Legacy Blog #22: Fun with Burnt Cheese

My Beloved Daughter,

This week, I’m going to stay out of chronology.  I’m going to discuss cooking.

Yep.

I’ve never been much of a cook.  Just ask Vickie.  Or your Uncle Bobby.  Or your mother.  Or your Aunt Karen.  Or your Uncle Joel.  Well . . . just about every person I’ve been around would say that my timer sounds suspiciously like a smoke detector.

Vickie, your Aunt Karen, your Uncle Bobby, and your mother are the best cooks that I know (who are still alive).  Obviously, Vickie is the most important to me on this list.  I absolutely love her enchiladas, something that I know you like, as well.  She regularly experiments and comes up with some of the most amazing dishes I’ve ever had.  About the only thing she has issues with is baking.  As she says, “If it has sugar in it and it goes in the oven, I’ll burn it.”  To this end, I’ve started learning how to bake.  You’ve tried some of my (admittedly boxed) cakes.  You’ve also tried my homemade peanut butter cookies.

I also like to work with cheese.  You’ve tried the grilled cheese sandwiches that I make using shredded cheese.  What I’m going to talk about is going to stem from the little crispy pieces of cheese that have fallen out of the bread and onto the pan.

I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2012.  I cheat on my diet . . . all the time.  On the other hand, Vickie was diagnosed with it in May of 2016, while she was in the hospital after having the stroke.  That was in May.  By September, she had been hospitalized with a diabetic seizure.  Her blood sugar was over 600 and her A1C was near eleven.  To put it in perspective, I’ve regularly hovered around a 150 in blood sugar and 7 to 8 in A1C.  Normal is around 100 (I think) in blood sugar and below 6 in A1C.

So it’s much more serious for Vickie.  Our doctor actually told her that he wants her off of ALL carbohydrates that are “white or brown”.  Basically candy, bread, crackers, potatoes.  Pretty much all she can eat are fruit (in moderation), meat, cheese, some nuts, and vegetables.  This makes her diet rather boring.  And I want to try to keep to the diet with her, as I don’t ever want to get to the point where I have one of those seizures or, Heaven forbid, a stroke.

I came up with this recipe by accident.  Your mother doesn’t like Cheez-its crackers.  Vickie does.  I don’t know if your grandparents do, but you might pass this to them, if they do.

As I mentioned earlier, I love to eat the cheese that falls out of the sandwiches and crisps up while I’m grilling the sandwich.  A couple of weeks ago, Vickie had baked a frozen Chicken Cordon Bleu.  The cheese ended up leaking completely out of it and crisped up in the oven.  The taste of that cheese was better than the chicken.  So I did a little research.  I learned that Cheddar crisps up pretty good when baked.  American is pretty good, too.

I preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  I line a baking sheet with parchment paper, dumping small piles of shredded cheddar onto it, leaving space between them to let them spread.  After baking for thirteen minutes, you have a really tasty chip.  We dip them in salsa.

I also cut slices of American cheese into quarters.  Placing them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, I also bake them at 375, but pull them out after roughly ten minutes (it may take a little longer but be careful, because American cheese burns easily).  Make sure you let both kinds of cheese cool sufficiently so that it’s not gooey anymore.  They both get crispy (the cheddar more so than the American).  The American cheese tastes exactly like Cheez-its.  And they only have 2 grams of carbs per serving.

It’s actually kind of fun to experiment to see what we can find that can replace high-carb foods without losing the flavor.

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