Tag Archives: lunch

Luscious Leftovers: Lettuce Wraps

We meal plan in this house. Each Sunday evening, I sit with a notepad and plan out our week. Lately, my game plan involves picking a few main dish meats that can be re-used as leftovers in a variety of ways. With just two of us, it makes it easier to buy, easier to stretch, and easier to save money as well.

For example, The Complete Package recently smoked a rack of pork ribs. That night, we had a traditional barbecue feast of ribs with beans and macaroni salad. The next night we one of my favorite simple go-to meals – Asian lettuce wraps. When I say this one is easy, I’m not even kidding. Not one little bit.

Lettuce Wraps - Inside NanaBread's Head

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • leftover smoked pork (ribs, pulled pork, chops, etc.), warmed up
  • a small pan of steamed white rice (we love basmati)
  • scallions, cut into 2″ strips lengthwise
  • butterhead or Boston lettuce, rinsed & patted dry
  • your favorite Asian hoisin or sweet chili sauce

Lettuce Wrap - Inside NanaBread's Head

To serve, simply lay out a leaf or two of lettuce. Add a spoonful of steamed rice, some smoked pork, a few scallions and a drizzle of your favorite hoisin or chili sauce (or both). Roll it up and stuff it in your pie hole. BAM! So good, and ready in mere minutes. This meal confirms my favorite motto: Keep it Simple.

Lettuce Wraps Collage - Inside NanaBread's Head

What is your go-to dinner in a hurry meal? I’d love for you to share it! -jeanne

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Loaded Veggie Pizza (& I mean loaded!)

Veggie Pizza - Inside NanaBread's Head

Ever been so sold on a certain brand you start to think of yourself as a rabid brand loyalist? Well, I have become obsessed with DeLallo. You may remember a certain post for homemade pimento cheese? Well, those piquillo peppers were so glorious, I decided to branch out and try other items. To the extent that I made a total veggie power pizza with some of their line. And you know what? Their other products live up to the piquillo pepper hype.

Here’s what I bought from the DeLallo line this week:
1.) can of artichoke hearts
2.) jar of sun-dried tomato bruschetta
3.) jar of basil pesto in olive oil
4.) jar of pine nuts
5.) yet another jar of piquillo peppers

I know… I’m out of control. But stay with me, because the pizza was awesome.

In addition to the DeLallo goodies, I also picked up:
1.) fresh baby spinach
2.) fresh button mushrooms
3.) an orange bell pepper
4.) a purple onion
5.) a small tub of ricotta cheese

Secret foodie confession: I keep frozen pizza dough in my freezer at all times. The type I buy is just a frozen dough ball in a bag from my local HEB grocery store. I keep both the whole wheat and traditional white on hand. And not just for pizza. If you thaw it out and let it rise, it can double as breadstick dough, cinnamon rolls, etc. Pretty versatile stuff, really.

So for this pizza, I thawed out a ball of the whole wheat and let it rise while I baked cookies. (More on that later, but it involves an on-line bake sale coming up later this month for which I am making cherry almond shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate. Break out your wallets, kids. You’re going to want to bid on these.) Here’s how the pizza baking went down.

First, I rolled out the whole wheat dough and baked it for 10 minutes, brushed only with olive oil, to prevent it from getting soggy, then I layered on a schmear of pesto, some sun-dried tomatoes (drained) and mushrooms sautéed in chili oil.

Veggie Pizza - pesto, sun-dried tomatoes & mushroom layer

Next came a layer of fresh spinach, some sliced purple onion and the chopped & drained artichoke hearts. For the record, I L-O-V-E love artichoke hearts.

Veggie Pizza - spinach, purple onion, artichoke hearts

But wait! There’s more! Next, I got artsy with my orange bell pepper and roasted piquillo peppers. Yes, I play with my food. :) The Complete Package walked into the kitchen just as I finished laying on the peppers and said “this is going on the blog, isn’t it?” Psssh, what do you mean? All my food looks this good! Okay, whatever. Yes it’s for the blog, smartass. Still, it’s pretty!

Veggie Pizza - orange bell pepper & piquillo peppers

And then, just when you’re thinking “Holy craptastic veggie goodness! What else could she possibly add?” I threw on some ricotta cheese seasoned with oregano, basil, garlic salt & red pepper flakes, some pine nuts I toasted in a skillet, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Looks good, doesn’t it?

Veggie Pizza - seasoned ricotta, pine nuts & olive oil

I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right. That’s a whole lotta veggie. But we’re not done yet. You gotta pop that beast into the oven and bake at 425F for 25-30 minutes. I like to bake mine on a Silpat mat for an extra crispy crust. When the ricotta and pine nuts start getting brown around the edges, it’s done.

Veggie Pizza - just out of the oven

Yeah, baby… that’s the good stuff. Now you have to let it sit for 5-10 minutes to settle down a little. Then, cut that puppy up and dig in!

Veggie Pizza - Dig in!

Boom. Done. Blow it up! For the record – it was delicious, we didn’t miss the meat, and it has completely solidified my deep and abiding love for all things DeLallo. Rabid. Brand. Loyalist. And not ashamed. Do you have a favorite brand or brands that you can’t live without? Please leave a comment and share. You never know what might spur my next food obsession!

Please Note: I am not in any way compensated by the DeLallo Foods Company. I am (as I have stated) just a loyal lover of their products who is dead set on converting the rest of the world. Amen.

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I love a good pimento cheese sammich

Pimento Cheese Sandwich - Inside NanaBread's Head

It’s hard to beat a good sandwich, isn’t it? Some people like tuna or egg salad. Some reach for a PB&J, a BLT or a grilled cheese. All are great, but let’s not forget the sometimes overlooked pimento cheese sammy. In my book, a really good homemade pimento cheese made with great cheddar and roasted piquillo peppers is hard to beat.

Let’s break one down. It starts with a great cheese. In this case, my favorite – Tillamook Cheddar. Medium or sharp, it needs to have great flavor.

Pimento Cheese - Tillamook Cheddar - Inside NanaBread's Head

Oh, Tillamook Cheese… how I adore you. If you have a food processor with a grater blade, grating the cheese happens in mere seconds. No fooling.

Pimento Cheese - Grating the Cheese - Inside NanaBread's Head

You only need 6 ounces to make two good-sized sandwiches. Which gives me an excuse to show off one of my favorite kitchen gadgets, my OXO food scale. This little guy is awesome. I’m using it with the digital reader in its ‘parked’ position, but if you’re trying to weigh something larger, it pulls out about 3″ so you can still see it even when using a larger container. Very cool. Just set your empty bowl or plate on the scale and hit ‘zero’ to clear the weight of the plate off, then add enough cheese to hit six ounces.

Pimento Cheese - Cheese Peppers & OXO - Inside NanaBread's Head

Next, grab jar of these gorgeous DeLallo grilled piquillo peppers. No cheap pimentos here, kids. Trust me – these piquillo peppers will rock your world. I love their rich roasted flavor and that they’re packed in water, not vinegar. They are robust and so much better than those small jars of brined pimentos. For this, five or six of these beauties will do nicely.

Pimento Cheese - Piquillo Peppers - Inside NanaBread's Head

In a mixing bowl, combine the grated cheese, chopped peppers and 1/4 cup of mayonnaise (we’re a Hellman’s house). Toss in a pinch of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of coarse ground black pepper. Stir until well blended, then cover it tightly and let it sit in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes.

After that, the only decision left is which bread to use, whether to toast it, and what to top it with. We like a good oat nut wheat bread. It’s so darned tasty. I love mine plain; he likes his with add-ons. A pickle on the side gets an A+ too.

Pimento Cheese - His & Hers - Inside NanaBread's Head

Mmm… so good. So creamy. So cheesy. And those piquillo peppers? I could kiss them. So, share time… do you like pimento cheese or do you reach for that BLT? Are you a grilled cheese & tomato soup guy/gal or do you prefer a good tuna or egg salad? Let’s talk sammies. And GO!

Note: I’m aware this post sounds like an advertisement for certain brands, but I swear it’s not. The post was not sponsored in any way by Tillamook Cheese, OXO or DeLallo Foods. These are products I love and use frequently; they just all came together beautifully for this post. All opinions are my own and are shared without influence from the companies shown. I promise.

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Greek Salmon Wraps for the Bride

This is Megan. Isn’t she gorgeous? She’s always laughing or smiling. I love that about her. And this month, she has plenty to smile about. Our homegirl and fellow blogger Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver is getting married.

I confess, I ‘something borrowed’ this photo from Megan’s blog. It was taken during a bridal shower thrown by her best friend, Beka. If you click on the photo, it will take you to Megan’s post about her shower. It’s a lovely photo of a lovely bride-to-be.

And she’s not just marrying any old guy. She’s gettin’ hitched to a sweet hunk-o-burning-love named Ben. They make such a cute couple and we’re so happy for them. I know you’re dying to see them together. To view Megan’s blog post with engagement photos, click HERE. To celebrate their big day, Megan’s blogging friends are throwing her a virtual bridal shower and I am thrilled particpate.

While considering what to make, I pondered what Megan might like. She’s so laid back and fun, I know she’d enjoy anything and everything. But the one thing that kept coming to mind was salmon. Girlfriend has a serious salmon addiction. It’s why she was chosen to be a part of a small but very prestigious group of food bloggers selected to serve as ambassadors for Copper River Salmon. I still remember the day she posted a story about opening day of the Copper River salmon season. Y’all, they flew that salmon into Seattle on a jet. And there was a red carpet! Folks in Seattle take salmon season very seriously.

What to make, then? Well, something salmon. Obviously. And since we needed another entree, I decided to create a Greek Salmon Wrap in Megan’s honor.

A sandwich so pretty it should have a bow on it.

I think she’ll be happy with my choice. Here’s how it all came together.

Greek Salmon Wraps – simple ingredients, tremendous flavor

For two large wraps you’ll need:
Salmon, 6-8 ozs. – in this case, applewood-smoked Alaskan sockeye salmon
Greek yogurt dressing (see below)
Naan, pita or the flatbread of your choice, 2 pieces
Kalamata olives (pitted), fresh baby dill & capers
Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber & purple onion, very thinly sliced
Kosher salt & course-ground black pepper, a pinch of each

For the Greek Yogurt Dressing:
1/2 cup thick Greek yogurt or kefir, plain
zest & juice of one small lemon
1 teaspoon of Greek Seasoning (like Cavender’s or Konriko)

To make, measure all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk to combine. You can make this in advance for the best flavor; I mixed mine up the night before.

To start, lay one piece of flatbread on a sheet of parchment or waxed paper (which will make these a lot easier to roll later).

Start with a good schmear of the yogurt dressing.

Next, add a layer of smoked salmon. Don’t be stingy.

Add a sprinkling of shaved purple onion.

And then a smattering of olives, capers & baby dill; so gorgeous!

Then be a neat freak & perfectly line up your cucumber slices.

Follow that with a layer of tomatoes and a light dusting of salt & pepper.

Top with a layer of spring greens & a little more yogurt dressing.

Now here’s where the parchment comes in handy. Starting at one end, use the paper to help roll the sandwich into a tight wrap, tucking each side in as you go – just like wrapping a burrito. Once wrapped, use a piece of baker’s twine to tie it up. I tied a bow on each end so I could slice the wrap in half. This will make 4 small sandwiches or 2 large ones – your choice.

Wrapped tight & ready to eat. What do you think, Megan?

Helpful Hints:
1. Thin, soft flatbread works best because it rolls up easier.
2. A mandolin, if you have one, makes perfectly thin slices; I use an OXO.
3. Any salmon you love will work, including leftover baked or grilled salmon.
4. Don’t like salmon? Substitute grilled chicken, steak or even hummus.
5. These are portable & perfect for picnics; keep chilled until ready to eat.
6. Speaking of picnics, grab a crisp white wine for your pic-a-nic basket.

As I mentioned before, our Megan has a salmon fetish. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Click on any of the links below to check out her gorgeous collection of salmon recipes. Be forewarned – your mouth WILL water.

Copper River Salmon Burgers & Healthified Coleslaw
Grilled Salmon with Beurre Blanc
Salmon Ceviche
Salmonkopita
Oven Fried Salmon Wontons
“Whole Lotta Herbs” Glazed Salmon

And now, here are the links to our virtual bridal shower bloggers. Please drop by and see what they’re making!

Appetizers:
Heather of Farmgirl GourmetDeviled Eggs 3 Ways
Gina of Running to the KitchenEdamame Prosciutto Crostini
Kirsten of Comfortably DomesticCarmelized Onion & Goat Cheese Puffs
Tina of My Life As A Mrs.Easy Bacon Cream Cheese Roll-Ups
Rachel of Baked By RachelSausage & Red Pepper Stuffed Mushrooms
Allison of Decadent PhilistinesRetro Cheese Cookies

Drinks:
Laurie of Simply ScratchBlueberry Lemonade Spritzers
Cassie of Bake Your DayLemon-Berry Granita with Balsamic & Basil

Entrees:
Michelle of A Recipe JunkieFresh Melon & Crispy Proscuitto Salad
Jeanne of Inside NanaBread’s HeadGreek Salmon Wraps (Hey, that’s me!)

Desserts:
Kathryn of London BakesEton Mess Shooters
Julie of Table For TwoMiniature Cherry Pies
Lauren of Lauren’s LatestSummer Strawberry Jello Pie
KimBee of Cravings Of A LunaticRed Velvet Ice Cream Cupcakes
Kat of Tenaciously YoursGood For You Bars
Mads of Le Petite PancakeCheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries

Congratulations, Megan and Ben! We’re beyond excited for you. And as The Complete Package and I celebrate our 30th anniversary this September, we remind you to always laugh together, never go to bed angry, try not to say anything you can’t take back, and always, always think of yourselves as a team because together you really can conquer anything. We wish you much love on your special day and many, many years of joy. We love you, Megan!

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Lazy Day Dinner: Easy Pizza at Home

Thrown together in minutes, this lazy day pizza is a must have.

The Complete Package was traveling last week, and when he travels I usually eat things like Honey Nut Cheerios for dinner. Hey, don’t knock it until you try it. They’re delicious. But after a while, even cold cereal can’t hold my attention. So what do you make when it’s 103F outside and you don’t want to spend hours in a hot kitchen? How about easy homemade pizza? Works for me!

I started with a ball of frozen pizza dough in its whole wheat version.

Frozen pizza dough – it’s the key to quick homemade pizza

Just spray a mixing bowl with Pam, drop in the frozen pizza dough, give the dough ball a quick spray to keep it from sticking, and cover the bowl in plastic wrap. I like to secure the plastic wrap with a large rubber band. Better safe than sorry, I always say. For a rapid thaw at summer temps, place it on your back porch (out of the reach of kids and pets) for approximately 30 minutes. If you’re making this for dinner, you can let it rise on your kitchen counter all day.

While the dough is thawing, I like to prep the rest of my toppings. For this pizza, I browned one package of my favorite breakfast sausage in a skillet. I like to break it up with a wooden spoon and stir it frequently until done. If it’s too greasy, drain the cooked sausage on paper towels, pour most of the grease off and return the skillet to the stove.

Next, I make my own pizza sauce. It’s easier than you think. Really. In the same skillet, brown half a small onion (chopped) and 3 cloves of garlic (minced) in about 1 tablespoon of the sausage grease. Once the onion starts to become translucent, add one 15-ounce can of pureed tomatoes. Toss in 1/8 teaspoon of ground oregano and 1/4 teaspoon of dried basil. Allow the mixture to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken, then add salt and pepper to taste. If you like a little spice, throw in a pinch of red pepper flakes. That’s how I roll.

Homemade pizza sauce – it’s easier than you think & tastes better, too.

Once your dough is thawed and risen, spray a cookie sheet or 13″ x 9″ baking pan, then gently press the dough into the pan. You can roll it; I use my fingers.

Look at that gorgeous dough. You’d never guess it’s store-bought.

Using a spatula, spread as much or as little pizza sauce as you like then top with the sausage, some grated parmesan cheese, and a nice layer of sliced provolone.

Building the pie – the only thing missing is the provolone. Yum!

Bake at 425F for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese begins to brown on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting & serving.

Thatsa’ one pretty pizza pie!

Feel free to change up the toppings to your preference. The options are literally endless – pepperoni & sauteed mushrooms, leftover grilled chicken & spinach, summer veggies, leftover steak, Canadian bacon & thinly sliced onions, meatballs (sliced or cut in half). Heck, you could even substitute alfredo sauce, buffalo sauce, or BBQ sauce and get really creative! The point is that a good frozen pizza dough and a quick homemade sauce can turn any homemade pizza pie into a treat in mere minutes. So what are you waiting for?

Sorry. This one’s for me. Go make your own pizza. Shoo!

And if you like to multitask meals like I do, save that leftover pizza sauce.

Yes, there will be leftover pizza sauce. You will not want to waste it.

Grab a bag of frozen fully cooked meatballs from your local grocery store and a package of frozen French baguettes. They make another great meal in minutes.

Yet another reason I love my local HEB grocery store.

Throw the meatballs in a baking dish and cover with foil. Place the baguettes on a baking sheet. Heat your oven to 400F, then put the meatballs and bread in to bake. The baguettes are ready when they’re toasty on the outside and soft and warm on the inside. Both should be ready in about 20 minutes. To assemble, microwave the sauce until hot and smear a generous amount into the baguettes. Toss in enough meatballs to fill them and top with a slice of provolone cheese. Presto – a second quick & easy dinner in about 30 minutes.

Do you plan meals that multitask? If so, what is your double-duty favorite?

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My new favorite chicken salad

My twist on ATK’s Classic Chicken Salad; it’s light & lemony & yummy

It’s from America’s Test Kitchen. Raise your hand if you’re surprised I fell in love with yet another ATK recipe. No? Nobody? Yeah, me either. It’s no secret I’m a rabid fan of America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks and TV shows. I just love that they devote their lives to perfecting recipes so I don’t have to.

So let’s get on to the chicken salad. This Classic Chicken Salad is adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (revised edition).

1 rotisserie chicken from your grocer’s deli, plain
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 ribs celery, chopped fine
3/4 cup mayonnaise (we prefer Hellman’s)
2 scallions, minced
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
kosher salt & cracked black pepper to taste

Bone and chop your rotisserie chicken and toss it in a mixing bowl.

Note: I prefer the plain chicken seasoned only with salt & pepper. I say that because I once mistakenly grabbed a barbecue seasoned chicken and it was a horrible choice for chicken salad. Don’t be like me; read the label.

Add the canola oil, celery, mayonnaise, scallions, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, parsley and a good pinch of salt & pepper. Give it a stir and allow it to sit for a few minutes, then come back and taste it. I found I liked this recipe with a little more lemon juice, so I added another tablespoon. It gives it a bright citrus zing. Instead of adding more juice, you could also throw in some zested lemon peel, since you’re using a fresh lemon anyway. What I’m saying here is that the lemon is my favorite part of this chicken salad. It’s refreshing. And zingy. I also add a pretty heavy pinch of fresh cracked black pepper, because that’s my thing. I loved cracked black pepper.

Cover tightly and refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes before serving. It helps the flavors come together, and everyone is happier when they’re all getting along. To serve, simply scoop onto your favorite chicken salad vehicle. In my case, it’s a toasted bagel. I can also vouch for the fact that it’s delicious on whole wheat toast, saltine crackers and celery sticks.

If you’re feeling frisky, you can top it with a fresh sliced tomato and a nice crispy piece of romaine. I also highly recommend spicy sweet pickles and your favorite chips on the side so you can get in all the food groups – sweet, salty, crunchy and creamy. Wait, that’s wrong. There are five food groups. I totally left off chocolate! {slaps forehead} Have mercy… can you ever forgive me?

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Salad Week: My knock-off version of Whole Foods Market’s Rice Salad

Let’s start this post with an apology. I’m sorry for using such a crummy photo of this dish. This was a pre-blog salad; one that I posted on the Tasty Kitchen portion of The Pioneer Woman website. Before I got my big girl camera. And while I apologize for the photo, I make no apologies for the recipe. It rocks.

We first tried this salad when My Baby was in the hospital, having just given birth to Lilly Bug. Finally able to consume real food and starving to death, she sent The Complete Package out to pick up lunch. He went to a nearby Whole Foods Market and stocked up on sandwiches and salads from their fabulous deli.

One of those salads was a wild rice, citrus, and dried fruit concoction that knocked our socks off. So much so, that I kept the label from the container with the ingredients, conveniently listed from most prevalent to least. And that’s where I started when I got home and decided to recreate it.

Now before you freak out… yes, there is a long list of ingredients, but there’s a good chance you already have most of them in your pantry. And yes, you’ll have to cook rice (unless you decide to buy the kind in a pouch that you can microwave). But don’t let that cause you grief. I promise once you try this, you’ll understand that it’s totally worth the effort. And, as a bonus, it keeps well in the fridge and is easily transportable for lunches on the go. And it’s so delicious, you’ll find yourself sneaking back to the fridge over and over again to sneak another bite. Pinky swear.

NanaBread’s Knock-Off Whole Foods Market Rice Salad:
1 cup wild/brown rice mix
1 cup white basmati rice
1 cup soft wheatberries
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 cup dried cranberries (I use Craisins)
1/2 cup dates, pitted & chopped
1/2 cup raisins
2 small lemons, zested & juiced
1 orange, zested & juiced
4 ozs. unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
honey or agave nectar, as needed (optional)

Cook each type of rice according to package directions; cool to room temperature or slightly warm to the touch. Note: wheatberries can be added to the basmati rice so they cook together. While the rice cooks, toast the almonds in a skillet. Toss the dried cranberries, dates, raisins, toasted almonds and zest of the lemons and orange into a mixing bowl and stir to combine.

In a large mixing bowl, toss all of the cooled rice together; add the melted butter and toss again. Dump the small bowl of fruits and almonds into the rice and toss.

In another small bowl, combine the canola and olive oils, lemon and orange juice, rice wine vinegar, salt and peppers. Whisk until well blended; pour over the rice mixture. Toss until well blended and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. Taste to see if it needs more salt, vinegar, etc. If it’s too tart, add a little honey or agave nectar to balance it out. Keep in mind that this tastes better after it sits for a while, so don’t tweak your seasonings too soon!

For maximum flavor, refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Set it out for 20 minutes before serving; it’s best at room temperature. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator; it should keep for about 5 days. It also helps to give the container a good shake before serving to help redistribute the dressing.

NOTE: if you want to go dairy-free, omit the butter. If you want to go nut-free, omit the almonds. If you live for adventure, try adding chopped dried apricots or even toasted pistachios. Crazy, right?

Click here to see the original post on the Tasty Kitchen website.

Also posted today for Salad Week:
Party Salad by Kat at Tenaciously Yours. It’s a party. In a bowl. You heard me.

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