Eggs & Avo “Everything” Sandwich

Avo toast is all the rage lately. Quite frankly it’s delicious if done properly. That means 1) finding ripe avocados and then 2) adding some flavor to make it stand out–whether with salt & cayenne pepper or my new favorite “everything but bagel” seasoning from Trader Joes. I love making breakfast and have come up with so many ways to combine eggs & avocado which go together so perfectly. The creaminess of the avocado acts like a cheese but it’s a tad bit better for you. The only thing this sandwich is missing is bacon–which I encourage adding if you have the time in the morning. This recipe is my quick n healthy before work go-to.

(PS- when picking out an avocado, make sure it’s firm but gives a little. It shouldn’t be like mush and it shouldn’t feel like a baseball. It’s the happy medium. Then, pick the little stem off. If it’s green behind there, then it’s green inside. If you see any brown then put it down!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg (scrambled, poached or fried- chef’s choice. )
  • 1/2 of a small avocado
  • Beautiful red juicy tomato, sliced
  • Toast (I used whole wheat english muffin)
  • Everything but bagel seasoning (pictured below)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Optional Addition: add cayenne pepper or your favorite hot sauce to kick it up a notch

Directions:

So this can’t be much easier… slice your tomatoes, mash your avocado, cook your egg, sprinkle with seasoning and put it all together on toasted bread.

Photos and tips below….

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In the summer, we grow tomatoes and it’s worth every minute of labor and the daily watering. There’s nothing better then picking a fresh tomato, cutting it like an apple and sprinkling some kosher salt on it. YUM! But I digress. If you have a juicy red tomato laying around, add this to your avo toast.

I do suggest adding kosher salt directly to the tomato slice in addition to the seasoning blend but that’s just because of my crazy obsession with kosher salt.

Start with the avocado. Put it on your toasted bread and mash with a fork. Add a layer of seasoning. If you’re making a sandwich I do recommend splitting the avocado mesh between both slices of bread so it’s on both sides of your sandwich.

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Add tomatoes and another layer of seasoning (plus the optional sprinkle of salt)

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Add your scrambled (pictured below), fried or poached egg and sprinkle one more layer of seasoning. Top with another piece of toast and take a bite. You can also make this open faced and eat it with a fork and knife if you’re watching those carbs.

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If you’re in a rush, skip the tomato and the egg!

Cherry tomatoes work too 🙂

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Sausage & Pepper Grinders

Sausage and peppers is an Italian classic. It’s easy to make and can be a meal on it’s own or on fresh Italian bread for a delicious sandwich. The catch is that this meal is all about getting the right ingredients. Go to an Italian deli and get their store made sausage, mozzarella and fresh baked bread. The ingredients will make the difference in an average grinder and one that blows you away. This sandwich we made last Sunday night was incredible and the two of us ate two of these…


Ingredients:

  • 3 small hot Italian sausage links and 3 sweet links (or whatever combination you prefer) fresh made at a deli
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1-2 sliced garlic cloves (this is optional)
  • Olive oil for sautéing
  • 2 fresh baked Italian grinders
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh sliced mozzarella cheese
  • 1 can diced San Marzano tomatoes
  • Salt & pepper

Directions:

  • Turn your pan on med/high heat and brown your sausages, then remove from pan.
  •  Add olive oil and sliced onions & garlic to pan and sautee until start to brown. 

  • Add your peppers and let them cook down for several minutes. Then add your diced tomatoes, salt, pepper and basil. Bring them up to a simmer and add sausage.
  • Cover the pan with a cracked lid and let cook through and let the favors meld. Roughly 15-20 minutes. You really can’t over cook this dish.
  • Cut your sausages length wise in half so you can place them flat on the bread. Then add the toppings and fresh sliced cheese.     
  • Put in the oven on broil until the bread is toasted and the mozzarella is melted. Then enjoy a truly amazing sandwich. 

A note on leftovers… We had leftover peppers and onions in the sauce but no sausage. The next night I boiled some pasta, tossed it in the sauce, topped with some fresh parm and you have yourself another meal. You can also add some seared chicken or white beans for some protein 🙂  You can’t let that delicious sauce go to waste.

Make Your Own BLT Bar

Sometimes simple is better. When trying to decide what to make for a girls lunch last weekend we decided BLT’s were the perfect pool side treat! The key when making something so simple is having the freshest and best ingredients. When you set up your bar make sure you put it in logical order so your sandwich comes together perfectly! Our set up started with: Bread- Mayo- Avocado- Bacon- Tomatoes- Lettuce

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Ingredients:

  • Farm fresh juicy tomatoes cut in 1/4” slices
  • Iceberg lettuce, washed and dried and placed in the fridge to get cold and crisp

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  • Bacon – we provided two kinds. Whole Foods sells a black pepper crusted bacon that adds an extra somethin to your sandwich. We also provided traditional plain bacon. You can certainly fry the bacon but since it was a hot summer day and we wanted to enjoy time at the pool, we placed the bacon on baking sheets lined with cooling racks so the grease could drip through. 20 minutes at 400 will get you crispy bacon. When you take it off the racks, place the bacon on paper downs to cut down on excess grease.

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  • Mayo- we offered light/reduced fat and real
  • Avocado- a good substitute for mayo or addition to in my opinion
  • Bread- a fresh sliced whole wheat loaf and white bread for the traditionalists in the fam

Plate it in order on a table and go to town. Bite into that juicy, crunchy and salty sandwich!

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French Toast Sandwich with Sauteed Bananas and Peanut Butter

This Saturday morning when I walked into the kitchen I saw bananas and bread. I got inspired to do something different. I’m more of an egg and cheese sandwich kind of girl but Kyle loves peanut butter and french toast so I got to experimenting. This was super easy to make and a nice weekend morning treat! If you have a sweet tooth like Kyle, I recommend drizzling some maple syrup on top and using a fork and knife instead.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of bread
  • 1 banana
  • Peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • Dash of vanilla
  • Dash of cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Milk or half and half
  • Butter for sauteing
  • Sugar in the raw
  • Maple syrup (optional)

Instructions:

In a shallow bowl add egg, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well with a fork. Place your bread in the bowl and soak until all the mixture is gone.

Cut your banana into slices and sprinkle with a bit of sugar.

On a hot flat pan add some butter. Place your two pieces of bread in the middle and the bananas on the outside edges.

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When the bread is nice and browned, it is ready to flip. Same goes for the banana. The banana will be ready first so take those off after you see the nice crust develop.

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Cut the bread in half, add peanut butter and banana slices. Take a bite and enjoy!

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Mom’s Perfectly Crispy Chicken Cutlets

Growing up chicken cutlets were a delicious treat for dinner in our house as mom didn’t fry many things. This year for her birthday, Mom had a craving so we made her perfect chicken cutlets and served them in the perfect chicken cutlet sandwich.

You can use this chicken to make chicken parmesan, you can throw it on a sandwich of your choosing, or you can have it on a plate with a side of your favorite veggies and pasta. It pairs quite nicely with pasta and broccoli. If you really wanted to splurge I recommend a heaping side of mac n cheese or fettuccine alfredo.

We always make plenty extra of this dish because however you eat it that night, you’ll want to try it a different way the next day.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken tenders cut into single pieces and pounded if needed
  • Flour
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (we add fresh chopped parsley and fresh grated parmesan cheese)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Milk (low-fat or 1% is what we use)
  • Extra virgin olive oil/vegetable oil 

Directions:

  • Wash and prepare your chicken. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Set up paper bags with paper towels on them to help drain the grease from your chicken.
  • Add 2 eggs to a large bowl and about 1/2 cup of milk. Whisk together well to create an egg wash to dip your chicken in. Add salt and pepper. 

  • In another bowl pour your bread crumbs and add a little flour.
  • Turn your pan on medium high to get the oil ready.
  • Dip your chicken in the egg wash and then transfer to the bread crumbs. Don’t be afraid to really pack the bread crumbs on there pushing with your fingers or fork. Transfer to another plate to get ready for frying.


  • When the oil begins to roll place one piece of chicken in and make sure it makes a sizzling sound. Depending on how thick your chicken is you will cook it about 4 minutes per side. The bread crumbs should get a deep golden brown color. If you see a thick white foam come out of the side of your chicken it means its ready (if you see a runny white liquid that means your chicken is still raw).

  • When your chicken is cooked, place it on the paper towels to suck up some of the oil. Then put in a large baking dish to keep warm with the others.

  • We served the chicken with fresh Italian bread, chopped lettuce, and mayo mixed with hot cherry pepper spread. That’s all you need! **Here’s a tip. Get a head of iceberg lettuce, wash it, dry it and then chop it up fine. Place it in a bowl with a paper towel on top in the fridge. When you get it out later, it will be nice and crunchy for your sandwich! Deeelicious.


Chicken parm and spaghetti!

Adult Grilled Cheese

They call it grilled cheese for a reason. Trust me. It should be made on a grill.

My sister came over to eat dinner with us on a beautiful Friday night and we decided to grill on the back deck. After debating several options we thought it would be fun to make adult versions of the childhood classic grilled cheese. There is little I enjoy more than the combination of bread, butter and cheese and with probably a million options of topping combinations it wasn’t easy picking the finalist. In the end a few favorite Italian staples won out: pancetta, pesto with gruyere and tellegio cheeses. Wow. Enjoy a crunchy, cheesy, salty and savory dinner, with your vegetable protein and starch, all between two slices of bread.

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INGREDIENTS:
Pesto
-basil (about 1 cup)
-spinach
-arugula
-1/2 avocado
-1 or 2 cloves garlic
-parmesan cheese
-olive oil
-salt & pepper

Sandwich

Crusty Italian bread, sliced (Don’t underestimate the importance in picking out good fresh bread that is sturdy enough to hold the sandwich. It’s critical to the success of your grilled cheese)
-Gruyere cheese
-Tellegio Cheese
-Pancetta, sliced thin and sautéed until crisp
-Butter

INSTRUCTIONS:

Spread butter on the front and back of each piece of bread. I recommend a butter with olive oil in it for easy spreading and extra flavor. If you only have regular butter just set it out before using so it softens a bit.

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In a blender add basil, arugula, spinach (or whatever combo you have/prefer), olive oil, salt & pepper and parmesan cheese. Blend together. Add half an avocado for extra creaminess and blend again for a few seconds until combined.
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Spread the pesto on the bread.
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The first layer should be the cheeses and then add the pancetta. Top with more cheese and close the sandwich.
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Turn your grill on and get it nice and hot. Place your sandwiches directly on the grill (the butter will prevent sticking). Cook for 90 seconds and then move each sandwich to get the x marks from the grill. Cook for another 90 seconds. Flip and repeat. Make sure to use your spatula and push down on each sandwich to help it meld together. Turn the heat on low and cook until cheese is melted.

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Grillin outside on a beautiful night, drinks in hand=perfect.

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Cut in half and serve.

What’s better than this?

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Carolina Style Pulled Pork in the Crock Pot

I am not from the south, I don’t have a smoker on the back deck of my 3rd story condo, and I can’t say I’ve ever bought a pork butt before.  So, I’m not going to try to pretend like this is the best pulled pork anyone from the south (or New England for that matter) will ever make or eat.  However, this city girl did get a crock pot for my birthday last week and I learned about this fantastic product called “Liquid Smoke”, and I will say the two together produced a respectable pulled pork sandwich that was tender and juicy.

Please note this recipe is for Carolina-style BBQ sauce, which is vinegar based.  So don’t get your hopes up for that dark red, thick, BBQ sauce because well, I’m not a fan.

Since I’ve never made pulled pork before I did some googling and I combined some of the ideas I got from reading many different recipes but my main inspiration came from here.  I will say for those of you who like spice and heat (like me) this had very little.  Next time I think I would add some hot sauce to the mixture for an extra zing.

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet onion, quartered
  • 4 T brown sugar
  • 1/3 c red wine vinegar
  • 1 4lb pork butt
  • 1 T liquid smoke  
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ t crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 T mustard (I used Trader Joes whole grain mustard because I didn’t have the powder)
  • Garlic powder for seasoning
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Paprika
  • Fresh cracked sea salt and black pepper

Instructions

  • I bought a pork butt from Whole Foods and was surprised at how inexpensive it is. After opening it up, I opted to trim a lot of the fat off simply because I don’t like fatty meat. Either way, be sure to pat it dry before adding the rub.
  • Blend brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper and rub over the entire roast. Place in the fridge over night if possible.
  • Combine vinegar, worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar, mustard, garlic and cayenne pepper and mix well. Place in a bowl and refrigerate over night or for at least a few hours so the flavors get a chance to marry.
  • When you are ready, put your crock pot on low heat and set for 9 hours. Put onions in bottom of crock pot.
  • Place roast in crock pot on top of the onions. Drizzle liquid smoke over roast.
  • Drizzle about 1/3 of liquid vinegar mixture over roast. Cover and refrigerate remaining mixture for later.
  • Cook roast on low for 8-10 hours. I cooked my 4 lb roast from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and put it on warm for about 30 minutes because I could see it was already falling apart.
  • When ready to eat, remove meat and onions from the pot and shred the meat in a bowl.  Reserve the onions separately for a topping on your sandwich. Though sweet, I thought they were soggy and unappealing but some of my guests quite enjoyed them.
  • Add juice from the fridge to the crock pot and put on high until the liquid becomes warm. Using a cheese cloth or a tight strainer, strain the juice so to remove the extra mustard seed and pork fat.  Add a few spoonfuls of liquid to the bowl of pulled pork and reserve the rest to place on the table.
  • Serve plain, over beans and rice  or like we did, on a fresh roll topped with delicious cole slaw, a side of black beans and chips with guacamole on the side.

Note: If you have a lot of leftover liquid like I did, you can pour the liquid in ice cube trays and add them in sauces or other meat dishes you make later on!

Portobello Mushroom Sandwich

When I saw a package of large and perfect portobello mushrooms in the grocery store this morning, I had to buy them. Immediately I thought about a pesto mayo on a delicious fresh bun.  A big juicy grilled portobello can be just as delicious as a burger if you do it right.  This sandwich is tender, crunchy and packed with flavor from the cheese and pesto & red pepper mayo!

To all my meat-eaters out there, don’t doubt me. Give it a try, you won’t regret it.  Beef burgers are hardly ever as tender as this mushroom burger!

 Ingredients: (for two sandwiches)

  • 2 large Portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 red onion, cut in thick slices for the grill
  • 2 focaccia rolls (My grocery store was out of their multi-grain buns, use whatever bread you want- as long as its fresh)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbsp gorgonzola cheese (goat cheese would also be good!)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Few leaves of lettuce

For the Mayo:

  • 2 tbsp light mayo
  • Olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh parsley
  • A few fresh chives
  • Roasted red peppers (from a jar)
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

  1. Marinate your mushrooms in balsamic vinegar, oil, salt & pepper for about 15 minutes. Turn on your grill or grill pan!
  2. In a small food processor add olive oil, basil, garlic, parsley, chives, roasted red peppers, salt & pepper.  Blend all ingredients together.  Remove and mix together with mayo.  Set aside.
  3. Put your mushrooms and red onion on the grill.  Grill on each side for a few minutes.  You want the nice grill marks like you would get on a burger.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  4. Slice your rolls in half and put in the toaster.  About half way through add the cheese so it melts nicely to the bread.  When it comes out you can add the pesto to the other half. Lay a bead of lettuce down and get ready for the mushroom! 
  5. Add your mushroom and onion to the burger.   

Eat up and enjoy!!

Italian Combo

There’s a lot of different ways to make an Italian Combo.  Personally, I think the best one ever made is at Jersey Mike’s (now Mikee’s Place) in Southbury, CT.   You have to get everything on it and add hot peppers and bacon.  It’s the ultimate sandwich mostly because their bread is fresh and delicious.  Remember, the key to a perfect sandwich is the perfect bread.

Kyle requested an Italian Combo before the big Jets game so I put my own version together and it was pretty delicious!

 

The dressing:  I bought roasted peppers (in the jar) and blended them with some balsamic vinegar and a touch of olive oil.  I spread that on both sides of the bread which is a fresh multi-grain I picked up at Trader Joe’s this morning.

I put some peppered salami, prosciutto, a smoked chorizo that was delicious with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and arugula.  The combination all together was perfect!

Use your own meats or go vegetarian.  As I was eating it I thought, I could have done with out the meats for a healthier and less salty sandwich.  The roasted pepper sauce with mozzarella, tomatoes and the sweet arugula- bene!  Grab that glass of water because you’re going to need it after this feast.