Open face tofu sammy

This was actually yesterday’s lunch.

I’ve really been focused on eating more healthy on a consistent basis. Even though it looks like I ate like total crap this past weekend in the Dells, we didn’t. We didn’t have any snacks, except for on the drive home and we had left overs at every meal, which we used for another meal. We often paired our leftovers with a side salad or another fruit or vegetable to make them healthier and more filling.

I was really wanting a sandwich yesterday. I spread a little jalapeno hummus on bread and cut off a hunk of tofu. I had a small tomato from my garden to put on it and some avocado. I realized that I was going to have left over tomato and that it was going to be a really thick sandwich. So, I cut the slice of tofu in half and decided to make it an open-faced sandwich. The benefits of the open-faced sandwich is that you can have double the healthy toppings without the extra calories of an additional slice of bread. That’s what I call a “win, win” situation. I also had a large side of detox slaw.

BBQ pineapple chicken

We have about a once a week meat habit in our house. Maybe less. We happened to be at the grocery store last week and there was a big sale on chicken breasts, so we bought some. I used some to make a chicken taco soup and this very delicious BBQ pineapple chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound thinly sliced chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce
  • 1-2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 8oz can pineapple slices/rings
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup water
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of red pepper flakes(optional)
  • dash of pepper
  • juice of 1/2 of a juicy lime
  • water

Start by mixing the bbq sauce with a little water to thin it out. Think marinade, not sauce. Add garlic, cilantro, red pepper flakes, lime juice, salt and pepper to the mix. You can also get a little wild and crazy a tablespoon or two of the juice from the pineapple rings to that, too. I did and it was a gooood idea.

Add the chicken to the marinade and let marinate for 1-8 hours. I started it in the morning and made this for supper so mine marinated close to 8 hours. What can I say? I like flavor.

When you are ready to cook the chicken, heat a skillet over medium heat. When it’s nice and mediumly hot, take two rings of pineapple and place in skillet and cook until nice and browned on each side. Set aside.

Now it’s time for the chicken Dump in the chicken and the marinade. Stir occasionally to make sure all pieces of chicken are cooked through. Cook about 7 minutes.

I made Brian’s into a sandwich on some nice, big bread and mine into a wrap, but topped similarly.

I used a brown rice wrap with lettuce, tomato, a pineapple ring and a little more bbq sauce. Wedge of lime on the side. Hot, saucy and delicious.

It pairs nicely with a margarita. Just to be on the safe side, I had one while I was cooking, too. What? I had some extra lime. What else was I supposed to do with it?

Baked falafel

I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who has had good falafel and not liked it. It’s a wonderful flavor combination and can be made healthier by baking.

When I lived in the West Loop, there was a little shop that made great falafel sandwiches. Right before I moved to the north side, they closed down and I have been in mourning ever since. It’s been almost a year now, so I decided it was time for me to make my own falafel.

I scoured the internet high and low for the perfect baked recipe. I ended up combining 3 recipes and was very  happy with the end product.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons rice flour(use regular flour if not GF)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons tumeric
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400F.

Place all ingredients except egg and flour into food processor or Ninja blender. Pulse until combined. I like my mine slightly chunkier so you can see nice chunks of chickpea, but if you prefer it smoother, keep pulsing. Don’t let it become too smooth, as you still need to form it into patties. Stir in egg and flour.

I made a combination of balls and patties. You want balls to be slightly larger than a golf ball and patties to be about 4 inches in diameter. Let set for 10 minutes.

Heat a little oil over medium heat in a skillet. Once oil hot, cook patties for 3 minutes on each side. Then transfer to an baking sheet to go to the oven. For the balls, let them cook for about 6 minutes total, rotating them about every 2 minutes, then transfer them to baking sheet.

Bake for 6 minutes on each side for patties and rotate balls when you flip patties.

Serve on top of a salad, in a pita, eat plain.Or make a tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and crushed red pepper sauce to dizzle on top. Mmm…spice.

These were so flavorful. I was glad I put both the parsley and cilantro in them. I can’t wait to make them again.

Grass-fed meatballs

There is something amazing about meatball sandwiches. So amazing.

Here’s the thing. I’ve never made meatballs before(I made taco meatballs, but they don’t count). I grew up not liking meatballs. So, as an adult, I would occasionally get a meatball sandwich at a deli or buy pre-made meatballs at the store and cook them for a meatball sandwich at home. But that’s all fake.

So, I decided to put my big girl pants on and make meatballs. Who knew they were so easy(recipe adapted)? What was I afraid of all this time?

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 pounds grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons A1 steak sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425F.

Put all ingredients into a big bowl and combine with hands until just mixed. The original recipe did not call for onion, but I added it in as I didn’t want the grass-fed beef to get dry.

Roll into golf ball sized balls. Place on a baking sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes until no longer pink.

Eat plain, on top of spaghetti, or in a sandwich or wrap.

I made a sandwich for Brian and brown rice tortilla wrap for me. Unfortunately, we only had a loaf of bread at home, so Brian’s wasn’t on a giant hunk of crusty bread that would be so good. I did add a little earth balance, garlic bread sprinkle, and soy mozzarella and Parmesan cheese to the bread and tortilla first and broiled for a few minutes to up the delicious factor.

Lentil burgers

These might be the biggest flop in my quest for the perfect veggie burger. The flavor is good, but they are in crumbles in a bowl in my refrigerator right now(and that might be my fault). I will probably use them to top a salad.

Recipe adapted.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup dry lentils
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 baby carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats(or bread crumbs, if not GF)

Place lentils and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat. Cover and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are soft and the liquid is gone. Transfer to a bowl, add vinegar, and mash well.

While the lentils are cooking, heat oil in a medium skillet. Saute onion for about 7 minutes. Add remainder of ingredients, excepted oats and saute about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add sautéed mixture to the lentils and oats. Mix to combine.

Chill for about an hour before forming patties. This is where I messed up. I put the mixture in the refrigerator and did get around to making the patties until the next day. I think the mixture dried out a little too much.

Turn on broiler in oven.

Form into 4 inch patties. Even though I packed them tightly, I knew that they were going to fall apart. I cooked them anyway.

Broil 7 minutes on each side.

Brian and I both agreed they had good flavor when we tried a broken off chunks of the patties. It’s a recipe that I’ll definitely try again and not deviate from the recipe so much.

Blueberry terragon chicken salad

Do you have a spring gathering that requires bringing food? Do you really want to wow them? Perhaps a baby or bridal shower? Make blueberry tarragon chicken salad. This is afresh, simple and flavorful recipe that you would expect to get in an upscale cafe. Now, you can make it at home. Recipe adapted from Our Life in the Kitchen.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs chicken tenderloin, cooked and diced
  • 2 green onions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh or dried tarragon
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 4 oz blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 light extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate vinegar(or blueberry or blue pom)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • black pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine diced chicken, green onions, 3/4 cup blueberries, tarragon and blue cheese. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, muddle 1/4 cup blueberries and sugar.

Add the oil, vinegar, poppy seeds and a little black pepper.

Whisk it all together.

Whisk in the cream.

Pour over the chicken mixture. Stir until just combined.

Maybe before you started making this, you also made some fast baguettes. And maybe they were coming out of the oven just as you finished mixing everything. Coincidence? Perhaps. Probably not.

Serve atop a bed of greens with a chunk of fresh baguette on the side. It would be great on a croissant or the baguette as well.

 

 

 

Quinoa white bean burgers

I’m still on a quest to find the perfect homemade veggie burger recipe and having quite a bit of fun trying out different recipes.

These were good, had good flavor, and held up a little better than the black bean-quinoa burgers, but just didn’t hold up well enough. If I would to have tried to grill them, there would have been a small disaster.

Adapted from (never home)maker. The original recipe called for a can of black beans, a staple in our house. Guess what wasn’t in the pantry when I went to make these for lunch? Black beans. Unheard of!

Here is another tasty attempt at the ultimate homemade veggie burger.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup dry quinoa, rinsed and cooked
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Montreal steak seasoning
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • dash of paprika
  • dash of fresh ground pepper
  • 1 can canelli beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup brown rice bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 425F.

Put everything EXCEPT the beans, quinoa and bread crumbs into a food processor( I used our Ninja). Pulse together until combined. Add beans, quinoa and bread crumbs to the mixture. Pulse until combine but still a little chunky.

Take mixture and form into 4-6 patties; place on a non-stick baking pan.

Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes or until starting to crisp up. Flip patties and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

These will be a little crispy on the outside and a little mushy on the inside. These were full of flavor and very tasty, especially when topped with a little more BBQ sauce.

Black bean-quinoa burgers

I was really excited about this recipe. Really excited. These burgers had great flavor but they didn’t hold shape. I plan on making a new version of this today with a slightly different recipe, because they are so good that I want the recipe to work out perfectly.

I found this recipe in Vegetarian Times and adapted it a little(which may be where it went wrong).

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons salsa
  • 1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried steak seasoning
  • olive oil

Stir together quinoa with 1 1/2 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. This will yield about 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa.

Preheat oven to 350F and generously coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Set aside.

While the quinoa is cooking, place olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add onion and salsa, cook about 5 minutes or until onion has softened.

Stir in 3/4 cup of black beans, garlic, steak seasoning and 1 1/2 cups water.

Simmer 9 to 11 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated…that is what the recipe said, but I had to simmer it for over 20 minutes to make all the liquid evaporate.

Transfer the bean and onion mixture to the food processor and 3/4 cup cooked quinoa and process until smooth. Transfer to bowl and stir in remaining 3/4 cup black beans. Season with salt and pepper.

At this point, you are to shape the mixture into 8 patties that are 1/2 cup each. I could tell by looking at the mixture that it was far to runny to shape into a patty. So I scooped out the mixture with a 1/2 cup measuring cup and dumped it on the pan. It only made 6 half cup patties.

And as I cooked them, they really spread out and took about twice as long to cook them as the recipe called for. The recipe stated to bake for 20 minutes, until they are crisp, flip and cook for another 10 minutes. I had to cook them 40 minutes, flip and cook another 20.

I was very frustrated by the end of this recipe as it took almost two hours to make and I was starving by the time they were finally done. I think they would have held together a lot better had a second can of beans been added to the recipe.

Looking forward to the new recipe I am going to make for lunch and hope that they turn out more patty-like with just as great of flavor that these had.

 

Lentil sloppy joes

This is a very unassuming meal. Sloppy joes without the meat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium veggie broth
  • 15oz can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne(optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon mustard
  • 1/4 cup bbq sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook onion until softened. Add in all other ingredients.

Bring to a boil, turn burner down to a simmer, cover pan and simmer until almost all of the liquid cooks off.

The lentils will be al dente and flavorful.

Serve on a bun with pickles!

Like I said, this isn’t a fancy meal, but makes 4 giant or 6 normal sized sandwiches.  They have a nice flavor, simple recipe and brings back memories of childhood. They would also be great on top of a southwestern salad. This is a picture of Brian’s place. I scooped my lentils onto one slice of gluten-free bread and ate it like an open faced sandwich.