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…The Cookbook Series with The Can’t Cook Book by Jessica Seinfeld #5


Welcome to The Cookbook Series. If you are new to this blog, here’s how this works. I pick out a cookbook and I will post every Tuesday recipes I’ve tried from the cookbook and let you know what I think. I love buying cookbooks (well any kind of book really), and I will read them cover to cover, but I found I was not using them enough. Well, I’m gonna use them now and I’d love for you to come along with me. The Can’t Cook Book by Jessica Seinfeld is the cookbook I’ve used to kick off this new series. I picked it because it is user friendly, simple and using fresh ingredients. As the title suggests, it is meant for people who are afraid to cook or don’t have many skills. Although I don’t fall into either of these categories anymore there was a time I did. Also, it is a beautiful cookbook with lots of learning tips. I bought this cookbook for both of my daughters for all the good info and recipes that are good for starting cooks and bakers. The only recipes I did not touch on were the meat recipes. They all look very tasty though and if you decide to get the cookbook I’d give them a try. I just don’t cook meat. I’m a big veggie fan so I naturally go to those recipes.

I tried three recipes this week: Freaky Greek Pasta, Carrot Fries and Broiled Honey-Nut Bananas. All were very good, easy to follow and healthy. I won’t share all the recipes but I will for the first one. Let’s start with the Freaky Greek Pasta.

Freaky Greek Pasta

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Always beautiful photos to accompany the recipes. Really love that about this cookbook.

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This delicious pasta has fresh broccoli, sliced almonds, feta cheese and freshness from the zest of a lemon. Light and bright it gets a thumbs up from me. It also made a large amount and was tasty for leftovers.

Preparing to get started.

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Cut up broccoli florets to add to the boiling penne pasta I have going on the stove.

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Combined in a large bowl crumbled feta, zest of a lemon, oregano, red pepper and black pepper.

Almonds have been toasted on the stove already.

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Broccoli and pasta get cooked together…super easy.

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All the ingredients get combined and tossed together. Season with salt at the end.

That’s it. Very easy. I had to let it sit for about an hour before I could serve it, so I put aluminum foil over it and it stayed warm enough to serve. I think it actually helped to let the flavors melt together. It really had a light freshness about it form the lemon, but a bit of zest from the red pepper. This was one of her recipes that I felt was actually seasoned enough. Some of her recipes I’ve needed to add a bit of seasoning (noted on other blog entries).

Here are the directions…

Freaky Greek Pasta


  • 1 bunch broccoli
  • 8 oz. feta (2 c., crumbled)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 c. sliced almonds
  • 1 box (1lb) whole wheat or regular pasta
  • 2 T. e.v. olive oil
  • Kosher salt, to taste (I use sea salt)


Start water to make pasta.  Cut the broccoli into small florets. Crumble the feta into a very large bowl. Zest the lemon directly into bowl. Add the oregano, red pepper and black pepper. In a small skillet on medium heat on the stove, toast the almonds for 3 – 5 minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat. When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta. Set the timer for 3 minutes less than the package directions call for. When the timer goes off add the broccoli to the pasta and cook for 3 minutes. Drain the pasta and broccoli and add to large bowl. Sprinkle in the toasted almonds and combine with the ingredients on the bottom. Drizzle in the olive oil and toss once or twice more. Season with salt to taste.

Carrot Fries

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Next I tried the Carrot Fries. I thought they’d pair nicely with the pasta. I’m kind of sick of sweet potato fries, so I thought this would be a nice change and it was. This will definitely be served again and again at my house. My only criticism would be that it only needed half the amount of olive oil. We eat a lot of roasted veggies around here and I’ve found when it comes to the oil, less is more. Other than that totally yummy.

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6 medium carrots went a long way with this recipe.

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Carrots peeled and cut up and ready to be roasted. Look how beautiful they are.

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Tossed with some oil oil, salt and pepper. Into the oven they go.

Fresh out of the oven

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Served with the Freaky Greek Pasta.

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My husband loved both of these, he was especially impressed with the carrot fries (mostly with my cutlery skills, which by the way was so easy, but looked more impressive than it was).

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Lastly for dessert I made the Broiled Honey-Nut Bananas. In the cookbook Jessica says this is her favorite recipe, so I thought this would be a fitting last recipe to try as we end this edition of The Cookbook Series.

Broiled Honey-Nut Bananas

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This recipe was easy and a pretty healthy dessert although I think it was made even better served with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Nut mixture prepared and put on banana slices going into the oven to broil for  1 – 2 minutes.

Just out of the oven.

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The nuts are nicely toasted on top and the brown sugar, butter and honey melted over the warm bananas is a not too sweet dessert and not too heavy (even if you add the ice cream).

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And that’s a wrap.

This will be the last of the recipes in this installment of The Cook Book Series with The Can’t Cook Book by Jessica Seinfeld. Next up Make It Ahead cookbook by Ina Garten. Really looking forward to this. I’m a huge fan of Ina’s and I’m excited to work my way through this cookbook. It’s her newest one that just came out recently. Look for it next Tasty Tuesday.

Thanks for joining along on these Tasty Tuesdays. Let me know what you think of the recipes.

All the best,