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Category Archives: Lunch

Foodie Friday: Chickpea Salad With Capers and Roasted Red Peppers

Like I mentioned earlier this week, Josh and I have fallen in love with cooking our own chickpeas and using them as a base for our lunches. When I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen I knew it’d be perfect for us to make. I made a few adjustments (mainly leaving out all of the parsley. Bleh) and think the results turned out to be pretty fantastic!

Another great thing about this recipe is how long it lasts. I made ours on Sunday, and my leftovers today will be every bit as good, if not better, than it was when I first made it.

Obviously you can make this with canned chickpeas and buy pre-roasted red peppers, but making it from scratch will result in a tastier and less expensive final product. If you’re going to use canned chickpeas, I’d say use 3-4 cans.

Also, I wound up doing a quick roasting of the garlic cloves in a dry skillet before mixing into the dressing (skin on, over medium heat, until the skin on all sides turns golden brown). Josh doesn’t love to eat a lot of raw garlic at work.

Chickpea Salad With Capers and Roasted Red Peppers (original)

  • 1 lb dried chickpeas, cooked and drained
  • 2 large bell peppers, roasted, skinned, and chopped (how to here)
  • 4 tbsp capers, drained, rinsed, and chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt (more to taste after mixing)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Combine the chickpeas and chopped bell peppers in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, mix together all the remaining ingredients. Pour over chickpea mixture and toss well. Taste and season accordingly. Try not to eat the whole bowl while adjusting.

Foodie Friday: Curried Chicken Salad

We love curry. A lot. In fact, Josh’s favorite comfort meal that I make for him is full of curry, so I decided to work some into our lunch rotation.

I used the Barefoot Contessa’s Curried Chicken Salad as my starting point, then adjusted a lot of the add-ins to suit our tastes and my weird dislike of random things (celery and raisins? No thank you) and Josh’s nut allergy (cashews are a big deal breaker).

I packaged it into serving sized containers for us, then had both pita bread and lettuce cups as choices to take along. The winner, hands down? The lettuce cups. While we agreed that the pita made it more filling, the lettuce cups just added a really nice brightness and crunch to it. Lesson learned.

Curried Chicken Salad

  • 2 chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
  • 4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on 
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise (Get the good stuff. I used Hellman’s)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup mango jam/jelly (you could use a chutney, but my store didn’t have any)
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups red grapes, quartered

Preheat oven to 350 degress. Drizzle chicken with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 35-40 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Combine mayonnaise, white wine, mango jam, and curry powder in food processor until well mixed and smooth. Prep your apple and grapes. 

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and discard. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and put in a bowl with the apple and grapes. Pour about half of the dressing in and stire well. Keep adding until it reaches desired consistency. Let it sit in the fridge for at least a few hours for the flavors to really combine. It gets better every day.

Serve with lettuce wraps.

Foodie Friday: Spring Green Orzo

The great lunch challenge has been a success so far (with one minor misstep), and we’re learning what we like as we go. We’ve found that our favorite lunches, the ones that even at the end of the week we’re still excited to eat, have been orzo salads with citrus based dressing. This is great for many reasons, one of which being that it’s really easy to fill them with a lot of vegetables, and no meat. Now, we seriously love meat, BUT we don’t need to eat as much as we do, so making tasty and filling lunches without them gets us at least 5  more meals a week each that are meatless. Not too shabby.

This salad is perfect, full of different textures and flavors. I grilled the asparagus on a grill pan for some nice subtle smokiness, but sauteeing it in a skillet would be fine.
I really meant to take a picture of this, but I was too hungry.

Spring Green Orzo

  • 1 pound orzo
  • 1 good sized bunch asparagus spears
  • 8 oz fresh spinach
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Dressing

  • 6 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook orzo to al dente in well salted water. Drain, drizzle liberally with olive oil, and spread out on a sheet pan to cool (I typically try to stir mine around every 5-10 minutes or so, otherwise it gets a little clumpy).

While the orzo is cooling, pour the frozen peas into a bowl of warm water, and set aside to thaw.

Trim the tought ends off of your asparagus. Heat your grill pan ( a cast iron skillet would work too) and then cook your aspargus in batches. You want it in a single layer so you can get some nice scorch marks. Cook to your texture preference, rotating spears often. I think I did about 5 minutes a batch, so it still had a little crunch. Remove from pan and cut into 1 inch pieces. Set aside.

Drizzle some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. You could use a flavored oil here (I had some lemon olive oil), but it’s really not necessary. Saute your spinach until wilted. Remove from pan with tongs or a slotted spoon to let the water drain out. Set aside.

Place all of the ingredients for the dressing in a food processor and blitz thoroughly. Taste, and add enough salt that it becomes a little saltier than you would normally have it. This is the only seasoning for the pasta and vegetables, so the salt is key.

Combine the cooled pasta and vegetables in a big bowl and pour about 2/3 of the dressing on. Mix thoroughly, and then taste. Add more dressing if desired.

Enjoy!

 

Foodie Friday: Orzo Salad

I have a really, really bad habit. I buy my lunch every day during the week. Which means I spend a lot of stupid money that I don’t need to. While some of the meals I eat aren’t too bad, others, like my Chick-fil-a addiction (they know me by name) aren’t so great.

The main reason I do this is because I really just need to get out of the office for that hour. I pick up my lunch and sit in my car and (nerd alert) read my Kindle and it makes me happy.

I’m hoping to start making large amounts of things on Sunday that I can pack up and eat 3 to 4 times through the week (Chick-fil-a will so still be happening sometimes), and this easy and yummy orzo salad is one of them. I might add some tuna to it for some protein, but the recipe is perfectly tasty as is.

Orzo Salad (I think it’s a Giada recipe originally)

  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (sometimes I leave this out. Those suckers are not cheap)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook the orzo until al dente. Drain it, and then spread it out on a large sheet pan. Drizzle with 3 tbsp olive oil, stir gently, and set aside to cool.

Once the orzo is cool, transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently to combine. Season to taste. I often add more lemon juice, but it’s a personal preference.

Perfect for a picnic, as a side, or as something to allow your mornings to remain a little lazy during the week.

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