Friday, July 17, 2009

Pastrami & Swiss with Carmelized Onions

I looked through a Sunset Magazine at the hair salon last weekend. It's a pretty awesome little magazine! They had lots of recipes, but I was drawn to the article on "fancy" grilled cheese. It featured a pastrami & swiss on rye with carmelized onion marmelade, and I practically drooled on it right there in the waiting room. Unfortunately, I couldn't get access to the recipe online, so I improvised.

You need:

A sweet onion (yellow is good)
Butter or Margarine
Bread (rye preferred, but wheat works)
Swiss Cheese (2% works just fine)
Pastrami (regular or turkey)
Mustard (yellow or whatever you like)

First, slice an onion and cooked it in some (I can't believe it's not) butter until it is soft and carmelized (turning brown). I let mine get kind of crispy in places, but I like it that way. Remove from skillet.

Then spread butter on one side of a piece of bread (I used wheat b/c that's all I had, but rye would be great), put it in the skillet you used for the onions. Top with mustard (I like just the plain regular yellow mustard, but use what you like), swiss cheese (2% is fine), pastrami (real or turkey is fine), 1/2 of onions, one more slice of cheese. Butter one side of another slice of bread, put mustard on the other side, and put the bread, mustard-side down, on top of the sandwich. Flip it to the other side and allow it to cook until golden brown and cheese is melted.

You will not be sorry you made this sandwich! I'm sure it's not that good for you, but man, is it ever YUMMY! Also, if you're like me and making yourself lunch while spooning baby food into the baby geek, you can walk away from the onions and just go back between bites to stir the onion/flip the sandwich.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Easy Meals with Trader Joe's--Biryani Rice & Chicken

From time to time, I'm going to post a meal idea that uses convenience items from Trader Joes. I hope you are lucky enough to live near one, because they have stuff you can't get elsewhere, and the quality is generally good.

My goal is stuff you can get on the table in 15 minutes while also directing children. This certainly fits that bill.

1 package Biryani Curried Rice Dish from TJ's.
2 cooked chicken breasts (if you have leftovers) OR 2 cups cooked ground turkey (or chopped deli meat, in a pinch).

Heat rice according to package directions. Add cooked meat. Stir. Eat.

That's it.

This is flavorful, but is not too spicy. The little geek isn't here this week, but I bed she'd like it. There are raisins and apples, so some sweet to go with the spice. The Big Geek is also gone. I think he'd like it, but I'd also have to serve some bread or beans or feed him a 2nd dinner.

The rice has no fat or msg and is vegetarian (if you don't add meat).

Buffalo Chicken Dip

If you like Buffalo wings, here's a twist--Buffalo Chicken Dip (sure to confuse Jessica Simpson).

2 bricks cream cheese (low fat is fine)
1 small jar chunky blue cheese dressing (low fat is fine)
2 cups (or so--add more or less to your taste) of shredded cooked chicken
1/2 to 1 cup of hot sauce (depending on how hot you want this--I use 3/4 cup). I use Frank's RedHot.
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400.

Combine cream cheese, dressing, and hot sauce in mixing bowl. Mix with mixer until ingredients are well combined. Stir in shredded chicken. Pour into greased square casserole dish (or other small casserole--not 9x13, that will be too big unless you doubled the recipe).

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbling.

Serve with celery sticks, carrot sticks, fritos, pita chips, tortilla chips, or anything else you like. My favorite is celery sticks.

I have decided this dip might also be good on pasta. I'm going to try to put together a Buffalo Chicken Pasta recipe at some point.