monterey jack & goat cheese queso fundido with hatch green chile vinaigrette

monterey jack & goat cheese queso fundido with hatch green chile vinaigrette | via she likes to eat

these days, life is a little crazy.
we have two little ones and a very busy schedule. somehow we, well i, got away from one of my dearest loves: entertaining/taking care of people in our home. the house is often a mess and  i get stressed over the day and sometimes it’s just too much to handle making dinner and trying to clean the place. all that said, i am working on it. we are making plans and inviting people over to watch basketball games, tidying up as best we can while still knowing a little mess IS OKAY – a daily reminder of one of my favorite mantras, present over perfect (thanks to my friend shauna, who encourages so many with this quote + chapter from the lovely bread & wine).
and it sure makes it easy when i have something yummy ready in the kitchen that i am dying to share with someone.

this recipe is one of those things. although i could have easily taken it out of the oven, grabbed a bag of tortilla chips, walked back to my bedroom, locked the door, and eaten the entire thing all by mineself. and then licked the bowl wholeheartedly.

monterey jack & goat cheese queso fundido with hatch green chile vinaigrette
adapted from bobby flay

ingredients

for the vinaigrette:

one 4 oz can hatch green chiles, drained & chopped

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1/2 tsp agave nectar

1/4 cup sunflower seed or grapeseed oil (or an oil with mild flavor)

for the queso:

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp all purpose flour

1 cup whole milk

4 cups grated monterey jack cheese (about 1 1/2 eight ounce blocks)

5 oz goat cheese, crumbled

2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

sea salt & freshly ground pepper

blue corn tortilla chips, for serving

directions

1. to make the vinaigrette, combine the chiles, vinegar, garlic, agave, and oil, plus a good sized pinch of the cilantro in a blender and puree until smooth. season with salt & pepper.

2. to make the queso: melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. add the flour and cook, constantly whisking, about 1 minute. add the milk and cook, constantly whisking, until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes. remove from heat and whisk in monterey jack, one handful at a time (don’t add the next handful until cheese has completely melted). add a scant 1/4 tsp salt, and a bit of pepper to taste.

3. turn on the broiler. scrape the melted cheese mixture into an 8 inch baking dish. scatter the crumbled goat cheese over the top, covering evenly. broil until golden brown in spots, about 5-7 minutes. remove from the oven and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, to allow the cheese to set. drizzle the vinaigrette over the top* and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. serve warm with tortilla chips.

*i drizzled about 1/2 of the vinaigrette just after it came out of the oven. as we ate, i drizzled more on top.

enjoy!

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green chile strata

green chile strata via she likes to eat

a good friend of mine makes this incredible strata.

every time we hang out over at her house, i am always requesting she make it. it’s the recipe of a cousin’s brother’s mom’s best friends’ daughter’s sister (or something like that) and i was lucky enough to get a copy of the recipe. my copy is a photo i took with my phone of an email printed out on a piece of paper that you can tell has been used in the kitchen A LOT: crumpled, a little torn, and liquid spilled on it has caused the ink to run.

these are the best kinds of recipes, y’all. tried and true. passed from a great cook, to a son, to a friend, to a cousin… you know each of those people have loved it, made it, and then been asked for the recipe. i don’t know the originator of this blissful strata, but in my book, it belongs to my dear friend erika, and i hereby name it…

erika’s green chile strata

ingredients

4-6 flour tortillas

two 4- ounce cans chopped green chiles, drained well

6-8 ounces canadian bacon, chopped (pat dry in a paper towel)

8 ounces monterey jack cheese, shredded (about 4 cups)**

6 eggs

1 3/4 cups milk (whole or 2% – not skim)

3/4 tsp salt

directions

1. generously coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray or olive oil spray. cover bottom of dish with tortillas, tearing tortillas to fit without overlapping. sprinkle with half of the chopped green chiles, then half of the chopped canadian bacon, and then half of the cheese. repeat layers once more, ending with the cheese.

2. in a medium bowl, beat the eggs. add milk and salt and whisk until combined. pour over the layered ingredients in the baking dish. place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

3. preheat the oven to 350. bake for 50-60 minutes – strata should be slightly puffed and bubbly, and turning golden. let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

**if you want to add a little heat, try using pepper jack cheese instead of the monterey jack – it’s SO good.

enjoy!