Food Swap: Soup & Sandwiches!

Food Swaps are a great way to get a sampling of different variations of foods, such as a cookie swap/exchange normally held during the holidays. Well, we can continue this concept throughout the year, not just during the holidays! Food swapping is also becoming a recent food trend in which people are sharing what food they do have for other food they don’t have. With the rising costs of food & groceries, let’s utilize our own cooking/baking skills in the kitchen as an alternative to the grocery store.

For this event, friends brought a slow cooker, Crockpot or a pot of soup, chowder, or chili. We shared our delicious creations by placing them in freezable containers for everyone to take some home and/or enjoy for lunch. To accompany our delicious soups, I provided a panini bar with various breads, cheeses, meats and fillings for some great sandwiches.

As a result of this event, we all took home a whole variety of soups, chowders, and/or chilis to enjoy for the week ahead. What I love about this event is that it not only is an event for friends to score quality local food, but it also fosters a unique community by giving everyone the opportunity to actually meet the people who make what they eat.

Here are the soups that we swapped:

italian chicken bruschetta soup
yellow split pea soup
curried pear & butternut squash soup
smashed potato soup
roasted tomato soup
spicy vegetarian chili


assorted paninis
assorted chips

Megan & Matt’s spinach salad

fudge brownies

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Beer & Mustard Bratwurst

The following recipe was made for my Picnic Wine event. You can read more about it and get additional recipes HERE.

Beer & Mustard Bratwurst
w/ caramelized onions & mushrooms on the side
shared at the event by Joelen
recipe HERE

8 links original bratwurst
3 (16-ounce) bottles beer
whole grain mustard to taste
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell peppers
1/2 cup thinly sliced green bell peppers
1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow bell peppers
1/4 cup minced garlic
salt and black pepper to taste
granulated garlic to taste
8 toasted hot dog buns

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. In a large saucepan, combine bratwurst, beer, onions, bell peppers and minced garlic over high heat. Add just enough water to cover sausages if necessary. Bring to a rolling boil then reduce to simmer and cook 15-20 minutes. Remove sausages from pot and place on grill. Cook 5 minutes, browning evenly on all sides. Set aside and keep warm. Continue simmering sauce until reduced by half then season to taste with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Serve grilled brats on toasted hot dog buns and top with onions, bell peppers and mustard.

A Margarita Sandwich…

In an effort of eating “clean” and healthy these days, here’s a dinner that adds some fun. I came across this recipe for Margarita Chicken. It seemed interesting and easy so I gave it a go. I did add about 1 tablespoon of McCormick’s Baja Citrus seasoning to give it some additional kick. We loved the flavor this chicken has. But rather than serving it on a plate with just some veggies, I figured making a panini with whole wheat bread would allow us to incorporate some fiber into the meal. To accompany our panini, I roasted some butternut squash with additional Baja Citrus seasoning and some fresh blueberries for sweetness.


Here’s the adapted recipe for Margarita Chicken:

4 boneless and skinned chicken breast halves
1/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tbsp. Triple Sec
1-1/2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon Baja Citrus seasoning (dry)

Combine all ingredients in a zip-top bag. Marinate in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight. Grill or bake chicken in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until juices run clear.

Our panini was simple – the baked chicken breast above with lettuce, tomato and a 1/2 slice of low fat swiss cheese on toasted whole wheat bread.

*I’m also submitting this to the Welcome to Wonderland blogging event, hosted by Indigo. Indigo is looking for creative dishes that would be a fit for a fun party. Because alcohol is part of the ingredients, how could this not be a party friendly recipe?! Check out Indigo’s sometime next week for the blogging event round up!*

Chicken Salad… eh.

With the roasted chicken I made yesterday, I made a chicken salad. I usually do the usual salad with chopped apples, grapes, walnuts, etc… but wanted to try something different. I found this recipe at Allrecipes.com. It was okay – nothing that wowed me. It did make for a nice light meal though… Here’s the recipe for Holiday Chicken Salad from Allrecipes.com:

4 cups cubed, cooked chicken meat
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup chopped celery
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup minced green bell pepper
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
ground black pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise with paprika and seasoned salt. Blend in dried cranberries, celery, bell pepper, onion, and nuts. Add chopped chicken, and mix well. Season with black pepper to taste. Chill 1 hour.

*Update: Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions to use curry in the recipe for a bit more flavor. I reached for it and second guessed using it because I didn’t think it would work with cranberries. I should have used it!! Oh well… we live and learn. 🙂 *

Sunday Sandwiches

After sleeping in, almost through lunch, I didn’t have the energy (or desire) to do anything fancy in the kitchen – at least not yet! With my husband’s stomach growling as he watched his Sunday football, I decided to check out what foodstuff I had to work with.

I decided on turkey burger paninis on some bakery bread I had on hand. We both have different burger tastes so for my husband, I made his favorite cilantro turkey burger, with a hint of citrus seasoning. My turkey burger included some leftover roquefort cheese, a splash of balsamic vinegar and finely chopped cremini mushrooms. To accompany the paninis, a simple cesar salad was perfect!Here is my recipe for cilantro citrus turkey burger paninis:

1/2 pound lean ground turkey
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/2 tablespoon citrus seasoning
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
olive oil
4 slices of your preferred bread
preferred panini toppings

Toast your bread to your preference.
In a bowl, combine above ingredients thoroughly without over handling.
Shape into 2 patties.
Heat up grill pan or grill.
Add oil to lubricate grill pan/grill.
Cook on grill pan/grill pan until juices run clear.
Place cooked turkey burgers between 2 slices of toasted bread.
Add panini toppings if you’d like.
Using a grill pan & press or panini press, cook until toppings are warmed through.

Here is my recipe for roquefort mushroom turkey burger paninis:

1/2 pound lean ground turkey
1/2 cup crumbled roquefort cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped cremini mushrooms
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt olive oil
4 slices of your preferred bread
preferred panini toppings

Toast your bread to your preference.
In a bowl, combine above ingredients thoroughly without over handling.
Shape into 2 patties.
Heat up grill pan or grill.
Add oil to lubricate grill pan/grill.
Cook on grill pan/grill pan until juices run clear.
Place cooked turkey burgers between 2 slices of toasted bread.
Add panini toppings if you’d like.
Using a grill pan & press or panini press, cook until toppings are warmed through.

Just Stuff It!

Today I hosted a Ravioli & Calzone Class/Party. It was a hit and we were able to make so many various raviolis & calzones. Here are pics of my finished products…

Italian sausage, fontina & spinach calzones
with a garlic & herb dough
Turtle topped pie crust cookies:
Nutella & banana pie crust cookies:

Here are pics of the various fillings (including vegan options) I made in advance for the event, along with pictures of the class…

Balls of foil are pie crust dough I made in advance:
Calzone Doughs – Vegan friendly!:
plain, garlic & herb, whole wheat

Vegan Option:
Wonton Wrappers
Mediterranean:
Grilled beef, feta cheese, spinach, sundried tomatoes,
mushrooms, balsamic reduction
Vegan Mediterranean:
spinach, sundried tomatoes, artichokes,
mushrooms, balsamic reduction
Asian:
Roasted pork, bok choy, ginger, garlic, green onions,

bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, hoisin sauce

Vegan Asian:
Mushrooms, bok choy, ginger, garlic, green onions,
bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, hoisin sauce
Tex-Mex
Roasted Chicken, black beans, corn, tri bell peppers, jalepeno

Vegan Tex Mex:
black beans, tri colored bell peppers, corn, jalepeno, cilantro
Italian Sausage & Fontina Cheese:
Spinach, Artichoke, Parmesan & Asiago

Ham, Swiss & Cheddar

Roasted Eggplant, Sun Dried Tomatoes & Goat Cheese

Broccoli Cheese

Turtle:
Caramel, chocolate chips, chopped pecans

Nutella & bananas:
Reese’s
Chocolate & peanut butter chips

Cherry Pie:
S’mores:
Chocolate chips, mini marshmellows, graham cracker crumbs

Peach Melba:
fresh peaches, raspberries & honey
Candids:

BLT – Bacon Lovin’ Treat

Another day at home so for lunch, I decided to make a long time favorite… BLTs. Rather than cooking up the bacon on the stovetop, I baked it in the oven. It’s easier, less clean up and allows more effective use of my time.I didn’t toast the bread, but still good nonetheless. Ideally, I would have served this on a homemade rosemary, garlic & sundried tomato bread I made… but I was too hungry to wait.