Tag Archives: lunch

Summer Corn Chowder

Happy Back to School Day to all the parents out there! All too often we celebrate the fresh starts, new classes and that whole importance of educating our youth when in reality we should be celebrating the fact you just survived three months of 24-hour parenting without the assistance of teachers. So let’s take a moment to pat you on the back for making it through. And another one for the kind teachers who are going to take over from here for you.

I remember my first day of sixth grade like it was yesterday. We had just moved to a new neighborhood and not only was I starting a new school, but I was starting public school for the first time after attending a Montessori school since I was two. I was nervous, but I had a great set of friends and a brand new coordinating Limited Too top and shorts to wear with my Birkenstocks so there wasn’t much that could cramp my style. We snapped first day photos that wouldn’t be developed for weeks, took turns guessing who would be in our homeroom and waited for the bus to show up.

The bus never came.

My first day of sixth grade didn’t happen because some high-schooler slashed the bus tires of nearly the entire fleet. So we settled for an extra day of summer break and a few quotes in the local newspaper. Perks of having a former reporter in the family I suppose.

This recipe has little to do with Back to School time but it would be a good one to add to your rotation as a quick go-to dinner. It doesn’t require the time a lot of soups take and it’s light enough to enjoy even in the summer heat. I used shrimp in this version, but you could add crab or remove the seafood altogether if you have a picky eater in the family.

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Shrimp and Corn Chowder
-adapted from Cooking Light

  • 4 slices Canadian bacon, diced
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 TBL thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 C flour
  • 2 1/2 C low-fat milk
  • 1 1/4 C unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 tsp Penzeys Forward seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1/2 pound uncooked fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 (12-ounce) package frozen sweet corn

In a small prep bowl, set aside two tablespoons of chopped green onions.

In a dutch oven, cook Canadian bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove and place on paper towel to absorb extra grease.

Add green onions, thyme and garlic to pan and saute for 2-3 minutes. Spoon flour over onion mixture.

Add milk and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for another 5 minutes or so.

Add seasoning, salt and red and black pepper.

Add 3/4 of the corn and half Canadian bacon pieces to the broth. Cook until corn is heated through. Using an immersion blender, cream corn and bacon to thicken chowder. Once pureed, add remaining corn and shrimp. Cook for another 5 minutes or until shrimp is done.

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Garnish chowder with remaining bacon and green onions.




Panzanella Salad

Considering I’m a true adult now and all, I figured I should start expanding my salad repertoire and get a little fancier.

Just kidding. I just had some rock hard bread that I didn’t want to go to waste.

Truth is I love carbs as much as the next runner gearing up for a big race, but when it comes to my salad, I’d rather have a side of bread to accompany it than to have it mixed in. But this. This crunchy, grainy goodness is worth a try.

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Panzanella Salad

  • 1 C mixed greens (arugula, spinach, etc)
  • 2 C cubed day old bread (I used half of a loaf of Trader Joe’s multigrain ciabatta)
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 C cucumber, sliced
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 TBL feta cheese
  • 2 TBL thinly sliced red onion


  • 1 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • 2 TBL champagne or cider vinegar
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced (can sub garlic powder)
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

In a large bowl, combine mixed greens, tomato, cucumber, red onion, basil and feta. Set aside.

In a skillet or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add bread cubes and toss until crispy and brown.

Whisk vinaigrette in a small bowl.

Toss all ingredients together and let sit for 10 minutes or so to let flavors combine.

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panzanella salad recipe, salad, italian, bread, summer, vinaigrette, recipes,


A great lunch for a warm summer day. Enjoy!

Soba Noodle Salad

I know what you’re thinking. Soba what? Soba who? But before you pass judgement and contribute to my bounce rate, hear me out.

I’ve never been a picky eater. I come from the motto of trying anything at least once. Then, decide if you like it or not. After all, what if that new food is the best thing you never tasted? This belief may or may not be the reason that I have a love/hate relationship with buffets. But that’s another post entirely.

Perhaps it’s a birth order thing? Growing up my sister (first-born) was always the particular one when it came to food. I remember years and years of chicken sandwich orders and a nothing but cinnamon toast stage as well. I’ve noticed that my older nephew, Owen, is the same way. He politely says no thank you whenever you offer him a taste of something new. He sticks with his comfort zone of pop-tarts and chicken like his momma. Now my younger nephew, Jake, is another story. Morning Glory mystery muffins? Don’t mind if he does. Chippies and hummus? Absolutely, yes. A few weeks ago he even picked up a piece of Finn’s kibble and told me matter-o-factly:

I eat this dog food, Sarah?

Oh, Jake. I don’t think you’ll like that. 

Oh yes I will. I’ll try it. (pops kibble in his mouth and crunches down)


(a few minutes pass)

Sarah? That Finny food was yucky. I said it was yummy but it was really yucky. 

Yes, Jake. It was yucky. But I suppose I should give you credit for at least trying it once.


My mom and I leave for Europe next week and between my recent work travel, packing for the trip and not wanting to waste food, this week I’ve taken to throwing random meals together with whatever I have on hand. Monday was everything but the kitchen sink pizza night and Tuesday I opted for the soba noodle salad.

I’ve made a similar soba noodle salad in the past but the new Bon Appetit had a peanut sauce I wanted to try so I threw what veggies I had together made a double batch. If you’ve not tried soba (buckwheat) noodles or are scared they will turn you into a skinny jean and granola-loving hipster, fear not. Just think of them like a whole wheat spaghetti. Or, if you like granola and skinny jeans like me, accept them as they are. Sobawesome.

soba noodle salad

Soba Noodle Salad

  • 2-4 oz (1 inch round bunch or so) soba noodles 
  • 2-3 radishes, sliced
  • 1/2 Red Pepper
  • 1/4 C carrots
  • 2 tsp green onion
  • 1 TBL Cilantro

In a small sauce pan bring water to a boil. Cook soba noodles for 5-6 minutes being careful not to overcook. They don’t take long at all. Strain and rinse under cold water.

While noodles are cooking, chop radishes, red pepper, carrots, cilantro and green onions. Feel free to add other veggies as well. I’ve used fresh green beans, sprouts and cucumber in other versions. It really depends on your taste. I do recommend adding crunchy veggies as the noodles are soft and it off-sets the texture.

Peanut Sauce

  • 1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/4-1/2 C peanut butter (I used mostly chunky and a teaspoon of creamy)
  • 2 TBL reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 TBL rice wine vinegar
  • 1 TBL fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • dash crushed red pepper

Blend ginger and garlic clove until finely chopped. Add peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and vinegar and blend until smooth. Note: add water to thin if needed. Sauce can be made ahead but is best served at room temperature. 

Spicy Seared Tofu

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • 1 TBL rice vinegar
  • 1 TBL soy sauce
  • dash sesame oil

OR just use

Heat dutch oven over medium heat. Pat tofu dry and slice into 1 inch cubes.

In a large bowl, toss tofu in marinade. Cook over medium heat until browned.

The rest is up to you. Add a few teaspoons of peanut sauce to your serving of noodles and garnish with your choice of veggies, tofu or chicken.

Dig in. Try something new and then go shopping for some skinny jeans. Everybody’s doing it.