The Best-Ever Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

It’s not often my family asks, “Why didn’t you make MORE?” when it comes to veggies.  I made a whole head of this Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower last night and it was devoured within minutes.  I should have doubled my batch!  I didn’t even have enough left over to get a good photo of it for you.

Frugal Tips:  I get my produce at ALDI.  It seems as if every week there are some buys that are just too good to pass up.  Be sure to follow the ALDI Grocery Stores Weekly Ads  posted over in the Mommysavers Grocery Bargains Forum.  It’s where members get together and talk about what they’ve found recently at ALDI.

The Best-Ever Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
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Serves: 4

Cauliflower good your kids will not only eat it, they’ll ask for more!
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
  • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. thyme leaves
  • ½ C. grated Parmesan
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Whisk together the garlic cloves, olive oil, lemon juice, and sea salt in a bowl. Toss cauliflower in olive oil mixture until well coated. Place on baking sheet, and drizzle any remaining olive oil over the cauliflower pieces. Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Continue to bake for an additional 20 minutes until cauliflower is golden brown. Serve immediately.


Barley Mushroom Risotto with Parmesan and Sage

barley mushroom risotto

I originally posted this Barley Mushroom Risotto recipe on  Now that it’s fall, it’s the perfect time to make it again!  I love the earthiness of mushrooms and sage as well as the nuttiness of the Parmesan cheese.  Barley makes for a great for a change of pace from traditional rice risotto, and doesn’t cost a lot.

Frugal Tip:  Grains are extremely frugal — and healthy, too!  Instead of serving the same grains over and over again, experiment with different options like quinoa, barley, other varieties of rice, and different pasta shapes.  The variety will prevent you from experiencing frugal fatigue!

Barley Mushroom Risotto with Parmesan and Sage
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. sage
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ C. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  1. In a skillet, melt the butter. Saute onion, celery, garlic until translucent. Add mushrooms and sage and cook until mushrooms are tender. In another pot, boil the barley with 2 cups chicken broth until all the liquid has been absorbed. Tranfer barley to the skillet with the onion/mushroom/sage mixture. Add ½ cup chicken broth and Parmesan cheese. Stir until risotto is creamy, adding another ½ cup chicken broth if necessary. Top with more freshly grated Parmesan to garnish. Serve immediately.
  2. You can serve this alone as a meatless skillet dish or as a side with beef, pork, or poultry.


Basic Homemade Pesto Recipe + How to Freeze and Enjoy All Year

homemade pesto recipe

basic homemade pestoHomemade pesto is something I’ve been making a few years in a row now, and it’s an excellent way to use up the rest of the fresh basil in your garden before a hard frost.  Freeze what you don’t use in ice cube trays to enjoy in the middle of the winter.

How to Use Your Homemade Pesto:

  • As a pasta sauce
  • Add a little homemade pesto to mayo for a sandwich spread
  • Top salmon or chicken with pesto before grilling
  • Add to mashed potatoes
  • As a baked potato topper
  • On homemade pizza as a sauce
  • In artisan breads
  • Make pesto butter as an appetizer spread

Frugal Tips:  Even though fresh Parmesan is somewhat expensive, it’s worth it.  A little bit goes a long way.  You may also experience sticker shock if you’re purchasing pine nuts for the first time.  If you have walnuts at home, they are a good substitute.  Some even prefer the taste of walnut pesto to pine nut pesto.


homemade-basil-pesto homemade-basil-pesto

Thanks to the Mommysavers Forum members for the inspiration behind this basil pesto recipe

Basic Homemade Pesto Recipe

A great recipe to make with fresh basil from your garden before the hard frost
  • 1½ C. fresh basil leaves
  • ½ C. extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ C. pine nuts, toasted (or walnuts)
  • ⅓ C. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Dash of salt
  • Pepper or Tabasco to taste
  1. /2 c chopped fresh basil
  2. /3-1/2 c extra virgin olive oil(just eyeball how ya like it as you go)
  3. /4 c pine nuts,toasted (or you can sub walnuts)
  4. /3 c grated Parmesan cheese
  5. Tbs minced garlic
  6. /4 tsp chili powder
  7. Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Freeze leftovers in ice cube trays, remove and place in a freezer bag until ready to use.

Copycat Recipe: Near East Parmesan Couscous

copycat recipe near east parmesan couscous

If you’re currently buying the boxes of Near East Parmesan Couscous…. why?  Parmesan couscous is easy to make, frugal, and only takes a few minutes.  Not only that, you can have fun experimenting with fun add-ins and tweaking the flavor.  After you get the basics down, you can create a copycat couscous of just about any of the flavored box mixes you typically buy.

Frugal Tip:  Couscous is usually located near the rice and grains in most supermarkets.  If you have a hard time finding couscous, you can purchase it on or Vitacost.  Plus, when you register for a new Vitacost account you’ll receive a code valid for $10 off a $10 order.

Source:  Inspired by the Mommysavers Parmesan Couscous recipe

Copycat Recipe: Near East Parmesan Couscous
Recipe type: Side
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Serves: 2-4
A yummy, quick-and-easy copycat version of Near East Parmesan Couscous
  • 1 C. dry couscous
  • 1 C. chicken stock
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • ⅓ C. grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Melt butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Add garlic and onions and saute until soft. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add couscous. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand for five minutes, then fluff with a fork. Add remaining ingredients: pepper, balsamic vinegar, and grated Parmesan. Fluff again and serve while hot. DO NOT overcook. It will become a gloppy mess if you allow it to sit too long.
  2. Yummy add-ins include feta or goat cheese, basil, parsley, diced or sun-dried tomatoes.


California (Sushi Roll) Adventures

sushi california rolls

Living in Southern Minnesota, finding good sushi isn’t easy.  Luckily, finding the ingredients to make good sushi isn’t that hard.  Lately, I’ve recently been teaching myself to roll my own.  My first attempt was not bad, but not great.  Thanks to my friends at Mommysavers and their advice on how to make sushi rolls at home I quickly determined that my main mistake was layering on too much rice.  My second go-round (pictured here) was much more successful.  This time, I only added ONE cup of the sushi rice (instead of one and a half) to the Nori paper, which made all the difference.  You can make sushi at home too, with minimal practice.  All you need is a sushi kit (which are pretty  cheap on Amazon), good sushi rice, and a little patience.

Easy Sushi Rice
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Serves: 4-6
Sushi rice is easy, but it requires short-grain sushi rice (found in ethnic grocery aisles) in order for it to work.
  • 1½ C. sushi rice (don’t use long grain rice)
  • 1½ C. water
  • 1½ Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1½ Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  1. Rinse the rice thoroughy first, until the water runs clear. Heat a saucepan with 1½ C. water and rice over medium-high heat. Once it begins to boil, reduce heat and cover. Cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Pour over sushi rice and toss so that all the grains are coated. Refrigerate rice at least two hours before making sushi.


How to Make Sushi Rolls

After the sushi rice has cooled and is ready to go, tear off a piece of plastic wrap and place it on your sushi mat as shown below.  Next, place the sheet of Nori on the plastic wrap.  Spread one cup sushi rice on top of the Nori, using your sushi paddle or your wet fingers to press it down evenly.  You’ll want an even, thin layer of rice.  If it’s too thick, it will be hard to roll tightly without the ingredients squirting out all over the place.

At this point, you can either flip the nori over so that the rice side is down (and on the outside of the roll) or leave it the way it is.  I flipped it over so the rice would be on the outside of my California rolls.  If desired, shake a little sesame seed or poppy seed on the rice.

For Califormia rolls, place your avocado, cucumber, and imitation crab inside.  For a Philadelphia roll, substitute the crab for smoked salmon and include a strip of cream cheese.  Experimenting with ingredients is the fun part!   Let your own taste be your guide; there are no right or wrong ingredients.  Starting on one end, use your mat to roll your sushi, pressing down as you go to create a compact roll.  With a sharp knife (it helps to wet it slightly) cut in six pieces.  Enjoy!

Frugal Tips:  Supplies to make sushi rolls can often be found at ethnic grocery stores for much less than at specialty stores.  Also, check Amazon for the best prices on your sushi mat and paddle and other tools.

california rolls