Cafeteria Sloppy Joes

WP_20140306_17_47_33_Pro

Yum! These are the least fussy sloppy joes that I came across in my search. The flavor was kid friendly without too sweet or bland – I loved it and happily ate leftovers the next night. My picky eater quickly ate her portion without any coercion from me – that almost never happens and that is a win in my book ;) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Cafeteria Sloppy Joes – adapted from Food Network

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Brown 1 pound ground beef in a large skillet with olive oil. Add 1 chopped onion, 3 chopped garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons each ground cumin and smoked paprika and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper; cook 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1/2 cup water and simmer until thick, about 15 minutes. Serve on slider rolls with potato chips

Mushroom, Caramelized Onion Macaroni and Cheese

WP_20140122_12_05_31_Pro

This isn’t something that I get many chances to make, so as soon as I saw it I sent a text to my vegetarian food-loving friend. As expected, she was all in for this fancy mac and cheese! It was so good – full of savory flavors from the caramelized onions and meaty mushrooms. Don’t substitute any of the cheeses; they’re worth every penny – besides, when I make her lunch I get a date night :) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Mushroom, Onion Macaroni and Cheese – adapted from Joy the Baker

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, for cooking the onions and mushrooms
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced in semi-circles
  • half a pound of button or cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, divided
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 scant teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyère
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound pasta shells, boiled until just undercooked
  • 1/3 cup panko crumbs

Directions -

In a medium skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.  When heated, add the sliced onions and saute until translucent, stirring occasionally.  Add a pinch of salt, a pinch of black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, and reduce the heat to low.  Continue to cook until the onions are completely browned and thoroughly cooked, about 10-15 minutes. Spoon caramelized onions into a small bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the quartered mushrooms and stir to coat in fat. Allow the mushrooms to soften and brown, about 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt, a pinch of black pepper , and remaining thyme and reduce the heat to low. Cook until mushrooms are browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until mixture is combined. Add the milk and whisk together until mixture has thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Add scant teaspoon of salt and black pepper. Stir to combine.

In a small bowl, beat the egg. Add a few tablespoons of the warm cream sauce to the egg and whisk together. Once the egg is warmed, add it back to the cream sauce and whisk well to combine. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheeses. Stir until melted and combined. Add the cooked pasta, onions and mushrooms and stir until all is coated in cheese sauce.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a  a 9×13-inch pan, and scoop the pasta mixture into the greased pan then top with panko crumbs. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the bread crumbs are browned and the pasta is sizzling. Remove from the oven and serve warm.
**Pasta can be made a day ahead and left in the fridge unbaked. Just add the bread crumbs just before baking.

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

WP_20131229_13_07_09_Pro

I had just enough leftover chicken to make this, plus everything else on hand to make this recipe – I love that! This was perfect for a Sunday lunch and we all enjoyed it with our favorite crescent rolls. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Creamy Chicken + Lemon Rice Soup – adapted from Simply Scratch

  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 medium peeled carrot, diced small
  • 2 stalks celery, diced small
  • 8 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 3/4 cup white rice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, strained
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten
  • kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste
  • 1 heaping cup leftover shredded chicken

Directions -

Heat your Dutch oven over medium heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil.

Sauté the diced carrots and celery until they’re just starting to soften. Pour in the low sodium chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Pour in the 3/4 cup of long grain rice. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and reduce the heat to medium high. Cook the rice for 20 minutes; stand nearby just in case there’s a boil-over.

In a bowl, beat the two eggs and add in the lemon juice. Once the twenty minutes are up, remove the lid to the soup and gather some of the broth into a ladle. While stirring, slowly pour in the hot broth into the egg mixture. Then pour the warmed egg/broth mixture into the Dutch oven and stir.

Add in the shredded chicken and minced parsley. Taste the soup and check the seasonings, season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Easy, Stove Top, No-Roux Macaroni and Cheese

stovetop

This couldn’t be easier and it’s so tasty, quick, creamy and surprise – there is no butter in this recipe! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Creamy No-Roux Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese – adapted from The Kitchn

  • 1 pound pasta, any shape
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups shredded cheese, like cheddar, monterey jack, or colby
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Directions -

1. Bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil over high heat in the pasta pot. Add the pasta and a tablespoon of salt. Cook until the pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. When the pasta has finished cooking, prepare the cheese sauce. Begin warming 1 cup of the milk in the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup of milk and the flour until there are no lumps. When you just start to see tendrils of steam rising from the warming milk, whisk in the milk-and-flour mixture. Continue whisking gently until the milk thickens slightly to the consistency of heavy cream, 3-4 minutes.

3.Turn the heat to low and begin mixing handfuls of cheese into the milk. Stir in the salt and mustard. Stir until all the cheese has melted and the sauce is creamy. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Remove the sauce from heat.

4. In a large serving bowl, combine the pasta and 1/2 of the cheese sauce. Stir to coat the pasta evenly. Add the second half of the sauce and any extra add-ins.

Roasted Vegetable, Goat Cheese and Pesto Sandwich

vegsandwich1

The vegetables smelled amazing while roasting. I hope that is a good indicator of flavor ;)

Verdict: This is the best meatless sandwich I have ever eaten, and easily top five of all the sandwiches I have ever made. The kale pesto is so flavorful, the creamy goat cheese adds a tangy bite and the veg – seriously, this combination of ingredients is a match made in culinary heaven ;) My husband would not touch this with a ten foot pole – it has the three out of four ingredients he refuses to eat. Oh well, more for me! My friend and I greedily/happily ate both of our sandwiches and can’t wait for the next time! I could have eaten this again for dinner…I may have a problem! ;) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Roasted Vegetable Goat Cheese Pesto Sandwich – adapted from Wonderful Joy Ahead

  • 1 baguette (I bought mine at Panera Bread - totally worth the $2.79!)
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup of fresh pesto (I used this kale pesto)
  • 2T+ chevre goat cheese
  • 2 portobello mushroom caps (*I had 12 oz of cremini mushrooms*)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
 Directions -
Preheat oven to 475. Line two baking sheets with foil.
Gently wash the mushrooms and cut out the stem. Cut all vegetables in large pieces. In a large bowl, mix together oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the vegetables to the oil mixture and coat well. Place veggies in a single layer on the baking sheets, making sure each veggie touches the foil and is not on top of another vegetable. Place the vegetables in the oven. Roast for about 15 minutes, flipping the vegetables over at the 7 minute mark. They are ready to take out when the onions are starting to char on the edges and the peppers get nice blisters on the skin.
While the vegetables are in the oven, cut your bread to the length that you want your sandwich.  Slice in half and remove part of the inside to make room for the filling.
Spread 2-3T of pesto on one half of each sandwich. Then spread 1-2T of goat cheese on the other half of each sandwich.
vegsandwich
Remove the vegetables from the oven, and layer the vegetables in tidy layers over the bread. Close the sandwich up. Place on the baking sheets and put back in the oven to let the residual heat warm up the cheese for 5 minutes.

Italian Antipasto Salad

antipasto1

I made this salad for a group of ladies and judging by how little of this was left, it was a hit ;) The salami and provolone combo is what makes this crave-worthy and I like the different textures of the lettuces. The vinaigrette compliments this salad perfectly, and thanks to the Dijon it stays well mixed for long periods of time. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

antipasto2

Italian Antipasto Salad – adapted from The Food Network

  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 head butter lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup rinsed canned red kidney beans, patted dry
  • 1 cup rinsed canned garbanzo beans, patted dry
  • 8 ounces salami, cubed
  • 6 ounces Provolone, cubed
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions -

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

antipasto

Red Wine Vinaigrette – adapted from Epicurious

  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions -

Pour all ingredients in a 8 ounce jar, replace the lid and shake vigorously.

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

lettucewrap
It was one of those days…I had no clue what I felt like making for dinner, and I was unmotivated ( lazy) to go grocery shopping. I wanted something quick and easy that required only what I had on hand. Thankfully, this PW recipe met all those requirements. I thought the flavor was really good and I will make this again! Thanks for reading, enjoy :)

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

*I only had one lime that gave me 2 TBSP of juice, so I used half for the marinade and half for the sauce*

  • 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (breast Halves)
  • OPTION 1 MARINADE/SAUCE
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Sesame Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Hot Chili Oil
  • Juice Of 2 Limes
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Fresh Ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey (or Brown Sugar)
  • Peanut Or Canola Oil For Frying

For the Peanut Sauce

  • 1/2 cup Peanut Butter (crunch/chunky Is Good!)
  • 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Hot Chili Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
  • Juice Of 2 Limes
  • Water, As Needed For Thinning
  • Romain lettuce leaves
  • 1 whole carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and julienned

Directions -

In a bowl, mix together the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, hot chili oil, lime juice, ginger, and brown sugar if using. Whisk it together, then pour off half the liquid into a separate bowl.

Dice the chicken into bite-sized pieces and put them into the bowl you used to make the marinade. Throw in the squeezed lime halves and set this aside to marinate for a bit.

Into the small bowl with the other half of the marinade, whisk in the cornstarch and honey. Set aside.

In a heavy skillet over high heat, pour in a small amount of oil. When it’s hot, add the chicken pieces in a single layer. Let it sit on one side, undisturbed, for about a minute, then stir the chicken around and cook it until it’s totally done, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low, then pour in the sauce that you mixed in a separate bowl. Stir it around; the sauce will immediately start to thicken. Cook over low heat for 1 minute, then remove from heat and allow to cool.

Peanut Sauce: To make the peanut sauce, combine all the peanut sauce ingredients, adding water until it gets to a nice drizzle-able consistency. Taste and add more of what it needs: spice, sweetness, etc. Set aside.

Lay our lettuce leaves, add chicken, carrots and cucumber then top with peanut sauce.

Lettuce Wraps

lettucewraps

My family loved these – well, the DH liked the flavor but there are a few ingredients in these that he could do without. When I decided to make these, I knew that was a possibility so I cut back on those foods: water chesnuts and red bell pepper. I wanted a higher meat to extras ratio anyway so it worked out really well. I will make these again, but on those nights when M isn’t around for dinner ;) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chicken or Pork Lettuce Wraps – adapted form Serious Eats

6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup hoisin sauce (about a 10-ounce container)
4 tablespoons oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 pound ground chicken or pork
1 red pepper, finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 medium red potato, finely diced
1 8-ounce can sliced water chesnuts, chopped
Black pepper, sea salt and chili flakes to taste
Romaine lettuce leaves, or Bibb lettuce

Directions -

In a small saucepan or skillet, combine half the garlic and the hoisin sauce. Over medium heat, reduce the sauce until thickened and beginning to turn syrupy, 2-5 minutes depending on the pot used.

In the meantime, in a large (12-inch) skillet, heat half the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, ginger, and remaining garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden and soft. Add pork and break up with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the moisture has evaporated and the pork is cooked through and tender.

In a second skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium-high heat until shimmering and add the carrot and potato. Cook until almost tender, then add pepper and water chestnuts and cook for a few minutes longer. Add this mixture to the pork along with the reduced hoisin sauce. Stir well to coat the pork and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Set out the pork and serve with lettuce leaves.

Broccoli and Potato Soup

Quick Post: What do you do when the co-op only gives you a few potatoes and two broccoli crowns? You make soup for lunch, that’s what ;) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Broccoli and Potato Soup -

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 2 broccoli crowns, cut into florets
  • 3 Yukon gold potatoes, small dice
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 3 TBSP flour
  • nutmeg, freshly grated to taste
  • shredded cheddar cheese for topping

1. Place a 4 quart saucepan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon butter. Sauté the onions and carrots until soft but still firm, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and set aside.

2. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and then whisk in the flour, cook for  1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the vegetable stock and the half and half to the pan, whisk constantly so that no lumps form – about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in nutmeg and stir. Cover and simmer {over medium-low} for 15 minutes.

3. Next, reduce heat to low and add in the onions, carrots, broccoli and potato. Add more vegetable stock if you feel the soup is too thick. Stir and cover to simmer for another 20-25 minutes.

4. Lastly, use a potato masher to break up the broccoli florets to desired size. Season generously {to taste} with kosher salt and black pepper. Serve immediately and top with cheddar cheese.

Chicken Salad Sandwich

Quick Post: This is really good – so good that I ate it twice this week. I had leftover roast chicken, and what better way to use it than for chicken salad? This is a combination of a few different recipes that inspired me. I love the crisp bite of the celery, the sweetness of the apple, the toasty walnuts…all of these ingredients work together to make one of my favorite sandwiches. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chicken Salad Sandwich -

  • 1/2 – 1 cup cooked chicken, shredded or chopped fine
  • 1 celery rib, small dice
  • 1 small apple, small dice (I used a Granny Smith)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 2-3 TBSP mayonnaise
  • 2-3 TBSP plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp of curry powder
  • cayenne, paprika, pepper, salt – to taste

Directions -

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl, serve immediately or place in the fridge until ready to serve. Serve in a wrap, on a sandwich or over a bed of lettuce.