Easy recipe · Lunch

Bumping Up the Tuna Sandwich

If the words, Tuna Sandwich make you think of a dry, boring lunch, I want to introduce you to this version that I began making recently.

This flavorful version of Tuna fish is full of crunchy goodness, but is also light on calories! It only requires a little mayo to help hold it together! The choice of bread is key, but the addition of the cheddar cheese and tomato slice help bump up this sandwich that gets as bad a rap as canned asparagus. Here’s the simple recipe we’ve been loving…

INGREDIENTS – Makes 2 sandwiches

  • 1 packet of tuna (in water), drained
  • 2 Tbl carrots, minced
  • 2 Tbl minced celery
  • 1 tbsp red onion, minced
  • 1 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • Bread of your choice – I used a light bagel – You could also do this open-faced with only one slice of bread
  • 2 slices 2% reduced fat cheddar or American cheese
  • 2 slices tomato
  • Cooking spray

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Combine tuna, celery, carrots, onion, mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large skillet over low heat.
  • Spray skillet with oil, and place sandwich on top.
  • Top bread with cheese, then tuna salad and tomato. Cook on low heat until cheese melts and bread gets toasty.
  • Serve immediately.

You will not miss the normal heavy mayo in this sandwich. It’s perfect as is! Using a special bread like these bagels makes it taste really indulgent, so I would definitely check your Aldi for these! Toasting the sandwich makes it perfect for a fall or winter lunch!

Don’t settle for a plain tuna sandwich in the future! These simple ingredients will add the pizzazz your lunch time routine needs!

Need other lunch menu suggestions? Check here and here and here for other ideas!

Refresh you lunch!

baking · Easy recipe · Fall

Cider Donuts

When I was a child, we would make trips to a cider mill near us. The highlight for me was getting to enjoy a doughnut and a little cup of cider while there. Maybe this is where my love for a cake doughnuts began. Oh my! It was such a treat! I recently made a Cider Donut recipe that took me back to that childhood memory!

These Cider Donuts from Sally’s Baking Addiction have a lovely apple flavor that is enhanced by the addition of the cider, of course, but also the apple pie spices in the dough and in the sugar topping. These are baked, so they’re more healthy than the fried versions. Okay, the butter they’re dipped in might add some calories and fat, but every fall needs an occasional treat, right?!

Here’s the simple recipe with my additional notes and improvisions.

Apple Cider Donuts – These make about 18

  • 1 and 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon apple pie spice*
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Reduce the apple cider: Stirring occasionally, simmer the apple cider in a small saucepan over low heat until you’re left with about 1/2 cup. Start checking at every five minutes, etc until you have 1/2 cup. (Mine took about 30 minutes.) If there are any spices or solids on top of your reduced apple cider, leave them. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray donut pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  3. Make the donuts: Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, apple pie spice, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Whisk the melted butter, egg, brown sugar, granulated sugar, milk, and vanilla extract together. Pour into the dry ingredients, add the reduced apple cider, and whisk everything together until smooth and combined. Batter will be slightly thick.
  5. Spoon the batter into the donut pan—I highly used a large zipped-top bag and cut a corner off the bottom of the bag and piped the batter into each donut cup, filling about halfway.
  6. Bake for 10-11 minutes or until the edges and tops are lightly browned. To test, poke your finger into the top of the donut. If the donut bounces back, they’re done. Cool donuts for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack. Re-grease the pan and bake the remaining donut batter.
  7. Coat the donuts: Combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and apple pie spice together in a medium bowl. Once cool enough to handle, dunk both sides of each donut in the melted butter, then generously in the apple spice topping.
  8. Donuts are best served immediately. Leftovers keep well covered tightly at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I only baked up one dozen, then put the bag with the batter into the fridge overnight. The next day I baked off the next pan of six, and they did great! Then I froze them uncoated. A couple days later I pulled them out and dipped them in the butter and sugar coating. Yum! This was a great way to have a homemade donut at a moment’s notice!

If you don’t have apple pie spice (like me!), you can mix up your own using this recipe:

  • 4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom – I didn’t have this and left it out. It was still great!

All these need is a cold glass of milk, a cup of coffee…or of course a glass of cider to make the perfect fall treat!

If you’re a cake donut fan, you’re going to love these!

Some other donut suggestions – Have you tried these light donuts I posted a while back? Also if you don’t have a donut pan, you could bake up these muffins that have a very similar taste as the Cider donuts!

canning · Easy recipe

Homemade Dill Pickles – One Jar At A Time

Andy Griffith fans will know that Aunt Bea gave home-canned Dill Pickles a bad name! There is some fear in going to all the trouble and expense of canning your own pickles, only to have them turn out to be “kerosene cucumbers.”

Thank heaven I found a recipe recently that allows you to make a small batch. These are so simple and best yet – they are delicious!

If you have a small garden patch your cucumber yield is not enough to make a huge batch of pickles. Or if you’re blessed, as I am to have gracious friends who share their fresh produce with you, it’s really nice to have a way to make pickles with just a small amount of cucumbers.

When dear friends brought us some super crispy pickling cukes, I just knew they were perfect for some dill spears and slices! I went searching for a recipe that didn’t require canning and made a small batch.

I loved the flavor of the recipe I found. They’re not too spicy or overpowering. I do believe a huge part of the success of these was using a cucumber that is fresh and crisp.

Here’s the simple process…

Ingredients

  • 2-3 pickling cucumbers, prepared as you wish…sliced, spears or whole
  • 4 sprigs of dill
  • 1/2-1 clove of garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seed
  • Pickle Brine – see below

Instructions

  1. Wash your pickles well and remove the blossom end.
  2. Slice them as desired – slices or spears.
  3. Add mustard seed, garlic and dill sprigs to your jar, then put your prepared cucumbers in.
  4. Add the brine to fill the jar and cover your cucumbers. If I have some parts of the cucumbers that rise above the brine, snip of a piece of the cuke so that all parts of all cucumbers are submerged below the brine.
  5. Put lids on your jars and refrigerate. Because these are not being canned and instead kept in your refrigerator, you don’t need special jars…just make sure the jars and their lids are clean. I boiled my lids and jars for 10 minutes in a large pot.
  6. If you can let the pickles sit for 2-3 weeks they have more time for the flavor to develop. I’ve read that you should consume them before 3-4 months…we won’t have to worry about that!

Pickle Brine

  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 6 ounces apple cider vinegar
  • 3 ounces pickling salt
  1. Mix all ingredients and stir until salt is dissolved.
  2. Store in a container in your refrigerator.

The first two jars I made are just about gone, but now I have a jar of pickle brine sitting in my fridge just waiting for cucumbers and herbs to be mixed in! It’s so easy and Aunt Bea would agree that these are so much faster than canning 16 jars!!

That crunch little slice added great flavor to my Turkey Burger slider!

If you’re afraid of making a big batch of pickles, give these a try! You may just be tempted to enter them into the county fair!

Have you tried making your own pickles? What do you eat with a them? Oh, and in case the picture above made you hungry for onion rings, here are my two favorite recipes – a non-healthy but fabulous one, and a healthy one!

Bread · Dinner · Easy recipe

Popovers ~ the Perfect Dinnertime Bread

I don’t know why I never made popovers before; they’re so good and also easy to make!

It was my daughter who said that to me recently, and I’m wondering who else has not made popovers for dinnertime?

They are whipped up in a matter of about 5 minutes. You simply mix and pour the batter into pans. They are then “POPPED” into the oven where they bake and POP UP in the pan in about 40 minutes. The outsides are crispy and the insides are moist and tender. They’re a great accompaniment to so many different kinds of meals!

Popovers

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon shortening or nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt 

Directions

Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1 Using 1/2 teaspoon shortening for each cup, grease the bottoms and sides of six 6-ounce custard cups or cups of a popover pan. (Or, lightly coat cups with cooking spray.) Place the custard cups on a 15x10x1-inch baking pan; set aside. Note: I use a regular muffin tin and it works great!
  • Step 2 In a medium bowl use a wire whisk or rotary beater to beat eggs, milk, and oil until combined. Add flour and salt; beat until smooth. Don’t overbeat. Just mix until everything is well combined.
  • Step 3 Fill the prepared cups half full with batter. Bake in a 400 degree F oven about 40 minutes or until very firm.
  • Step 4 Immediately after removing from oven, prick each popover to let steam escape. Turn off the oven. For crisper popovers, return popovers to oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until desired crispness is reached. Remove popovers from cups; serve immediately. Makes 6 popovers.

If I have leftovers, I put them into a 400 degree oven to warm them and crisp them back up again. It only takes about 5 – 7 minutes.

Are you one that has never tried popovers? I hope you’ll remedy that this week!

Appetizer · Easy recipe · Fast meal · Fish

Mock Sushi Appetizer

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It’s crazy how our taste buds “grow up” as we do, isn’t it? I feel like I’ve ventured out a whole lot more in recent years, enjoying more spice than I ever would have tolerated. My husband has definitely branched out in his food choices. He grew up on the basic meat and potatoes diet, and then he married a girl who loves to try new recipes each week! He’s been so accommodating and has willingly tried everything I put on the table.

One area we’ve both grown to appreciate is sushi – him even more so than me. I love the fish – I don’t always love the additions. Knowing his love for sushi, I decided to venture out and try an easy “sushi” kind of appetizer for our Valentine’s dinner. Wow! We both LOVED it!

This recipe is from one of my favorite food blogs – Skinny Taste. She calls this a Spicy California Shrimp Stack. It’s not wrapped in the sushi paper – instead, you pile each ingredient into a measuring cup, pack it in, then flip it over onto the plate. It’s then topped with a drizzle of soy sauce and Sriracha Mayo. If you don’t have Sriracha, don’t worry – I used hot sauce in its place and it was delicious!

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My stacks aren’t quite as pretty as hers, but my measuring cups aren’t straight sides – they’re sloped, so my are more like “domes” than stacks! It didn’t change the taste, and that’s all that matters!! Here’s the simple recipe and instructions I found on her site:

Spicy California Shrimp Stack – From Skinny Taste

  • 1 1/3 cups cooked brown rice – I usually always make extra and keep it in the freezer. So handy!
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 8 ounces cooked shrimp, peeled and tails removed
  • 1 cup diced cucumber, about 1 small
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup mashed avocado, about 1 medium
  • 4 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 4 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons mayonnaise – I used light mayo
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce – I used hot sauce

Directions:

  • Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and oil.  When rice is done, add rice vinegar and stir.  Evenly spread rice on a sheet pan to cool.
  • Cut shrimp into 1-inch cubes. In a small bowl, combine cucumber and chives. In another small bowl, combine mayonnaise and sriracha sauce.
  • Using a 1 cup dry measuring cup, layer ¼ cup cucumber, then 2 tablespoon of avocado, then ¼ of the shrimp, and 1/3 cup rice.
  •  Carefully turn the cup upside down to turn the stack out onto a plate, lightly tapping the bottom of the cup if necessary.  Sprinkle with Furikake and drizzle with 1 teaspoon soy sauce and sriracha mayonnaise.
  •  Repeat with remaining ingredients.

This was a great appetizer, but would be a wonderful lunch, too! I’m still dreaming about the way it tasted with that spicy mayo on top. Mmmm. I can’t wait to make it again!

Are you a sushi eater? If you like shrimp cocktail, I think you’ll love this recipe!

What food do you eat today that you wouldn’t have eaten in years past?