Category Archives: Lunch

Barley with Brussels Sprouts & Edamame

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After a weekend of indulgences, I could feel my body craving some real, whole foods. The cookbook Clean Slate from the editors of Martha Stewart Living has become our clean eating go-to when we feel like we need to hit the reset button in the kitchen. All of the recipes we’ve tried have been delicious, easy to execute, and because it’s clean eating, the number of ingredients is always minimal. I even enjoyed the recipes we made during our cleanse earlier this year, I just got sick of eating carrot & dill soup 3 days in a row. We made this Barley with Brussels Sprouts & Edamame  for dinner last night and I’ll be eating it for lunch today. It’s light but still filling, which is perfect for today’s 90-degree temps. It’s also easy enough that I was able make the entire dish while chatting on the phone with a friend! Now that’s a double whammy.

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Barley with Brussels Sprouts & Edamame adapted from Clean Slate

Serves 4

Ingredients:

16 oz quick-cooking barley (I used this one from Trader Joe’s)

12 oz frozen shelled edamame

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled & minced

1 lb Brussels sprouts, stems removed and roughly chopped

12 oz baby spinach

crushed red pepper flakes

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the barley and cook about 15 minutes until tender. Add the edamame to the pot in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until just fragrant, about a minute. Add the Brussels sprouts and saute until just caramelized and tender, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the remaining tbsp oil to the pan and add in the spinach. Toss until wilted. Add in the barley and stir until combined. Season with salt and crushed red pepper flakes.

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Soba Noodle Salad with Chicken & Chili Oil

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: lunch is my least favorite meal of the day. Typical lunch foods – sandwiches, salads, soups – get boring fast and even though I’ll try to bring my own salad to work, they are never as satisfying as those you can get at a restaurant. What works best for me is to treat lunch like another dinner and not limit myself to another blah salad. Granted bringing leftover fish that you need to heat up in the office microwave is probably not the way to go, but by bringing for lunch what you would usually have for dinner opens up so many other options and gives me something to look forward to at lunch time. Like this Soba Noodle Salad – even though it has the word  “salad” in there, do not be fooled, I could and would eat this for dinner, lunch, or breakfast. It’s so flavorful and holds up well so you won’t be chomping on soggy lettuce. Though still easy to make, it does take a little more time to prep, so I would make this on a Sunday afternoon to eat throughout the week – the longer it sits, the more the flavors come together!

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Soba Noodle Salad with Chicken and Chili Oil adapted from How Sweet It Is

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

chili oil
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 star anise pods
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1/2 cup vegetable oil

soba salad
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces soba noodles
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
5 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup freshly torn cilantro leaves

chili oil
1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Cook until the garlic and green onions begin to brown, then remove from heat and let cool completely. This can be stored in the fridge and made a few days ahead of time.

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1. Season the chicken with the brown sugar, salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Add the chicken and sear until golden brown on all sides. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Cook the soba noodles as directed. When finished cooking, rinse the noodles under cold water and add them to a large bowl.

3. Toss with the soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and sesame oil. Add in the chicken, cucumber, radish and cilantro, tossing well. Serve with drizzles of the chili oil.

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BBQ Chicken Salad

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Woohoo Pats!! I can’t pretend that I’m some big football fanatic, but even I enjoyed the Super Bowl last night (and I don’t just mean Katy Perry’s humungous lion and the dancing sharks). Whether you’re hungover, sick from too much buffalo sauce (I did get my buffalo chicken dip after all!), or just not looking forward to work on this yucky Monday, this BBQ Chicken Salad is a relatively healthy, bright, and crunchy start to the week – and a good way to clean out your fridge of Super Bowl Leftovers.

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BBQ Chicken Salad

Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

1 lb chicken breasts

1/4 cup BBQ sauce

3 heads romaine lettuce, chopped

1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

1/2 small red onion, diced

1 can corn, drained

1 can black beans, drained

shredded cheddar cheese

crushed tortilla chips

ranch dressing

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Season chicken with salt & pepper on both sides, then brush with BBQ sauce. Place on baking sheet and roasted for about 25 minutes until cooked through. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut into cubes.

2. To assemble the salad, layer romaine, tomatoes, onion, black beans, corn, and chicken. Sprinkle with cheese and crushed tortilla chips. Drizzle with ranch dressing and some extra BBQ sauce on top.

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Thai Quinoa Bowls

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Oh, Monday. Couldn’t you have let the weekend last just a liiittle longer? I had a great weekend – complete with blackberry gin fizzes (recipe to come soon!), Christmas shopping (might have picked up a few of these festive votives for myself too), seriously rich truffle mushroom agnolotti at the adorable White Dog Cafe in Philly (I highly recommend it!), and lots of old school Christmas carols – which is why I’m sad it’s already over. However, after lots of indulging this weekend, I am ready to eat something with a little more nutritional value and a little less…butter. Enter these Thai Quinoa Bowls. Inspired by a recipe I came across on the blog Iowa Girl Eats, these quinoa bowls are seriously good, so full of flavor, and a welcome departure from all of the creamy sauces and Christmas cookies as of late. Make these for lunch this week and save room for extra cookies and eggnog next weekend!

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Thai Quinoa Bowls

Ingredients:

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups light coconut milk

2 cups quinoa

1 bag frozen edamame, corn, & peppers (or just frozen edamame), thawed

2 cups frozen pineapple, thawed

1 can mandarin oranges, drained

1/2 cup roasted & unsalted peanuts, crushed

2 tbsp cilantro, chopped

1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

1/3 cup toasted sesame oil

juice of 2 limes

1 1/2 tbsp honey

pinch of ground ginger

1. Add broth and coconut milk to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, add quinoa, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy, about 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, honey, and ground ginger. Add the vegetables, pineapple, mandarin oranges, peanuts, and cilantro. Toss in the cooked quinoa. Top with more peanuts and cilantro if desired.

Buffalo Chicken Chili

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Welcome back! I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend. I know I did. Mine was filled with a whole lot of nothing: sweatpants, too many desserts, finally watching Frozen, and improvising lyrics to this epic Shia LaBeouf song. Just as a Thanksgiving weekend should be. It’s back to the grind today, but to ease us all back into the kitchen after everyone’s cooking and/or eating marathon, I’m sharing this recipe for a super simple, quick, and healthy Buffalo Chicken Chili. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you probably know I have a major sweet spot for anything buffalo-flavored, so this recipe was just another way to sneak in one of my favorite spicy ingredients. With just a few ingredients, yet still filling enough to wean our stretched-out stomachs backs to a normal size, this Buffalo Chicken Chili is a warm and welcome departure from Thanksgiving leftovers.

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Buffalo Chicken Chili adapted from Skinnytaste

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled & chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tbsp paprika

1/2 tbsp cumin

1/2 tbsp chili powder

1 lb ground chicken (or turkey)

1 16-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 16-oz can refried pinto beans

3/4 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup water

6 tbsp Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Sauce

sour cream (optional)

shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

chopped cilantro (optional)

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, spices, and a pinch of salt & pepper. Cook until vegetables are just softened, about 8 minutes.

2. Make a hole in veggies the center of the pot and add the ground chicken. Cook, breaking up with the back of a spoon, until no longer pink, about 8-10 minutes.

3. Add both beans, broth, and water to the pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Stir in the buffalo sauce and cook for 5 minutes more. Season with salt & pepper as needed.

6. Top with sour cream, cheese, chopped cilantro, and a drizzle of extra buffalo sauce if desired!

Turkey Sausage & Kale Quinoa Skillet

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This weekend was one of those epic fall weekends. A beautiful, chilly run through nearby Mercer Meadows,  a day trip to charming Lambertville and New Hope where we enjoyed wine by a cozy fire, and a fantastic dinner at Agricola in Princeton capped off with a massive chocolate cake with black pepper icing. I could not have asked for a more full and satisfying weekend. As much as I wish this could continue for days, I also felt like this weekend totally recharged my batteries and has me ready to take on the week. And this seasonally appropriate Turkey Sausage & Kale Quinoa Skillet will have you ready to take on the week too. Easy and quick to make, and super filling and healthy, pack this for lunch and you’ll be powering through until the next epic fall weekend rolls around.

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Turkey Sausage & Kale Quinoa Skillet

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

12 oz turkey cranberry apple sausage, sliced (find it at Trader Joe’s!)

8 oz kale, roughly chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped

2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup apple cider

1 cup quinoa

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup pepitas

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, kale, shallot, and sage. Cook until the sausage starts to brown and kale begins to wilt.

2. Add the chicken broth and cider to the skillet and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa and stir. When it comes back to a boil, turn down the heat to low and cover the skillet. Cook for about 25 minutes until the quinoa is tender and all of the liquid is absorbed.

3. Add the cranberries and pepitas to the skillet. Let sit another 5 minutes to rehydrate the cranberries. Enjoy warm or cold for lunch the next day!

Autumn Chopped Salad

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Hello, Fall! It is feeling quite brisk in NJ this morning and I love it. I live for this kind of weather. My inner New Englander just wants to wear plaid and sweaters and L.L. Bean duck boots by a fire in a log cabin. This kind of weather also makes me crave comfort foods, which makes working in a cheese shop where I’m surrounded by mac & cheese and grilled cheese all day quite dangerous. So, in an effort to savor some of my favorite fall flavors in a lighter way, I recreated this Autumn Chopped Salad from the blog Iowa Girl Eats. It’s quick and easy to make for a weekday lunch, but still tasty and filling to power you through these chilly days. Now dig in (hopefully by a fire in duck boots)!

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Autumn Chopped Salad adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients:

1 lb chicken breasts

1 tbsp olive oil

dried thyme

dried parsley flakes

8 strips bacon

3 heads romaine & red leaf lettuces, chopped

1 honey crisp apple, cored and small diced

1 pear, cored and small diced

1/4 cup dry roasted almonds, roughly chopped

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup crumbled feta

1/2 cup Briana’s Poppy Seed Dressing

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken breasts in a glass baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with dried thyme, parsley flakes, salt, and pepper. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the bacon strips  on the baking sheet. Put the chicken and bacon in the oven. Cook the bacon for about 15 minutes, remove from the oven, and place on paper towels to drain. At this time, flip the chicken and cook for about 10 minutes more (25-30 minutes total cooking time). Once the bacon and chicken is cool enough to handle, chop into smallish pieces.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the poppy seed dressing and balsamic vinegar.

3. In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, apples, pear, chicken, bacon, cranberries, nuts, and feta with the dressing. If making for lunch throughout the week, mix together all of the ingredients without the dressing and bring the dressing with your lunch in a separate container.