Archive for the ‘Lunch’ Category

…are perfect days to spend playing in the kitchen!  The weather was pretty terrible last Thursday, and our roads remained untouched most of the day, so Schatzi and I stayed curled up inside and decided to be productive by making a soup to help clean some clearance out of the fridge.  Our end product, which turned out to be delicious, was the result of throwing a bunch of Thanksgiving leftovers in a pot with some orzo.  We had the intention of making turkey soup, but ended up with delicious risotto instead!

For Thanksgiving clearance risotto you need:

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 package of orzo
  • 2 cups leftover turkey, chopped
  • leftover gravy (our recipe is a few posts back; I’d say use about 3/4-1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2-3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bottle of beer
  • salt and pepper

Start by melting the butter in a Dutch oven or large soup pot.  Add the orzo and toast for a couple of minutes, until slightly golden.  Then, add the shallot and celery and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes, until a bit tender.

Next, add about a cup of stock, the turkey, gravy, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir until the liquid is absorbed, then pour in the beer.  Cook this mixture until the new liquid is also gone, then slowly continue adding stock while constantly stirring.  We realized about halfway through our cooking process that we didn’t actually have enough liquid for a soup, so by continuing to add what liquids we did have slowly and in small amounts, we ended up with a perfect risotto!  True risotto is made by toasting the rice in butter, then slowly adding ladlefuls of liquid, stirring until it is all absorbed.  What a pleasant surprise for us!  When the liquid stops being quickly absorbed as you add it and the rice is not crunchy when you test it, your Thanksgiving risotto is ready to eat.

Serve up a bowl of risotto seasoned with a bit more salt and pepper to taste.

It never ceases to amaze me what delicious things you can make by clearing out the fridge!  This is a delicious meal that I know we will enjoy each year in the aftermath of Thanksgiving!


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…are always featured on a menu that gets faxed to my office on a daily basis, and I have been wanting to attempt to make them for quite awhile.  I finally got around to it for lunch this week and, as anticipated, black bean hummus is amazing.

For this pretty nutritious hummus you need:

  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • About 3 cups olive oil
  • Pinch ground cumin
  • About 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • About 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • Pinch ground coriander
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • About 3/4 teaspoon tahini

If you have a food processor, this couldn’t be easier–just toss everything in and puree until it reaches the desired texture; add the oil slowly to judge how much you need.  Schatzi and I did our Christmas early this year, and my gift was an awesome full-size processor.  Ah, he knows me too well, and I have a new best friend in the kitchen!

Enjoy the hummus with some pita chips or wrap it up with some lettuce in a tortilla.

This is a delicious version of hummus and because it is full of protein, it makes a very satisfying lunch.



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Tuna salad…

…has become a staple in our lunch menus!  As I always say, it is just too easy and there are a million ways to make it, so why not?  We made up our own Italian version and enjoyed it quite a bit.

For our Italian tuna salad you need:

  • 2 big cans of tuna, drained
  • a few tbsp. of Italian dressing
  • juice/zest of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. dried basil
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped

The first step is to soak the diced onion in cold water for about 5 minutes.  This dilutes the taste just enough so you can actually taste the other ingredients!

All you need to do now is stir the items together!  You can serve the salad several ways–on bread or in a wrap and stuffed with sliced cucumbers or on a bed of greens.

Any way you fix it, this salad is pretty darn tasty and is a great option for a healthy lunch!


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…is just around the corner, and we couldn’t be more excited!  There is already a bit of crisp-cool in the air, and the days are indeed getting shorter.  The smell of warm apples and cinnamon always remind me of fall, and today, our home is filled with the smells of the season.  We made apple chips as a healthy work snack, and they are so delicious!

For this simple, wholesome snack you need:

  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 4 granny smith apples, thinly sliced

All you need to do is mix the cinnamon and sugar together, then toss the apples in.  The thinner you slice the apples, the better–they crisp up so nicely!

Line a few baking sheets (parchment paper works best, but aluminum is alright) and lay the coated apples out in a single layer.  Bake at 250 for 2 hours, until the slices are nice and crispy.

Absolutely delicious!  These are definitely a snack you can enjoy and feel good about!


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…is an excellent addition to chicken salad, I must admit.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that I prefer it to typical mayonnaise!  It’s hard to believe, but subbing reduced-fat cream cheese for mayo can actually be a healthier choice.  I wouldn’t recommend using it on a regular basis, but it is a fairly good substitute on occasion.  We made southwestern chicken salad wraps (found in Reader’s Digest) for lunch this week, and they are delicious.

For four servings of the chicken salad you need:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Monterey jack cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp. green pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. parsley
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • juice/zest of 1 lime
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 flour tortillas

We made a few changes to the recipe so there would be enough salad for the week.  We used 2 cooked chicken breasts and about half a pound of cooked ground turkey along with whole peppers and 8 oz. cream cheese.   We subbed in cilantro for parsley and added the juice and zest of one lime.  I think black beans would also be a great addition for the next time (and there will be a next time!) we make this.

Anyway, simply combine everything but the tortillas in a bowl.

Scoop 3/4 cup salad onto a tortilla and roll it up tightly.  Now, you can either eat the wrap as is, or you can cut the stuffed tortilla into pinwheels.

This chicken salad is quite yummy!  I have certainly been looking forward to lunchtime all this week!


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…typically uses tomatoes as its chief ingredient.  Several weeks ago, we made gazpacho for lunch and one of Schatzi’s coworkers took note of it.  She had seen a recipe for peach gazpacho, and thought he may be interested in giving it a try.  We whipped up a batch to eat for lunch this week, and are both total converts!  Although tomato gazpacho is indeed delicious, it doesn’t really hold a flame to the peach version.

For peach gazpacho you need:

  • 6 peaches, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium cucumber, diced
  • 1 glove garlic, grated
  • 1 tbsp. champagne vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • diced avocado, for garnish
  • cilantro, for garnish

Making gazpacho is pretty easy, aside from all the dicing and peeling!  Simply toss the peaches, cucumber, garlic, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in the food processor and pulse the ingredients to your desired consistency.  Personally, we like ours a bit on the thick and chunky side.

To serve, mix in the bell pepper, some cilantro, and avocado.

This stuff is delicious!!!  It is so soothing on a hot summer day.  Plus, gazpacho is naturally super-nutritious.  There really is no excuse not to try it!  Thanks for the recipe, Tracy!


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…is adorable.  I know, I know, it’s just a pasta, but really.  So tiny, but it has the most satisfying bite and texture!  For lunch this week, we made a Greek pasta salad with feta and chicken that is quite delicious.

For this tasty lunch pasta you need:

  • 12 oz. ditalini or other small pasta
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. cubed, cooked chicken breast
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • crumbled feta cheese, for sprinkling

Cook your pasta in boiling salted water for 10 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together the broth, oil, mustard, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic, and vinegar.

Add the chicken and bell pepper to the dressing and toss to coat, then mix in the pasta and mint.

Serve a bowl of pasta topped with some crumbled feta.

Yum!  this salad really makes me look forward to my lunch hour–it’s pretty tough to beat the combination of pasta, garlic, mint, and feta!  Stir up a batch and enjoy a little piece of Greek heaven in your workday.


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…do not usually come to mind when I think of ye old Sloppy Joe.  However, we were headed to visit family for the Fourth of July, and needed some vegetarian recipes to fix.  Alas, RR had the perfect recipe: veg-head sloppy joes.  These super-sloppy sandwiches are absolutely fantastic for a summer barbecue, especially when paired with my mom’s recipe for potato salad!

For the Sloppy Joes you need:

  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded/chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 21 oz. can black beans, rinsed/drained
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • salt and pepper
  • 15 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lime
  • 4 rolls, toasted
  • dill pickles
  • a handful of chopped fresh cilantro

Start by heating the oil in a huge skillet over medium-high.  Add the jalapenos, bell pepper, onion, and garlic, and let it cook until tender, about 8 minutes.

Then, stir in the black beans and dried spices.  Add the tomatoes, brown sugar, and Worcestershire and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes.  squeeze in the lime juice, and the mixture is done.

We had my family’s favorite potato salad on the side.  I am telling you, there is no other way to make potato salad than this recipe.  It is flawless.  Mom, you’re a genius!

You need:

  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 tsp. mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • pepper
  • 4 cups potatoes, cooked/cubed
  • 1/2 cup pickle/relish

Simply combine the mayo, mustard, celery seed, salt and pepper.  Then, fold in the potatoes and pickles.  DELICIOUS!

Serve a bun piled high with the veggie sloppy joe mixture and topped with cilantro and chopped pickles and a mound of potato salad goodness on the side.

This is a darn good meal, especially to celebrate or cook out with.  But, be warned that it is definitely a fork-and-knife sandwich!  Heads up: the sloppy joe mix is even better after a day in the fridge–no kidding.


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…is an absolutely perfect summertime food–it is so light and cold!  Our dear fried Kyle introduced us to this Spanish “cold soup” when we were in college, and we absolutely love it.  The temperatures have been absolutely ridiculous over the past couple of weeks, so we decided to make gazpacho to give us a lunchtime break from the heat.

For Kyle’s gazpacho you need:

  • 6 tomatoes
  • 1/4 onion
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 red bell pepper
  • parsley
  • chives
  • 1 clove garlic
  • lemon juice
  • balsamic vinegar
  • sugar (we used blue agave nectar instead)
  • salt and pepper
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • olive oil
  • thyme
  • basil
  • hot sauce

Start by peeling/dicing up the small produce department that is now on your kitchen counter.  Then, simply chuck everything into a blender or food processor.  We blended ours in batches, making some batches totally smooth and leaving others a bit chunky.  We didn’t really measure any ingredients; simply add a dash of seasoning here and there until it tastes delicious.  The ingredient list is not at all specific–you can basically add any spices/veggies you want (we added basil, thyme, and hot sauce)!  Also, Schatzi added some diced chicken to his soup so he would be a little more full.

It’s pretty impossible to not feel good about eating this soup–it basically contains the entire produce department, and you can easily control how much salt and oil you are putting into the dish.  And, when you pair a bowl of refreshing gazpacho with a melty grilled cheese sandwich, you have one tasty meal in front of you.

I know that many people turn their noses up at the thought of cold soup, but I highly recommend you try this one out.  It’s a great, nutritious way to beat the heat.  Thanks for introducing us, Kyle!


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Tuna salad…

…is one of my favorite lunch options because there are so many different ways to make it!  It’s almost always a quick fix, and, as with this recipe, it can be pretty nutritious–tuna is wonderful for you!  The idea for this salad was inspired by a pasta salad in my family cookbook.  I took out shrimp and pasta and subbed in tuna.  Delicious!

You need:

  • 24 oz. canned tuna, packed in water
  • 1/4 lb. asparagus, trimmed to 1″ pieces
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • oregano, to taste
  • pepper
  • Italian dressing, to taste

This could not be simpler!  Simply drain your tuna, then mix it with the vegetables.  Add in oregano and cracked black pepper to taste, then mix in Italian dressing.  I probably used less than 1/2 cup, but do it to your liking.  Finish up by adding in the zest of a lemon.

You could eat the salad by itself, but we stuffed it into some whole-grain pitas.

This salad is a keeper!  It is absolutely delicious.  Try it for lunch next week!


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