Waste Not – Cheesy Goodness!

 

My family has been on  low/er carb diet for nearly 2 years now and cheese plays a huge role in our daily diet.  We use it as a binder and “breading” in place of grains, as a quick snack in the afternoons and as a necessary, beneficial fat that makes our brains happy!   We love everything from a fresh, marinated mozzarella to extra sharp cheddar and Petunia’s favorite, sweet, nutty Gruyere.  As a result,  I’m typically guilty of having 15 bags of partially used shredded cheese, a few hard cheese rinds and several blocks of opened imported cheddar shoved in the back of the cheese drawer at all times.  I’d be lying to you if I said any different.   To prevent waste, I’m always looking for new ways to use up those last little bits left in the packages and the following recipes have become my go-to recipes when my cheese drawer begins to get a bit fuller than usual.

Recipe 1- Authentic cheese sauce.  This is the real stuff, my friends.  Not Velveeta!  Now I know that you’re looking at the recipe and questioning the nutmeg: trust me.  A pinch of nutmeg takes this cheese sauce to another level.

  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 t mustard powder
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; whisk flour, mustard powder and nutmeg into butter until smooth. Pour milk into flour/butter mixture and whisk to combine. Cook and stir until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat, add shredded Cheddar and stir until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. 

Using this same method, substitute mozzarella cheese for the cheddar, omit the mustard powder and add garlic (to taste) for a very passable fettuccine sauce!

Recipe 2- Low Carb Cheese Sauce.  This is my go-to low carb cheesy fix!  It’s great on veggies, eggs, meat or anything else for that matter and is ready in just minutes!

  • 3 T cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1-1.5 cups of shredded cheese (any combination works!)
  • Salt, pepper, nutmeg and mustard powder to taste

Over low/med heat, combine the cream cheese and heavy cream, stirring frequently and using a whisk as the cream cheese begins to break up.  When the cream cheese and heavy cream are melted and smooth, add in the shredded cheese and whisk til smooth.  Season to taste and serve warm.

Like above, the use of mozzarella cheese and garlic makes a very good, low carb fettuccine sauce to top spaghetti squash, chicken, veggies or your choice of food!

 

Recipe 3 – Low Carb Cheese Nachos.  These are so simple, I’m almost embarrassed to share the “recipe” with you.  For this recipe you need shredded cheese and, well, that’s it.  Cheddar, pepper jack or any other favorite cheese will work well for nachos.   Heat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Put 2T mounds of shredded cheese on the baking sheet, leaving room for the cheese to melt and expand.  Pop in the oven til the cheese it melted thoroughly and slightly crusty on the edges.  Let cool til firm and then use as a “nacho chip” with your favorite toppings.  Or you can use 1/4-1/2 cup mounds of cheese to make some pretty awesome taco shells/tortillas as well.  Following the same instructions, bake them til they’re bubbly and crisp, allow to cool slightly, then drape them over a rounded surface to form the “taco” shape.  My husband actually prefers these to the real thing now!

Recipe 4- Fathead Pizza Dough.  Friends, after being on a low carb diet for a while, finding this recipe was a total game changer.  If you roll the dough out thin and bake it til it’s really crunchy, you’ll end up with the best low-carb thin crust pizza you could ever imagine.  AND it’s just as good cold the next day!  I love making a Philly-style pizza, topped with shredded beef, sautéed onions, peppers and mushrooms and covered in gooey Provolone or Swiss cheese!  This is so good, I can’t even explain it to you!

  • 1 3/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cups almond flour
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary/ garlic or other flavorings optional
  • your choice of toppings such as pepperoni, peppers, olives, shredded beef, mushrooms, herbs etc
  1. Mix the shredded/grated cheese and almond flour/meal in a microwaveable bowl. Add the cream cheese. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute.
  2. Stir then microwave on HIGH for another 30 seconds.
  3. Add the egg, salt, rosemary and any other flavorings, mix gently.
  4. Place in between 2 pieces of baking parchment/paper and roll into a circular pizza shape (see photos above). Remove the top baking paper/parchment. If the mixture hardens and becomes difficult to work with, pop it back in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to soften again but not too long or you will cook the egg.
  5. Make fork holes all over the pizza base to ensure it cooks evenly.
  6. Slide the baking paper/parchment with the pizza base, on a baking tray (cookie tray) or pizza stone, and bake at 425F for 12-15 minutes, or until brown.
  7. To make the base really crispy and sturdy, flip the pizza over (onto baking paper/parchment) once the top has browned.
  8. Once cooked, remove from the oven and add all the toppings you like. Make sure any meat is already cooked as this time it goes back into the oven just to heat up the toppings and melt the cheese. Bake again at 425F for 5 minutes.

Don’t these simple recipes sound amazing?!  They’ve proven to be lifesavers more than once as we reduce the amount of grains in our diet and increase beneficial fats.  And as I said earlier, they’re great ways to use up those little bits of cheese here and there, reducing waste and saving money!  What are your go-to recipes when you have an abundance of cheese laying around?

Shared on the Simple Life Mom Homestead Blog Hop