Have I ever showed you guys my very first cook book? Long before our bestselling hardback, and before the days of easily-generated hardback photo books, and food blogs where you could store your favorites. This was back in the day where you formatted documents in Word, then printed them out one by one, sliced each page by hand, and took everything to your local Kinkos to copy and bind. Talk about labor of love! For Christmas one year I gathered all of my family’s favorite recipes. We are definitely a family bonded through food, and my Mother was notorious for her scraps and paper clippings organized in file folders and old cook books and lots and lots of post-its. I wanted to have them all in one place to pass on to my siblings who were all in pivotal life stages (one going off to college for the first time, one a newlywed, etc) so we’d all have a little piece of home to take along with us. This proved to be even more of a treasure as my Mom started getting sick around this time, and none of us could have predicted what would evolve in the years to come, as she lost the ability to cook, and all memories of these simple things that were such a big part of my family’s growing up years quickly faded away. I’m so happy I took the time back then to collect everything so we can all still have that part of her that we treasure so much.
I interspersed photos of everyone throughout the book, so it’s kind of like a food scrapbook. I noticed the other day, that while many of these recipes are now here on this blog, like my Mom’s Mint Brownies, or her beloved Peanut Butter and Jam Bars, and now that I have actual published cook books of my own, not to mention hundreds of other awesome cook books written by well known chefs, this book is still the one I turn to more than any other. For holidays, for inspiration, when I’m feeling in a cooking slump. It’s the book that takes me back to my roots and reminds me where I fell in love with cooking. It was at home.
I’ve been cooking and eating this recipe since I was a little girl; it’s on tattered page 90 of this book, and you know which recipes are the most loved by how dirty the page is. This page is splattered in all sorts of things. It was one of my Mom’s go-to’s for and it’s become one of mine, too, and let me tell you why. My Mom called these “Appetizers” and would often cut them into little bite sized squares for parties, where for me, this falls into the breakfast casserole category. Almost all breakfast casseroles require sitting overnight. This one doesn’t. It literally takes 5 minutes or less to prepare, and uses really common ingredients. Which means you can decide in the morning that you want a fluffy, creamy, cheesy dish, and be eating it an hour later. It also doesn’t contain bread, and I’m guessing if you subbed a gluten free flour, you could make it gluten free (which is why I’ve included that tag. Let me know if you have success with that.) It’s nice paired with another type of bread dish, like our Overnight Baked French Toast, or one of our many Sweet Roll recipes, but this one is just creamy and cheesy and it’s amazing what happens with such few ingredients. This is one of those great retro dishes that I bet a lot of your Mom’s made as well!
I realize the ingredient list isn’t all that impressive. And it almost seems weird. And when you mix it all together it won’t look appetizing. But trust me! The cottage cheese will be completely unrecognizable, you won’t even know it’s in there when this is all done. It just melts into everything and adds body and flavor, I promise. It’s magical. And this is really, really good. It’s one of my favorite things and it’s perfect for the upcoming Easter holiday, or a Mother’s Day brunch.
The first thing you’ll do is slice up your butter (note this recipe is written for a 9×13 pan. I’m making a half batch in an 8×8 for these photos) and place it in your pan, then pop your pan in the oven and turn it on to preheat. By the time you’re ready for the butter, it will be nice and melted.
In the mean time, crack open a bunch of eggs and whisk in a little flour, baking powder, and salt. Sometimes I add a little garlic powder here, too. Just for kicks. That’s not in the recipe, but if you want to get wild and crazy and do something like stray from a recipe, go for it.
Add in a can of diced green chiles. If you love green chiles (I LOVE green chiles) you can add more. This recipe calls for the large 7 oz can for a 9×13 pan. I sometimes add an extra small can in there, too because I like mine studded with lots of chili flavor. I used the whole large can in my half-batch, just to give you an idea. Note that chiles aren’t spicy. At all. They’re totally mild and just add flavor.
Then dump in the shredded cheese, and cottage cheese.
Your butter should be melted by now, so take the hot pan out of the oven, swish the butter around so it covers the bottom of the pan and pour it in the mixture. (Don’t scrape the pan, you want it to be covered in butter.)
Stir up that mixture and pour it into your hot pan. Return the pan to the oven for a little while, and watch it puff and turn golden brown on top.
Let it sit for about 10 minutes before cutting into it, and then slice it into squares.
My absolute favorite part of this is the browned, slightly crisp, buttery edges.
And the center is so soft and cheesy. It’s a magical consistency, and so flavorful with so few ingredients! It’s the perfect quick-fix breakfast or brunch, and I’ve even made it for dinner on several occasions. Pair it with some toast and fresh fruit and you’re good to go.
Perfect for Easter brunch, or upcoming Mother’s Day, or a lazy Sunday morning at home.
Chile Cheese Souffle Squares
Recipe by Our Best Bites
*For a little extra kick, sub in 1/2 Pepper Jack cheese, or add a few douses of hot sauce.
* To make gluten free, substitute gluten free flour in place of all-purpose
8 tablespoons real butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
dash of salt
7 oz can fire roasted green chiles, drained (if you love chiles, add more!)
1 pint (2 cups) cottage cheese
1 lb monterey jack cheese, shredded (don’t use pre-shredded, bagged cheese. Shred your own.)
Slice butter into large chunks and place in a 9×13 pan. Place pan in oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add 1-2 eggs and whisk mixture until there are no lumps. Add in remaining eggs and whisk until smooth. Stir in green chiles, cottage cheese, and jack cheese and stir until just combined. Remove pan from oven and make sure butter coats bottom of pan. Pour butter into egg mixture and stir to combine. Pour mixture into warm pan. When oven is preheated place pan in oven and cook for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and cook for an additional 35-40 minutes, or until top is golden and slightly browned. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing into squares and serve.