Archive for the category “lunch”

Prime Rib French Dip with Thyme Au Jus

This sandwich is seriously delicious! It is hearty, meaty, gooey and gets a little soggy when you dip it, which is so perfect with the crispy bread!  Do yourself a favor and use the sliced prime rib available in the deli to make this french dip extra special.  If you can’t get fresh sliced prime rib than just grab roast beef and still make this sandwich!


IMG_2123The line up: sliced prime rib, white cheddar cheese, basil, a fresh ciabatta roll, au jus and fresh thyme.

Optional add ons:  pesto, sriracha aioli, arugula, different cheese, tomato and more!

IMG_2125In a small pan simmer together au jus concentrate with some chicken stock, beef broth or water.  Toss in a sprig of thyme to enhance the flavor.

IMG_2126Cut ciabatta roll in half and smear pesto on each side. Or do pesto on one side and sriracha aioli on the other like I did for my husbands!! Place a few basil leaves on one side.

IMG_2127Pile it up with some aged white cheddar (sliced thin so it will melt)

IMG_2129Assemble the sandwich and toast for a few minutes to melt the cheese if desired.  Dip in au jus and enjoy!

A couple tips:

*Dip meat in warm au jus before piling it onto the bread to enhance the flavor and to warm it up.

*Grill the sandwich for a few minutes if you want melted cheese. Otherwise just serve once assembled.

*Add a sauce (pesto or sriracha aioli like listed above) or your own favorite to moisten the roll a little.

*Trim the sliced prime rib to remove excess fat so your sandwich doesn’t end up too tough

*Go make this sandwich now and ENJOY! It literally takes minutes to assemble!


Homemade Falafel

Street food… it’s found everywhere and in many different forms: Thailand, the Middle East, China, Italy, Japan, Vietnam and most other countries have their version of street food.  Whether is it sweet desserts, kabobs, pizza, meat on a stick or falafel wrapped in a pita, street food is everywhere and so delicious! It’s one of the best ways to eat while traveling because it’s authentic, cheap and accessible.  I decided to make my own version of a delicious form of Middle Eastern street food: falafel (aka. a chickpea patty that is fried and served with a tangy yogurt sauce in a warm pita).

My favorite part of a falafel patty is the abundance of flavor and spices in each bite.  Thanks to the fresh herbs and slightly spicy sauce a falafel will satisfy all your senses.

IMG_2090The basics

IMG_2092Chop onion and garlic in a food process until just chopped. Set aside.  Then blend chickpeas, cilantro, parsley, and spices until just chopped.

IMG_2093Combine both mixtures back in the food processor with baking soda, an adobo pepper, lemon juice and flour and pulse until mixture just comes together.

IMG_2094Add more flour until the mixture is not too sticky but do not over mix or the patties will be gummy.

IMG_2095It should come together in a ball once enough flour has been added.

IMG_2096Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Scoop out desired size and form into a small patty.

IMG_2098Fry in canola oil until patties are browned on each side.

IMG_2100Serve in a warm pita with some lettuce topped with the spicy yogurt sauce.

Disclaimer: The pita I grabbed didn’t open into pockets but it was still delicious.

IMG_2102I love the contrast of a crunchy outside and a creamy middle

IMG_2104These falafel can be served a ton of different ways: in pitas, on sandwiches, atop salads, alone as a snack or even in place a meat balls with pasta.

Falafel Patties:
1/2 white onion
4 cloves garlic
2 cups canned chick peas (drained and rinsed)
1 adobo chili (sauce also if you like it spicy)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
approx 1/2 cup of flour (more or less depending on stickiness)
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup fresh parsley
1 cup fresh cilantro
Yogurt Sauce:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 adobo chili plus some sauce
1/4 cup tahini paste
lemon juice
In a food processor pulse onions and garlic until just chopped.  Set aside.  Pulse chickpeas, cilantro, parsley, cumin, chili powder, lemon juice, salt, pepper until just chopped.  Add onion mixture back in as well as adobo pepper, flour and baking powder and mix until just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX or patties will be too gummy.
Chill mixture for 1 hour.  In the meantime whisk yogurt, adobo chili plus sauce, salt, pepper, lemon juice and tahini paste to create the sauce. Form into patties of desired size and fry in a pan with canola oil over medium heat until patties are browned on each side ( about 3 minutes per side).  Transfer to a paper towel.
Serve with yogurt sauce or as desired.  

Deli Style Reuben Sandwich {made at home}

Gooey cheese, crispy bread, tangy sauerkraut, spicy sriracha aioli, creamy pesto, hearty pastrami and crunchy arugula.  How much more of a description do you need before you go and make this sandwich!?!? This is a serious sandwich and it will feel like you are at any sandwich shop with just a few simple steps.  Seriously, just go make it.

IMG_2051Check out all those layers

IMG_2042A few of the items you need…

IMG_2044Add some pesto to one slice of rye bread and some sriracha aioli to the other. Be generous! You’ll thank me later!

I made my pesto but it is an easy thing to grab while at the market

IMG_2046Pile your bread high with fresh sliced deli pastrami and swiss cheese. I like to add a few slices so when it melts it helps all the layers stick together.

IMG_2047Finish off each slice with some sauerkraut and arugula.

IMG_2048Stack it high and get ready to grill

IMG_2049Add a little butter to a grill pan and toast it up on one side. You could easily use a frying pan also.

IMG_2050Once the bread is nice a toasty flip it over. To get the cheese to melt I like to cover it with a lid to keep the heat in.  If you have a panini press by all means use that! I have even made it in a waffle iron!

IMG_2053Lots of layers and a nice crunch from the bread

IMG_2054As good as or better than any deli style sandwich.

Lemon Almond Poppy seed muffins

I had a craving…

First, I wanted a lemon poppy seed muffin…

Then, I wanted an almond poppy seed muffin…

So, what’s a pregnant girl to do… eat a batch of each?

No, because that would be silly. However, not the first time 🙂  Instead I made a combination of the two! And yes, it satisfied all my cravings and more!
IMG_7695Hello delicious muffin!

But, before I go any further I need to give a quick shout out to the amazing local strawberries at the market! Spooner Farms grows hands down the best strawberries in the world and for a very short window of time they are available and sooooooooo worth the price and the short season!

IMG_7688This half flat costs $13.99 but the joy you will get from devouring it will far out way the price tag!

IMG_7689It’s all about shopping local right? Well, here is your chance!

IMG_7690Make jam, eat them plain, strawberry shortcake perhaps or freeze them for smoothies later!

OK, back to the main event…


IMG_7674A few of the key ingredients for these lovely little muffins. Lemons, almond extract and poppy seeds all allowed me to create my perfect muffin in one!

IMG_7676Beat eggs and sugar until fluffy and slightly thick

IMG_7678The lemon zest along with the juice add a slightly sweet and refreshing kick while the olive oil (in place of butter) add a rich depth of flavor.

IMG_7680Can’t forget those cute little poppy seeds that speckle each muffin

IMG_7682The batter really is beautiful

IMG_7684Fill cups about 2/3 of way full and bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes

IMG_7686I love the crackly top

IMG_7691I tried them first plain and then with a glaze and let’s be honest, everything is better with a glaze!

IMG_7692Just a simple powdered sugar and lemon juice glaze added the perfect sweetness to these muffins

IMG_7696Great for a party, breakfast, brunch, or no reason at all.  Also, these would freeze and defrost very well. Just don’t add the glaze until ready to serve.

Lemon Almond Poppy Seed Muffins



2/3 cup sugar

3 eggs

3 tbsp plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup olive oil

1/3 cup lemon juice

2 tbsp lemon zest

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

2 2/3 cups flour

pinch salt

1 ½ tsp baking soda

2 tbsp poppy seeds


2 tbsp powdered sugar

squeeze of lemon juice for desired consistency


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line 12 muffins tins with paper liners. In a stand mixer (or hand mixer) beat eggs and sugar for 2 minutes until slightly thick and pale in color. Add eggs, yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla and almond extract and mix.  Remove paddle attachment and sift in flour, salt and baking soda.  Reattach paddle mixer and mix until just combined.  Scrap down sides of bowl, add poppy seeds and mix until just barely incorporated.  Do not over mix.  Fill muffins tins 2/3 full and bake for about 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before adding glaze.  Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice to create thick glaze and top muffins.




20 minute Potato Leek Soup

Since I am mom, I’m pregnant and the weather has been so nice a quick dinner that everyone will love is a must for me! I couldn’t pass up the leeks and potatoes at the market and soup was calling my name! I love this soup because it can be served warm or even at room temp and it is delicious and so satisfying! I think the bacon and croutons on top have something to do with that satisfaction factor!

Potato Leek Soup


IMG_1907Chop up about 5 potatoes and 1 leek (white and light green parts only)

IMG_1906Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a pan and and sauté 1/2 a shallot and 2 cloves of garlic.

IMG_1908Add chopped potatoes and leeks.  Allow leeks to soften a little.

IMG_1909Add enough chicken broth to cover the vegetables.  I added 32 ounces.

IMG_1910Allow pan to come to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until potatoes are fork tender. About 15 minutes.

IMG_1912Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender) blend mixture until it is smooth and creamy.  If you use a regular blender just be sure to blend in batches and be careful because the soup will be hot.

IMG_1914Add 1/4 cup of half and half  to make the soup silky, smooth and so creamy!

IMG_1916Top with your choice of yummy extras such as chopped bacon, croutons, chopped green onions etc.

IMG_1918Fresh chopped basil makes everything taste better and it looks so pretty against the soup!


Beef and Basil Stir-fry

Ok, this is a seriously quick and easy way to get everyone in your family to the table and hopefully they will all have a full tummy! A very similar beef and basil stir-fry recipe was given to me by friend and after a few changes to make it more friendly for my family I was so thankful! I changed up the veggies and made it with forbidden black rice because I had some left over from this previous post: Salmon with a crispy rice cake. This dish is quick, simple, versatile and so delicious! It will leave you wanting more!

IMG_1788The colors are beautiful and the dish is so hearty that everyone will love it!

IMG_1776I took advantage of the sirloin steak that was on sale and got 3 huge steaks for $12

IMG_1777While it looks like a lot of veggies it is worth it! They add so much flavor and crunch plus everyone will be happy with the meat and veg ratio.

I chose onions, kale, broccoli, red peppers, snow peas, bamboo shoots and garlic.

IMG_1779In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup coy sauce, 3 tbsp corn starch, 3 tbsp brown sugar and one cup of beef broth.

IMG_1780Slice your meat into the desired size. I chose longer thin strips. Note: marinade your meat ahead of time (try a combination of soy sauce, ginger, garlic and rice vinegar) so it doesn’t turn out tough like mine did.

IMG_1781Start by sautéing garlic and onions in some coconut or sesame oil.

IMG_1782Add meat and allow to cook about half way. Remove meat from pan and set aside.

IMG_1783Toss in all the veggies and half of the sauce and cook until still crisp.

IMG_1784Add meat back in with the remaining sauce, kale, basil and bamboo shoots and allow to cook for just a few minutes until meat is done. Do not overcook.

IMG_1785Check out all those colors and the delicious sauce.

IMG_1786Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve warm over rice with fresh torn basil on top.


Cauliflower “Chowder”

I apologize in advance because I do not have a picture of this delicious soup plated because honestly we all ate it too fast!!!  I think the pictures will help you get an idea of what it should look like.

Fortunately, you don’t need a picture because the soup was  so delicious and worth making you will just want to take my word for it and whip it up.  And thankfully whip it up you can because it only took about 30 minutes to make from start to finish! It’s also a versatile soup which allows you to change ingredients to make it appealing for all members of your family!

Cauliflower Chowder

IMG_7631Chop all your veggies to about the same size so they cook evenly. I used cauliflower, garlic, fennel, celery, potatoes and carrots.

IMG_7632Whatever veggies you chose just be sure to have a nice array of colors for a pretty dish!

IMG_7634In a dutch oven or large stock pot melt 2 tbsp of butter and add celery, carrots, fennel and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.

IMG_7636I am seriously in love with my green dutch oven. I got it for about $40 at Marshall’s.

IMG_7639Saute veggies until they are slightly tender.

IMG_7640Add 1/4 cup of flour and mix until flour taste is gone. About 1 minute.

IMG_7642Add 3/4 cup of milk (I used whole) and about 4 cups of chicken or veggie broth

IMG_7643Bring to a low boil, toss in a bay leaf, a whole head of chopped cauliflower and a couple chopped up potatoes.

IMG_7646All mixture to simmer for about 20 minutes or until cauliflower and potatoes are fork tender.  At this point you could blend part of the soup and add it back in if you wanted a creamier texture but I liked the rustic feel of a chunky soup.

IMG_7647Add some frozen or thawed peas, remove the bay leaf and serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Again, sorry for the lack of pictures of the final product but you can imagine it looks so yummy with a cheesy topping and some crusty bread! Add chopped cooked bacon if you’re really feeling adventurous!!

Whole wheat spaghetti with zucchini

A great way to get your kids to eat their veggies is in a few simple steps.  1. Let them pick out the veggies they want to try at the grocery store.  They will be excited to try something they chose and love the sense of being part of the cooking process. 2. Make them look and taste good. (ie. this pasta dish). 3. Feed them the stuff they “don’t like” when they are really hungry and before you give them the stuff they do like such as fruit, snacks or bread. Try this easy ands delicious pasta dish with just a few simple ingredients.


Slice zucchini, yellow squash, onions, garlic and mushrooms into similar sizes so they cook evenly.


My daughter could not get enough of the zucchini, yellow squash, onions and garlic.  She’s still a little unsure of the mushrooms.


I forgot to take pictures of the sauce preparation but here’s what I did: sauté the veggies until still slightly crisp.  Add a scoop of pesto, a scoop of ricotta cheese, salt, pepper to taste and a little pasta water from the cooked pasta to create a sauce.  Add the cooked pasta (I used whole wheat spaghetti) and sprinkle with parmesan cheese!


Feel free to modify the ingredients for your family such as different veggies or a different pasta.


Pasta smothered in cheese… how  can you go wrong!?!

IMG_7629It’s sure to please everyone!

Green curry made easy!

A super delicious and easy dinner everyone in the family will love is green curry with chicken and vegetables.  The best part of this dish is the versatility.  You can add anything you want to it depending on your family.  For this particular curry I added sweet potatoes, green beans, onions, red bell peppers, bamboo shoots, eggplant and chicken.  Other great options are shrimp, tofu, baby corn, boo choy and so much more!



Slice all your veggies into bite sizes pieces and slice your chicken into thin strips.


This delicious and flavorful curry paste will add an authentic curry flavor.  You will also need coconut milk and coconut cream.


Add some coconut oil to a large pan and a tablespoon of curry paste.


Add both the coconut milk and coconut cream and bring to a low boil.  Add the veggies according to cooking time so potatoes first and others as they become tender.


Add the chicken when the potatoes are barely fork tender so everything is finished at the same time.  Add the veggies that cook the fastest at the end.  Add more curry paste at the end depending on your taste preferences.


A homemade curry is so quick and delicious and a really great family dinner! Serve over sticky rice, white rice, brown rice or rice noodles!

It’s sure to impress and satisfy everyone!

Cheese tray (with dried fruit crackers!)

What’s not to love about a cheese tray?! There’s cheese, crackers, other yummy bits of snacks and it’s so easy to serve.  Plus, it has a wow factor for those you are serving it to! Make any dinner party more elegant.  It’s an easy appetizer you don’t have to tend to.  People have the ability to create their own bite and the options are endless! I couldn’t resist these cute and delicious dried fruit crackers by Simple and Crisp.  Not only are they are great statement piece they taste good too!

IMG_7671A cheese tray is easy to arrange right on a cutting board.  It keeps it casual and allows people to cut pieces for themselves.


These dried fruit crackers were perfect with this hard goat’s milk cheese from Spain!  Be sure to pick a strong (not stinky) enough cheese to stand up to the crackers.

I recommend this Campobello Spanish cheese, a sharp cheddar or even a goat cheese.


IMG_7656Simple and Crisp crackers are so unique and perfect for any cheese or appetizer tray.  Try all 4: apple, pear, orange and blood orange. You get the real fruit flavor with the crunch of a cracker!

IMG_7658Here’s how I chose to serve my cheese and crackers.  3 types of crackers: orange and pear Simple and Crisp, Raincoast Crisp cranberry hazelnut and apple slices!

IMG_7669I then realized I needed some color so I added some fresh olives from the self-serve olive bar! Any variety will do!

IMG_7659How cute are those crackers!

IMG_7661I love the fruit flavor plus the crispness of the cracker!

IMG_7662Cracker, cheese and apple: the perfect combination.  Crunchy, tangy, creamy, crisp and sweet.

IMG_7663The orange slice is so pretty!

IMG_7665A true classic!

IMG_7666Ok, then I got a little crazy but the pesto was such an awesome addition.  Grab a pre-made pesto in the deli section or make your own! This is a pea, kale and hazelnut pesto.


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