Category Archives: Lunch

Planning Ahead

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I’ve been thinking a lot about my future this past week. Who am I kidding, I’m ALWAYS thinking about the future. Luke always tells me to live in the now, which is something I’m trying to work on. It’s just so hard to not be a planner! I’ve always been one to have a plan and even a back-up one in case the first run around fails. This time, I have zero clue about anything. I don’t even know what I’m doing next week, yet alone in a year.

But that’s the beauty of life, right? To always be unexpected. I think it would be pretty boring if I pictured something going a certain route and things always turned out that way. Just looking back on the past year I would have never predicted ANY of the things that have happened. If you told me five years ago I should date Luke, I would have laughed in your face (don’t worry, we discussed this the other day). I also would have probably chuckled if you told me I’d be eating vegetables other than broccoli too. Sometimes things just happen and they end up being really great things.

While I am trying to focus on the now and be where I am and enjoy that (which I can honestly say I’m doing a much better job at thanks to this blog), I do believe there are a few things that should always be planned ahead. Meals, for example, are easier to make when you already have what you need and know what you’re making before hand. I have tried dieting and cooking healthier before and failed miserably every time because I wasn’t meal planning. It can be a total pain in the butt and can take some time, but I promise it’s worth it when you come home from a long day at work and can just whip together a delicious meal you’ve had all day to mouth-water over. That’s my favorite part of planning–I can think about whatever it is I’m going to make ALL DAY LONG and be excited to cook it when I get home.

Besides meal planning, I’ve also been trying to make meals that will last me throughout the week. Mainly, I’m referring to breakfast and lunch ideas, but you could make plenty of dinners for the entire week too. A friend of mine just told me she made the angel hair and zucchini pasta I blogged about a few weeks ago to have for dinner a few nights this week! It’s a simple and genius idea if you think about it, not to mention it saves you a ton of time and money.

Yesterday I made oatmeal breakfast cookies and chicken salad for breakfast and lunch throughout the week. I usually end up having leftovers with the dinners I’ve been making, but sometimes we run out (or Luke and the man on the couch eat them all!) and I’m forced to take a turkey sandwich instead. I love turkey, but sometimes I just get sick of eating it. I thought this chicken salad recipe would be the prefect cure for my Monday blues and boy was I right! It’s a sweeter salad but was so delicious between two pieces of honey wheat bread today (and was also tested with some crackers last night). Either way, this is a must make for any chicken salad lovers out there!

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Photo by Allyson Grillo

Peanut Butter Banana Oat Cookies with Chocolate Chips

slightly adapted from Watching What I Eat

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed until smooth & creamy
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter, creamy or chunky
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oatmeal, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix mashed banana & peanut butter until completely combined then add in the applesauce and vanilla. Mix again until all are completely combined.

Add in the oatmeal and chocolate chips to banana mixture until combined. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

Drop cookie dough, by spoonfuls, onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet & flatten cookies into circles. Bake cookies approx. 20-30 minutes (some like their cookies less cooked, some cooked more – try it both ways to find which works best for your tastes) or until golden brown & done.  Remove from oven & let rest on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then move to cooling rack.

When cookies are completely cool, store in a covered container.

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Photo by Allyson Grillo

Cranberry Apple Chicken Salad

by Ari’s Menu

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbs dijon mustard
  • pinch freshly ground pepper
  • 1-2 tbs finely minced rosemary
  • meat from 1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed
  • 2/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 large gala apple, chopped
  • 1 tbs slivered almonds

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, mustard, pepper and rosemary. Set aside.
  2. Place remaining ingredients in a large bowl, and lightly toss. Stir in dressing until well combined.
  3. Eat immediately, or store in refrigerator for up to 7 days.
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Pesto, Schmesto

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PESTO MOZZARELLA GRILLED CHEESE.

Are you interested in continuing yet? 

Good.

Saturday was a relatively quiet day for me. I had the day off but had an early eye doctor appointment. I was about six months over-due for my checkup and desperately in need of new contacts. Thanks to my loving mother (I tend to blame her for my awful eyes), I lost a little more vision in my left eye, but nothing too serious. The good news is, I probably won’t be blind by the time I’m thirty (which a doctor told me once…we switched doctors not long after that). I went home to do some laundry and hang out with Bailey. That dog is the weirdest beagle I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, that is for sure. I ended my afternoon with the weekly grocery shopping! I planned a pretty good week (if I do say so myself) and am really excited to share the recipes with you all soon!

By the time Luke got off work, I knew he wouldn’t want to wait around for me to make a fancy shmancy meal. I opted for a grilled cheese, but with a little twist. I bought some mini ciabatta rolls for the bread (you could obviously use whatever type of bread you want…I just so happen to have a weird obsession with ciabatta ever since I discovered the Italian Combo at Panera Bread). Buying the smaller rolls allowed me to make two sandwiches for each of us which was plenty for dinner. I didn’t make a side, but if you end up with a smaller sandwich you could serve this with some veggies or chips on the side!

This sandwich was to die for. I mean, who doesn’t love stringy mozzarella smothered in pesto layered in between two crunchy pieces of bread that has been topped with butter and parmesan? Uh huh, no one. That’s what I thought. Luke even requested this again late last night as a “snack” and to my knowledge, ended up using the leftover cheese and pesto on a tortilla this morning with a fried egg. The endless possibilities of pesto!

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Photo by Allyson Grillo

Pesto Grilled Cheese

slightly adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

Ingredients:

2 slices ciabatta (or whatever bread you prefer)
1 tablespoon soft butter, for brushing the bread
2 slices reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat.

2. Butter the outside of each slice of bread. Spread basil pesto on the inside of each slice of bread. Place the mozzarella cheese slices on top of one piece of bread. Top with the other slice of bread. Sprinkle half of the Parmesan cheese on the outside of one side of the sandwich.

3. Place the sandwich, cheese side down, on the hot pan. Grill for 2 minutes or until Parmesan cheese is crusted and golden brown. Sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan cheese on the outside of the other side of the sandwich. Cook until golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 2 more minutes. Serve immediately.