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Volume III
December 23, 2011

Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n

Cottage Cheese Creative Cookery!

By Alice Osborne

We're all familiar with cottage cheese. And I've noticed there's not a lot of middle ground on the topic - people either love it or hate it - for eating straight from the carton, that is.

But were you aware of the many versatile uses of this dairy product? If you like it straight up, then you're open to having it with fruits and vegetables. But if you're not open to that - you're one of the cottage cheese naysayers - then think about what else you can do with it.

You can add a few other ingredients and it becomes an appetizing dip or spread. Combine cottage cheese with still other ingredients and you have delectable breads, entrees, desserts, salads, salad dressings, sandwiches, and breakfast dishes. And did you know that it can be used to make a great sour cream? (See recipe below.)

Cottage cheese is at its flavor peak when used soon after purchase. It's not meant for long term storage, and you'll want to be sure the lid is tightly closed. You've probably noticed you can buy small or large curd. Most recipes that call for cottage cheese are referring to the large curd creamed variety, unless otherwise specified.

And here's why you want to think about what else you can do with it - it has a lot of health benefits, the main one being that cottage cheese is low in fat and carbs and very high in protein. It is a good course of calcium, with Vitamin D. Cottage cheese has been shown to protect against stomach disorders and even help with your bones as you get older, especially in women. So this humble, often maligned dairy product has enough going for it that we really ought to give it serious attention and an open mind.

To help us do just that, let's start with making a terrific substitute for store-bought sour cream then move to a clever way to bake chicken breasts:

Cottage Cheese Sour Cream

(Yield: 1 cup)

1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons skim milk (I use 2% milk - my hubby's milk preference, or I use cream - my preference)

Pour the cottage cheese, milk and lemon juice into a blender. Mix on medium-high speed until smooth. Refrigerate before serving. Use it just like you would any store brand sour cream.

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Chicken in Foil

(Serves 6)
This technique keeps your chicken breasts moist and locks in flavor!

3 large chicken breasts, cut in half
2 C small curd cottage cheese
1/2 C crumbled Blue cheese, feta cheese, or Swiss cheese
1/2 C butter, softened
1/4 C chopped pimiento'
1/4 C chopped parsley
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Cut aluminum foil into six 12-inch squares; place a chicken breast half on each one. Combine cottage cheese with Blue (or feta or Swiss) cheese, butter, pimiento, parsley, salt, and garlic powder until well blended. Top chicken with cottage cheese mixture, fold foil envelope fashion and seal edges well. Bake 1 1/2 hrs. (NOTE: Chicken can also be cooked over charcoal - just turn it occasionally to ensure even baking.)

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