Best ever quick lunch

OMG, just discovered my new favorite lunch-on-the-run.

Grab a Morningstar Farms frozen veggie burger, any flavor, plus a small whole grain pita about the same size, plus hummus and sauerkraut. Pop the burger in the toaster and spread hummus all over one side of the pita. Then spread a forkful of sauerkraut over half of the hummus side. Fold or cut the burger in half and stack the halves on the pita on top of the hummus. Fold up the other side to make a semi-circular sandwich and enjoy.

And I found that a softer brand of pita works better than the standard sturdy firm kind. Joseph’s flax, oat bran and whole wheat super soft is what’s available in my store, and it’s perfect for this. Bon Appetit!


After gym class salmon salad (thought this up while driving home)

This is another quickie for when you’re starving yet want something yummy and healthy (yes this is possible).

I grabbed a big fat organic tomato that had been ripening on the counter and an individual serving-size container of canned salmon (they come in multi-packs and I keep them around for quick take-your-own-lunch meetings).

Cut the tomato in half crosswise & stored the other half. Put it in a pasta bowl & cut into wedges spread apart.

Dumped the salmon in a little dish and mixed with some mayo, chopped up celery, celery leaves, and red pepper strips.

Went out on the back porch and snipped some parsley & chives from their pots, washed & snipped them into the dish & mixed it all together (you can season to taste with salt, white pepper, onion powder & other dried herbs, but I was too hungry to bother).

Dumped it on top of the tomato and added some cucumnber wedges on the side.

Dug out my box of organic wheat-free, gluten free crackers and had a feast.

Note from Roy to gym class re previous potatoes

I realized after talking to you girls today that I left out a key point about the potatoes.  Chop ‘em up and cook ‘em until soft, then mash them up with milk, egg, and Bisquick.  I figure folks can figure out quantities on their own, but if you need me to give my best guess, I’ll be happy to oblige.  The batter can be cooked in a skillet, baked, or God forbid, deep fried.
Thanks for your interest,

Recipe swap at the gym

My favorite instructor at the Y classic aerobics morning class is Roy Glover- architect, musician, runner, and who knew–cook!

He shared his potato pancake recipe with the class this morning as we stomped and stretched, lifted and pressed, etc. Here’s what he told us:

  • Yukon Golds (of course, they’re the best!)
  • Garlic salt
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Milk (I think)
  • Bisquick to hold it together
  • Treat it like pancakes

That was all he said- a man after my own heart. List the ingredients, play it by ear, and use your head.

My commentary, to fill in a few gaps:

  • I assume if the potatoes are already cooked, they would be mashed and made into a smoother finer pancake;b utter would be melted first
  • If raw, I would grate them, not add butter except to the skillet, and form & cook like hash browns/latkes
  • The eggs- probably one, or a splash of egg beaters (my cooking eggs of choice)
  • Everything else in proportions that make a good batter (mashed) or patty mixture (grated)

Now let’s go try this out on our unsuspecting families!

Veggie Speed Chili

I had really intended to write this post a few weeks back when we had that really cold, windy snap. But, as usual, life got in the way. So file it away for next fall, or be like us and eat it all year long anyway because you’re a chili fan.
Chili is one of those basic basics in life that, for many of us, is just pure animal instinct. So, recipe, schmeshipe. Gather together on your counter:

  • Canned Bush’s Best Chili Beans (hot or mild)
  • Canned black beans
  • Canned diced or crushed tomatoes
  • Sweet yellow onion
  • Bell peppers of any and all colors- green, yellow, red, orange, purple, whatever
  • Maybe some celery
  • Optional add-ins-any fresh veggie leftover chunks in your fridge- carrots, squash, zucchini, mushrooms, etc.
  • Garlic- fresh, paste, or jarred minced- whatever you have time for
  • Cumin, oregano, chili powder, bay leaves, salt to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Bits of chocolate (toll-house,  bar, etc.)
  • Optional finishes- frozen corn, mushrooms, barley, frozen fake meat(soy) crumbles like Morningstar Farms, etc.
  • Canned beef or vegetable broth

Chop up the peppers, onions, garlic, celery & leftover veggies, then saute in some olive oil, adding the cumin midway so it gets kind of toasty and aromatic. USE LOTS OF CUMIN. This is the secret to yummyness. If using garlic paste wait until adding canned stuff.

Next dump in the canned tomatoes and beans, in whatever proportions you like, depending on how many servings you want. For our 3 man household, I use 1 can of each, and about half an onion, pepper. etc.

If using garlic paste, add now, plus frozen corn, barley, mushrooms, etc and rest of seasonings. Add the chocolate bits (about a teaspoon).Stir in some broth if needed to make it whatever thickness you like, and simmer for about 15 minutes. If using frozen fake meat crumbles, add after that so they heat through.

Voila! (P.S. the carnivore even eats this)

**Notice this does not contain any heat. I grew up with non-hot chili and still like it that way, but you can add enough to fry your eyeballs if you want in the form of tabasco or fresh jalapenos, etc. That is not my baliwick.

Closet vegetarian lunch

I only get to eat like a real vegetarian when cooking for myself, as I live with one carnivore and one pseudo-vegetarian (pastaterian mostly, except for Captain Crunch binges and the occasional can of Beefaroni). So, when the internet went down in the middle of some crucial research for a book, I decided to make myself some lunch and try out a new quinoa recipe I’d been saving for a month. BIG yums! I made creamy squash soup in about 5 minutes, and the quinoa dish took a little prep time (which was ok because I had no internet so I couldn’t feel guilty about not working). Here’s my lunch menu:

Jules’ Throw It Together Squash Soup

1. Dice some red onion (or white, or yellow) & saute in a little olive oil in a fairly heavy small to medium-size sauce pot.
2. Open a can of butternut squash puree and a can of pumpkin puree (like you make pies with). In my case, I used up half a can of pumpkin left over in the fridge from the last batch of banana/pumpkin bread.
3. Add to pan with onion, plus some chicken broth and garlic paste-in-a-tube (or back up to step 1 and add some minced garlic with the onion. I was too lazy and too hungry). Season to taste with kosher salt, dried sage, a couple grinds of nutmeg, and white or black pepper.
4. Stir to smoothness and simmer til smooth and hot.
5. Add some fat-free half & half and continue to stir until heated through again. Enjoy!

(This, btw, fits the category of my infamous “dump soup” recipes from the 80’s)

Quinoa with Caramelized Onions, Walnuts, Cranberries, and Feta

*Notes- you will need to have these things done and ready to dump in- caramelized onions & toasted walnuts. Basically, you make the quinoa and while it’s cooking & sitting, you cook the onions and toast the nuts. CAUTION: you may want to toast the nuts at an earlier time, because they require careful watching. I burned the first two batches trying to toast and do other things at the same time. Focus on the nuts first, it’s worth it.

A cup of the soup and a bowl of the quinoa makes a lovely meal.