Avocado and Tomato Grilled Cheese

Food trucks are awesome because they are usually fast, cheap, and convenient. Earlier this week, several food trucks came to our school to serve food at a carnival-like event we had for the freshmen. My friends and I all happened to order the same sandwich, an avocado and bacon grilled cheese. Although the wait was exceedingly long, the sandwich was absolutely delicious. Putting avocados in a grilled cheese sandwich…ingenious.

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I made a much healthier variation of that amazing grilled cheese sandwich by replacing the bacon with tomatoes and using whole wheat bread. It tasted even better! It was less salty (because there was no bacon) and the tomatoes gave it a burst of freshness. The way the melted cheese and avocado blend together is an unparalleled combination.

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I made the sandwich using a pan, which heated the sandwich perfectly so that the outer bread layers were well toasted and the cheese was just melted. The heat didn’t get to the avocado or tomato so they still tasted fresh and uncooked. This sandwich takes only 10-15 minutes to make in total so it is definitely a great option for making lunch in the dorms!

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AVOCADO AND TOMATO GRILLED CHEESE

Ingredients
2 slices whole wheat bread
1 tsp olive oil
2 slices American cheese
1/2 tomato, sliced
1/2 avocado, sliced

Directions

Brush olive oil on one side of each slice of bread.

Lay oiled side of a slice of bread face down. Layer cheese, tomato, avocado, cheese, and other slice of bread with oiled side up.

Heat pan to medium heat and place sandwich on it. After 2 minutes, flip it over and wait another 2 minutes. The bread should be toasted brown and the cheese should be melted when it is done.

Mini Mushroom and Spinach Quiche with Bacon

When was the first time you had a quiche? I remember my first time so vividly. It was one of those afternoons where I was buried in the library, swamped with never ending homework. A friend and I ventured to the library cafe to grab something to eat. Seeing how I was unable to decide what to get, my friend suggested I try a quiche. I had never even heard of a quiche before and I was skeptical of the odd-looking “egg pie”. For some reason, I trusted him. I took a bite and marveled with wide eyes at how incredible this new food tasted!

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That memory of the quiche has stuck in my mind ever since which is why I was so excited when I found a recipe for mini quiches. My family had never heard of a quiche either so I was more than happy to introduce it to them.

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These mini ones tasted…unbelievable. Biting into the quiche was an experience of its own because of the spongy, juiciness of the quiche. I compared them to muffin-shaped omelettes. After all, they had similar ingredients – egg, cheese, vegetables, and bacon. However, they had a fluffier, airier texture since more egg whites were used than yolks.

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My family seemed to have a positive first experience with the quiche as well. They were impressed by how flavorful they were and said they were even better than omelettes.
The best moments are those when you discover something new and wonderful, making your life just that much better. So go out, be brave, and try something new. You might end up pleasantly surprised. 😀

MINI MUSHROOM AND SPINACH QUICHE WITH BACON
makes 9

Ingredients
6 strips turkey bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
2 cups baby spinach
Pinch of nutmeg
4 eggs
4 egg whites
1/4 cup skim milk
1/3 cup grated white cheese (I used Queso Blanco)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray or vegetable oil.

Cook the turkey bacon strips in a large skillet on medium heat. Keep turning strips until crispy. Transfer to a cutting board and chop into small bits.

Using the same skillet, heat olive oil. Add mushrooms, shallot, salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are dry and browned and shallots are soft (about 10 minutes.) Add baby spinach and nutmeg and stir for about a minute, until spinach is just wilted but still bright green.

Whisk eggs, egg whites, milk, salt and pepper until well blended. Stir in cheese. Pour mixture evenly into muffin tins, filling them halfway. Top with mushroom and spinach mixture. Sprinkle chopped bacon on top.

Bake 20-25 minutes, until quiches have risen and are golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm.

Enjoy!

adapted from Food Network

Easy Personal Flatbread Pizzas

In the vast and spacious land of Costco, it is easy to get carried away with buying groceries amidst the excitement of free samples and bulk foods. As my mom and I carefully navigated our shopping cart through Costco last weekend, we kept tossing groceries into the cart until it piled high and took the strength of both of us to push it. By the time we returned home, we wondered how on Earth we had bought so much food. It was lunchtime and we wanted to make use of the flatbreads we had just bought, something we had never seen in Costco before. So I thought, why not make our own personal pizzas? After all, we had so many possible toppings thanks to our huge Costco spree.

I took a piece of flatbread, spread tomato sauce on it, sprinkled some freshly shredded cheese, and gathered an assortment of toppings. As I started putting the toppings on the pizza, I soon came to terms with how small the pizza was and realized it would be a chaotic mess to fit all the toppings on the pizza. So I whipped out another piece of flatbread and divided the toppings among the two. The tiny pizzas were tossed into the toaster oven and they were soon ready to eat…All this was done in just 20 minutes!

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The simplicity and easiness of these pizzas was mindblowing. Homemade pizzas have always been daunting to me, but since making the dough is the hardest part of homemade pizzas, more than half the battle was already over! The flatbreads served well – the crust came out perfectly chewy, with crispy edges that had a lovely, satisfying crunch.

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These pizzas are excellent for a quick, homemade lunch that incorporates a variety of foods – the possibilities for toppings are endless!

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EASY PERSONAL FLATBREAD PIZZAS
(makes 1)

Ingredients
1 flatbread
3 tablespoons pizza sauce (or mix 2 tbsps tomato sauce with 1 tbsp tomato paste)
2 tablespoons shredded cheese
Toppings: mushrooms, onions, olives, mozzarella cheese balls, spinach, etc.

Directions

Using a spoon, spread pizza sauce in center of flatbread evenly, leaving about 1/2 inch crust

Evenly sprinkle shredded cheese on top of sauce

Add toppings

Bake in toaster oven at 400 degrees F for 10-15 minutes, until edges are golden and cheese is melted. If you use a conventional oven, it may take longer.

Arugula Salad with Berries

Summer=berry season=me eating lots of berries.

My mom and I came back from our weekly trip to Costco this weekend with 2 huge boxes of strawberries and blueberries. How could the 4 of us possibly finish eating all that fruit?! Well, knowing me and my obsession with berries, it actually wasn’t going to be much of a challenge. Even though they are incredible eating just plain, they can add a lot to other foods like salads and desserts!

Arugula has a slight bitter taste so to offset this, just add some strawberries and blueberries for some sweetness. For a dressing, you can easily make balsalmic vinegar dressing that goes along perfectly with the salad. This is a simple recipe that can be put together in minutes!

A fresh, sweet salad for summer 🙂

ARUGULA SALAD WITH BERRIES

Ingredients
6 cups baby arugula
1 cup blueberries
1 cup strawberries, chopped
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsalmic vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic
pinch of salt
Avocado slices (optional)

Directions
Rinse arugula and lightly dry. In a medium bowl, mix blueberries and chopped strawberries with arugula.

In a small bowl, pour in olive oil. Slowly, pour in balsalmic vinegar while constantly stirring. Add garlic and salt to taste. Mix well.

Add dressing to salad and toss.

Serves 4-5