Archive for the ‘Lunch’ Category

Lasagna Soup


This is a perfect soup to get you through these last few weeks of winter!

Lasagna Soup


2 teaspoons olive oil

1 lb ground Italian sausage (spicy or mild) or ground beef or turkey

2 onions, finely chopped,

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1-28 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice

6 cups chicken stock

2 bay leaves

8 oz curly looking pasta

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil

S&P to taste

8 oz ricotta cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

2 cups shredded mozzarella


In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add meat and brown, breaking up into small chunks, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain any excess fat. Add onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes, and saute for 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes with juice, stock and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add pasta and increase heat to medium-high. Boil until al dente, about 8 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat broiler and place oven safe bowls on a baking sheet.

Scoop a heaping spoonful of ricotta into each bowl. Ladle soup into bowls and top each bowl with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Place in broiler (keeping a careful watch) for 2-4 minutes or until cheese browns. Top with more Parmesan, if desired, and serve with garlic bread and a freshly tossed salad.


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This chili brings the perfect amount of heat and smokiness.  Perfect for a cool Autumn day (which we lack down here in Florida and which I miss like crazy!) We had cornbread with it and it was delicious!

Pork and Pumpkin Chili with Kale and Pumpkin Crema

Serves 3-4


1 ½  lb boneless pork shoulder (pork steak works well too) cut into ½ inch cubes

6 oz beer


4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped

1 ½ t dried oregano

1 c canned pumpkin

½ c sour cream

2 T olive oil

1 can diced tomatoes

1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped

1 white onion, diced

2 T chili powder

2 cloves garlic, minced

6-7 kale leaves (or more), stems removed and roughly chopped

Lime wedges for serving


In a stock pot, combine pork, 1 ½ c water, beer, and a generous sprinkling of salt and bring to a simmer. Add chipotles and oregano. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix 3 T canned pumpkin with the sour cream and season to taste. Cover and chill.

Heat oil in skillet. Add tomatoes, poblano, onion, and a little shake of salt; cook over medium heat until vegetables are softened, about 10-15 minutes. Add chili powder and garlic and sauté for a couple more minutes. Add remaining canned pumpkin and cook for about 5 minutes. The mixture will be quite thick.

Add tomato mixture to the pork and simmer on medium-low heat for about 30 minutes. Add kale and cook for another 10 or so minutes, or until wilted and tender. Season chili to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish with dollop of pumpkin cream and a sprinkle of chili powder. Serve with lime wedges.

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As I  sit here through the tropical storm’s torrential rain and winds, I am wondering what to make for our meals if our power goes out. I came up with a few ideas and hope they can help you during a time of no electricity. It’s important to remember that most produce – lettuce/greens, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, potatoes, apples, citrus, grapes,  etc – does not need to be refrigerated. As long as it is stored in a cool, dark place, it will last for days for your emergency meals. That being said, salads are a great option.  As long as the weather isn’t too bad, don’t forget about the grill either.  Also, condiments such as mayonnaise, grated Parmesan cheese, jellies/jams that are normally kept in the fridge are safe to be used at room temperature.

Pantry Gazpacho

This flavorful cold/room temperature soup is made from easily stored canned and pantry ingredients so it can be made quickly during a power outage, etc.

Yield: Serves 5


  • 14 oz canned diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 11 oz canned corn, drained
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T white wine vinegar
  • 3 c vegetable juice (V8, etc)
  • 6 oz canned tiny shrimp, drained
  • 1 t dried parsley
  • 1 c garlic croutons


In a large glass bowl, combine all ingredients except croutons and mix gently. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours to blend flavors or serve immediately at room temperature. Top with croutons before serving.

Peanut Butter Crunch Wraps

These wraps are full of protein, crunch, and sweetness – a perfect snack or part of a meal.

Yield: Serves 1


  • 1 whole wheat tortilla
  • 4 T (or more) creamy or crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 ½ T honey
  • Sprinkling of dried fruits, nuts, seeds, granola


Combine peanut butter and honey in small bowl. Add dried fruits, nuts, seeds, granola. Spread onto tortilla and wrap. Cut in half.

Salmon and Potato Salad

This salad would taste great in a sandwich, in a pita, or on a bed of lettuce/greens.

Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 2-14 oz cans cooked potatoes, drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 1-15 oz can (or pouch) salmon, drained
  • 1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh parsley or 1 T dried parsley
  • 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 c finely chopped sweet or dill pickles
  • 1/4 t hot pepper sauce
  • 1/4 t salt
  • ¼ t ground black pepper
  • 1 t dried thyme leaves


In large bowl, combine potatoes, red bell pepper, onion, and salmon. In small bowl, whisk together oil, parsley, vinegar, pickles, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and thyme. Pour over potato/salmon mixture and toss to coat. Serve immediately or cover and chill 2-4 hours

Tomato Salad

Yield: 4 Servings


  • 4 large tomatoes, preferably ripe or on-the-vine variety, chopped into bite-size chunks
  • ½ c chopped celery
  • ¼ c finely chopped green pepper
  • 1 t dried basil
  • ½ t dried parsley
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • S & P


Combine first five ingredients in bowl. Add a few drizzles of balsamic vinegar. Slowly pour in a little olive oil at a time, tasting as you go. Add more balsamic if you’d like. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Black Forest No-Cook Dessert

This would be a delicious ending after a no-cook meal.

Yield: 3 Servings


  • 3 Store-bought brownies, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • Chocolate sauce for drizzling
  • ½ c chopped pecans, or other kind of nut


Spoon cherry pie filling into bowls. Add brownie bites. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and finish with a sprinkling of nuts.


*I also came across this very thorough hurricane shopping list, from the county we live in. I thought I’d share!*


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Baby #2 was craving this last night, and it worked out perfectly because I treated myself to a brand new food processor yesterday. She is a beauty! Plus, I got a $50 Williams-Sonoma gift card with her purchase! Bliss. 🙂

Chicken Panzanella with Basil Vinaigrette

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Serves 4-6


½ c loosely packed basil

¼ c loosely packed parsley

1 T fresh lemon juice

1 T red wine vinegar

1 small garlic clove, minced

1/3 c EVOO

S&P to taste

3 medium summer squash/zucchini, cut lengthwise and then into ½” slices

½ baguette, cut into 1” bias slices



2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked, cut into 1” cubes (I like to grill mine)

1 lb tomatoes, cored and cut into ½” cubes

½ c crumbled feta cheese


In bowl of food processor, combine basil, parsley, lemon juice, vinegar, and garlic. Turn on and slowly add olive oil. Add S&P to taste. Transfer to small bowl and set aside.

Heat a drizzle of EVOO in sauté pan. Cook squash slices until caramelized and tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer to prep bowl and set aside. Wipe pan with paper towel. Brush or drizzle baguette slices with EVOO, then season with S&P. On high heat, place bread slices in pan. Toast on each side until lightly browned and crispy. Transfer to cutting board and cut or tear into 1” cubes and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, squash, tomatoes, and feta. Drizzle vinaigrette over and mix well. Serve immediately, as bread will get soggy if it sits too long.

*I like to drizzle Meyer lemon olive oil around the plate to give it a little more of a citrus kick. 🙂

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My hubby told me this might be his favorite meal yet! Little did he know, it was so easy to make! Sometimes, the simplest meals are the tastiest. This salad is perfect for a light dinner.

P.S. Thai basil can be hard to find, but it is totally worth the extra work! I know Forest Hills Foods normally has it in Grand Rapids, and so does Lee’s Oriental Market on Division. I have yet to find a place in Ft. Laud that has it. Booo!

Thai Beef Noodle Salad

Garlic, 4 cloves, minced

Asian fish sauce, ¼ c

Soy sauce, 1 ½ T

Sugar, 2 t

Peanut oil, ½ c

Flank steak, 1 ½  lbs


Rice vermicelli noodles, ½ lb

Rice vinegar, 2 T

Mixed salad greens, about 6 cups

1 red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, thinly sliced

Thai basil or regular, about ½ c

1 lime for squeezing

In a shallow glass dish large enough for the steak, stir together garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and ¼ c peanut oil. Reserve ¼ c of the marinade to use later for the vinaigrette. Season steak with pepper (no salt is needed). Add steak to the shallow dish and allow to stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

While steak is marinating, preheat broiler or prepare grill. When beef is ready, place on grill or in oven on foil-lined sheet tray. Discard marinade. Cook, turning once, for about 10-12 minutes for medium to medium-rare. Transfer to plate, cover with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk remaining ¼ c peanut oil and rice vinegar into reserved marinade. Season to taste with pepper. Add 1-2 squeezes of lime juice, adding more if desired. If vinaigrette is too salty for you, add more sugar.

Enjoy! 🙂

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