Top 5 Best Cheese Dishes to Chow Down on

Cheese, glorious cheese! To inspire you to bring a slice of cheesy heaven to your life, we’ve pulled together a must-read power list featuring 23 of the most beautiful cheese recipes around.

Perfect for mid-week meals, family feasts and alfresco dining, the indulgent recipes offer a whole new cheese tasting experience. From super-tasty Cheddar Popovers and Cheese Truffles, to Grilled Caprese Sandwiches and Blueberry Cheesecake – there’s a mind-blowing dish to please every cheese lover! Check them out below and be prepared to embrace a truly cheesy paradise.

Cheese Grits

Have you ever wondered why people sometimes snicker if you order grits, but the conversation takes a decidedly epicurean turn if you order polenta? Grits are perceived as Southern country-folk fare, while polenta implies an international flair, but they’re almost identical dishes. Dress them up with a little cheese, and few would know the difference, including most Southerners. The essential difference is white versus yellow corn.

Grits are made from stone-ground white corn, a process that helps to retain the flavor, fiber and nutrients of the corn. Non-instant grits take about 20-25 minutes to cook [source: Shrum]. Add milk or cream and stir in Monterrey Jack cheese and fresh minced jalapeño for a Tex-Mex side dish. Add cheese and leftovers to cooked grits and bake to make a casserole. Get a little fancier in your technique to create a soufflé with down-home Southern flare.

Cheese Fondue

Right up there with paisley shirts and slow cookers, fondue burst onto the scene in the 1970s. And, just like paisley and slow cookers, it’s back. The original fondue chain restaurants are long gone, but new ones have opened in their place. The menus remain pretty much the same; only the prices have changed.

Disastrous attempts at home fondue parties are a thing of the past. Version 1.0 fondue parties featured sad attempts at homemade fondue. It required a Herculean effort just to score the Swiss cheeses — Emmental and Gruyere, and when you did, there was the problem of getting the glop in the pot to transform into anything resembling fondue.

Lasagna

What’s the best thing about lasagna? It’s the number of different cheeses that you can use when making this year-round dinner classic. Lasagna relies heavily on ricotta cheese, a cheese that many Italian dishes use in place of cottage cheese. It’s lighter and fluffier than cream cheese, with a slightly sweeter flavor, and many find it infinitely more appealing than cottage cheese curds. Classic lasagna alternates layers of ground beef in tomato sauce with ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan, and often, you’ll find the addition of Asiago, fontina, provolone and other cheeses. Perhaps the most tantalizing aspect of this Italian casserole is the thick, golden, bubbly top layer of cheese that greets you as you pull it from the oven.

Vegetarian alternatives have become popular, and they make a healthy, light, one-dish summer meal. Seafood lovers can enjoy lobster or crab lasagna. In fact, lasagna has essentially evolved into a big-noodle casserole with fillings of your choice. Even the classic tomato sauce is no longer obligatory. You might try a pesto sauce with vegetables or an Alfredo-style sauce with chicken. The only required ingredients are lasagna noodles and lots of cheese. Beyond those two ingredients, it’s a wide-open playing field where you’re free to create your own signature dish.

Cheesecake

Cheesecake is one of those things that many New Yorkers take for granted and visitors can’t get enough of, but is it really cake? No, not really — it contains no flour and nothing to make it rise. Cakes, by definition, contain flour and one or more leavening agents. In many ways, cheesecake is more like a pie, but most cooks would agree that technically it’s baked custard. Common variations include New York and Italian cheesecakes. New York style cheesecakes are made with cream cheese, and Italian style cheesecakes are made with ricotta and/or mascarpone. Crusts vary as well, ranging from the traditional graham cracker crust to crushed cookies or chopped nuts. Essential ingredients include the cheese (such as cream cheese, mascarpone or ricotta) eggs, cream, vanilla and sugar.

Varying styles aren’t the only options — there are many flavors, too, such as chocolate raspberry, key lime, pumpkin and even banana cream. Or, you can top a plain cheesecake with fresh or cooked berries or some kind of glaze or sauce — caramel, for example, is a popular choice.

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni or “pasta secca” is dried elbow-shaped pasta. Other versions of macaroni lore credit the Arabs, Etruscans, Greeks or Romans with its invention. No matter who invented it, there’s no denying it’s been a resounding success – particularly here in the U.S.

How it got here isn’t certain, but one story suggests that mac and cheese was introduced to the American public by Thomas Jefferson when he brought it back from Italy to Virginia. Our love for this cheesy comfort food achieved a whole new level after Kraft Foods introduced a boxed macaroni and cheese that appealed to busy housewives in the U.S.. Once food rationing was instituted during World War II, the dish became a food staple and a quick substitute for a meat and potatoes dinner.

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