Introduction: Creamy Cheese Nuggets
Hi everyone! Today we are making these delicious creamy cheese nuggets. If you love Mozzarella sticks or fried mac & cheese balls, this will be an new one to try! These breaded nuggets filled with a combination of stretchy and creamy cheeses.
Mozzarella sticks are great but the problem is that they kind of lack flavor. Mozzarella is such a mild tasting cheese that after it cools down, it is pretty much a tasteless piece of chewy 'meh' cheese...(think cold leftover pizza)
For this recipe, we are going to use multiple kind of cheeses so that it remains creamy even after it cools down to room temperature. The main ingredients of this recipe is cottage cheese. If you had Cheese Manicotti before, you know how creamy and milky the filling is inside those pasta shells. Besides cottage cheese, we also be adding some mozzarella and a little bit of cheddar for a nice yellow color. You could also use different type of stretchy cheeses of your liking, Muenster is highly recommended! We will also be using American cheese slices to make a lovely cheese sauce as the main base ingredients for the nugget to hold it's shape.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE:
I used American cheese to make a cheese sauce because it has the ability to retain it's creamy texture even after refrigeration and reheating (thanks to the milk powder and starch in it's ingredient). Meanwhile cheddar sauces has the habit of clumping and separating after being expose to different temperatures (because of the high fat content). Using American cheese would also allow the uncooked raw nuggets to be frozen without accidentally altering it's creamy texture later on.
So this is a great make-ahead recipe to put in the books!
I will be serving these lovely nuggets with my homemade Marinara sauce, it's the perfect condiment!
Recipe will be placed at the bottom of the post.
Step 2: Things You'll Need
A medium bowl
A Cheese Cloth (can be found in the kitchen equipment aisle at the grocery store)
A colander* optional. (it helps to hold the cheesecloth while working)
Main cheese nugget filling ingredients:
1lb of full fat cottage cheese
1 cup of shredded Mozzarella
1/2 cup of shredded Cheddar Cheese (or any stretchy cheese of your choice)
5 slices of American cheese slice
3 tablespoons of cornstarch
Step 3: Squeeze the Whey From the Curds
Place a colander over your large bowl and lay 2 thin layers of cheesecloth over the colander. Pour 1lb of cottage cheese on your cheesecloth and squeeze your whey out. Squeeze as much whey as you can because the whey can cause crazy splattering when you fry your nuggets.Remember liquid and oil don't mix!!
Once your curds feel relatively dry, transfer them into a different bowl together with your other shredded cheese. Reserve the whey as you will using it to make the thick cheese sauce.
If you wish, you can add a few handful of chopped pepperoni. If you are a vegetarian, you can omit the meat altogether.
Step 4: Make Your Cheese Sauce
You will need about 1/2 cup of whey that you reserved earlier.
Place 1/2 a cup of whey into a small saucepot and heat on your stove at medium heat, or a microwave, until it is warmed up. Place five slices of American cheese inside your warm whey and reheat it again until the cheese is warm and melting. Use a whisk and whisk up the mixture until it resembles a thick cheese sauce .
Once thicken, remove from heat and let it cool down completely. It must be completely cool or it will melt the other cheeses. I place them in the freezer to hasten the cooling, ensure to whisk it occasionally.
Step 5: Make the Nugget Filling
First, mix in your cornstarch into your cooled cheese sauce. If you wish you can add a tablespoon of cayenne pepper for some heat. Then gradually add in your cheese sauce into your bowl of mixed cheeses. So slowly add them as you go.
Your filling should not be too runny, it should be able to hold it's shape despite looking shaggy and lumpy.
Step 6: Shape Them
Using clean and dry hands, shape them into your desired shape. It can be as little or as big as you want. Tho I highly recommend you don't go any bigger than 2 inches as it will not cook and melt the cheese thoroughly while frying. Smaller is better.
Place them on a tray or a plate lined with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
Once complete, place them in the freezer for 5-10 minutes until firm and slightly harden. It doesn't have to freeze completely, just firm enough to work with.
Step 7: Breading Station
You will need:
1 cup of of Italian style breadcrumbs*
1 cup of Panko crumbs*
1 cup of all purpose flour*
4 eggs, beaten
Note* You are welcome to use gluten free products at this point.
Dredge your harden nugget into the flour. Followed by the egg wash coating and then to your breadcrumb mixture.
Repeat until you complete all of them.
Then place them back in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to firm up just a little before frying.
Step 8: Fry Your Cold Nuggets
Once the nuggets are cold and firmed up, you have a choice to either fry them immediately or neatly place them in freezer-safe bags for future use.
In a medium pot or oil fryer, heat enough oil to deep fry them.
Heat your oil to about 300-325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Any lower, and your nuggets will sit in oil and get overly greasy.
Too hot, you risk burning your breadcrumbs even before getting a chance to thoroughly melt your cottage cheese.
Fry the nuggets within that temperature range, about 2 big nuggets at a time. Do not overcrowd your fryer. Fry them for approximately 3 minutes on each side. 6-10 minutes total.You want to fry them long enough that you give the cottage cheese time to melt properly and turn creamy, if not you be left with a very lumpy nugget.
Once fried, transfer them to a wire rack to drain off any excess dripping oil.
Serve immediately while hot.
Step 9: And Serve!
These are best served hot and warm. But don't fret, if they cool down too fast before you get to enjoy them you are free to reheat them. Serve with your marinara sauce and turn on your favorite movie!
Step 10: My Homemade Marinara Sauce
1, 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
5 garlic cloves, chopped
4 tablespoons of butter or your favorite olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt,1 teaspoon of black pepper & 2 tablespoon of sugar (according to taste)
1 /2 tablespoon of dry oregano
1/2 tablespoon of crushed chilli flakes
1 sprig of fresh Italian basil
In a medium size pot, heat your butter or oil together with your garlic. Fry them just slightly until fragrant but not browned or burned.
Pour your crushed tomato together with your salt, black pepper, sugar, oregano and chili flakes.
Mix your sauce and place a sprig of basil inside. Let it cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes and then reduce it to low for the next 20 minutes until the sauce reduced and thicken slightly.
Enjoy it warm and reheat if necessary.
Grand Prize in the
Cheese Speed Challenge