A pork shoulder in the crockpot is like the gift that keeps on giving. I’d say definitively that pulled pork is the best of any leftovers, hands down. I make it once in the crockpot and have about 6 servings. We had some as tacos and then I wanted to give it another spin with a bottle of fig and balsamic dressing from a Trader Joe’s haul. A little fig jam + a little balsamic vinegar would reach the same flavors without that exact dressing too!
I like the sweet but vinegary yet smoky pork on crusty ciabatta but any roll will do! My preschooler got a slider bun since that’s sometimes a better size for him and he’d be more likely to eat all the bread skipping the pork unless sized well. I made some sweet potato tots and called it dinner. Here’s the Balsamic & Fig dressing I used but I’m including a quick fix for just a single use without buying it!
Balsamic + Fig Pork Sandwiches
Ingredients (for ~4)
1 1/2 – 2 cups pulled pork (~8oz, cooked)
1/2 cup Balsamic & Fig Dressing (or 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons fig jam whisked together)
2 cups arugula
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 300-degrees.
Mix the pork and some of the balsamic & fig dressing together gently. Taste and add more if needed.
Warm the pork either in the microwave, or in a skillet.
Toast the rolls in the oven for about 5 minutes, until warmed through and just lightly toasted.
Toss the arugula in the olive oil until dressed and lay onto the bottom buns.
Top with pork and a drizzle of dressing more.
I liked this for a different twist on pork! If you buy fig jam, it is fantastic with a salty cheese (thus why it is sometimes sold near the cheeses) but it is also great for a Fig & Prosciutto Panini, or on pizza!
The lemon aoli takes this home lunch to the next level. It is tart and perfect with the salmon. It perked up my leftover salmon and brought brightness with the salty bacon, peppery arugula, and juicy tomato. I wanted to make a fun lunch to revive some leftover salmon that I overcooked a bit. It was actually better in this salmon BLT than it was the night before!
Salmon BLT with Lemon Aoli
2 tablespoons mayo
juice from half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
pinch salt & pepper
2 strips of bacon
3-4 oz salmon, cooked and cooled
Pan fry the bacon and remove from the grease.
Turn off the pan from the bacon and gently warm the salmon in the bacon drippings.
Mix together the mayo, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
Toast the bread and slice the tomato.
Assemble the sandwich with lemon aoli on each slice of toast, then salmon forked apart into chunks, then arugula, then bacon, and the remaining bread.
This was seriously better than the salmon was the night before. Condiments can make such a difference. An extra special BLT is a great dinner too. Warming the salmon a bit in bacon drippings is definitely a good choice.
Happy new year! I’m the only chicken salad eater at home but it is so great to make for 1 or 2! Make as little or as much as you like! I made this for a weekend lunch but I’ll definitely repeat this one for packing my lunch too. I poached chicken which is the trick for chicken salad and added in dried cranberries and toasted walnuts. It has good mix of crunch- without celery, which is my nemesis.
Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad (for 2)
3 chicken tenders
2 sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon Italian dressing
2 tablespoons walnuts
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
salt & pepper
Poach the chicken in a medium pot, just with the chicken covered with water and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and 2 sprigs of fresh thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 8 minutes. Let cool completely before chopping/shredding.
Mix together the chicken, mayo, dressing, walnuts and cranberries.
Refrigerate until serving, or serve immediately.
Assemble sandwiches and enjoy!
I loved this! I made a sandwich with arugula on wheat toast or it would be good on salad too. The add-ins are great to bulk it up with less chicken. I was wishing I had pecans around…that would have been a fun twist from the walnuts!
December seems to be a combo of feeding guests and repurposing leftovers! Use all the leftovers! This ham, cheese, and raspberry jam sandwich on sweet bread is craving your leftover party foods (like that spiral ham) or cheese (remnants from a cheese board)! Sometimes they are ham, turkey, and cheese and the sweet fruity spread is what makes this iconic sandwich.
I made these for a lunch and it brought me back to childhood memories of my Dad ordering the monte cristo at a family favorite restaurant. That sweet bread with salty ham and melty cheese is such a great combo. Restaurants deep fry it but this is quickly pan fried without the hassle of battering the whole sandwich.
Psssst. I used challah bread for this (and you can use leftover challah for this french toast too!)
Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese (for 2)
4 slices of challah bread
2 tablespoons raspberry jam
2 slices of white cheddar
2 slices of American cheese
4 slices of ham
Slice the bread and spread one side with raspberry jam. Then layer American on the other side, then ham, then cheddar to assemble the sandwich.
Preheat a griddle or frying pan.
Lightly spread the outside with butter/oil/mayo and lay that side onto the pan.
Cook for a few minutes and spread the other side.
Carefully flip and cook for a few minutes more. Cover for the last minute to ensure the cheese all melts.
Slice and enjoy!
I loved this! The bread is so delightfully soft and sweet, especially with the jam, but the salty ham and melty cheese makes the best contrast here. The American cheese gives that melt factor and the cheddar gives good flavor. A sprinkle of powdered sugar would be beautiful. The bread is decadent. I didn’t make it as French toast, but that’s another way to do it. These would be tasty brunch elements if you’re using ingredients up or wanting to serve something without eggs! My toddler wasn’t home but I can see him liking aspects of this…maybe it would be a good reinforcement for ham since he’s not 100% gung-ho about all sandwich meat.
Could this ‘dog be any more fall? It all started with a long pretzel bun and I knew it needed a fall festive hot dog since this is the ideal weather for grilling! There’s melty white cheddar under there and a slaw of apples, onion, and arugula. It is spectacular and would be super fun for an afternoon game watching – especially since, I’m only watching football for the snacks!
Swap the hot dog for a sausage or bratwurst or whatever you like! I recently tried the Beyond Meat sausage and think this would be a good combo for that too! I made this for a lunch but it was a really great use for some frozen-since-summer hot dogs!
Fall Hot Dog with Apple Slaw and a Pretzel Bun (for 2)
2 long pretzel buns
2 hot dogs/sausages/bratwursts
1/4 white onion
1/2 cup arugula, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 slices sharp white cheddar
Finely chop the apple, white onion, and arugula while preheating the grill. (This is easy to make indoors on a pan as long as you toast the roll too.)
Mix together the apple, onion, arugula, olive oil, and vinegar. Refrigerate until serving.
Grill the dogs/sausages/brats until cooked through. While they cook, toast the pretzel bun and melt the cheese onto it.
Assemble with the toasted roll, melted cheese, dog/sausage/brat and spoon the apple slaw over the top.
This is the perfect fall food. The slaw is really addictive- as in, I ate the leftovers with a spoon. The pretzel roll and really good quality white cheddar made me really fall in love with this. Originally I was thinking apple slices but the slaw format allowed for the sweet crunch with acidic dressing to be in each bite and it seems like a real dog topping. My pretzel bun is from Trader Joe’s but my grocery store has them in this shape occasionally and I’ve seen them at Whole Foods too. I cut out a sliver to make the roll smaller and keep the ratio how I wanted it.
I loooove to jazz up grilled cheese. I want crunch of the bread and beyond-the-average flavors for my grilled cheese. Bread + cheese doesn’t seem to be enough for me. Evidence: this grilled cheese lorraine; or grilled cheese with sweet potato & sage; or turkey & pear grilled cheese; or I could go on…
This time I took some easy tweaks to the basic and think the herb butter spread for the outside is such a win! The outside is super crunchy and flavorful and the inside has 3 cheeses plus rosemary and dijon feel a bit French and just perfect for fall.
French Inspired Grilled Cheese
Ingredients: (for 2 sandwiches)
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons mayo
1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
salt & pepper
4 slices of good quality bread
2 slices gruyere cheese
2 slices white American cheese
1 slice Provolone cheese
Mix together the butter, mayo, rosemary, olive oil, and salt & pepper.
Prep it in advance, or mix and spread onto the outer side of the bread.
Assemble the sandwiches with dijon on the inside, cheeses, then the flavored butter on the outside.
Pan fry on each side until melty and toasted.
How golden and delicious does that look? My bread had even lived a full life and came out of retirement from the freezer and still came out amazing. The herbs on the outside make it even more perfect. Don’t think twice about mayo being on the outside. That’s what restaurants do! That’s what grilled cheese food trucks do! A drizzle of truffle oil would be fantastic to keep that French inspiration.
I made this for lunch in 5 minutes, but it is special enough to make a meal out of for dinner!
Psst: have leftover rosemary? Make this honey rosemary cream cheese and you can thank me later
These little buggers are so cute and delicious. Crescent rolls are getting stuffed with, yup, you’ve guessed it, chicken, bacon, ranch, and cheddar. They became an instant dinner with the help of pre-cooked bacon and some rotisserie chicken. Serve these with some salad and they’re dinner like a hot sandwich, or on a big platter with ranch as an app! They are an ideal weeknight dinner or a fun one for kids to help assemble.
Chicken, Bacon & Ranch Turnovers
1 can crescent rolls (8)
4 strips of cooked bacon
1 cup roasted chicken, shredded
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons ranch dressing
1 teaspoon ranch dressing powder mix
Preheat the oven according to the crescent roll instructions, then shred the chicken and chop the bacon.
Mix the chicken with the dressing.
Unroll the crescent dough into the perforated triangles. Top the wide part of the triangle with chicken, bacon, and cheddar. Then carefully roll towards the point.
Sprinkle ranch powder on top and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment, a baking mat, or sprayed generously with non-stick spray.
Bake 10-15 minutes, as directed by the crescent packaging.
These are a great use for leftover chicken if there isn’t a lot of it and they reheat well in the oven or toaster oven. Pop any leftovers into the freezer for another day’s quick lunch or game-time snack….though, I don’t think you’ll have any leftovers!
Somebody at work brought salt bagels and honey rosemary cream cheese from Bagelsaurus for a breakfast party and I couldn’t get over this signature combo. I loved the woodsy but sweet cream cheese with a salty bagel. I knew I had to have it again before I’d get to Bagelsaurus, so I made some for a sandwich! I wanted pretzel rolls but ended up with some quality sourdough. I used the rest of the honey rosemary cream cheese for breakfasts and will totally make some again.
I like BLTs to be in that order. This one got an exception, but I normally feel quite strongly about this. Lettuce in the middle is tricky to photograph so I ventured to this BTL. Do as you wish. Does it matter to you? Don’t worry- I still like you even if you don’t care the order.
Also, about half my greens are basil for a little summery kick to this.
Honey Rosemary Cream Cheese & BLTs (for 2)
1/4 cup cream cheese (I used whipped, or regular works too)
2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons honey
~2-3 strips of bacon per sandwich, cut in halves
Finely chop the rosemary. Mix up the cream cheese, rosemary, and honey.
Refrigerate until serving – keeps in the refrigerator for ~1 week.
Pan fry the bacon until crisp, then drain on paper towels.
Slice the tomato & chop the greens, if needed.
Generously spread the cream cheese on to the insides of the bread and build the sandwiches.
Slice & enjoy!
I really loved this combo. I almost added avocado but it wasn’t quite ready. Add a fried egg and serve on a bagel for a really magical experience! I liked the cream cheese here instead of any cheese on the BLT. How amazing would it be on a pretzel roll or salt bagel? That’ll be next for me!
The cream cheese was really easy and could easily be mixed up in advance. It would be a really fun to serve with local bagels for house guests or to bring as a hostess gift! I only made a bit but you could make a little or a ton!
Salmon BLTs got me thinking how good bacon would be into a salmon cake! It really was! It also was a great use for the 2nd portion of salmon after grilling the other piece and wanting something different. I ate it like a burger but it would be great on a salad or fun as sliders.
Bacony Salmon Cakes with Herb Aoli
Ingredients: (for 2)
~4 oz fresh salmon
2 strips bacon
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
salt & pepper
2 teaspoons mayo
1 teaspoon fresh herbs (mine was chive & thyme or use parsley/oregano/etc)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon of dried herbs (mine was a mix of basil/oregano/thyme/rosemary)
sliced tomato & arugula to serve
Pan fry the bacon until crisp.
Chop the salmon and add to a bowl with the bacon, garlic, breadcrumbs, mustard, egg, and salt & pepper. (I chopped half the salmon into larger chunks and half into fine chunks.)
Heat a medium skillet to medium heat (preferably the same pan as the bacon cooked in) with a drizzle of olive oil. Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Stir gently and form into 2 patties.
Pan fry, covered for about 3 minutes on each side. Then bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes.
While the patties cook, add the mayo, fresh herbs, garlic powder, lemon juice, and dried herbs to a small bowl.
Stir the aoli and refrigerate until assembling the sandwiches.
Let the salmon cakes cool for a few minutes before assembling.
Spread the aoli onto the top bun and serve with greens and tomato.
I loooooved the bacon in here! It kept it juicy and was a great compliment to the salmon. Mixing it in was way better than serving it on top. The an herby aoli has that touch of lemon to be a quick condiment for just the zing the salmon needs.
Serving a group: mix up the salmon cakes and bake in the oven for ~15 minutes on a generously oiled pan, flipping once or twice. Then you won’t have to baby-sit them frying in a pan! The aoli can be made ahead of time or double it and use the rest on burgers or sandwiches. I made 2 salmon cakes and froze the other for a treat some night when we grill since it’ll only have to warm through.
Maple bacon just wasn’t good enough, the bacon needed to to be glazed in maple syrup. Annnnd the grilled cheese needed to be cooked in the pan from the bacon. Of course.
Grilled Cheese with Maple Glazed Bacon
Ingredients: (for 1 sandwich)
2 slices of bacon, sliced in half
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 slices sourdough or oatmeal bread
2 slices of American cheese
~1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Pan fry the bacon until crisp then drain on paper towel. Brush each side with maple syrup.
Drain most of the bacon out of the pan. Keep the pan on medium heat.
While bacon cools, assemble the sandwich with cheese, bacon, then more cheese.
Pan fry the sandwich for ~3-4 minutes on each side. Carefully flip over and cook the other side. Cover to ensure all the cheese melts.
This is the ultimate breakfast grilled cheese. That’s a thing, no?