Sliced, shredded, skewered or melted, cheese is bound to be a crowd favorite.

It’s a rare occasion if you hear someone say: “There’s simply too much cheese on this!” Cheese offers a delicious form of calcium in an ooey-gooey-goodness sort of way. But let’s face it: We’re usually eating cheesy delights because we’re looking for comfort food, right? So whether you’re preparing a classic like Mom used to fix or trying a new recipe for the family, give yourself permission to indulge with some cheesy goodness. The cheese fans in your family will thank you for the delicious consideration.

Spinach & Cheese-Stuffed Mushrooms

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48 fresh whole white mushrooms (1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter)
10-ounce package cream cheese, softened
18-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated and divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup panko crispy breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Gently remove stems from mushroom caps; reserve caps. Discard stems or use in a salad or dice for a pasta sauce.

In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, spinach, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper until well blended. Using a tablespoon, mound filling slightly in each mushroom cap and place on a lightly greased sheet pan.

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, panko breadcrumbs and butter. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over filled mushroom caps, pressing lightly. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve immediately.

Cheesy Lasagna

2 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
16 ounces cottage cheese
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
25 1/2-ounce jar tomato-basil pasta or marinara sauce
1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup heavy cream
9 lasagna noodles

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In large bowl, stir together 2 cups of the mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, pepper flakes, garlic, egg and Italian seasoning.
Spread 8 ounces of the pasta sauce in bottom of dish.

Heat 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef; cook 7 to 9 minutes, stirring frequently, until browned; drain well. Stir in remaining pasta sauce and heavy cream.

Place 3 lasagna noodles over sauce in baking dish. Spread half of cheese mixture over noodles. Spoon 1 cup of the beef sauce over the cheese. Repeat with 3 noodles, remaining cheese mixture and 1 cup of the beef sauce. Top with remaining noodles and beef sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.

Cover with foil; bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer or until cheese is starting to brown. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

Cheese-Stuffed Chicken

Four 4-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 ounces cheddar cheese sticks, halved
1/2 cup cornflake crumbs
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup milk
16-ounce box orzo, prepared as directed

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut a 3-inch slit in each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Insert one piece of cheese stick into each slit and secure with a few toothpicks.

Combine cornflake crumbs, shredded cheese, garlic salt and salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Beat egg and milk in another shallow bowl; dip chicken in egg mixture. Lightly press both sides of chicken in crumb mixture to coat well. Place chicken onto greased baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until no longer pink.

While the chicken bakes, prepare orzo according to package directions. When chicken is done, spoon orzo onto plate, top with a chicken breast and serve while hot.

Cheesy Bacon Snack Bread

1-pound loaf frozen white bread dough, thawed according to package directions
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke, if desired
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/3 cup real bacon bits
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Press dough into greased baking pan.

Combine melted butter, onion salt, liquid smoke, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Brush mixture evenly over dough. Cover and let rise in warm place until dough doubles in size.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Prick dough all over with a fork. Sprinkle cheeses and bacon bits evenly over dough. Bake 15 to 17 minutes or until edges of dough are golden brown and cheese begins to brown.

Sprinkle with parsley. Cut into serving pieces; serve warm.

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