Cheddar and Chive Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo)

These tasty miniature cheese breads are packed with cheddar and fresh chives with a wonderfully chewy texture. Pao de queijo is the perfect snack or accompaniment to any meal.

This Cheddar and Chive Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo) is the perfect quick and easy side dish to accompany any meal!

Cheese-lovers, this one’s for you.

I’ll be the first to admit that cheese is one of my favorite food groups, so I’ll take any excuse to come up with recipes that happen to be loaded with it. When I found myself with some extra tapioca flour on hand from last week’s No-Bake Honey Roasted Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars, I decided it was the perfect time to try out a recipe that had been on my mind for at least a couple of years – Brazilian cheese bread!

Believe it or not, I tasted my first pao de queijo in Hawaii at the ever-so-popular KCC Farmer’s Market on Oahu. It was piping hot, wonderfully chewy and oh-so-cheesy. When I learned that it was in fact made with only tapioca flour (making it entirely gluten-free) and still so flavorful, I knew I had to figure out how to make it on my own.

Cheddar and Chive Brazilian Cheese Bread is gluten-free and can be made in under 30 minutes!

Fast forward a couple of years, with a huge bag of tapioca flour just begging to be put to use, I knew it was time. Brazilian cheese bread was happening. But of course I couldn’t make it your typical Brazilian cheese bread, I had to give it my own little twist with sharp aged cheddar cheese and fresh chives. I have to say, the end result was all that I had hoped for…and more. I think it’s safe to say there will be a lot of pao de queijo in my future.

After being so intimidated to even go to the store and buy tapioca flour, I was– as is often the case for me when exploring new recipes and techniques—extremely surprised by how EASY it was to make this cheesy deliciousness. I mean, we’re talking “throw everything in a blender and call it a day” easy.

The end result was these chewy, cheesy, popping bread rolls. They’re not unlike popovers in batter consistency and looks, but when you bite into them you’ll be surprised at the soft yet chewy texture that’s undeniably full of flavor.

Serve this Cheddar and Chive Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo) hot out of the oven with your favorite dinner.

Did I mention they take almost no time to make? The batter comes together in less than five minutes, and they’ll be hot out of the oven in less than 15. And you’ll want to eat these bad boys HOT if you want the ultimate cheesy- and chewy-ness.

In short, Cheddar and Chive Brazilian Cheese Bread is PROBABLY going to become your new go-to side for all of your homemade meals.  Or maybe your favorite after-school snack? Or weekend brunch addition? Whenever you make them, you’re not going to be disappointed!

Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo) has a wonderfully chewy texture, is gluten-free and can be made in under 30 minutes!

Cheddar and Chive Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo)
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
17 mins
 

These tasty miniature cheese breads are packed with cheddar and fresh chives with a wonderfully chewy texture. Pao de queijo is the perfect snack or accompaniment to any meal.

Course: Side Dish
Keyword: baking, bread, cheese, gluten-free, side dish
Servings: 24 rolls
Calories: 100 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup grated white cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a two-dozen mini muffin tin (see notes for link.)

  2. Combine all ingredients except chives in a blender and blend until smooth. 

  3. Stir in chives.

  4. Pour or scoop batter into prepared muffin tins and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges of the bread are a light golden brown. 

  5. Enjoy warm!

Recipe Notes

Shopping link for miniature muffin tin.

No Guilt Southwestern Corn, Kale and Quinoa Salad

A healthy, make-ahead salad that’s low on guilt yet full on flavor, this Southwestern Corn, Kale and Quinoa Salad will become a new family favorite in no time.

This No Guilt Southwestern Corn, Kale and Quinoa Salad is the perfect healthy, make-ahead meal that will please the whole family!

How, oh how is it August already?? This summer has just flown by but, hey, we still have at least a month left, so let’s make the most of it, shall we? It may mean different things to different people, but I think one thing we can all agree making the most of summer does NOT mean is spending a ton of time in the kitchen – which is why you need some of this No Guilt Southwestern Corn, Kale and Quinoa Salad in your life.

With the little one keeping me busy and the beautiful weather keeping us outside, I’ve personally found myself in the kitchen less than I have probably ever been in my life, which means I am loving anything that I can make a big batch of in advance. I need to be able to come home from a morning at the beach, reach into the refrigerator and have lunch there waiting for me – because goodness knows the little one will NOT wait for me to whip up any sort of elaborate meal!

This Southwestern Corn, Kale and Quinoa Salad is just what my summer-loving heart ordered. Full disclosure, this recipe was inspired by a Trader Joe’s salad I grabbed in complete haste one day when I knew there was nothing waiting for me at home for lunch. Yes, it was a quinoa salad (which, on its own can be quite drab) but somehow the sweet corn, juicy tomatoes and creamy poblano-cilantro dressing all complemented each other just perfectly. So I set out to make my own version!

A healthy, make-ahead salad that's packed with protein and nutrients.

The salad part was pretty obvious – quinoa, corn, kale, tomatoes and some chunks of poblano pepper for good measure – but then came the dressing. I loved the creaminess of the dressing in the TJ’s version, but if this was going to be my go-to grab-and-go lunch, it needed to be as healthy as possible – which meant, Greek yogurt! I love how thick and creamy it is while also having so many nutritional benefits. And, honestly, I knew that all the other ingredients I’d be adding in were so packed with flavor that that was all I needed.

Speaking of those other ingredients – garlic, cilantro and roasted poblanos, I’m looking at you! I knew that would be all I needed to make this No Guilt Southwestern Corn, Kale and Quinoa Salad of mine a reality.

So, it’s pretty obvious that this recipe is packed with flavor, but the other thing I love so much about it is how much of it can be prepped in advance. Literally each of the steps that requires cooking can be done up to a few days ahead of time, so you can work on it whenever you have a free minute (or 10) in the kitchen. And, once it’s done and assembled, you’ll have enough Southwestern Corn, Kale and Quinoa Salad to last you at LEAST a week.

Meal prep lovers unite! This No Guilt Southwestern Corn, Kale and Quinoa Salad is nutrient-rich and will give you an entire week of healthy lunches.

If those aren’t all signs of a winning recipe, I don’t know what would be!

Maybe it’s time you see for yourself… 😉

No Guilt Southwestern Corn, Kale and Quinoa Salad
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

A healthy, make-ahead salad that’s low on guilt yet full on flavor, this Southwestern Corn, Kale and Quinoa Salad will become a new family favorite in no time.

Course: Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Keyword: make-ahead, meal prep, quinoa, southwestern
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 355 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the salad:
  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 2 ears of corn, kernels cut off the cob
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups kale, destemmed and cut into bite-size pieces
For the dressing:
  • 1 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Cook the quinoa according to package directions. (I usually put one part quinoa to two parts water in a saucepan, bring it to a boil, turn it down to a heavy simmer and let cook with the lid on for about 10 minutes, or until water is absorbed.) Fluff gently with a fork and let cool completely.

  2. Next, you’ll want to cook the peppers (both of them) and the corn. If you have a gas stove, simply cut the stem off of the peppers and hold them over a burner until they are lightly charred. If you have an electric stove, you may have to head to your grill to get that nice looking char. Let cool and then cut one pepper into large chunks and one into a small dice.

  3. For the corn, heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted, add the corn kernels and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown and smell caramelized. Remove from heat and let cool. 

  4. The final thing you’ll want to prep before assembling the salad is the dressing. Combine all dressing ingredients (including the charred poblano that is in large chunks) in a blender, omitting the olive oil and salt for now. Blend until ingredients are fairly creamy, then start streaming in the olive oil, until you come to a consistency you like. Finally, season with salt. 

  5. In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients – quinoa, corn, diced poblano, kale and tomatoes – then pour on dressing and stir to combine. Salad will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator!

Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil

Easing back from the long holiday weekend with the simplest of recipes for you!

This Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil is incredibly easy to make and adds tons of flavor to any dish!

In fact, much like my Three-Ingredient Calabrian Chili Spread, this Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil is so simple that I even hesitated to share it with you all. But guys, it’s just as the recipe title says – stupid simple – and will be such a life-changing addition to your pantry that I just couldn’t NOT share it with you all. So here goes!

Flavored olive oils have been gracing grocery and specialty store shelves for quite some time now but, to be honest, do we really know where those “flavors” are coming from? Are your favorite flavored olive oils that you buy at the store done so artificially? Are you absolutely positive that all the flavoring comes from the freshest ingredients? Are you sure you want to drop a few extra bucks on the so-called high end “fancy stuff” when you could just as easily invest in a Costco size jug of extra-virgin olive oil and flavor it on your own for pennies on the dollar?

If you’re anything like me, I’m going to guess you’re in the latter camp, which makes Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil the next best thing to hit your kitchen table this holiday season.

Use this Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil as a dip for your favorite bread, or use it in place of regular olive oil for cooking and dressing salads!

Sure, making your own Shallot Oil requires just two simple ingredients, but the ways in which you can use it are endless. We love whipping up a batch to dip pizza in (ranch dressing, you can take a back seat) and I also used it in place of the regular olive oil I called for in this Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs. Basically, you can add a dash of Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil to any ol’ dish that calls for olive oil to really up the flavor game (just make sure the crowd you’re entertaining is down for boatloads of flavor!)

As far as the making of this deliciousness goes, it really couldn’t be easier. Simply slice up some shallots, throw them in a bottle with some olive oil, let it sit for a day or two and, voila, you now know why we dub this tasty concoction “Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil.”

A bottle of Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil is the perfect holiday or housewarming gift!

Grab the recipe below and let me know what great ways you end up using it!

Super Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil
Prep Time
5 mins
 

This homemade flavored olive oil is perfect to have on hand in your own pantry, or to give as a hostess or holiday housewarming gift.

Course: Side Dish
Servings: 2 cups
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in a glass bottle with a stopper and/or drizzle lid. Let sit for a day or two before using. 

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing

I hope you’re ready for a whole lot of holiday deliciousness today.

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini stuffing is an easy, tasty holiday side dish that everyone will love!

Because this is quite literally The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing not only due to its insane flavor, but also because it is sooo easy to make. Yes, your holiday menus are about to change forever.

I’m letting you in on a little secret today, because this stuffing is actually a family recipe that I’ve held near and dear to my heart….until now. I’ve debated sharing it for a while, and after receiving my Dad’s blessing (he’s the mastermind behind it all) I decided there’s no time like 10 days before Thanksgiving to do it!

So, I bet you’re wondering what makes this The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing when it only involves 5 ingredients? Well, let me tell you, those five ingredients are chock full of alllll the flavors and work together so perfectly that you will never regret making this your new go-to stuffing recipe for years to come. We’re talking not only the obvious zucchini (which also, BTW, makes this recipe fairly healthy as far as stuffing recipes go) but also fresh basil and plenty of garlic. Of course we also mix in some breadcrumbs and tie it all together with some high-quality butter. Have I won you over yet?

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing can be stuffed into a bird OR just baked on its own for a completely vegetarian side dish.

What if I told you this stuffing is perfectly safe to eat raw (if you just can’t wait until you bake it off to try it) AND you don’t even have to stuff it into any sort of bird to enjoy it in all its glory? That’s my kind of stuffing.

Now, I know I’m sharing this with you before Thanksgiving just in case you’re looking for that perfect way to dress up your turkey a little bit, but in all honesty my Dad usually whips up this recipe for Christmas Eve. In fact, we usually rotate whatever type of poultry we use (sometimes we do chickens, sometimes Cornish game hens, etc.) but The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing is the one constant on the menu.

The best thing about this Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing? It can even be eaten raw!

For Thanksgiving, my mom has her own special stuffing recipe, but I’m not ready to disclose that one quite yet 😉

As far as making The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing, it’s going to be a snap as long as you have a food processor on hand. (But yes, you can also make it without one.) You can use the grater attachment of your processor to grate the zucchini, and the chopper attachment for the basil, breadcrumbs and garlic.

After you have all of the ingredients prepped, you’ll sauté the zucchini and garlic in butter, then at the last minute stir in the breadcrumbs and basil before dumping everything into a baking dish (or stuffing it into a bird). If you’re using a baking dish, I might recommend one with a lot of surface area so you maximize the crunchy golden topping, but that’s just me.

This is literally The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing and you need to add it to your holiday cooking schedule!

Once you have the stuffing in the oven, it’s very much a “set it and forget it” recipe. Which means you’ll have plenty of time to sit back and relax with family and friends, hopefully with a delicious cocktail in hand. Because isn’t that what the holidays are REALLY all about??

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
 

This healthy stuffing recipe is incredibly flavorful with just FIVE ingredients. It can be made as a vegetarian side dish or stuffed into a bird!

Course: Side Dish
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 medium to large zucchini
  • 6 tablespoons butter (I prefer Kerrygold)
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 4 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or whatever temperature you’re cooking your bird at.)

  2. Using the shredding attachment of a food processor or a cheese shredder, shred the zucchini. Squeeze out the excess water using a few paper towels and set aside.

  3. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat, then add the shredded zucchini and garlic. Sauté until garlic is translucent and fragrant, then turn heat to low.

  4. In a clean food processor fitted with the blade attachment, make your fresh breadcrumbs using whatever type of bread you have on hand. Add fresh basil at the very end just to give it a rough chop.

  5. Stir breadcrumb mixture into zucchini mixture, then transfer into a baking dish, or stuff into your bird. Bake at desired oven temperature for about an hour, or until the surface of the stuffing takes on a nice golden-brown color.

  6. Serve with your holiday meal!

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing | CaliGirlCooking.com

Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs

We’re stepping a bit outside the Thanksgiving box today.

This Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs is the perfect vegan side dish for Thanksgiving.

Because, although not a traditional holiday side dish, this Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs is completely worthy of a spot on your holiday table. It’s full of dried cranberries, whole grains, white beans and seasonal fresh herbs like fresh rosemary, sage and thyme and literally is a Thanksgiving explosion in your mouth. You’re going to get this one on the menu STAT.

I’ve been a big fan of grain salads for quite a while now, as evidenced by this Spring Fava Bean and Burrata Grain Salad, this Fresh Corn, Leek and Edamame Grain Salad and this Herbed Grain Salad with Broccoli Rabe and White Beans. I love them because they are filled with a ton of healthy ingredients and filling to boot. The whole grains give them plenty of heft to make them completely suitable as an entire meal, although they are equally delicious (and the portions go a bit further) if you serve them as a side dish among all the other delicious things you typically serve up for a holiday meal.

I’m not joking when I say tell you this Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs tastes like your entire Thanksgiving menu in a bowl. Sure, there’s no turkey in there (although you could easily add some and I wouldn’t be one bit upset about it) but just the cranberries and the fresh herbs alone are enough to mentally transport you to arguably the most well-known food holiday of the year. I love allll the fresh herbs, but there’s also just something about fresh sage in a recipe that really screams fall and all the deliciousness that comes with it.

A bowl of this Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs is filling enough to be a delicious vegan holiday meal.

As far as making the dish goes, it couldn’t be easier. Not only does it come together fairly quickly (the longest step will be cooking up the grains) but it can also be made in advance and served cold or at room temperature, which means it’s easy to fit into an already busy cooking and kitchen schedule once T-day rolls around.

For the whole grains, I used a combination of farro and Italian couscous because they were what we had on hand, but feel free to use other varieties such as quinoa, barley or even wild rice. I also added in some toasted pine nuts, and I highly recommend you do not skip this step, even if you want to sub in some other type of toasted nut for that little extra crunch. (Pecans? Almonds? So many possibilities.)

This Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs is an easy, make-ahead side dish for the holidays.

I would also like to point out that said Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs is completely vegan, which makes it a delicious, healthy, high-protein option for anyone in your group that may have certain dietary preferences. It’s a great way to serve them up some protein and filling flavor without having to bend over backwards making some sort of interesting Tofurkey creation.

Since I was developing recipes so far in advance this holiday season due to our little one’s arrival, I served this up as a side dish at my mother-in-law’s birthday celebration we held down here in Santa Barbara at the beginning of October. Let’s just say my sisters-in-law were already requesting I make it as our contribution to the Thanksgiving meal when we go celebrate with them in a couple of weeks.  I hope you decide to add it to your menu as well!

Serve this vegan Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs as a hearty side dish or light, healthy meal during the holidays.

Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs
Prep Time
10 mins
 

This festive vegan side dish is full of filling whole grains, protein-rich white beans and pine nuts, and the freshest herbs of the season. 

Course: Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Servings: 6 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cooked grains of your choice (I used a combination of farro and Italian couscous)
  • 2 15.5-ounce cans Great Northern or white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to two days before serving.

Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs | CaliGirlCooking.com