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HOMEMADE QUESO FRESCO

Queso Fresco is one of my all time favorite cheeses typically found on some Mexican/Latino dishes also known as Queso Blanco. You know that creamy, salty, and crumbly cheese shaped like a wheel you see at the store? It’s usually about $5.99. It’s kind of expensive for a cheese that has a short shelf life especially when you don’t have enough people to eat it up in time. Well, that’s just another reason to make homemade Queso Fresco, because it costs about half the price and fresh homemade cheese tastes ten times better. The key to this recipe is making sure you have the right tools ahead of time, which really require kitchen staples except for the lesser common kitchen thermometer and cheese cloth. Both of which you can easily find at your local grocery store today. Plus, making homemade cheese is kinda cool. It’s a lost art. It’s a fun sharing experience with friends and family. It makes for a great gift as well.


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HOMEMADE QUESO FRESCO
Servings
pound wheel
Ingredients
KITCHEN TOOLS
INGREDIENTS
Servings
pound wheel
Ingredients
KITCHEN TOOLS
INGREDIENTS
Instructions
  1. Heat the milk in a nonreactive stockpot over medium heat to 195 F degrees, stirring occasionally to keep the milk from burning. Use a kitchen thermometer to measure the temperature along the way. It will take about 25 minutes to get the milk to temperature. Turn off heat.
  2. Stir in the 1/3 cup vinegar using a whisk. Place the lid on and remove from heat. Let it sit for 10 minutes. The milk protein will coagulate into curds and the liquid whey will turn into a light green almost clear color. If the whey is still very cloudy and small pieces of curds then, add about another teaspoon of the distilled white vinegar. Stir with a rubber spatula.
  3. Place a strainer over an extra large bowl. Line the strainer with a clean and damp cheese cloth folded in half making sure it drapes over the sides of the strainer. Slowly ladle the curds into the strainer and let drain for about 5 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle the salt all over the top of the curds and using your hands gently toss the curds around to incorporate the salt evenly. Make sure to not break up the curds.
  5. You'll want to let everything drain for about 45 minutes to an hour. You can tie up the cheese cloth and let it sit in the strainer with the bowl underneath removed that way the excess whey can escape. Or you can tie the corners of the cheese cloth to your sink faucet letting it hang.
  6. Remove the mass of cheese from the cloth and place in an air tight container with a lid. Refrigerate for an hour.
  7. Feel free to remove the cheese from the container and store in plastic wrap for about a week.

GLUTEN FREE LOW CARB PIZZA

There’s no wrong way to dress a pizza. We all know this. But these are some of my favorite toppings when I’m feeling pepperoni or sausage on my pizza. Otherwise I tend to do go meatless using various types of veggies and different cheeses. If you’re looking for a good red sauce you can always use my go-to Homemade Marinara. If you like your pizza sauce on the sweeter side just add a little bit of sugar to the marinara when heating it up. Feel free to use any of your favorite low carb and/or gluten free pizza crust but if you’re looking to make something homemade and fresh, definitely try my Cauliflower Pizza Crust!

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GLUTEN FREE LOW CARB PIZZA
Servings
person
Ingredients
Servings
person
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place the pizza on a pizza stone or baking sheet with parchment paper. Dress your pizza how you want it.
  2. Bake at 450 F for about 10-15 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.

CAULIFLOWER PIZZA CRUST

Don’t roll your eyes and runaway! Hear me out. I came up with this  concoction of an amazing pizza crust alternative for many reasons. NOT because gluten free and low carb is a fad these days. I’ll explain.

You don’t have to be gluten free or low carb to be healthy or to eat healthy rather. Not everyone is gluten intolerant (not allergic, big difference). But there are benefits to avoiding wheat flours in general. Not entirely as it varies from person to person. Although, obesity is a huge issue in the U.S. and now many other countries around the world. Diabetes and heart disease tends to go hand in hand with obesity at some point in a persons life. Keeping your carbohydrate intake to a moderation is one of the single best things you can do for yourself to PREVENT the above mentioned. Monitoring it is also one of the better things you can do for yourself if you’re already obese and/or have other health issues that can be easily managed by dietary habits. So, because I’m all about moderation and compromising on this food blog, THESE are the reasons why I wanted to make this and share this. Okay, on to the good stuff…

This is actually a very easy recipe to make and you can make it ahead of time, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate it until you’re ready to use. There’s no yeast involved and no hours of waiting for dough to rise, knead, rise yadda yadda. You can make many of these, freeze it until you’re ready to use. Win win especially with how tasty this is. You can use dairy-free cheese if you’re lactose intolerant or simply replace the cheese entirely with an extra egg. And just a heads up, you might have to eat this pizza with a fork… which I’m sure is the least of anyone’s worries so long as it tastes good. Most parts of Italy you’ll find eat their pizza with a knife and fork so it’s not a sin!

There’s no wrong way to dress a pizza. We all know this. If you’re looking for a good red sauce you can always use my go-to Homemade Marinara. If you like your pizza sauce on the sweeter side just add a little bit of sugar to the marinara when heating it up. Last thing, when squeezing the water out of the cauliflower be careful to start… it does retain heat for a long time so don’t burn yourself. And squeeze the heck out of it. You’ll be surprised how much water is in cauliflower. Have fun!

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CAULIFLOWER PIZZA CRUST
Servings
serving
Ingredients
Servings
serving
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cut the florets off the cauliflower head, place them into a food processor and run it through until everything is riced super fine. Place everything into a bowl and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 5 minutes.
  2. Fold the cheesecloth in half and place over a strainer, pour the steamed cauliflower into the cheesecloth and let it cool for about 15-20 minutes. Grab all corners of the cheesecloth and squeeze the cauliflower over and over until all the water is removed.
  3. Toss the cauliflower back into the bowel making sure it’s not hot still. Add the egg, Romano cheese, mozzarella, garlic powder, oregano, and salt. Mix everything kneading it altogether like a dough.
  4. Place some parchment paper onto a baking sheet and spread the cauliflower dough in any shape you like to no thicker than ¼ inch. Bake at 450 F for about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Top the pizza crust with any of your favorite sauces, cheeses and/or toppings and bake for about another 10-15 minutes.

BABY CARROTS & FRENCH BEANS

I’m diving straight into this one quickly. You can usually find these baby carrots packaged in a microwaveable steam bag. BUT I never steam my veggies in a microwave! This is so much better. And same goes for these French green beans also known as haricot vert. They’re the best tasting green beans in my opinion. They’re thin, crispy and can be mildly sweet. If you can find either of these sold in bulk, even better… probably cheaper too! When it comes to healthy, flavorful veggies… the key is KEEP IT SIMPLE! Spices really do go a long way. You don’t need a crap ton of butter or canned cheese! Trust me.

I have made this recipe by tossing everything together into a baking dish and roasting them for about 12-15 minutes for when I don’t want to stand in front of the stove. They’re amazing. If you don’t want thyme, use Italian seasoning, or just rosemary. Honestly, you can use whatever herbs you like, even fresh. Experiment with it. Most times I’ll make a big batch of this, use for sides or simply rough chop some of it and toss into a salad.

When it comes to cooking your veggies, I truly believe using a quality salt (NOT table salt) is what really makes the natural flavor of the veggies pop. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on salt either, just get yourself a good kosher sea salt to start with. With that said, yummy veggies ready in ten minutes. Who said healthy cooking takes forever?

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BABY CARROTS & GREEN BEANS
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat drizzle the olive oil and start sautéing the carrots and French beans. After a couple of minutes add the minced garlic, dried thyme, sea salt and pepper. Stir.
  2. Let sauté for a total of 10 minutes give or take, stirring often.

PORTOBELLO PIZZA

Going low-carb conscious has been a fad diet that’s stuck for many years because when done properly can be a very healthy lifestyle, reaping many benefits like the obvious weight loss but also help manage diabetes.

For the most part, in a healthful manner; a low-carb diet can be beneficial for those who are gluten intolerant as well since it does rule out most refined breads or anything of high carb made from wheat, barley and rye. While I’m personally not gluten-intolerant, I do find myself to have more sustainable energy throughout the day by eliminating these refined carbs for the most part, and find healthier alternatives that tastes just as good. If not, better!

I kept this recipe super basic and simple so that you have a clean slate to add any of your favorite toppings. I love getting turkey Italian sausage and using that once in a while or doing a quick saute of some thinly slice bell peppers, onions, black olives… okay, seriously anything! I’ve done a Greek style of fresh red onion, sauted spinach with garlic and crumbled feta. SO GOOD! And if you really want to get creative, instead of marinara you can use an alfredo sauce to make a white pizza which up to you can omit any cheese or not. I love keeping marinara on hand, freezing small containers. There’s nothing better than a Homemade Marinara!

One more thing before I shush! Use baby bella mushrooms instead for bite-sized appetizers. All you have to do is remove the stem (no gills) and you don’t have to broil before stuffing them. As always, have fun and get creative. Make the recipe your own and if you come up with something amazing, please share!

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PORTOBELLO PIZZA
Instructions
  1. Remove the stems and use a grapefruit spoon (even a regular spoon will work) to scrape against the gills going along the curvature of the mushroom. Throw them away.
  2. Spray the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil cooking spray. Place the mushrooms in the dish and drizzle the tops with a little olive oil. Place the baking dish in the broiler on high for about 3-5 minutes depending on how thick the mushrooms are.
  3. Flip them, broil for another few minutes and remove from the broiler.
  4. Spoon the marinara sauce into the mushroom caps, sprinkle with as much or little red pepper flakes and grated Romano cheese. Then, top with your favorite shredded cheese and garnish with dried oregano.
  5. Place the baking dish back under the broiler for about another 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is golden.