Lighten Up Your Lunch!

Sandwiches are a staple for a lot of people for lunch. They are quick and convenient, easy to carry, throw together, and consume. The bread used is the main source of both carbs and calories for your average sandwich. Swapping out the bread for broad leaf lettuce to make wraps can add more crunch to your lunch, as well as a vegetable serving in your busy day.

Using a broad leaf lettuce, such as the outer leaves of iceburg, butterleaf, Romaine, or red-leaf lettuces, simply layer your sandwich fixings in the middle, roll it all up in the leaf, and eat.

Sound deceptively simple? It is! Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

TURKEY
Butter leaf lettuce
2 slices of turkey
a teaspoon of shredded beets
a teaspoon of fresh goat cheese
a teaspoon of chopped walnuts

Lay the turkey out on your lettuce leaf. Spread the goat cheese lengthwise along the meat so there will be some cheese in every bite. Add the beets and walnuts along the line of the cheese. Starting on one side, roll up the lettuce leaf around the other ingredients. Enjoy.

HAM
Iceburg lettuce
2 ounces ham, sliced or shredded
1 ounce Swiss or Emmenthaler
3 slices of fresh apple
1 teaspoon of chopped pecans

Follow the same procedure above in building and rolling your wrap.

BEEF
Romaine lettuce
2 ounces roast beef, corned beef or pastrami
1 ounce cheese, cheddar or provolone
1 kosher pickle spear
Brown or deli mustard

Beef is a hardy meat. Pile the beef and cheese on a microwave safe plate and heat for 30 seconds. This will soften the cheese but not make the meat hot enough to wilt the lettuce. Lay out the lettuce, add the meat and cheese. Run a line of mustard to taste down the length of the meat and cheese, an add the pickle spear. Wrap as instructed above.

Wraps are a wonderful way to use up leftovers that may be hanging about in the fridge. We always have broken meats, ends of cheese, a little of this or that available and have found this to be a good way to use them up.

You will also find that some restaurants now have lettuce wrap alternatives available for sandwiches on their menu. Five Guys Burgers & Fries now offers any hot dog or hamburger on their menu as a lettuce wrap. It’s a messy way to eat a burger, but it’s tasty and comes with any or all of their toppings.

I tried a double meat, double cheese wrap with pickles, mayo and sauteed mushrooms at Five Guys here in Conroe. It was so delicious that I smiled all the way through the meal, in spite of the slippery mess those mushrooms caused. I was licking my fingers afterward, too. They use two overlapping leaves of iceburg lettuce for that wrap, and the lettuce held up well enough in the beginning. It started getting messy about halfway through as the slippery ingredients started sliding to the relative bottom.

This taught me like nothing else that condiments such as mayo, mustard, and ketchup should be used sparingly in lettuce wraps, and to keep napkins handy!

Give wraps a try. The different combinations of ingredients are nearly endless, and can be tailored to individual diets. Remember not to over stuff your lettuce, go easy on the condiments, and have fun with it.

Bon appetite!

–Ann Cathey

Slow Cooker Recipes from Crock-Pot #1

I like to use slow cooker liners. Whenever I buy a box of them, there is invariably a little handout inside that includes a few recipes. Some of these I have tried variations on, some I have not. In any case, they are great for folks starting out with slow cookers!

Here’s one that is sure to please sammich eaters.

Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Cook time on Low: 10-14 hours
Cook time on High: 4-6 hours
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients:
2-1/2 pounds pork roast
14 oz. BBQ sauce, whatever you prefer
1tsp brown sugar
1Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 medium onion, chopped
8 hamburger buns or hard rolls

Directions:
1. Place pork roast into the slow-cooker.
2. Cover. Cook on Low or High, as preferred.
3. Remove the pork roast form the stoneware, and pull the meat into shreds.
4. Remove any liquid from the stoneware, retaining for later use if desired.
5. Combine the pork with remaining ingredients in the slow-cooker, Cook on High for 2 hours.
6. Serve the barbecue pork on hamburger buns or hard rolls.

Notes:
I prefer to drop the diced onions into the bottom of the pot and laying the pork roast on top before cooking. This cooks the onions pretty much to death, but allows the flavor more action in the meat. It can also help tenderize the meat.

When removing the pork for shredding, reserve those onions to toss back into the final mix. I will also reserve the fluid for making tamales, soups, and even to use a couple of tablespoons here and there as a treat for my dog.

This recipe also works well with beef or venison.

— Ann Cathey

Food Porn – The First Installment

Writing about food can work up a great appetite, but looking at food can make your stomach complain that you are not paying it any attention.

Being a photographer as well as I writer, I am often confronted with photos that I have taken that don’t quite make the grade as stock photography, but are too good to be wasted. They get lonely when they are simply¬† archived.

Rather than let them sit, I thought I would share some of these tasty items with everyone. Enjoy!

Reuben Sandwich form Wich Wich

Reuben Sandwich form Wich Wich

In case you are curious, check out Which Wich.

Mixed Pastas with "Everything" Red Sauce

Mixed Pastas with “Everything” Red Sauce

 Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Raw Veggies

Raw Veggies

Baby Asparagus and Carrots Roasted in Butter

Baby Asparagus and Carrots Roasted in Butter

Homemade Chicken Fried Bacon

Homemade Chicken Fried Bacon

— Ann Cathey

How Do You Order from Mickey D’s?

There are interesting things going on at McDonald’s – or at least available to those who know to ask.

Mac Sauce may be had on any sandwich, from the premium wraps to the lowly McDouble. You can even ask for a small cup of this tasty spread as a dipping sauce for chicken nuggets.

ImageYou can also order a McQuad – a double McDouble. This is four beef patties with plenty of cheese in a single bun. Want some leaf lettuce to help push that protein through? Just ask. It is easier at some locations to simply order two McDoubles (one with Mac sauce and one with lead lettuce) and put it together yourself.

ImageIf you ask for a McGangbang (That’s right, I said McGANGBANG), you may not get it. It’s tasty, but rude. All you need to do is order one Spicy McChicken and one McDouble. Open the McDouble so the one meat patty is on each half of the bun. Pull the spicy chicken and lettuce off the other sandwich and lay it in between the beef. Close up the sandwich and enjoy!

Get creative when you are at McDonald’s! Don’t feel you have to stick to the menu – order the flavors you want!

–Ann Cathey