Archive for ‘Lunch’

December 12, 2010

Waldorf Salad


With the holiday season in full force, many of us start to see an increase of the scales! OH NO! To counteract all the season treats I like to eat, I try to make my daily meals on the lighter side. It’s the holiday season after all and I want to enjoy all the goodies that you only get once a year. Most of my meals include fruits and veggies and low fat meats (chicken and pork) and then I get to have fun at parties and family dinners.  Here is a very simple recipe and it helped me use up the rest of the rotisserie chicken I bought to make chicken noodle soup.  Instead of mayonnaise I used 2% plain greek yogurt and I was surprised that I liked it because I don’t usually like the yogurt substitution. (Maybe I will start trying it more often). Enjoy!

2 cups cooked chicken, diced

1/2 apple (I used Fuji for the sweet/tartness with a crispy texture)

1/2 cup red grapes, halved

1 celery, sliced thin

1 green onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup slivered almonds (pecans or walnuts work too)

2T blue cheese

1/2 cup 2% plain greek style yogurt (you can use mayonnaise as well)

1T red wine vinegar (or lemon juice)

1tsp kosher salt

  1. Dice the chicken and apples. Slice the grapes in half. Slice the celery and green onion. Toss it all in a bowl with slivered almonds and blue cheese.
  2. Mix together the yogurt, vinegar and salt. Pour over the chicken mixture and toss.
  3. Serve with whole lettuce leaves. Spread chicken mixture over a lettuce leaf, roll up and eat!


September 22, 2010

Make Your Own Flatbread Pizza

Homemade pizza is a great weeknight meal which the kids can participate in making. Kids take pride in making things on their own and helping to make the food they will eat is also a great way to get them interested in food and will be likely to eat a larger array of foods. Sometimes it is hard to come home from work and get time in with the kids, dinner made, homework, baths, and bed time routines.  Cooking is such a great way to get in one-on-one time with your kids, plus you all have to eat! Plus I think it is really important to involve your kids in preparing the food they eat. They have to learn how to cook anyway and the more you cook together the more you can teach your children how to eat well, while bonding with them.

Flatbread pizza is a great fast weeknight meal. While looking at a baking blog I saw a recipe for flatbread, I will attempt to make it and share it with you. Otherwise just buy some Naan bread from your local grocery store. (Savemart carries it in the bakery).

White Sauce (Or use your favorite pizza or marinara sauce)

2T butter

1T flour

1 clove garlic, halved

1/2c. heavy cream (room temp)

1 c. milk (room temp)

1/4 t. salt

1 t. oregano

1/8 t. cayenne pepper

1/4 c. parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a pan and saute the garlic in the butter until fragrant.  Whisk in flour and cook about 2 minutes.  Slowly pour in cream and milk and whisk, while adding cayenne, salt and oregano. bring to a boil and add the parmesan cheese and whisk. Allow to thicken and boil a few minutes.

Spread the sauce on the flatbread. Top each flatbread with 1 cup of shredded mozzerella cheese.


Add your toppings. My daughter choose “marshrooms” and “salami” (pepperoni). Her two favorites.


I put tomatoes and red onion. My other Favorite is sundried tomatoes and artichokes.


Preheat oven to 425 degrees and cook for 10-15 minutes on the top shelf. I actually have an oven stone so I cooked the pizzas on my stone for 10 minutes (which crisps the bread) and finished them off on the top rack for 5 minutes to finish cooking the toppings.




Alternative: saute a clove of garlic cut in half in olive oil until fragrant. Brush the oil on the bread. Add shredded Fontina cheese, chopped artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes and thinly sliced red onion.  (Superb!)

August 28, 2010

Lunch Bunch – Sandwiches

Spicy Pastrami

(above is my Spicy Pastrami

With kids returning to school comes the pressure of packed lunch ideas. Maybe you’re not a parent but need ideas for your own packed lunch. Besides, bringing your own lunch to work is a much healthier option than going out to eat everyday, and it saves money. If you are like me, if my weekly lunch menu is not planned, I end up making more PB&Js and plain cheese and turkey sandwiches then I would like. Things get boring!

Below is a chart of my most favorite sandwich ingredients. This way everything is laid out in front of me and I don’t have to think up ingredients off the top of my head. It even helps me get a little more creative with flavor combos. Walk around your produce section to come up with your own list, or add to mine. Think about your leftovers – grilled steak, chicken, pork, grilled fish, slice those up and make a sandwich the next day.  

Having a chart can help remind kids of options they may not otherwise think up. Let them add their favorites to the list. At the beginning of each week make sure to choose a few sandwiches for the week and make sure you have the ingredients for those. I use lists for everything at home and work, so it only made sense to come up with a list for lunches! (Another idea is to also keep a list of items kids can chose from for sides and snacks to complete their lunch).

Bread Meat cheese Veggies Spreads/Toppings
Whole Wheat Cibatta Rolls
Pumpernickel Artisan
smoked cheddar
smoked gouda
goat cheese
blue cheese
bell peppers
broccoli slaw
Pesto Mayo
Sun-dried tomato spread
Goat cheese spread
olive tapenade
stone ground mustard
red wine vinegar
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
parmesan cheese
fresh or dried herbs

peanut butter
marshmallow creme

My daughter’s favorite is peanut butter, marshmallow cream, and strawberry on whole wheat bread.

As for the spreads here are a few really easy and great tasting spreads for your sandwiches:  

Pesto Mayo 

½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup prepared or homemade pesto

Mix ingredients together in a bowl.   

Jalapeno Aioli 

1 whole jalapeno, stem cut off
½ cup mayo
¼ cup sour cream
½ bunch cilantro
salt and pepper 

Place jalapenos in a food processor or blender until coarsely chopped. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until all combined. 

Sun-dried Tomato Spread 

½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup goat cheese (goat cheese can be substituted with cream cheese or another soft cheese)
¼ cup Sun-dried tomatoes 

Place ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and process until smooth.

Goat Cheese Spread

½ cup soft goat cheese (Chevre)
3 mint leaves
¼ c parsley
½ lemon jucied
1/8 tsp honey

In a food processor (or blender) mix all ingredients together until the mixture is smooth.

April 24, 2010

BLT (and then some) Salad

A Friday night dinner after my daughter’s dance. I love BLTs so I thought it would make a great salad, but I had to add avocado and blue cheese because those go so well with tomatoes and bacon!

Iceberg lettuce (I used red leaf in the photo but iceberg is good BLT lettuce)
4 slices chopped cooked bacon
1/2 cup left over roasted chicken
1/2 avocado, diced
1/2c. chopped tomatoes
pine nuts
homemade croutons
sea salt
1c. Ranch dressing (your favorite or homemade)
1 green onion finely chopped
1/4c. blue cheese

Up close

Mix dressing, green onion and blue cheese.

Arrange lettuce on plate. Top with chicken, tomatoes, avocado, pine nuts, and bacon.

Top with dressing and a little coarse sea salt and croutons.

April 10, 2010

Spicy Pastrami

I am not a big fan of just plain sanwiches, they are sometimes a little boring to me. But Paninis are a whole other story! They are my favorite of all sandwiches, gooey cheese, warm toasty bread and warm inside. I’m playing around a bit with some combinations – part of creating “the Menu.” Here is a really good one.

Spicy Pastrami Panini

 I made this sandwich with the 12-grain bread I had, but I’m going to make a batch of ciabatta and try it with that bread (you could also buy some ciabatta)

2 slices bread (preferrable artisan type – ciabatta or foccacia)
generous portion of thin sliced pastrami
handful of sliced pepperocinis
handful of sliced roasted red peppers*
2 slices of cheddar cheese
2T. Sundried tomato spread (see recipe below)

Take one slice of bread and place the cheese, pastrami and the peppers.

Now to make the Tomato Spread!

The grocery store near me has an olive bar which consists of really good sundried tomatoes in oil (the ones in oil are soft and easier to use than in a dry package). Or you could take 3-4 roma tomatoes, slice them in half and roast them in your oven @ 450 for 30 minutes or until they are shriveled a bit.

Mix half a stick of cream cheese (4 oz.) and enough sundried tomatoes to equal about 3-4 small roma tomatoes.

spread should look like this

Now place the spread on the remaining slice of bread and place it on top of the pastrami side. Now I don’t have a fancy panini grill but if you do, heat it up. Instead I use the small George Foreman grill I have and it comes out just the same. You could also cook the panini in a skillet or cast iron skillet and use a brick wrapped in foil to place on top of your sandwich, part way through flip the sandwich so both sides are toasty and everything is melty. Notice I don’t use oil or butter but you can if you’d like.

And now you can dig in!!!

*I like to roast peppers slice them and put them in the fridge for a week or freezer if I won’t use them right away, this way I always have fresh roasted peppers.

April 8, 2010

Strawberry, Fluff and PB Sandwiches


Your kids will love this sandwich! I never knew of any use for fluff other than in a fudge recipe I love. Then I saw Kate (Jon and Kate Plus 8 – back when that show was good) making it for her kids and thought gross. Then I found a recipe for homemade fluff and thought – ok I’ll try it. It seems I have seen a lot about the Fluff sandwich since then. I believe it originated in Pennsylvania – my home state! Lots of things come from PA I’m finding!

3 large egg whites
2 cups light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups powdered sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract

NOTE: The fluff expands a lot, use at least a 5-quart (or larger) mixing bowl.

In large mixer bowl, use a whisk attachment to combine egg whites, corn syrup, and salt. Beat for 10 minutes until thick. (After only a minute or so, the fluff turns white and gooey)

Add powdered sugar at a low speed to thoroughly incorporate. Add vanilla extract and beat until well blended.

Store the fluff in a glass jar for easy access a ziploc gets all sticky and messy on your hands. Refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to a month. The fluff is very easy to use right out of the freezer, actually I think it may be easier to use frozen. Since this is not very healthy and we don’t use it very fast, freezing it allows me to store it longer.

Two slices of whole grain bread
3 large strawberries thinly sliced
Peanut butter

April 6, 2010

Easter Breakfast – The Quiche

Quiche is a great dish. An all in one dish packed with protien and veggies (if you choose) and it is so versatile it can be eaten on a napkin with your hand, on a plate at a fancy table, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Always a hit at parties as well. These are two great ones.

Tomato Basil Quiche

Tomato Basil Quiche

6 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
2 large basil leaves finely chopped
1/2 cup mozzerella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper
1 – pie crust (you can cheat and use ready made or make your own)
(You could also go crust free – still YUM!)

Heat oven to 375.
Whisk eggs, milk and cream until well incorporated.
Stir in salt, pepper, cheeses, tomatoes and basil.
Line pie pan with crust and crimp the edges. Pour the quiche into the crust.
Cook for 45-50 minutes until puffy and filling is set (does not jiggle).

Lorraine Quiche


6 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
8 slices of cooked bacon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup spinach, torn
2 sliced green onions
1 – pie crust (you can cheat and use ready made or make your own)
(You could also go crust free – still YUM!)

Heat oven to 375.
Whisk eggs, milk and cream until well incorporated. Whisk in nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Stir in cheese, bacon, spinach, and green onion.
Line a pie pan with crust and crimp the edges. Pour the quiche into the crust.
Cook for 1 hour until puffy and filling is set (does not jiggle).

Don’t forget the Scones

January 28, 2010

Turkey Patty Melt

I saw this recipe in the Food Network magazine Jan/Feb issue. Melty cheese and mushrooms and onions sounded so good – and it was! This recipe is comfort food, but a little healthier than a patty melt you would get at a restraunt.

3T olive oil (I used butter because I used my cast iron skillet)
1 red onion (yellow onion would be good too)
8oz crimini mushrooms (baby bellas), sliced
salt and ground pepper
2tsp balsamic vinegar
2T plus 2t Worcestershire sauce
10oz ground turkey
6oz ground beef sirloin
8 slices rye bread
8 slices swiss cheese

MELT butter in pan. Slice onions and mushrooms.

Sautee onions and mushrooms. Start by sauteeing the onions, then push onion to the edges of the pan then add mushrooms and a little more butter. Cook until mushrooms start to brown. Then mix mushrooms and onions together and add vinegar and 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce.

 Cook a bit longer until any liquid is absorbed. Add salt and pepper.

Mix turkey, sirloin, salt, pepper, and 2 tsp worcestershire sauce.

Shape into equal sized oval-shaped patties. Cook until browned about 4 minutes, flip and cook another 2-3 minutes.

Assemble the sandwiches, one slice of cheese per side.

Add patty to one side and divide onion and mushroom mixture among the sandwiches. Grill the sandwiches in batches, on each side until the bread is brown and cheese is melty.


December 25, 2009

Pita Salad (Fattoush)

I found this recipe a few months back on the Joy of Cooking website and it is my new favorite favorite salad (yes two favorites it’s that good!). It reminds me of summer – fresh, light, crisp, and healthy. It has a great fresh lemony garlic vinagrette dressing. I made it for our Christmas Prime Rib dinner to help lighten it up a little. I did not have pitas to toast but that was ok because we had bread (popovers) but it’s great in this salad – garlicy parmesan croutons would be excellent too.

Fattoush Salad

6 to 8 servings

1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 container cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
6 scallions, finely chopped
(1 small red or green bell pepper, diced)
2/3 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint

Chop ingredients as indicated and place in a salad serving bowl.

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Whisk lemon juice, crushed garlic, salt and pepper. While whisking, add olive oil slowly in a continuous stream until the dressing is emulsified. (you can also do this in blender, stand mixer or food processor).

Toss ½ of dressing in with the salad and toss well! Serve remaining dressing on side so you can add more if needed.

December 15, 2009

2nd Round: Cuban Braised Beef Enchiladas

I had left over shreeded beef from the Slowcooker Cuban Beef and had some Green Sauce in my freezer. This was a fast weeknight dinner! I got home late from work tonight and still got to eat within a half hour of arriving home. HEY! 30-Minute Meal…(ha ha ha).

Left over Beef from Cuban Braised Beef
1 package corn tortillas (I found these handmade style corn tortillas – La Tortilla Factory they don’t crack! Savemart carries them.)
Tomatillo Sauce (or your favorite green sauce)
1 avocado
chopped cilantro (for garnish)
cotija cheese (for garnish)
lime wedges (for garnish)

Preheat oven 400 degrees.

Heat the tortillas according to the package directions so they become pliable. Top tortillas with the shredded beef and veggies, and roll tortilla. Place in a pan sprayed with cooking spray.

Top the enchiladas with green sauce. Cook for 20 minutes until sauce is bubbling and beef is hot.

Top with crumbled cotija (my favorite mmmm), cilantro, and squeeze of lime!