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Entries in parmesan (6)


Flavorful Potato Veggie Frittata

Flavorful Potato Veggie Frittata

I’m in love with this frittata! I’ve made them once or twice before, but they never really thrilled me. This one does. Last week, Billy wanted “some kind of eggs” with mushrooms and tomatoes. Um, okay… That could end up being very boring. But not this way! Trying to avoid another boring frittata, I’ve added diced potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes, green onions, and also some thyme, tarragon and garlic. It’s so full of flavor! Season at each cooking step and you can’t get anything but lots of flavor.

Flavorful Potato Veggie Frittata

I’m working against the clock here, but if I finish this post today, this will be a great recipe for Meatless Monday.

This frittata is made in a 9 x 13 inch pan. You know what that means. Leftovers! I can vouch for this being just as delicious the next day. It could also mean that this recipe is good for when you need to feed more than a few people. I cut ours into eight squares. You could certainly cut them smaller if you were putting them out for a brunch buffet or even a holiday breakfast.

Now let’s get to the recipe. I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. This “recipe” is a guideline. I love it as is, but if you absolutely hate one of the ingredients, go ahead and substitute something else. No big deal! If you’re adding in a watery vegetable, it’s a good idea to sauté it first and get the extra liquid out so you don’t have a watery frittata. Do you want to add some sausage, ham or bacon? Be my guest! In fact, those would be wonderful additions. Want to switch cheeses? Do it! No matter how you make it, it’s a hearty meal.

Flavorful Potato Veggie Frittata

Flavorful Potato Veggie Frittata
Makes a 9 x 13 pan

12-15 small potatoes, diced in about 1/2 inch chunks
Olive oil, for sautéing vegetables
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound sliced baby Portabella mushrooms (or your favorite)
5-6 green onions, sliced (both white and green parts)
6 -7 ounces grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 large garlic clove, minced
Pinch of dried thyme
Pinch of dried tarragon
1 dozen large eggs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup half and half
Crumbled feta cheese, enough to sprinkle over the entire frittata (I used the better part of a 12 oz container. Because I love cheeeese.)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil, lightly grease, and set aside.

Heat a few teaspoons of oil in a skillet that has a lid on medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the potatoes and sprinkle in some salt and pepper to season them. Let them sit without stirring for a few minutes to let them get brown on the bottoms. Sauté for about 5 minutes total, reduce heat and cover for about 3 minutes, then stir and give them about 3 more minutes, uncovered. Stir occasionally.

When the potatoes are done, pour them in the prepared 9 x 13 pan, spreading them all over.

In the same skillet, add a little more oil and then add the mushrooms, green onions, tomatoes, garlic, a couple pinches salt and pepper, the thyme and the tarragon. Cook until the vegetables are cooked down, about 8-10 minutes or so. When they're done, pour them over the potatoes in the pan. Again, try to get some everywhere in the pan so you get some in every bite.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, parmesan cheese, half and half, and a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Whisk it all up well! Pour over the vegetables and potatoes in the pan. Top with feta cheese.

Bake for 40-45 minutes. It's done when you stick a knife in the center and it comes out clean. Mine was done at 40 minutes, so start checking then.

Flavorful Potato Veggie Frittata


Grilled Chocolate and Parmesan Sandwich

Grilled Chocolate and Parmesan Sandwich

Yeah, really. And it’s good. Damn good. Pairing the not so sweet dark chocolate with the nutty, tangy Parmesan cheese is pure genius. Don’t forget about the buttery-crispy grilled bread.

Who, me? Genius? Why thanks! But no, it’s not my idea. I read about it on The Huffington Post a couple weeks ago, and haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. I’d have made it right away, too, if it weren’t for those pesky kids eating all of the chocolate and bread. Moving on…

It’s Sunday afternoon, and it’s a rainy one, at that. Husband is out with one of the kids at Comic Con, and it’s just me and the rest of the kids. Who are busy playing the Wii and generally goofing off, which is good. No cries of “Mom, I’m boooored!" Yet.

I decided, after doing some behind the scenes stuff on my blog, that I should hightail it to the kitchen and make this before all the Parm was gone again. Good thing, too, because as you can see, there’s just a small chunk left.

Grilled Chocolate and Parmesan Sandwich

Now, before you start thinking this is gross, read this, from the article:

“Each ingredient's volatile compounds (aromas) are quantified using gas chromatography and/or a mass spectrometer. The concentrations are then compared with their respective flavor threshold and finally matched with other ingredients that have similar compounds.”

So there! I double dog dare you to give this a try. (I know, some of you are already in the kitchen making this!) For those of you that are skeptical, trust me. It’s not cheesy. The chocolate and Parmesan compliment each other--think salty/sweet.

Grilled Chocolate and Parmesan Sandwich

Makes one sandwich.

For the love of all things good and cheesy, don't use the grated stuff. Get a good little hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano, and use some thin slices here.

2 slices of your favorite bread
2 ounces dark (semi-sweet) chocolate, chopped-not too coarse, you need it to melt
Enough thinly shaved slices Parmesan cheese to cover one slice of bread

Heat a skillet to about medium--maybe a little higher. Butter one side of each slice of bread.

Put one slice, butter side down in the pan, and cover it with the cheese slices. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate over that, and place the second slice of bread, butter side up, on top of that.

Heat this until the cheese and chocolate get melty, and then carefully flip the sandwich over with a spatula. When both sides of the sandwich are golden brown to your liking, it's done.

Serve right away, with lots of napkins. If someone else wants one, tell them to make their own, you're eating.

  • The next time I make this, I’m using sourdough, more cheese, and a little less chocolate.
  • Even my nine year old loved this, and that’s saying a lot! He doesn’t like strong cheese or dark chocolate. He even asked for more! The sixteen year old swiped what I had left, too.
  • Notice that I categorized this under main dish, lunch, and dessert. Because for some of you, chocolate or cheese could actually be a main dish. I know. It’s ok. Yes, I’ll hold you. What, breakfast? Hell, yes! With coffee.

Grilled Chocolate and Parmesan Sandwich


Bowties with No-Cook Mascarpone Pesto Sauce

Bowties with No-Cook Mascarpone Pesto Sauce

Yeah, I know. It’s hot, and you don’t want to cook. Totally get that. If you can stand the heat long enough to boil some pasta, then you can enjoy a fantastic dinner with this no-cook sauce. The sauce is a super easy blend of mascarpone, parmesan, pesto and a few other seasonings. It’s rich, creamy and packed with flavor. Plus, it's Meatless Monday!

No-cook sauces are such a great thing to have in your recipe arsenal in the summertime! You can quickly get the pasta made and while it’s cooking, you can throw a fabulous sauce together in no time at all. Use your favorites, and if you’ve got a garden, you’re ahead of the game! Tomatoes, herbs, peppers, cucumbers--you name it. Add some cheese and any seasonings you like, as well. Got leftovers in the fridge? Maybe some bacon, chicken, or shrimp? Add that in, too! Pick up a baguette to go with it and you’ve got a great meal.

Mascarpone. It’s easy and relatively inexpensive for me to find at Trader Joes. I’m positive that Whole Foods has it, but not sure of the price. I can’t always find it at my local regular grocery store. Not to worry of you can’t get it easily! Go ahead and use some ricotta instead. Check out these other ideas from one of my favorite sites, The Cooks Thesaurus:

Substitutes: Blend 8 ounces softened cream cheese with 1/4 cup whipping cream. OR Blend 8 ounces softened cream cheese with 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup cream OR Blend 8 ounces softened cream cheese with 1/8 cup whipping cream and 1/8 cup sour cream. OR Whip ricotta cheese in a blender until smooth (lower in fat)

I use the Paul Prudhomme Pizza and Pasta Magic seasoning in this recipe--well, I use it in a lot of recipes! I just happened to come across it at the store one day and threw it in the cart. It’s one of my new secret ingredients. If you can’t find it locally, you can pick some up at Amazon. It’s worth it! You’ll start wondering what else you can add it to.

Bowties with No-Cook Mascarpone Pesto Sauce

Bowties with No-Cook Mascarpone Pesto Sauce

Nicely coats one pound of cooked pasta. This can be used as a guideline-add what you like and make it to suit your tastes.

-No-cook sauce:
8 oz mascarpone
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
1 tsp Paul Prudhomme Pizza/Pasta Magic or other comparable seasoning
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
3 heaping tbsp prepared pesto, or more to taste
fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water (taken out of the pot while it's cooking)

16 oz pasta
16 oz small heirloom tomatoes, or cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half 
1/2 cup sliced fresh basil
more parmesan for sprinkling over

pine nuts

Mix all of the sauce ingredients together with a whisk, being sure to add some of that hot pasta water to loosen it up. Set aside.

After pasta is cooked and drained, pour it into a large bowl. Pour the sauce over the pasta and gently mix, stirring in the tomatoes and basil.

Check for seasoning and serve. Sprinkle with more parmesan, if you like, and pine nuts, if you've got them.

Bowties with No-Cook Mascarpone Pesto Sauce


A Buitoni Kind of Day.

Pesto Cheese Tortellini with Shrimp and Peas

Do you ever have one of these days? You get up early, maybe after a night of not-so-great sleep. You manage to get the kids and yourself out the door in the nick of time, and then when you finally get to start your day, it’s just one thing after another. And guess what? After work, you still have kids practices or some other errand to run, and THEN, you get the honor of making dinner. Yay. You want to give your family good food to eat, and fast food won’t cut it.

For days like this, you can have a few secret weapons in your fridge. Buitoni (warning if you’re at work: their home page has music that you can turn off--bottom right under Facebook logo) pastas and sauces can make a delicious ending to a busy day. Now, I’m all for making my own food in my kitchen. However, I haven’t yet tackled the art of making pasta. And after a day like the one I described above, who feels like starting that project at six (or later) in the evening? With a bag of frozen shrimp plus a couple other kitchen staples, a pack of Buitoni Mixed Cheese Tortellini, and a container of Buitoni Pesto with Basil, I had dinner on the table in minutes! Here’s my quick recipe for Pesto Cheese Tortellini with Shrimp and Peas. It’s got great tasting parmesan in it, which helps to thicken the sauce very nicely, as well as a nice hint of lemon. Feel free to change up the type of pasta, too.

Read through to see how you can try Buitoni pasta and sauce for free, and also enjoy a $25 gift card, courtesy of Buitoni!

With my gift card, I chose a light, crisp white wine to go with the tortellini pesto dish that I had in mind. It’s PRA Soave Classico from Veneto, Italy. We absolutely loved it! And with a 90 point rating (90-94 -- Outstanding; superior character and style) from The Wine Advocate, it’s well worth it’s very reasonable price of just over $15.00!

A funny side note: Renee from Flamingo Musings and I both ended up choosing the exact same wine! Out of all of the wines on, we narrowed it down to white wine, from Italy, and chose the same one. Weird, right? Check out her recipe using Buitoni pasta and sauce, too.


Pesto Cheese Tortellini with Shrimp and Peas
serves 4

1 (20 oz) package of Buitoni Mixed Cheese Tortellini
1 bag frozen shrimp, thawed (41-60 count) or fresh if you've got them--tails removed
1/3 cup white wine
a bit of salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1 1/4 cup frozen peas (they can be thawed, but it's not necessary)
1 (7 oz) container of Buitoni Pesto with Basil
zest and juice of one smallish lemon
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan, plus more for sprinkling over finished plates

Set the water to boil for the tortellini.  A couple minutes before you start boiling the pasta, heat a bit of oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the tortellini to the pot of boiling water, and cook according to package directions. When it's done, drain and set aside.

Sauté the shrimp in the hot oil, sprinkling them with salt and pepper. Add the wine, and be careful not to overcook the shrimp! You want them tender, not rubbery. Just before they're done (they'll still be a bit translucent), remove them and and the wine from the pan. Set them both aside in a bowl.

In the same pan, heat a bit more oil, and turn the heat down to medium. Add the peas and the pesto. Stir in the lemon zest and juice, heat through. Remove from heat. Stir the 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese into the pan, and then add the shrimp and wine to the pesto mixture. Toss to coat evenly. The heat from the sauce will finish cooking the shrimp.

Toss the sauce with the tortellini, or spoon the sauce over, if you like. I prefer to toss it all together. Sprinkle individual servings with more parmesan cheese.

  • I’ve been using pastas from Buitoni for a long time, so I could already speak for the quality of those. If you’ve never tried their Wild Mushroom Agnolotti, you should--it’s fantastic!
  • This was my first time trying their sauces, and I chose the pesto, of course. It’s very fresh tasting! If you don’t have access to fresh basil, as I don’t yet, since it’s not garden season here, this makes a delicious substitute!
  • I used the PRA Soave Classico in the pasta recipe, as well. You know the rule! If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it!

Pesto Cheese Tortellini with Shrimp and Peas

If you’d like to try this recipe, or experiment and come up with your own, Buitoni has generously offered to give one of you the same goodies they sent me!

One lucky reader (US only) will win two VIP full-value product coupons, PLUS a $25 gift card to

To enter:

1) Like Buitoni on Facebook. This one’s a must! Let me know in a comment here that you did.

Additional Entries, if you like:

2) Leave a comment on this post telling me which Buitoni pasta or sauce you’d most love to try.

3) If you’d like to Tweet about this giveaway or Share it on Facebook, leave another comment here telling me that you did.

That’s it! Easy! I’ll choose a winner randomly on Thursday, May 5th. Good luck!

Wine Cork

Disclaimer: I was given the two Buitoni coupons and the gift card free of charge. I wasn’t compensated for my opinions, which are my own.


Italian Un-Meatballs


I know, right? But I didn't know what else to call these. They're "meatballs," but technically--not meat. So there you go, hehe.

Most of you know that lately, we've been trying to eat healthier. It's not a diet, but a lifestyle change. We originally planned on 6 days a week of raw and vegetarian (and if we were really feeling wild, vegan!), and one cheat day a week with some type of meat involved.

It's a few weeks later, and where are we now? Seven days a week of raw and vegetarian, and no meat! And even though I think of it fondly occasionally (and how weird is that?! hehe!), I don't miss it. I'm 100% serious when I tell you that. I'm not missing the meat. If I'm really jonesing for a burger, there are some great meat-free ones in the stores. Seriously--they do taste great!

We've been doing some reading, and here's the tricky part. My husband now wants to, and has pretty much gone vegan. I KNOW! I was more surprised than anyone. I'm almost there, really, except for eggs and cheese. I'm attached to them more than I was to meat, which blows my mind--I thought it would be the other way around. I can live with out milk, too--and have been since we started this journey. But eggs, on sunday morning? With cheese? Sigh. That's the tough part.

So if any of you vegans out there have good alternatives to breakfast (or favorite cookbooks!), please let me know! Because vegetarian books are full of egg recipes, hehe.

These un-meatballs were a result of a craving I'd had for weeks for spaghetti and meatballs. I was able to track down a recipe and method here at VeganDad. He has a a ton of great recipes, and this one was my answer. I used his genius method, but changed the seasonings to match my standby meatball recipe. Then after a simmer in the same sauce recipe that I always use, these were ready. They held up great to simmering for a couple of hours. A couple of them broke up, but I can live with that. This was a great way to satisfy my craving!

My other craving? Chicken noodle soup. Anyone have a killer magical vegan recipe that'll make me feel like I'm eating real chicken soup? I'll love you forever!

These are vegetarian, and not vegan--because there's parmesan cheese in them, and in the sauce.

adapted from VeganDad

2 (8 oz) pkgs of Tempeh, simmered for 10 minutes, cooled and grated
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup vital wheat gluten
2 tsp dried oregano
4 TB Braggs Liquid Aminos
1 smallish onion, grated
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 cup water

In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients. Form into balls--about the size of a walnut.
Heat a pan over medium heat, and add some oil to heat.
Sauté them until brown all over, then simmer in your favorite sauce for an hour or so.
Put them in the sauce to simmer, but don't go wildly stirring right away--just take a spoon and dunk them under the sauce.
Let them set up for at least 1/2 hour before you stir.
Serve over pasta, or in a bun with provolone for a great un-meatball sandwich.

Grated Tempeh...

An army of un-meatballs...

Brown them all over before you simmer in sauce...

Done. Now go eat!