There are a few things that I could live off of for the rest of my life. Sandwiches (or according to Tom Haverford from Parks and Rec; sammies, sandoozles, or Adam Sandlers) are one of them. They have never ending possibilities when it comes to fillings, spreads, and bread vehicle of choice.
Sandwiches are good any time of day, hot or cold, in summer or winter. From dainty little tea sandwiches to saucy messy meatball subs, I haven’t met a sandwich I didn’t like.
Here is a quick and easy open face sandwich that is great for a snack or light lunch. It is also a great vegetarian option.
When the sun starts to shine and the weather warms up, the warm hearty dishes of winter get pushed to the back of my brain and I start to crave light, cool, fresh dishes. Meals that highlight veggies that are in season and don’t require me to stir a big pot over a hot stove for hours are right up my alley.
This is another super flexible recipe. You may add whatever veggies you like, change up the protein, or make them vegetarian.
It is important to have all of the components of the spring rolls ready before you assemble. J and I tend to set everything out on the table in an assembly line, make one fresh roll and eat it immediately. We make and eat as we go. You could try and assemble them all first and then eat them. If you are successful with this, I applaud you.
A tightly wrapped fresh roll is key. Use the first few to get the hang of the assembly and wrapping. By the third, you will be a pro. Continue reading
Now that the weather is FINALLY starting to get it’s act together (I mean really… snow in April!? Not cool.) the farmers markets are starting to pop up around town. If you have a farmers market near you and you haven’t stopped by, I highly recommend it. Fresh local produce is amazing, not to mention you are supporting local farmers in the process.
Having fresh herbs on hand is a great way to brighten up a dish. However, sometimes it’s hard to find small bunches of herbs at the market or in the grocery store. I never need a WHOLE bunch of parsley for a dish, just a handful. These two pestos are a great way to use up leftover herbs so they don’t go to waste. When you mention pesto, basil automatically comes to mind. However, a pesto can be made with a variety of herbs. Since basil can be sad looking and expensive out of season, parsley and cilantro are perfect stand-ins.
These pestos can be used as a marinade for meat or tofu, a dressing for roasted veggies, grain salads, or regular salads. Mix some pesto in with greek yogurt for a delicious dip for pita or veggies. Spread some on toast and top with eggs in the morning. Mix with warm pasta. The opportunities are endless. Continue reading
Meatballs are an ultimate comfort food. Every culture has their spin on the meatball, and I don’t blame them – they are delicious! Add them on top of a bed of pasta, put them in a sandwich roll with some sauce and cheese, serve them as an appetizer, you name it. You really can’t go wrong when meatballs are on the menu. Pair them with some homemade tomato sauce, and you got yourself a meal.
Originally I was going to make fish tacos for dinner last night, but a fresh baguette found it’s way into our lives and I had to take advantage of it. I thought about doing a variety of crostini for dinner with a salad, but that baguette was calling for something saucy, something that could be sopped up using the bread. I knew I had a large can of crushed tomatoes in the cabinet – bingo. Homemade tomato sauce and some meatballs to go along with it.
This is a pretty simple homemade sauce. Things can be added or subtracted from the recipe and it will still taste wonderful. I have made the sauce without the wine with no complaints. But if you have wine, use it. Then you have a bottle already aerating and ready for dinner. This receipe makes a lot of sauce. You can cut down the measurements if you want, but I recommend making the full recipe and freezing what is leftover. Then you have homemade tomato sauce ready to go next time you make pasta, lasagna, etc.
Add canned tomatoes, turn heat down to low, stir, walk away. When you think about it, stir the tomato sauce. Have your stove set to the lowest setting where the sauce is still simmering. The longer it cooks, the more the flavors will develop.
Meatballs ready to go. I have made meatballs on the stove top, but I thought I would try out baking them in the oven. Let me tell you – the oven method is awesome! It frees you up to do other things like make a salad and salad dressing, load the dishwasher, dance around the kitchen when Beyonce comes on your Pandora station, set the table, you know… all the the important things.
After the 20 minute cook time, the meatballs looked great on top, but a little soggy on the bottom. I flipped them over, turned the broiler on, and let them brown up on the bottom for a few minutes. I left the rack in the middle of the oven so they weren’t super close to the heat. This isn’t a necessary step, but I’m glad I did it. Top with a little parmesan cheese, have some crusty bread on the side and you are good to go.
Something I aim to have in our fridge at all times are lunch options. We both work at a University, so not having to spend money every day buying lunch adds up quickly. Even though there are only two of us in the house, it is rare when I cook just enough food for two people for dinner. Usually I make enough for four so we will have leftovers for lunch the next day. It also makes the morning routine go smoothly since we aren’t worried about preparing ourselves lunch. It’s already packed up from the night before.
Every now and then I do only make enough food for dinner. For example we didn’t have leftovers from the steak salad – all that steak got snatched up. For those days when no dinner leftovers are to be found, I try to have another option ready to go. I have found making big batches of grain salads really hit the spot. They are so versatile, I can throw any combination of veggies, beans, dressing, etc, into them and voila, I have a healthy, filling lunch option. Grain salads are an amazing vegetarian option. They can also be used as a side dish for dinner, and served hot, room temp, or cold. Did you grill up some chicken last night and have some leftover? Throw that on top. It is hard to go wrong here.
For those of you who love potato salad (me!) or really any type of side that can go along with bbq, things off the grill, etc. (me!) but don’t always love all the calories that come along with mayo based dressing (ooh, me!) then this is the recipe for you.
Instead of using mayo to bind this potato salad together, I used plain nonfat Greek yogurt. If you don’t already know the substitution powers that plain Greek yogurt has, I recommend you pick some up next time you shop. It can replace mayo or sour cream in pretty much any dish.
A few tips for this potato salad: I recommend making this dish the night before or the morning of. The longer the salad gets to sit with the dressing, the more the flavors meld together. Also, adding the dressing while the potatoes are still warm allows the potatoes to soak in the dressing flavors. Continue reading
Eggs are amazing. There, I said it. You can do so many things with eggs, and they work for every meal. Frittatas are a great fridge cleaner – if you have some vegetable odds and ends, you can just throw them into the veggie saute mix before combining them with the eggs. For example you could add peppers, asparagus, leftover baked potato, or any kind of precooked meat (sausage, ham/canadian bacon/regular bacon, etc.)
For this frittata, I used zucchini, onion, and artichoke hearts (I LOVE artichoke hearts). Oh, and quite a bit of goat cheese because I also LOVE goat cheese. And goat cheese makes everything better. Well really any cheese… I digress.
The frittata comes together super quick, and with a finishing zap under the broiler, this parmesan topped fluffy egg ensemble can be eaten hot out of the oven, warm, or even cold the next day. Continue reading