Mozzarella Schnitzel Will Save Us All

A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big everything else: flavor, creativity, wow factor. That means five ingredients or fewer—not including water, salt, black pepper, and certain fats (like oil and butter), since we’re gue…

A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big everything else: flavor, creativity, wow factor. That means five ingredients or fewer—not including water, salt, black pepper, and certain fats (like oil and butter), since we're guessing you have those covered. Psst, did you hear we’re coming out with a cookbook? We’re coming out with a cookbook!


Years back, I used to spend most of my free time in an ice skating rink, which meant a lot of spandex, Pac-Man, scrunchies, hand warmers, and, best of all, mozzarella sticks. I was never that good at skating—and honestly never that good at Pac-Man—but I was especially good at eating snack-bar snacks, greasy from the fryer, hot enough to burn my tongue.

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Pesto Cheese Toast

Pesto has been a champion ingredient in my kitchen for a while. Although it is a slightly more expensive item, a little bit goes a long way toward adding flavor to a meal. This Pesto Cheese Toast is a super simple treat that can be served as a party appetizer, a side with dinner, or […]

The post Pesto Cheese Toast appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Pesto has been a champion ingredient in my kitchen for a while. Although it is a slightly more expensive item, a little bit goes a long way toward adding flavor to a meal. This Pesto Cheese Toast is a super simple treat that can be served as a party appetizer, a side with dinner, or even just a little snack. It’s kind of like garlic bread‘s fancier cousin. ;) 

Originally posted 3-1-2010, updated 9-8-2021.

Pesto cheese toast on a baking sheet with bread, tomatoes and cheese on the sides

What Kind of Pesto to Use

That’s the great thing about this tasty toast, you can use any kind of pesto you have or whatever you like best. You can use a basil pesto, a sun dried tomato pesto, a kale pesto, any kind! Today I’m using a Genovese pesto, which is a creamy basil style pesto. Other good affordable pesto brands that I like are Felipo Berio, Classico, and Alessi.

What Kind of Bread to Use

This recipe works great on any French or Italian loaf bread. You can slice the bread into traditional slices, like in the photos here, or slice the loaf in half length-wise, then slice the halved bread into slices like in my Homemade Garlic Bread recipe. It just depends on the bread to topping ratio that you prefer. If you want to get a little creative, you could also basically turn this into a pesto pizza by using small pieces of naan or English muffins instead.

What to Serve with Pesto Cheese Toast

Pesto cheese toast makes a great alternative to garlic bread with any pasta dish, but it’s also great served alongside a bowl of tomato soup. These cheesy little toasts also make a great party appetizer! You can even serve it with a bowl of warm marinara for dipping. But perhaps my favorite way to serve this is with a fried or scrambled egg for breakfast. You just can’t beat that egg-pesto-tomato combo!!

close up side view of pesto cheese toast on the baking sheet

close up side view of pesto cheese toast on the baking sheet

Pesto Cheese Toast

Pesto cheese toast is an easy and delicious alternative to garlic bread. It's great for a party appetizer, snack, or side with dinner!
Total Cost $1.81 recipe / $0.45 per slice
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 pieces
Calories 149kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bread $0.66
  • 2 Tbsp pesto $0.45
  • 1 Roma tomato $0.28
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella $0.42

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice a loaf of French or Italian bread into ½-inch thick slices.
  • Place the slices of bread on the prepared baking sheet and spread ½ Tbps over each piece.
  • Slice the Roma tomato into 8 slices, then top each piece of bread with two slices of tomato.
  • Finally, add a large pinch of shredded mozzarella to each piece of bread.
  • Bake the toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the toast is brown and crispy on the edges. Baking time may vary depending on your oven and the type of bread chosen, so keep an eye on them. Serve warm!

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 149kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 7g | Sodium: 304mg | Fiber: 1g

Close up of one piece of pesto cheese toast being held in a hand

How to Make Pesto Cheese Toast – Step By Step Photos

A loaf of bread being sliced

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice a loaf of French or Italian bread into ½-inch thick slices. 

pesto being spread onto the bread

Spread about a ½ tablespoon of pesto onto each slice of bread.

sliced tomatoes on pesto bread

Slice a Roma tomato into 8 slices. Top each piece of toast with two slices of tomato.

shredded cheese being added to toast

Top each piece of toast with about 2 tablespoons of shredded mozzarella (or more if you like!). 

baked pesto cheese toast on the baking sheet

Bake the toast for about 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the outer edges of the bread is toasty!

Finished pesto cheese toast next to the ingredients and a yellow zig zag napkin

Serve and enjoy! I ended up topping mine with a little bit of freshly cracked pepper, but there’s so much flavor in the pesto that you don’t necessarily need that!

The post Pesto Cheese Toast appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Antipasto Salad

This super hearty antipasto salad is full of cured meats, cheeses, and pickled vegetables for an extra flavorful and filling salad.

The post Antipasto Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

You know how we’re all kind of obsessed with charcuterie boards right now? Who doesn’t love a selection of savory snacky meats, cheeses, and pickled items, ammiright? Well, the Italian version of that is antipasto and it also happens to make for a really delicious and filling salad. So, if you’re like me and don’t want to eat anything but salads for the remainder of summer, I think you’re going to love this Antipasto Salad.

dressing be poured over a serving dish full of antipasto salad

What is Antipasto?

Antipasto is an Italian appetizer course offering a snacky selection of cured meats, pickled vegetables, cheeses, olives, anchovies and more. The word “antipasto” means “before the meal” so it’s basically an appetizer platter. This gorgeous spread is usually served as part of a formal meal, rather than an everyday spread. You can read more about antipasto here.

So to make an antipasto salad I simply piled all those tasty little bits on top of a bed of greens and added a cheesy Italian dressing. And that’s all I really want in a summer meal. Okay, well, maybe some crusty bread to go along with it. ;)

Antipasto is Flexible, So Get Creative!

The best part about this salad is that it’s so flexible, so you can mix and match the toppings depending on your budget or availability of ingredients. You can use just about any type of salad green that you like, any meat (or no meat), any cheese, and any vegetable. Need some inspo? Here are a few other ingredients that you can swap in or add:

Antipasto on a Budget

This salad can get expensive quick if you’re not careful! If you’re lucky to live near an ALDI store, they have a great selection of meats and cheeses for antipasto or charcuterie boards (and I was lucky enough to grab my mozzarella on clearance!). Watch for sales on those shelf-stable jarred items (olives, pickled peppers, artichoke hearts) and save them up for making antipasto later. And get to know your deli because a lot of delis will mark down sliced meats and cheeses when they get near the sell-by date.

A lot of these ingredients also make great pizza toppings, so whenever you have leftovers from pizza night, those items can be used to make antipasto the next night!

Make a Half Antipasto Salad, If Needed

The recipe below is for a pretty large salad with 8 servings because it uses whole containers of each ingredient. But it’s easy enough to scale the recipe down as needed. All of the toppings stay pretty fresh when stored separately, so you can make half batches, ¼ batches, or even one salad at a time instead of making the entire batch at once and risking things getting soggy.

And remember, you can change the number of servings in the “servings” box below and the ingredient amounts will auto-adjust for you.

Salad tongs in a half stirred antipasto salad with bread and dressing on the side
dressing being poured over the antipasto salad

Antipasto Salad

This super hearty antipasto salad is full of cured meats, cheeses, and pickled vegetables for an extra flavorful and filling salad.
Total Cost $16.92 recipe / $2.12 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 535kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Salad

  • 8 oz. salad greens of choice $0.99
  • 1 12oz. jar artichoke hearts $2.45
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes $1.79
  • 8 oz. mozzarella $0.99
  • 8 oz. salami $3.00
  • 1 6oz. jar kalamata olives $1.99
  • 1 8oz. jar banana peppers $1.69
  • 1/2 red onion $0.40
  • 8 oz. provolone $1.79

Italian Dressing

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil $0.84
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.30
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.04
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard $0.12
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning $0.30
  • 1/2 tsp sugar $0.01
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan $0.22

Instructions

  • Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl or jar (olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, sugar, grated Parmesan). Close the jar tightly and shake or whisk in a bowl until the ingredients are incorporated.
  • Cut or slice any meat or cheeses into bite-sized pieces. Drain the olives and any brined vegetables. Thinly slice the red onion and slice the grape tomatoes in half.
  • Lay your greens in the bottom of a bowl, then top with your antipasto items. Give the dressing one last whisk or shake, then drizzle over the salad (start with half the dressing and add more as needed). Toss the salad until everything is coated in dressing, then enjoy.

Nutrition

Serving: 1salad | Calories: 535kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 45g | Sodium: 2130mg | Fiber: 4g
Close up of antipasto salad in a bowl with a fork

How to Make Antipasto Salad – Step by Step Photos

Italian dressing ingredients in a jar

Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl or jar: ½ cup olive oil, 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, ¼ tsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning, ½ tsp sugar, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper, and 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan. Shake or whisk the ingredients until they are incorporated.

Chopped spinach in a serving bowl

Add your salad greens to the bottom of a bowl. I’m using spinach and I chopped it slightly first to make bite-sized pieces.

salami, onions, mozzarella, and tomatoes added to the salad bowl

Cut your meats and cheeses into bite-sized pieces. Thinly slice the red onion and slice the grape tomatoes in half.

provolone, olives, peppers, and artichokes added to the salad bowl

Drain all of your jarred items (olives, banana peppers, artichoke hearts) and add them to the salad. Slightly chop anything that has larger pieces.

dressing being poured over the antipasto salad

Give the dressing one last shake or whisk, then drizzle it over the salad. Start with half the dressing, then add more as needed.

Antipasto salad being tossed with metal salad tongs

Toss the salad until everything is coated in dressing, then enjoy!

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Margherita Pizza

Pizza always makes a bad day feel better, and there’s nothing nicer than a perfect slice of margherita pizza. Now you can make this recipe at home…

The post Margherita Pizza appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

margherita pizza recipe

Pizza always makes a bad day feel better, and there’s nothing nicer than a perfect slice of margherita pizza. Now you can make this recipe at home any time the craving strikes!

Pizza margherita, as the Italians call it, is a simple pizza hailing from Naples. When done right, margherita pizza features a bubbly crust, crushed San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt. That is all.

margherita pizza ingredients

Sure, you could add some tomato if you’d like, but only if the tomato is truly ripe, red and worthy. Authentic Neapolitan pizza margherita doesn’t require fresh tomato. Try making this pizza as written, and you won’t miss the tomato on top. Sometimes less is more.

This pizza is simple, fresh and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. It’s a delight to make and even better to eat. How about pizza tonight?

Continue to the recipe...

The post Margherita Pizza appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

Oven Roasted Ratatouille

What happens when you take thinly sliced vegetables, layer them in a dish, add a rich red sauce, plenty of herbs, and a cheesy topping? You get this insanely delicious Oven Roasted Ratatouille, aka “the vegetable dish that vegetable haters won’t be able to get enough of.” While this interpretation of ratatouille isn’t exactly traditional, […]

The post Oven Roasted Ratatouille appeared first on Budget Bytes.

What happens when you take thinly sliced vegetables, layer them in a dish, add a rich red sauce, plenty of herbs, and a cheesy topping? You get this insanely delicious Oven Roasted Ratatouille, aka “the vegetable dish that vegetable haters won’t be able to get enough of.” While this interpretation of ratatouille isn’t exactly traditional, I think you’re going to love it. It kind of reminds me of pizza, but like, made out of really pretty vegetables (and it certainly made my house smell like pizza).

Originally posted 5-19-2014, updated 7-8-2021.

Overhead view of oven roasted ratatouille in the casserole dish with a serving spoon

What is Ratatouille?

Ratatouille is a classic French dish made of stewed vegetables, like tomato, zucchini, eggplant, onion, and bell pepper. It’s rich, comforting, and perfect for sopping up with a piece of crusty artisan bread or ladling over a bowl of polenta. As with most recipes that have been around for generations, there are many interpretations of ratatouille, and I definitely took mine in a different direction.

Rather than stewing the vegetables together in a pot, I chose to make an oven roasted ratatouille, which is a common alternative to the stewed version. Not only is oven roasting the sliced vegetables super pretty, but it’s a little more hands-off than stewing vegetables in a pot, which I appreciate. I also added marinara sauce to the bottom of my casserole dish which ends up mixing with the juices from the vegetables and creating the most delicious sauce (get some bread ready for dipping). Lastly, I topped with cheese, which definitely isn’t the norm for ratatouille, but it sure was delicious! And it really created that pizza-like effect. 

What Size Vegetables to Use

This recipe is extremely flexible. I’ve given some approximate weight values for the vegetables below, but you can really use whatever size you have available and whatever you can squeeze into your baking dish. But a word of advice–once sliced the volume of the vegetables always ends up being more than you estimated, so err on the side of smaller vegetables.

And you don’t have to make the vegetables line up or alternate perfectly in the dish. Just squeeze the slices in there and you’ll be good! I promise it will still taste great even if it doesn’t look perfect. ;) 

What Kind of Baking Dish to Use 

The size of the dish you’ll need will probably vary a bit with the size of your vegetables, but I would suggest using something in the neighborhood of a 9″x11″ rectangular casserole dish, or a 3 quart round dish. You can use a dish made with glass, ceramic, or metal. 

How to Serve Oven Roasted Ratatouille

Oven roasted ratatouille makes a delicious side dish for grilled or roasted meat, like Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Garlic Butter Baked Cod, or Herb Roasted Chicken Breast. You could also serve this as part of a vegetarian meal by pairing it with something like a rich and creamy risotto or serving it on top of a bowl of polenta.

side view of ratatouille in the casserole dish

oven roasted ratatouille with a portion scooped out of the corner

Oven Roasted Ratatouille

Oven roasted ratatouille combines all of summer's delicious vegetables into one rich, flavorful, and beautiful side dish.
Total Cost $5.68 recipe / $0.71 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8 ¾ cup each
Calories 99kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup marinara sauce $0.50
  • 1 yellow onion $0.25
  • 1 eggplant (about 1 lb.) $1.49
  • 1 zucchini (about ½ lb.) $0.71
  • 1 yellow squash (about ½ lb.) $0.55
  • 3 Roma tomatoes $0.87
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 1/8 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper $0.01
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella $0.94
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley (optional) $0.09

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Thinly slice the yellow onion. Slice the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes into ⅛-inch thick slices. Cut any pieces with a larger diameter into half-rounds.
  • Pour the marinara in the bottom of a large casserole dish. Sprinkle the sliced onions over top.
  • Begin to line up the sliced eggplant, zucchini, squash, and tomatoes into the dish, standing on their sides, and in an alternating pattern until all of the pieces are used up. Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables, then sprinkle the basil, oregano, salt, and pepper over top.
  • Transfer the dish to the oven and roast the vegetables for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle the shredded mozzarella over top. Return the casserole dish to the oven for five minutes, or until the cheese is melted and creamy.
  • After roasting, sprinkle the chopped parsley over top, then serve.

Notes

Try to purchase vegetables that are a close size in diameter to make layering easier.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 99kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 291mg | Fiber: 3g

How to Make Oven Roasted Ratatouille – Step by Step Photos

Eggplant, onion, squash, and tomatoes whole on a cutting board

For this recipe, I used one small eggplant (about 1 lb.), one yellow onion, one yellow squash (1/2 lb.), one zucchini (½ lb.), and three Roma tomatoes. The eggplant, squash, zucchini, and tomatoes are the vegetables that will get layered pretty in the dish, while the onion will be hiding underneath in a base layer.

Sliced eggplant, squash, zucchini, and tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Thinly slice the eggplant, squash, zucchini, and tomatoes. You want everything to be similar in height when placed in the casserole dish, so for pieces with a larger diameter, you’ll want to slice those in half (I did this for the eggplant and larger ends of the squash and zucchini). Aim for ⅛-inch thick slices. 

onion and marinara in the casserole dish

Thinly slice the onion. Spread 1 cup marinara in the bottom of a large casserole dish. Sprinkle the sliced onion over top.

Layered vegetables in the casserole dish

Layer the vegetables in the dish standing up on their sides, like cards in a card catalog (wait, did I just date myself??). They do NOT need to be perfect. Just start squeezing them in as best you can. It’s nice to try to alternate them in a pattern, but once you get toward the end you might have more left of one type of vegetable, so just start popping them in there anywhere they’ll fit. Drizzle 1 Tbsp olive oil over top. Sprinkle ½ tsp dried basil, ½ tsp dried oregano, ⅛ tsp freshly cracked pepper, and ¼ tsp salt on top of the vegetables.

Roasted ratatouille in the casserole dish

Transfer the dish to the preheated 400ºF oven and roast for 40 minutes.

Cheese being sprinkled on top of the ratatouille

After 40 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle 1 cup of shredded mozzarella on top. Return the dish to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and creamy.

Melted cheese on oven roasted ratatouille

Top with a little chopped parsley, then serve!

oven roasted ratatouille with a portion scooped out of the corner

So delicious… and it’s just begging for a beautiful baguette to bathe in it. Mmmmm. You’ve got to spoon some of that sauce from the bottom of the pan onto your plate!

Close up side view of ratatouille in the casserole dish

Closer look? So pretty. I ❤️ vegetables!

The post Oven Roasted Ratatouille appeared first on Budget Bytes.

The Best Cheese for Cheeseburgers, Period

That Cheese Plate is a column by Marissa Mullen—cookbook author, photographer, and Food52’s Resident Cheese Plater. With Marissa’s expertise all things cheddar, comté, and crudité—plus tips for how to make it all look extra special, using stuff you pro…

That Cheese Plate is a column by Marissa Mullen—cookbook author, photographer, and Food52's Resident Cheese Plater. With Marissa's expertise all things cheddar, comté, and crudité—plus tips for how to make it all look extra special, using stuff you probably have on hand—we'll be crafting our own cheesy masterpieces without a hitch. This month, Marissa is sharing her thoughts on the best possible cheese to melt on a burger, inspired by the Absolute Best Tests column.


It was in 1934 that the term “cheeseburger” was first coined, on the menu at Kaelin’s restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky. They topped a patty with American cheese in the hopes of adding a “new tang to the hamburger,” and this now-classic staple would soon appear everywhere from diners to backyards, all across the U.S. Over the years, the cheeseburger has morphed from its humble origins—sometimes so much that the folks at Kaelin’s probably wouldn’t recognize it as the same dish. Restaurants love to experiment with various toppings and condiments, from sautéed mushrooms and crispy onions to aioli and pickle relish, to transform the traditional cheeseburger into something new. At the core, however, the cheeseburger always relies on a ground beef base and gooey cheese topping.

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Pizza Melts

Pizza melts are like a cross between your two favorite comfort foods: pizza and grilled cheese. They’re fast, easy, and the perfect quick meal!

The post Pizza Melts appeared first on Budget Bytes.

What do you get when a grilled cheese and a pepperoni pizza have a baby? A PIZZA MELT! (Sorry for yelling, I’m excited.) I used to eat these as an after-school snack when I was growing up because they’re super easy and who doesn’t want pizza? But now, decades later, I took this pizza-inspired sandwich to the next level by adding an herby-Parmesan butter to the bread which creates an extra crispy finish. It’s to die for and way better than the pizza melts of my teen years. You’ve got to try it!

A stack of pizza melts cut in half on a plate against a blue background

What Kind of Bread To Use for Pizza Melts

You definitely want to use some sort of sturdy bread for your pizza melt. If you try to use a soft white sandwich bread it just won’t hold up to the moisture in the pizza sauce. I used a sourdough loaf, which gave my pizza melts even more flavor. Something like a rosemary olive oil bread or some homemade focaccia would also be amazing. Just make sure the bread is strong!

What Else Can You Put on a Pizza Melt?

A pizza melt, even in its most basic form (pizza sauce, cheese, pepperoni), is awesome, but if you happen to have some leftover ingredients on hand and you want to throw them on there, go for it! Here are a few ideas:

  • Diced bell pepper
  • Olives
  • Red onion
  • Bacon bits
  • Ham
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
  • Feta cheese
  • Banana peppers
  • Sun dried tomatoes

I would caution against using any ingredient that is very wet, like fresh tomatoes or canned artichoke hearts, since this can make the bread soggy.

Use Medium-Low Heat for the Perfect Grilled Cheese

Making a grilled cheese with a perfectly browned exterior and melty-cheesy interior can take a little practice. My trick is to cook over a slightly lower heat. This gives the inside time to warm up before the outside gets too brown or burns. It might take a little more patience, but you’ll get the most perfectly delicious grilled cheese. …or pizza melt. :)

cut open pizza melt being held close to the camera
A stack of pizza melts, cut sides facing camera

Pizza Melt

Pizza melts are like a cross between your two favorite comfort foods: pizza and grilled cheese. They're fast, easy, and the perfect quick meal!
Total Cost $1.11 each
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 451kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp butter, room temperature $0.11
  • 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan $0.11
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning $0.05
  • 2 slices hearty bread $0.44
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella $0.19
  • 1 Tbsp pizza sauce $0.06
  • 6 slices pepperoni $0.15

Instructions

  • Stir together the room temperature butter, grated parmesan, and Italian seasoning in a small bowl until evenly combined. Spread the Parmesan butter over one side of each slice of bread.
  • Flip the bread over so the un-buttered side is facing up. Place half of the shredded mozzarella on one slice of bread. Next, add small dollops of the sauce over top of the cheese, followed by the sliced pepperoni. Finally, add the remaining cheese. Place the second slice of bread on top to close the sandwich, butter side facing out.
  • Place the sandwich in a skillet and cook over medium-low heat until golden brown on each side and the cheese is melted on the inside. Cut the sandwich in half and serve!

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 451kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 28g | Sodium: 991mg | Fiber: 3g
Two pizza melts on a plates with bread, sauce, and cheese on the sides

How to Make a Pizza Melt – Step by Step Photos

Herby Parmesan butter in a bowl

Combine 1 Tbsp room temperature butter with 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan, and ½ tsp Italian seasoning. Mix them together until they form a paste.

Buttered bread on a cutting board

Spread the Parmesan butter over one side each slice of bread.

Cheese and pizza sauce added to the bread

Flip the bread over so the un-buttered side is facing up, then top one slice with ½ of the ⅓ cup shredded mozzarella. Add about 1 Tbsp pizza sauce in small dollops over the cheese (that helps make a barrier so the sauce doesn’t soak into the bread and make it too soggy).

pepperoni and cheese added to the sandwich

Next add about six slices of pepperoni, and then top with the remaining shredded mozzarella. Place the second slice of bread on top, buttered side facing out.

pizza melt cooking in a skillet

Cook the pizza melt in a skillet over medium-low heat until it’s golden brown and crispy on both sides and the cheese inside is melted.

pizza melt cut in half on a cutting board

Cut the pizza melt in half and enjoy!

a pizza melt sandwich on a plate with ingredients on the sides

The post Pizza Melts appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches

These Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches are an easy vegetarian dish with plenty of options for customizing to fit your tastes and budget.

The post Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I had a craving for a grilled eggplant sandwich the other day but 1) I don’t have a grill and 2) that sounded like a lot of work, so I made this quick skillet version instead. The resulting Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches are a “meaty” combo of sautéed eggplant drenched with marinara sauce, piled high onto a garlic butter toasted bun, then topped off with melty mozzarella cheese. YES PLEASE.

Three Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches on a wooden board

What to Serve with Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches

These eggplant sandwiches are pretty filling, so I would pair them with something super simple, like a very basic side salad (greens + vinaigrette) to kind of lighten up the plate. Or, if you want something more vegetable-packed, they would be awesome with Marinated Cauliflower Salad, Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes, Garlic Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower, or Simple Sautéed Vegetables.

Sandwich Sizes and Servings

This recipe makes about 3-4 sandwiches, depending on the size of your eggplant and the size of your rolls or buns. I used hoagie buns that were about 6 inches in length and an eggplant that was about 8-inches long and I was able to make three large sandwiches. If you were to use round rolls, you’d probably get four piled-high sandwiches.

How to Store Leftovers

These sandwiches definitely need to be consumed right when they’re assembled, so if you’re in a smaller household that won’t be eating all three or four sandwiches at once, make sure to store the components separately. Keep the sautéed eggplant with red sauce in its own container and reheat either in a skillet or in the microwave. Butter and toast your bread just before assembly, then add the eggplant and cheese, and briefly heat to melt the cheese.

Mozzarella Options

I used fresh mozzarella because it melts so beautifully and I can get it for a decent price. If fresh mozzarella is not available or not available at a reasonable price, you can use shredded mozzarella instead. Full-fat mozzarella will always melt better than part-skim, but part-skim will work in a pinch.

three eggplant mozzarella sandwiches in a line, angled away from the camera
front view of one eggplant mozzarella sandwich

Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches

Total Cost $6.41 recipe / $2.14 each
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 3 to 4 sandwiches
Calories 455kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant (8" length) $1.49
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided $0.32
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning $0.10
  • 1 cup marinara sauce $0.50
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 4 rolls $1.53
  • 1 Tbsp butter $0.11
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 4 oz. mozzarella $2.00

Instructions

  • Cube the eggplant into ½-inch cubes. Mince the garlic.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes, then add the cubed eggplant and Italian seasoning. Continue to sauté until the eggplant is soft (5-7 minutes).
  • Add the marinara sauce to the skillet with the eggplant, stir to combine, then heat through (3-5 minutes). Taste and season with salt (about ½ tsp).
  • Preheat the boiler on your oven and make sure the oven rack is positioned in the middle. Combine the second 2 Tbsp olive oil with the butter and garlic powder. Microwave for 15-30 seconds to melt the butter, then stir to combine.
  • Place the buns on a baking sheet, cut sides up. Brush the butter and olive oil mixture over the cut surfaces of the rolls. Bake under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until they are just barely golden brown (watch them closely as broilers can vary).
  • After removing the rolls from the oven, switch the setting from broil to bake (350ºF). Pile the eggplant mixture onto the toasted rolls, then top with mozzarella. Return the sandwiches to the hot oven and bake for about 5 minutes more, or until the mozzarella is melted. Serve hot!

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 455kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 26g | Sodium: 1110mg | Fiber: 6g
front view of one eggplant mozzarella sandwich

How to Make Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches – Step by Step Photos

Cubed eggplant

Cube one eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes. Mince two cloves of garlic.

Minced garlic in oil in a skillet

Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes.

Cubed eggplant in the skillet with Italian seasoning

Add the cubed eggplant and 1 tsp Italian seasoning. Continue to sauté until the eggplant is soft (5-7 minutes).

Marinara sauce being added to sautéed eggplant in the skillet

Once the eggplant is soft, add 1 cup marinara sauce.

Finished eggplant with marinara in the skillet

Stir to combine the eggplant and sauce, then heat through. Taste and season with salt (about ½ tsp).

Garlic butter and oil being brushed onto rolls

Preheat the broiler on your oven and make sure the oven’s rack is in the middle position. Place your buns or rolls on a baking sheet, cut side up. Combine the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp butter, and ¼ tsp garlic powder. Microwave for 15-30 seconds, or until melted, then stir to combine. Brush the butter and oil mixture over the cut surface of the rolls.

Eggplant mixture being spooned onto toasted rolls

Toast the rolls under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until they are barely golden brown. Watch them closely, as broilers can vary quite a bit. Once toasted, switch the oven’s setting from broil to bake (350ºF). Spoon the eggplant mixture onto the rolls.

sandwiches topped with mozzarella

Top the eggplant mixture with mozzarella (about 1 oz. per sandwich).

Baked eggplant sandwiches on the baking sheet

Return the sandwiches to the oven and bake for a few minutes more, or until the mozzarella is melted.

Eggplant sandwiches ready to serve

Serve the eggplant mozzarella sandwiches while they’re still hot! (I added a little chopped parsley for color, but it’s not needed for flavor)

three stacked eggplant mozzarella sandwiches on a wooden board

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Caprese Sandwich

Picnic season is here! There’s never been a better time to picnic. We’ve enjoyed a lovely extended spring here in Kansas City. Our homegrown tomatoes won’t be…

The post Caprese Sandwich appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

vegetarian baguette sandwich recipe

Picnic season is here! There’s never been a better time to picnic. We’ve enjoyed a lovely extended spring here in Kansas City. Our homegrown tomatoes won’t be ready for a while, but I wanted to share my favorite picnic sandwich with you since I’m able to find great tomatoes at the store now.

This Caprese sandwich recipe is inspired by the classic Caprese salad. It features ripe red tomatoes and sliced fresh mozzarella with the most irresistible creamy basil sauce. For extra flavor, I also added a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a small handful of arugula.

Caprese sandwich ingredients

Sandwich all of that inside a crusty loaf of French baguette, and you will have a perfectly portable sandwich for picnics or road trips. Or, enjoy it at home for a quick meal from now through the end of tomato season this fall.

Just remember—the better the bread and the tomatoes, the better the sandwich!

Continue to the recipe...

The post Caprese Sandwich appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

Classic Asparagus Quiche

This asparagus quiche recipe is a total showstopper! Smoked mozzarella and feta make an irresistible filling for the flaky pastry crust. The buttery scent of this recipe in the oven may win you one or two marriage proposals…or at least it will have the neighbors wandering by to snatch up leftovers. Try this crowd-pleasing Asparagus Quiche! It’s packed with savory, cozy flavor, perfect for spring brunches or light dinners with a crisp glass of white wine. We won’t lie: it is a bit of a project. But it’s worth every second of time for the satisfaction you’ll get from making a quiche from scratch. Plus, it’s easy to make in advance…and we’ve got some cheater steps too. We served it to guests who went gaga over this one. Come: let’s make quiche! How to make this asparagus quiche recipe: an overview! In under 2 hours, you’ve got a complete masterpiece of an asparagus quiche recipe: made completely from scratch. That includes a homemade quiche crust. Want a shortcut? You can do storebought crust too: see below. But we highly recommend the homemade crust: it’s crispy, buttery perfection. Here’s what to expect from this process timing-wise: Make the pie dough 20 […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This asparagus quiche recipe is a total showstopper! Smoked mozzarella and feta make an irresistible filling for the flaky pastry crust.

Asparagus quiche

The buttery scent of this recipe in the oven may win you one or two marriage proposals…or at least it will have the neighbors wandering by to snatch up leftovers. Try this crowd-pleasing Asparagus Quiche! It’s packed with savory, cozy flavor, perfect for spring brunches or light dinners with a crisp glass of white wine. We won’t lie: it is a bit of a project. But it’s worth every second of time for the satisfaction you’ll get from making a quiche from scratch. Plus, it’s easy to make in advance…and we’ve got some cheater steps too. We served it to guests who went gaga over this one. Come: let’s make quiche!

How to make this asparagus quiche recipe: an overview!

In under 2 hours, you’ve got a complete masterpiece of an asparagus quiche recipe: made completely from scratch. That includes a homemade quiche crust. Want a shortcut? You can do storebought crust too: see below. But we highly recommend the homemade crust: it’s crispy, buttery perfection. Here’s what to expect from this process timing-wise:

Make the pie dough20 minutes, active
Freeze the dough10 minutes, inactive
Blind bake the dough + make the filling25 minutes, active
Bake the quiche40 to 50 minutes, inactive
Asparagus quiche recipe

Tips for making homemade quiche crust

Ever made a quiche crust from scratch? It’s pretty simple, but you do need a few dough-making techniques. Above all: have confidence! Working with dough takes time and practice. If it’s your first time, give yourself some grace. (Let us know if you have any questions in the comments or on Instagram!)

  • Use a standard 9-inch pie plate, not deep dish. Deep dish will be too thick for the filling amount here.
  • A pastry cloth is helpful, but not necessary. It helps for rolling out the dough so it doesn’t stick on the counter. If you don’t have one, just lightly dust the counter with flour.
  • Use the tines of a fork to decorate the edge. We’re fans of the lines a fork tine makes for a quiche crust. Of course, you could do a fluted edge too, like this one.
  • You’ll freeze the crust 10 minutes before blind baking it. Why? This helps the crust to hold its shape while blind baking. (This freezer method shortcuts refrigerating for a few hours. You’re welcome!) What’s blind baking? Well, we’re glad you asked…

The key? Blind bake the crust!

The biggest key to making an asparagus quiche recipe, or any quiche for that matter? Blind baking the crust. Blind baking is baking a pie crust without the filling. This makes sure that crust is perfectly firm before you add the wet filling, which avoids the soggy crust problem. This is especially important for a custard pie like a quiche, because the filling is so wet. If you don’t blind bake, you’ll get soggy bottom crust for sure (we did). Here’s what to know about blind baking and how to get the perfect flaky crust:

  • Prick holes with a fork all over the crust. This is called docking the crust: it makes it puff up less while in the oven.
  • Add pie weights: like dried beans or rice! You can use ceramic pie weights (we used these) to weigh down the crust so it doesn’t get too puffy. Or, you can use dried beans or dry rice! It doesn’t harm the beans or rice: you can still cook them as normal after using them as weights.
Asparagus quiche recipe

Want a shortcut? Use store-bought crust

Yes, you can short-cut the effort to make your homemade crust and go with a store-bought pastry crust. Any type of purchased pie crust works (we don’t have a favorite brand since we always make our own). You’ll still need to blind bake the store-bought crust! So start in the recipe below at Step 3.

This asparagus quiche recipe is easy to make in advance

Yes, it takes about 2 hours to make! But here’s the thing: only about 1 hour of it is active time. Even better: it saves VERY well. It’s so easy to make the night before, or even a few days in advance! Here’s what to do:

  • Make the entire quiche 1 to 3 days in advance. Then refrigerate it until serving!
  • Warm in a 200 degree oven for about 20 minutes before serving. It’s also delicious cold, but we like it warmed up.
  • Saves 5 days refrigerated. Wrap it in plastic or aluminum to keep it fresh.
Asparagus quiche

Ways to serve asparagus quiche

This asparagus quiche recipe is a total showstopper! We served this at a spring birthday brunch for my mom and everyone went crazy over it. In fact, it was suddenly gone before we knew it! It was absolutely perfect for a festive occasion (it would be great for Easter or Mother’s Day). While recipe testing, we also ate it for dinner: which was perfect as well. Here are some ways we’d accessorize it:

How would you serve it? Let us know in the comments below!

This asparagus quiche recipe is…

Vegetarian.

Print

Classic Asparagus Quiche


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This asparagus quiche is a total showstopper! Smoked mozzarella and feta make an irresistible filling for the flaky pastry crust. 


Ingredients

For the quiche crust*

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons ice water

For the asparagus quiche

  • 4 ounces asparagus (about 8 thin stalks)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces (about 3/4 cup) smoked mozzarella or smoked gouda, grated
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles

Instructions

  1. Make the quiche crust: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, mix the all-purpose flour, kosher salt, and baking powder. Slice the butter into pieces, then cut it into the flour mixture using a pastry blender until a coarse meal texture is obtained. Sprinkle the ice water over the flour 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing gradually with fork until the dough sticks together. Add additional water by the tablespoon until the dough comes together but is not sticky. Form the dough into a ball.
  2. Roll out and freeze the dough: If you have a pastry cloth, set it up and dust it with flour; otherwise, flour a clean work surface. Put on a rolling pin cover (optional), and either way, dust the pin in flour. Roll the dough to an even 12-inch circle (which corresponds to the 9-inch pie pan). Use a rolling pin to transfer the dough to the pie pan (make sure it is standard and not deep dish). Fold the overhanging dough backwards and seal it to form a rim. Then press it with the tines of a fork to decorate the edges (see the photos). Use a fork to gently prick holes in the bottom and sides of the crust (this helps it to not puff up while blind baking). Freeze the crust for 10 minutes before blind baking. 
  3. Blind bake the crust: Remove the dough from the freezer and place a sheet of parchment paper on top of the crust. Fill the dough with pie weights (we used two sets of these), dry beans, or dry rice. Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully remove the parchment and weights and bake additional 8 minutes until the bottom is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and go to Step 5.
  4. Saute the asparagus: Meanwhile, wash the asparagus and trim off the ends. Cut the stalks into bite-sized pieces. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the asparagus, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and a few grind black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the largest pieces are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. This depends on the thickness and maturity of the asparagus, so it’s different every time! Taste and remove when it’s just tender and still bright green, but not crunchy.
  5. Reduce the oven heat: When the crust is done blind baking, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat of the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  6. Make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and several grinds black pepper. Place the grated smoked mozzarella cheese in bottom of the crust. Pour the egg mixture over the top. Sprinkle the sauteed asparagus and feta cheese crumbles.
  7. Bake: Bake 40 to 50 minutes minutes, until the center is set and the top is lightly browned. Cool at least two hours. It’s easiest to make the night before, so you can refrigerate until serving. Re-warm in a 200 degree oven for 20 minutes. (You can also serve it cold.) Leftovers stay for 5 days refrigerated. 

Notes

*You can also use a storebought pastry crust to shortcut some time. You’ll still need to blind bake the crust, so start with Step 3.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Asparagus quiche, asparagus quiche recipe

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes