Tag Archives: lunch

Summer Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad

Perfect for weekday lunches

I did it, y’all.  The research paper is done, the presentations are done, the reviews are done.  And now I have from now until August to work, read, write, blog and enjoy the pleasant Florida summer.

You’ll have to excuse my lack of posts over the last week.  It was a rough one.

But I’ll try to make up by posting some of the things we’ve been eating.

One of our favorite weekday lunch ideas is pasta salad, which we make in varying forms about every other week.  It’s great because we can make it on a Sunday afternoon and it’s good for several days of lunches – which means having less to do in the mornings which in turn means more time to sleep.

The recipe that follows was the mix that we happened to put together last week, but I encourage you to add in whatever you can find around.  Cool, crisp summery veggies seem to be the best compliment to the pasta, I think.  We like ours heavy on the veggies, so reduce those numbers if you like it more pasta-y.

Oh, and we added in a can of garbanzo beans, which don’t have a ton of flavor by themselves but add some good protein to the lunch.

What you need:

  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 diced cucumber
  • 1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup of mozzarella cheese
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 box multi-colored rotini pasta
  • 1 cup Italian dressing (store bought or make yo’ own)

Here’s what to do:

Step 1) Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Prepping the pasta salad veggies

Prepping the pasta salad veggies

Step 2) Dice the carrots, celery, bell pepper and tomatoes.  Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas.

Step 3) When the pasta is cooled, place in a  large serving bowl and add in the diced veggies and cheese.  Pour in the Italian dressing and stir to coat.

Baddabing, baddaboom.  Lunch for a few days.


Pressed Plantain Sandwich

Plantain Sandwich

Plantain and pickle sandwich | Photo by HealthyandLazy

The semester is over!  Root beer floats for everyone!

The last week has been a rather dull one, food-wise.  Clawing my way through the last week of my first year of grad school, my quest to cook new foods was pushed to the back burner.  But I’m back, whew.

Anyways, a few weeks ago, a friend recommended a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Gainesville, called Flaco’s.  I know they are regionally-famous for their Cubans (sandwiches), but as usual, I got the veggie option.  Luckily, they make a mean veggie sandwich – I got one stuffed with plantains, pickles and cream cheese.

It’s a weird combo, I know, but it works.  If you love sweet plantains (and who doesn’t?), it’s a great weekend lunch and easy to make at home.

I’ll admit, I cheated a little – I used frozen sweet plantains from Publix, but if you want to make them from scratch, check out this recipe.  Making sweet plantains is easy, but you have to let the plantains turn black before starting and that poses two problems for me: I’d have to wait several days to eat this, and black vegetables make me cringe.

Go for it.

Here’s what you need:

  • Cuban bread (it’s your call on the amount.  I used about a half of a long loaf, because it needed to be used up, and then I ate so much I was full for a day and a half)
  • Frozen sweet plantains (about a cup’s worth)
  • Pickles
  • Cream cheese

    Stacking the sandwich

    Load it up! | Photo by Healthyandlazy

  • A little bit of butter for your pan

Here’s what to do:

Step 1) Slice your bread in half, and generously top with cream cheese, pickles and cooked, sweet plantains (they should already be hot)

Step 2) Drop a blob of butter in your pan and swirl it around.  Place the sandwich in the pan and press with hands/spatula/brick covered in foil until it begins to flatten out.  When it starts getting a little brown on the bottom, flip and repeat.  Don’t burn yourself.

Plantain and cream cheese

Thanks Flaco's, good idea. | Photo by Healthyandlazy

Of course, if you happen to have some sort of panini press or George Foreman grill, that would do the trick.  My tiny kitchen only has room for me and one pan, though.

My Big Fat Greek Burgers

Spinach and feta burger

Greek and Spinach and Feta Burger | Photo by HealthyandLazy

This recipe comes to me from Better Homes and Gardens, via my mom.  It’s a lot like my black bean burgers in preparation, but totally different in flavor.  There’s not a whole lot to say about it – put all the goods in a bowl and mix it up, squish them into pattie shape, toss ’em into a pan.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

The only difficulty I had was that the burgers tended to crumble a bit when I flipped them.  The spinach/stuffing/feta mixture didn’t hold together as well as black bean burgers – there’s just no mushy ingredient to hold it all together.  I toyed with the original recipe a little bit.  Adding a little more olive oil and stuffing mix seemed to improve the consistency and made it a little easier to work with (those changes are reflected in the recipe below). Continue reading

Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Panini

Roasted Red Pepper Panini

Roasted Red Pepper Panini | Photo by HealthyandLazy

So, I’m on a bit of a roasted red pepper kick as of late.

My sister called a few days ago with a new recipe she wanted to try out, and as soon as I heard the ingredients, I knew I was game.

It’s a quick and easy sandwich that is hot and filling, perfect for these dreary winter months.  It’s stuffed with roasted red peppers – told ya – spinach, goat cheese and pesto.

The key to this sandwich is the bread.  Buy something crusty.  We picked up several loves of ciabatta bread from the Saturday Morning Market in downtown St. Petersburg, Fl (my hometown!).  The goat cheese melted down into the nooks and crannies, and the bread was both light and crispy. Continue reading

Spinach and Artichoke Pizza

Spinach, artichoke, cream cheese pizza

Pizza night? Count me in.

Who doesn’t love a good spinach and artichoke dip?  I, for one, am a sucker for a warm bowl of gooey, cheesy dip.  Unfortunately, eating a bowl of dip for dinner in the company of others will elicit funny looks and muffled chuckles.

So, we’ve compromised.  Today’s creation is a spinach and artichoke pizza.  It’s a little nontraditional – no red sauce, no mozzarella cheese, and of course, no meat.  But it is delicious, and it’s a good way to incorporate a lot of delicious vegetables into a single meal.

You will need some pizza dough – and there are a lot of options.  Pillsbury makes a pop and bake crust, which is super easy.  There’s also the add-water-and-mix doughs.  And there’s always homemade pizza dough.  Choose whatever suites your style (and your time frame). Continue reading

Rainy Day Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Those sandwiches can’t wait to be dipped.

I love rain.  The sound of it slapping against the roof, the thunder booming in the distance – it’s relaxing, and it makes me want to eat.  Grilled cheese and tomato soup is, as far as I’m concerned, a staple of the American diet.  Growing up, it was one of my favorite rainy day lunches (along with peanut butter sandwiches and spaghettiOs – another post, another day).  So, it’s become something of a comfort food for me.

A few years ago, I stumbled on a recipe for “Grilled Cheese Dippers and Spicy Tomato Soup.” It’s a refreshing change – and it makes me feel a little more adult.  It’s messy, especially if you dip the sandwich in the soup – and that’s the whole point – but it’s okay to be messy on a rainy day. Continue reading

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