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Bistro Cooking 1-2-3

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Southwestern Brunch Soufflé
Chicken Alfredo Primavera
Creamy Ham, Spinach & Cheese Chowder

(Family Features) - Ahhh. The neighborhood bistro. That small café where the aromas of wonderful home cooking - rustic salads, simmering soups, bubbling gratins and savory soufflés - make your mouth water.

Feel like the chef in your own home bistro, even on a busy weeknight, when you make dishes with bold, passionate flavors and that unmistakable taste of "homemade." To save time, let the grocery store be your sous chef. Buy pre-washed and bagged salad greens, packaged diced ham, crispy cooked bacon and chopped vegetables from the salad bar, and shredded natural cheese blends that already contain great bistro-style ingredients such as roasted garlic, minced herbs, jalapeño peppers or sun-dried tomatoes.

Start with a classic bistro recipe - an easy three-step cheese sauce simply made in minutes from butter, flour, milk and shredded cheese. This sauce becomes the basis for a brunch soufflé, a savory chowder, a hearty pasta dish and many other meals - from macaroni and cheese to a special topper for steamed vegetables. Second helpings, anyone?

Make Your Own Bistro Cheese Sauce

A classic white sauce cooks in minutes. Simply melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and let it cook for a minute, add the milk and whisk until thickened. Then add Sargento Bistro Blends Shredded Cheese to give the sauce your own unique touch.

Use a thin sauce for soups, meats, chicken or fish; a medium sauce for pasta, casseroles or vegetables; and a thick sauce for soufflés, dips or fondues. Ingredient proportions to make 1 cup of cheese sauce follow:

THIN: 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 cup milk, 1 to 1-1/2 cups cheese
MEDIUM: 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 cup milk, 1 to 1-1/2 cups cheese
THICK: 3 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons flour, 1 cup milk, 1 to 1-1/2 cups cheese

  1. Using a wooden spoon, combine melted butter and flour in a saucepan, and cook for a minute.

  2. Add milk to cooked butter and flour, and whisk until thickened.

  3. Stir shredded cheese into thickened mixture, and simmer until cheese melts. Do not boil.

Check out exciting special offers, sign up for the e-newsletter "Table Talk" and find even more great recipes at sargento.com.

Southwestern Brunch Soufflé

Description
Feel like the chef in your own home bistro. Start with this classic bistro recipe for Southwestern Brunch Soufflé.

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups 1% milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-3/4 cups (7 ounces) Sargento Bistro Blends Cheddar & Monterey Jack with Tomato & Jalapeño Peppers Shredded Cheese
  • 1/2 cup crumbled crisply cooked bacon
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 6 large eggs, separated
Optional garnish
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Preparation
    1. Coat bottom and sides of 2-1/2-quart round soufflé dish with 1 tablespoon softened butter.
    2. Melt 1/4 cup butter in medium saucepan. Add flour; cook and stir over medium heat 1 minute. Stir in milk and salt; bring to simmer, stirring frequently. Simmer 2 minutes (mixture will be thick). Remove from heat; stir in cheese until melted. Stir in bacon and green onions.
    3. Beat egg yolks with wooden spoon; stir into cheese sauce. Beat egg whites in electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gently fold 1/3 egg whites at a time into cheese sauce using rubber spatula. Pour into prepared dish. Bake in preheated 350°F oven 40 minutes or until puffed and deep golden brown. Serve immediately. If desired, combine salsa and cilantro to garnish; serve with soufflé.

Preparation Time
25 minutes

Bake Time
40 minutes

Serves
Serves 6

Chicken Alfredo Primavera

Ingredients
  • 8 ounces linguini pasta, broken in half
  • 1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into short, thin strips
  • 1 cup cut fresh asparagus spears (1 inch pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups 1% milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-3/4 cups (7 ounces) Sargento Bistro Blends Mozzarella Cheese with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Basil Shredded Cheese, divided
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or parsley (optional)

Preparation
    1. Cook linguini according to package directions adding peas, bell pepper and asparagus to cooking water during last 3 minutes of cooking.
    2. Meanwhile, melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in milk; bring to simmer, stirring frequently. Stir in salt and pepper. Stir in 1-1/4 cups cheese until melted.
    3. Drain linguini and vegetables; return to pot over low heat. Add cheese sauce and chicken; mix well. Transfer to serving plates; top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and, if desired, basil. Serve with freshly ground black pepper.

Preparation Time
15 minutes

Cook Time
15 minutes

Serves
Serves 4

Creamy Ham, Spinach & Cheese Chowder

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups 1% milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup diced ham
  • 3 cups packed baby or torn spinach leaves
  • 1-3/4 cups (7 ounces) Sargento Bistro Blends Mozzarella & Asiago with Roasted Garlic Shredded Cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup herb or garlic croutons

Preparation
    1. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
    2. Gradually stir in milk; bring to simmer, stirring frequently. Stir in salt and pepper flakes; simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in ham; heat through. Stir in spinach until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1-1/4 cups cheese until melted; ladle into shallow soup bowls. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and croutons.

Preparation Time
10 minutes

Cook Time
15 minutes

Serves
Serves 4 to 6

SOURCE: Sargento Cheeses


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