Brie and Caramelized Onion Queso

by Shawnda on February 1, 2015

in Appetizers,Brie

Brie and Caramelized Onion Queso

Yeah, that’s right. I made queso out of brie. (Because a girl can only watch so many hours of Big Game Pre-Game Nonsense.)

Brie. And caramelized onions. And a little milk. And 1/2 teaspoon of a secret ingredient that will let you turn just about any cheese into a smooth, melty cheese sauce: sodium citrate.

I’ve also made excellent chile con queso using real cheeses (no processed cheezes at all), macaroni and cheese, and a nacho sauce out of a cheese you’d never think to make nachos with… but those – those are for another day. Today, we’re talking brie.

Brie and Caramelized Onion Queso

So that sodium citrate – I spied it on the Huffington Post a couple months ago. It basically allows cheese to dreamily melt without separating into a clumpy, oily mess. Add some to a little milk, add your cubed or shredded cheese, and then dig out your stretchy-waisted pants. Because your going to need them.

Brie and Caramelized Onion Queso

The sweetness of the caramelized onions and the richness of the brie are a match made in queso heaven.

Brie and Caramelized Onion Queso

A cheesy queso dip made from brie, caramelized onions, and a secret ingredient: sodium citrate.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup caramelized onions (yield from 1/2 large white onion)*
  • 8 oz wheel brie
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp sodium citrate

Instructions

  1. To caramelize the onions, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium high heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook covered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add 1/2 cup water to the onions and stir well, covering and cooking for another 10 minutes.
  4. Add 1/2 cup more water to the onions and stir, cover and cook for another 10 minutes.
  5. Remove lid and cook another 5-10 minutes, reducing heat if necessary, until desired color is reached (I usually call it around 30-35 minutes).
  6. While the onions are cooking, take a spoon and scrape the white rind off the brie.
  7. Cut the brie into 4 wedges. Take a vegetable peeler and make one pass over the scraped surfaces to remove the thin rind.
  8. Cut the brie into small cubes.
  9. Transfer the onions to a small bowl and rinse out the pan.
  10. Heat milk in the pan over medium heat and add the sodium citrate, stirring to dissolve.
  11. Add the brie and stir occasionally at first, and then more frequently as it slowly melts.
  12. When the brie has melted, add 1/2 cup of caramelized onions to the queso and stir.
  13. Serve hot/warm.

Notes

Yields: 1+ cup

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 45 minutes

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Chicken Zoodle Soup

Hi, my name is Shawnda and I am on day 20-ish of my Whole30-ish.

I’m alive. Ish.

Chicken Zoodle Soup

Actually, I’m completely alive. Totally fine. Skin looks ah-mazing. And am at that point where I’m like Bring on the glitter, the cape, and the leggings, bitches, because I am super woman and I can do anything!!!

Well, anything but pull-off leggings as pants. But really, who among us can?

Chicken Zoodle Soup

A couple of weeks ago, I waved my magic laptop and turned a Christmas giftcard into a Spiralizer. I eagerly awaited the arrival of a trendy kitchen gadget that I couldn’t wait to use four times and then shove it in the back of a cabinet. But I have since turned countless zucchini into countless yards of zucchini noodles – zoodles! – for fake pastas and it still sits on my counter.

Zucchini noodles from the spiralizer

I love that thing. But I also really love zucchini (and that’s the extent of plants that I’ve tested on the spiralizer thus far). I grow zucchini every year, until the vine borers get it, mostly because I like coating it in bacon and cheesy goodness. And this will happen with zoodles. Very soon.

It’s already made it into mac & cheese. I’ll have to show you that one soon.

Chicken Zoodle Soup

But for soup & sandwich night (or for me, soup and soup night), I simmered some chicken stock from the freezer with sliced onions, carrots, and minced garlic. During the last 5 minutes, I dropped zoodles and shredded rotisserie chicken into the broth to heat.

Each serving has 3 oz of chicken, an entire zucchini, and 1.5 cups of soup. Hearty, filling, and simple. And another couple of servings of plants checked off for the day!

Chicken Zoodle Soup

Homemade hearty chicken "zoodle" soup made with zucchini noodles.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 2 medium onions, sliced in very thin half-rounds
  • Handful of baby carrots, sliced into ~1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • 2 Chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I aim for ~3 oz per serving)
  • 4 medium zucchini, ends trimmed and cut in half vertically

Instructions

  1. Heat chicken stock over medium heat with onions, carrots, and garlic for ~30 minutes, or until the veggies are fork-tender.
  2. Season soup with salt and pepper and parsley.
  3. Run the zucchini halves through the spiralizer to make "noodles." Then give the pile of noodles a couple of chops with a knife so they aren't all 4 feet long.
  4. Add chicken and zucchini to the broth and heat through.

Notes

Yields: 4 generous servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 45 minutes

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We don’t eat a lot of white potatoes around here. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve made mashed potatoes as an adult. And when it came time to make them during the holidays, I actually had to get pointers from a friend.

So when a photo of these tiny smashed, crispy potatoes popped up in my Facebook feed a couple of weeks ago, I thought, “Why the &^$# not?”

The “why not” from the past has always had an easy enough answer. White potatoes have always been the enemy in the form of chips (gloriously crunchy potato chips!) and fries (gloriously crispy waffle fries!). It’s not the potato’s fault that I haven’t ever been able to control myself around them after they’ve made a trip through a giant vat of frying oil.

So now I – we – eat potatoes, but minus the vat of boiling oil.

I bought a bag of fingerling potatoes. I boiled them. I smashed them with Landry (she calls them “Splat Potatoes”) because nothing delights a 4-year-old than getting to whack the heck out of something with the poultry mallet from her play kitchen without me yelling, “We don’t hammer anything but play-doh!”

And then I high-heat roasted them on a pan with some olive oil, black pepper, and rosemary until they were crispy.

While Landry declared them to be “just like Chick-fil-A but without any holes,” they actually fall somewhere in between an oven-baked fry and a tiny baked potato. Light crisp on the outside, soft and baked potato-like in the middle.

They’re a delicious starch side dish all on their own. But go ahead, top it with a dollop of greek yogurt and a crumble of bacon :)

I will say that the ~50 minutes it took me to make them meant that it would be difficult to squeeze these in on a busy weeknight. So that led me down two paths:
1) I made a larger batch with the purpose of having leftovers but we instantly found that day 2 potatoes aren’t nearly as good as day 1 potatoes.
2) I split the preparation over 2 days – boil and drain the potatoes while I was making something else for dinner and then toss them in the fridge during kitchen clean-up. Pick up the process of splat-and-roast on day 2, 3, and beyond.

The latter has been a huge time-saver. I can splat a dozen or so, roast, and then suddenly I’m looking at a 25-minute side dish, which is well within my “45-minute weeknight dinner” rule.

Flat-Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary and Black Pepper

Crispy, flat-roasted fingerling potatoes with rosemary and black pepper.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb bag of fingerling potatoes (the size will vary greatly so cut the overly large ones in half)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for smashing
  • 4-inch sprig of rosemary
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 and place 2 Tbsp olive oil on a large baking sheet.
  2. Put potatoes in a pot covered with 1-inch of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Cook for ~15 minutes, until fork tender and then drain.
  4. Lightly oil a piece of wax or parchment paper. Place potatoes on the bottom half of the paper and fold the top of the paper over.
  5. Using your hand, flatten the potatoes and transfer to the baking sheet.
  6. Using a brush or the sprig of rosemary, coat the potatoes with olive oil from the sheet.
  7. Season with salt, pepper, and break up the rosemary over top.
  8. Roast for 15 minutes, flip, and then roast for ~5 minutes more until golden brown around the edges.

Notes

Yields: 4-6 servings

Adapted from Fine Cooking

Estimated time: 50 minutes

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