Homemade French Onion Soup Bake Pie With Monterey Jack Cheese

 

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A DELICIOUS MEATLESS DINNER

For those who have been reading my blog, I have mentioned before that my two wonderful children ages 17 years old and 11 years old are not super keen on my meatless dishes. I want to say that I am not trying to turn my children into vegetarians at all. That would be too regimented and strict and not done in a loving way. What I want most of all is for my children to grow up knowing the benefits of each food group or cuisine. I don’t want them to grow up living in a “shell or vacuum” so to speak. I want them to know the world of food and to explore all kinds of foods as much as possible and to not limit themselves to one or two particular kinds of food or cuisine.

 “They must grow up wanting to learn new things and to explore, taste and feel the world around them.”

   This dish was created with the input of my children. Trust me when I say, they were not super keen on my meatless dish at first but in the end they felt satisfied about the way the dish came out.

Their passing grade is about a 70% for my meatless dish. If it had any kind of meat incorporated into it, it would have scored a whopping 90%. Oh, how I love them so much!—They are as candid as their Mama Smile In the end, they mean well. It helps me to work harder in trying to please them and get them to appreciate meatless dishes even more.

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My 11 year old son loves helping out in the Kitchen and he his always curious about what I am doing. My daughter not so much—She is a work in progress Smile She will help in the kitchen but I have to call her to come and help me out from time to time. It’s okay, many parents already knows this. You could have two, three, four, five or seven children and each one is always different. They are their own person with separate interests from yours or the other siblings in the family.

I was the only one as a small child growing up with my Grandmother in the Country in Jamaica who was keen on learning how to cook and was curious about everything she was doing in the kitchen. Whenever I asked my 11 year son Richard if he would like to be a chef one day he says,

“No mom I just want to eat all the yummy food!” He’s too funny Smile

A great budget-friendly dish at about $2.00 per servings!

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Monterey Jack Cheese, Fresh Leeks, and Cream of Celery Soup makes this dish really special and Unique.

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RECIPE:

5 Eggs
1/2 Cup whip cream
1 1/2 Bulbs of Garlic
2 tsp. Black Pepper
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2 Cups Monterey Jack Cheese
1 Cup Fresh Homemade Ricotta Cheese
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/2 Cup of Cream of Celery Soup
1/4 Cup of white wine

1 Stem of Fresh Leek (washed and chopped)
2 Large Onions (chopped and cubed)
3 Shallots (washed and chopped)
1/4 Cup of Olive Oil (For Toasting your Bread)

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium sized bowl whisked together your eggs, whip cream, 1/2 of your crushed garlic, 1/2 of your black pepper, salt and milk. Pour 1/2 of your egg mixture in a small bowl and set aside. Please Note: Place your remaining raw egg mixture in the refrigerator until you are ready to use the rest of it in your pie dish. To save on my grocery bill I used 3 medium sized loaves of bread purchased from the Supermarket for $0.49 cents each. Most recipes suggests using French Bread or a Baguette Style Bread but I opted to use these small loaves instead. Now, get your saucepan heated on medium heat.  Slice your bread and and dip them into your egg mixture. You will be toasting your bread in the pan as if you are doing French toast. Once again, most recipes suggests you dip the bread in the egg mixture then place in baking pan, add your topping and bake. I do not like that method because I don’t feel it adds enough flavour to the dish.  Make sure to prepare your baking pan by coating with it little butter before adding your toasted bread slices.

Once you toast your bread slices on each side this will take a good 10-15 minutes. Then place them into a large baking dish or or baking pan.

You will need to now sauté your chopped onion, remaining garlic, chopped leek and shallots. Do this for about ( 7 minutes on medium heat, you don’t want to burn anything including your garlic) Add your remaining black pepper, your 1/2 cup of Cream of Celery Soup, and your 1/4 cup of white wine.
Please Note: I wanted to use the Cream of Celery Soup to give this French Onion Bake Pie extra flavour. If you wish you can use your favourite soup based mix for this dish.

Cook all this for additional three minutes or so and take it off the heat. Now, take your left over egg mixture out the refrigerator. Now, add your 1 cup of Ricotta Cheese and stir. Then pour this on top of your toasted French toast bread. Then sprinkle your 1/4 cup of Parmesan Cheese on top. Then add your 3 1/2 Cups of grated Monterey Jack Cheese and bake this in the oven for about 40-45 minutes at 375 degree F.

The top of your pie should be a nice golden brown.

OPTIONAL: You can add some warm vegetable stock to your pie dish to create a cross between a pie and a soup dish. Which version did I prefer? I liked the idea of adding just a touch of warm vegetable broth to finish off the dish. It makes it so elegant and offer that extra moisture to the dish.
My two children preferred just to eat the pie straight up like this. I think I prefer this option because it seems more grown up. While the kids just opted for the more straight-forward version.

Top this dish off with your favourite fresh herb, Enjoy!

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So, what does a French Onion Soup Baked Pie taste like?

Light, Creamy and Guilt-Free.

It tasted similar to your French Onion soup but without that really intense salty flavour you get from French onion soups. It was perfect for the kids. They did not complain. Why? They love cheese! If they know I am adding any kind of cheese to the dish they are sold!
Otherwise I am in big trouble Smile They would complain and tell me, “Mom I don’t want it!” or my daughter will ask in a suspicious way, “Okay mom, what are we having for dinner today?”

Funny.

Alice Choo-Shee-Nam—Living In Durham Community Blog
Recipe Created October 14, 2016

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Oriental Shrimp Soup with Tofu, Vermicelli Noodles and Mushrooms

 

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IMMUNITY BOOSTING, ENERGY BOOSTING, DETOXIFYING SOUP

In this Soup we have some serious immune boosting, flu fighting ingredients. We have Mushrooms, Celery, Garlic, Apple Cider Vinegar, Cayenne Pepper, Seaweed and Tofu.
Dry Roasted Seaweed is one of the only natural, non-animal sources of vitamin B-12, which is essential for many cognitive and bodily functions. Vitamin B12 is responsible for the smooth functioning of several critical body processes. It is possible for the body to develop a vitamin B12 deficiency. This deficiency is usually reported with symptoms of
fatigue.

My two children loved the Soup very much especially my daughter she enjoys eating noodles and my son loves the shrimp and tofu. Overall, a great dish for both adults and kids. Guess what? It’s budget-friendly and healthy !

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1 Package of Tiger Shrimp fresh (4 Cups of Shrimp)
1 box of Vegetable Stock
6 Cups of Water
1 Packet of Vermicelli Noodles (I used only 1 Portion)
1 pack of Extra Firm Tofu
2 packets of Dry Roasted Seaweed
4 Fresh Carrots washed and sliced
3 Stalks of Celery
2 Shallots (washed and Chopped)
6 Bulbs of Garlic
6 ozs. of Ginger peeled and sliced
2 tsp. Chinese Five Spices Powder
2 Tbsp. Fish Sauce
1 Pack Fresh Cremini Mushrooms
1 can of Baby Corns
2 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

Get a large Stock pot and pour your Vegetable stock into the pot add 6 Cups of water. Place the pot on medium heat. While it is getting hot. Add your washed and sliced carrots, chopped celery, shallots, ginger, Chinese Five Spice Powder, and your fresh sliced Cremini Mushrooms, Apple cider Vinegar, Cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil and let cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes.
Add your tofu that has been sliced into cubes, add your baby corn and cook for about 7 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and add your noodles. Your Vermicelli noodles only needs to cook for 1 minute.  Serve with your dry roasted seaweed.

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Alice Choo-Shee-Nam—Living In Durham Community Blog
Recipe Created September 19, 2016

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Email: livingindurhamblog@gmail.com

Ricotta Cheese | Fresh Homemade And Delicious

Alice Choo-Shee-Nam—Living In Durham Community Blog

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The Fresh Herbs and Spices added to the Cheese is for the Ricotta Stuffed Shell Lasagne with Bechamel And Garlic Pasta Sauce Recipe featured on this Blog.

 

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Fresh Ricotta Curds Spooned into the Cheesecloth

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Walla! Cheeese! 

I was dancing in the Kitchen and singing, “I just made cheese, I just made cheese” I know my readers don’t want to join me and admit that they do in fact “Sing in the Kitchen” but I don’t mind sharing that information. Even my son was dancing and singing.

That is the whole idea anyway, you want your kids to have fun in the kitchen. 

Chef Gordon Ramsay often cook in the Kitchen with his Children has seen on his Television show. You can see him in action by clicking on the link below:

GORDON RAMSAY ULTIMATE HOME COOKING

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RICOTTA CHEESE
AT  IT’S  BEST
!

 

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I made my Son Richard hold the bottle and pour the Olive Oil so I could show the readers the effect of adding the Olive Oil. It looks like a lot went in but no. He tilted the bottle and I snapped the shot quickly.

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FRESH HOMEMADE RICOTTA CHEESE

This recipe will yield about 4 1/2 Cups of Ricotta

1 Gallon Homogenized Milk or 3 Bags of whole Milk ( I used 3.25 % Milk )

1 Cup of Heavy Cream

2 TBSP of Coarse Salt  ( I used Pink Himalayan Sea Salt )

1/2 Cup of fresh, strained Lemon Juice ( 3 large Lemons will yield you 1/2 of lemon Juice)

2/3 Cup of White Vinegar

3 Bags of Milk at most Supermarket $5.20

Making your own “Ricotta Cheese” is Budget-Friendly

 

MAKING YOUR RICOTTA CHEESE

Get a large Heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the milk and the heavy cream to 185 degrees F. On Medium heat. You don’t want to heat your milk on high because the milk could burn. Use a Thermometer to reach the desired temperature. This will take about 25-30 minutes. The thermometer will tell you.  Stir milk occasionally with a silicone spatula, until it heats to the desired temperature.

Now, remove your Large Pan from the heat and stir in your 2 TBSP salt, then slowly pour your freshly squeeze lemon juice all over the milk not just in one spot—Do this first. Then stir gently for 1-2 minutes to encourage the curds to form. Slowly pour in your 2/3 cups of Vinegar. Stir 3-4 times. Leave on the stove to cool down for at least 1 hour. Why do I leave it cool in the whey for l hour? I want the Ricotta cheese to cure in the Lemon, Vinegar and Salt. Most recipes say let it cool for 20-30 minutes. I believe the time is too short. Cheese just like with, Pickles needs time to “Ferment” and mature. So, even leaving your cheese for 1 hour to mature will certainly give you a nicer, cleaner tasting Ricotta Cheese.

Once the hour ( 1 hour ) as passed and the curds have cooled down. Slowly and gentle spoon the curds into the prepared Cheesecloth and bowl as seen in the image below:

 

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I know right now it doesn’t look like much of anything but I promise you—it gets better.

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Let your Ricotta Cheese drain for about 1 hour at room temperature before placing it in your glass jar or container for the refrigerator.

Please don’t start panicking and worrying about what other recipes tell you about placing it in the refrigerator while it drains. The fresh lemon juice and the vinegar helps keep your Ricotta cheese fresh during that time and bacteria won’t grow on it. In the old days, or way back during the

18th Century

housewives often just leave the cheese in the cheesecloth and hang it to drain and dry. It will be fine. You want most of the moisture to come out of the cheese. Placing it in the refrigerator to drain just locks too much moisture in the Ricotta cheese. I personally don’t like too much moisture in the cheese anyway.
As the moisture drains out of it you will find your Ricotta Cheese becomes more crumble—meaning you will see more defined curds.

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Now, I found out while making the cheese that once you taste the fresh Ricotta Cheese you will certainly taste that fresh lemony taste coming through. I promise you that once you leave your cheese in the refrigerator overnight and taste it the next day. All the lemony taste will now be gone. You will now be left with a “lovely mellow tasting Ricotta.” The longer it stays in the fridge the better tasting it becomes as it matures.

You can now use your Ricotta Cheese in your Desserts, Savoury dishes like Onion Tarts, your pasta dishes, your Hor’derves. Gourmet salads, Sandwiches and whatever other uses you can come up with. I will leave that in your hands.

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DON’T FORGET TO MAKE SUFFICIENT RICOTTA TO GIVE AS GIFTS DURING THE COMING  CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY SEASON