Maximize family meal flavors with cheese

These red bell peppers are cooked and seeded before being stuffed with onions, mushrooms, cheese and seasonings. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Family Features

Special to Valley News

While there are many ways to enhance the taste and texture of your family’s favorite dishes, perhaps one of the simplest and most impactful is the addition of cheese. From fish and seafood to veggie-inspired recipes, the dairy product provides a versatile, flavorful ingredient.

One wholesome option is cheese made with 100% sustainably sourced real California milk from dairy farm families, which helps bring out the full flavor of dishes like California Queso Fresco Fish Tacos. Quality, authentic dairy can be part of flavor-driven experiences with your loved ones. You can also use queso fresco to elevate the flavor of dishes like chilaquiles, or turn to other varieties like Oaxaca for a capirotada or asadero for quiche.

If a vegetarian-friendly meal suits your style, cheese can also enhance plant-forward dishes like Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers. These red bell peppers are cooked and seeded before being stuffed with onions, mushrooms, cheese and seasonings. Once they’re baked to an ooey-gooey doneness, they’re served with white rice for a filling yet healthful meal.

Visit to find more cheesy, delicious recipes.

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

Start to finish: 1 hours, 25 minutes

Servings: 4


  • 4 red bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon, vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 cup white onion (about 1 medium), 1/4-inch diced
  • 4 cups cremini or brown mushrooms (about 1 pound), 1/4-inch diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup Real California Oaxaca cheese, shredded
  • Cooked white rice, for serving


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Rub bell peppers with 1 tablespoon oil then use grill, broiler or gas stovetop burner to cook peppers, turning occasionally, until well charred, 12-15 minutes. Transfer to bowl, cover and set aside until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.

In large skillet over medium heat, warm remaining oil. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, 3-5 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic salt and black pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are browned and liquid is almost entirely evaporated, 7-10 minutes.

Rub charred skin from bell peppers. Slice off tops and remove seeds. Fill bell peppers with mushroom mixture, top with cheese and arrange in baking dish. Replace bell pepper tops and bake until cheese melts, 8-10 minutes. Serve with cooked rice.

From fish and seafood to veggie-inspired recipes, cheese provides a versatile, flavorful ingredient. Valley News/Courtesy photo

California Queso Fresco Fish Tacos

Start to finish:

Servings: 6 (12 tacos)


Avocado Radish Salsa:

  • 2 medium avocados, chopped
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup diced radish
  • 5 serrano chili peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste



  • 1 1/2 pounds swordfish, or other whitefish, steaks or fillets
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 6 ounces California Queso Fresco cheese, crumbled
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage


To make avocado radish salsa: In small bowl, combine avocados, onion, radish, chili peppers, cilantro, garlic and lime juice. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Heat grill to medium heat.

Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels. Rub oil on both sides to coat; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill fish 6-9 minutes until cooked through; cool slightly. Remove skin and bones; cut fish into 1 1/2-inch strips.

In medium bowl, toss fish with lime juice and cumin. Warm tortillas in microwave or at 275 F in oven.

Place equal amounts of fish, cheese, tomatoes, cabbage and salsa in center of each tortilla. Roll up tacos to serve.

Substitution: Use California Asadero or Monterey Jack cheese for Queso Fresco.

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