If you’re like me, you’ve gone through your Pinterest feed for what feels like a gazillion times looking for some sort of “different” kind of lunch to prepare for the week. I often like to base my mid-day meals around salads or something close to, as lunch is when I like to get the majority of my greens and vegetables intake.
With today being Labor Day, the kids being home from school and a local Arts Festival going on; I wanted to get my grocery shopping done early yesterday so that I could successfully complete all my Sunday chores today and not having some spill over into the first of the week and delay any fun or relaxation for today. I started my meal-plan planning extra early because so. (Remember… fail to plan, plan to fail!) – and while things didn’t go as planned (one child is sick), my food was still ready today so I didn’t have to worry about screwing up on my new dietary!
I don’t feel like I get my share of enough egg-protein, or at least I don’t feel like I have lately. So when I opened my laptop this morning I made sure to search for a recipe that would require at least one egg or more. I can always make the staple recipe for egg salad; I could prepare it blind-folded, but I wanted something that had a little more taste to it. One where by Tuesday afternoon, I’m already sure that come Wednesday’s lunch time I will be wanting anything BUT what I’ve already got prepared. And so I ran across this recipe for a Cobb Egg Salad from Lemon Tree Dwelling that had one key ingredient that won me over – dry ranch dressing mix. I like to use my dry ranch with yogurt for a healthier take on ranch dressing for dipping some veggie sticks in. If you love ranch, you can’t really go wrong with this dressing mix.
Another great thing about egg salad is how quickly you can prep it. Sure, if you’re not much of an hard-boiled egg peeler it can take *some* time, but I promise with practice and correct technique you’ll get the knack of doing it. Afterall, it took me months but I finally got it and I can proudly say that today I peeled 6 eggs in under 10 minutes. That’s an accomplishment! The rest of the ingredients though – super easy to assemble and throw into a bowl. Almost too easy.
Ranch-Style Cobb Salad
If egg salad and cobb salad were to meet in an alley, and egg happened to have brought ranch with him and cobb, arugula lettuce - this would be the outcome. Enjoy this recipe with rye crackers, as a salad or on a sandwich. Perfect for both parties and for meal-prepped lunches for the week.
- 6 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
- 4 pieces cooked turkey bacon, crumbled into small pieces
- 4 tablespoons lite mayonnaise
- ½ dry ranch dressing mix
- ¼ cup grape tomatoes, diced
- ¼ cup celery, diced small
- ¼ teaspoon green onions, sliced thin
- ¼ cup chopped arugula lettuce
- ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Hard-boil your eggs; bringing your pot of water and eggs to a raging boil over medium-high heat. When this has happened, turn off heat and cover pot with a lid allowing to sit for 12 minutes. Run cold water over eggs before attempting to peel. After eggs have been peeled, chop into small pieces.
- Using a large mixing bowl add eggs, bacon, tomatoes, arugula and cheese. Next add mayonnaise and dry ranch dressing mix, stirring gently but combining well. Serve or store in a tight-closed container for later.
- Original recipe can be found at Lemon Tree Dwelling (www.lemontreedwelling.com) - I added a few extra vegetables, etc of my own to their own delicious recipe.
Italian sloppy joes. You know, for when you’re tired of the same ol’ sloppy joes recipe, or if you have a jar of marinara that you need to get rid of.
Italian Sloppy Joes
The italian version of an old-fashioned sloppy joe, cheese included.
- 1lb ground turkey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 4 hoagies or italian buns
- 4 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
- parsley for garnish, optional
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and allow to saute for 5 minutes. Add ground turkey, oregano seasoning and cook until browned. Drain excess grease in a strainer.
- Add marinara sauce and lower heat to simmer, cooking for an additional 8-10 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
- Meanwhile, set the oven to broil. Arrange 4 hoagies on a baking sheet. When meat sauce is thick enough, add 4-5 tablespoons full and fill hoagie bun. Add shredded cheese on-top and cook until cheese has melted.
- Remove from oven and add bun to top. Serve immediately.
When I decided on prepping Greek Chicken Salad, I did it knowing that I could enjoy it in a variety of ways. There are times when I become less enthusiastic about a meal that I’ve got repeated throughout the week; especially if it’s one that I don’t look forward to in the first place. That’s also when I decided to make my own meal-plans instead of following others. I love food too much to not look forward to a meal!
I remember the first time I had chicken salad. My mom had brought home a container of it from Sam’s Club. I knew that I loved tuna salad, but after tasting that particular chicken salad, I found that I loved chicken salad more.
Chicken Salad doesn’t have to be a basic recipe with the same ingredients every time. It tastes great on a plate of spinach, overtop a fresh loaf of bread, on-top of a cucumber, with a handful of crackers, or even just by itself. There is no right or wrong way to enjoy or prepare chicken salad.
Generally each recipe I’ve came across has included grapes as far as fruit goes, but I think my favorite combination has been grapes and apples. Both flavors compliment each other well and you’re adding another texture which is always a good thing. There’s no such thing as too much fruit and that goes for chicken salad as well.
You’re always welcomed to add additional ingredients. This particular recipe calls for greek seasoning, but if you do not have all of the spices needed to prepare that; you can always just use ½ cup mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice.
Doesn’t it look fantastic? I have to admit – I purposely prepared this shortly before lunch time so that after I was doing prepping the ingredients and taking photos, I could enjoy that open face chicken salad sandwich pictured above. And it was delicious. Enjoy!
Greek Chicken Salad
Chicken Salad can be a colorful recipe, with added ingredients and dressing adjusted.
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken
- 1½ cups red grapes, halved
- medium apple, diced
- 1½ cups celery, diced
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 4 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoons dried thyme
- 4 teaspoons garlic powder
- 4 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons onion flakes
- 2 teaspoons dried dill
- 2 teaspoons ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoons nutmeg
- Using a medium size bowl, add mayonnaise and greek seasoning. Mix well.
- Combine chicken, grapes, apple, celery and almonds in a large mixing bowl. Add mayonnaise sauce and fold, covering all ingredients entirely. Chill for 10 minutes before serving.
So I meal-plan our weeks worth of food on Saturday so that I am able to make a grocery store run on the same day and meal-prep for a good part of Sunday. That being said, I intentionally scheduled to make these ham and swiss cheese strombolis so that I (or anyone else who would like to as well) could enjoy one or two while watching the NBA Playoffs.
This is my first time making a stromboli. I rarely work with dough because I base most of my pizzas on flatbreads or pita bread. I was surprised at how easy it really was and how well it turned out. If making dough intimidates you too, you can use the Pillsbury refrigerated dough. Next time, I’ll be more brave and make my OWN pizza dough!
After you’ve flattened and stretched your dough well, lay your ham and cheese. I used sliced swiss cheese but you can use shredded cheese if you have it on-hand. We do ham and swiss cheese sandwiches here and there so I already had the swiss cheese slices.
If you’re serving these as a appetizer, they go great with a dipping sauce. Both honey mustard or a pizza sauce would give it an even more additional taste. But if not, they taste great just as is! That’s how I just enjoyed mine. Can’t wait to bake these, and more similar kinds as well again soon.
Ham and Swiss Cheese Stromboli
Warm delicious homemade stromboli stuffed with deli ham and swiss cheese. Great to serve during game day, or for an easy-to-make appetizer.
- homemade pizza dough, or one 11-ounce tube of refrigerated Pillsbury french loaf
- 8-ounces deli ham, thin sliced
- 6 slices of swiss cheese, cut into halves
- green onions, sliced and diced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cooking pan.
- Prepare your homemade dough, or using a sheet of wax paper with flour sprinkled overtop; flatten the french loaf dough using your hands and a roller.
- When dough is completely flat, add your slices of ham first. You want to leave about a little over ½ inch between the end of the dough and your ham. This allows you to pinch the corners up after you roll up dough. Next add cheese slices and then sprinkle green onions throughout.
- Roll doll up tightly. When done, make sure to pinch so that dough seals. Place side with end of dough seam down on cooking pan. Using a knife, add slits at top.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on when stromboli appears golden. Allow to cool momentarily before dividing to serve.
- Tastes great with a side of pizza sauce or honey mustard.
Chicken Caesar Salad, or just a side caesar salad, has always been one of my go-to choices when I’m eating out or needing a quick throw together lunch for the week. But salads get tiring after so many and sandwiches are nice but let’s be honest; half of the time they’re not the healthiest choice you can make. Ugh, carbs.
So while trying to fix the solution, I scanned through the bread section at our local Market District and found this fantastic loaf of bread; Aunt Millie’s 35 Calorie Whole Grain. I’m still trying to limit my bread intake, but if I’m craving a sandwich now I know I can enjoy one that’s not to the roof in calories.
OK. So since salad is getting a break, now it’s time to give chicken a break. I’m sure it’s probably the one source of protein/meat that you eat most per week. Luckily, turkey is just as good (especially for a sandwich) simply because of the similarity and it can be bought with low sodium. You can keep the caesar dressing though. It’s extremely easy to make, uses a few ingredients you may already have on hand and tastes GREAT with turkey.
Now you have a sandwich that’s as close to a caesar salad as you’re gonna get. And it may infact be healthier. Cheers to that!
Turkey Caesar Sandwich
Give Chicken Caesar Salad a break. At least for one meal.
- 2 slices whole grain low-calorie bread
- 2 leaves of romaine lettuce
- 3 ounces low-sodium turkey, thinly sliced
- 1 slice of tomato
- 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- dash of Worcestershire sauce
- black pepper
- Combine Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl, mixing well. Lightly sprinkle black pepper. Spread onto slices of bread.
- Add romaine lettuce leaves, turkey and tomato.
Growing up, I remember having sloppy joes all the time. I think it was half because they were so good and half because they were so easy to make since they came prepackaged; all you had to do was heat ’em up and slop it on a bun.
This is a more chicken-esque take on the sloppy joe. You may have to do a little more work with preparing the sauce and patiently waiting for it to cook in the crock-pot for a few hours. It’s worth it. And honestly, I think this version is a lot better than the store-bought sloppy joes.
BBQ Chicken Hawaiian Sliders
A different take on sloppy joes using a crockpot and chicken.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup barbecue sauce
- ½ cup zesty italian dressing
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- hawaiian bread sliders
- 1. In a medium size bowl, whisk together barbecue sauce, italian dressing, worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Set aside.
- 2. Trim chicken breasts of any fat. Place on the bottom of a slow-cooker.
- 3. Add barbecue mixture into slow-cooker, making sure to cover each chicken breasts top and bottom. Cook on low for 4 ½ hours.
- 4. Remove chicken breasts and shred using two forks into small pieces. Return to slow-cooker, making sure to mix it well with the barbecue sauce. Cook for an additional 45 minutes.
- 5. Fill each hawaiian slider generously with barbecue chicken and enjoy.