Cheddar-Stuffed Sliders

Start to finish: 30 minutes
Impresses: 4

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pound 85/15 ground beef
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon pepper
4 ounces sharp cheddar, cut into 8 cubes
¼ cup brown mustard
¼ cup mayonnaise
8 mini pretzel buns
8 red lettuce leaves
Sliced pickles

Melt butter and olive oil together over medium-low heat in a large skillet. Add in onions and toss to coat. Sauté, stirring frequently until translucent. Reduce heat to low, stir in sugar and continue to cook until completely caramelized, a deep golden color, about 15 minutes. 

While onions cook, preheat grill to medium-high heat.

In a large bowl, combine beef, Worcestershire, garlic salt and pepper. Form mixture into 8 small patties by flattening into a disc, adding a cube of cheddar to the middle, folding the edges into the middle and flattening again into a patty that’s equal in thickness on the edges and in the middle.

Grill 4–5 minutes before flipping and grilling an additional 3–4 minutes, until juices run clear and cheddar starts to melt out of the patty.

In a small bowl, mix together mustard and mayo.

In final minutes of grilling, add buns, cut-side down, to the grill to warm.

Remove patties and buns from the grill.

To assemble: Add one tablespoon of the mustard-mayo sauce to the bottom bun, top with lettuce, patty, caramelized onions, pickles and top bun.

Serve immediately.

Thanksgiving Mac

Start to finish: 1 hour
Impresses: 6

16-ounce box spiral pasta noodles
1 pound smoked cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces mild cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup milk
6 tablespoons butter, plus more for dish
1 box cornbread stuffing mix

Heat oven to 375 F.

Cook pasta to just one minute shy of box instructions so the noodle still has a slight bite to it.

Drain pasta, pour back into pot and return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Add in shredded cheeses, milk and 2 tablespoons butter. Stir until fully combined and cheese is melted. Remove from heat.

Liberally butter a casserole dish. Pour noodles and cheese into the dish and set aside.

In a medium-sized, microwave-safe bowl, melt remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, about 30 seconds. Stir in cornbread stuffing mix and toss to coat.

Sprinkle mixture atop noodles and cheese, then bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

House Dip

Start to finish: 35 minutes
Makes: 3 cups

10 ounces chopped, frozen spinach
1 pound white cheddar cheese, cubed
8-ounce block cream cheese
½ cup sour cream
15-ounce can chopped tomatoes, drained

Thaw spinach to package instructions in a colander lined with a thin towel. Once thawed, use towel to squeeze moisture out of spinach. Set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat, combine all ingredients. Stir every few minutes until smooth and fully melted, about 25 minutes.

Slow cooker: Follow instructions as listed above, except using a slow cooker on the high setting. Stir every 20 minutes until smooth and fully melted, about 1.5 hours. Serve on warm setting.

Keto Taco Shells

Start to finish: 25 minutes
Makes: 6 shells

8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Special tools
2 empty paper towel rolls

Heat oven to 400 F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place ¼ cup of cheddar onto the baking sheet in circular mounds. (The cheese melts together and spreads out to form the shell.) Repeat with remaining cheese, placing mounds 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12–15 minutes or until shells start to brown.

While the shells bake, wrap each paper towel roll in aluminum foil. Set aside.

Remove shells from the oven and carefully, using a flat spatula, remove shell from the baking sheet and lay it over the paper towel roll. Using your fingers or tongs, lightly wrap the shell around the roll to form the shape of a crunchy taco shell.

Let cool 5 minutes before filling with your favorite meat and toppings.

Ranch Pasta Salad

Start to finish: 40 minutes
Impresses: 8

1    package ranch seasoning
1    cup buttermilk
1    cup mayonnaise
1    cup pasta shells (We use the noodles from a box of macaroni and cheese.)
8    ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
1    cup frozen peas, thawed
4    slices bacon, cooked and chopped
    salt and pepper

Whisk together the ranch seasoning, buttermilk and mayonnaise. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Cook pasta to box instructions. Drain and cool. 

Add cooked pasta, cheddar, peas and bacon to a large serving bowl. Toss together with ranch dressing, beginning with ½ cup, adding more if desired.

Season with salt and pepper.