crispy parmesan hashbrown rounds

crispy parmesan hashbrown rounds

you know when you need a side dish that has to be the perfect combination of salty and crispy? these, my dears, are your answer.
these go great with a grill-out night, with burgers or chicken, or you can be weird and serve them with tacos like i did the other night. hey, i had been dying to make them and well, mama needed something salty. luckily my family likes any dinner that falls under the “meat and potatoes” category, no matter what form it takes.

crispy parmesan hashbrown rounds
adapted from the yummy life


1/2 of a 30 oz bag of frozen shredded hashbrowns (about 5 cups)

2-3 green onions, chopped (or snipped with kitchen shears), both white & green parts

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp salt (1/4 tsp heaping; or if you like it salty, go for 1/2 tsp)

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 tbsp olive oil


1. preheat oven to 350. spray 6 ramekins with cooking spray and place on a rimmed cookie sheet.

2. in a large bowl, combine the potatoes, onions, cheese, salt, and pepper. toss well. drizzle olive oil over mixture and toss well to coat. with a 1/4 or 1/3 measuring cup, scoop mixture into ramekins, filling about halfway. with the bottom of the measuring cup, press down on the mixture to pack it into the ramekin.

3. bake in the lower third of the oven for 65-75 minutes. when they are done, let them cool for about 5 minutes and then run a knife around the edge of each ramekin, to loosen the rounds. gently lift each one out of the ramekin.

**make ahead for cooking later: combine mixture, scoop into ramekins, and cover each ramekin with plastic wrap. refrigerate until ready to bake. remove from fridge 30 minutes before baking time.


arancini mac & cheese

photo (22)

arancini is a masterpiece of italian cooking, and is one of those divine things we get to experience in life on earth.
in italian, arancini means “little oranges”. they are small fried balls of oozy, cheesy risotto with a gorgeous, crispy outside.
as glorious as they may be, they are a rare thing i will not make in my own kitchen. i don’t really fry anything and these babies take a LOT of time & effort to make. so whenever i am at an italian restaurant that makes arancini for me, i order them as fast as i can.
my gift to you: easy arancini deliciousness that you can whip up on a regular weeknight. AND you don’t have to boil the pasta!
it’s especially kid-friendly and with the addition of the salty pancetta, it was a big pleaser for the man in my house. with your fork, you gently crack open the crunchy panko topping and it gives way to the beautiful, stringy mozzarella cheese hiding underneath.
try not to eat the entire dish.

photo (21)

arancini mac & cheese
adapted from alexandra cooks


7 tbsp butter, divided

1/4 cup flour

3 cups milk (whole or 2%)

3 cups water

1/2 tsp salt

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 oz pancetta, diced

3/4 lb (12 oz) elbow pasta (or other small pasta), uncooked

5 oz parmesan cheese, grated

3/4 cup panko

1/4 cup italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

8 oz mozzarella (fresh mozzarella “pearls” are perfect for this recipe, but pre-shredded works fine too)


1. preheat oven to 400 degrees. melt 4 tbsp butter in a large (2 quart) saucepan over medium-high heat. add flour, whisking constantly for about 1 minute. add milk & water, whisking to scrape all flour-butter mixture off the bottom of the pan. bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. add salt and pepper. simmer until mixture begins to thicken a bit, about 10 minutes. remove from heat.

2. meanwhile, in a small skillet, crisp the pancetta over medium heat until nicely browned. pour uncooked macaroni pasta into an ungreased 9×13 baking dish, and grate parmesan cheese evenly over the top. once the pancetta is done, sprinkle on top of pasta & parmesan. add remaining 3 tbsp of butter to pancetta pan and melt over low heat. place panko in a medium-sized mixing bowl & pour melted butter over top, and add in chopped parsley. using your fingers, mix to combine. season with just a pinch of salt & pepper.

3. pour milk mixture over pasta in baking dish (it will feel like a lot of liquid, but it will be fine – this cooks the pasta). cover dish with foil and carefully transfer to the oven. bake for 20 minutes.

4. remove from oven, uncover, and gently stir. scatter mozzarella evenly over the top of the mixture. top with panko mixture. bake for 15-20 minutes more – uncovered – until top is golden brown and macaroni is bubbling. let dish sit for about 10 minutes to cool before serving.


pesto turkey burgers

ahhh, pesto. there isn’t much that i wouldn’t enjoy if it has pesto on it.

the little she and i were on a road trip recently and we stopped at a friend’s house on the way for the night. my dear sweet friend made us a wonderful dinner that night (i seriously expected delivery pizza with the notice i gave her) of pesto turkey burgers and sweet potato fries. this was AHmazing after an entire day of road trip food.

these burgers are so light and fresh tasting with the pesto and breadcrumbs mixed in. they are topped with delicious mozzarella slices and arugula that just screams “summer dish”. i made these the night we got home for my other half and even he, a red-meat-and-potatoes guy, loved it.

pesto turkey burgers
makes 4 burgers


1 lb ground turkey

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/3 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese

1/2 cup pesto, plus more for serving

1 egg, beaten

sea salt

4 ciabatta buns


sliced mozzarella

quick & easy aioli


1. combine the turkey, panko, parmesan cheese, 3/4 cup pesto, egg, and a generous pinch of sea salt in a large bowl and combine by hand. form into 4 patties.  cook on the grill (i find this is easier than in a skillet). on each patty, melt a slice of the mozzarella just before removing from the grill, so it melts nicely.

2. spread one side of each bun with pesto and the other side with aioli – generously of course. top the burger with a small handful of arugula, put the top bun on, cut in half and serve. (oh and fyi, these burgers go really well with this kale salad.)


photos via here & here

baked parmesan romano chicken

this is my favorite, all-time, go-to recipe for chicken parmesan (courtesy martha stewart magazine, years ago, and as usual edited by yours truly just a bit). it is light and crunchy, thanks to the panko breading (my edit, sorry martha) and has so much delicious, italian flavor.
it’s probably the red wine vinegar… i’ll eat almost anything if it has red wine vinegar in it. or on it.

it is perfectly paired with a simply dressed pasta or – as recommended by martha herself – arugula, tomatoes, blanched green beans, and crumbled parmesan cheese topped with olive oil & vinegar.

baked crisp parmesan-romano chicken
serves 4


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for baking sheet

1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp coarse salt

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp dried oregano

2 garlic cloves, minced

3  lbs chicken breasts, pounded to flatten just a bit

1 cup panko (if you can’t find panko, you can sub plain breadcrumbs)

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

1. preheat oven to 400.

2. in a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, salt, red pepper flakes, oregano, and garlic. pour into a large ziploc bag. add chicken to bag, seal, and let marinate in fridge for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.

2. in a medium , shallow bowl stir together panko, cheeses, parsley, and pepper with a fork. line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. oil lining (i highly recommend a spray olive oil – much easier & cleaner).

3. dredge each chicken piece in panko mixture to coat; shake off excess. transfer to prepared baking sheet.

4. bake chicken until cooked through, 45-50 minutes. using a spatula, loosen chicken from sheet to serve.