It’s baseball season again, and with that, there is tailgating! Crack open a beer, light up the grill, and enjoy these tasty side dishes and even a dessert recipe — all made with cheese.
Jalapeno Popper Pasta Salad
This tailgate-friendly dish combines two sporting event favorites: jalapeno poppers and pasta salad! Forget the tricky business of deep frying, and ditch the boring pasta salad, and whip up this super simple side instead. It’s spicy, cheesy, creamy, quick to make, and even quicker to eat!
- 6oz macaroni pasta
- 8oz Monterrey Jack jalapeno cheese, grated
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 jalapenos: 3 seeded and diced, 1 thinly sliced
- Salt & pepper, to taste
Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente.
While the pasta boils, heat olive oil in a frying pan. Saute the 3 diced jalapenos over medium-high to cook down.
Once the pasta is done, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, drain and transfer back to the warm pot. Stir in the grated cheese, reserved pasta water and sauteed jalapenos. Mix well, allowing the cheese to melt into the pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into a large container with a lid and let cool before chilling in the fridge. Before serving, stir in the remaining sliced jalapeno. Serve chilled.
Beer Cheddar Dip
Classic beer cheese dip is heightened with the use of sharp, aged cheddar, and a beer reduction – imparting more flavor than ever. To get the most out of this delicious dip, be sure to make it the night before you plan to enjoy it. This will let the beer flavor deepen. Impress your friends, and make new ones, by pulling this out at your next tailgate.
Makes 2 cups
- 1 12oz beer – pale ale, wit beer, and lagers would all work
- 4 oz plain cream cheese, softened
- 6 oz plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 8 oz 5-year aged cheddar, shredded
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- Pretzels, crackers, and raw vegetables, to serve
Pour the entire 12 oz of beer into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil on the stove and then reduce heat to simmer. Let this reduce down for 30 minutes. It’s done when you’re left with ¼ cup of beer reduction. Remove from the stovetop and let cool slightly.
Either by hand or with a hand mixer, whip together the cream cheese and yogurt or sour cream. Whip in the shredded cheddar cheese. Then, pour in the beer reduction and all the spices. Continue whipping until well combined. Taste, and add salt or pepper as desired.
Transfer the warm dip to a bowl with a lid. Cover and let chill overnight in the fridge, or at least 8 hours. Serve chilled with pretzels, crackers, pita chips, and raw vegetables. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge up to 4 days.
There’s no need for crackers with this tasty snack – cheese rolled in sausage just screams ballpark eatin’. You might want to make a double batch, because they’ll go fast!
Makes 8 rollups
- 1 package smoked mozzarella string cheese sticks
- 1 8 oz summer sausage
Peel the skin off of the summer sausage. Using a very sharp knife, cut thin slices lengthwise. You should get 8 slices from the sausage.
Wrap a sausage slice around the center of a cheese stick. Use a toothpick to hold the sausage on the cheese. Store in the fridge (or a cooler!) until ready to serve.
Oatmeal Almond & White Cheddar Cranberry Cookies
Put the cheese plate in a cookie! Move over, oatmeal raisin. There’s a new, cheesier, cookie in town. Yep, these cookies are packed with White Cheddar Cranberry cheese, giving these sweet morsels a salty punch. Add in a few chopped almonds, and you practically have a cheese plate in a cookie!
Makes ~ 4 dozen 2” wide cookies
- 1 cup butter, unsalted, softened (2 sticks)
- 1 cup granulated (white) sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp molasses
- 1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 cups old-fashioned oats
- ½ cup chopped almonds
- 8 oz White Cheddar Cranberry cheese, chopped
Using your stand mixer or a hand mixer and a large bowl, cream together the softened butter with the sugars on medium speed, for two minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Beat in the eggs, vanilla and molasses for another minute on high speed.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, cinnamon and salt. Gradually add this to the butter-sugar mixture and beat on medium until combined.
Slowly pour in the oats and almonds while the mixer runs on low speed, until incorporated.
With a stiff spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the chopped cheese by hand – this will prevent the cheese from melting into the dough. Stir only until the cheese is incorporated. Then, let the dough cool in the fridge 30-60 minutes. This is CRUCIAL or your cookies will spread out and not bake properly.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line two large cookie trays with parchment paper or silpat baking mats. Use a 1-1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop, or two spoons, to scoop tight balls of cookie dough. Place them 1” apart – these won’t spread too much.
Bake at 350 for 9 minutes, on the middle and lower racks of your oven. Halfway through, turn the baking sheets around and swap the racks they’re on.
Let cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes before transferring cookies to a cooling rack. Let cool completely. Enjoy immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge (remember, these have cheese in them, which would go bad sitting on the counter for more than a day).