August 3, 2009
Lunch is the most difficult meal of the day for me. I always seem to eat the same old things and it tends to get boring. I don’t like to spend a lot of time making lunch so I like to find things that are easy to make. So, as I started to make myself a pb and j for lunch today, I saw some ciabatta rolls that I picked up yesterday sitting on the counter. I thought to myself, “hmm what could I make with those for lunch?” Then I remembered I had bought some tomatoes yesterday, too and I had some basil growing outside. So I toasted up this beautiful sandwich in just a few minutes and it was delicious. I don’t know if there’s anything I love more than crunchy and chewy bread and melted cheese. So much better than a pb and j.
Tomato and Basil Sandwich on Ciabatta
1-2 thin slices tomato
3 leaves of basil, washed and dried
2 Tbsp shredded mozzarella or 1 slice fresh mozzarella
ciabatta rolls or sliced ciabatta bread
extra virgin olive oil
freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice your ciabatta roll in half and place on a baking sheet. Place 1-2 thin slices of tomato on the bottom half of the sandwich. Top with the basil leaves and then the mozzarella. Drizzle the olive oil over both sides of the sandwich. Add a sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper on top of the mozzarella. Bake for 10-12 minutes to toast the bread. Remove from the oven and place the top half of the sandwich on the bottom half. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and place back in the oven for 3-5 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes and enjoy!
October 6, 2008
This post is just the beginning of what I’d like to call “take it easy in the kitchen week”. I have come down with a cold. It happens to me every year around this time. I guess it’s something in the air. I have had zero appetite for the past few days, but I’m actually starting to feel a little better. I had been planning to make these sandwiches this week anyway so I thought they would be a perfect easy dinner tonight.
But my cold isn’t the only thing that will be keeping me out of the kitchen. I’m having all four of my wisdom teeth removed this week. And let me tell you, I’m thrilled. Thrilled to have the surgery, thrilled to deal with the pain, and just thrilled that I get to eat applesauce and soup for a week. In fact, I may not even be reading any blogs this week because looking at all the great foods that I can’t eat will just be torturing myself. I plan on stocking the freezer and pantry with frozen pizzas and sandwich fixings for my husband. I doubt I’ll be cooking a whole meal for him each night especially when I can’t even eat it.
So back to these paninis. So simple and so good. Here’s how I made them.
Pesto Turkey Paninis
1 small loaf italian bread, sliced into 1/4″-1/2″ slices
sliced deli turkey
sliced provolone or mozzarella cheese (feta would also be great)
Place turkey, cheese, tomato and onion on one piece of bread. Spread the pesto on another slice and place on top of the other ingredients. Spray a pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Place sandwiches in the pan and place another skillet on top. Set a couple cans in the top skillet to weigh it down. Flip the sandwich after two minutes and again place the skillet with the cans on top. Cook another two minutes or until bread is toasted and cheese is melted.
*Alternately you can use a panini press or other sandwich maker, but I don’t have one so I improvised.
July 1, 2008
I’ve never admitted this to anyone but I could eat chicken salad nearly every day, preferably on a flaky buttery croissant. I’ll eat it on whole wheat too, but there’s just something that the croissant adds to it that makes it even more irresistable to me. It’s one of my guilty pleasure foods. Not sure what the allure is but I adore it. My favorite chicken salad is from a little place downtown called Cottage Cafe. But at over $6.00 a plate for some chicken salad, a croissant and a few pieces of fruit, I just can’t justify fulfilling my craving every single day. For those times when I feel a craving coming on, I like to make my own to keep on hand for lunches. I had a partial bag of dried cranberries and some pecans in the freezer so I decided to concoct this chicken salad yesterday. It turned out really well. I think next time I might add some sliced grapes or apples as well to give it a little sweeter flavor. Overall it was delicious though.
Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Pecans
2 chicken breasts, cooked
1/2 cup mayo (plus more to get to the consistencey you desire)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Begin by placing the chicken in a food processor and pulse until the chicken chunks are the size you want. (I prefer mine finely chopped. Alternatively, you can chop the chicken with a knife or shred with your hands.) Place the chopped chicken in a bowl and add mayo, cranberries, pecans, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined. Add additional mayo to reach desired consistency and additional salt to taste. Chill until ready to serve.
Makes about 2 cups.
*red grapes or chopped apples would be a great addition to this recipe
April 28, 2008
First of all I’ll start off by saying, this is not my picture. These smelled so good after I cooked them, that we ate them too fast for me to take my own picture. I guess that must be a really good sign. So I apologize for not using my own picture, but I wanted you to envision the deliciousness that was my dinner tonight. : )
My husband and I were visiting my sister-in-law in Mobile, AL last weekend and she mentioned a little seafood place where her husband gets great po’boys so of course my husband had to have one while we were there. In fact, we made a special trip on the way home just to get a shrimp po’boy from this place. Picture a little hole in the wall place, right by the bay, and the smell of freshly cooked shrimp and crawfish wafting through the door before you even step inside. Well, the shrimp po’boys at this little place were as good as she said they were. And since we’ve been back home, I’ve really been craving one. I had some shrimp in the freezer so I decided I’d give them a shot and try to make them myself. They turned out fantastic! If you’ve never had a shrimp po’boy you should definitely try one. Of course if you can get really fresh shrimp like we had last weekend, then they’re even better but if not, frozen works just fine.
16-18 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined(thawed if frozen)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
olive oil or veg oil for frying
1 small loaf french or italian bread
Begin by setting up two shallow bowls. Beat the eggs in one bowl. In the second bowl, combine the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Begin by dipping the shrimp in the egg and then into the bread crumbs. Dip them again into the egg and then again into the bread crumbs. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Pan fry the shrimp 2-3 minutes or until golden brown on each side. Work in batches of 3-4 to prevent burning. Place shrimp on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Pile the shrimp on toasted italian or french bread with your favorite toppings. (I use cocktail sauce, lettuce and tomato on mine. I also brush the sliced bread with a little butter before toasting.)
Makes two sandwiches.
April 13, 2008
It’s finally that time of year when tomatoes are coming back into season and don’t cost a fortune to buy. And it’s a good thing too because I’ve been having such a craving for a tomato sandwich. My grandma used to make these for me all the time when I was a kid and it’s still one of my favorite things to have every once and a while. There’s no recipe to it. It’s just sliced tomato, a little mayo, salt and pepper. For some reason mine don’t taste quite as good as hers. Maybe it’s the fact that she used to cut them into four little squares for me and I slice mine diagonally. : ) I was very fortunate as a kid to spend every summer in south Georgia at my grandparents’ house. If you’ve never been to the southern part of Georgia, I’ll just tell you; it’s farm country. Flat land and fields for miles and miles. Peanuts, cotton, watermelon and cucumber patches, fields of peas everywhere you look. Both sets of my great-grandparents had farms so in the summer we’d get fresh vegetables and fruit from them, including tomatoes. There’s nothing better than a tomato sandwich made with a really fresh tomato. I really miss those days, but I think about them whenever I eat a tomato sandwich.
March 31, 2008
Here’s my simple egg salad recipe. It’s one of my husband’s favorite things to eat so I thought since I was off today I’d make him some to eat for lunch this week. There are many variations of egg salad so this certainly isn’t the only way to make it. My mom and grandma always added mustard and sweet pickle relish, but my husband likes his plain and simple. So that’s how I make it. This is very tasty on some lightly toasted whole wheat bread or a buttery croissant.
After they’ve been chopped
6 large eggs
1/2 cup mayo
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
*1 tsp salt for the water-adding salt to the boiling water makes it easier to remove the shells from the eggs once they’re done. They will practically fall off!
Begin by placing eggs in a pot of cold water making sure the eggs are covered by the water. Bring to a boil, add 1 tsp of salt to the water, and boil for 12 min. Drain the water and rinse the eggs under cold water. Peel away the shells and rinse the eggs. Place the eggs in a food processor and process for about 10 seconds or until all the eggs are chopped uniformly. In a bowl, combine chopped eggs, salt, pepper, mayo and paprika. Stir to combine. Refrigerate immediately.
February 27, 2008
Nope, this isn’t a toasted sub from a chain sandwich place. It’s homemade and much better than I’ve gotten at any chain restaurant if you ask me. My husband always orders a meatball sub anytime we do happen to eat at a sandwich place, so I decided a while back I would start making them at home occasionally since he likes them so much. I didn’t have any ground beef in the freezer but I did have some lean ground turkey. I decided to use that for my meatballs tonight along with some whole wheat sub rolls I had in the freezer. They were so delicious and somewhat healthier than regular meatball subs! Healthier if you don’t count all the cheese I put on mine.
; ) Subway’s got nothing on me!
Turkey Meatball Subs
1 lb lean ground turkey
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp each salt and pepper
1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
*1 jar marinara sauce
*provolone or mozzarella cheese-2 slices per sub
Mix all ingredients in a bowl until just combined. Heat a skillet over medium heat with about 1-2 Tbsp olive oil. Form the turkey mixture into balls and place in the skillet. Turn the meatballs every couple minutes to brown on all sides. Add marinara sauce to the pan, cover and let simmer over low heat about 15 minutes to ensure the meatballs are completely cooked. Place 4 meatballs on each sub roll that has been sliced lengthwise and spoon the marinara sauce over the meatballs. Top with cheese (I used provolone) and place under the broiler for a couple minutes to toast the bread and melt the cheese.
September 17, 2007
This never happens but tonight we had dinner without vegetables. I always try to make a balanced meal for dinner; protein, carbs, and at least one non-starchy vegetable, but tonight I was just not feeling the veggies. So I didn’t make any. But what we did have was very good… barbecue pork sandwiches, made in the crock pot and homemade mac ‘n cheese. So I guess I don’t feel so bad about the veggies. Eh, I’ll do better tomorrow.
2 lb pork loin roast
1 jar barbebue sauce (I use a honey bbq sauce for a sweeter flavor)
2 Tbsp yellow mustard
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups broth or water
Place roast in the crock pot. Add 1/2 bottle sauce, mustard, worcestershire sauce, and garlic on top of the roast. Pour broth or water in the bottom of the crock pot. This helps to keep the roast from burning or drying out. Cook on low for 6-8 hrs. Before serving, take two forks and shred the pork in the crock pot. Turn the crock pot on keep warm and allow the pork to warm in the juices in the bottom of the crock pot for 15 min or so. Remove pork from the crock pot and place in a bowl. Add the other 1/2 bottle of sauce and toss to coat. Serve on buns or rolls.
I’m especially proud of how the macaroni turned out. It was the first time I have made this dish that it turned out well. You would think any proper southern girl would be born knowing how to make a killer mac ‘n cheese, but I have never had any luck with it until tonight. This will be my go to mac ‘n cheese recipe from now on! I basically just took ideas from several different recipes and came up with this.
Creamy Baked Mac ‘n Cheese
8 oz elbow macaroni
6 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 375. Begin my boiling the macaroni in salted water until done. Drain. Heat the milk for about 1 min in the microwave just to get it warm. In a skillet, melt the butter. Add flour and stir in with a whisk. Cook over medium heat for about 2-3 min. Slowly add warm milk to the pan and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat. Add 1 cup cheddar, 1/2 cup mozzarella, salt and pepper. Stir in macaroni. Pour into a greased baking dish. Top with additional cheddar, mozzarella and bread crumbs. Bake for about 25-30 min or until bubbly and golden brown.
August 25, 2007
I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve used our George Foreman grill. Someone gave it to my husband before we got married almost 3 yrs ago. Since we moved in our house it’s been shoved in the back of a bottom cabinet in my kitchen collecting dust along with all the other random small appliances I have and don’t use like our milkshake maker. Well I finally found a use for the old Foreman grill tonight. I had some leftover grilled chicken from a couple nights ago when I attempted, unsuccessfully, to make chicken alfredo. The alfredo part turned out just awful but the grilled chicken was actually very good so I managed to salvage part of that dinner. Anyway, I also had half a loaf of Italian bread leftover as well. I decided grilled chicken paninis might be a good way to use up those two things. Since I don’t have a panini press, I thought the George Foreman might do a good job. It worked quite well actually. The bread toasted very nicely and the cheese got all melty and gooey. It turned out to be a really good dinner. I made some oven fries to go along with our paninis too.
Here’s how I made the paninis.
Grilled Chicken Paninis with Smoked Ham, Provolone, and Honey Mustard
1 chicken breast, grilled and cut into slices (I had seasoned it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder when I grilled them)
2 slices smoked ham
4 pieces provolone cheese (swiss would be great on this too)
4 pieces day old Italian bread, about 1/2″ thick
2 Tbsp honey mustard (recipe follows)
a couple pats of butter
1/3 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup honey
6 dashes worcestershire sauce
Whisk to combine.
Begin by spreading a little of the honey mustard on one piece of the Italian bread. Layer one piece of cheese, 1/2 of the grilled chicken, one piece of ham, and another piece of cheese on the bread. Spread more honey mustard on a second piece of bread and place on top of the layers of meat and cheese. Butter both pieces of bread on the outside and place in the grill, panini press, or on your stove top griddle. When both sides are toasted and the cheese is melted, remove from the grill. Repeat to make another sandwich. Cut on a diagonal and serve warm.