Tuna & Avocado Melt

Tuna salad is one of those things that can be easily made but if you spend just a little extra time to make it well, it is SO darn delicious. In an effort to cut down on some calories this summer, we have been making tuna salad with avocado, lots of lemon, and just a touch of mayo as a base. The result is a refreshing spin on a classic tuna melt, still made decadent with melted sharp cheddar, but trimmed way down on the calories.

Tuna Avocado Melt 
Makes: 2 servings 
Prep Time: 15 minutes     Total Time: 15 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 4 slices of your favorite bread 
  • 2 large slices of sharp cheddar or Swiss cheese 
  • 2 handfuls of arugula 
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced 
  • 2 cans of white tuna in water, drained 
  • 1 ripe avocado 
  • 2 tbs mayo 
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon 
  • salt and pepper, to taste 

Directions 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Lay the four slices of bread on a cookie sheet and give them a light spray with cooking spray. Cook until they are toasted, about 6 minutes. 
  3. While the bread is toasting, make the tuna. Use a fork to mash the avocado with the mayo and the zest of the full lemon and the juice from 1/2 of the lemon. You want to mash thoroughly so this is a mostly smooth texture. Add the drained tuna and toss to coat. Depending on how you prefer tuna, you can break it down to be as smooth or chunky as you prefer. Season the tuna to taste with salt and pepper. 
  4. When the bread is toasted in the oven, remove two of the slices from the cookie sheet and put the cheese on top of the remaining two slices. Turn the broiler on in the oven and cook the cheese until it is melted- just a few minutes. 
  5. Make the sandwiches by layering a slice of cheesy toast, 1/2 of the tuna, a few slices of red onion, a handful of arugula, and the remaining slice of toast. Serve immediately. 

Semi-Homemade Pesto Caprese Salad

This salad qualifies as a “mostly homemade” recipe instead of semi-homemade recipe, it is that easy. Who says cooking needs to be hard?! Simple is the theme with this salad and boy is it delicious. With just a little chopping and mixing  you can have a healthy, nutritious, and tasty salad within 15 minutes. We love this recipe for a quick workday lunch with chicken but this it easily be altered to be an appetizer or side dish by removing the protein. Like all of our recipes, mix and match ingredients that you have on hand to make this recipe work for you. 

Semi-Homemade Pesto Chicken Caprese Salad  
Makes: 4 side dish servings; 2 main course servings 
Prep Time: 10 minutes    Total Time: 15 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 English cucumber 
  • 1 package of grape tomatoes 
  • 1 package Ciliegine mozzarella (small mozzarella balls)
  • 4 tbs pesto 
  • 1 rotisserie chicken or package of  pre-cooked chicken, optional 
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

  1. Chop the cucumber and half the grape tomatoes and place in a bowl. 
  2. Add the mozzarella (be sure to drain) and pesto in a bowl. Gently mix until the pesto is evenly distributed among the ingredients, without wrecking the tomatoes. 
  3. Top with the chicken (if using) and season with salt and pepper to taste. That’s it. So simple, so easy, and so good! 

Spicy Turkey Burgers

We love turkey burgers and during these hot summer months, count them as one of our go-to lunch and dinner recipes. One of the problems we have had with turkey burgers in the past is that the meat itself tends to dry out really quickly, particularly on the grill. To combat this we have made a meat blend of ground turkey and chicken sausage. The chicken sausage adds additional fat to the meat mixture which helps retain the juiciness that we crave! We topped these burgers with our Everything Bagel Coleslaw, but you can easily swap and add your favorite toppings.

Spicy Turkey Burgers
Makes: 6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 lb spicy Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 1 can diced green chiles
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • Everything Bagel Coleslaw, prepared from recipe here

Directions:

  1. Combine the turkey, chicken sausage and green chiles in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands or a spoon, mix the meat and chiles together until everything is thoroughly combined. Form the mixture into 6 patties.
  2. With your grill set to high, grill the turkey burgers until the meat is cooked completely through – about 6 minutes per side. Add the hamburger buns to the grill to toast up with about 1-2 minutes remaining on the burgers.
  3. Serve immediately topped with a hearty scoop of coleslaw and add any additional burger toppings of your choice!


Grilled Chicken Club with Basil Aioli

Not trying to brag but we really nailed it with this one. We had a great sunny day over the weekend and turned on the grill to make the most epic chicken sandwiches. We love the balance of flavors of the smokey bacon, melty cheese, peppery arugula, and fresh basil aioli. We also love that this sandwich is a double-fisting, totally messy eating situation. This is good mood food and a sandwich we can eat on repeat all summer long.

Grilled Chicken Club with Basil Aioli
Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, pounded thin for even cooking
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • 4 thick slices of tomato
  • 4 brioche buns, toasted
  • 2 cups + arugula

Ingredients for Basil Aioli:

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise**
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup packed basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat your grill to medium-high heat (about 450 degrees).
  2. While the grill is pre-heating, make the aioli by combining the lime zest and juice, basil, and garlic in a small food processor. Blend until evenly chopped. Add the mayonnaise and blend until everything is combined. If you think the aioli is too thick you can add a teaspoon of water to thin it out. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken breasts and season them with an even layer of paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Place the chicken onto the grill and grill the chicken for about 6 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the breast. The chicken should be cooked through and the juices should run clear (it will have an internal temperature of 165 degrees).
  4. We try to cook as many of the ingredients on the grill as we can. After you flip the chicken (6 minutes in) add the bacon to the grill. After you flip the bacon (3 more minutes in) add the cheese to the chicken so it gets extra melty. We also add the buns at the same time (with indirect heat) so that they get toasted. Keep an eye on everything so that nothing burns!
  5. Assemble the sandwiches by layering the chicken on the bottom bun of the sandwich. Add one slice of bacon (cut in half) and then a nice slice of tomato. Add a small handful of arugula and drizzle the aioli over top. Add the top bun and serve immediately.

** If you want to lighten up the aioli, sub 1/3 cup of the mayo for 1/3 cup Greek yogurt. You still want at least half of the sauce to be mayo so that the aioli isn’t too sour tasting.


Semi-Homemade Barbeque Chicken Salad

Lunches can sometimes be one of the hardest things for us to pull together during the week. With juggling schedules, working from home, taking care of the dogs and kids, it is just plain hard right now to pull together good meals! We have brought semi-homemade Monday in to save the day. We leverage rotisserie chicken and basic store ingredients. This salad is extremely flavorful, filled with fresh vegetables and comes together in less than 30 minutes.

Semi-Homemade Barbecue Chicken Salad

Makes: 6 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes Total: 30 minutes

Ingredients for the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup of ketchup
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbs smokey hot sauce (or any hot sauce you have on hand)
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup of frozen corn
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 3 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 rotisserie chicken (available at most major supermarkets), chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 avocado, sliced

Directions:

  1. Make the dressing. Combine the dressing ingredients (ketchup – honey) in a sauce pan over low heat. Continuously stir the dressing until the brown sugar is dissolved. The BBQ does not need to come to a boil. Remove the sauce from the heat and into a bowl. Add the ranch dressing and stir to combine. Set aside.
  2. Rinse out the pan. Add the olive oil, corn and jalapeno. Sauté on low for 5-10 minutes until the corn is fully heated through. If the mixture seems dry, add 1/4 cup of water.
  3. Assemble the salad. Add the romaine, black beans, cherry tomatoes and chicken in a bowl. Toss with the BBQ ranch dressing until the salad is thoroughly coated.
  4. Top with cheddar cheese and avocado and serve cold!

Italian Sandwiches

Making almost 21 meals a week for four adults has its upsides, like lots of blogging content, but can get exhausting day after day. We often find that we are craving our favorite restaurants, but due to proximity and restaurant closures a lot of places aren’t feasible during the workweek for lunch. To keep ourselves inspired (and full!) we have started creating our favorite takeout recipes at home. Tate’s dad loves himself a good Italian sub, so we recreated our version at home one day for lunch last week. The homemade vinaigrette is a great addition to pre-made ingredients and the spinach adds a necessary dose of vegetables to balance out all of that meaty decadence. 

Italian Sandwiches
Makes: 4 sandwiches 
Prep Time: 10 minutes   Total Time: 20 minutes

Vinaigrette Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 tbs oregano
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Sandwich Ingredients:

  • 1 Italian or French baguette or 4 brioche buns (as pictured) 
  • 1 lb pepperoni, sandwich slices
  • 1 lb salami, sandwich slices
  • 1 lb turkey, sandwich slices
  • 1 lb provolone cheese
  • 1/2 cup giardeniera
  • 1 package of spinach (6 oz) 

Directions: 

  1. Heat your oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Make the vinaigrette. Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together. We pour this into a pan and cook it for a few minutes so that the shallot can break down and the oil can absorb all of those great flavors. 
  3. Assemble the sandwich. Cut the baguette or rolls in half and place both halves on a piece of tin foil. Using a brush, generously brush the vinaigrette on both sides of the bread. Continue until you use all of the vinaigrette. Layer all of the sandwich ingredients, except spinach, evenly across the bottom half of the baguette or each of the rolls. You can go in pretty much any order, but we assembled ours according to the ingredient list with pepperoni on the bottom. 
  4. Put the top on the sandwich and wrap the entire sandwich in tin foil. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes so the cheese gets melted and sandwich is toasty. Take the sandwich out of the oven, add the spinach and slice into quarters. Serve warm.