Beyond Dinner: The Homemade “Bodega” Egg Sandwich

Now that we’ve tempted you with delicious desserts and upped your cocktail-mixing game, we’d like to introduce you to our breakfast series. Good morning.

All week, we’re with you at dinner. But on weekend mornings, when time seems to slow down and bacon is an important ingredient in whatever you decide to eat. On those Saturdays and Sundays, why not take a moment to prepare a great breakfast at home? Our homemade bodega-style egg sandwich uses just a few ingredients and takes 10 minutes to make.

Here’s what you’ll need for each sandwich: a spoonful each of mustard and mayo, a challah or brioche roll, an egg, half an avocado, and some slices of cheddar cheese.

First, prep your ingredients: cut open your avocado and slice up half of it (here’s how). Pull out some cheddar cheese. Heat a little olive oil or butter in a frying pan, over medium-high heat. Lightly toast your bun. Crack the egg into the frying pan and cook until yolk is set to your liking, flipping once if over-easy is your thing.

What’s your favorite weekend breakfast? Tell us in the comments!

Dinner Ideas: Tastiest Grilled Cheese Fillings

The perfect grilled cheese sandwich doesn’t need to contain anything other than cheese, bread, and butter. But that doesn’t mean you can’t branch out far beyond the cheddar.

Read more: 10 Tricks for the Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Some of our favorite kitchen creations have been grilled cheese sandwiches that feature tasty add-ins, from pesto to olives to tomatoes. Read on for fresh, cheesy inspiration!

1. Spinach-Basil Pesto

Spread it on one slice of bread before piling on the cheese. Fresh mozzarella and smoked mozzarella pair with pesto beautifully. 

2. Olive Tapenade

Because pungent olives are the best match for gooey tallegio.

3. Tomato, Onion, Rocket, and Fontina

Why not add vegetables to the indulgent sandwich? This summery version has tomatoes, onions, and greens, but you could use anything that fits.

4. Pizza Filling

If tomatoes, parm, and mozzarella don’t belong inside a sandwich, then we don’t want to be right. Add pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, meatballs–or any of your favorite pizza toppings.

5. Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese

Sweet, jammy caramelized onions make every bite of your grilled cheese taste like French onion soup. Therefore, use Swiss cheese or gruyere as your cheese here.

This post is part of Food Network’s Comfort Food Feast. See everyone else’s grilled cheese posts below:

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Lighted Up Croque Monsieur Grilled Cheese
Weelicious: Grilled Cheese and Pickle Panini
Devour: Kelsey’s Decadent Grilled Cheese
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Inside Out Grilled Strawberry and Cheese Sandwiches
Daily*Dishin: Grilled Pimento Cheese with Instant Pickles
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Pork Stew in Port Wine Sauce with Grilled Cheese Croutons
Red or Green: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Three Pepper Cheese, Grilled Onions and Pickled Jalapenos
Dishing With Divya: Egg and Mushroom Cheese Sandwich
Domesticate Me: Barbecue Chicken Grilled Cheese
Taste With The Eyes: Bulgogi Panino with Kimchi, Cheddar and Ssamjang Mayo
Virtually Homemade: Creamy Roasted Tomato and Basil Grilled Cheese with Bacon
The Sensitive Epicure: Grilled Cheddar Cheese Sandwich with Apple, Walnuts and Thyme (Gluten-Free)
FN Dish: 10 Grown-Up Grilled Cheeses

You Texans May Not Call It Chili, But a Bowl of This Is Really Good

Texans, turn away! These days, the definition of chili has passed far beyond a cowboy bowl of Texas red. In what many count as the original chili, there are no tomatoes! no beans! and no vegetables! Nope, if you want to impress a Lone Star State native, look no further than dried chilies, chopped meat, and garlic–that’s all that’s necessary for their bowl o’ meat.

But if you want to make a hearty, healthy stew for dinner, perhaps topped by rice or served beside cornbread, then look no further than an updated chili recipe, one that’s filled with nutritious ingredients like ground turkey, white beans and teff, or black beans and green peppers, smothered in tomato sauce and spiced with a generous hand.

May we remind you to garnish your chili with at least a few of the following: chopped avocado, grated cheddar, cilantro sprigs, and lime wedges?

Here are three ways we love to eat chili:

Turkey Chili

A classic rendition of chili con carne, this turkey-based chili features poblano peppers, ground cumin and coriander, and kidney beans.  Why? Well, in addition to the Texas style of chili, there are two other kinds, Springfield, and Cincinnati, and since we love all three versions, we adopted elements from each to make this awesome bowl.

White Bean & Escarole Chili

You were waiting for us to take chili to a crazy level of fusion, and in this hearty vegetarian version, we really did. First off, we added Egyptian teff, a tiny grain high in calcium and protein. Then we went and added plenty of chopped escarole, a green that grows creamy when cooked. And, finally, there are white beans, which are often found in green New Mexico-style chili.

Mushroom Chili

King Trumpet mushrooms, also called King Oyster, are the largest mushroom in the oyster mushroom species, and they’re the unique twist in this saucy vegetarian recipe. They deliver a burst of umami flavor and add heartiness to the chili. To add more flavor to the cornbread we serve beside the stew, we stirred in sautéed jalapeno peppers and cheddar cheese.

5 Main Course Salads for Post-Holiday Healthy Eating

While holiday eating is about indulgence, Thanksgiving dinner isn’t the only meal you’ll be eating this week, we hope. In your moments of free time between pie ingestion, you might give some thought to lighter meals, meals that won’t sit quite as heavy as turkey and stuffing, meals after which you might be able to take a walk or play a sport.

We’re talking here about salads. But these are not bare little side salads dressed with a drizzle vinegar and nothing else. We may be eating a bit more thoughtfully before and after a holiday meal, but we’re still eating!

So, let lettuce (or kale) be your base, and from there, let’s build out delicious, satisfying salads that nonetheless keep it light. Here are five favorites:

Kale Caesar Salad

Kale: trendy, as well as delicious, nutritious, and more filling than you’d expect. This salad really hits it out of the park with toppings like hazelnuts and soft-boiled eggs.

Roasted Carrot Salad with Candied Almonds, Fresh Figs, and Ricotta Salata

This one basically provides a formula for making sandwiches good. In other words, if you put in fruit, candied nuts, and cheese, we will always eat our greens.

Chopped Napa Cabbage Salad

Mild, sweet Napa cabbage is an incredible base for this salad that boldly pairs Asian pears with sweet potatoes and walnuts with blue cheese and ginger. Yum!

Snow Pea & Sweet Potato

This guy relies less on lettuce than a giant and delicious hodgepodge of vegetables. Because everything gets doused in homemade pesto, you can also throw in any Thanksgiving leftovers, if that’s your jam.

Chipotle Steak Salad

Chipotle is one of those ingredients that makes everything ten times better. Steak does that too. Together, they make this salad ridiculously good.

Mac ‘n Cheese, 4 Ways

Mac ‘n cheese: comfort food. On cold nights in fall and winter, a mac ‘n cheese craving is never far off.

If you’ve never strayed far from the blue box and the orange powder version of mac, you may be surprised by how simple the dish is to make at home. While a bowl of pasta, cheese, and creamy sauce will never fully count as health food, homemade mac doesn’t need to be a crazy indulgence either. We tweak ours with vegetables, interesting cheeses, and whole wheat pastas.

Nine times out of ten, the base for this creamy, comforting dish is a white sauce, or béchamel sauce, made from butter, flour, and low-fat milk. It is the most common of the five French “mother sauces.” Sauces derived from mother sauces by adding cheese or other ingredients are often called “daughter sauces.” Here are four delicious versions of those daughters in different iterations of mac ‘n cheese:

**Mac ‘n Cheese, 4 Ways**

Cauliflower Mac ‘n Cheese
This is what you get when you replace the pasta with vegetables completely. As in, crazily enough, there is no macaroni in this casserole dish. Before it bakes, the cauliflower should still be slightly crunchy, and the sauce just a little too thin. The magic really happens in the oven, when the sauce thickens, the cauliflower finishes cooking, and the crumbs become that irresistible, crunchy golden topping.
Get the recipe!

Butternut Mac ‘n Cheese
Here, whole wheat penne replaces the traditional little elbows, and the sauce is complemented by cubes of sweet, seasonal butternut squash. Since mac ‘n cheese can be somewhat uniform, texturally, we improve the mouthfeel factor by topping with crispy breadcrumbs, something you’ll notice we do quite often.
Get the recipe!

Cheesy Broccoli Rotini Casserole
Fall is broccoli season and the perfect time to make this tasty iteration, which uses whole grain rotini pasta, Danish Gouda cheese, and a crispy crumb topping. We highly recommend it as a way to enjoy broccoli. We couldn’t resist digging right in, but letting the casserole sit for a few minutes after baking helps it set to the perfect consistency.
Get the recipe!

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Ricotta and Zucchini
This dish uses a slightly different preparation. Instead of thickening milk with flour, as in a béchamel, here we pour ricotta and cream into a saucepan and cook them down until they’re a saucy consistency. Toss that with nutritious whole wheat pasta and chunks of sautéed zucchini, and you’ve created a heartwarming, satisfying dinner in almost no time.
Get the recipe!

Roadside Noodles with Bell Pepper, Tomato & Broccoli Rabe

When we brainstorm dinners you can make in 35 minutes or so, our thoughts often turn to the stir fry. In this traditional form of quick cooking, flavor develops as ingredients take a quick turn being cooked in a hot pan. Just like the inhabitants of Thailand, Vietnam, and parts of China, we could eat some sort of stir fry for practically every meal. The flavor variations are infinite, from shrimp fried rice to curry noodles with pork. Yet it’s our latest creation, these Roadside Noodles with Bell Pepper, Tomato & Broccoli Rabethat we want to tell you about today.

As with many stir fries, here we start with the aromatics, sautéing ginger, garlic, and lemongrass first. Not long after, we add onion and stir fry that with a freshly slivered red pepper (which, awesomely, is in season right now and therefore boasting extraordinary flavor). From there, we add as many vegetables as we can pack in, like tomatoes and broccoli rabe, and we finish off with some herbs, too.

We call them roadside noodles because they’re quite similar to the noodles that you’ll find served from a roadside stand almost anywhere in Southeast Asia.

If you’re inspired by our vegetarian stir fry situation, then it’s easy enough to follow the formula on a non-Blue Apron night. Set a pan over high heat – a skillet works just as well as a wok. Simply chop up garlic and ginger. Cook that in some oil, then add onions and any vegetables you like. Throw in cooked noodles–either rice noodles or wontons noodles, as we use here. Make a sauce by stirring together soy sauce and mirin (or sub in white wine), plus a little bit of sugar. Garnish with herbs or some peanuts. And that’s dinner!

You can get the full recipe for Roadside Noodles over in our cookbook here.

We’re happy to be participating in Food Network’s Summer Fest, a weekly blog tour of all the incredible produce we’ll be enjoying this summer. This week, the topic is peppers! You can see the other bloggers’ delicious sweet pea creations by following the links below.

The Heritage Cook: Poblano Pepper, Corn and Potato “Chowder” Salad
Dishing: Bell Peppers Chutney/ Capsicum Chutney
The Lemon Bowl: Red Pepper Salsa
Weelicious: Bell Pepper Egg Flowers
Dishin & Dishes: Chicken, Poblano, Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas
Domesticate Me: Brown Rice Jambalaya with Shrimp, Chicken Sausage and Bell Peppers
Taste With The Eyes: Cheeseburger Bloody Mary with Cherry Peppers and Pickles
Napa Farmhouse 1885:Italian Pork Chops with Peppers and Chiles on Buttered Egg Noodles
Red or Green: Green Chile Pork Stew
Devour: Stuffed Peppers 5 Ways
Chez Us: Grilled Eggplant and Carmen Pepper Pizza
Daily*Dishin: Marinated Peppers and Shrimp New Orleans Style
FN Dish: Sensational Stuffed Peppers

Avocado Toast with Goat Cheese

When people ask what we get most excited about, ingredient-wise, we’re tempted to talk their ears off about our favorite pasta shapes, the scent of summer tomatoes, or the irresistible herbiness of za’atar. We love food, all food.

Yet food is about making connections and starting conversations, too. And when we want to bond with the guy across from us, our answer is always avocado.

Avocado is as creamy as butter and as healthful as kale, especially if you’ve picked up a ripe avocado at the store.

In this Avocado Tartine recipe, we pair dark pumpernickel toast with creamy goat cheese, creamier avocado, and a chive garnish. This is the kind of meal we could eat at any time of day–every day. And if you talk to us at a party, you can bet we’ll mention it. Maybe twice.

We’re happy to be participating in Food Network’s Summer Fest, a weekly blog tour of all the incredible produce we’ll be enjoying this summer. This week, the topic is avocados! You can see the other bloggers’ delicious cucumber creations by following the links below.

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Smoked Avocado Tomato Salsa Guacamole
Weelicious: Avocado Honey Dip
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Avocado Green Goddess Dressing
Red or Green: Avocado and Cilantro Pesto with Whole Wheat Penne
Domesticate Me: Summer Salad with Avocado, Corn and Grilled Herb Shrimp
Dishin & Dishes: Creamy Avocado Citrus Dressing, No Cream, No Oil
The Heritage Cook: Summertime Vegetable Stuffed Avocados
And Love It Too: Sugar-Free Avocado Fudgesicles
Haute Apple Pie: Avocado BLT Egg Salad
Daily*Dishin: Colorful Sweet Pepper-Avocado Salsa
Devour: No-Cook Avocado, Shrimp and Mango Salad
Taste With The Eyes: Zucchini “Pappardelle” with Avocado “Cream”
FN Dish: 10 Audacious Guacamole Add-Ins

The Elements of Arepas

When we created these arepas, the scent of browning, spicy chorizo was wafting through our kitchen. We had just invented a vegetarian version of the South American corn cakes – these Queso and Pepper Arepas with Kale Salad – and were hurrying to make sure that the meat eaters didn’t miss out on this specialty, which hails from Colombia and Venezuela. That’s where the chorizo came in.

Along with the spicy sausage, our test kitchen smelled of corn, crisping up in our pan, and loads of peppers–both poblanos and red bell peppers–softening. Our stomachs growled.

Marc Bittman described arepas in the New York Times as “corn-based English muffins.” Like English muffins, arepas are stuffed–make that overstuffed–with any filling you desire. Hence the cheese and peppers, then the chorizo.

Their affiliation with sandwiches is the end of that similarity, in our opinion. Arepas are made with a quick-cooking corn flour called masarepa, so they’re naturally gluten free. The masarepa absorbs added water and turns into a dough before your eyes. No need to add anything else but a pinch of salt before kneading it up.

Once formed into discs, arepas can be fried or baked. We pan-fry our version so the edges get slightly crispy, then finish them in the oven so the insides get completely cooked through before we slice them up and fill them with sausage. And peppers. And chimichurri.

But don’t let your imagination stop at chorizo. Arepa fillings can range from rustic to elevated. They can have one ingredeint like cheese, preferably melty, or a slew of complementary fixings, like ours. And arepas aren’t required to taste of South America. Ham and cheese or peanut butter and jelly are perfectly suitable for the center of an arepa, especially to the American children of Colombians and Venezuelans.

You can see the full recipe for making Chorizo Arepas on the recipe card.

Thai Chicken Burgers with Hoisin Mayo and Potato Wedges

For as long as we can remember, burgers for dinner meant ground beef, American cheese, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, and a grill. But these days we mix up our all-American sandwich with inspiration from across the globe.

In the case of this mouth-watering Chicken Burger, we start our renovation with the meat, using lighter ground chicken instead of the beef and move up through the flavorings – lemongrass! ginger! – finishing in the condiment department with hoisin-sriracha mayonnaise and sprigs of fresh cilantro.

Here’s how we do it. First, you take the lemon grass, an essential ingredient in Thai cooking. It’s sometimes a little bit hard to find at a regular supermarket, but you’ll probably recognize the scent as soon as you cut into it and are transported to a Bangkok market – or at least your local Thai restaurant.

Then peel off the tough outer part of the lemongrass as if it’s a scallion and dice the pliable inside core. Chop up the garlic and ginger too.

The potato wedges are going to be the side dish on this one. What would a burger be without fries? Those we didn’t mess with much, don’t worry.

They get a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves, a glug of olive oil, and some salt and pepper before heading into a 500°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, where they’ll cook and crisp up.Continue reading “Thai Chicken Burgers with Hoisin Mayo and Potato Wedges”