Category Archives: Lunch

Brian’s Avocado Toast


It’s going to sound silly, but avocado toast is a completely new concept to me.  I’ve put avocado on sandwiches, on pizzas, on tacos, but never just on a toasted piece of bread.  It’s my new favorite snack/lunch/side dish!

The original recipe that inspired this version of avocado toast was from my Smitten Kitchen cookbook – it was called an Avocado Tartine with Cucumbers and Sesame seeds.  The cucumbers were tossed in rice vinegar and sesame seed oil, and sesame seeds were sprinkled on top.  I made it yesterday afternoon for a snack, and Brian suggested adding some balsamic glaze.  The addition of the balsamic was perfect!

On a side note, Brian is the tester for the first versions of a lot of my recipes.  He’ll eat just about anything (except mushrooms), and he usually has great suggestions for changes or additions – just like this one!

So I adjusted the ingredients a bit and added the balsamic glaze to create Brian’s version.  I almost want to call it an avocado bruschetta, and you could definitely add some chopped tomatoes to the topping if you wanted.  It was light and summery, and went perfectly with the beautiful weather today!

Brian’s Avocado Toast (serves 2 for a snack, for a lunch it might be a single serving)

  • a 6 inch section of baguette, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cup English cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • balsamic glaze (I recommend Gia Russa)

Toast the baguette pieces.

Mix the cucumber, vinegar and olive oil in a bowl.  Add a generous pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper.


Top the baguette pieces with the sliced avocado.  You could lay out the avocado slices all pretty on top, but I took a fork and lightly smushed them into the toasted baguette.  (It makes the avocado less likely to take a tumble off the bread while you’re eating.)  Top each piece with the cucumber mixture and finally, drizzle with balsamic glaze.

Eat and enjoy!


This post is linked to What’s in the Box?  at In Her Chucks.


Fried Cabbage Hot Dogs


I’d like to start by pointing out that I used both leftovers and frozen veggies from last season’s CSA in this somewhat unconventional hot dog.  Yippee!

Many times when I’m putting a dish together in my head, I find that I’m one or two ingredients shy of what I really want.  Today, when I was thinking of ways to use my weekend leftovers, I was determined to only use the food that I had in the house.  And I did!

We had some lovely weather in Northeast Ohio this weekend, so on Saturday, Brian grilled hamburgers and brats (spicy Andouille brats!  Yum!).  I sometimes feel that Brian loves condiments more than the actual base of the meal, so burgers and dogs are always accompanied by many, many toppings.  (To give you an idea, we had lettuce, broccoli sprouts, chopped onion, Hungarian hot peppers, cheese, and of course, ketchup, and several kinds of mustard.  I might be missing some, but that’s close.)

Brian's hamburger.  Yep, that's broccoli sprouts on the bottom bun.  They're good on hot dogs, too!

Brian’s hamburger. Yep, that’s broccoli sprouts on the bottom bun. They’re good on hot dogs, too!

As per usual on hamburger and hot dog days, we had an odd conglomeration of leftovers – quite a bit of chopped onion, one and a half hot peppers, a couple of brats that got grilled but not eaten, etc.

I knew that I wanted to use the leftover brats and hot dog buns, but I couldn’t decide what to top them with (sadly, we ate all the broccoli sprouts).  So, I started making mental inventory of my fridge and my new, big shiny freezer.  Ah ha!  I have frozen cabbage from my CSA!  And apples from my last farmer’s market trip!  And leftover onions and hot peppers!  Perfect.


The flavors reminded me of this Fried Cabbage dish, but the addition of the apples added some needed sweetness.  I made extra because my plan is to have leftovers of this dish tomorrow with grilled pork chops.  (Leftovers of leftovers!  I’m about to blow my own mind!)

This made enough to easily top six good size hot dogs/brats.  I’m thinking it will reheat well, but I’ll find out tomorrow!

Fried Cabbage Hot Dog Topping

  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 apple, diced (I used an Ida Red – a little bit sweet, but holds up well to cooking)
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage (I used cabbage from my CSA that I had shredded, blanched and frozen)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Caraway Seed
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Sauté the onion and garlic with a bit of olive oil over medium heat.  When the onions are translucent, add the apples, Caraway seed, salt and pepper.  Continue cooking until the apples are soft.


Remove the apple and onion mixture from the skillet and put off to the side.

In the same skillet, add the cabbage.  Now, because I did not plan ahead, I did not thaw the cabbage first.  I just tossed the frozen hunk of cabbage right into the hot skillet and it worked just fine.  Once it had thawed, I drained the excess water and turned the heat up to high.  Stir the cabbage often so it doesn’t brown.


When the excess water is cooked off and the cabbage is heated through, add the apple and onion mixture back into the skillet.  Turn the heat down.  Add the apple cider vinegar, stir and taste it – if you need to, add more salt and pepper.  Continue cooking over medium/low heat for a few minutes to let the flavors meld.

That’s it for the fried cabbage topping!  I then started assembling my hot dog.  Lightly toasted hot dog bun, whole grain mustard, spicy brat.  Top the hot dog/brat with the fried cabbage topping and rings of Hungarian hot peppers. Eat and enjoy!!


Warning:  These peppers range from mild to HOT!! and there’s no way to tell until you take a bite.  If you’re not a fan of heat, you may want to skip these.  In case you’re wondering, this particular pepper was hot enough that my lips were tingling after I ate it!  Just the way I like it.

This post is linked to What’s In the Box?  at In Her Chucks.

Perfect Soup Weather!

I picked up my new box of veggies this morning, thank you Matt. Can’t believe we are still getting such a full box this time of year and with all the rain. I saw the beautiful, large butternut squash and thought right away , SOUP!  Perfect day for it . Sunny, windy &  a chill in the air. This was a really easy recipe from I did change a few things in it, to bring  a little more flavor.

Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup II- 2 tbsp butter, 1 small onion chopped, 1 stalk celery chopped, 1 carrot chopped, 2 med potatoes cubed, 1 med butternut squash peeled, seeded and cubed, (I roasted the squash in the oven with a head of garlic and some olive oil and then just scooped the squash & garlic into the blender), 1 32 oz of chicken stock, salt & pepper. Melt the butter, cook the onion celery, carrots, potatoes & squash (mine was already roasted)  about 5 min. Pour in enough chicken stock to cover veggies. (I threw in a couple of bay leaves at this point). Simmer till tender. Transfer to a blender. Blend till smooth.(At this point I added a pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon). Return to pot add, remaining stock. (I added some 1/2 & 1/2 in place of about a cup of the stock). Topped it with some sour cream. Perfect balance. It was very comforting on a day like today. **Side note: Oh and by the way, Carolyn found out today that Fabio’s real name is Daniel. I think we should still call him Fabio.

Super Simple!

I know everybody is busy this time of year.  This easy , easy  french bread pizza could be a quick lunch or dinner. It also used  a lot of peppers and tomatoes that I had from this weeks haul. I just diced the veggies &  tossed those with my leftover asparagus from last night. I added alot of minced garlic too.  I layered some marinara sauce, veggies and fresh mozzerella on a loaf of french bread that I cut in half. 12 min at 400 degrees on a pizza stone. Probably healthier then takeout or store bought and just as satisfying.

Warm on the Patio …and some food.

It was a beautiful summer/fall night this evening and we were cozy on our patio due to our new heater. Bob has always wanted a propane heater so we would be able to eat outside even  into the fall weather. The grands joined us for dinner tonight.  I was going to make Tom’s pot pie with my puff pastry, but then Carolyn & I talked about  asparagus wrapped in puff pastry. I had everything for that,  so there you go. I made a jalapeno cheese dip for the asparagus.   I also made some peel and eat shrimp in a cajun butter sauce. You should have seen GP’s chin! I did buy the asparagus at the farmers market. Does that count for this post?

Lettuce Eat Soup!!

I had mentioned in an earlier post that GP told me his Mother used to make lettuce soup when he was little.  So, like the radish sandwiches I recreated for my Mom from her childhood, this is for GP & one of his childhood memories. I have to say, I was really surprised how delicious it was. I did not expect so much sweetness & flavor. I am sure using Matt’s fresh lettuce & potatoes helped a lot. It reminded me of a much sweeter split pea soup.  The recipe did call for water, but I used chicken stock instead. And I doubled the amount of potatoes.  I topped it with sour cream and more scallions. The tangy sour cream gave the soup a nice balance. I really recommend this if you have too much lettuce and don’t know what to do with it.  Nice seeing a few of you at the market this morning! (Shout out to my blog buddy Tom!) 

The Recipe from the site epicurious. 1 c scallions (or onions) , 1 clove garlic, minced, 3 tbsp butter,3/4 tsp coriander, 3/4 tsp salt ( I did not use this much because of the stock) , 1/4 tsp pepper, 3/4 diced potatoes ( I doubled this), 8 c chopped lettuce, & 3 c water( I used stock). Cook onion & garlic in 2 tbsp butter over low heat. 3-5 min. Add coriander, S & P, cook 1 min. Add potatoes, lettuce, water or stock, bring to a boil. Reduce ,cover & simmer until the potato is tender. 10 min. Puree soup in batches in blender. ( careful when blending hot liquids. Add small amounts at a time.) Transfer to a saucepan. Add remaining butter.  Enjoy!

Meatloaf Inspired!

Thanks to Tom, I made a meatloaf last night.  Meatloafs are great because you can put anything you want in them and get a few meals out of it.  I just did my Mom’s basic recipe: Beef, pork mixture, onions, egg, ketchup, bread, milk &  black pepper. Topped with brown sugar & ketchup mixture. Next time I will try Tom’s bacon idea.  Bob did request some gravy. (Bought gravy, yikes! I know.)  I used all of Matt’s potatoes and green peppers as a side dish. I put the chunks of potatoes, green peppers & added onions in a casserole dish with a little vegetable oil & black pepper. I just baked those for around 35 min at 425.  Somewhat healthier then fried.  They were really good and easy.  We also had a salad , so something fresh.  I love cooking this kind of comfort food as the weather turns to Fall.  Although, Bob will be grilling in the middle of winter.  We never put that thing away!

Cherry Tomatoes & Gorgonzola Cheese

I know not everyone likes gorgonzola cheese, so you could substitute any other creamy cheese for it in this recipe.  But, it is my favorite cheese.  I love to make sauces with it because it melts so beautifully.  This is a very easy recipe I found on I used last weeks cherry tomatoes for this dish. Recipe: 4 oz uncooked ziti,  I used penne, 1/2 tsp olive oil, 1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved, 1/4 tsp salt, I didn’t add this, 1/8 tsp red pepper, 1 garlic clove minced, 6 tbsp half & half, 3 tbsp gorgonzola cheese, crumbled, 1 c spinach. (I doubled the recipe for leftovers). Cook pasta, drain & set aside. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over med heat.  Add tomatoes, salt, red pepper and minced garlic. Cook one minute. Stir in 1/2 & 1/2, & cheese, cook 2 min, stirring constantly. Stir in spinach and cooked pasta. Tossing occasionally. Delicious!

Tuscan Eggplant Parmigiana

A new way to make eggplant parmigiana!  ( For me anyway.) My favorite dish.  The eggplant slices are not breaded, just lightly pan fried in some olive oil then drained on some paper towel. But before you fry them, you use a veggie peeler to take off some off the skin, making “racing stripes” on the eggplant.( I think this makes the eggplant not as tough.) I got this recipe from Kitchendaily, and I will be making this again. I blanched, peeled and chopped Matt’s large tomatoes for the sauce. I had to add a small can of whole tomatoes because there just were not  enough of the fresh ones. Recipe: Layer some tomatoes on the bottom of a casserole dish, top with a layer of pan fried eggplant, (I used 2 med. sliced) next,  some shredded parm cheese and some fresh mozzerella, 3/4 c fresh basil ,  dried oregano, black pepper, a lot of fresh sliced  garlic from Matt.  Repeat another layer ( except for the basil & garlic). Bake 400 degrees till brown & bubbly. 45 min or so. Let stand 15 min. I think this will make a really good sandwich tomorrow.

Who Knew??

After I made the radish sandwiches today for lunch, I saw all of the radish greens sitting on the cutting board. I wondered if I could do something with those too. I looked on line to see first if they were  safe to eat, and then how to make them. It seems they are high in vitamin C and I found a recipe for “Radish Greens Pesto” from a  site calle “Chocolate & Zucchini. ” So I made it. I have to say, so far this has been my favorite recipe that I have made. It is so full of flavor & freshness. I will never throw radish greens away again!  The recipe : 2 large handfuls of radish greens, washed and stems removed, 2 tbsp olive oil, I used more, some lemon peel, 1/4 c toasted pine nuts, 1 clove fresh garlic, I used 3,  chili pepper spice, salt & pepper. Everything into the food processor. I had some angel hair pasta that I tossed with the warm pesto. Topped that with some parm cheese. Bob did take a bite of it, so he tried, but he stuck with his steak & mashed potatoes.