Archive for the ‘Lunch’ Category


Deep Dish Pizza

March 18, 2016

20160311 Deep Dish 01

Not everyone likes deep dish pizza, but if you have a taste for it, try this one out. It’s full of yummy crust, sauce and cheese plus whatever your favorite toppings are.

You will need:

  • 3/4 c warm water
  • 1 1/4 t yeast
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 t red pepper flakes
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomato
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 c mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 c Parmesan, shredded
  • Any desired toppings (we used some sauteed mushrooms, peppers and onions)

Then you will…

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the warm water with the yeast. Allow to proof for 5 minutes.
  2. Mix in the sugar, salt, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and olive oil.
  3. Gradually mix in the flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead 5 minutes until smooth.
  5. Grease a large mixing bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn until oiled on all sides.
  6. Cover with a warm damp cloth or plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise until doubled, roughly 1 1/2 hours.
  7. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  8. Add the garlic and onion and allow to cook for 5 minutes, until they start to soften.
  9. Stir in red pepper flakes, basil and oregano. Allow to cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant.
  10. Stir in the crushed tomato. Allow to simmer and reduce by a third, roughly 20-25 minutes.
  11. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Preheat your oven to 475.
  13. Press the dough into a well seasoned skillet that is 10 to 12 inches wide. Press the dough 1 1/5 to 2 inches up the side.
  14. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  15. Spread 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella and 3/4 c of the Parmesan on the dough.
  16. Add any toppings you want.
  17. Spread with sauce and top with remaining cheese.
  18. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the dough is golden and cheese is golden and bubbly.
  19. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving to friends and family.

20160311 Deep Dish 03


Slow Cooker White Bean and Sausage Cassoulet

January 25, 2016

This is a simple and hearty winter dish that takes very little time to prep. You can make it in a slow cooker or bake it at 300 in a dutch oven; once you get it started, you just need to sit back and relax for about 6 hours until your meal is ready! Perfect for a quiet afternoon with family or your favorite book.

Note: if you have ever wondered “what do I do with the Parmesan rind after I use all the yummy cheese,” you can add it to soup stock. It adds a lot of nutty deliciousness to soups and dishes like this one.

20160107 Cassoulet

You will need:

  • 1 lb sausage, uncased (I used mild Italian)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 c (~ 8 oz) dried white beans (I used Great Northern)
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with their juices (I used some seasoned with basil, garlic and oregano)
  • 3 c low-sodium chicken stock
  • 3 t fresh thyme, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 Parmesan rind (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Then you will…

  1. In a large nonstick skillet (or your Dutch oven if using), brown the sausage with the onion and garlic over medium heat. Stir frequently to break up the sausage.
  2. Remove from heat and transfer to your slow cooker (or leave in the Dutch oven).
  3. Mix in the white beans, diced tomato, chicken stock and thyme.
  4. Add the Parmesan rind if using.
  5. Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or HIGH for 5. The beans should be soft and plump.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve with crusty bread and your favorite salad.

Parmesan Chicken Tenders

July 9, 2015

I LOVE CHICKEN TENDERS. I admit it. They are one of my favorite meals and can always turn my day around for the better. These are quick to put together and then are baked. The end result is a crispy meal that will make you smile.

You will need:

  • 2 c buttermilk
  • 1/4 c hot sauce
  • 1 lb chicken tenders
  • 1 c flour
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 3/4 t pepper, divided
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3/4 c shredded Parmesan

Then you will…

  1. In a large ziplock bag, combine the buttermilk with the hot sauce.
  2. Add the chicken into the marinade.
  3. Allow to marinate for at least an hour.
  4. On a large plate, combine the flour with the paprika, garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.
  5. On a large plate, beat the eggs until the whites and yolks are combined.
  6. On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, the salt and the Parmesan.
  7. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. For each piece of chicken, allow the excess buttermilk to shake off. Then dredge in the flour mixture. Coat with egg and then dredge in the Parmesan mixture.
  9. Place the chicken on the prepared baking sheet.
  10. Bake for 10 minutes.
  11. Flip the chicken over and bake for another 10 minutes, or until cooked through and golden.

20150621 Parm Chicken Tender 02


Buffalo Chicken Salad Sandwiches

October 30, 2013

If you haven’t guessed it yet, I have a weak spot for buffalo chicken. So spicy and awesome, I almost always want to have some. It reminds me of when I usually ordered chicken caesar salad when I went out to eat during high school. This is a relatively healthy version of chicken salad using Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise. Hope you like it!

20131004 Buffalo Chicken Salad

You will need:

  • 6 oz non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 c hot sauce, scant
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t cracked pepper
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3 ribs of celery, finely chopped (leaves included)
  • 1/2 lb chicken breast, cooked and chopped/shredded
  • 1/3 c blue cheese, finely crumbled

Then you will…

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt with the hot sauce, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  2. Stir in the celery, chicken and blue cheese.
  3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. (This step could be skipped, but it allows all the flavors to meld).
  4. Serve on warm toasted bread for the best result.

Dijon Potato Salad

July 29, 2013

This is a fun alternative to traditional potato salad. It has a lot of flavor and can be made in advance, plus there is no mayonnaise. This means you are much less likely to make your friends sick at the next summer barbeque!  This is one of my new favorite summer sides.

You will need:

  • 3 lb red-skinned potatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/4 c chicken stock
  • 1/4 c dry white wine
  • 1/3 c white wine vinegar
  • 3 T Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 5 T fresh chives, chopped

20130704 Dijon Potato Salad

Then you will…

  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot. Cover with cold water. Season with salt.
  2. Bring the water to a boil and reduce to a simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork (about 8-10 minutes).
  3. Drain the potatoes and return them to the cooking pot.
  4. Toss with the chicken stock and white wine. Let sit 5 minutes, tossing once in the middle.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Toss with the potatoes. Stir in the chives.
  7. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes, although two hours is even better. If chilling for more than 30 minutes, feel free to refrigerate the potato salad while doing so.
  8. Stir occasionally to ensure all the delicious liquids are soaked up.

Bacon and Corn Tart

March 29, 2012

I found this recipe in Cooking Light and decided to try it out for a work potluck lunch. It was a big hit!

You will need:

  • 2 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 c fresh corn kernels
  • 1/2 c scallions, chopped
  • 1 c low-fat milk
  • 1/4 c shredded cheese, divided (recipe calls for Parmesan; I used Romano)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (10-oz) refrigerated pizza dough

Then you will…

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray the bottom of a 10 1/2 inch round removable bottom tart pan with cooking spray.
  2. Cook bacon slices in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until bacon is lightly browned.
  3. Add corn and onions, saute 3 minutes. Place the corn mixture in a large bowl.
  4. Add the milk, half of the cheese, salt, pepper, egg whites, and egg; stir until well blended.
  5. Unroll dough onto lightly floured surface and let rest 5 minutes.
  6. Pat dough into bottom and up sides of prepared pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with foil.
  7. Pour bacon mixture into the dough and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  8. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until set. Cool tart in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack.

Italian Veggie Sub

January 23, 2012

This is a spin-off of a classic Italian sub minus the meats, which while delicious also do not make it the lightest of sandwiches. Here you add artichoke hearts to the filling to make it heartier. Yumm! If you are bringing this to work/school, leave the filling and the bread separate until ready to eat to avoid soggy sandwiches!

You will need:

  • 1/4 c red onion, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) artichoke hearts, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 3 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • Hot banana peppers, chopped and included to taste (optional)Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 crusty loaf of bread, like a whole-grain baguette
  • Margarine and pinch of garlic powder
  • 1/2 c provolone or swiss cheese, shredded
  • 2 c cabbage, shredded

Then you will…

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the red onion, artichoke, tomato, vinegar, oil and oregano in a medium bowl. Mix in the hot peppers if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat your broiler.
  3. Cut bread into 4 equal lengths. Split each piece horizontally and pull out about half of the soft bread from each side. Lightly butter with margarine and sprinkle with garlic powder.
  4. Place the bread on a baking tray and broil until just starting to turn golden.
  5. Sprinkle the bread with the cheese and return to oven to melt.
  6. To assemble sandwiches, spread on the artichoke mixture and top with the cabbage.
  7. Cover with the bread tops. Serve immediately.

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