Chile Cheese Souffle Squares

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. 


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  1. I am making this soon! My kids would love this and I love making scrambled eggs with cottage cheese so I can only imagine how great this would taste!

  2. I make something very similar but we just called it a crustless green chile quiche. Chili cheese souffle sounds much fancier! (I’ve subbed gluten free flour for gluten free guests and it turns out perfectly in case anyone is curious).

    1. I was hoping someone would comment with success with gluten free flour. That’s why I tagged this as gluten free, I suspected that would work just fine. Thanks for letting me know!

      1. I think this would work really well with a gluten free flour since it’s such a small amount. Would want anyone who is trying to make it gluten free for someone, but does not usually cook gluten free, that the recipe is NOT gluten free unless a safe flour is substituted in. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Ooooh, definitely making this tomorrow morning! We’re only a two-person household, so there’s no way we’ll eat all of a 9×13 pan in one day. Does it reheat well?

    1. With these easy measurements, it would be fairly simple to cut down to a pretty small batch if you wanted. Just eyeball the chiles, that’s no big deal. If you simply cut it in half for an 8×8 pan, you’ll want to watch the baking time as it will cook faster. I’d do 10 minutes at 400 and then start with 15-20 minutes after reducing the heat and keep an eye on it until it looks golden brown. It should reheat just fine- enjoy!

  4. Love your recipes!! All my sister-in-laws use them pretty much weekly 🙂 and my husband is in love with the pizza sauce (which is a huge compliment)! Just curious, in the blog it says baking soda; in the recipe, baking powder. Can you confirm which I should use? I’m not savvy enough to know yet!

  5. We call this Chili Cheese Bites, but I use it for a breakfast casserole too. I’ve also made scrapbook recipe books and they are among the most loved gifts I’ve given. It makes my heart ache to read of your mother and yet I admire you for sharing so many good memories of her and using them to share with others. Bless you!

  6. My mom makes this all the time too. We have also left out the flour completely for my sis-in-law with celiac and it works just fine. It simply changes the texture a bit.

  7. Your homemade recipe book looks amazing!
    Just FYI, canned green chilies can be very mild, but fresh fire roasted green chilies can be insanely hot.
    Here in Albuquerque, we can order them by the case in mild, medium, or hot.
    If you love green chilies, I encourage you to try them fresh fire roasted. The flavor is amazing and you can pick your heat too. I am more of a mild/medium girl myself. Can’t wait to try this recipe.
    Thanks for the ” tried and true” recipe.

    1. I agree with Kelly. If you can use fresh, fire-roasted chilies the flavor is amazing! I live in Virginia, but when I visit Arizona or Colorado I always bring some home with me and freeze them to use throughout the year.

  8. Wondering how this recipe would be with other substitutions like a different melty cheese (mozzarella, fontina) and sun dried tomatoes or olives or something? Or does it need the oozy liquid from the canned chilis? My family doesn’t like green chilis…
    SSSSHHHHHHH! I put them in your black bean soup anyway. every. time.

  9. Do you think this would work/taste good if I had to leave the green chilies out? I can’t eat them due to a a medical condition, but the rest of the recipe sounds great and like it’d still be yummy.

  10. This is probably my favourite post ever. Not the recipe (although it looks tasty and I actually went and made scrambled eggs with green chiles and cheese on top…) but because of the family history and the fact that you have dirty cookbook pages, too.

  11. These look so yummy! Breakfast dinner tonight? Thank you and btw I love your cookbook/scrapbook…what a treasure to have! The top left picture is you isn’t it? You’re just as beautiful now as you were cute back then.

  12. I make this every year for breakfast on Christmas morning! I got the recipe from my mom but it’s called Ty’s Eggs. (I have no idea why.) I use sharp cheddar cheese and it’s awesome.

  13. How awesome! My mom made this every Christmas morning. She always left out the green chilis, but now I add browned ground sausage into mine. It’s a family favorite!

  14. Haha. This is in OUR family cookbook — called “Jelly’s” after my stepdad — as Mexican quiche. It’s been a go-to for potlucks and breakfasts for years. 🙂

  15. This looks like such an easy, quick and delicious “I don’t feel like doing any heavy cooking” sort of meal. I’m saving this for this weekend and am preplanning to be too ill to cook a big dinner 😀

  16. I love that it can be made quickly, but is there any reason that it couldn’t be made the night before and baked in the morning? For holiday mornings, like Easter… I don’t want to do any prep, but I want a delicious brunch!

  17. I have been making this recipe for over 30 years. You can substitute regular Bisquick OR Gluten Free Biscuick for the flour, baking powder and salt. Bake longer at higher altitudes. We always serve it with salsa on the side for those who like more heat.

    1. I have made a really similar thing slightly in advance (~4-5 hours before) and it worked fine… I’ve never tried it overnight though!

  18. My hubby is in love with the crust! He thought of maybe making this in a muffin pan to get more of a crust all around it. Have you tried this before and does it work well?

  19. hi there! i’m kind of in a pinch…do you think ricotta could be subbed for the cottage cheese in this recipe?? just wondering what your thought was. thanks!

  20. I know I’m super late (catching up on your blog) but I just wanted to say… YES!!!! This is basically my grandma’s egg brunch recipe (listed in the church cookbook by my mom as “Betty’s Egg Brunch”) except we do diced ham instead of chiles, and pretty much ONLY serve it at Easter. OMG, it’s one of my favorite foods ever! Now as an adult I add a little chopped spinach so I can pretend it’s less of a heart attack in a pan, and it’s even better. Once in college my roommates and I had a Good Friday brunch, and my roommate was SOOO grossed out when she saw the big bowl of raw eggs and cottage cheese, but when it came out of the oven it totally won her over! I made it for friends last summer at a lake weekend and everyone was wowed. So yes, I love this dish, and I love you for posting it, and I totally understand the “I know the cottage cheese seems weird but just trust me it tastes SOOOO MAGICAL” parts of this post. That is all. 🙂

  21. Just made this this morning for a breakfast gathering and had to comment. Someone had given me this recipie several years ago and I liked it ok… But on comparing the recipies I realized you cook yours much longer and the trick with the butter is amazing. Those two things put it over the top delicious. That yummy crust was what was missing! Funny thing is, the other gal who brought a casserole this morning brought the exact same one! Turns out she is an OBB reader too! Not a problem though because everybody raved! Thanks for resurrecting an old favorite.

  22. I love the cookbook! I have been wanting to make one as christmas gifts for a long time. I never get started on time though. Where did you make yours? Its so cute!

  23. So, I made this and it is in the oven. I got sidetracked with the kids and browned my butter instead of just melting it. ? I am hoping it will still taste good. It seems like ALOT of butter to me. Is there any way to cut it down? I am really hoping this doesn’t come out greedy with the added cheese grease and then browning the butter.

    1. I don’t think anything is bad with browned butter, haha! They don’t turn out greasy, but if you’d like to cut down the butter, you’ll just need to experiment. Let us know how it turns out!

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