Nothing Says Quick And Easy Meals Like Cheese

IN THE KITCHEN

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So many cheeses, so little time. That's the good news for busy families facing dinnertime. More than 450 types, varieties and styles of cheese are available to help you put a delicious meal on the table in minutes -- from Wisconsin alone.

On-the-go families everywhere can spend less time in the kitchen and more time doing the things they enjoy when they make recipes that feature cheese.

Delicious, nutritious cheese can be enjoyed with fresh fruit, shredded or cubed in salads, melted into pasta or vegetable dishes or browned on top of broiled chicken, steak or fish.

Made in the caring, time-tested tradition of the state's award-winning cheese makers, Wisconsin cheeses can bring mellow, tangy, sharp, peppery, nutty and aromatic flavors to any dish. When you want to make a big impact with just one ingredient, say "Cheese!"

Visit www.WisDairy.com for more cheese serving ideas and recipes. And while you're there, enter the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board's "$1,000,000 Win in a Flash" game.

Southwestern Chicken Skillet

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

2 teaspoons vegetable or olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup prepared salsa

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Wisconsin Monterey Jack or Pepperjack cheese

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or green onion

Sprinkle chili powder, cumin and salt over chicken. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and garlic; cook 5 minutes. Turn chicken over. Combine salsa and mustard; spoon over and around chicken. Continue cooking, turning chicken and stirring sauce, 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle cheese and cilantro over chicken. Continue cooking 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Makes four servings.

Spinach & Cheddar Salad

1 (10 ounce) bag washed baby spinach leaves or torn spinach leaves

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded or finely diced smoked or sharp Wisconsin Cheddar cheese

1/3 cup packaged real bacon bits

1/4 cup thin red onion rings or strips

1/4 cup thinly sliced radishes (optional)

1/3 cup bottled red wine or raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing

1 hard cooked egg, chopped (optional)

1/2 cup herb or garlic croutons

Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

In large bowl, combine spinach, cheese, bacon bits, red onion and, if desired, radishes. Add dressing; toss well and transfer to serving plates. Top with egg if desired and croutons. Serve with freshly ground black pepper if desired. Makes 4 side dish or 2 meatless main dish servings.

Steak With Gorgonzola Thyme Crust

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 (6 ounce) beef tenderloin or small rib eye steaks, cut 3/4-inch thick

1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried

1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled Wisconsin Gorgonzola cheese

Preheat broiler. Spoon Worcestershire sauce over both sides of steaks; let stand 5 minutes. Sprinkle garlic and pepper over steaks. Place steaks on rack of broiler pan. Broil 3 to 4 inches from heat source, 3 to 4 minutes per side, for medium-rare steak. Remove pan from broiler. Sprinkle thyme, then cheese over steaks. Return to oven and broil 2 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Makes two servings.

Look for these fresh and appealing cheeses to add flavor fast.

Fresh cheeses

Cottage cheese, Ricotta, Feta, Queso Blanco and fresh Mozzarella taste great in savory, hot entrees such as lasagna, enchiladas, Greek-style pasta and pizza or cold in salads. These cheeses also pair well with fresh fruits such as pineapple and strawberries, or fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, black olives and onions.

Semi-soft cheeses

Monterey Jack, Muenster, Brick, Havarti, Swiss, Brie, Fontina, Gouda, Edam, Provolone and Camembert are delicious in appetizers, sandwiches, pizzas, quesadillas or burritos.

Blue-veined cheeses

Blue and Gorgonzola add a savory note to dressings, dips, salads, spreads, steaks, burgers and chicken.

Hard cheeses

Gruyère, Parmesan, Asiago, Romano and aged Cheddar can be grated on top of simmering onion, potato or vegetable soups; shaved with a vegetable peeler or cheese parer on main dish salads; or melted into casseroles.

Recipes from Family Features Editorial Syndicate

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