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Tortellini Caprese Bites

Tortellini Caprese Bites

Tortellini Caprese Bites


1 (9-oz.) package refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini

3 cups halved grape tomatoes

3 (8-oz.) containers fresh small mozzarella cheese balls

60 (6-inch) wooden skewers

Basil Vinaigrette

Optional, Included pitted Black Olives


Prepare tortellini according to package directions. Rinse under cold running water. Thread 1 tomato half, 1 cheese ball, another tomato half, and 1 tortellini onto each skewer. Place skewers in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Pour Basil Vinaigrette over skewers, turning to coat. Cover and chill 2 hours. Transfer skewers to a serving platter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Discard any remaining vinaigrette.

Jicama and Melon Salad

Jicama and Melon Salad

Jicama and Melon Salad


2 cups thin slivers jicama (to be extra, you can slice it thinly and cut with small veggie cutter into shapes)

2 cups cubed honeydew melon

3 T. fresh lime juice

3 T. chopped fresh mint leaves

1 tsp. lime zest

2 tsp. honey


Toss together the jicama, honeydew, lime juice, mint, lime zest, and honey in a bowl; cover. Refrigerate 2 hours.

Beef Tenderloin Bites with Spicy Pepper Jelly

Beef Tenderloin Bites with Spicy Pepper Jelly

Beef Tenderloin Bites with Spicy Pepper Jelly


3 T. chili garlic sauce

2 T. soy sauce or tamari

2 tsp. cornstarch

2 T. peanut oil, divided

1 1/2 lbs beef tenderloin, cut in 1-inch cubes (can substitute sirloin or strip steak also)

3 T. spicy red pepper jelly

4 C. cooked rice, kept warm

3 scallions, thinly sliced


Combine chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, cornstarch, and 1 T. of the oil in a resealable bag and mix until thoroughly combined. Add cubed meat and toss to coat. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 4 hours in the refrigerator.  When ready to cook, heat 1 T. of the remaining oil in a large nonstick frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add the meat and cook until brown and caramelized on all sides, about 3 minutes for medium rare.  Add the pepper jelly and toss to coat.  Remove from pan and serve over rice and sprinkled with the scallions.

Roasted Pepper Roll-Ups

Roasted Pepper Roll-Ups

Roasted Pepper Roll-Ups


1/2 of an 8-ounce package reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

4 ounces soft goat cheese

1 T. fat-free milk

1 small clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup purchased roasted red sweet peppers, drained and finely chopped

1/4 cup snipped fresh basil

8 8-inch whole wheat or plain flour tortillas

2 cups packed fresh spinach leaves


For filling, in a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add goat cheese, milk, garlic, and black pepper; beat until smooth. Stir in red peppers and basil.  To assemble, divide filling among tortillas, spreading to within 1/2 inch of the edges. Arrange spinach leaves over filling to cover. Carefully roll tortillas up tightly. Cover and chill roll-ups for 2 to 24 hours. Tote in an insulated container with ice packs. To serve, use a sharp knife to cut roll-ups crosswise into 48 pieces.


Makes 24 servings

Per Serving: 74 Calories, 3 g Total Fat, 1 g Fiber,

Spicy Peanut Tofu Lettuce Cups

Spicy Peanut Tofu Lettuce Cups

Spicy Peanut Tofu Lettuce Cups


1 block extra firm tofu

5 T. natural peanut butter

2 T. liquid aminos

2 T. sesame oil

1 T. lime juice

1 tsp. chili powder

1 T. erythritol/stevia blend

1 T. coconut oil

1 small red bell pepper, diced

5 medium butter lettuce leaves

1 T. crushed peanuts

2 small green onions, chopped


Pre-heat the skillet on stove. Slice the extra firm tofu into approximately 1-inch cubes and pat dry with a towel. In a mixing bowl combine the natural peanut butter, liquid aminos, sesame oil, chili powder, lime juice, and sweetener. Stir well until smooth. Melt the coconut oil in skillet. Place the tofu cubes and diced red bell pepper into the skillet. Sauté the tofu and red pepper until the edges of the tofu begin to brown slightly. Add half of the peanut sauce to the tofu and stir to coat, cooking on medium heat for about 1-2 minutes. Once the sauce begins to thicken and crisp on the tofu, remove from heat. Place the skillet ingredients into the butter lettuce leaves. Top with the remaining sauce, and garnish with crushed peanuts and green onion.

Fresh Fig and Black Forest Ham Sandwiches

Fresh Fig and Black Forest Ham Sandwiches

Fresh Fig and Black Forest Ham Sandwiches


1 sweet baguette, cut in half lengthwise

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 ounces Black Forest ham, thinly sliced

8 ounces soft goat cheese

4 fresh figs, stemmed and thinly sliced lengthwise

2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat oven to 35O°F. Scoop out and discard the soft interior of the baguette halves. Brush olive oil over the cut sides of the bread. Arrange the ham evenly over the bottom half of the baguette. Spread the cheese over the ham and then top with the sliced figs. Sprinkle with lemon juice, cover with top half of the baguette, and wrap in foil, leaving a small opening at the top of the foil package. Bake until the cheese is melted and the sandwich is heated through, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cut sandwich into 4 equal pieces. Serve immediately, while still warm.

Shiitake Mushroom Ramen To-Go

Shiitake Mushroom Ramen To-Go

Shiitake Mushroom Ramen To-Go

2 T. extra virgin olive oil

6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced

4 T. chicken bouillon paste or broth base

1 T. low-sodium soy sauce

1 tsp. Asian-style hot sauce (such as Sriracha)

2 C. shredded carrots

5 green onions, white and green portion sliced

8 ounces Asian noodles, cooked according to package directions

1 C. diced cucumber

½ C. chopped, fresh cilantro

four 16-ounce wide-mouth jars with lids

¾ C. boiling water for each jar, when ready to serve


Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until browned and tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir bouillon paste, soy sauce and hot sauce in a small bowl. Spoon equal amount into bottom of each jar. Divide carrots in two portions. Sprinkle ¼ C. of carrots into each jar. Top with an equal amount of green onions and remaining carrots. Add mushrooms to jars and top with 2 ounces of noodles. Lastly, add ¼ C. of diced cucumber and 2 T. of cilantro. Store jars in the refrigerator for up to three days. When ready to serve, boil ¾ C. of water. Pour water into the jar. Stir well and enjoy.

Make Ahead Antipasto Salad Jars

Make Ahead Antipasto Salad Jars

Make Ahead Antipasto Salad Jars


Makes 6 cups, enough for 4 lunches Here’s a candidate for crackers, though you can also just eat this right out of the jar (the celery provides the crunch) or spoon it over chopped romaine or iceberg lettuce. You might also want a little bread here, to soak up any leftover vinaigrette. And you know what’s really killer? Tossing this with cold pasta. This salad will last in the fridge for up to four days, and it only gets better as it sits.


1 cup (½-inch) cubes hard salami

1 cup (½-inch) cubes provolone

1 cup roughly chopped olives

1 cup roughly chopped roasted red peppers (from a jar is fïne)

1 cup roughly chopped marinated artichoke hearts

2 cups sliced celery (leaves included)

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup red wine vinegar

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. sugar


In a large bowl, toss together the salami, provolone, olives, red peppers, artichoke hearts, and celery. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt, and sugar. Pour the dressing over the salami mixture and toss until it’s all evenly coated. Store the salad in one large or several smaller airtight containers for up to 4 days; toss again before eating to distribute the vinaigrette.

Fennel Sausage and Mushroom Quiche

Fennel Sausage and Mushroom Quiche

Fennel Sausage and Mushroom Quiche


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 T. sugar

1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

2 large eggs


1 1/2 T. unsalted butter

9 ounces ground pork sausage

1 tsp. fennel seeds, coarsely chopped

3/4 tsp. fine sea salt

8 cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped

2 large fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

8 large eggs

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup grated Comte cheese (can substitute Parmesan or even a sharp aged white Cheddar)


To make the pie crust: In a food processor (or a large bowl, if mixing by hand), combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse once or twice to combine. Add the butter and pulse until it is broken down into pea-size pieces. (If mixing by hand, get in there with your hands and work the butter into the flour.) Add the eggs and pulse (or stir by hand) until combined. The dough may still seem dry and not entirely together–that’s okay. Dump it out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Bring the dough together into a ball and flatten it into a disc on the plastic wrap; it should come together as you do, but if it is still too dry, add a tsp. or two of very cold water. Wrap the dough tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. On a well-floured work surface, roll out the dough into a round just under 1/4 inch thick. Line a 9-inch pie pan with the dough (see Chef’s Note). Cut the excess dough from the edge and then crimp the edge and fold it up. With a fork, gently poke the bottom of the dough all over. Chill the dough lined pie pan for 10 minutes. Line the dough with a large piece of parchment paper and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until it starts getting golden and is almost fully cooked. Remove the parchment and beans or weights and bake for 10 minutes more, or until just lightly golden all over and fully baked. Transfer to a wire rack; keep the oven on. To make the quiche: In a large skillet, melt 1 T. of the butter over medium to high heat. Add the sausage, fennel seeds, and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook until the sausage is almost fully cooked, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and remaining 1/2 T. butter and cook until the mushrooms begin to soften and the sausage is fully cooked all the way through, about 5 minutes. Add the sage, stir to combine, and turn off the heat. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs well until frothy. Add the milk, cream, pepper, and remaining 1/4 tsp. of the salt and whisk again. Add the cheese and stir to combine. Set aside. Pour the sausage-mushroom mixture into the baked pie crust and spread it evenly. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the sausage and mushrooms. Bake the quiche for 35 to 45 minutes, then cover it with foil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, until the center is jiggly but set. Let the quiche cool, then slice and enjoy. The quiche will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat it in the oven or microwave. Cook’s Note: This recipe will leave you with leftover dough. You can wrap and freeze it. This is also my recipe for pie dough, so you’re welcome! Use this for your pie making!

Orzo with Ham & Buttered Peas

Orzo with Ham & Buttered Peas

Orzo with Ham & Buttered Peas


½ C. Orzo

½ C. Frozen Peas


2 T. Butter

1 T. minced Shallot

2 oz. Deli Ham, cut into strips

¼ C. grated Parmesan Cheese

Salt & Pepper


Bring small saucepan of water to boil over high heat.  Add the orzo and cook until al dente, about 9 minutes, adding the peas during the last 3 minutes of cooking.  Drain in sieve and transfer to bowl.  Add oil and stir to coat. Add the butter to the saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add the shallot and ham and cook until the shallot is soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Return the orzo and peas to the pan and stir in the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Pack hot into insulated, vacuum-sealed lunch containers.)

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs


3/4 cup flour

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1 T. Italian seasoning

pinch of salt (my addition, optional)

pinch of red pepper flakes (my addition, optional)

3/4 cup whole milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup cubed pepperoni

1/2 cup pizza sauce


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 24-cup mini-muffin pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, Italian seasoning, salt and red pepper flakes (if using), whisk in the milk and egg. Stir in the mozzarella, Parmesan, and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes. Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin C.. Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, microwave the pizza sauce until warmed through. Serve the puffs with the pizza sauce for dipping.  NOTE: All my batter did not fit into the 24-mini muffin pan. I made a full size muffin with the leftover batter. Some pans are larger than others so you may not have an issue.

Grilled Cheese with Apricot Jam and Arugula

Grilled Cheese with Apricot Jam and Arugula

Grilled Cheese with Apricot Jam and Arugula


4 slices country bread

4 oz. Cheddar or Dubliner cheese, sliced

2 T. apricot (or other fruit) Jam

1 T. salted butter

1/4 C. arugula


Preheat a large skillet or sandwich press on medium-high heat. To assemble sandwiches, spread a thin layer of jam on one side of bread. Top with a double layer of cheese slices and second piece of bread. Generously butter outsides of both pieces of bread.  Put sandwiches in skillet and toast until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from pan. Carefully (it will be hot!) peel apart bread and place arugula inside and replace top slice of bread. Cut in half and serve immediately.

Fried Mozzarella Caprese Salad

Fried Mozzarella Caprese Salad

Fried Mozzarella Caprese Salad


1 C. of basil

2 garlic cloves, minced

Handful of walnuts

1/4 C. of Parmesan-Reggiano

1/4 C. of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


Fried Mozzarella:

1 tomato

1 quart of canola oil

1 five ounce ball of mozzarella (low moisture, not water packed)

2 large egg, beaten

1 1/2 C. plain bread crumbs

1/2 tsp. of crushed red pepper

1/2 tsp. of oregano



In a food processor, add the basil, garlic, pine nuts (or walnuts), Parmesan, and pulse until chopped. With the processor on low, add the olive oil in a slow and steady stream until completely combined. Taste the pesto and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Slice the tomato in 1/2-inch slices and place on paper towels. This will absorb some of the tomatoes’ moisture. Prep a plate with a few layers of paper towels. Fill a 10″ cast iron pan with 4 inches of oil, about 2 quarts, and heat oil to 350F. While it’s heating up, slice the mozzarella into 1/2-inch slices. Prep bowl with beaten egg. On a plate, combine breadcrumbs, crushed red pepper, oregano, and salt (if needed). Note: Try your mozzarella. If there’s a lot of salt, chill on the salt. Don’t add any. If the mozzarella has no salt, then add about 1/4 tsp. to the bread crumb mixture. Double-dip mozzarella by dipping in the beaten eggs, then breadcrumbs and repeating the step. This will give you a delicious thick crust. Gently drop the mozzarella into hot oil using a slotted spoon and fry, about 30 seconds, or until golden brown. Turn the mozzarella and allow to fry on the other side for another 30 seconds. Transfer to the paper toweled plate to drain. Grab a plate and stack tomatoes and mozzarella in whatever fashion you like. Top with pesto and a crack of black pepper.

Toasted Sesame Ahi Salad

Toasted Sesame Ahi Salad

Toasted Sesame Ahi Salad

2 pieces Ahi Tuna

1/3 C. toasted sesame seeds

1 T. olive oil

2 C. baby spinach


1 mango diced

1 roma tomato diced

1/4 C. red onion diced

1/4 C. cilantro chopped

1 key lime juiced

1 tsp. jalapeno optional


Take your tuna, and pat it dry Dump your toasted sesame seeds onto a plate, and press the tuna piece into it to coat the exterior, flip over and do it to the other side Heat olive oil in a sauté pan, and when hot, sear ahi on both sides in pan (2-3 minutes per side) middle should be pink still. Mix salsa ingredients together, squeezing lime juice over the top. Serve ahi over a bed of spinach, topped with mango salsa

Cheese Tortellini Antipasti Skewers

Cheese Tortellini Antipasti Skewers

Cheese Tortellini Antipasti Skewers


1 cup Cherry Tomatoes

1 Pack Salami Slices

1 cup Mozzarella Bites

½ cup Green Olives

½ cup Kalamata Olives

2 cup Cooked Cheese Tortellini


⅓ cup Pesto (thinned to dip consistency)

12 6” Wooden Skewers


Thread all ingredients except pesto on skewers.  Serve drizzled with pesto or with pesto for dipping.

Garlic Chicken Spring Rolls with Avocado Cilantro Sauce

Garlic Chicken Spring Rolls with Avocado Cilantro Sauce

Garlic Chicken Spring Rolls with Avocado Cilantro Sauce

1 T. olive oil

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

1 C. cooked quinoa (optional)

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

6 leaves fresh iceberg lettuce

6 rice spring roll papers


1 avocado, pitted and peeled

1/2 C. plain greek yogurt

1 C. unsweetened almond milk

1 cilantro bunch

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 T. lime juice


For the Garlic Chicken Spring Rolls: Cook the chicken in olive oil over medium-high heat and season with sea salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder. Once fully cooked, remove from heat, allow to cool, and dice. Dip one sheet of rice paper in warm water for about 3-4 seconds or hold under running water, until the paper becomes fully moistened with water. Then, lay the wrapper onto your work surface which should be clean and flat.  Near the bottom of your prepped spring roll wrapper and in the center, lay out the cucumber, iceberg lettuce, and diced chicken (and optional quinoa).   Fold the bottom over the chicken, then fold the uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper all the way, as tightly wrapped as possible. Then repeat with the remaining ingredients. For the Avocado Cilantro Dipping Sauce: In a food processor or blender, combine avocado, Greek yogurt, almond milk, cilantro, garlic powder, sea salt, and freshly squeezed lime juice. Blend together until smooth. You can add a little more almond milk if it’s too thick.


Serving Size: 1 Roll w/ sauce

Calories: 202

Fat: 9.3g


BLTA Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

BLTA Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

BLTA Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

1/2 C. plain fat free Greek yogurt

1/4 C. mayonnaise (I used full fat for richer flavor)

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

2 T. thinly sliced green onions

1 T. minced parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 C. diced cooked and chilled chicken breast

6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped

1 1/2 C. grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 C. diced celery

1 medium avocado (fairly firm but ripe), diced

Romaine lettuce leaves, for serving


In a medium mixing bowl stir together Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, green onions, parsley while seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken, bacon, tomatoes and celery to a large mixing bowl (if you want some of the ingredients to show through set some aside to sprinkle over the top of the salad before serving). Add in the dressing mixture and toss to coat. Gently toss in avocado. Serve over lettuce leaves (or in bread slices).

ATK Spanish Tortilla with Garlic Mayonnaise

ATK Spanish Tortilla with Garlic Mayonnaise

ATK Spanish Tortilla with Garlic Mayonnaise

2 large egg yolks

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 tsp. lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

¾ C. vegetable oil

1 T. water

½ tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1.4 C. extra-virgin olive oil


1 ½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and sliced  crosswise 1/8 inch thick

1 small onion, halved and sliced thin

6 T. plus 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

8 large eggs

1/2 C. jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into 1/2-inch 2 pieces

1/2 C. frozen peas, thawed


FOR THE GARLIC MAYONNAISE: Process egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice, and garlic in food processor until combined, about 10 seconds. With processor running, slowly drizzle in vegetable oil, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to medium bowl and whisk in water, salt, and pepper. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in olive oil. (Mayonnaise can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Makes 1 1/4 cups.) FOR THE TORTILLA: Toss potatoes, onion, 1/4 C. oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in large bowl. Heat 2 T. oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add potato mixture and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, 22 to 28 minutes. In now-empty bowl, whisk eggs with 1/2 tsp. salt. Fold in hot potatoes, roasted red peppers, and peas. Heat remaining 1 tsp. oil in now-empty7 skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add egg-potato mixture and cook, shaking pan and folding mixture constantly, for 15 seconds. Smooth top of mixture and reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook, gently shaking pan every 30 seconds, until bottom is golden brown, and top is lightly set, about 2 minutes. Using rubber spatula, loosen tortilla from pan. Shake pan gently until tortilla slides around freely, then slide tortilla onto large plate. Invert tortilla onto second large plate, then slide back into skillet, browned side up. Tuck in tortilla edges and continue to cook over medium heat, gently shaking often, until second side is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Slide tortilla onto cutting board and let cool for 15 minutes. (Tortilla can be held at room temperature for up to 4 hours.) Cut into wedges or squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

Baked Ham and Cheese Rolls with a sweet tangy Honey Mustard Glaze

Baked Ham and Cheese Rolls with a sweet tangy Honey Mustard Glaze

Baked Ham and Cheese Rolls with a sweet tangy Honey Mustard Glaze

1 lb. Pizza Dough (store-bought or home-made)

1/2 cup Unsalted Butter

8 large slices Ham (thinner slices will roll easier)

8 large slices Swiss or Provolone Cheese

1 T. Dijon Mustard

1 T. Honey

1 T. Poppy Seeds


If the pizza dough is refrigerated, take it out of the fridge 20 minutes before you begin so that it comes to room temperature (this will make it easier to work with). Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Roll pizza dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle that is roughly 16″ x 8″ (just use the baking dish as a guide, no need to be exact). Heat butter in the microwave until melted. Brush the surface of the rectangle lightly with melted butter (this should require about 1 Tablespoon of butter) and set the remaining butter aside. Top the pizza dough with ham and then with cheese each in a single layer with no slices overlapping. Starting with the edge closest to you, roll the pizza dough up into a log so that the ham and cheese is on the inside. Use a serrated knife to slice the roll into 9 even pieces. Place the pieces in the prepared baking dish and set aside to rise for 20 minutes. Whisk remaining butter with mustard, honey and poppy seeds. After the dough has risen slightly, pour honey mustard glaze over the top of the rolls. (This will look like a lot of sauce, but that’s what makes it so good!) Bake the rolls until the dough is cooked through and golden on top, 20-25 minutes. Serve rolls warm or at room temperature.


Serving Size: 1 Roll

Calories: 407

Fat: 26g

Fiber: 1g

Chicken, Spinach and Gruyère Turnovers

Chicken, Spinach and Gruyère Turnovers

Chicken, Spinach and Gruyère Turnovers

2 small skinless, boneless chicken breasts, about 3/4 lb. (375 g) total weight, or 1 1/2 cups (9 oz./280 g) shredded rotisserie chicken

1 T. olive oil

2 T. chopped shallots

1/2 lb. (250 g) fresh spinach leaves, tough stems removed

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 T. heavy cream

All-purpose flour for rolling

2 sheets frozen puff pastry (one 17 oz./530 g package), thawed

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 lb. (125 g) Gruyère cheese, shredded

Dijon mustard for serving


If using chicken breasts, place them in a saucepan with cold water to cover by 1 inch (2.5 cm) and 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the chicken is opaque throughout, about 18 minutes. Drain and let cool. When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken. Set aside. Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the shallots and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper, and sauté just until wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cream and cook just until combined, about 1 minute. On a floured work surface, cut the puff pastry sheets in half to make 4 rectangles. Brush the edges with the egg. Pile the cooked chicken, spinach, and cheese on half of each of the rectangles, leaving a 1/2-inch (12-mm) border. Fold the uncovered half of each rectangle over to cover the lower half. Crimp the edges with the tines of a fork. Using the tip of a sharp knife, cut a few small slits in the top of each turnover. Brush the tops with egg and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, 22 to 24 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve with mustard on the side. Serves 4.

Antipasto Skewers

Antipasto Skewers

Antipasto Skewers

24 mini fresh mozzarella balls

24 olives

12 slices of salami, cut in half

24 small basil leaves

2 roasted peppers (or 1 jar)

1 jar artichoke hearts

½ lb. fresh tortellini, cooked

Bamboo skewers


Using 3″ bamboo skewers or similar, layer your ingredients starting with the mozzarella balls, then the roasted peppers (I used a mix of red, yellow and orange), tortellini, basil, artichoke heart, salami and olives. I opted to pick up mozzarella and olives that were already marinated and seasoned, but I would suggest tossing yours in a bit of olive oil with a pinch of Italian seasoning if you can’t find those that are already pre-seasoned. I also roasted my own peppers, but you can easily pick up a jar to make things simpler. Line a tray with your finished skewers and refrigerate until serving. Make them the night or the morning before and keep chilled. (Leftovers will keep for a few days!) Plan for 2 – 3 per person.

Mini Tortellini Kabobs

Mini Tortellini Kabobs

Mini Tortellini Kabobs

1/2 C. extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 C. red wine vinegar

3 tsp. honey

2 tsp. lemon juice

2 T. grated Parmesan cheese

3/4 tsp. garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning

pinch of cracked red pepper flakes

pinch of black pepper

For the Kabobs

8 ounce package refrigerated cheese tortellini

4 ounces provolone cheese (6 thin slices), cut into small squares

50 thin slices salami

50 pimiento-stuffed green olives



To make the dressing, put all of the ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid; shake vigorously until well blended and emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. In a plastic ziploc bag, combine the tortellini and salad dressing; seal bag and refrigerate for 3 hours (or overnight.) Drain tortellini and discard the marinade. On each toothpick, thread pasta, salami (folded in half, and then in half again), and 1-2 slices of cheese, followed by an olive. Serve and enjoy!

Apple Bacon Pinwheels

Apple Bacon Pinwheels

Apple Bacon Pinwheels

3 slices of bacon, chopped

2 tsp. chopped onion

1 medium apple, cored and chopped

1/2 tsp. thyme

Salt and pepper

1/4 C. apple cider

1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury Crescent Rolls or Crescent Recipe Creations


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the bacon in a skillet and cook over medium heat until crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate, reserving the bacon grease in the skillet. Add the onions to the grease and cook over medium heat to soften, 3-5 minutes. Add in the apples and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Add the bacon back in. Pour the apple cider over and cook until the apples have started to soften, 12-15 minutes. Remove from the heat. If using crescent rolls, unroll the dough and separate into 2 long rectangles. Pinch together the perforations to seal. If using the dough sheet, unroll into one big rectangle. Spread the apple and bacon mixture evenly over the top of the dough. Starting at the short end, roll up. Using a serrated knife, cut the roll(s) into 12 equal slices. Place on a baking sheet, cut side down. Bake until golden brown, 12-15 minutes.

Ham and Cheddar Lunch Box Muffins

Ham and Cheddar Lunch Box Muffins

Ham and Cheddar Lunch Box Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, divided
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces thick-cut deli ham (1/2-inch thick), diced
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives, divided
Freshly ground black pepper

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F. Line a standard 12-well muffin pan with papers liners or coat the wells with cooking spray. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, garlic powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk, eggs, and 5 tablespoons of the butter in a medium bowl until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until just combined. Some lumps are fine. Fold in the cheese, all but 1/2 cup of the ham, and 2 tablespoons of the chives. Spoon the batter into the muffin wells, filling each about 3/4 full. Top the muffins with the reserved ham, sprinkle with the remaining chives, and sprinkle with pepper. Top each muffin with 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining melted butter. Bake until the tops just begin to brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the muffins in the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. RECIPE NOTES: Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for 3 months. Eat cold or reheat in the toaster oven for a few minutes before serving.

Vegetarian Grilled Vegetable Sandwich with Olive Tapenade

Vegetarian Grilled Vegetable Sandwich with Olive Tapenade

Vegetarian Grilled Vegetable Sandwich with Olive Tapenade


1 carrot, thinly sliced

1 zucchini, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into large pieces

6 scallions, trim off bottom root and top (6-inch slice)

1 Japanese eggplant, thinly sliced

1 head Belgian endive, slice root off, keep leaves whole

2 whole wheat rolls



10 calamata olives, pitted

½ shallot, peeled and sliced

1 tsp. capers

½ tsp. olive oil


Sandwich: Grill carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant and scallions until soft and caramelized.  Tapenade: In a food processor, chop all ingredients into a fine paste. Cut rolls in half and toast until light golden brown. Spread tapenade on both sides of rolls and build a great vegetarian sandwich with all of the grilled vegetables.

Ploughman’s Lunch

Ploughman’s Lunch

This picture is a less traditional ploughman’s.  Not sure why I am a bit obsessed with them lately.  Probably evolution of my bento obsession, and that I am packing lunches for myself since I have been back in college.


Salted Olive Crisps (Croquets Sales Aux Olives)

Salted Olive Crisps (Croquets Sales Aux Olives)

Merry Christmas!


Salted Olive Crisps (Croquets Sales Aux Olives)

½ C. all-purpose flour

½ C. whole wheat flour

1 tsp. granulated sugar

½ tsp. dried thyme

½ tsp. sea salt

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. black pepper

1 C. buttermilk

â…“ C. almonds, coarsely chopped

â…“ C. pitted olives, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a 9-inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Whisk flours, sugar, thyme, sea salt, baking soda, and black pepper in a large bowl. Stir in buttermilk. Fold in almonds and olives. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Decrease oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice loaf into ¼ inch thick slices or thinner, if possible. Lay the slices in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for another 30 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until both sides are golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.

Pub-Style Cheese Spread

Pub-Style Cheese Spread

Pub-Style Cheese Spread


½ cup beer

1 pound white Cheddar cheese, grated

4 tablespoons butter, softened

2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon grated sweet onion

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved


In a blender or food processor, combine the beer, Cheddar, butter, chives, parsley, onion, lemon juice, and mustard. Process until blended and smooth. Spoon one-third of the mixture into a crock or jar with an airtight cover. Push 2 garlic halves into the mixture. Add another one-third of the mixture. Insert 2 more garlic halves. Fill the crock with the remaining cheese mixture and garlic. Cut a circle of wax paper to the size of the crock top; cover the cheese mixture with the wax paper. Seal the crock tightly. Age the spread in the refrigerator and remove garlic cloves before serving.

Hello Kitty Chinese Dragon

Hello Kitty Chinese Dragon

This may be my favorite sherimiya bento ever.  I always love her use of color, but look at the backwards pick used for the tail.  genius!

Ravioli, cheese, nori,

strawberry, blueberries

mandarin, cucumber, sugar snap pea

Smiling Daisies Bento

Smiling Daisies Bento

Are those smiling daisies cheese or egg sheets?  I don’t know!  I found out!

Hamburger patty


broccoli, tomato.

“My lunch has one teriyaki hamburger patty cut in half, a small sprig of steamed broccoli sliced in half, a piece of simmered kabocha that I sliced up and fanned out, and a baby Roma tomato cut in half for some red.

I think I mentioned before how the baby Romas are almost gone and it seems like ever since I said that, the basket just doesn’t empty! *sigh* I think I have about six more to go. For the flowers, I cooked a bit of egg substitute on low heat, then cut out the flowers with one of my sandwich cutters. The middles are simply sliced baby carrot. I didn’t even need to use a straw, I simply cut two thin slices off a thick carrot and added the nori faces.”

Double Baked Root Vegetable Chips

Double Baked Root Vegetable Chips

Double Baked Root Vegetable Chips

Nonstick Cooking Spray

2 Sweet Potatoes, Purple Beets or Golden Beets, peeled (or a combination)

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper


Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly coat two large baking sheets with cooking spray.   Use a mandoline to slice vegetables 1/16 inch thick. If using beets, place slices between layers of paper towels and press firmly to remove excess liquid. Arrange slices in a single layer on prepared baking sheets. Spray tops of vegetables with cooking spray; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake 10 minutes. Remove and let stand 5 minutes.

Return baking sheets to oven. Bake 4 to 8 minutes more; check for doneness every minute after 4 minutes. Chips are done when centers no longer look wet. Cool chips on paper towels 5 minutes to crisp. Store cooled chips in an airtight container up to 24 hours. If necessary, recrisp chips in a 325°F oven 3 to 4 minutes.

Teddies Bento

Teddies Bento

Here she has coated the teddy onigiri with some flakes of katsuo bushi  after tinting the rice light brown with soy sauce. Under them is some chicken for support, the rest was sliced there.

Strawberry/carrot flowers


Broccoli, carrot stars


Heart “Pizza” Bento

Heart “Pizza” Bento

Looks like mini “pizzas” from puff pastry perhaps.

Grapes, strawberry, orange slices

Looks like some grape tomatoes tucked in

There are perhaps some of that pink fishy stuff in there.

Little piggy Baran piece.

She makes such uncluttered and pretty bentos.

Color Contrasts Bento

Color Contrasts Bento

I love the colors here, something about it is very striking.  I bought a pan to try and master that rolled omelet.


Peppers stuffed with …. cheese mixture?


Rice with Grape Tomato

Teeny Grapes

Car Ride Bento

Car Ride Bento

Cherry tomatoes turned into balloon and cherries with the picks



Sandwich Car, sausage, cheese, nori, and perhaps ham