The Cookbook Series with “Make It Ahead” by Ina Garten – Part 2: Parmesan Chive Smashed Potatoes



Welcome to my second installment of the cookbook series for Ina Garten’s “Make It Ahead” cookbook for Part 1: Blueberry Bran Muffins go here. This week I’m sharing Ina’s recipe for Parmesan Chive Smashed Potatoes. This recipe was very easy to make and was so tasty, there are a few changes I made though. I know what you’re thinking, how dare I change a thing about this recipe, but hang in there and see what I’m talking about. You know I love the barefoot contesssa.

Ingredients for this recipe: Yukon Gold and red new potatoes, Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, good olive oil, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, fresh chives and Fleur de sel or sea salt.

I only had red potatoes so that’s what I used, I also used Pecorino Romano instead of Parmesan and I had the Fleur de sel which I bought from Trader Joe’s (I like the pretty container). Because I used the Pecorino Romano which is already a salty cheese the Fleur de sel was too salty with the recipe. On the first try of this recipe, it was just too salty tasting but when I made it again it was perfect. I didn’t have the Parmesan and I thought the Pecorino would be interchangeable but alas, it was much saltier. I would suggest if using the Parmesan that you follow her directions precisely and see what you think about the saltiness.

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Both times I made this, I doubled the recipe. We only eat veggies, no meat, so this was the main course of the meal, I just doubled it and made it in 2 batches.

First I scrubbed and boiled the potatoes…


While they were boiling I grated the cheese…


and cut the chives…


 When the potatoes were tender, I drained them and put them on a sheet pan (2 in my case because I doubled the recipe).

With a metal measuring cup I pressed the potatoes until they were about 1/2″ thick. The first time I pressed them a bit too thin and it made it trickier to add the oil and seasoning (again, since my cheese was already salty I only sprinkled some sea salt and fresh pepper and that tasted great).



First round of pressing…


The second time I tried the recipe I only pressed them just enough so that they would open and that worked out better. After you add the oil and the seasoning, move the potatoes around the baking sheet to distribute the oil and then flip them over so they get the oil and seasoning on both sides. This is much easier if you don’t over press them, use a spatula to flip if you need to.

Second and better round of pressing…


Roast the potatoes for 25-30 minutes, turning once, until the skins have become nicely browned.

Sprinkle the potatoes with the cheese and roast for another 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle the potatoes with chives and fleur de sel and serve hot. This last amount of salt was just to salty for us, so the second time I made these I just left it off.



I served them for dinner with steamed broccoli and salad. It was so delicious. For dessert we had chocolate covered strawberries, which as you can see from the photo didn’t turn out very well but they still tasted great (I don’t usually have a problem with them, not sure what happened).



They also saved nicely and I had them the next day for breakfast with a sunny side egg on top and some left over steamed broccoli on the side and it was wonderful.



Printable recipe to follow.




Parmesan Chive Smashed Potatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print



  • 1 pound mixed small Yukon Gold and red new potatoes, scrubbed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • Fleur de sel or sea salt


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the potatoes and 1 tablespoon salt in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 17 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a skewer. Drain the potatoes and place on a sheet pan. with a potato masher or metal measuring cup, press each potato until it’s about 1/2 inch thick (they will be messy). Toss the potatoes with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper.

Roast the potatoes for 25 to 30 minutes, turning once, until the skins have become nicely browned. Sprinkle the potatoes with the Parmesan cheese and roast for another 2 to 3 minutes, just until the cheese melts. Sprinkle the potatoes with the chives and fleur de sel and serve hot.

MAKE IT AHEAD PLAN: Boil the potatoes and smash them on the sheet pan. Roast the potatoes and finish the recipe before serving.

Recipe by Ina Garten from the Make It Ahead cookbook.

If I haven’t mentioned it yet, the nice thing about this cookbook is all the recipe can be prepared ahead of time which is so nice if you have a busy schedule or are having a dinner party. This recipe is definitely a keeper. I loved the flavor, that it was so easy to make, that it saved nicely and it looked so lovely on the plate. If you give it a try, let me know what you think in the comments section.

Thanks for stopping by the blog and come back next week for another recipe from this cookbook.

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The Cookbook Series with “Make It Ahead” by Ina Garten – Part 1: Blueberry Bran Muffins


Welcome to my second featured cookbook of the cookbook series with Ina Garten’s “Make it Ahead” cookbook.  If you recall I started this series with “The Can’t Cook Book” by Jessica Seinfeld. “The Can’t Cook Book” is a great cookbook for beginners or for people who are just starting to hone their cooking skills. This was the first cookbook I bought for my daughters because it has handy cooking prep instructions and the recipes are easy to follow and are tasty too. For more on that cookbook go to my Menu on my Home page, go to Food and use the drop down to see The Cookbook Series. Or, to get you started on the very first installment of the cookbook series go here.

I’m a huge fan of Ina Garten: the Barefoot Contessa. She constantly inspires me to want to learn more and more culinary and baking skills. She makes it look so effortless and the outcome always looks delicious. Her gorgeous kitchen is a chefs dream and that garden on her farm is something I aspire to have myself someday.  Can you tell I’m a huge fan! To my surprise I realized that the only recipe I had tried of hers was her basic vinaigrette (which I will post about later). So I knew that I would have to feature one of her cookbooks for my next cookbook series so I could try some of the  recipes I’d seen her make on her show. If you haven’t ever watched The Barefoot Contessa please check it out, it’s completely addicting and you can learn so much from her.

I have a few of her cookbooks but the one I chose is “Make It Ahead” because it has recipes that work for a busy schedule and I don’t know a single person who is not busy all the time. I’ve been on a mission at my house to make everything homemade lately (due to reading “The Daniel Plan”) and had never tried muffins made from scratch. Ina’s Blueberry Bran Muffins looked delicious so I gave them a try first.

(Notice I’ve tabbed the heck out of it, like I do most of my books)



This recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients including blueberries, Greek yogurt, honey and wheat bran. These muffins were a cinch to make and came out perfectly. I was tickled pink to have such great success with my first Ina recipe. The only thing that was tricky to find was the wheat bran, my local grocery stores did not have it but I did find it at Sprouts and I’m pretty sure Whole Foods would also carry it. Here’s a quick step by step but a printable recipe will be linked at the end.

Ingredients: vegetable oil, all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, Greek yogurt, sugar, honey, eggs, vanilla extract, wheat bran and fresh blueberries.


Stir together flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon.


Whisk together the yogurt, sugar, vegetable oil, honey, eggs and vanilla. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer but that was unneccessary, a hand mixer is all you need.


Add the dry ingredients. When adding the dry ingredients use a wooden spoon, not the mixer, this is noted in the recipe I’ll link to but not in the cookbook, good to know though so make a note of this if you have the cookbook.


Gently stir in the wheat bran and blueberries. The batter should look like this, it’s moist but has a grittiness from the bran.


Scoop into prepared muffin pan.



This is exactly what you want your batter to look like.


Bake 25 to 30 minutes. I started to check at 23 minutes but 25 minutes was perfect for my oven.

They smell so good when they’re cooking.

Right out of the oven…


Cooked to perfection, lightly golden brown on the outside and nice and moist on the inside.


Serve warm or save for later and serve room temperature.




Unfortunately these are not gluten-free so I couldn’t try them, but my taste testers (my husband and kids) loved them. They said they were so fresh and moist but had a nice heartiness to them and they smelled oh so good as they were baking. This recipe is a definite keeper. What a great breakfast to eat on the go when you’re trying to get your kids out the door. I was so happy with the results. After making these I will no longer buy the boxed muffins, this is so worth the little bit more effort.


For a printable recipe go here, but please note that they did not list the amount of vegetable oil. You need 1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing the pan.


I’m looking forward to trying lots more recipes from this cookbook, I’ll be doing at least one recipe a week through September and October, so follow along.

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Tasty Tuesday…Starting The Cookbook Series with The Can’t Cook Book by Jessica Seinfeld #1

Tasty Tuesday

The Cookbook Series…The Can’t Cook Book by Jessica Seinfeld

I’m going to admit that I am a totally cookbook nerd. I buy a cookbook and actually read it from cover to cover. As I go, I mark with sticky notes all of the recipes I want to try. The problem is, I don’t always try them. So I’m starting, The Cookbook Series. I’ll pick a cookbook and go through some of the recipes I’ve marked and blog about them. It’s such a bummer when you’ve done all the prep for a recipe and then tried it and it’s AWFUL. I’ll try the recipes and let you know how they are and if the cookbook is worth the buy. Cooking is such a wonderful way to show your love and I’ve learned the better I am at it, the more confident I get in the kitchen. My family is loving this passion of mine and I’ve really seen how it bonds the people I love together. Meals are a really important part of the day. I think when you make homemade meals you eat healthier too.

The first cookbook I’ve picked for this series is: The Can’t Cook Book by Jessica Seinfeld. This cookbook is a great “first” cookbook. The recipes are simple and written step by step. There are wonderful cooking tips, how-to steps, storing info…everything a cook needs to get started in the kitchen. If you are already pretty handy in the kitchen, as I think I am, it’s still a great cookbook when you want to make a quick, easy and nutritious meal. It’s very family oriented and kid friendly. I bought this cookbook for both my girls for Christmas. My girls are 18 and 15 and I want them to have a lot of confidence in the kitchen. You know what they say “Feed a man a fish, he eats a meal. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime”. They’ve already had many recipes from this cookbook and so far they’ve like all of them.

Also, I’m doing a series called On-The-Go. These are recipes that you can take with you, especially breakfast recipes for those mornings when you’re trying to get the kids off to school and you want them to eat a healthy breakfast. I buy the red plastic cups that people use at parties and I fill them up with the On-The-Go recipes and my daughter eats them in the car. It doesn’t make a mess, and I just throw it out when she’s done. Both of the recipes I’m blogging today can be put in a cup with a fork and eaten in the car.

photo copy 4You can get this cookbook at most bookstores but also at Amazon and Target.

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You can see how I mark the cookbook with sticky notes, usually I’m a little more organized using the same sticky notes but I ran out so I used what I had. I also make notes on the recipe page, so I can remember if my family liked it or if I revised the recipe in anyway and, if my girls use my cookbooks they’ll have the information too.

Scrambled Eggs & Cream Cheese

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The first recipe might be something you already make but I have to say Jessica tweaks this recipe a bit and makes plain old scrambled eggs really luscious and creamy. It’s so easy but really a delicious twist on an old favorite. Again, this cookbook is simple, but many times with everyone’s busy schedules you want to cook but need time-friendly recipes that are still healthy and good, and this cookbook comes through for those times.

photoWhisk 8 large eggs with 2 T. cream cheese, 2 T. water, 1/8 tsp. salt (Jessica always uses kosher salt, I always use sea salt), and 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper.

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Heat 1/2 T. unsalted butter and scramble egg mixture until done to your liking. Jessica serves with Dill on top but I didn’t because my family does not like it. I put a little more pepper when I served it.

photo copy 3My family really enjoyed this recipe. My husband liked how creamy the eggs came out and he’s not a big fan of scrambled eggs. Scrambled eggs always remind me of being a kid and this felt a bit more sophisticated and grown-up but still kid friendly. A+ for this recipe. Give it a try.

Soft-boiled Eggs with Toast a.k.a. The Granny Egg


You can see my handwritten notes at the top of the page. These recipes are so easy to follow and the pictures are beautiful. I always like when a cookbook shows how the recipe should look so I can get an idea if it’s something I would like and if mine turns out correctly.

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Bring water in a saucepan to a boil and boil 4 large eggs for 5 1/2 minutes. While eggs are boiling make 4 slices of toast (I made sourdough), butter and cut toast into small squares. Put slices into individual bowls. When eggs are done peel and place on top of toast, cut up egg so yolks spill out onto bread. Season with salt and pepper and gently toss.


This is the ultimate toast and egg combo. Every bite gets the deliciousness of the yolk of the egg. You don’t have to be left with a slice of toast at the end with no egg. Very cute for kids because it just makes it fun. A+


Here’s one of our On-The-Go meals. The bite size pieces make it easy to eat in the car.

Next week on Tasty Tuesday, we’ll try a few more of Jessica Seinfeld’s recipes from The Can’t Cook Book. Hope you enjoy these and let me know what you think.

All the best,