Category Archives: Sandwich

Fresh & Crunchy Chicken Salad

I like chicken salad.  I especially like it when it’s got some fruit and crunch.  I make this often when I have leftover chicken or turkey.  Now you could use canned chicken for this, but call me crazy, I prefer actual chicken.  It’s cheaper, and it tastes better, and it’s not loaded with extra sodium and preservatives.  Not much of a contest there.  If I don’t have leftovers from the night before, I usually buy a rotisserie chicken.  In a taste test with a can, the bird is going to win every time.

Fresh & Crunchy Chicken Salad in Pitas

Fresh & Crunchy Chicken Salad in Pitas

Fresh & Crunchy Chicken Salad

2-3 cups shredded chicken (or turkey)
2-3 stalks celery, sliced
1 cup grapes, halved
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1/2 -1 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper

Shred chicken, and add chopped celery, grapes and walnuts to bowl.

Lots of good stuff to keep it interesting.

Lots of good stuff to keep it interesting.

Add mayo, starting with 1/2 cup.  You can add more if you like it more creamy.  I just like to add enough where everything is moistened but not too mayonnaisy.  Add other ingredients and mix well.  Adjust seasonings and add more mayo if needed.

Serve in pitas or on a bed of greens.  Or if you want to get fancy you can fill a half pepper or tomato with it.  Or just eat it with a fork.

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Grilled PBBJ (did she just say bacon?). Best. Sandwich. Ever.

Sometimes amid the open-fridge staring, when your mind is blank and you can’t figure out what to make, inspiration strikes.

An old favorite, a farmer’s market find, and a cupboard staple meet in what could possibly be the best sandwich ever created.  I don’t say this lightly, because there are a lot of good sandwiches out there.  But this…it was perfection.  Make it.  Make it today.  Don’t worry if it sounds weird.  It’s not.  It’s meant to be.  It’s your destiny.

I'll bet you never found this in your lunch sack when you were a kid.

I’ll bet you never found this in your lunch sack when you were a kid.

Grilled PBBJ (Peanut Butter, BACON! & Jam) Sandwich

2 slices of decent bread
1-2 tbsp. crunchy peanut butter (I like the natural kind)
2-3 slices bacon
1 tbsp. jam (I used raspberry pepper jam)
1 tsp. butter

For the best results, use great ingredients.  Natural peanut butter, homemade (by someone) jam, good bread.  Real butter.  I scored some truly amazing jam at farmers market, raspberry pepper jam!  Use your favorite.

Good ingredients = good sandwich.  These are my faves.

Good ingredients = good sandwich. These are my faves.

Cook bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels.  If you’re using the same skillet (and why wouldn’t you), wipe out all the bacon grease before proceeding.

Heat skillet over medium heat.  Lightly spread a bit of butter on one side of the bread slices.  On the other side of one slice spread a liberal coating of peanut butter.  If there is a way to do this without getting butter on yourself, I haven’t found it.  Resign yourself to getting dirty.  Place butter side down in the pan.  Top with bacon.

That's what I'm talking about.

That’s what I’m talking about.

On the other side of the other piece of bread, spread jam.

My new favorite jam.  I love farmer's market.

My new favorite jam. I love farmer’s market.

Place jam side down, butter side up on top of the bacon.  Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy.  Cut in triangles and eat!

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One Pork Roast, Many Meals – Pineapple Pork Wraps

I hadn’t planned to buy a roast.  The weather is warm, I’m trying to eat lighter, and really, comfort food wasn’t really what was on my menu this week.  But there it was on sale at a great price and it made me think, why not?  Cook once and eat for several days?  Sure.  And why does pork roast have to mean heavy and unhealthy?  It doesn’t.

I let the roast cook in the morning while it was still nice and cool, drained off the fat, shredded the meat and put it all away.  I was going to cook it in the crock pot but it was too big to fit!  This mammoth thing will easily make three or four meals for us.  I decided on quickie sandwich wraps for dinner #1.  I love pork and fruit together and this combo made for a delicious, light dinner.  For these wraps, you can use the pork warm or cold, whichever you prefer.

For the basic pork roast, scroll down for the recipe. I keep it fairly simple so it will work in a lot of different recipes.

Need other ideas for using up leftover pork roast?  Check out BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Shredded Pork Tacos, or Shepherd’s Pie!

Pineapple Pork Wraps

Pineapple Pork Wraps

Pineapple Pork Wraps

Shredded pork (about 1/2 cup per wrap)
1/2 cup thinly sliced pineapple
Mixed greens
Large wraps (we used the spinach herb wraps)

Pile the ingredients in the middle of the wrap, fold in the ends, roll up and slice in half.  Secure with toothpicks if needed.

Pineapple Pork Wraps

Pineapple Pork Wraps

Basic Pork Roast

Pork Butt or Shoulder Roast
1 onion, sliced or diced
2 cloves garlic
1 8 oz. can diced green chiles
Salt & pepper

Rinse pork roast and place fat side up in a dutch oven.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper, top with onion, chopped garlic and green chiles.  Put a lid on and roast at 350˚ for 3-4 hours, until tender and falling apart.  Pull apart with two forks to shred.

Alternatively you can do this in the crock pot (mine was too big this time, so I did it in the oven instead).  When I cook it in the crock pot, I turn it on high for the first hour, then down to low to cook the rest of the day.

Ready to pop into the oven or crock pot.

Ready to pop into the oven or crock pot.

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Veal Parmesan Burgers

I went to the store to buy ground lamb.  I picked up a package of it and noticed it was all sticky (yuck!) so I put it down and picked up the one next to it and tossed it in the cart.  When I got it home, I realized I had bought ground veal instead.  Drat.  Somebody needs to work on their packaging.

Packaging FAIL.

Packaging FAIL.

I wasn’t about to throw it away.  Or trek back to the store to exchange it.  So…I was challenged to come up with dinner using an ingredient I have actually never cooked with.  No problem.  I just pretended I was on one of those cooking competition shows and had just been given something weird like sea urchin.  Veal was my sea urchin.  I had an idea for a gourmet-ish burger.  For some reason Veal Parmesan popped into my head.  Which is weird, because I’ve never made that either.  So I combined the two ideas.  Veal Parmesan Burgers were born.  And they were out of this world!  Next time I may just have to buy veal on purpose!

Veal Parmesan Burger

Veal Parmesan Burger

Veal Parmesan Burgers

1 pound ground veal
2 cloves garlic, minced & divided
1/4 cup onion, chopped finely
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
Salt & pepper
2 slices of bread, any kind (or you can use panko)
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, pureed in a blender
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. pesto or chopped basil
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
Ciabatta bread or Kaiser rolls
Olive oil

Mix veal, 1 clove minced garlic, onion and mushrooms.  Add a pinch of salt & pepper.  Mix well and form into 3-4 patties.  I made my patties oblong to fit my bread better.

In a food processor, pulse the bread and 1 clove of garlic to make coarse bread crumbs.  Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake at 400˚ for a few minutes.  Stir every couple of minutes.  Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn, you just want them to get light brown and a bit crunchy.

Dredge the patties in the bread crumbs and set aside.

Burgers & Breadcrumbs

Burgers & Breadcrumbs

In a medium saucepan, heat a drizzle of olive oil. Add sliced garlic and crushed red pepper.  Stir until fragrant.  Add pureed tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium.  Add a pinch of salt & pepper.  Simmer for 15 minutes or so until slightly thickened.  Stir in pesto or basil.  Set aside.  Note: this is going to make more sauce than you will probably need for this recipe. The leftovers will keep in the fridge for several days, or they freeze well for future use.  Yay, spaghetti for lunch tomorrow!

Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Add a drizzle of olive oil and let it get hot.  Flick a few drops of water in the pan.  If they sizzle you are ready to go.  Add veal patties and cook about 4 minutes on each side until cooked through.

Cook the burgers.  I made mine oblong to match the bread shape.

Cook the burgers. I made mine oval instead of round to match the bread shape.

Heat broiler.  On a large baking sheet, lay out slices of bread or buns, and the veal patties. Lightly drizzle the buns with olive oil.

Burgers before they get all dressed up.

Burgers before they get all dressed up.

Top patties with marinara sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan.  Put until the broiler for a couple of minutes until cheese is melted and bread is toasted.

Broil bread and burgers on separate pans if you want.  I just stuck them all on one.

Broil bread and burgers on separate pans if you want. I just stuck them all on one.

Build your burger and enjoy!

Yum!

Yum!

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Fried Egg and Avocado Sandwich

Fried egg sandwiches are one of my favorite foods.  Not only are they delicious, but they have great sentimental value for me.  My Grandma and Grandad both made them for me when I was young.  My mom made them for me (and occasionally still does).  It was one (if not THE) first foods I cooked for myself. And now, whether I’m dieting or not dieting, sad or happy, it’s one of my favorite things to make.  Breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I don’t eat them every day, but when I do, I enjoy every single bite.

At my favorite fruit stand today, I discovered a new thing, a Bacon Avocado!  Now you, like me, may be all excited about the seeming hybrid of bacon and avocado, but alas, that is not the case (although that would be awesome). They are just named after somebody named Bacon who discovered them.  But, although they have nothing to do with actual bacon, they are really, really delicious!  Very creamy and good.  And more importantly, they paired beautifully with a fried egg on my sandwich.

My mom might be appalled that I’m messing with the traditional fried egg sandwich, but then again, she’s an avocado fan, so she may go for this one.

Fried Egg and Avocado Sandwich

Fried Egg and Avocado Sandwich

Fried Egg and Avocado Sandwich

2 pieces good bread (I prefer rye or sourdough)
1-2 large eggs
1 tsp. mayonnaise (optional)
1/2 avocado
Salt & pepper

Heat small skillet over medium heat.  When pan is hot, rub the surface with a bit of olive oil or butter.  Break egg(s) into pan.  Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.  Cook a minute or two on each side, until they are done to your liking. I like mine over easy, still yolky in the middle.

While the eggs are cooking, smear a little mayo on the bread if you like that sort of thing.  Slice up the avocado and spread out on one side.

Yummy avocado!

Yummy avocado!

Gently place the egg on top of the avocado, top with the other piece of bread and dive into bliss!

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Lemony Avocado Egg Salad Lettuce Wraps

Pinterest has been both good and bad for my waistline.  So many good recipes, so little time.  But more than the exact recipes, I love it for the inspiration.   I saw a photo of egg salad made with avocados and just had to make it.  That being said, beyond the egg and avocado I veered off and did my own thing.

You can always put this on bread or roll it in a tortilla or wrap instead, but I loved it wrapped in leafy lettuce with some fruit on the side.  Light but very satisfying – and very low on the carbs!

Lemony Avocado Egg Salad

Lemony Avocado Egg Salad

Lemony Avocado Egg Salad Lettuce Wraps

4 eggs
2 small avocados
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
Zest from half a lemon
1 tsp. lemon juice
Salt & pepper
Leaf Lettuce or Boston lettuce leaves for wrapping

Boil eggs. You can use whatever method you prefer.  Here’s the way I do it:  I put a half dozen eggs in a pan, cover with water, turn the burner on high and set the timer for 15 minutes (time may vary depending on altitude).  When it goes off, I rinse with cold water, and when they are cool enough to handle, I peel the ones I want to use, and stick the rest in the fridge for salads or whatever the next day.

Score avocados (see pic) and spoon out into a bowl.

Cut in half, remove pit (if you whack it with the blade of the knife and twist, it pops right out).  Score with a knife like this, then just use a spoon to scoop out perfectly diced avocado.

Cut in half, remove pit (if you whack it with the blade of the knife and twist, it pops right out). Score with a knife like this, then just use a spoon to scoop out perfectly diced avocado.

Dice up eggs and add to bowl (you want about equal amounts of eggs and avocados).  Use a knife to slice and stab through the mixture until it’s all chopped as fine as you like it (nice high-tech method, huh?).  I like a little texture so this is how I left mine.

Use a knife to cut through chunks to make them smaller and get it all combined well.

Use a knife to cut through chunks to make them smaller.  It also combines everything really well.

Add mayo, lemon zest, lemon juice (I didn’t measure it, I just cut off a wedge and squeezed it in there) plus a pinch of salt & pepper. Mix well.  Layer two or three big leaves, plop some egg salad in there and wrap up.  Eat.

Lunch.

Lunch.

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One Pork Roast, 3 Dinners. Day 1: BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

I don’t usually think of kitchen equipment as seasonal, but it’s a fact that during the summer my crock pot is seldom, if ever, used but come winter, that baby is out of hibernation and parked on my kitchen counter.  I’m not really sure why that is but there you have it.

Taking the laziness (or brilliance!) of crock pot cooking one step further, I made a pork roast one day and turned it into three completely separate meals last week.  It worked out so well I think this will be part of my regular winter rotation from now on.  I see no reason you couldn’t replicate any or all of these recipes using a beef roast instead of pork if you have a preference.

porkroast3

Basic Pulled Pork

Basic Pulled Pork Recipe

One 2-3 pound pork butt or shoulder roast
Sea salt & coarsely ground pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 onion, chopped

Rub seasonings all over roast.

porkroast

Pork shoulder roast, all rubbed down and ready to go. (Mine came with a little meat thermometer already in it, but you are going to cook it til it’s falling apart so it’s not really necessary.)

Cover with onions.

porkroast2

Turn slow cooker on high for an hour, and then reduce to low and cook until dinnertime (I cooked mine about 6-7 hours total).  When tender, use two forks to pull pork apart into shreds (…and that’s where you get the whole “pulled” pork thing).

porkroast-BBQ2

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich. Simple and delicious!

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Pulled pork (about 2 cups)
1/2 – 3/4 cup of bottled BBQ sauce
1 tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. pepper
Swiss cheese
Kaiser rolls

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together barbecue sauce, honey and pepper.  Add pork and toss until all the pork is well coated.

porkroast-BBQ

BBQ Pulled Pork

Toast buns under the broiler, adding the cheese right before you take them out so it melts.  Pile on the BBQ pork and eat.  This is awesome served with a crisp coleslaw or green salad.

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Blueberry Bacon Swiss Burgers

The best burger I have ever eaten was at a little place in Missouri called Agrario.  There my taste buds drowned in delight as I dug into a wonderful concoction of grass-fed beef, bacon, swiss cheese and the most surprising ingredient of all time…blueberries!  I’m no longer in Missouri, and unfortunately Agrario isn’t there anymore either. Coincidence?  Maybe not. Even after many years I have been having a mad craving for this burger so I decided to try to recreate it.  Judging from the enthusiastic yummy noises in my house, I call this a resounding success!

blueberryburger2

Blueberry Bacon Swiss Burger

Blueberry Bacon Swiss Burgers

1 pound ground sirloin
Bacon
Swiss cheese
Kaiser rolls
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, pureed
Splash of red wine (about 1/4 cup)
Salt & pepper
Tiny pinch of sage
1-2 tsp. butter, cut into pieces

Fry bacon until crisp.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Discard bacon grease and wipe out pan. Form ground beef into 3 or 4 patties.  Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Set aside.  Heat pan over medium high and add patties to the pan.  Cook about 4 minutes per side until burgers are done to your liking.  Slice rolls in half and toast under the broiler in the oven until lightly browned.  Add cheese to tops of burgers and set aside.

If there is a lot of grease in the pan, discard almost all of it.  If you’ve used lean beef there probably won’t be much.  In hot pan, add pureed blueberries and wine to hamburger drippings, scraping up any little bits as you go.  Stir and bring to a boil.  Add salt, pepper and a little pinch of dried sage.

Making sauce.

Making incredible blueberry sauce.

Boil and stir a few minutes until thickened and reduced.  Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted.  Build burgers by putting a little sauce on the bottom bun, then placing burgers on the bun cheese side down, top with more blueberry sauce and bacon.

blueberryburger1

Sweet and savory blueberry sauce. An unexpected twist that is soooo good!

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Turkey Mushroom Burgers

Although I like to try new burger recipes from time to time, normally when I say I’m making turkey burgers my kids know these are the ones I’m talking about.  And they are happy.  This is one of my “hidden veggies” recipes.  Not only do they keep the burgers moist, they add lots of flavor too. Plus they add so many nutrients I don’t feel guilty about serving them with fries.  If you’re not a fan of crunching into a chunk of veggies you can always saute them first so they’ll be soft.  I chop them small so they cook quickly and create a cohesive mixture.

Turkey Mushroom Burger

Turkey Mushroom Burgers

1 pound ground turkey
6-8 oz. mushrooms, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1 egg
Salt & pepper
1 red or orange bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs (I use one half of a bun, crumbled)

Mix all ingredients until well blended.  Form into 6 large balls.

All mixed up and ready to smash.

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.  Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  Flatten balls into thick burgers and place in pan.  Cook about 5 minutes on each side, until brown on the outside and done in the middle.  Serve with or without buns, with your favorite toppings and condiments.  Makes 6 burgers.

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Roasted Chile Turkey Burgers

I love hamburgers.  But I also like variety, and I’m always looking for (or making up) healthy and interesting variations.  Turkey burgers are a great way to go for something different.  The problem I have with some turkey burgers is that the meat is so lean the burgers can get dry.  My solution?  Lots of veggies to add moisture, flavor and texture.

For these I was in the mood for a little southwestern flavor, so I made some modifications to my usual recipe and changed this one up a bit.  Don’t be alarmed if the mixture is a little looser than your normal burger mixture, they cook up quite nicely without a hitch.  Bun or no bun, they are pretty darn yummy!

Roasted Chile Turkey Burgers

Roasted Chile Turkey Burgers

1 egg
1/3 cup red onion, chopped finely
2/3 cup bread crumbs (I usually just crumble a slice of bread or bun)
1 pound ground turkey
4 oz. mushrooms, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 oz. can of diced green chiles (or you can roast extra peppers and chop them up)
2 green onions, sliced
4-6 Anaheim peppers
Cotija cheese, crumbled

Put whole chiles on a cookie sheet under the broiler.  Broil on both sides until skin is blackened.  Remove from heat and put in a paper or plastic bag to cool and steam.

In a large bowl, mix breadcrumbs, red and green onions, egg, salt, pepper and cumin with a fork until well blended.  Add turkey, mushrooms, diced green chiles.  Mix well (I use my hands for this part) until everything is combined.  The mixture will be fairly wet and loose.  Heat a drizzle of olive oil in large skillet or grill (do not use an open grill, the patties aren’t firm enough to sit on top without falling through) over medium high heat.  Form 6 large balls of mixture.  Flatten slightly and lay in the pan.  Cook about 5 minutes on each side, until patties are firm and cooked all the way through.

Peel peppers, remove stems and seeds and slice into thick strips.  Serve burgers with or without a bun, top with roasted peppers and cotija cheese.  Serves 6.

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