This velvety cheese sauce tastes so good, and it’s really quick to whip up. It can take a vegetable dish from boring to amazing in just a few minutes. And if you’re a good cheese-drizzler, your previously boring vegetables can even look elegant. When I went off to college, my mom made sure this essential sauce recipe went with me.
If you tell me my cheese sauce looks like “Easy Cheese,” you will suffer the wrath of a thousand scornful looks. I do not allow fake cheese into my house. I’ve made one recipe ever that called for Cheez Whiz, and I seriously could not buy the stuff. I made Cheez Whiz from scratch, y’all. “Processed cheese food” makes me cringe. (Seriously – go look at the Wikipedia page. It’s like reading about a frightening science experiment gone wrong.)
On that appetizing note, let’s move on to this yummy, real cheese sauce that actually is not remotely similar to processed cheese food! This versatile sauce recipe can also be transformed into a basic white sauce or even broccoli cheese soup.
It really could not be simpler. Unless you actually entertained the thought of comparing it with Cheez Whiz, in which case you would just open a jar. And be sorely disappointed.
- 2 Tbs butter
- 2 Tbs flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup shredded cheese (I love extra-sharp cheddar)
- Optional: A sprinkle of nutmeg or cayenne
You can use whatever cheese you want, and you can grate it yourself or buy it pre-shredded. It’s very versatile! This recipe is like a blank slate for whatever kind of cheese you want to use.
Watch it carefully, because milk can go from nothing to BOILINGOVERBIGMESS in 0.3 seconds.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir the flour quickly into the melted butter. It helps to use a whisk or fork.
- Add the milk all at once and stir until thickened.
- Add the cheese and stir until melted.
It’s best when served immediately, though it does keep for a few days in the refrigerator.
White sauce: This sauce is elegant and tasty over anything from vegetables to eggs and toast. It’s the same recipe, simply leave out the shredded cheese.
Broccoli cheese soup: Add more milk and some chopped broccoli. Maybe toss in some black pepper and some parsley just for kicks. Done!
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This stuff is so good. I couldn’t get enough of it and kept eating it for the next 2 or 3 days until it was gone. It’s healthy, beautiful and delicious. And did I mention that I don’t think I left any leftovers for Stephen to eat?
Don’t be intimidated by the number of ingredients! It’s really not that much, and the hardest part is just chopping the vegetables. Most of the ingredients are for the dressing, which you just stir together.
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbs peanut butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1-2 tsp Sriracha hot sauce (you can leave this out if you don’t want the extra bite of flavor)
- 1/8 – 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1 large garlic clove, minced (I used my garlic press)
- 1 bag prepared shredded coleslaw
- 2-3 cups shredded carrots (you can buy them pre-shredded in the refrigerated lettuce section of the grocery store, or you can shred them yourself with a cheese grater like I did)
- 1 red bell pepper, slice thinly and cut into bite-sized pieces (but seriously… it doesn’t have to be red. Other bell pepper colors are invited to this party too.)
- 1 cup cooked, shelled edamame (I got mine from the frozen vegetable section of the grocery store.)
- 2-3 green onions, finely sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
It makes quite a bit, so if you don’t think you’ll be serving several people or addicted to eating it multiple times a day, you could half the recipe.
Chopping is really the only thing that might take some time.
- Combine the honey, vegetable oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, peanut butter, salt, Sriracha, ginger and garlic, stirring until the peanut butter dissolves. This is the dressing. Set it aside for now.
- Toss the coleslaw, carrots, bell pepper, edamame, green onions, peanuts and cilantro in a large bowl.
- Add the dressing and mix well.
- Resist the urge to eat it for 10-15 minutes so the flavors can blend. Serve cold.
We ate it with the teriyaki tilapia. The bright colors and flavor went well with the mild fish.
(You can find the original recipe here.)
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Today, because it’s the Christmas season, and because festive holiday food is showing up everywhere, and because I’ve been cooking an embarrassing amount of peppermint/gingerbread/pumpkin-themed desserts……
I’m going to give you a recipe for Asian fish.
Not everything in this life has to make sense. You didn’t think you were going to learn major life lessons on my blog today. You’re welcome.
This teriyaki tilapia fish had a very mild flavor, which went splendidly with the flavorful Asian slaw. The recipe is adapted from Better Homes and Gardens.
The toasted sesame seeds were a big part of the flavor. You can buy a huge bag of toasted sesame seeds for cheap at an Asian market and just keep it in your freezer, but I think they sell smaller containers at your average grocery store for a much higher price per ounce.
- 4 mild fish fillets
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tsp honey (I used my favorite local honey from Desert Creek Honey)
- 2 tsp sesame oil (or any other cooking oil)
- 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
I used frozen tilapia fillets from Walmart and thawed them before cooking. I’m sure it tastes even better with nicer fish, but it still tasted good for us cheapos, too.
It’s really quick to throw together.
- Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the fish with pepper and set aside.
- Combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar and honey in a small saucepan for the glaze. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Set aside.
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a skillet and cook the fish while the glaze is simmering. It should take just a few minutes on each side until golden. It will flake apart with a fork when it’s done.
- Transfer fish to a plate or serving platter, drizzle with the glaze and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds.
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They may sound odd, but these enchiladas were SO GOOD. Let me ‘splain. Here was my thought process going into this yesterday:
- I really want to find some unique way to use the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving!
- I remember seeing a recipe for turkey sweet potato enchiladas a long time ago. Mmmmm.
- Oh… We have no tortillas, and I am not about to drag the baby to the store just for tortillas. Oh well. I guess I’ll have to wait till next Thanksgiving to make this recipe that I’ve been dying to make for the entire past year… *dramatic sigh*
- BUT WAIT! I’ll just make tortillas from scratch!
- Oh… we don’t have any leftover sweet potatoes.
- BUT WAIT! We have a few uncooked sweet potatoes in the pantry! I’ll just whip up some of those too.
- Oh… we only have a little bit of salsa left, and no fresh veggies to make more.
- BUT WAIT! I found a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, and I can toss in some spices and a little water and call it good!
And with that, my dreams of having a productive day were shot. I HAD to make these enchiladas. Good thing they were delicious; yummy food masks a multitude of unfinished chores. But you didn’t hear that from me.
I can’t remember exactly how I made them, but I will do my best, even if only so I can have a recipe for when I want to recreate it sometime.
This recipe serves four. I may or may not remember everything I used, and I certainly didn’t measure, but I’ll give it a shot.
- 1 – 1 1/2 cups salsa (I used about 1/2 cup salsa, a few Tbs water, 1/2 a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, some onion powder, garlic powder, chipotle powder, salt and a tiny bit of oregano all mixed together. Please don’t be like me.)
- 2 cups cooked turkey, chopped or shredded (you can use chicken too)
- 1-2 Tbs lime juice
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potato
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
- 8 small flour tortillas (I made mine using this delicious recipe from Annie’s Eats. Her recipe makes 12. These enchiladas only use 8. Elementary math may inform you that I ate the remaining 4.)
- 1 – 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
- hot red pepper flakes
I think it would be good with green chiles and pepper jack cheese too.
This version of the directions will assume you already have several of the ingredients without making every single thing from scratch. It’s actually pretty quick if you PLAN AHEAD. I’ve heard there are people like this.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Squeeze the lime juice over the turkey and toss with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Season the sweet potatoes with the cumin, chipotle powder and a little salt. Set aside.
- Pour salsa into the bottom of a baking dish until it just barely covers the surface.
- Spread 1/8 of the sweet potatoes into a line down the center of a tortilla.
- Spoon 1/8 of the turkey onto the sweet potatoes. Roll up the enchilada and place it seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat steps 4-5 until all 8 of the tortillas are filled and rolled up in the dish.
- Pour the rest of the salsa evenly over the top of the enchiladas. Sprinkle the cheese over the enchiladas, and shake some red pepper flakes on top of everything.
- Bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes, or until heated and bubbling. For best results, let it rest about 10 minutes after you remove it from the oven so it can set.
We had the leftovers for dinner tonight, and it was still delicious. Please don’t discount this recipe because it sounds weird. You don’t bite into it and think, “Sweet potatoes.” All the flavors blend into a smoky, smooth bite. Let me know what you think!
Side note: I realize the pictures are ugly. I took them of the leftovers. At night.
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Ok, I realize that a plate of unidentified green stuff may not look especially appetizing. But this spinach hummus is so delicious and flavorful and healthy on a pita, crackers, pita chips, carrots, a spoon…
I actually followed the recipe exactly (I KNOW. I’m as surprised as you are.), so click here to see the original recipe. I sprinkled feta cheese on top of mine.
Stephen enjoyed it too, though he wasn’t raving about it like I was. Give it a chance. It doesn’t taste as weird as it might look. If crazy hummus isn’t really your thing though, check out my quick and easy plain hummus recipe.
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