Baked Potato Grilled Cheese – Crazy Cooking Challenge #9

Yes, you read that title right…a baked potato grilled cheese sandwich. Seriously. This month’s Crazy Cooking Challenge was Grilled Cheese Sandwich, and I found this beauty over on BS’in in the Kitchen. I am in love with this blog, which is written by a brother/sister duo. I’ve bookmarked several other recipes I cannot wait to try!

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Let’s talk about this fabulous sandwich. It might sound a little weird, especially if you are a grilled cheese purist. Sour cream, potatoes, bacon, green onion, and cheddar cheese all combined on some yummy bread and grilled to melty, cheese perfection, and it was amazing. The husband ate two of them, and I would have had I not started watching what I eat just a few days prior. Even the tiny man stole a few bites and loved it. As is the norm in this house, we both customized our sandwiches to meet our respective likes and dislikes. I omitted the green onions (as I normally do when I have a baked potato), and the husband omitted the sour cream and added hot peppers (as he normally does when he has a baked potato). If you love loaded baked potoatoes, I highly reccmmend giving this sandwich a try!

Baked Potato Grilled Cheese Sandwich

2-3 Strips of Bacon
1 Potato
2 tbsp of Sour Cream
Cheddar Cheese
Green Onions/Chives
2 Slices of Bread
Butter
Canola Oil
Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper

To start things off, get a pan on medium heat with enough canola oil to lightly cover the bottom (you could also use olive oil or butter). Cut your potato into even slices, you will need 4-5 slices for the sandwich, then place them in your pan, cooking each side until browned and crispy.

While cooking, salt and pepper the potatoes to taste (they don’t have to be too salty as the bacon with help with the saltiness as well) and sprinkle a light pinch of garlic powder. In another pan cook your bacon on medium heat to desired tenderness (I liked mine crispy for this sandwich!).

While everything is cooking, slice your bread (use some crusty bread like french or sourdough if you have it), and generously butter the outside of each piece. On the inside, put about 1 tablespoon of sour cream on each slice as well as slices of cheddar cheese on each side. Once your potatoes and bacon are finished frying, dab them on paper towel to remove some grease, then fan the potatoes out on your bottom slice of bread, put a little more sour cream on top of the potatoes if you desire (I did to help the bacon and chives stick in the sandwich). Slice up one green onion stalk and spread it on top of the potatoes along with the bacon. Place your other slice of cheese on top of all of this and top with your bread!

Now just grill the sandwich in a pan on medium heat until each side becomes golden brown.

Source:  BS’in the Kitchen

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Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas

Yikes, I just realized it’s been almost 3 weeks since I’ve posted anything! About 12 hours after I wrote my last post, baby boy got very sick, got better for a few days, then got so sick again that he had to spend a night in Children’s Hospital. He is perfectly fine now, but we’ve had a scary and hectic few weeks. Now that he’s feeling better, I finally have my new laptop (thank you credit card reward points!), and I’m back to cooking again, I can start updating my poor, neglected blog!

This is actually a recipe I made well over a month ago, and I’m so happy to finally share it here! I am really starting to enjoy the fruit/meat combo, so when I saw this recipe online, I knew I had to give it a try.  I really love chicken and pineapple together, and stuff it between some tortillas with cheese, you’ve got yourself a winner!  I’ve now developed a new love affair for grilled pineapple, and cannot wait to make it again as well!  We absolutely devoured these quesadillas, and it’s been a long time since my dinner table was so quiet.  I highly recommend making these!!

Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas

8 whole Flour Tortillas
Butter Or Margarine
2 cups Grilled Pineapple, Sliced
3 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
Salt And Pepper, to taste
3 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
1 whole Jalapeno, Sliced
Cilantro
3 Tablespoons Barbecue Sauce

(To grill pineapple: cut wedges, stick on skewers, and grill over low heat. Cut into slices.)

(To pound chicken, place inside a Ziploc bag and pound with a mallet or large can to flatten to uniform thickness.)

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and Cajun spice (or cumin/cayenne, etc.) Drizzle olive oil on a grill pan and grill on both sides until done, brushing with barbecue sauce. Set aside and slice into very thin slices.

Warm griddle over medium heat and put sizzling butter or margarine in the pan. Slightly warm and toast tortillas on both sides, then remove from griddle and set aside.

To assemble, sprinkle four browned tortillas with grated Monterey Jack. Arrange chicken slices evenly over the surface. Add pineapple slices and jalapeno slices. Sprinkle on cilantro. If desired, drizzle extra barbecue sauce over the top. Add second browned tortilla on top of each one. (You’ll have four complete quesadillas at this point.)

Add to oven to warm, or back to skillet to warm, until cheese is melted. Cut each quesadilla into six wedges. Serve with sour cream, pico de gallo, and lime wedges.

Source:  The Pioneer Woman

Laughing Cow Chicken

Laughing Cow cheeses are one of my most favorite healthy snacks.  Paired with some reduced-fat Triscuits, it makes for a satisfying evening snack.  When I saw this recipe for chicken stuffed with the cheese, I had it on our menu plan immediately.  My favorite flavor is Garlic & Herb, which is what I used for this chicken.  Let me tell you, for such a simple and quick dinner, this was delicious.  I could have eaten all four chicken breasts I made it was that good.  Thankfully the husband and toddler agreed with my review, and they ate up the rest of this.  I’m sure this will be a staple in our dinner rotation as it was so easy to make. 

Laughing Cow Chicken

4 thinly sliced chicken breasts
4 wedges Laughing Cow Garlic & Herb cheese
Cooking spray
1/2 cup Italian seasoned panko

Lay each chicken breast flat.  Spread one wedge of cheese over one side of each chicken breast.  Roll up and seal with a toothpick.  Spray the chicken with cooking spray and cover with panko.  Place on baking sheet.  Spray breaded chicken breasts with more cooking spray.  Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Remove toothpicks and serve.

Source:  Adapted from Macaroni and Cheesecake; originally adapted from Elizabeth’s Cooking Experiments

Spinach and Chicken Stuffed Shells

I am not a fan of stuffed, layered or baked pastas, mostly because I hate ricotta cheese.  We had a late Christmas dinner back in early February at my brother’s house (dad was in town), and my sister-in-law made stuffed shells.  I gobbled them up at a time when food itself didn’t sound good at all, and have been craving them ever since.  When I saw this recipe for stuffed shells with spinach and chicken, I knew I had to try them!  They were a huge hit with all of us, and we only had a few leftover.  The only thing I will change next time is to use a different sauce (probably my homemade marinara if I ever get around to making another batch!) as we weren’t huge fans of the jarred sauce I bought.  I will definitely make these again soon, and have already added this to my freezer meal plan for after baby gets here!

Spinach and Chicken Stuffed Shells

15 large shells, boiled and drained
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded chicken breast
1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 egg
1/4 cup parmesan or romano cheese, grated
1/2 cup part skim mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Marinara sauce – homemade or store-bought

Cook shells according to package directions. Be careful not to overcook them or they will tear easily when trying to fill them. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, ricotta, spinach, parmesan cheese, and the egg. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into shells.

*Tip: For easier filling, fill a gallon ziplock bag with the filling and snip a quarter size hole off the corner of the bag. Then you can just pipe the filling into the shells.

Spread half of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Arrange shells over sauce; top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with grated mozzarella cheese. Cover tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Bake for 5 to 10 more minutes. Serve alongside additional marinara sauce.

Source: From Cooking with Chrissy

Stove Top Mac-n-Cheese

I love, love, love homemade macaroni and cheese and am continually on the lookout for the perfect recipe.  When I saw this one from Alton Brown, I had a feeling my quest for the perfect recipe would be over.  This mac and cheese, to me, was perfect…rich and creamy and delicious.  Unfortunatly, the husband and toddler still have a preference for the blue box!!  The toddler said it was “too tangy mommy” and the husband said he wasn’t a fan of the sharp cheddar flavor (even though he LOVES sharp cheddar cheese…go figure).  So, the next time I make this, I may use half mild cheddar and half sharp to see if that makes a difference.

Stove Top Mac-n-Cheese

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
6 ounces evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
10 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente and drain. Return to the pot and melt in the butter. Toss to coat.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir into the pasta and add the cheese. Over low heat continue to stir for 3 minutes or until creamy.

Source: From Alton Brown on Food Network’s Website

Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Since the husband is out of town, and the toddler and I are big mac and cheese fans, I decided to give this recipe from Cooking Light a shot as a main course dinner for the two of us. I had a block of Champagne cheddar cheese that I bought while up in the Finger Lakes that I thought would be perfect for this. Boy was I wrong. This had virtually no flavor; even my mac and cheese-aholic wouldn’t eat it! I think the cheese was far too mild to really flavor the sauce. I will give this a try again with an extra-sharp cheddar and a bit more ground mustard.

Stovetop Mac and Cheese

1  1/4  cups  uncooked elbow macaroni (about 6 ounces)
1  cup  2% low-fat milk
2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
1  1/4  cups  (5 ounces) shredded Champagne cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/8  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.

Combine milk and flour in a medium saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Cook over medium heat 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add cheese, salt, and pepper, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add pasta; toss to coat. Let stand 4 minutes.

Source:  Adapted from Cooking Light