Tag Archives: parmesan cheese

Mushroom Parmesan Pinwheels

21 Dec

I asked around my foodie friends on the internet on various ideas for appetizers… and my friend Suzanne (I wish I could tag you like on FaceBook)  suggested to make puff pastry pinwheels filled with mushrooms and parmesan cheese.

Having just come from making an amazing mushroom filling for the lasagna at my nephew’s birthday party and knowing how impressed my sister was at the flavors of such filling, I decided to venture myself to making these as one of my savory appetizers. My spinach pinwheels were the HIT of the last baby shower I hosted. Kids love anything savory rolled in puff pastry and these mushroom ones were not the exception.

I have requests for the recipe already… so here it is for all of you interested.

mushroom parm pinwheels  KFC


2 sheets of puffed pastry, defrosted in the refrigerator overnight – I just buy it and place it in the fridge…
24 ounces button mushrooms, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons fresh juice from 1 lemon
2 oz goat cheese
2 tbs sour cream
½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil
  1. Add a generous drizzle of olive oil to a large pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and continue cooking stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates and mushrooms start to sizzle, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the thyme, soy sauce and lemon juice and stir to combine. Add the goat cheese and sour cream and stir once more. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool off a bit.
  3. Open the puffed pastry (which comes folded in three). Place some flour onto a clean surface and flour the rolling pin too. Roll out the pastry so that it loses the creases where the folds were.
  4. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese and spread an even layer of mushrooms leaving a border on one edge.
  5. mushroom parm in progress  KFC
  6. Start rolling from the farthest edge from the border you left without mushrooms. Roll the pastry onto itself until you create a log.
  7. Repeat with the second sheet of pastry in the package. Place logs in the fridge covered with a moist paper towel for about 10-15 minutes or until you’re ready to bake them. This is important for the pastry to harden a bit again. It’ll be easier to cut if the pastry is cold than if it is at room temp.
  8. Slice the logs into ¼ inch pieces. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a 425F oven for about 10-12 minutes, until the cheeses smell great and the pastry is puffed and golden delicious.
  9. Transfer them to a cool plate and serve them immediately. But they will keep very well at room temperature as long as there’s not a lot of humidity… lots of humidity makes puff pastry soggy.

I prepare these the day before the party. Just cover them and place them in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.

Grilled Asparagus

11 Oct

It might seem weird to you that I am posting an asparagus recipe in the Fall… but I had these pictures taken for a few months now, but never got around to write a post about it. And given I have noticed how many readers we have from the Southern Hemisphere, then it should be just as appropriate to post something that goes with their Spring season starting just now.


The asparagus I grew up with were canned and I usually ate them almost exclusively in a party sandwich like these…

But I have come to develop a great love for asparagus, especially when they’re abundant and fresh in season in every farmer’s market near you.  This is an easy delicious recipe to snack on or as a side dish…


½ a bunch of asparagus
Salt and Pepper to taste
The juice of ½ lemon or lime
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese

I like to use a grill pan for this… and I like pencil-thin asparagus.

  1. Clean the asparagus by trimming the end where the asparagus breaks on its own when you bend the stalk. That end will be stringy and not pleasant to eat anyway. You can keep it to flavor some vegetable stock if you want. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper and massage the asparagus to make sure they’re all coated and seasoned.
  2. Heat grill pan over medium-high heat. Place your asparagus as flat as possible on top of grill pan. Allow them to cook for a few minutes. Turn them around by rolling them on their side so they get grill marks on various sides.
  3. When they turn bright green, about 4-5 minutes, they’re most probably done. Turn off the stove and squirt some lemon juice on top. Take them off the grill pan and serve, sprinkling some grated parmesan cheese on top to season.

Easy-No Cook Spinach Dip

25 May

It’s been a while since I’ve given you any dip recipes… haven’t you noticed?

Partly the reason has been I am in the midst of remodeling my apartment, including my kitchen, and between that and the miles I’ve racked up in several airlines in the last few months, there’s been little entertaining at home.

While cleaning my office I ran across a few recipes I had written but have not shared with you yet. I made this originally for a lecture on Vegeterian Appetizers at the Yoga Center.  This Spinach Dip is a quick put together, especially if impromptu company drops in on you. It’s made from staples I always have in my fridge and freezer.


1 small package of frozen spinach
1 cup sour cream
4 oz. cream cheese
¼ cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese
1 tsp Garlic Salt – optional
Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Thaw the spinach well and wring as much water out of it as possible. Cut it a bit with a knife or kitchen scissors to make the pieces smaller and easier to eat later on.
  2. Mix well with the rest of the ingredients.

If you use vegan cream cheese, vegan sour cream and Rice Parmesan cheese, this recipe is suitable for a vegan diet too. It’s just a matter of knowing the right products for your diet.

Serve it with crackers, pretzels or even carrot sticks.

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes over Brown Rice Pasta

8 Oct

This is one of my favorite recipes nowadays… I can safely say this is what I am cooking to impress new boyfriends (yes, there is more than one…) these days. Boyfriends and girlfriends too… OK, friends overall!!!

The first time I made this recipe, or idea/concept really, was at my friend’s Melissa. I was bored, wanted to cook but not just for me, posted on FaceBook and Melissa offered her kitchen for me to cook away. FaceBook is a wonderful, wonderful thing. It connects you with friends online and offline too…

I say this is a concept or idea more than a recipe because I have done this about 5-6 times already and every time I make it differently. And every time the end result is still delicious… I am sharing with you the BEST combination of them all.  But you can certainly mix and match, omit or add any ingredient you deem appropriate.












4 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, preferably organic and washed well with a vegetable cleanser
3 button mushrooms, chopped
¼ onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
¼ cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
¼ cup goat cheese or goat cheese crumbles
2 tbs flat leaf parsley, chopped
A few sprinklings of Italian Seasonings
Salt and Freshly Cracked Ground Pepper to taste
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 tbs water or vegetable broth
Brown Rice pasta – fettuccini or penne… your choice
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425F.
  2. Cut the top off the tomatoes and carefully scoop out most of the inner flesh and seeds. Sometimes, I also cut a very small slit underneath the tomato to help is stay upright.
  3. Collect the innards of the tomatoes in a bowl were we will mix with the rest of the stuffing ingredients. Place the hollowed tomatoes in a greased baking dish. Season them with a very light sprinkle of salt, pepper and olive oil. Set aside.
  4. Chop the tomato insides in a small dice. Chop the tomato tops also. No need to waste those. Add the mushrooms, garlic, onion, breadcrumbs, parmesan, goat cheese and parsley. Season the mixture with salt, pepper, Italian seasonings and a small drizzle of olive oil. Mix well to combine.
  5. Stuff the tomatoes generously. Try not to burst them open, but create a mound of stuffing on top. Garnish with a little more grated or shredded parmesan cheese on top of each tomato. Season again the whole dish with some salt, pepper and a last drizzle of olive oil. Add the vinegar and broth to the bottom of the baking dish.
  6. Place in oven and roast for about 30 -45 minutes.
  7. When the tomatoes just have about 10 minutes left, cook the pasta according to the package directions. When the pasta is done to your liking, drain it, reserving about 1/2 cup of cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot you cooked it in.
  8. Remove the tomatoes onto a holding dish. Transfer the juice/broth in the bottom of the baking dish onto the pasta pot with the drained pasta. Mix well to combine… add a bit of pasta water if you like. Add a sprinkle of additional parmesan if you’d like.
  9. Serve pasta in plates… add one tomato per person on top of the pasta.


The way to go about this is that the stuffed tomato becomes, when you cut it while eating, the tomato sauce you eat the pasta with. The cheeses and mushrooms and breadcrumbs in the stuffing create this savory mixture with the tomatoes that is just spectacular.

Melissa has already requested I make this in her home again for company… Walter and David were positively impressed when they tasted it. My mom also… I am telling you, this recipe is a true hit. And a tad bit more figure-friendly than my usual impress-new boyfriend-recipe Baked Pasta with 4 Cheeses.

I have made this recipe with Roma tomatoes, large tomatoes and even those small vine-ripened tomatoes you find at Costco.  I just use 3 tomatoes per person when using either Roma or the smaller ones. 

Hope you like it too… How would you make this recipe your own???

Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

12 Aug

My sister came for a quickie visit to Puerto Rico… And to make things easier on her and my BIL, we decided to cook up some appetizer-type food and tell everyone if they wanted to see baby Ale, all they needed to do was to stop by my mom’s house.

I didn’t want to cook something and have it re-heated… I though stuffed mushrooms would be perfect because I could stuff them at home and cook them in batches as people would visit and decided they wanted something to nibble on.

The idea worked out perfectly because I did way too many… and we ended up dividing the leftovers between my mom and I for lunch the next day. Great make ahead idea…




1 large package of white stuffing mushrooms
1/2 medium onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, minced or grated on a microplane
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped in small pieces – make sure they’re made without sulfites as a preservative
1/4 cup of vegetable broth
½ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese, organic preferably- divided
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup of loosely-packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped finely
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
  1. Clean the mushrooms well using a damp paper towel. Remove the stems and chop them into small pieces and set aside. Reserve the caps for later use.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the vegetable broth to a simmer and add the sundried tomatoes. Turn off the stove and let the tomatoes just sit in the hot broth for a few minutes to help them reconstitute a bit.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, pour a little olive oil and sauté the onions, garlic and the mushrooms stems you already chopped. Cook until the mushrooms are browned. Season with the thyme, stripping the leaves from the stems, salt and pepper. Allow the mixture to cook some more to evaporate a bit, about 5 more minutes. Remove from pan into a bowl and allow cooling a bit.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the cooled mushroom stem/onion mixture with the sun-dried tomatoes, breadcrumbs, goat cheese, ½ the parmesan cheese, and chopped fresh parsley. Drizzle some olive oil if you see the mix a bit dry… but chances are it’s not.
  5. Preheat oven to 425F.
  6. In a large baking dish drizzled with a bit of olive oil, place all the mushrooms stuffed with the mixture we just made. Don’t push the stuffing too much into the mushrooms cavity, but do heap any additional stuffing generously on top of mushrooms. No need to discard or leave any stuffing for future use.
  7. Take the extra parmesan we saved and add a small mound on top of each mushrooms. I usually drizzle a bit of olive oil and sprinkle some additional salt and pepper to season the mushrooms themselves.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the mushrooms looked cooked and cheese on top is golden brown.

Serve immediately…

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