Cheese is a delicious and versatile food, and it has many uses in cooking. Here I will show you what to cook with cheese and also what type of cheese to use in which recipe.
There are so many different kinds of cheese available, from a mild cheddar to something exotic, like white stilton with ginger, that it can be a bit overwhelming. But once you know how to cook with cheese, you will find yourself experimenting and creating all sorts of taste sensations. Most of these recipes are quick to prepare and cook, and don’t involve long lists of ingredients, so they’re budget friendly too.
Macaroni Cheese with Bacon
An old favourite and much-loved comfort food too. I’ve taken the basic recipe and made it a bit special. I hope you enjoy it. Serves 4 – 6.
340g short macaroni or penne
80g smoked bacon or pancetta, diced
4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
1 teaspoon of thyme leaves or a large pinch of dried thyme
250g tub mascarpone
225 ml double cream
200g dolcelatte or gorgonzola blue cheese, diced
100g grated Parmesan or mature cheddar cheese
A pinch of grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Cook the macaroni in a large pan of boiling salted water. Give it a couple of minutes less cooking time than usual as it will have a second cooking in the oven.
Meanwhile, fry the bacon or pancetta without adding any oil until crisp at the edges. Cut the root end off the spring onions and remove the last half of the green stem. Wash if necessary then slice and add to the bacon with the fresh or dried thyme. Fry for a few minutes until the onions have softened slightly.
Drain the pasta, but not too thoroughly. There should still be a bit of the cooking water left in it. Add the bacon and onions to the pasta then add the mascarpone, cream, blue cheese, nutmeg, and seasoning. Set the pan over a low heat and stir occasionally until the cheeses have melted into a smooth, creamy sauce.
Taste the mixture to check the seasoning and add a bit more if needed. Tip the whole thing into a baking dish, sprinkle with the grated Parmesan or cheddar, and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes at gas mark 6/200C/400F until browned and bubbling.
Broccoli and Stilton Quiche
This is a very easy quiche to make, as it uses ready made pastry. Broccoli and blue cheese go very well together. Serves 4.
320g ready rolled puff pastry
300g broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
1 red onion, finely chopped
125g blue cheese, such as stilton or Roquefort, diced
100 ml double cream
4 large eggs
Salt and pepper
Line a deep 23cm circular baking tin with non-stick paper and unroll the pastry. Lay it in the tin so that it comes up the sides, then trim the edges with a sharp knife. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the broccoli florets in half and cook for 3 -4 minutes, until just softened. Allow to cool then scatter the florets over the pastry. Add the chopped onion and blue cheese.
Beat the eggs, cream, and seasoning together and pour over the vegetables then bake in the oven for 30 minutes at gas 4/180C/350F. It should be golden brown on top and when you shake the tin the centre should wobble slightly. Stand for 10 minutes then serve with a salad.
This makes a great side dish for a roast dinner, but it’s also good enough to eat on its own. I’m using a mixture of gruyere and cheddar in this recipe but you can use all cheddar if you prefer. Serves 4 – 6.
1 large whole cauliflower
1 tablespoon of olive oil
30g plain flour
150 ml milk
150 ml double cream
50g mature cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon grain mustard
Salt and pepper
First of all, prepare the cauliflower. Remove the leaves and stem and cut it into small florets. Place the cauliflower in a baking dish and drizzle with the oil. Cover the dish with foil and roast in a preheated oven, gas 7/220C/425F for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a non-stick pan and when it’s sizzling, add the flour. Lower the heat and stir the butter and flour mixture with a wooden spoon. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes. Mix the milk and cream in a jug then add a little at a time, stirring well before adding more milk and cream. You should end up with a smooth sauce. Season with salt and pepper, add the mustard and stir in the gruyere and half the cheddar. Heat gently until the cheeses have melted.
Remove the cauliflower from the oven and take off the foil. Pour the cheese sauce over, then sprinkle with the other half of the cheddar cheese. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling up around the cauliflower.
Allow it to stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Baked Camembert in a Box
This is pure indulgence; the cheese beneath the crust becomes a molten pool of golden lava. When you break through the crust the melted cheese oozes out invitingly. The smell is out of this world. Serves 2.
1 whole Camembert cheese in a wooden box
1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
2 tablespoons of dry white wine
Remove the cheese from its wooden box and take off the wrapper. Place it back into the box. Rub the cut halves of the garlic cloves all over the top of the cheese to give it a subtle scent then make tiny holes in the rind. Pour over the wine and replace the lid.
Bake at gas 6/200C/400F for 25 – 30 minutes. Serve the cheese in the box, with cooked new potatoes, gherkins, or crusty bread to dip into the molten cheese.
Baked Marinated Feta
This is a simple but flavoursome dish, and it makes an ideal lunch. It’s also suitable for vegetarians. Serves 2.
150g Greek feta cheese
200g passata (sieved tomatoes)
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
Zest of half a lemon
1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
50g pitted black olives, halved
Basil leaves to garnish
Put the feta into an ovenproof dish. Mix together the passata, balsamic vinegar, lemon zest and crushed garlic and season with salt and pepper. Pour this over the feta and leave to marinate for about an hour in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to gas 6/180C/350F and bake the feta for 15 minutes. Scatter with the whole basil leaves and the olives before serving with some crusty bread.
Halloumi Burgers with Soured Cream and Chives
These are a great alternative to beef burgers if you’re vegetarian. Or even if you’re not. They can be pan-cooked indoors or on the barbecue if the weather is good. Serves 4.
1 tablespoon of olive oil
182g tub of soured cream and chive dip
4 seeded burger buns, cut in half
1 small red onion, peeled and sliced
Lettuce leaves and sliced tomato to serve
Slice the halloumi and coat it in the olive oil. Heat a heavy based pan until very hot and fry the halloumi for 2- 3 minutes. Lift the edge and check underneath – the cheese should be turning brown. Flip over with a spatula and cook the other side.
If cooking the halloumi on a barbecue, place it over the hottest part and cook for 1 -2 minutes, turning every 30 seconds, until charred.
Toast the buns and spread the bottom half with the soured cream and chive dip. Sit a halloumi slice on top, then add lettuce, tomatoes and onion and place the other half of the bun on top. These are even better served with sweet potato fries.
I hope that you enjoy trying some of these recipes. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
For more information on the different types of cheese see this post on the top 10 most popular cheeses.
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