Month: December 2014

EggNog French Toast! Happy New Year! Salute!

I am not an EggNog fan. EggNog as a beverage, that is. We buy it and everyone has a must-have glass/shot WITH or without an alcoholic additive and then, there are tons of thick, milky leftovers! Instead of dumping it down the drain, make a beautiful EggNog French Toast!


New Year’s Day is the best morning to surprise your family and guests with a fabulous, alcohol- absorbing breakfast!
Here is the recipe:

EggNog French Toast


1 French baguette or raisin loaf or your favorite French toast bread sliced into 1 inch slices
2 eggs
1-1/2 cup EggNog
2 tbsp. Cinnamon
2 tbsp. Vanilla
1 tbsp. Ginger
2 tbsp. Sugar
1/8 stick of Butter to coat bottom of the pan.


Heat butter on medium heat in a frying pan.

Whisk all ingredients in a shallow but deep enough bowl to soak bread.


Soak bread with eggnog mixture on both sides.

Add coated bread to frying pan once water sizzles when flicked onto hot pan (yes, super technical terms)

Let it cook until slightly browned on first side.


Turn and cook until slightly browned on other side.


Remove from heat.

Add butter, sifted powdered sugar, and your favorite maple syrup.


Serve and enjoy!

Quick Salted Toffee! A Dessert Table Snack!

Do you ever need one more small side or snack to put out when company comes over? Like my Italian grandma, I always need one more dish! There is never enough food! Also the perfect homemade host/hostess gift, this toffee is delicious and can be tailored for any occasion! I added peanuts and a festive red and white peppermint topping.


You can easily add shaved almonds or even a marshmallow layer to make a s’mores version.


Here is a basic toffee recipe from Pinch of Yum!

And this is how I make toffee:

1 sleeve saltine crackers
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup peanuts
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup unwrapped Hershey’s kisses
3 candy canes, crushed for festive topping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Layer a nonstick baking dish with saltine crackers.

Melt 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup butter in a pan. Let it rapidly boil for 3-5 minutes. After it thickens, pour it over the crackers.

Bake for 5 minutes.

Add little spoons of peanut butter.
Bake for 1 minute. Spread peanut butter with a spatula and cover with 1 cup peanuts.


Add 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup of Hershey’s kisses.
Bake for 1 minute. Spread chocolate with a spatula.

Top with 3 crushed candy canes.
Freeze for 1-2 hours.
Let it warm up and break apart!



Broccoli and Cauliflower Fontina Au Gratin With A Kick!

I tried a new side dish this Thanksgiving!
I still served the roasted marshmallow candied sweet potato casserole…

And roasted garlic mashed potatoes…

BUT with a golden bread crumb crust, creamy cheesy bites, and a Sriracha kick, the broccoli and cauliflower au gratin was the crowd favorite!!


I am a huge fontina cheese fan because of its creamy meltability and mild cheese flavor. Any chance I get to create a creamy, cheesy dish, fontina is my first choice!
We like a little bite to our food so adding a few squeezes of Sriracha added a slight kick without an overwhelming hot sauce presence.

I am making this side dish again for Christmas! You should try it! It’s quick and easy.


Broccoli and Cauliflower Fontina Au Gratin


2- 1 lb. bags frozen cauliflower florets or 2 lbs. fresh cauliflower, trimmed and chopped

1- 1 lb. bag frozen broccoli florets or 1 lb. fresh broccoli, trimmed and chopped

1 cup grated fontina cheese

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp. Olive oil and a little to coat the baking dish

3-5 squeezes of Sriracha depending on desired heat level (approx. 2 tbsp.)

1 Tbsp. Paprika

1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs

1 cup fresh grated Parmesan Cheese,1/2 cup to melt and 1/2 cup for topping.


Boil cauliflower in a stock pot
of rapidly boiling water until tender approximately 10 minutes.

Remove cauliflower from water with a slotted spoon.

Add broccoli and boil until tender approximately 4-5 minutes.

Drain and transfer broccoli and cauliflower to an olive oil coated baking dish.

In a saucepan, add milk and cream and heat on medium flame.

Add fontina cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and whisk while heating. Whisk continuously until melted, creamy, and smooth.

Remove from heat and pour over broccoli and cauliflower in the baking dish.

Squeeze Sriracha on top in a zig zag motion.

In a small bowl, mix together bread crumbs, 1 tbsp. Olive Oil, paprika, and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

Sprinkle evenly over the vegetables.

Bake 30-40 minutes until crumbs are golden brown and the casserole is bubbling.



10 Minute Holiday Banana Bread!


When your bananas get super ripe, don’t throw them away! They get soft and mushy which is the perfect consistency for whipping up a quick banana bread!

Feeling festive? So am I! Holiday spices take this holiday bread to the next level. Delicious for breakfast or dessert! Enjoy!


Holiday Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
(Makes 1 loaf)


1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Ground cloves
3 very ripe bananas
1/2 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients and sift together until blended.


In another bowl, mash bananas with a potato masher or fork. Add butter, eggs, and sugar and mix well with a wooden spoon.


Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.


Add chocolate chips. (This is the point where you can add 1/2 cup of any other additions like nuts, raisins, etc.)

Grease and flour a loaf pan.


Pour batter into pan and hit it against your work table to even it out.


Bake 45-55 minutes until the bread is cooked through and passes the toothpick test.




A Few Of My Favorite Things! A Shop Local Shop Small BIG HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY!

I would like to thank all of you for supporting Parmesan Princess! This first 10 months has been awesome and more exciting than I could have ever imagined! Hopefully, you are enjoying my articles and my recipes while exploring all that Pittsburgh has to offer!
This post is for you! A holiday giveaway (valued over $400!!!) to share a few of my favorite things and to help support some
of my favorite small businesses!!

Creative, unique, and totally awesome Pittsburgh products and services are constantly being nationally recognized!




We are so fortunate to have Pittsburghers helping Pittsburghers start new businesses in the form of Alpha Lab, Idea Foundry, and most recently, Thrill Mill.

Small boutique shops are boooming in urban renewal neighborhoods, like Lawrenceville, offering Pittsburghers a Soho, NY feel.

Shop local and suppport small business owners in your city!

Let’s start in the Strip District- The heart and soul of Pittsburgh’s ethnic fine foods and my happy place in this world. My first stop is always Sam Patti’s La Prima Espresso, Co. for a beautiful cup of coffee in the 21st Street Italian Espresso bar. Brewed from the finest beans, La Prima Espresso Co.’s Coffee is the best! Many Pittsburgh restaurants and businesses serve La Prima’s finest!
Sam wants you to try his Christmas blend!! Yes, for you!


La Prima Espresso Co. The Strip District
205 21st St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Monday-Staurday 6am-4pm
Sunday 8am-2pm

Also located in Pittsburgh’s Strip District is my favorite Italian grocery store Pennsylvania Macaroni Company, where you will find fresh imported products like deli meats, olives, and the finest cheeses! Parmesan Reggiano, Auricchio Provolone, and Parrano are a few of my favorites!
Enjoy an Italian Cheese Sampler box from Pennsylvania Macaroni Company this Holiday Season! Yes, for you!!


Pennsylvania Macaroni Company
2010 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA

Hours: Monday-Saturday 6:30am-4:30pm
Sunday 9:30am-2:30pm

T’s Uphostelry Studio on Butler Street in Lawrenceville has been around before the neighborhood’s revitalization boom. Cindy Kaufman Leckenby tells me she opened the shop in 1998 is always adding to her product line of fine upholstery, fabric, custom window coverings and accessories. Cindy’s vintage aprons caught my eye! I knew one had to be included in this holiday giveaway! For you!


T’s upholstery Studio
3611 Butler Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201

The epitomy of a statement piece- I am in love with Sashaneckware. Pittsburgh’s Sara McClelland needed a necklace for a party and decided to make her own. I met Sara and her fabulous necklaces at Pittsburgh’s Handmade Arcade held at the Convention Center, but you can visit her Etsy shop anytime. I had never seen anything like them and I instantly had to have one! And one for you, too! Or gentlemen, give it as a gift!! She will love you forever!

Mine is Yellow Yarns + Fuschia Matte Quartz Beaded Statement Necklace

And here is yours:
Tri-color Yarns + Lucite Beaded Necklace


A shiny, rare diamond in the South Hills is Todd and Angela McMaster’s Oil and Vinegar store located in the South Hills Village Mall! With over 50 oils and vinegars on tap, as well as specialty items from the seven worlds- starters & appetizers, herbs and spices, pastas, sweet sensations, sauces and dressings, and their NEW Mediterranean items- Oil and Vinegar is a must visit!


Oil and Vinegar is giving you Mango Pulp Vinegar, Strawberry Vinegar, Garlic EVOO, and Bonsecco! All on tap in the store!!

Also included is Italian fresh pasta, Cape Chili Chutney, a truffle salsa, a coffee paste:sweet Sicilian cream with coffee, mixed Provençal olives in EVOO, and 2 dipper mixes!!


Oil and Vinegar
South Hills Village Mall
301 South Hills Village
Bethel Park, PA 15241
412-833-EVOO (3866)
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-9pm
Sunday: 12pm-6pm

One day I was shopping at Bed Bath and Beyond and met a representative from USA Pans pushing muffin tins and jelly roll sheets that were locally made in Moon Township. I bought a muffin pan, some different sized pans and got home and realized I already owned these fabulous pans! These were my favorites that easily wiped clean and I had owned them for years! You need these, too!


USA Pans are available at Macy’s, Bed Bath and Beyond, and many other of your favorite stores!

As a tribute to our fabulous Pittsburgh Penguins I had to add my favorite cutting board from Labell Cutting Boards!! Produced in Quebec, Canada, Labell’s professional Canadian maple and cherry hardwood cutting boards and butcher blocks can be found in some of the most prestigious kitchens in the world! The best part…they can be personalized with a laser engraved logo!



Thank You to all of the small business owners who gladly donated these items for one Parmesan Princess follower to enjoy!!

Enter below! Winner drawn at midnight EST Christmas Eve!! Good luck and Thank you Thank you Thank you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

All items are MY favorite things. I was not compensated in any way for including these items in my post. All items were donated by the companies for you! Opinions are 100% mine! Enjoy!!


Parmesan Crusted And Stuffed Chicken!

Cheese adds depth to a dish with its creamy texture and thick flavors. Lately, my cheese of choice -other than Parmesan Reggiano, of course -is fontina. Because of its beautiful meltability, fontina cheese blends well with both spicy and sweet, and makes the most gooey, absolutely fabulous grilled cheese you have ever tasted!

My Parmesan Crusted and Stuffed Chicken dish, gives a plain chicken breast a whole lot of flavor. Each bite contains the juicy chicken, the creamy layered cheeses, the brown garlic butter breadcrumbs, and a surprise lemony bite! It is sure to be a family favorite! I can’t wait for you to try it!


Parmesan Crusted and Stuffed Chicken

4 Servings


4 chicken breasts, butterflied and tenderized depending on the thickness
1/4 lb. fontina cheese – sliced in to 4 1/4 inch rectangles
1-1/2 cups grated Parmesan Cheese, divided in half
1 tbsp. Chopped Basil
1/4 cup Grated Pecorino Romano cheese
4 tbsp. Fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 tbsp. Olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3/4 cup milk
1-1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs mixed with extra 3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

Rinse, cut off any excess fat, and butterfly the chicken breasts.


Fill with fontina, Parmesan and Romano cheeses, sprinkle with basil, salt and pepper and close.


Dip chicken in milk, flip to coat both sides, and cover each side in Parmesan breadcrumbs.

Repeat with all four breasts.

In your largest frying pan, heat olive oil and 2 tbsp. lemon juice.

Add chopped garlic and stir allowing it to soften.

Brown each chicken breast approximately 4-5 minutes each side.


Transfer the chicken to an olive oil coated baking dish. Top the chicken with the drippingsfrom the pan, any extra bread crumbs in pan and pieces of garlic.(This is the best part! Spoon it all on there!)

Drizzle the remaining 2 tbsp. lemon juice plus extra if you really want a lemon flavor.

Bake 20-30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.


Serve Parmesan Crusted and Stuffed Chicken with your favorite roasted vegetables! Enjoy!

Lemon Ricotta Cookies! Plus, A Few Unique Cookie Recipes From My Friends!

Pillows of ricotta cake with a lemony crunchy bite, these lemon ricotta cookies are a sweet change from our traditional sugar, chocolate, and peanut butter Christmas favorites!
Try something new this year!

Here are a few unique and fun cookie recipes from my friends!

Mexican Chocolate Crinkle Cookies by Susie at SimplySated

Pistachio Hot Fudge Cupcakes by Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Blog

Red Velvet Peppermint Thumprints by Shelby at Grumpy’s HoneyBunch

Sea Salt Nutella Thumprint Cookie by Alexis at Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

Lemon Ricotta Cookies
Makes approx. 3 dozen cookies

1 stick of unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 lemons – grate zest and squeezed for juice (2tbsp. For cookies 1tbsp. For glaze)

Lemon Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp. of lemon zest


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small mixing bowl, stir flour and baking powder together until well mixed.

In a large bowl or using your stand mixer, cream butter and sugar. Because there is more sugar than the usual butter/sugar ratio, the mixture will not get light and fluffy just a creamy look, still grainy.


Add the eggs one at a time, while continuing to mix on low /medium speed.

Add in ricotta, lemon zest and lemon juice, continue to mix on low 3-4 minutes. If you are not a fan, just leave out the zest.

Stir in dry ingredients with a wooden spoon and a dough will form.


Spoon dough 1-2 tbsp. Drops onto a parchment covered cookie sheet.


Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges turn a golden brown color.

Transfer to a cooling rack and cool before adding the glaze.

As the cookies are cooling, add lemon juice and zest a little bit at a time while whisking until a smooth glaze forms.

Spoon 1 tsp. of glaze onto each cooled cookie and let the icing harden for a few hours before packaging or freezing.


{Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis’ New Italian Favorites}

Try some new cookies this year! Surprise your family and friends!

Happy Baking!

Winter Warm Up: Butternut Squash Soup!


More often than not, the winter days in Pittsburgh are gloomy, cold, and dark. However, we are lucky to have the beauty of all four seasons and even more lucky to have all of the beautiful seasonal food varieties that go along with them!


In the winter our menus consist of comfortable, warm-bellied foods like casseroles, pastas, and my favorite, hot soups! Some soups are a beautiful meal accompaniment and some are simply dinner!

Never a fan of thick, blended soups, I found a wintery, flavorful combination that I love and I hope you do, too!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup


1- medium Butternut squash
1 cup chopped kale
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups of whole milk
1/2 tbsp. Cumin
1/2 tbsp. Onion powder



Cut butternut squash in half vertically and scoop out the seeds.

Roast cut side down for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees until softened. Check it with a fork 😉


Using a spoon scoop roasted squash from skin.

Blend all ingredients except the milk and Parmesan cheese in a food processor or Ninja. (I used my Ninja)


Heat the mixture in a medium sauce pan on low/medium heat.

Stir continuously and be careful not to burn it, just heat it.

Slowly add the milk 1/4 cup at a time or until the soup reaches the desired consistency.

Continue to stir while heating and add the Parmesan cheese a little at a time until melted and blended.

Remove pistachios from their shells and crush with pinenuts for a beautiful garnish!


Garnish, grab a spoon, and enjoy! Keep Warm!