Parmesan & Garlic Stuffed Grilled Artichokes Recipe

Parmesan & Garlic Stuffed Grilled Artichokes Recipe

Growing up I was one of the children on the free lunch program at school. I often ate peanut butter and sugar sandwiches or hamburger helper because that is all we had available in our home. While we never starved—due to great programs available to us and parents and grandparents that worked very hard to make sure we were okay—we never did really get to try new things or enjoy different kinds of vegetables. A lot of what we ate was frozen, in a can or fast food.

The times that I did get to experience great foods, often at my grandmother’s home where she would spend hours over the stove making home made spaghetti and meatballs or fresh strawberry topped pancakes, introduced me to a world with which I would someday fall in love. As I grew up and began to earn my own money and buy my own meals, I discovered my deep love for food— fresh, different, amazing food. My first year of marriage I think my husband and I spent $800 a month on groceries for just the two of us. YIKES! (Although, it sure is nice to have a partner that values good food as much as I do!)

We can’t spend that much on food nowadays with more bills and a kid (and one on the way). Though, even when we struggle with money, our food budget is one area that I work hard to maintain enough budgeted money so that we can enjoy fresh fruit, vegetables and quality proteins daily. I meal plan weekly to make sure that we are spending our food budget wisely and getting to try new things. Trying new things, enjoying great food, and sharing that experience with others is pretty much what my life is about. Which brings me to this post… I just had to try artichokes because I had never really had any success with them before!

Parmesan & Garlic Stuffed Grilled Artichokes

These crazy looking vegetables have always alluded me. I love them in an artichoke spinach dip, but the one time I tried making them myself I had no clue how to even approach eating them, much less cooking them! Recently I was craving a really amazing Italian meal. At this point in my pregnancy I just knew I had to give into the craving before it drove me really mad, so I planned an Italian themed dinner party with friends. I knew that this was the perfect opportunity for me to give artichokes another try. After googling how to eat the suckers, I researched several different recipes to get the knack of how to cook them, and then tackled the project for the party.

Note: Seasoned home entertainers will tell you to never make your guests your guinea pigs for meals. Thankfully, my guests never seem to mind… even the one time my husband burned the spaghetti! It is a good thing our friends love us because I like to experiment often and I often make my guests my guinea pigs.

 

After discovering just how easy artichokes can be, I’ve now made them a few times and love them more and more! Below are some tips for cooking (and eating) artichokes plus my recipe for Parmesan and Garlic Stuffed Grilled Artichokes.

 

Parmesan & Garlic Stuffed Grilled Artichokes

 

Tips for cooking an artichoke:

 

The first time I tried cooking an artichoke I tried trimming, cutting and de-choke before cooking the artichoke. This led to a lot of pricks on my fingers, a bunch of furry bits all over my kitchen and most of the heart of the artichoke in my waste bin. It was an utter disaster and made me not want to try again. Thankfully, I found that doing just a tiny bit of prep and then steaming the artichoke makes the whole thing go much smoother.

  1. Trim your artichoke. Trim your artichoke by first cutting off the first inch or so of the tip of the artichoke. This one swift action will take care of much of the prickly parts! Then taking a pair of kitchen shears and cut the tips of all of the outer leaves. Trim the stem to about an inch or less.
  2. Steam your artichoke. Drop into a steamer basket with the stem side down. Steam for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. The bigger an artichoke is, the longer it will take to cook. I put a knife in mine to test doneness. Once the knife easily slipped into the artichoke I called it good!
  3. De-choke your artichoke. You can then eat the artichoke as described below, taking out the choke once you get to it. Or, you can cut in half, remove the choke (the furry looking bit right above the heart of the artichoke) with a spoon and then eat the artichoke.
  4. Make it even tastier! For an extra tasty artichoke check out my recipe below!

 

Tips for serving artichokes:

 

  1. Serve with dip, lemons or olive oil drizzled across them. Artichokes have a great flavor, but really can be amazing with a little something extra.
  2. Serve with a discard bowl. There are parts of an artichoke you just don’t want to eat… give yourself and your guests a bowl or plate to toss their leaves so that the inedible bits don’t end up back on the dinner plate.

How to eat an artichoke:

 

  1. Go from the outside of the artichoke to the inside. Take the outer leaves of the (prepped and cooked) artichoke and pull from the stem. They should come off easily. The only edible part of the artichoke is actually the part that was attached the the stem. It will be lighter in color and look meatier than the rest of the leaf.
  2. Dip (or not) into your favorite condiment and place the edible end in your mouth. Scrape the meaty bit into your mouth and discard the rest of the leaf. Note: As you get further into the artichoke you’ll find that more of the leaves are edible and you’ll get to enjoy more and more of the artichoke meat.
  3. Get that heart! Once you get down to the heart of the artichoke (basically what is left of a prepped and cooked artichoke after all the leaves and choke have been removed) eat the heart whole! YUM.
  4. What about the stem? The stem of the artichoke is also edible if trimmed and cooked, but can be stringy and woody.
Parmesan & Garlic Stuffed Grilled Artichokes Recipe

Parmesan & Garlic Stuffed Grilled Artichokes Recipe

This recipe makes 12 quarters of artichokes that make for a great appetizer for a party of 8 to 12 guests or a hearty side for a meal for 6-8 guests.

Ingredients

  • 4 large artichokes
  • 1.5 cup shredded parmesan
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 lemons - 1 halved to use for juice and the other two cut into 1/8ths for serving
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Trim the tip, leaves and stem of your artichoke.
  2. Place in steamer basket over boiling water, cover pot and steam for 15 to 20 minutes or until a knife can easily pierce the artichoke.
  3. While cooking artichokes prep your stuffing by mixing the minced garlic, parmesan and about 1/4 cup of olive oil in a bowl.
  4. Remove artichokes from steamer pot and let cool.
  5. A squeeze of lemon here will help preserve color a bit more and give the artichoke a great flavor. Use 1/2 of a lemon.
  6. Slice artichokes in half.
  7. Remove the choke (the stringy, fuzzy bit of the artichoke) using a knife to cut out around the heart area and then scooping it out with a spoon. It should come out fairly easily, but be careful not to take the heart with it.
  8. Cut artichokes halves in half to make quarters.
  9. Stuff the heart area and between the leaves with the garlic and parmesan cheese mixture.
  10. Drizzle with olive oil and then place on a grill with medium heat with the hearts facing up (you don't want the mixture to fall out!)
  11. Grill until the parmesan cheese mixture has fully melted, be careful to not leave the artichokes on the grill too long as they will easily burn.
  12. Serve with lemon wedges and a drizzle of olive oil!
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http://www.awellcraftedparty.com/2015/07/29/parmesan-garlic-stuffed-grilled-artichokes-recipe/

Great posts on artichokes with instructional photos:

 

  • — “Life lessons, artichokes, and hearts” from The Spicy Bee — Great photos showing how to cut the tips of an artichoke and a really sweet story that actually made me want to try artichokes again. Hers is so different from mine because she had been enjoying artichokes since she was a child. I hope my son looks back on food with the same fond memories!
  • — “How to cook and eat an artichoke” from Simply Recipes— Step by step directions for cooking and eating an artichoke. I loved the pictures for how to eat an artichoke. I would never have ordered an artichoke out before due to fear of having no clue how to eat them! This post can keep you from looking like a fool at the dinner table.
  • — “Prickly Treat” from Illustrated Bites— I love this illustration of how to cook and eat an artichoke SO much.

 

What was your first experience with artichokes like? Comment below!

Brunch Party Tip: Simple Way to Serve Bagels at a Brunch Event

Brunch Party Tip: Simple Way to Serve Bagels at a Brunch Event

A couple of weeks ago I got to help coordinate and attend another awesome Portland Bloggers’ Meet-Up. We always to try mix times, themes, styles of meet-up each time that we meet. This time we went for a speed networking style meet-up in the morning/early afternoon… due to the time of day we knew that we wanted to serve up some brunch items.

Brunch is one of my favorite meals and serving it up at a party is always a great choice because you can mix all types of favorite breakfast and lunch items, sweet and savory. We were thrilled with Bowery Bagels offered to bring in some of their delicious NY style bagels and schmears. Of course, planning the event, all I could think about was where we were going to place the table and how we were going to set it up to accommodate the needs of knives, spreads, toasters and all the fixings for a really great bagel spread.

Thankfully, Bowery Bagels did something that I would have never in a million years thought of (though, I sort of can’t believe I never did because it is so simple and smart) that made the entire brunch spread easy and beautiful. I mean really, there is no way to really make a bunch of plugged in toasters look super pretty unless you go out and get a bunch of coordinating toasters.

The simple fix that Bowery did to serve up the bagels? They pre-toasted and schmeared the bagels and cut them up into little perfect bites.

I would have been worried about soggy bagels, but their New York style bagel was perfect like this and the bagels lasted throughout the whole event and the leftovers even lasted in the fridge for a few days more of bagel goodness. In addition to creating the bagel bites with the cream cheese schmear, Bowery thought of the vegans or dairy-free attendees by also making a platter of bagel bites with a vegan non-soy cashew spread.

 

A big thank you goes out to Bowery Bagels for introducing the Portland Bloggers to their bagels and introducing this simple, but GREAT party tip into my life. This post is not sponsored, however, I am the owner of Portland Bloggers to which the bagels were donated for an event. All opinions are my own! 

What party tips do you have for making a brunch style party go off without a hitch? Comment below!

Easy Dinner Idea: Stuffed Ravioli Tossed with Spinach, Tomatoes & Pesto

Stuffed Ravioli with Spinach, Tomato and Pesto - A Well Crafted Party

I love eating outdoors as soon as the weather calls for it. A great outdoor meal to me doesn’t always have to incorporate cooking outside (ie grilling) but, it does need to be simple and easy to transport outdoors. The below outdoor meal entree is not just INCREDIBLY simple to make and holds up to my outdoor meal criteria, but also was extremely affordable to make.

When Grocery Outlet sent me a gift card to try out some of their deals, I went in with no idea what kind of meal I was going to make. But, after just a few minutes perusing the aisles and checking out their ad I had a plan in place. I picked up all of my ingredients in one trip to Grocery Outlet and had the meal on the table in thirty minutes after getting home. Today I’m sharing the main course item that took about 10 minutes from start to finish. This entree would be perfect for an easy weeknight meal alfresco!

Stuffed Ravioli Tossed with Spinach, Tomatoes & Pesto

Stuffed Ravioli Tossed with Spinach, Tomatoes & Pesto

Ingredients

  • 1 package of stuffed ravioli from the freezer or refrigerator section of your local grocery store (Get whatever stuffing sounds good to you. I found a spinach and chicken stuffed ravioli that was delicious!)
  • 1/3 of a bag of pre-washed baby spinach from the produce section of your local grocery store
  • 3 Roma Tomatoes (or any ripe tomato will do) sliced into thin wedges
  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons of Basil Garlic Pesto (I used Rising Sun Farms Pesto)
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese, Salt & Pepper to Taste

Instructions

  1. Boil water and cook stuffed ravioli according to package directions.
  2. While ravioli is cooking, heat olive oil and pesto in a sauté pan on Medium heat.
  3. Sautée tomatoes in the olive oil and pesto mixture for approximately two minutes, until tomatoes are just a little soft.
  4. As pasta is finishing cooking, save back 1 cup of pasta water and then drain pasta.
  5. Add cooked pasta into sauté pan with tomatoes, pesto and olive oil. Add in the cup of pasta water and spinach.
  6. Mix the items in the pan and cook until spinach is just wilted.
  7. Can be served hot, room temp or chilled! Top with parmesan cheese, a little bit of salt, and a few turns of freshly ground pepper.
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http://www.awellcraftedparty.com/2015/06/02/easy-dinner-idea-stuffed-ravioli-tossed-with-spinach-tomatoes-pesto/

This post was created in collaboration with Grocery Outlet. All opinions are my own. Thank you for reading and sharing posts that are created in partnership with brands that help support this blog.Grocery Outlet operates 210+ stores in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington.Visit the Grocery Outlet website to find a store near you and sign up for notifications when their new ad comes out! 

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