Tag Archives: Parmigiano-Reggiano

Zucchini Breakfast Bites

These savory breakfast bites evolved from a  Crustless Zucchini Pie recipe I found on allrecipes.com a few months ago, and they have become one of my favorite healthy snacks.  Although they look like muffins, their texture is similar to firm quiche.  I like to make a big batch of these on Sunday night and store them in the fridge for on-the-go breakfasts during the week.  This recipe freezes well, too, so it’s a good way to use up extra summer squash.  If you prefer a casserole to these portable muffins, use two 9-inch pie plates and increase the baking time to 35 minutes.

Zucchini Breakfast Bites (yields 24 muffins)
1 large onion, about 3/4 cup diced
2 zucchini or summer squash, about 3 cups shredded
1 cup baking mix*
1 tablespoon dried dill weed or minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup mild cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Grate squash with a hand grater or food processor.  Put shredded squash in a potato ricer to drain out as much liquid as possible.  No potato ricer?  Let the squash sit in a mesh strainer for half an hour before proceeding.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare muffin tins with paper liners. (Don’t skip this– these will stick to muffin tins and make your life miserable.)  Beat 4 eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.  Divide batter evenly between 24 muffin cups and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until muffins are firm and golden brown. Remove from oven and cool breakfast bites on wire racks. Store completely cooled breakfast bites in an airtight plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week.

*Either regular or gluten free baking mix work well here.

Click here for a printable copy of this recipe.

This post is sponsored by Greenling Organic Delivery and also appears on their blog, “Eating Out of the Local Box.”

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Portobello Parmesan Pasta

Last night I was craving fettuccine alfredo from the popular restaurant I’ll call “Schmalloff Garten.” I don’t eat at restaurants like that any more because of their impact on local economies and the environment, but I still crave junk food sometimes!

I wanted to make a version of the dish that would be easier on my waistline, and that would utilize some of the wonderful, local produce hanging out in my fridge. To lighten up the fat and calorie content, I skipped the heavy cream found in traditional alfredo sauces and used skim milk instead, with a little cornstarch as a thickening agent. I used full fat butter and heart-healthy olive oil in this recipe, and I added mushrooms and dark greens to increase the calcium, fiber, and vitamin content of the dish.  As a bonus, the sauce for this dish is gluten free, so all my celiac friends can enjoy this with GF pasta!

I used portobello mushrooms from Kitchen Pride, penne from Austin Pasta Company, and mixed greens from My Father’s Farm in this recipe, but any variety of mushrooms, dark greens and pasta would work with a similar result.

Portobello Parmesan Pasta (makes 6, 1-cup servings)
1 lb. pasta*, use gluten free if you wish
1 lb. dark greens, like kale, beet greens, spinach, whatever!
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups chopped portobello mushroom pieces, about 2 large caps’ worth**
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/4 cup skim milk, plus 1/4 cup milk to make slurry
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Chop greens and set aside. Boil water for pasta and prepare as usual, adding greens to the pot one minute before pasta is finished cooking.  Drain pasta and greens together.  For sauce, melt butter and olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Chop mushrooms and garlic and add to pan.  Saute until tender.  Make a slurry of 2 tablespoons constarch and 1/4 cup milk;  pour into pan, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring constantly, for two minutes until the mixture is thick and gooey.  Slowly pour in an additional 1 1/4 cups milk, stirring constantly.  Bring liquid to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove pan from heat and add cheese, stirring constantly until all cheese is incorporated.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour finished sauce over hot pasta and greens; stir gently to combine.  Garnish with cracked pepper and a little more parmesan cheese.

*If you’re making this dish for company, it’s worth taking time to remove the dark brown gills from the mushroom caps.  They taste fine, but they’ll turn your cream sauce a gray color as they cook.

**If you want a more authentic Schmalloff Garten white-colored dish, you should use fettucine pasta made with refined wheat flour.  Pictured is a delicious pumpkin penne from Austin Pasta Company. It was yummy, but resulted in a more yellow appearance than what I was originally going for.

Finally, here’s the nutrition information for my recipe, calculated on About.com’s very useful recipe calorie counter. The serving size here is 1 cup of the finished recipe.

If you’re interested, here is the nutrition information for a dinner portion of Schmalloff Garten’s fettuccine alfredo, as published on their website:

The restaurant only discloses those 5 categories of info, so there’s no telling how large the serving size actually is, and what specific ingredients are in the dish. The percentage of daily values were calculated by me according to the standard FDA values. (Please don’t sue me for doing math, Schmalloff Garten!!)

Mini Rosemary Pesto Rolls

Rami and I are both in horrible moods since Texas lost to UCLA this afternoon.  We’re drowning our sorrows in rosemary, butter, and bread with these mini pesto rolls I created.

This is the recipe I’ve been tinkering with all week in preparation for the potluck at Greenling’s Best of Austin Bash next Thursday.  It meets the main four requirements for any potluck recipe:

  1. It tastes good.
  2. It’s pretty to look at.
  3. The recipe is cheap and makes a lot.
  4. It’s easy to make ahead of time, freeze and reheat.

Plus, since this is a Greenling potluck, the recipe had to use a lot of local ingredients.  These rolls use sweet potatoes from Naegelin Farms, rosemary and parsley from Pure Luck Farm and Dairy, garlic from Green Gate Farms, and Parmesan from Brazos Valley Cheese.  I am really excited to meet up with some of these farmers on Thursday so I can thank them for helping me to create this delicious recipe!

These rolls are time consuming, but worth it.  The sweet potato in the dough makes the bread very moist and tender.  The rosemary pesto, while too strong for most of my pasta recipes, holds up beautifully in the oven.  I think I’ll definitely be making these for Thanksgiving this year– but earlier in the week than the turkey since they’re so labor intensive.

Rosemary Pesto Rolls (makes about 90 mini rolls or 36 full sized rolls)
Roll Dough:
2 sweet potatoes
1 cup potato cooking water, reserved
2 sprigs rosemary
1 cup milk, room temperature
1 packet active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
5-7 cups all purpose flour
Pesto filling:
1/3 cup rosemary needles
1 cup parsley
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pecan halves
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter

Preparation: Wash and chop sweet potatoes.  Boil unpeeled potato chunks with sprigs of rosemary until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the pesto filling.  Remove the rosemary needles from the woody stem. 

Combine 1/3 cup rosemary needles with the remainder of the pesto ingredients in a food processor.  Pulse until ingredients are processed into a smooth paste.  Scoop out pesto filling and set aside for later use. (You’ll have just over a cup of pesto.)  Clean out the food processor bowl, we’ll use it in the dough prep!

Now, back to the potatoes.  Once they are tender, remove from heat. Use a slotted spoon to remove the rosemary sprigs from the water.  Peel the needles off the woody stem, and mince with a knife.  Put about 1 tbs. of minced rosemary in the food processor bowl.  Remove peel from cooked potatoes and add those to the food processor, too.  Reserve 1 cup of the hot potato water.  Puree the potatoes and rosemary in the food processor.

You should have 1 to 1.5 cups of potato puree.  Add one cup reserved potato water and milk and puree.  The resulting liquid should still be very warm from cooking, about 110 degrees. (Use a thermometer to measure if you’re anal retentive like me.)

Transfer liquid to a large mixing bowl and add yeast and sugar.  Let yeast proof, then add melted butter and beaten egg.  If the liquid is slightly viscous and bubbly, you’re doing it right!

Add about 5 cups of flour to the mixture, stirring constantly. Stir and stir and stir until the dough becomes elastic and begins to pull away from the edges of the bowl.  If it is very humid outside, you may need an additional 1/2 cup or cup of flour for the dough ball to solidify.  Continue stirring until dough loses its sheen and can be removed easily from the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Cover the bowl with a damp towel and place in a warm spot for about 45 minutes, until dough volume is nearly doubled.

Punch down dough and knead on a floured surface with floured hands.  Once dough holds shape reasonably well, use a pastry cutter to divide into four even pieces.

Now the fun begins!  Set aside the extra dough and work with one piece at a time.  On the floured surface, roll dough until it is 1/4 inch thick and 6-7 inches wide and 18-22 inches long.

Spread 1/4 cup pesto filling on the dough with a spatula. Roll up the dough longways, using the pastry scraper to support the dough if necessary to keep from ripping. The tube of dough should be about the size of a broom handle.

Use un-waxed, unflavored dental floss to cut the roll into one-inch sections. Place the rolls about 1/4 inch apart in a buttered glass baking dish. Brush the tops of the rolls with butter.

Repeat this process three more times with the remaining dough and pesto.  I used one 9×13 pan, one pie pan, and two 7×11 pans to hold all the mini rolls.  Once all the rolls are assembled, cover pans with damp towels and place in a warm spot to rise.  Let sit for about an hour, or until rolls have doubled in size.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until rolls are lightly brown.  Eat these right out of the oven, or freeze them for later service. They’re delicious either way!

Rosemary Pecan Pesto

So I’m working really hard to perfect my potluck recipe for Greenling’s Best of Austin Bash next Thursday. I’m not ready to share the whole thing, but I do want to tell you about this fabulous rosemary pesto recipe I created en route to the finished product:

Rosemary Pecan Pesto
1/4-1/3 cup fresh rosemary needles
1 cup fresh Italian curly or flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
3/4 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup olive oil

This pesto is very aromatic, and a nice change from the traditional basil/pine nut preparation. Go easy on the rosemary at first so the flavors don’t get too strong.  Preparation: Strip needles from rosemary stems and chop parsley. Peel garlic. Combine all dry ingredients in food processor and blend or process until coarsely ground. With processor running, stream in oil until pesto reaches desired consistency. If the rosemary flavor is too intense, you can fix it by adding more cheese and parsley to balance it out.

My potluck recipe for the Bash will use the pesto above, plus some other delicious local ingredients. I hope to see some other local food bloggers & their recipes there! 🙂