Fancy Schmancy

I’m the first one to admit I’m totally and completely intimidated by foods deemed “fancy.”  You know, beef bourguignon, risotto (which I’m totally going to make next week!), beef wellington, coq au vin, and…….*drumroll please*………..souffle!

I have a strong affinity (redundant?) for all things cheese. Perhaps one of the worst addictions one can have. But I love it, nonetheless, and I adore cheese souffle. So on Saturday night, I made one. And I didn’t die from the stress I felt because a souffle dish is nonexistent in our household; I didn’t cry when it took me 20 minutes+ to beat those egg whites into submission; and I didn’t pout when the souffle wasn’t done after 35 minutes of cook time. I didn’t even mind that I didn’t butter the dish as well as I should have! It was an emotional feat more than a culinary one!

Anyway, they say a souffle is the one of the hardest dishes to make. I call bullshit. I will admit that the recipe I used was a very basic one, as it came from a Weight Watchers cookbook (more on that in a later post), but it was a nice way to introduce the art of cooking a souffle.

Here’s a stolen picture of a cheese souffle, since I had no time to snap a picture of my own beautiful creation. (You gotta serve souffles immediately, before they deflate and get cold. yuck.) It looks almost identical to the one I made, though 😉

Cheese Souffle, Courtesy Real Simple

I didn’t have a souffle dish, which irked me at first, but I just used a Corningware round casserole dish and it worked like a charm. It needed about 45 minutes to cook (probably because our oven is in dire need of a replacement) but it was delicious, and light, and fluffy, and full of yummy cheese flavor. We paired it with a homemade greek salad for a calorie-light dinner. When I make it again, I’m definitely going to add some stuff to it, like broccoli or cauliflower, bacon, chives, jalapenos, spinach, etc.

I also dusted the dish with freshly-grated Parmesan to add a little oomph. Of course, most of it stuck to the dish. Boo. Hiss.

Try this recipe out! It’s soo simple, I promise you can’t screw it up! I’m not sure why souffles are made out to be this complicated, fancy schmancy dish that only experienced cooks can make. Psh.

Weight Watchers Cheese Souffle

1 cup reduced fat milk

3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese

1/2 tsp. salt, divided

1/8 tsp. cayenne

2 large eggs, separated, at room temp

2 large egg whites, at room temp

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Whisk together milk and flour in heavy medium saucepan until smooth; set over low heat. Cook, stirring, until mixtures bubbles and thickens, a bout 5 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in cheddar, 1/4 tsp salt and the cayenne.

Lightly beat the two egg yolks in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of hot cheese sauce, then whisk back into saucepan of sauce until smooth.

With electric mixer on medium speed, beat 4 egg whites and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt in large bowl just until stiff peaks form when beaters are lifted (*NOTE: This took me over 20 minutes. Do this step before you make the cheese sauce or have someone else do it for you while you prepare the rest of the dish!) With rubber spatula, stir one-fourth of egg whites into cheese mixture to lighten it, then fold in remaining whites just until no longer visible.

Gently pour souffle mixture into GREASED 3-quart souffle dish. Bake until puffed and cooked through, about 35 minutes. Serve at once.

Good luck impressing your guests or family with this “Fancy” dish!


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