because what is life without good food?

Sandwiches

Turkey Tomato White Cheddar Melt

Smoked Turkey Tomato White Cheddar Melt

This is the sandwich I made with the Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade.

It is simply delicious and it’s something you can totally make in a rush. If you’ve got the tapenade in your fridge, the sandwich comes together in a few minutes. All you need is a whole wheat bun, some turkey, sweet onion, fresh garden tomato and some extra sharp white cheddar cheese. If you have a couple large basil leaves that is an excellent finishing touch.

I had about 30 minutes between errands and my daughter’s dance class last weekend to make myself and her something to eat. This is what I made for ME because while I had fed the kids breakfast, I ran out of time to feed myself, so by lunchtime I was starving. In a rush, I started grabbing things from the fridge and this was what became of it.

I managed to snap a few photos somehow before I chowed it down and ran out the door to get my girl to her dance class.

Turkey Tomato White Cheddar Melt

Turkey Tomato White Cheddar Melt

For each sandwich (two halves):

  • 1 whole wheat bun, sliced in half, lightly toasted
  • Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade (recipe here)
  • Thinly sliced sweet onion
  • A couple very thin slices natural smoked turkey
  • A slice or two of fresh garden tomato for each side
  • Slices of extra sharp white cheddar cheese
  • A couple large fresh basil leaves (or several smaller ones)

Directions:

  1. Slice each half of the bun with a good layer of roasted pepper tomato tepenade.
  2. Set it on a baking sheet, then arrange several thin slices of sweet onion on top of the tepenade.
  3. Cover with the thin slices of smoked turkey and then a slice or two of tomato (whatever fits!). Top the tomato with a couple slices of white cheddar cheese.
  4. Bake at 400 until the cheese is good and hot and bubbly and melty.
  5. Top with a couple fresh basil leaves. Enjoy!

Turkey Tomato White Cheddar Melt

This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth MondayTotally Tasty TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowTasty TuesdayShow & Share WednesdayCast Party WednesdayNewlyweds Recipe LinkyThursday’s Treasures, Friday Food Fight and All my Bloggy Friends.


Sweet Pepper Pesto Rosso Breakfast Sandwich

on Toasted Ciabatta with Melted Gouda Cheese

Sweet Pepper Pesto Rosso Breakfast Sandwich on Ciabatta with Gouda

Today I was HUNGRY and needed something substantial. Something with protein. I briefly considered making up a BLT, but I decided I didn’t want to mess with making bacon. I needed something quick so I could get back to work.

So an egg sandwich sounded about right … But I wanted something really tasty that would satisfy my hunger AND my taste buds. Pesto rosso to the rescue! If you haven’t heard of Pesto Rosso, it’s a magical tomato pesto made with sundried tomatoes and almonds. The Foodie Physician introduced me to it. I have had this lovely red pesto several times spread on toast for a snack and reveled in the taste of it each time, but today I thought I would put it to the test in a sandwich.

A few minutes later I was munching on one of the BEST breakfast sandwiches I have ever had. The lovely ciabatta and fresh garden tomato are wonderful, of course, and the sweet pepper and onion certainly pitch in along with the melted gouda cheese, but the Pesto Rosso is what really turns this sandwich from a ho-hum regular run-of-the-mill sandwich … into a sandwich to remember.

Sweet Pepper Pesto Rosso Breakfast Sandwich on Toasted Ciabatta with Gouda Cheese

Sweet Pepper Pesto Rosso Breakfast Sandwich

Makes 2 normal-sized breakfast sandwiches or 1 extra large one. I used Gouda cheese from Dofino, since they were so kind as to send me samples.

  • 1 egg
  • About 1 tablespoon of chopped sweet bell pepper (I used yellow … red or green would work too)
  • About 1 tablespoon of chopped sweet onion
  • Several slices of Gouda cheese
  • Ciabatta bread, sliced horizontally (I used my homemade ciabatta)
  • Pesto Rosso (recipe here)
  • Sliced fresh garden tomato

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with a small spoonful of cold water till smooth (the water will help keep your egg moist and perfect). Season with Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt) and fresh ground black pepper, then stir in the chopped sweet onion and bell pepper.
  2. Heat your frying pan to medium heat, pour in the egg mixture, reduce heat immediately to medium low. Cover the egg with gouda cheese slices, then set the cover on the pan and let cook, checking frequently, until the egg is cooked through and the cheese is melted. I pushed in some of the edges of the egg to make it into a more manageable size for the sandwich.
  3. While the egg is cooking, cut 2 pieces of ciabatta about the size for half of your egg (or a large piece of ciabatta if you are making a ginormous sandwich), slice them horizontally and toast the bread, then spread the bottom half of the ciabatta with a generous amount of Pesto Rosso. Slide the egg on top of the Pesto Rosso and then add fresh tomato slices and the top half of the ciabatta bread.

Enjoy!

Sweet Pepper Pesto Rosso Breakfast Sandwich on Toasted Ciabatta with Gouda Cheese

This recipe was shared at Thursday’s TreasuresFull Plate Thursday, Friday FavoritesFit & Fabulous FridaysWeekend PotluckMelt in your Mouth MondayTotally Tasty Tuesday and Kitchen Fun Friday.


Sweet Onion Melted Gouda (SOMG!) BLT

Sweet Onion Melted Gouda Bacon Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich (SOMG BLT!)

This is such an amazing sandwich. It’s really so simple. But it takes the whole concept of Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato to a new level.  All you have to do is add a little bit of sweet onion and some gouda cheese, get that cheese really good and melty and OMG you will be drowning in heaven when you eat your sandwich. So that’s why it’s a Sooo OMG BLT.  SOMG = Sweet Onion Melted Gouda. How sweet is THAT?

The most necessary thing for this sandwich is a fresh-from-the-garden tomato.  If you don’t have a garden (or a friend or relative who has a garden who will share a tomato), one from the farmer’s market will do in a pinch. If you’re going to use a grocery store tomato, just skip this whole idea. Go make something else. Because to get the true essence of a really great BLT, you need a really good fresh garden tomato.

The sweet onion and the melty gouda cheese elevate the bacon and the heavenly homegrown tomato taste and then the mixed greens come along and top it all off with their beauty and crunch. You really must have at least one of these beautiful sandwiches during tomato season … I have had two so far and I’m SO tempted to make another one … SOMG they are SO good!

Sweet Onion Melted Gouda Bacon Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich (Soo OMG BLT)

Sweet Onion Melted Gouda Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich (SoooOMG BLT!)

For each sandwich:

  • 1 nice thick slice of bread (homemade bread works the best … I used my dad’s whole wheat yogurt bread)
  • 3 slices of lower-fat, naturally smoked, thin-sliced bacon
  • Thinly sliced sweet onion
  • Fresh garden tomato slices
  • A few slices of Gouda cheese (I used Dofino Gouda that they sent me … )
  • Mixed greens

Directions:

  1. Cook the bacon strips to your liking. I like mine a little floppy, but my sisters hate the way I make bacon. My kids love it though. (HA! For once I am validated by my kids.) Use a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to soak up the excess fat from the bacon.
  2. Set the bread on a baking sheet covered with cooking spray. Cover the bread with a layer of bacon, then several slices of the sweet onion, then make sure you cover the whole thing with fresh tomato slices. Cover the tomato with slices of gouda cheese.
  3. Bake at 400 for about 8 – 10 minutes or until the cheese is really good and melted and bubbly.
  4. Remove the sandwiches from the oven and carefully transfer each sandwich to a plate and add a good tumble of mixed greens. Then revel in the joy of a purely wonderful sandwich.

Sweet Onion Melted Gouda Bacon Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich (Soo OMG BLT)

I want to thank Dofino cheese for sending me some of their wonderful Gouda cheese and my amazing friends from the BOHO tribe for helping me name this sandwich! It was Uncle Gary from Uncle Gary’s Gourmet Peppers and Pepper Jelly that thought of this name.

This is an #onionlove post.

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Click here to see all the other great #onionlove posts …

This recipe was also shared at Share it SaturdayScrumptious Sunday, and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.


Cheddar & Smoked Gouda Roasted Vegie-wich

Cheddar & Smoked Gouda Roasted Vegie Sandwich

Do you want to know a secret? Those Tarragon & Sunflower Roasted Vegetables that I shared the other day? There’s a way to make them even better … I didn’t think it was possible, but my gosh they make an incredible sandwich. Put them on a good bun and then melt smoked cheese over the top and oh my gosh it’s heaven. I’m telling you, you really need to try this.

It was Ann at the Fountain Avenue Kitchen that gave me the idea when she posted her Grilled Pesto Veggiewich, which looks totally yummy, and I LOVE that word: vegiewich! I didn’t have any of that gorgeous multi-grain bread, and I don’t have a panini maker, but I have some really good hot dog buns left over from our camping trip and I have a fridge drawer full of gourmet cheeses from Dofino cheeses that are just dying to be made into something delicious.

And thus a new sandwich is born. I have made this sandwich twice already and I’m going to have another one for lunch today. If you really must, you could add some chicken or something, but trust me, you won’t miss the meat. The vegies and cheese are just divine. It tastes like there’s some magical sauce in there, but I didn’t add any sauce.

Cheddar & Smoked Gouda Roasted Vegie Sandwich

 Cheddar & Smoked Gouda Roasted Vegie-wich

  • Good quality homemade or bakery buns (white or whole wheat … whole wheat of course is healthier)
  • A bunch of Tarragon & Sunflower Roasted Vegetables
  • Smoked gouda cheese, shredded
  • Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:

  1. Take your bun and pile a bunch of the roasted vegetables on it. Shred and mix the cheeses, then cover the vegies with the lovely cheese.
  2. Set the bun on a baking sheet, set it in the oven (or toaster oven) and bake at 350 for 10 minutes or so or until the cheese is nicely melted, the bun is toasted, and the vegies are hot.
  3. Take the vegiewich and put it on your plate and gobble it up while it’s still hot. A little bowl of melon is a lovely accompaniment. Have napkins handy because it might get a little messy …

Cheddar & Smoked Gouda Roasted Vegie Sandwich

This recipe was shared at Thursday’s Treasures, Everyday Mom’s Meals and Share It Saturdays.


Smashed Chickpea & Avocado Salad Sandwich

Smashed Chickpea & Avocado Sandwich

Why does the idea of smashing a chickpea sound so appealing?

I think it’s for the same reason that hitting something hard at TaeKwonDo feels good. It’s all those little things in life that just make you angry that you will never mention to the person that is bugging you because you’re just too nice to say it or you don’t want to make waves. It’s often better left unsaid … so much better to walk away, not say anything, or let that person find their own truth, their own karma. But still there are these little bits of anger that build up inside of you and you need to let it out somehow.

For me, yoga helps, but it’s not enough. I need to really smash something, something that isn’t going to care if I hurt it. Ah, and even better if I get to eat it in the end!

Come here, little chickpeas! I will smash you into a sandwich … oh and you too, little avocado!

… but seriously, though, this is quite a delicious sandwich. And if you can relieve a few frustrations in the process, that’s even better.

Smashed Chickpea & Avocado Sandwich

Smashed Chickpea & Avocado Salad Sandwich

Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod. Makes 2 – 3 sandwiches.

  • 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 2 Tablespoons sundried tomato ranch dressing (recipe here - or use regular ranch and add a couple finely chopped sundried tomatoes to the mixture)
  • 1 tablespoon sweet onion, chopped fine
  • Cilantro (a few sprigs if you can gather it … mine is so pathetic all I can get is a few leaves … sigh. )
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • juice of a wedge of lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha
  • lettuce leaves, onion, tomato, whatever you like to put on a sandwich

Directions:

  1. In a  bowl, using a fork or potato masher, smash the chickpeas and avocado together. Let out your frustrations … really, it’s ok.
  2. Add in the cilantro, onion, and squeeze the lime over top. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Toast your bread, spread both sides with the smashed chickpea/avocado mixture, then put your favorite sandwich toppings inside.
  4. Enjoy every bite!
You can use the smashed chickpea/avocado mixture as a dip, too. ;)

Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Sandwich

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysHearth & Soul Bloghop, Foodie FridaysSummer Salad Sundays, Weekend Potluck and Manic Monday.


Mini Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Mini Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

I’ve been eyeing all the beautiful Caprese sandwiches online for so long, waiting for the day when I had a fresh garden tomato to make one.

So I have a funny story to tell you. Last fall I had a potted tomato plant that wasn’t finished making tomatoes when the frost came. I brought it inside so the tomatoes could keep growing on the vine. It kept growing all winter long and I kept watering it … I mean, why not? It was a beautiful thriving houseplant. And when the days started getting longer, it started blooming. I didn’t have any bees to pollinate the flowers, so I tried hand-pollinating the flowers with my fingers.

The most amazing thing happened. Two tomatoes actually started growing! One of them has already ripened. It was pretty small and ugly and kind of dense and tough … but when I cut it open? Oh my … it put the store-bought tomatoes to shame. It had so much flavor it almost tasted like a sundried tomato.

A fresh tomato from my tomato plant ... in May!

So I decided it was time to give the Caprese Grilled sandwich a try. I had to supplement my little fresh tomato pieces with some store-bought tomato slices, but oh man, these sandwiches are to die for.

I think these little Caprese sammies would go well with either a soup or salad on the side. I had mine with a cup of mixed fruit topped with a few toasted walnuts. (I had SUCH a hard time waiting to eat them …)

Mini Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Mini Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

  • French rolls (or french bread), sliced thin
  • Pesto (I used the Basil Lime Pesto I made last summer and froze)
  • Fresh tomato, sliced thin
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Sliced or shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Butter or light butter spread

Directions:

  1. Spread one side of each slice of bread with a very thin layer of pesto.
  2. Add a thin slice of mozzarella or sprinkle on a thin layer of shredded cheese.
  3. Cover the cheese with tomato slices, then basil leaves.
  4. Add another slice of mozzarella or shredded cheese.
  5. Top with a slice of bread (pesto side in).
  6. Butter the outside of the sandwiches lightly.
  7. Preheat a skillet pan coated with cooking spray over medium heat.
  8. Turn the heat down to medium low and carefully place the little sandwiches in the pan. Cover and cook for a few minutes, then check to see if the bottom side is golden brown yet. Carefully flip the sandwiches to toast the other side, then cover and cook until the other side  is golden brown.
  9. Serve immediately and revel in the deliciousness.

Mini Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Can you tell which tomato piece is the home-grown one and which one came from the store?

(And yeah, I know … it’s so definitely time to ditch the purple nail polish.)

This recipe was shared at Sweet & Simple SundaysTastetastic Thursdays, Moosewood Monday and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Raspberry Salmon Havarti Toast with Wild Greens

Raspberry Salmon Havarti Toast with Wild Greens

Do you recognize those “wild” greens?

Today is National Weed Appreciation Day and you know what? I really appreciate my weeds. Oh some of them are a pain, literally, like the thistles and the cockleburrs that I just can’t seem to get under control, but the dandelions and wild violets that sprout up all over my yard and in the cracks of my sidewalk are just lovely! I totally love the thought of picking food from my yard. I mean, what’s better than free food?

Here’s one of the wild violet plants that sprung up in the crack of my sidewalk. How lovely is that?

Wild Violets

So today I thought I would honor the beautiful weeds that grace my life by making a gourmet toast with them. I don’t use any herbicides or pesticides on my lawn so it’s relatively safe for me to eat them. Please don’t try this if you use any chemical weed control in your yard.

Raspberry Salmon Havarti Toast with Wild Greens

Raspberry Salmon Havarti Toast with Wild Greens

This could be served as an appetizer, a snack, a nice lunch, or even a light dinner!

  • French bread
  • Raspberry jam
  • Cooked salmon (I had some leftover salmon we did on the grill the other night)
  • Havarti cheese, sliced
  • Dandelion and/or wild violet greens and some wild violets if you are lucky enough to have some about that are chemical free and clean

Directions:

  1. Lightly toast the french bread, then spread with a thin layer of raspberry jam.
  2. Add flakes of salmon on top of the jam, then arrange slices of Havarti cheese to cover the salmon.
  3. Bake at 400 or broil the toast for a few minutes until the cheese is nice and melted and bubbly.
  4. Top with wild greens and violets and enjoy!

Raspberry Salmon Havarti Toast with Wild Greens

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic ThursdayFull Plate Thursday and Fit & Fabulous Friday.


Grilled Corned Beef & Gouda Sandwich with Dill

Toasted Corned Venison & Gouda Sandwich with Dill and Green Onion

I made my corned “beef” early this year. (It’s not really corned beef, it’s corned venison … yes, it’s true. My dad corned some venison roasts and gave me a few … I love it when he does that!)

I will probably make another for St. Patrick’s Day proper, but my daughter wanted meat last week and she LOVES corned venison (or beef … I don’t think she really cares, as long as it’s meat). So I pulled out a corned vinnie roast and made it for her. But it was a rather large one this time, and we still had quite a bit left.

What do you do with leftover corned beef? Well, it makes for a lovely sandwich. Especially if you happen to have some homemade bread around, and I do. And if you have some fresh dill and green onions and some gouda cheese and garlic peppercorn mustard, well, that makes it all the better.

Toasted Corned Venison & Gouda Sandwich with Dill and Green Onion

Toasted Corned Beef & Gouda Sandwich with Dill and Green Onion

  • Fresh homemade bread, sliced (I used my honey oatmeal bread for this one)
  • Light butter
  • Corned beef (or venison), sliced and heated
  • Shredded Gouda cheese (about 1/2 cup per sandwich)
  • Fresh snipped dill weed
  • Chopped green onion
  • A nice gourmet (or dijon or spicy brown) mustard

Directions:

Spread one side of a slice of bread with light butter, flip it over and spread the other side with mustard. Sprinkle on some of the cheese, then add the corned beef slices. Top that with some snipped dill weed and green onion, then more shredded cheese. Sprinkle a bit more dill weed and green onion on there for good measure. It should look something like this:

Making a Dilly Toasted Corned beef & gouda sandwich

Okay, now take your other slice of bread and put it on top and lightly spread the outside of it (the top side, that is facing you) with some light butter.

Heat a frying pan to medium low heat and spray the pan with cooking spray. Carefully place your sandwich in the pan and cover the pan. Let the sandwich cook until it is brown on the bottom, then carefully flip it over with a spatula and cook, covered, till the cheese is melted and the other side is a lovely golden brown.

Slice it into quarters and chow down!

Dilled & Toasted Corned Beef and Gouda Sandwich

This recipe was shared at Foodie FridaysThursday’s Treasures, and Katherine Martinelli’s St Patrick’s Day Blog Hop.


Herbed Pepperoni Grilled Cheese Sandwich

on Speckled Pepperoni Cheese Bread

Herbed Pepperoni Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Four Cheeses

Every once in a while I get a craving for pepperoni. The thin, thin sliced pepperoni that gets a tad crispy when you put it on top of a pizza? I love that. I don’t like the grease, though, and usually pepperoni pizzas are swimming in grease.

I thought pepperoni would be fantastic on a grilled cheese sandwich and oooh that was a good thought. The first time I made one, I was so hungry that I rushed to take the photos, then gobbled it up. The photos seemed good when I took them, but when I opened them up on my computer, they were all blurry! That just wasn’t going to cut it. I needed good photos to do justice to a sandwich this good. BUT that sandwich was also the last of the loaf of bread I had. So I had to make bread before I could make the sandwich again!

I have tortured my foodie friends for days talking about this sandwich …

Herbed Pepperoni Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Four Cheeses on Pepperoni Cheese Bread

Herbed Pepperoni Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I know, grilled cheese sandwiches are typically in the “not healthy” category … but I did take a few steps to lighten this one up and cut down the grease factor from the pepperoni.

To make this sandwich you will need:

  • Pepperoni Cheese Bread (recipe is here … or use another really good bread that you love)
  • Light butter
  • 4 kinds of cheeses: Parmesan, Romano, Part-Skim Mozzarella, and Gouda
  • Thinly Sliced Pepperoni (9 slices per sandwich)
  • Finely chopped bell pepper and onion
  • Fresh Basil and Oregano

Herbed Pepperoni Grilled Cheese Sandwich Ingredients

First, prep your ingredients and shred the cheese. I don’t know exactly what proportions I used. Shred just a little of the parmesan and romano to give it that extra kick of flavor, then go heavier on the gouda and mozzarella for the melt factor. Gouda has a very soft melt, mozzarella is more stringy, so mixing the two makes your grilled cheese just right. Mix all the shredded cheeses together in a bowl.

Heat the pepperoni briefly and then place them on a clean towel (or paper towel if you prefer), cover, and press so that the towel absorbs all the extra grease from the pepperoni.

Now, take your bread and spread a very thin layer of light butter on the outside of the bread. If you’re a purist, you can use real butter, but I prefer the light butter myself.

Herbed Pepperoni Grilled Cheese Sandwich Step 1

Flip the bread over and on one side of the bread, add a layer of the shredded cheeses.

Herbed Pepperoni Grilled Cheese Sandwich Step 2

Make a layer of pepperoni on top of that:

Herbed Pepperoni Grilled Cheese Sandwich Step 3

Now sprinkle lightly with onion and bell pepper:

Herbed Pepperoni Grilled Cheese Sandwich Step 4

Place the beautiful herbs on top of that:

Herbed Pepperoni Grilled Cheese Sandwich Step 5

And cover it all up with a second layer of shredded cheeses:

Herbed Pepperoni Grilled Cheese Sandwich Step 6

Place the other side of the bread on top (buttered side OUT) and now you’re ready to grill your sandwich! Heat up a frying pan on medium low heat, place the sandwich in there and cover. After a few minutes, check the bottom of the sandwich by lifting up the edge with your spatula. When it’s golden brown it’s time to flip it. Cover and let the other side cook till it’s golden brown too and the cheese is all hot and melty.

Then you can cut up your beautilicious sandwich (or leave it whole if you prefer!) … and eat it.

Herbed Pepperoni Grilled Cheese Sandwich on Pepperoni Cheese Bread

I recommend a salad with this to balance out all that bread and cheese and meat. I did a simple salad of mixed organic greens with bell pepper, onion, and a balsamic vinaigrette. And I discovered the vinaigrette on the plate was a nice “dipping sauce” for the crusts of the sandwich that weren’t quite cheese-ified.

I know, cheese-ified probably isn’t really a word. That’s the beauty of being a food blogger; you get to make up fun words like beautilicious and cheese-ified. I think those two words fit this sandwich very well.

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckCast Party Wednesday and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Bacon, Onion, Avocado & Gouda Breakfast Sandwich

on Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread

Bacon Onion Egg Avocado & Gouda Breakfast Sandwich

This is a hearty breakfast that is a little high in fat, but it contains a lot of good things for your body. I needed something substantive for breakfast today after Zumba last night, and then I waited too long to eat breakfast till I was STARVING.

While Gouda cheese is relatively high in fat, this kind of cheese is healthier for you than other cheeses, and it melts so nicely. I love the creamy rich taste of it.

Eggs of course have lots of health benefits too, and avocados are rich in the “good kind” of fat.

And the bacon? Well everything’s better with bacon, isn’t it? I just used a bit of bacon to get that taste of bacony goodness, but not so much that it would totally ruin the health benefits of my sandwich …

Bacon, Onion, Egg, Melted Gouda and Avocado on Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread

Bacon, Onion, Avocado & Gouda Breakfast Sandwich on Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread

For each sandwich, you need:

  • 1 egg, beaten and sprinkled with Red robin seasoning (or other seasoned salt or just plain salt if you prefer) & freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 slice of bacon
  • A couple tablespoons of chopped onion
  • 1 wedge of jalapeno cheddar beer bread (recipe here), sliced horizontally … or your bread of choice
  • A couple thin slices of gouda cheese
  • A few thin slices of avocado
  • (I think I would have added a slice or two of tomato if I’d had any on hand)

Directions:

  1. Cook the bacon in a pan over medium high heat until it is crispy. Set it on a clean towel (that you don’t mind getting bacon fat on), cover with the towel, and press to soak up all the excess fat, then crumble the bacon and add it to the beaten egg.
  2. Cut your wedge of bread and toast it lightly.
  3. Pour the bacon fat out of the pan and wipe out any excess fat. Add the onion and sautee for a minute or so on medium high heat until it is softened.
  4. Lower the heat to medium low and pour the egg/bacon mixture over the onion. When the egg starts to cook and set up a bit, shape it into roughly the shape of your wedge of bread with your spatula.
  5. Arrange the gouda cheese slices over the egg, lower the heat to low, cover the pan and cook until the egg is cooked and the cheese is melted.
  6. Carefully lift the egg out of the pan with your spatula and onto the bottom of the bread. Top with avocado (and tomato) and the top of the bread and enjoy!

Bacon, Onion, Egg, Melted Gouda, and Avocado on Toasted Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread

This recipe was shared at Midweek FiestaNewlyweds Recipe Linky, Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange and Cast Party Wednesday.


Turkey, Prosciutto and Gouda Sandwich

on Artisanal Kumquat Cornbread

Turkey Prosciutto & Gouda Sandwich on Artisanal Kumquat Cornbread

It was National Cheese Lover’s Day yesterday and since cheese is one of my very favorite foods (right next to chocolate), I just had to have a cheesilicious sandwich for lunch. My son came upstairs as I was making it, asking for a back rub. (His back is sore from shoveling snow.) I told him he had to wait … I was right in the middle of making my lunch. So he sat playing on his iPhone as I cooked up and photographed this sandwich. See the boy in the background there? I didn’t really mean to get him in the picture, but there he was …

Turkey Prosciutto & Gouda Sandwich on Artisanal Kumquat Cornbread

Turkey, Prosciutto, and Gouda Sandwich on Artisanal Kumquat Cornbread

I used my Artisanal Kumquat Cornbread for this sandwich, but I think you could use another bread if you like. Ciabatta or French bread would be good. I really liked the citrus flavor from this bread with the turkey, smoky prosciutto, and creamy gouda, though.

  • Slices of turkey
  • Paper-thin-sliced prosciutto
  • Sliced red onion
  • Pesto or basil butter
  • Slices of gouda cheese
  • Light mayo
  • Mixed greens or lettuce leaves
To make the sandwich: cut a wedge of the bread, and spread the bottom half with pesto or basil butter. (Basil butter is just a whole lot of fresh basil leaves blended with butter.)

Turkey, Prosciutto, and Gouda Sandwich on Artisanal Kumquat Cornbread

Top the pesto-half with turkey and prosciutto:

Turkey, Prosciutto & Gouda Sandwich on Artisanal Kumquat Cornbread

Then arrange the onion slices and the cheese on top of that. Bake or broil the bottom half in a toaster oven or oven until the cheese is all good and melty. While the cheese is melting, go give your son a quick back rub (just kidding … that is what I did, though!)

Toast the top half of the bread and spread it with a thin layer of light mayo.

Pile the lettuce on top of the melted cheese and top with the top half of the bread.

Voila! A perfect lunch for a hungry cheeselover.

Turkey, Prosciutto & Gouda Sandwich on Artisanal Kumquat Cornbread

This recipe was shared at Fit and Fabulous FridaysWeekend Potluck, and Everyday Mom’s Meals.


Sweet Hot Habanero Ham & Gruyere Sandwich

Sweet Hot Habanero Mustard, Ham, and Gruyere Melted on French Bread

My friends and family take such good care of me. The other night after yoga, we went out for a glass of wine and my friend says to me “I have something for you.” … I got really excited because she KNOWS me well.

It was a little jar of habanero jelly. Someone had given it to her for Christmas and she and her family just don’t eat hot pepper stuff. She said “I’ll give it to Ann … she’ll know what to do with it.” … I tell you I just about did a happy dance right there in the middle of the restaurant. I love love love hot pepper jelly and there are really so many delicious ways this hot sweet little concoction can enrich your life.

This is one of them.

Sweet Hot Habanero Mustard Ham & Gruyere Sandwich

Sweet Hot Habanero Ham & Gruyere Sandwich

  • French Bread
  • Gruyere cheese slices
  • Lean ham slices
  • Tomato slices
  • Herb salad mix
  • Habanero Mustard Sandwich Spread (recipe below)

Directions:

  1. First, mix up the sandwich spread (recipe below).
  2. Slice off a hunk of your french bread and then slice horizontally. Toast the bottom half lightly.
  3. Warm the ham briefly in a hot frying pan coated with cooking spray, then lay the slices on the bread … top with slices of gruyere cheese. Place it in the toaster oven (or oven) to broil for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.
  4. While the cheese is melting, toast the top half of the bread in the hot frying pan.
  5. Remove the cheesy bottom half of the sandwich and top with tomato, lettuce, and the top half of the bread. And enjoy …

Habanero Mustard Sandwich Spread

  • 1 Tablespoon habanero pepper jelly (or other hot pepper jelly)
  • 1 Tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Mix all ingredients well. Use as a spread on sandwiches. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container.

Hot Sweet Habanero Mustard Ham & Gruyere Sandwich

Nom!

This recipe was shared at Trick or Treat TuesdaysCast Party Wednesdays, It’s a Keeper Thursdays, Full Plate ThursdaysTastetastic Thursdays and Katherine Martinelli’s Pepper Blog Hop.


Ham & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich on French Bread

Ham & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich on Toasted Gruyere-Basil French Bread

Perhaps I needed some protein … perhaps I was pulled into the thought of him having eggs and bacon for dinner the other night … perhaps my gruyere-basil french bread was just aching to be a beautiful sandwich … in any case, yesterday I was compelled to make myself a breakfast sandwich.

This is not really a recipe, is it? Ah well, I will tell you anyway …

Ham & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich on Toasted French Bread

  • French Bread
  • 1 egg
  • Extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • Lean ham slices

Directions:

  1. Slice off a hunk of your french bread and then slice horizontally.
  2. Beat 1 egg with a tablespoon of water, sprinkle with Red Robin seasoning and pepper, cook in a frying pan coated with cooking spray, folding over the edges to make a rectangular shape that fits your bread.
  3. Take the bottom half of the french bread and carefully place the egg on the bread … then top with slices of extra sharp cheddar cheese. Place it in the toaster oven (or oven) to broil for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.
  4. While the cheese is melting, toast the top half of the bread along with slices of  lean ham in the hot frying pan.
  5. Remove the cheesy bottom half of the sandwich and top with the ham and top half of the bread. And enjoy …

Ham & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich on Toasted Gruyere-Basil French Bread

Oh my … that looks good. Hmm … another for breakfast today, perhaps?

This recipe was shared at Favorite Breakfast Recipes.


Sweet & Savory Stuffed Holiday Wreaths

Holiday Apple and Cranberry Stuffed Bread Wreath

These pretty wreaths of bread were haunting me last night … I just had to make bread wreaths for our lunch today.

Sweet and Savory Stuffed Holiday Wreaths

Dough recipe from Simply Gourmet Photography who found it on allrecipes.com (submitted by Linda Wilson)

Wreath-shaping instructions from Discovering Sourdough

Dough Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
Fillings: ham and shredded cheese, sweet apple-cranberry stuffing

Directions:

Put all dough ingredients in a bread machine and set on the dough cycle. (If you don’t have a bread machine, Simply Gourmet Photography has instructions for making them by hand.) When the dough is done, cut it in half. Roll each half into a large circle.

Ham and Cheese Stuffed Bread Wreath

Slide the dough circle onto a large baking sheet or pizza pan sprayed with cooking spray. Mark a circle in the center of the circle with a small bowl, but do not cut through the dough.

Ham and Cheese Stuffed Bread Wreath: mark a circle in the dough

Cut the star-shape in the center of the dough circle like this:

Ham and Cheese Stuffed Bread Wreath: cut a "star" in the middle of the dough

Now, put your stuffing in a ring around the dough. For this one, I used a bunch of chopped cooked ham and shredded sharp cheddar and mozzarella cheese. I was trying to make a simple filling that my kids would eat … I would have liked to add onion and chopped bell pepper and perhaps even a nice spicy mustard sauce under the ham, but I kept it simple for the kids.

Ham and Cheese Stuffed Bread Wreath: add the filling

Now, fold in the outer edge over the filling:

Ham and Cheese Stuffed Bread Wreath: fold over the edges of the dough over the filling

and then take the points of the “star” and pull them to the edge. Tuck the ends underneath the edge to hold them in place.

Ham and Cheese Stuffed Bread Wreath: pull the points of the "star" out to the edge and tuck the ends of the dough underneath

My daughter helped with this part:

Ham and Cheese Stuffed Bread Wreath: fold over the edges of the dough over the filling

The other one we stuffed with apple cranberry stuffing and toasted walnuts. I think it would be better with a little caramel sauce under the apple cranberry stuffing.

Apple & cranberry stuffed breath wreath

Let the loaves rise in a warm place for about an hour or until they are good and puffy, then bake at 400F for 20 minutes covered with a piece of aluminum foil. Take the foil off after 20 minutes and then bake another 5 – 10 minutes.

Sweet Apple Cranberry Stuffing

  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • About 2 cups of peeled chopped apples
  • 1 Tablespoon mixed berry  jam
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup cranberries, halved
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Put all ingredients in a saucepan and cook for 5 – 10 minutes over medium high heat until the apples are crisp-tender.

We had the ham-and-cheese stuffed wreath for lunch, with the apple-cranberry one for dessert.

Ham and Cheese Stuffed Bread Wreath

This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth MondaysWonka Wednesdays and Full Plate Thursdays.


Turkey & Provolone with Pesto Cream on Focaccia

Smoked Turkey & Provolone on Focaccia with Pesto Cream

The other day I made Rosemary Tomato Focaccia, and having a wonderful flat-ish bread like that around just screams SANDWICH!

Focaccia makes such a beautiful gourmet sandwich. I threw this elegant sandwich together last night for dinner, and it was so good I had to have it again for lunch today.

It’s very simple to make. Just cut a wedge of your focaccia and slice it horizontally. Toast the bread lightly, then spread the bottom with Pesto Cream (recipe below).

Spread the bottom half of focaccia with Pesto Cream

Top with turkey and sliced onion. (I always use the preservative-free turkey meat. Tastes better and doesn’t have all those nasty chemicals!)

Top with turkey and onions

Then add a slice of provolone and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Broil until the provolone cheese is melted

Now add a couple slices of fresh, juicy tomato:

Add tomato slices on top of the provolone cheese

Then top with a tumble of organic greens and add the top of the focaccia:

Top with greens and the top half of the toasted focaccia

Time for lunch! :)

Turkey & Provolone Sandwich on Tomato Rosemary Focaccia with Pesto Cream

Pesto Cream

  • 2 oz. light cream cheese
  • 2 oz. greek yogurt
  • A spoonful of pesto
  • About 1 oz. goat cheese

Cream together all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Don’t worry about it too much if there are a few stubborn hunks of goat cheese that don’t want to mix in. Refrigerate leftovers for other sandwiches, a base for a yummy pizza, spread it on crackers or celery.


Reinventing your Old Food and a Spinach & Mushroom Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Spinach Mushroom Grilled Cheese

It’s Blog Action Day today and since it coincides with World Food Day this year, they’ve chosen the topic of food.

I want to talk about one little thing I think most of us don’t think about too much in our fast-food, disposable society: Reuse. We recycle, and that’s good, but we should also be doing a lot more reuse.

In America, we buy a lot of food that we never eat. So much of it gets thrown in the trash, encased in a plastic bag that won’t break down, then buried in a landfill. The convenience food we buy gets overpackaged in plastic and cardboard. We even buy packaged water, which isn’t any better tasting, cleaner, or more pure than the water that comes out of the tap.

I want to challenge you to do three simple things:

  1. Buy less pre-packaged food. Opt for foods that aren’t packaged at all as much as you can. All that packaging hurts our environment.
  2. Drink out of reusable containers. Make your own bottled water with a reusable water bottle and the water that comes out of your tap. If you must have filtered water, get a water filter. Skip the plastic bottles. Bring your own travel mug to the coffee shop or ask them to put your coffee in a REAL mug. They all have real mugs, but look around at the coffee shop and notice how many people are drinking out of real mugs and how many people are drinking out of disposable containers? Why do you have to ASK for a REAL mug?
  3. Really use the food you buy.

Let’s talk more about #3. I know, leftovers can get boring, but they don’t have to be!

I don’t know if you noticed that a lot of the recipes on my blog are interconnected. The leftover Baked Herb Lemon Garlic Chicken got turned into a Pesto Chicken Bacon Pizza, the waffles my kids didn’t eat at breakfast were tossed into a delicious chocolate raspberry pudding. Leftover tzatziki and hummus became a gorgeous Greek Layer Dip. The other thing you can do is simply freeze your leftovers so you have a quick meal when you need something fast (a much better kind of “fast food” than the drive through at McDonald’s).

I use “old” bread to make breadcrumbs for breading fish, topping casseroles or stuffing (whir the bread in a food processor or handi chopper until it’s fine crumbs, then freeze them for quick use whenever you need breadcrumbs). You don’t have to buy “panko” or breadcrumbs–just use the ends of the bread you have!

“Old” bread is also lovely for making french toast or bread pizza, and it also makes a killer grilled cheese sandwich. The toasting makes it taste fresh all over again.

Instead of going out and buying MORE food to make things, try to think of different ways to reuse what you’ve got. Get creative. You will be saving money, eating more interesting, delicious meals, AND you’ll be making a difference in the world. That’s something you can feel good about.

Which leads me to this sandwich. This is a reinvention of the Chardonnay Mushrooms and the Rustic Rosemary Bread. The bread and mushrooms are really two great ingredients that can be used SO many ways. What’s better than that?

Spinach & Mushroom Grilled Cheese

This is an amazing blend of tastes in one little sandwich. It’s a simple sandwich to make — and if you keep some of the cheese mixture and mushrooms pre-made in the fridge, you can whip up a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich in no time. The cheese, by the way, is also a really nice spread for crackers or on celery sticks. The mushrooms are great on a steak or chicken or pizza. Since spinach freezes so well, just pull out what you will use for your sandwich and put the rest back in the freezer for another use.

Before you can make this delicious sandwich, you need to make Chardonnay Mushrooms, so if you don’t have any on hand, go pop over and make those first. Here’s the recipe. It won’t take you long.  (If you don’t have all the ingredients on hand, improvise a bit! Try another wine + your favorite seasoning blends!)

Spinach, Pesto & Mushroom Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Spinach, Pesto, and Chardonnay Mushroom Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

  • Pesto (You can use store-bought or make your own! Here’s my recipe for pesto.)
  • Chardonnay mushrooms (Recipe here!)
  • Fresh spinach leaves or frozen spinach, thawed, warmed, and blotted with a towel to take out the extra liquid
  • Reduced-fat trans-fat-free buttery spread of your choice — or butter — whatever you like to use!
  • Your favorite rustic or french bread, sliced (I used the Rustic Rosemary bread.)

Cheese mixture

  • 3 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1 – 2 T.  freshly grated asiago cheese
  • 1 – 2 T. freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 – 2 T. blue cheese crumbles

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese with the other cheeses till they are well blended. You can vary the cheeses according to your preferences, but I recommend intensely flavored cheeses. Once you’ve mixed them well, warm the cheese briefly in the microwave (not more than 30 seconds).
  2. If you have fresh spinach, make sure it’s washed and dried well. I used frozen, so I heated in the microwave, then pressed a clean towel over it to remove the excess juices.
  3. Spread a very thin layer of buttery spread on the outside of the bread slices.
    Butter the outside of the bread slices first
  4. Flip over the slices. On one slice of bread for each sandwich, spread a thin layer of pesto. On the other side, spread with a thicker layer of the warm cheese mixture.
    Spread the inside of the slices: one with pesto, one with cheese mixture
  5. On top of the pesto side, arrange several spinach leaves or cooked spinach, then top with the Chardonnay Mushrooms.
    Top with spinach and mushrooms
  6. Put the cheesy slice on top of the sandwich.
  7. Heat a saucepan to med-high heat. Place each sandwich in the pan and cover for a few minutes. When the first side is golden brown and toasty, flip the sandwich to toast the other side.
  8. Slice and enjoy!
Spinach & Chardonnay Mushroom Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
This is part of my series of 31 Days of Warmer Connections. Every day in October, I am blogging about connections through food.
This recipe was featured at Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays.

Annz Philly Cheesesteak French Dipz

Annz Philly Cheesesteak French Dipz

I think I always want French Dips in the fall. But a French Dip isn’t entirely what I want –what I REALLY want is a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich with the onions and peppers piled high and lots of melted cheese oozing all over AND I want that tasty au jus for dipping my cheesesteak sandwich. Most restaurants offer a French Dip with just the meat and the au jus (which is good, but it’s just not quite there!) — or they will give you the Philly Cheesesteak, but they don’t include the au jus! I gotta have the best of both worlds.

And if you want the best of both worlds, sometimes you gotta make it yourself.

(Well, actuallly I find most of the time it’s just better if you make it yourself …)

I tried a lot of other French Dip recipes in my crock pot and I sort of liked them, but found some of them were too salty and others just didn’t have quite enough flavor, so I set out to make my own. I had found this Zaatar seasoning at the World Market and I was curious how it would go in this. Zaatar is a middle eastern seasoning that is strongly scented with thyme and sesame seeds. It adds a lovely flavor to the meat along with the other spices. The garlic mellows as it cooks and permeates the meat beautifully (and makes your house smell heavenly!)

Annz Philly Cheesesteak French Dipz

Annz Philly Cheesesteak French Dipz

For the meat:

  • 3 lb beef or venison roast
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled (yes, the entire head!)
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon za’atar seasoning ( a middle eastern spice) — or if you can’t find Zaatar use 1 teaspoon thyme + a few drops of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 15 peppercorns

For the sandwiches:

  • Hard rolls
  • Onion, thinly sliced
  • Bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • Provolone or other mild white cheese, sliced

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients for the MEAT into a crockpot and cook on low for 7-10 hours or until the meat is falling-apart tender.
  2. This is the #1 MOST IMPORTANT STEP that I always forget. Take the meat out of the juices and IMMEDIATELY put it in a covered dish and let it rest for at least 15 minutes while you prepare the au jus. (This is so important for sealing the juices into the meat and I am so bad at remembering to do it!)
  3. Strain the liquid & vegies through a strainer, catching the juices in a bowl beneath. Set the liquid aside while you slice the meat. (You can save the strained out cooked vegies for piling on the sandwiches along if you like. I like to do that. The garlic cloves are really tasty especially after cooking in the meat juices all day!)
  4. Now, slice the meat thin — or if it is falling apart too much to slice, just shred it with a fork.

If you just want French Dips, pile the meat on the buns now and enjoy with the au jus! BUT if you want the Philly version, here’s what you do.

  1. Saute the onion and bell pepper briefly in a pan sprayed with cooking spray until the onions are translucent. I usually pour in a bit of the au jus as well while I’m sauteeing–it adds a nice flavor. (I think a few mushrooms tossed in at this point would be sublime, but I never seem to have any on hand when I’m making this!)
  2. Set the bottom half of the rolls on a baking sheet.
  3. Pile the meat on the bottom half of the hard rolls, top with sauteed onions & peppers, then with slices of cheese.
  4. Bake at 350 for 5 – 10 minutes or until the cheese melts all over the meat. When the cheese is almost melted, toast the top of the buns.
  5. Pull the cheesy meaty buns out of the oven and top them with the toasted “tops”.
  6. Serve with the au jus in little bowls on the side for dipping. With a nice colorful side salad.

Annz Philly Cheesesteak French Dips

The salad on the side is one of my Summer Berry Salads.

This is part of my series of 31 Days of Warmer Connections. Every day in October, I am blogging about connections through food. I got my daughter to finally TRY the meat (had to bribe her with pictures of fairy houses) and she loved it! She took just a little taste of the meat to start, then a BIG hunk. YES! Now  … do you think I can convince my son to try it? Ah well, probably not.

I am really looking forward to feeding this to my parents this weekend!

This recipe was shared at Gooseberry Patch’s Slow Cooker Recipe Roundup.


Feta-stuffed Gyro Burgers

with the World’s Best Tzatziki Sauce from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Feta-Stuffed Gyro Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce

I eat a lot of vegetables and vegetarian-type meals, but every once in a while I need some MEAT. (Coincidentally, that always seems to fall on a Monday, when everyone is trying to eat meatless! … ah well, I eat meatless several times a week, so if I indulge in a burger on a Monday, I figure that’s okay.)

My kids and I all love Gyros. And I really really really would love to make traditional Gyro meat, and slice it off the spit in thin strips like the REAL Greeks do … and then toss that on a fresh homemade pita with lots of creamy tzatziki sauce, fresh tomato from the garden and loads of onion. Someday I will do that. Probably with my dad. Because he has the same dream. Yes, my dad and I share foodie dreams. LOL. Maybe we can even get my foodie sister who makes the very best bread ever to make the pita bread.

But in the meantime, I’ve decided to make Gyro burgers. Much easier than real Gyro meat. You can cook the burgers however you like–the trick is in how you season them.

Really for authentic Greek taste, you should use lamb. I know that. I would love to use lamb. But I just can’t. I can’t go out and buy meat when I have a freezer-full of venison I need to use. And some grass-fed beef that my dad gave me. In my mind, that would just be wrong. So if you DON’T have a freezer full of venison and other not-lamb kind of meat, please use lamb in these and tell me how it tastes.

I have to say, though: the venison was still pretty gosh-dang delicious in these! So let’s get this party started …

Feta-Stuffed Gyro Burgers with the World’s Best Tzatziki Sauce

For the burgers:

Mix together the following:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef (grass fed is best! and make sure it really is lean)
  • 1 lb. lean ground lamb or venison
  • 1/2 t. ground cumin
  • 1 t. dried oregano + several sprigs of fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 t. granulated garlic
  • 1 1/2 t. onion powder
  • 3/4 t. coarse sea salt
  • 1 t. Red Robin Seasoning (or seasoned salt)
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 3-4 branches of fresh thyme leaves
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 -4 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  1. Mix all these lovely seasonings with the meat, then put it in a covered bowl in the fridge for several hours to let the flavors mingle.
  2. While the burger meat is mingling with the spices, go make the tzatziki sauce.
  3. Thaw out 8 oz. frozen spinach in the microwave, then put the spinach on a clean kitchen towel (one that you don’t mind getting “green” and squeeze out the excess juices from the spinach. Put the spinach in a handy chopper or food processor and blend it up good so it is in tiny pieces. Then with your hands, mix the spinach into the burger mix. You might notice my burger is overly green–that’s because I put the 8 oz. of spinach in just half my burger mix. (I want to use the rest for a moussaka casserole … just wait! You will see this lovely Moussaka very soon …)  You can skip this step if you are afraid of greens, but honestly putting a bit of spinach in your burger will give it extra moisture and flavor and iron and think about this: your salad is right there IN your burger!
  4. Now, take the lovely-smelling burger mix, and make a very thin patty. Sprinkle this patty with feta cheese (I used tomato-basil feta cheese, but I think about any flavor would do), then make another very thin patty.

Making the burgers: make a thin patty to put on the top of the cheese stuffing
5.  Place the 2nd thin patty on top of the first and press around the edges to seal in the feta cheese.

Press around the edges to seal in the feta cheese

6.  Now cook the burgers however you like to cook burgers. You can grill them on the grill or broil them or even put them in a frying pan and cook them up that way.

7.  Once the burgers are done, there are a couple different ways you can serve them. You can put them on toasted hamburger buns or hard rolls:

Feta-stuffed Gryo Burger on a bun, ready for topping ...

Then top them with tomato, onion, tzatziki and lettuce and try to refrain from taking a bite long enough to take a picture … (I couldn’t!)

First Bite: Feta-stuffed-Gyro-Burgers-with-Tzatziki-Sauce

OR you can tuck the burger into a pita pocket and stuff the toppings into the pocket.

Gyro Burger in a Pita Pocket

Another way I think you could serve these heavenly Gyro burger things is to make feta-stuffed meatballs, put them on toothpicks and offer the tzatziki sauce for dipping. Perhaps at my next party I will have to serve those …

This recipe was shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Meatball Blog Hop.


Baked Eggplant Cannellini Burgers with Hummus

Baked Eggplant Cannellini Burgers

I am not a vegetarian. Admittedly, I do have a great affinity for vegetables, but I’ve never ever made vegie burgers before.

But when I saw these Eggplant burgers on the Tolerant Vegan’s blog, I wanted to make them. BADLY … it took me a few days, but I did! I tried to follow her recipe pretty closely, but I never can quite follow directions when I’m cooking.

This time I used the precious white eggplant my mom gave me. See the white one there, hiding amongst the little purple ones? I used the whole thing.  It was over a cup, but not that much.

Eggplant, the Aphrodite of Vegetables

Blending the mixture took me a while because I don’t have a food processor, just a little handi-chopper. I thought my blender would blend it TOO smooth, so I did several batches of blending … it was a messy process that I’m sure would have been MUCH easier with a proper food processor.

Baked Eggplant Cannellini Burgers

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 14 ounce can cannellini beans
  • 1/2 an eggplant (should equal about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Several fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Red Robin Seasoning (or seasoned salt)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup hummus (I bet Basil-iferous hummus would be nice in these …)
  • 1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1 T. pesto
  • tomato, sliced for topping (optional)
  • lettuce, for topping (optional)
  • red onion, for topping (optional)

Hey, why do they call red onions “red”? They are not red; they are most definitely purple!

Making Eggplant Burgers

Directions:

  1. Roast the eggplant by cutting it into 1/4″ slices and spraying each side with cooking oil.
  2. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 on one side, then flip and bake on the other side a few minutes till cooked through.
  3. Place the eggplant, onion, beans, parsley, basil, pine nuts, garlic, seasoned salt, hummus and cumin into a large bowl and stir to mix.
  4. Place the mixture into a food processor and blend everything together. This step took me a LOT longer than 15 seconds … (oh if I only had a REAL food processor!)
  5. Pour back into the bowl and stir in the breadcrumbs.
  6. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray. Form into patties and place the “burgers” on the baking pan. Nikki (the Tolerant Vegan) made 4 big burgers. I like to eat little bites of things, so I made 9 “slider size” burgers.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 20 minutes on one side. Flip the burgers, then bake about 20 – 25 minutes on the other side, till nicely browned.
  8. Serve on buns (or toasted ciabatta!) with hummus, lettuce tomato, red onion and tomato.

Baked Eggplant Cannellini Burgers

Someday (when I find tahini!) I would like to try Nikki’s tahini sauce on these …

Baked Eggplant Cannellini Burgers with Hummus

Eggplant & Tomato Sandwiches on Toasted Ciabatta

Eggplant & Tomato Sandwich on Toasted Ciabatta

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction. ~ E. F. Schumacker

As school starts and we find ourselves rushing about to meet all the crazy kid schedules, I look back at the lazy simplicity of summer and wish for just a few more moments of rest. Just managing the schedule for all the activities makes me tired: the dance practices, band rehearsals, TaeKwonDo classes, choir rehearsals.

And yet I love it. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I rush from work to activity to activity … sometimes several in one night. Every night we are running to something different. By the time we get home at night it’s usually 9:00 and we haven’t even eaten yet.  And I’m too tired to cook.

That’s when I need something simple. Frozen pizza crusts come in really handy. And I confess, I do buy chicken nuggets and frozen ravioli and things like that for the kids. But mom wants something more grown up.

This is simple. And it’s grown up. It’s beautiful and satisfying and healthy. I could immerse myself in the glory of this lovely sandwich while my daughter dips her ciabatta in olive oil and eats cucumber slices (two of her favorite foods) and my son eats his frozen pizza in the basement in front of the computer.

This recipe comes from Chef in Disguise, one of my favorite food bloggers. Go look at her mini eggplant sandwiches. She will tell you how to make these little marvels of simplicity.

Really it’s so simple. All you do is put broiled eggplant on toasted ciabatta bread. I added some onion.

Broiled eggplant on toast with onions

Then put on the cheese and broil it till the cheese melts.

Top the eggplant toasts with cheese

And once the cheese is good and melty, top with sliced tomato and oregano. I used fresh oregano. She used dried. Then she added mint … mine didn’t have any mint … Her sandwiches had a top. Mine didn’t. But I think they were just fine just as they are … or rather, were.

The pictures are all that is left now …

Eggplant & Tomato Sandwiches on Toasted Ciabatta

The best things in life are nearest:  Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you.  Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.  ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Thank you, Sawsan, for sharing your beautiful recipe for simplicity.

This recipe was submitted to Cast Party Wednesday.

This is a Family Fresh Cooking Happy Post.


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