Category Archives: Lunch

Fresh Corn & Tomato Salad

Today I have a quick and easy side dish for you. While other recipes are still waiting in line to get on the blog, this one I made just last week. I wanted to share it with all of you before fresh corn becomes too out of season. The good part about now is that fresh heirloom tomatoes are cropping up in supermarkets.

I’m sure you could use thawed frozen sweet corn in this recipe, but using fresh corn off the cob gives this salad a little something special.


Sorry the picture isn’t fantastic, I was hungry! But I promise that it is delicious! You can even eat it as a light lunch. Add some of your favorite beans for a little protein kick.

If you don’t like goat cheese (which I know a lot of people don’t), feel free to add in fresh mozzarella pieces or leave out the cheese all together.

Fresh Corn & Tomato Salad
(Serves 4-6)

4 ears of sweet corn cut off the cob or thawed frozen sweet corn (about 2 cups)
1 lb. heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2″ chunks
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
5 basil leaves, thinly sliced
2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

In a large bowl combine corn, tomatoes, onion, a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Allow to sit for an hour in the fridge before serving.

Just before serving, add fresh basil. Mix well. Top with goat cheese and serve cold or at room temperature.

Easy enough, right?

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Twiced Baked Classic

Ever eat twice baked potatoes? I ate them rarely when I was younger, but whenever I see pictures on foodgawker of them, I immediately get a craving.

But, since I’m all about making classic meals healthier, I decided to make a twice baked sweet potato. It’s packed with flavor and goodness. They’re super easy to make AND versatile: eat it as a lunch or a delicious side dish.


This recipe can also be doubled, tripled, etc. Figure 1 sweet potato per person if it’s the main course for lunch, or if it’s a side, figure 1/2-1 sweet potato per person.

Without further ado, here’s healthy, comforting, twice baked potatoes.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
(Serves 2-4)

2 large sweet potatoes, washed and scrubbed
1/2 c. chopped pancetta or bacon
2 leeks, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1 c. shredded Gruyere cheese, or a lowfat Italian cheese blend
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Poke the sweet potatoes with a fork, about 8 times. Pop into the microwave for about 6-10 minutes on high power until the potatoes are soft (NOT mushy!) to touch. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a pan over medium-high heat, cook pancetta or bacon until it just starts to brown. Add in leeks and garlic. Cook until the leeks are soft. Take off the heat.

When the potatoes are done slice them in half and scoop out most of the inside of the sweet potato, leaving about 1/4-1/2″ border. Place on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet.


Put the scooped sweet potato into a bowl. Add in the yogurt, 1/2 of the cheese, and the pancetta-leek-garlic mixture. Stir until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Scoop the mixture into the sweet potato shells evenly. Top with the rest of the cheese.


Bake about 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Serve and enjoy 🙂

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Roasted (or Grilled) Veggies & Carb Goodness

First of all, happy father’s day to all the dads out there!

Second of all, here’s a fun recipe that can be made any time of year. Roast vegetables in balsamic vinegar in the oven or toss them on the grill! Summer or winter, this dish is equally delicious.

Third of all, notice a difference on my blog? What do you think of the new header I put together? Yay or nay?

Back to the recipe…

I used a combination of bell pepper, mushrooms, onion, and zucchini. Throwing in some fresh herbs and some chopped Kalamata olives and marinated artichokes gives the dish a tangy bite. Sprinkle with a bit of feta for saltiness and you’re all set to tickle your tastebuds!

Eaten hot or cold, this pasta salad is extremely versatile. A side dish, a lunch or a dinner if you throw in some chicken or beans 🙂 Or these veggies make a delicious side dish on their own, pasta excluded!


Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad
(Serves 4-6)

1 lb. whole wheat penne, fusilli, rigatoni, etc.
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 orange, yellow or red bell pepper
1 large red onion
2 medium zucchini or yellow squash
8 oz. cremini mushrooms
12 Kalamata olives, halved
1 c. chopped marinated artichoke hearts
1/3 c. feta cheese
2 tbsp. chopped thyme, rosemary, & basil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

If you’re going to grill your vegetables, turn the grill to medium. Chop pepper into quarters, slice onions into 1/2″ thick rings (keeping the rings together), slice zucchini into quarters, and keep mushrooms whole. Basically, you’re keeping these veggies in large pieces so they’re easier to grill and they don’t fall through the grates. Toss with garlic, balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Marinate for about 20 minutes. Place pieces on the grill and grill for about 15 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. You want the veggies to have a nice brown coloring on them, but you don’t want the veggies to be falling apart on the grill.

If you’re going to roast the veggies, chop the veggies into 1/2″ pieces, toss with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast the veggies for about 20-25 minutes in a 400 degree oven, or until the veggies are nice and browned (turning halfway between cooking).

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drizzle with olive oil and stir to keep from sticking. Set aside, covered, to keep warm.

In a large mixing bowl, place pasta and cooked veggies. Toss with 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, and herbs. Sprinkle with feta cheese before serving. Serve hot, cold or room temperature.

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Asparagus & Goat Cheese Pizza


Seriously, this pizza is amazing. I found the recipe in my Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Fresh and Fast cookbook. It’s absolutely delicious and super easy to make. I added some mushrooms to it because 1) I love them and 2) I had some sitting in my fridge!

It’s perfect for lunch, dinner or slice it into smaller pieces for a great appetizer.

For the pizza dough, feel free to use either store bought whole wheat or regular pizza dough, or make your own batch and freeze for when you need it. And to make the clean up easier, I’ve started by putting my dough on the parchment paper that I’ve cut to put on my baking sheet and laying a sheet of plastic wrap on top. Then, roll away! That way, I don’t have to get the kitchen covered in flour. Then, I just transfer the parchment paper with the rolled out dough onto the baking sheet. If you prefer the flouring method, by all means go for it!

I took some help from the store by buying pre-chopped pancetta from Trader Joe’s – if you can’t find pancetta, bacon would work well here too. I also bought sliced portobello mushrooms to save on time.

When picking out asparagus spears, the thinner the better (they’re more tender). You want them to be nice and bright, stay away from brown, wet-looking spears!


Asparagus & Goat Cheese Pizza
(Serves 2-4)

1 ball of whole wheat or regular pizza dough
10 spears of asparagus, 1″ of the end trimmed off
1/2 c. diced pancetta or bacon
4 scallions, trimmed and sliced (greens & whites!)
8 oz. creminis, sliced
1/2 c. shredded Italian cheeses (a blend or use mozzarella)
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Cut a piece of parchment to shape your baking sheet. Place your room temperature dough on the parchment sheet.

In a small frying pan, cook the bacon or pancetta until brown over medium-high heat, about 5-8 minutes. Meanwhile, slice your scallions and asparagus. Cut the scallions to about 1/4″ thick. Cut the asparagus into 2″ pieces, cutting on the bias (diagonal).

To roll out the dough, place a piece of plastic wrap similar in size to the parchment paper on top of the dough. Roll out to about 1/4″ thick. Changing directions as you roll each time to really spread it out! Once you’re done, place your dough with the parchment paper onto your baking sheet (the parchment paper keeps it from sticking).

Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of pancetta grease onto your pizza dough, discard the rest, and sprinkle the pancetta or bacon pieces on top. Leave a one inch border. Then, sprinkle the scallions evenly. Next, the mozzarella cheese and goat cheese, then the asparagus and mushrooms.

Pop in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned to your liking. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Slice into desired servings and enjoy!

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Tzatziki Inspired Chicken Salad

Ever had tzatziki? You can find it in Greek restaurants or even now in your local grocery store. It is a yogurt dipping sauce traditionally made with Greek plain yogurt, lemon juice, dill, garlic, cucumbers, and sometimes mint. It’s absolutely delicious for dipping pita bread or veggies.

I decided to make a chicken salad out of it, because you know how much I like using Greek yogurt as a sub for mayonnaise.

I also put some Kalamata olives for a little salty/tangy bite. For the herbs, I didn’t have any dill around, but I always have mint. So I used a bit of that. It gave the salad a nice, bright, clean flavor! It would also be delicious if you put a little roasted red pepper in there as well, if you so desire.


Tzatziki Chicken Salad
(Serves 4)

2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced or shredded
1 – 1 1/2 c. plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
1 small red onion, diced
10 Kalamata olives, diced
1/2 English cucumber, diced into 1/4″ pieces
6 leaves of mint, chopped and/or 2 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients. Add the extra 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt if you like your chicken salad a little more wet. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with pita bread, eat by itself, or whatever you want!

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Delicious Spring Salad

First off, I apologize for the lack of posts over the last week. Working 6/7 days is not conducive to blogging. Apparently it’s not conducive to my immune system either! So while I’m curled up in a blanket on the couch, I wanted to share a great recipe with you to kick off the start of spring.

It’s my barley salad with roasted beets and vegetables.

This salad is delicious hot or cold. I had it warm when it was finished because I couldn’t wait for it to cool off. Then I had it cold out of the fridge when it was leftovers!

The color of the finished product is fantastic. The beets turn the barley a deep pink – beautiful!


I topped this salad with a bit of goat cheese, because I absolutely love the stuff. You can omit it, or maybe use gorgonzola if you prefer.

Always remember to get some help from the grocery store when you can. In this recipe, I used the prewashed, pretrimmed green beans in the produce section.

Barley Salad with Roasted Vegetables
(Serves 6-10 … depending if it’s a side or not)

1 c. barley, cooked according to package directions
1/2 bunch asparagus, about 8 stalks, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, cut into 1/2″-1″ chucks
1 c. fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
1 medium sweet onion, cut into 1/2-1″ chunks
3 medium-sized beets
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
4 oz. goat cheese (or the cheese of your choice), optional
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

First, cook your barley according to package directions. It takes awhile to cook!

Meanwhile, roast the beets – I have instructions from this post. I also have instructions how to peel there as well. Cut into 1/2-1″ chunks.

While the beets are roasting and the barley is cooking, chop up your veggies. Line a baking sheet with foil. Put your veggies on the sheet, overlapping as little as possible. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with S&P. Bake until the veggies become tender and start to brown. About 25-30 minutes.

In a large bowl, put your cooked barley, beet chunks, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well. The beets turn the barley a pretty pink! See?


Add the rest of your vegetables Stir to combine. Top with goat cheese before serving.

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Asian Inspired Wraps

Since my lovely roommate and I have completely different schedules, we never really eat dinner together. So I like to make things that reheat really nicely or taste just as good cold!

So I came up with these shredded Asian pork wraps with a broccoli slaw.

They. Are. Delicious.

I was originally going to go for some hoisin sauce with some grated fresh ginger and garlic. But my shopping trip that week landed me at Trader Joe’s and they didn’t have any. And I wasn’t going to make a special trip!

So I picked up Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki sauce. This delicious concoction contains soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, sesame oil among other ingredients that you can actually pronounce!

If you can’t get to a TJ’s for the Island Soyaki sauce, I’ll give you an approximate substitute 🙂

These wraps are great hot or cold, and using broccoli slaw instead of a bag of regular shredded cabbage allows it to stand up to the dressing more. It’ll stay crunchy for a few days, which is perfect for us. You’ll have some leftover slaw, but it’s delicious by itself. One bag won’t be enough for the wraps.


Asian Pork Wraps with Broccoli Slaw
(Makes approximately 6 wraps)

For the Pork:

1 pork tenderloin, approx 1 – 1.5 lbs
1 c. TJ Island Soyaki Sauce*

*No Trader Joe’s? Here’s a couple options that would work well. I haven’t tested these, but the flavors should work well together.

1) 1 12 oz. bottle of hoisin sauce, 1″ of fresh ginger, grated, 4 cloves of garlic, minced, 1/4 c. water

2) 1/3 c. soy sauce, 1 tbsp. brown sugar, 1″ fresh ginger, grated, 4 cloves garlic, minced, 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1/4 c. water

For the Slaw:

2 small bags broccoli slaw
1/3 c. sliced scallions (about 3-4 scallions)
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
2 tsp. sesame seeds
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. rice wine or apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. honey
1/8 tsp. red pepper flake

6 tortilla shells for serving

Throw the pork tenderloin and sauce ingredients (whichever you use) into a crock pot. Cook on low for about 3-4 hours, until the pork shreds easily with a fork and it is no longer pink.

About an hour (or more) before you decide you’re ready to eat, prepare the slaw. Put the broccoli slaw in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the scallions and cilantro. Sprinkle with the 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. In a smaller bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients. Pour over slaw. Combine and let sit.

After the slaw sits together for about an hour, taste it to see if the seasonings need to be adjusted.

To make the wraps, pile in some pork and slaw to your desired fullness. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Wrap up and serve hot or cold!

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“Cream” of Broccoli Soup

I use quotation marks for this, because there’s really no cream in this soup. So guess what? It’s actually healthy for you! If you wanna use half and half or cream, by all means go for it.

It seems like with the weather out there, you’re only going to be able to enjoy soup in the cold a little while longer, so give this a try soon! It makes a big batch so you can freeze it if need be. Good luck having leftovers long enough to freeze!

I throw a potato in the soup to give it a fake cream texture. You can also get the same effect by putting white beans in the soup, with some added protein. Also, I use 2% milk cheddar cheese. This is completely optional, but it gives it a nice sharp cheesy flavor. And broccoli soup isn’t as fun without cheese, in my opinion.

I also had some mushrooms lurking in the fridge so I threw them in too. You don’t need them, I just don’t like food going to waste 🙂


“Cream” of Broccoli Cheddar Soup
(Makes 6 big bowls)

32 oz. frozen broccoli
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Handful of cremini mushrooms, chopped (optional)
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
2 c. low-sodium, fat-free chicken stock
3 c. skim, 1% or 2% milk
3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Put in the onion, mushroom (if using) and potato and cook until the onion becomes translucent. Add in the broccoli and garlic. Sprinkle in 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.

When the broccoli looks mostly thawed, add in the stock and milk and bring to a simmer. At this point, you can use an immersion blender to puree the soup to your desired consistency. I like mine with just a slight amount of chunky veggies, but mostly smooth and creamy. If you don’t have an immersion blender, let the soup cool and use a blender. Don’t put the lid on the blender all the way when still warm or else it will explode!

Put back into the pot and add cheddar and nutmeg or cinnamon. Cook through until cheese is melted. Top with a bit of cheese, sour cream or bacon pieces if you’re feeling indulgent.

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Never Too Much Avocado

Remember my Guacamole Chicken Salad I made a few posts ago? I went to make some more last week because Tim LOVED it, but I didn’t have any more chicken in the house.

What I did have was 2 more avocados, leftover cilantro, limes and onion.

I decided to take some inspiration from Chipotle’s delicious cilantro lime rice and make a spin off of it with quinoa and some other ingredients I had laying around.

I made a lime-chili vinaigrette to go over top of the quinoa. It was awesome. I just wish I had more of it! The dish tastes great warm or cold and can be used as a side dish or a lunch. The quinoa and black beans kick up the protein to make it a complete meal. All the light flavors won’t leave you weighed down!


Avocado Lime Quinoa
(Serves 4-6)

1 c. dry quinoa
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 avocados, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 c. olive oil
Pinch of red pepper flake, optional
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, add 2 cups of water, 1 cup of quinoa, onion and garlic. Bring to a boil. Then, turn to low and cook until the quinoa plumps up. About 10 minutes (check your package directions).

Let the quinoa cool slightly while you prepare the other ingredients.

Slice the avocado around the middle all the way around and twist to separate. Take out the pit and scoop out the meat with a spoon. Dice and put into a small bowl. Cover with lime juice, olive oil, and chili powder. Mix well.

Add the beans, cilantro and avocado mixture to the quinoa. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with the red pepper flake, if desired. Serve warm or cold.

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Something New

So some of you may know that I don’t eat red meat too often. Eating chicken and pork can get a little monotonous…I like to find new dishes with legumes and beans to get my fill of protein.

It was good timing when the Kitchn posted a little article about 10 different dishes to eat chickpeas! I changed the recipe a bit so I only had to use one pan – yep that’s right, easy clean up!

They are probably my favorite bean out there. My grandma used to put them in salads with vinegar and oil with onions. So I grew up on them.

Now, my other half testing my food with me said that it wasn’t as filling as my other dishes. You may want to try this as a lunch instead of dinner (I got full on it!)

The dish is pretty light and packed with flavor. It’s definitely something new, so go ahead and be brave!


Chickpeas with Fennel and Citrus
(Serves 3-4)

2 cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 bulb of fennel, sliced with the fronds (the wispy top) saved
1 small red onion, sliced
6 cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/3 c. Kalamata olives, halved (about 12)
1 tsp. ground coriander
Juice and zest of one orange
Juice and zest of one lemon
1/2 c. white wine
1 c. chicken broth
1 tbsp. honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

In a large frying pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add fennel slices, reserving the fronds for garnish, along with the onion, mushrooms and garlic. Cook until the veggies begin to caramelized and turn golden, about 10-12 minutes.


At this point, add the rest of the ingredients and cook until the sauce reduces slightly, about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. If it tastes too citrusy, add a little more honey.

Serve over quinoa or your favorite rice. This dish heats up beautifully!

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