Tag Archives: parmesan

Best EVER Caesar Dressing

Ah, the Caesar salad.  One can find it on the menu at pretty much every restaurant from here to Timbuktu.  I’ve had good ones, and I’ve had bad ones.  This recipe is the best one.  Seriously.  Enjoy!



(Serves about 12)


  • 1 egg, coddled
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 can flat anchovy fillets, mashed into paste
  • 1 cup finely-grated parmesan cheese


  • Whisk anchovy and egg together in a medium bowl; add lemon and mix well
  • While continuing to whisk, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until it thickens and is well emulsified
  • Drizzle over your favorite lettuce, add some freshly cracked pepper and serve immediately


Best EVER Ceasar Dressing

Best EVER Ceasar Dressing

Chile Rice Casserole

Hi. My name is Adam, and I’m addicted to cookbooks. My addiction is so insatiable that it also carries over to the numerous magazines, blogs, websites, and stores all dedicated to food. (Ahem…I’ve also been known to use charm, wit, and various other more nefarious methods to obtain desired recipes from my favorite restaurants). I’m addicted, no doubt, but this addiction comes with an added benefit for my family, friends, and, well, everyone else who stumbles upon our experiment here at atoasttomirth.com — really good food.

The 1976 edition of this gem is really the only cookbook you would ever need. That is, if you don't share my addiction.

The 1976 edition of this gem is really the only cookbook you would ever need. That is, if you don’t share my addiction.

Sue Ann’s momma, Randie, and stepdad, Mike, have helped to feed my addiction with the gem of a cookbook pictured above. The California Heritage Cookbook from the Junior League of Pasadena has had many editions (our favorite is the 1976 version). It is often a go-to for us as the rich heritage of the State of California has helped shape cuisine throughout our country. Whether it is Spanish, Mexican, Italian, Chinese, French, German, or any of the other dishes from the distinct nationalities that have set up shop in this diverse land, this book delivers epic recipes that are accessible for all.

The Chile Rice Casserole is one of our favorite go-to side dishes. We use it to complement almost all things grilled (making it perfect for the summer), and also bring it to parties. It is mind blowingly simple to prepare and usually never comes home from a party.


(Serves 8)

This is a great bargain budget side dish

This is a great bargain budget side dish

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 pound monterey jack cheese, grated (If you would like a little more kick to the casserole we have been known to do 1/4 pound monterey jack and 1/4 pound pepper jack)
  • 7 oz. diced green chiles
  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (feel free to use more if desired)


Sour cream & rice

Sour cream & rice

  • In a medium-sized saucepan bring 2.5 cups of water to a boil (no more, no less).
  • Add the rice, cover pan, and simmer over low heat until the liquid is absorbed, approximately 20-25  minutes.
  • Let the rice cool.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Mix the cooked rice with the sour cream, salt and pepper.
  • In the bottom of a buttered (or greased) 1.5 quart casserole dish spread 1/2 the rice mixture.
  • Sprinkle the grated Jack cheese and chiles on top and then add the rest of the rice.
Cheese and chills on top of half of the sour cream and rice

Cheese and chiles on top of half of the sour cream and rice

Top the cheese and chills with remaining sour cream and rice. Finish with a few dabs of butter and grated parmesan

Top the cheese and chiles with remaining sour cream and rice. Finish with a few dabs of butter and grated parmesan

  • Dot the top with butter and sprinkle with the parmesan.
  • Bake uncovered in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Once done baking we suggest covering the dish, and cooling on top of the stove for 15 minutes (making this side dish perfect to prepare and then travel with).
Right outta the oven

Right outta the oven

You'll go back for seconds...and thirds...

You’ll go back for seconds…and thirds…

Pasta Primavera with Grilled Garlic Lemon Chicken

Bellini’s Restorante in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is a popular Italian restaurant that first opened its doors in 1990. I discovered it seven years later when I began my undergraduate program in musical theatre at Oklahoma City University. My first experience at Bellini’s provided the inspiration for this dish. It was a simple primavera with grilled chicken, but it was packed with so much flavor that it soon became my go-to dish when dining there. As I began my law degree at the same university I was sad to discover that it had disappeared from the menu. After learning of this tragedy I set out to recreate that wonderful plate of food, and the recipe below comes very very close. It’s a light summer pasta dish that is simple, delicious and stunning to look at. We hope you enjoy our take on an Italian summer classic.

The chicken will cross the road to get into this marinade!

The chicken will cross the road to get into this marinade!


(Serves 4)

  • Two large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Zest and juice of one large lemon
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic minced and divided equally into two ramekins
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. Italian seasoning
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs. red chili flakes
  • 2 small-medium zucchini, sliced
  • 2 small-medium squash, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 10-15 spears of asparagus
  • 10-12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • Spaghetti or thin spaghetti
We like to use fresh season veggies for this dish.

We like to use fresh season veggies for this dish.


  • Cut a small slit in the top of the chicken breasts;
  • Place chicken into a large zip-lock bag with one of the ramekins of garlic, the zest and juice of the lemon, salt and freshly cracked pepper, 3-4 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil, and incorporate the ingredients together;
  • Marinate chicken in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours;
  • Place the sliced zucchini, squash, asparagus spears, carrots, and red bell pepper into a large mixing bowl with the remaining minced garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, freshly cracked pepper, and Italian seasoning. Mix together until incorporated;
  • Spread veggies evenly onto a foil-lined cookie sheet and let veggies marinate for 30-45 minutes at room temperature;
  • While the veggies are marinating, pre-heat the grill to 375°-400°. Grill chicken until done. (I use a 7-7-2-2 minute flip ratio);
This grilled garlic lemon chicken really takes this dish to another level.

This grilled garlic lemon chicken really takes this dish to another level.

Veggies ready for their oven time

Veggies ready for their oven time

  • Pre-heat oven to 375°
  • Bake veggies for 30-40 minutes, stirring half-way through. (At the half-way point add the halved cherry or grape tomatoes);
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the desired amount of pasta. (Reserve approximately 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup of the water prior to draining pasta);
  • In a large bowl toss drained pasta with veggies. In order to avoid dryness in the pasta incorporate 1/4 of the reserved liquid from the pasta at a time (do not overfill with the liquid, though);
  • Thinly slice the chicken;
  • Plate the pasta, sprinkle with parmesan, add a generous portion of chicken and Enjoy!
Pasta in the summer doesn't have to be a heavy dish. It can be light, and filling at the same time!

Pasta in the summer doesn’t have to be a heavy dish. It can be light, and filling at the same time!

Parmesan Crusted Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon

I’m a big fan of seafood, as all Pacific Northwest girls are.  Growing up, we enjoyed freshly caught crab straight out of Puget Sound and steamed clams with drawn butter that we dug up ourselves and ate with very blistered hands!  With Washington being so close to Alaska, the freshest, most delicious fish are widely available, including my very favorite, salmon.  There are so many ways to prepare this amazing fish, but the best way is to keep it simple.  Adam simply adds salt and pepper before grilling the salmon on cedar planks, and then finishes it off with parmesan. Add some yummy sides and you’ve got a dish perfect for pairing with a crisp Pinot Grigio and a warm summer night!

Shopping List

This meal is as healthy as it is delicious!

This meal is as healthy as it is delicious!

  • 2-4 wild caught salmon steaks (we found an incredible wild caught Copper River salmon filet and cut it into steaks)
  • 2 cedar planks (submerged for at least 2 hrs. under water)
  • 4 cloves minced garlic (divided into two ramekins containing 2 cloves each)
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 Cups arborio rice
  • 3/4 Cups of dry white wine
  • 5 Cups chicken stock
  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 Cups grated parmesan
  • 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Lb. fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/4 Cup – 1/2 Cup heavy cream (feel free to use half & half or whole milk)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 3-4 Cups pomodoro sauce heated, and then pulsed in food processor for approximately 5-10 seconds. (See our Chicken Parmesan recipe http://atoasttomirth.com/2014/05/27/chicken-parmesan/ for the ingredients for our pomodoro. This sauce was waiting for us in the freezer).


(Serves 2-4)

  • Preheat oven to 355º F
  • Melt butter in a dutch oven on medium heat on the stove. Sauté shallot for 1-2 minutes. Add two cloves minced garlic, and sauté for another minute.
  • Add arborio rice, wine, salt and pepper. Cook for approximately 3-4 minutes. Add 4 cups of chicken stock. Cover the dutch oven, and place on the middle rack in the oven.
This salmon was just beautiful

This salmon was just beautiful

  • Salt and pepper the salmon steaks, and place salmon steaks on the pre-soaked cedar planks  leaving  enough space for air to circulate around each steak while on the grill.
  • Preheat the grill to approximately 400º.
  • Place cedar planks on grill and grill 10 minutes for every inch of thickness on the salmon steaks (measured from the thickest part of the steak). This will give a perfect medium.
  • Remove from grill, and place steaks on cookie sheet covered with foil, and liberally cover  each steak with approximately 1/2 Cup parmesan total.
Salmon steaks grillin' on their cedar planks

Salmon steaks grillin’ on their cedar planks

  • Add olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Sauté the remaining 2 minced garlic cloves for approximately 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the spinach, salt and pepper,  and sauté until wilted (approximately 5 minutes).
  • Add cream and incorporate into spinach. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, and remove from heat.
Popeye would go gaga over this treat!

Popeye would go gaga over this treat!

  • Remove arborio rice from oven, and add remaining cup of chicken stock, and parmesan.
Easy oven risotto

Easy oven risotto

  • Place salmon steaks in oven until parmesan is melted.
Parmesan crusted salmon steak

Parmesan crusted salmon steak

  • Plate the salmon steaks on top of the risotto. Add a generous portion of the pomodoro and spinach, and ENJOY!!

Finished Product!!

Restaurant quality at home!

Restaurant quality at home!

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