Caesar Chicken Salad Sandwiches

This is a super quick one. I also recommend whipping part of it up in advance. I JUST got back from vacay (don’t worry, I’ll tell you ALL about it!) so this is an even more timely meal. Everything came from the freezer!
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Ingredients:

3 chicken breasts, marinated in Italian salad dressing
2 tbs mayo or Greek yogurt
1 tbs Greek dressing (or Italian dressing)
2 tbs creamy Caesar dressing

Directions:

Boil or saute chicken until fully cooked through.
When cooled, shred into chunks using 2 forks
Mix in mayo, and both salad dressings.
Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, or whatever you like.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Better yet, make it the night before!

I served it on some wheat rolls I had in the freezer. This was a major freezer clean out meal. Mr. J shot a deer and it was butchered leaving us with a whole slew of venison in the freezer. The chicken, rolls, and fries were all freezer items! (The rolls may or may not be discount bakery items I sliced and froze for an occasion such as this!)

I liked it for a change of pace. It would be good on a salad or as a wrap too. Got pitas? Fill ‘em up! It was definitely a quick meal which is great with lots of other things going on. I don’t mean unpacking. That has not begun yet.
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I was messing around with the lighting. What do you think?

What I Ate: Turkey Panini

In my effort to simplify dinner (but still keep it delicious) I figured I should throw in more sandwiches to the rotations since lately I’ve been into dinner salads. Mr. J is (rightfully) worried about getting salad-ed out.

The Three Bite Rule - Turkey Panini

I like that paninis are perfect any-time-of-the-year dinners. They’re super easy and quick (and cheap). In the summer I appreciate that they don’t heat up the whole house to make! In the winter I appreciate that it is a warm meal with a fresh factor. I also love that there aren’t any weird leftovers. I made some once when I hosted the book club and served them with a salad bar. It was a hit for a group with different tastes!

Here are some tips to take this from a “sandwich” to a “dinner-starring-panini” Continue reading

Best Fries of My Life

Want to hear all about my vacay? Ok, great!

I feel like I’ve been traveling non-stop for work. Luckily, I get to go to pretty great places (love Chicago, and San Fran x2) but it definitely makes me focused on maintaining my everyday life when I am home (seeing my people, going to the gym, cooking real food, blogging, etc).

As much as I was tiring of living out of my suitcase every other week, I stayed after one of my trips and Mr. J came to meet me. I was really tempted to opt for a more relaxed getaway but I do truly love San Fran and I was psyched to share it with Mr. J for the first time.

You might think that spending time in a city I’ve been to about 5x might be relaxing, but he and I are like sightseers on speed. We literally race around a city to see all the sites, learn the history, do as the locals do, all while capturing the best photography light (for him) and eating fun local finds (for me- as seen here) . This is precisely why our honeymoon cruise through Europe was so appealing to mix up the relaxing I-don’t-have-to-think (as in I’ll just show up for dinner after lounging by the pool) with how-to-see-Rome-in-a-day.

I have a few meals to share with you from this trip. They are actually both restaurants I’ve been to before. I know that might not seem exciting, but I’m telling you. After running up & down hills for about 7 hours a day without stopping for lunch meant that by dinner time we were starved and trying to regroup after a busy day. Even I don’t want to browse reviews and price ranges at that point. Our hotel did have homemade cookies all the time and that’s quite the treat when choosing a dinner location ;)

With that long winded recap, I give you Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen!
Jasper's
I ate here after working a 24-hour event. We work for a million hours through the night, sleep for a few hours then everyone is up and ready for food. A group of us ended up here and I thought it was just so charming. They have this crazy-good side of brussels sprouts pedals with bacon and filberts…sooo good and definitely I want to attempt to recreate. This time I brought Mr. J back and he loved it too.

I was sad that they don’t have a veggie, turkey, or chicken burger since I can’t eat red meat, but I do get that chefs are sometimes quite against fake-burgers. It’s not really a burger-joint per se, but that’s what I had in mind. I did 100% get on board with a grilled cheese with pork belly.
Jaspers Pork Belly Grilled Cheese
Seriously best grilled cheese I’ve ever had. It was perfectly grilled on some quality bread. This was a substantial sandwich served piping hot. There’s not much worse than a limp, tepid grilled cheese. I liked the tomato and onion relish on a few bites too.

Mr. J got the “J Burger” how appropriate?! It had blue cheese, bacon onion marmalade…after that topping, need I say more? I’m sure it tasted better than my fuzzy-low-light photo makes it look!
Jasper's burger
Now, one of the best parts: the fries. This restaurant has a French. Fry. menu. The fries are seriously good enough to deserve their own menu. We splurged and got a side of fries to share in addition to the fries that came with his burger.
Jasper's fries
We had the regular thin fries and thick cut truffle parmesan. I was so impressed that Jasper’s really knows what they are doing with the fries and does it really well. These suckers are seriously addicting. I couldn’t stop reaching for more.

Needless to say we were wayyy too stuffed for any dessert. I learned a lot about their desserts from an obnoxiously loud table nearby who our sweet server humored and unfortunately the owner seemed to dote on. Chocolate cake with toffee ice cream dipped in chocolate does sound delicious now though.

Our server was from MA too and was so full of personality. She was great and I was FLOORED that she remembered the work group when I mentioned I’d been there a month ago. She remembered where we had been sitting. This gal was so great, attentive, and made us feel at home. Speaking of feeling at home, the fries didn’t hurt either.

What I Ate: BBQ Ranch

Yup, I’m still trying to rock this what I ate series. Today I’m sharing a quick and easy sandwich with my bounty of the farmer’s market. Tis the season!

I couldn’t NOT buy these English muffins (as in they even brought out a double-negative from me). They were better than any I’d ever had and made good olde Thomas pale in comparison. These were fluffy and doughy and crisped nicely when toasted but still held their shape.
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Add some grilled chicken, tomatoes, ahhhrugula, and bbq ranch sauce and you’ve got this sandwich!
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The BBQ ranch sauce = 2 parts bbq sauce to 1 parts ranch dressing & shake. I put this on both English muffin pieces and even may have spread a bit on the chicken too.
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These were really good on a hot night!

What I ate: BBQ Leftovers

Have you wondered what I eat when I’m not blogging? Sometimes it is very run of the meal mill. Sometimes it’s not blog-worthy. Sometimes it is just leftovers. I’m starting this ‘What I Ate’ series so you can amuse yourself while you’re just waiting for the weekend. Hopefully it’ll inspire something quick and easy for you with something I wouldn’t do a whole post about normally.

Leftovers from a bbq? I put them together for a post-bbq lunch.

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pita pocket with:
grilled chicken
cucumbers
feta
spinach and artichoke dip

All leftover goodies. Score!

Grilled Turkey Rachel

Here’s a quickie for today. I got back from Chicago on Monday and I’m leaving for San Fran tomorrow. Don’t pity me though. As much as I’d like to be home this weekend I love the event I’m working and I love my job. After this I’m home for a few weeks and have lots to cook!

I’ve been more into sandwiches lately than usual. I think any sandwich is better when toasted or panini-fied. I made a simplified Turkey Rachel. You don’t necessarily need a recipe for this one.
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Ingredients:

2 slices wheat bread
4 slices cracked pepper turkey
2 slices swiss cheese (or 1 cup shredded)
1 tbs mayo
1 tbs ketchup
1 tbs relish

Directions:

Mix mayo, ketchup, and relish.
Assemble the sandwich by spreading the thousand island dressing on the bread then topping with the cheese on the bottom, then turkey, then remaining cheese.
Grill, press, or toast until warmed and melted.
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This was really good despite the fact that a) I didn’t plan on making it so I just used what was around, b) stronger bread would have held up better than my light wheat bread, c) I needed a quick dinner.
I didn’t have any slaw so that would be fun next time. Rye bread would have really made a stronger sandwich. Look how squished it got in the press!

Roxy’s Grilled Cheese Food Truck Fun

In honor of my Momma’s birthday I thought I should be sure to post something she’d think was fun and festive. Happy birthday Momma R!

Good thing we’re up on our social media at work because otherwise we wouldn’t have known Roxy’s Grilled Cheese food truck was in the neighborhood at work! It was a few weeks ago during that almost-spring not-really-still-winter and a walk down the street for a freshly made grilled cheese was JUST what was in order.

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I’ve watched the Great American Food Truck Race and loved the boys of Roxy’s Grilled Cheese from Boston. I really wanted them to win! I get faux-star struck and thought it was fun to see them in action.

I got the Mac & Chorizo. Grilled cheese with mac & cheese and chorizo…how can you go wrong? I was tempted by the truffle fries but abstained. I was glad I did once I saw the size and heft to my sandwich.
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It was really good, very gooey, and buttery. I think I would have liked more varied textures. The bread really held up to the fillings but it was too soft and gooey.
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I should have gotten the Rookie Melt with cheddar and tomato. I just couldn’t go to the truck and not get the mac & cheese one. Now, I’ve tried it and can move on.

Happy Birthday to my Mum!

 

Thanksgiving Sandwich

I have a quick post for today. I have a super long weekend and I’m psyched to get ready for our visiting family!

If we can see Christmas in July, why can’t we have Thanksgiving more often? I randomly thought of Thanksgiving sandwiches one night for dinner when it was rainy and gross out. It was a fun one and super fast. I know nobody needs a recipe but I did want to throw the idea out there. I’ll have to make some more deli-like sandwiches soon.

One of my favorite Friends episodes features a Thanksgiving Sandwich with a Moist Maker. Sooo funny. I’ll have to try soaking bread in gravy for the middle sometime too.

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Ingredients:

seedless rye bread
thick cut turkey
stuffing
cranberry sauce
turkey gravy

Directions:

Assemble and enjoy

I made some maple brussels sprouts and sweet potato puffs alongside the sandwiches. It was a really fun and different dinner. Mr. J loved it.
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We had the rest for lunch the next day. I really like the different textures and temperatures of thanksgiving sandwiches. The warm stuffing and cool cranberry makes this very special.

I wanted whole berry cranberry sauce but that’s hard to find in May.  The carving board turkey worked perfectly and was closer to real turkey than deli meat I’ve had before.

Meatball Subs on Garlic Bread

This doesn’t seem like it really warrants a recipe, but this hit the spot and makes all other meatball subs look sad.The key was the garlic bread. It was a pretty good “water-proofer” to keep the roll from getting too soggy too!
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Ingredients:

2 crusty rolls
7 meatballs
4 slices of provolone cheese
2 cups tomato sauce
3 tbs butter
2 tbs garlic, chopped
2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Prep the rolls as you would garlic bread (I spread the butter on them, then garlic, truffle oil, Parmesan, kosher salt, and garlic powder)
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Bake for 5 minutes at 400-degrees.
Cut meatballs into quarter chunks and warm with sauce while bread is toasting.
Remove the rolls and top each one with 1 slice of provolone.
Add sauce, meatball chunks, and more sauce, then top with remaining cheese.
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Bake 5 minutes at 400-degrees until melted.
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I loved how garlicky it was and the truffle oil was a great addition. I cut the meatballs to make it more manageable but if they were smaller I might not have.

I think the important thing to remember to keep these as a quick kitchen-to-table dinner is that if everything is warm, they don’t need to cook long. The meatballs and sauce were both warm so all that was happening in the oven was the cheese melting.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps, aka Everything Good In a Sandwich

We don’t eat a ton of sandwiches at our house but I’m working on changing that. I know, I know, I’ve said I don’t love sandwiches. I actually love them when they’re made-to-order. I adore breakfast sandwiches too. I only dislike sandwiches that have been sitting around sogging all day inside a high school locker or if I can’t tell what’s inside the sandwich.

I had a lengthy discussion at work about hummus on a sandwich…or hummus in general. Did you know the USA has a dried bean and lentil council? This is my worklife. Anywho, back to the sandwich subject at hand.

I made Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps and they were really tasty.
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Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup milk
¼ cup ranch dressing
1 tbs dried ranch dressing powder mix
1/3 cup panko & 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg + 1 tbs water, whisked
Wheat tortillas
Lettuce
Tomato
Shredded cheddar
¼ cup ranch dressing
4 strips of bacon

Directions:

Marinate the chicken in the milk, ¼ cup of the ranch dressing, and dried ranch powder for a few hours.
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Remove from the marinade and dredge in eggwash then breadcrumbs and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
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Cook the bacon, then crumble it.
Assemble the wraps with lettuce, tomato, chicken, bacon, cheddar, and ranch.
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You don’t really need a recipe for this but I thought the marinade and breading was spot-on so I wanted to share it. I liked that these were filling and fresh but not fried. I have an aversion to frying foods. The wheat wrap and real lettuce (iceburg = not real) make this slightly healthier than your local pizza place’s version of the same thing since my chicken isn’t fried either.

Like most things I cook, the chicken could be prepped in advance and popped in to speed up the dinner, or prepped and frozen for next time.

If you’re lucky like me, when your sis comes to have these for dinner she’ll also bring treats from her favorite bakery!
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