marketer and foodie, though, I am sure you could've guessed that I do enjoy watching the commercials and eating snacks. In the kitchen is where I can be found during any given Super Bowl with a drink in hand, pausing to watch a funny commercial now and again. Works for me.

It's basically a prerequisite to have some kind of pretzels or chips and dip to snack on during the game (or commercials.) If you ask me, chips and salsa gets boring after a while. Guac, even if given a healthy dose of lime juice, is bound to turn brown. And while I enjoy a good queso, it, too, comes with challenges. The first challenge is keeping it warm. (A Crock-Pot can take care of that quite nicely, true.) The second challenge is that it can be drippy and messy to eat.

Pimento cheese, on the other hand, is absolutely divine, easy to make, and easy to eat. I wasn't born or raised in the South and I never ate it as a kid. I found it a few years ago by accident when looking for something at the grocery store, and, boy, am I glad I did.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

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Crisp fall nights call for baking. Lots of baking. Cookies and cakes are obvious go-tos anytime I choose to bake something sweet. When it comes to savory dishes, though, the first thing that always comes to mind is pasta.

There's just something so nice and comforting about taking a big tray of baked, bubbling, cheesy pasta out of the oven. It's instant happiness and a whole meal without putting in a lot of effort. Sometimes, if I'm in the mood, I'll serve a big tray of pasta with a side dish, like a green vegetable or a salad. It can help to feel a little bit better about eating all of that cheesy goodness, even if I know, deep down, that it doesn't make a damn difference.

When it comes to naming a so-called king of baked pastas, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone in my house who disagrees with the fact that it's macaroni and cheese (baked ziti, a distant second place.) It's one of the most versatile baked pasta dishes that I can make and everyone loves it. I'm always trying new recipes, too -- adding spinach or other vegetables, bacon, or simply just loading up on different kinds of cheese because more cheese, more better. The best part is that even when a recipe doesn't come out quite as I planned, even bad mac and cheese is good.

This is how, on a whim a few years ago, I ended up with this memorable, very orange -- and, dare I say, sort-of healthy -- mac.