October 7, 2010

5 Yummy Restaurant Copy-Cat Recipes


I love eating out, but I don’t love what it does to my waist-line. I allow myself to eat out for lunch once a week, and it always amazes me how full I am after that meal. When I pack my lunch, I’m always craving more food a couple hours before lunch. Now I have a way to combine the two! Restaurant copy-cat recipes! I found tons of them! Here are the top 5 that I found and a link to more!

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July 29, 2010

Quick and Easy Sandwiches!


August is National Sandwich Month, and I’m glad! Sandwiches are the quickest and easiest meals out there. Most of them don’t even involve cooking. I bring a sandwich for lunch at least a couple times a week, and I’m thankful it doesn’t take me longer than 5 minutes to make most of them. But I’m getting kind of tired of my typical sandwich. I found a terrific list of 15 sandwiches that don’t take longer than 5 minutes to make at Recipe4Living. Most of them seem delicious! Check them out after the jump.

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July 16, 2007

Unofficial Taste of Madison

To celebrate our anniversary, R and I took a trip to Madison, Wisconsin this past weekend. We both graduated from UW-Madison, so it was a little getaway without being too expensive. And when we sat down to plan out our time there, we found we had a very long list of favorite restaurants and very little else. I have a lot of yummy food stories to share, but I’ll start off with one of the highlights.

Having spent the whole two hours in the car with only almonds to munch on, I was starving (and admittedly grumpy) when we pulled into town. Not that I didn’t get the familiar chills when we drove in along Lake Monona with the perfect view of the state capitol and the glorious downtown Madison… but I was a hungry girl and some things just take precedence.

First on our list was a sandwich at Fair Trade Coffee House on State Street. Most students stop by this local joint to pick up a quick cup of coffee or they sit by the fireplace to crank out a caffeine-induced term paper. But the big secret about Fair Trade is their grilled sandwiches! Made fresh daily, they have choices like turkey and provolone with a pesto mayo, veggies and hummus and portabello mushroom with Swiss cheese. It’s cheap, it’s fresh and it’s delicious. Why would anyone ever go to Subway when they could have this??? My love for paninis is well documented, but Fair Trade has one of the best. Simple, uncomplicated and fantastically satisfying. Here’s R enjoying his turkey, spinach and Swiss cheese panini:


A trip to Madison (and the whole state of Wisconsin, for that matter) would not be complete without a healthy sampling of some of the country’s best dairy. And while UW Babcock Hall Ice Cream cannot be beat, we opted for a more global fare with which to cool down: gelato! I’m a picky gelato eater, having sampled my way through Italy with at least two flavors a day. Most of the time American gelato is a creamier form of ice cream that doesn’t bear resemblance to smooth Italian flavors. But I must say, Paciugo – a newer addition to State Street in Madison – was mighty impressive.


In a small cup, you can choose up three flavors (a medium cup gets 4 flavors and a large gets 5). They even make it look pretty! We had mint, chocolate chocolate chip and creamy mixed berry. It was every bit as good as it sounds. Paciugo is apparently a franchise with locations around the country, unfortunately none in Chicago thus far.

More to come this week about Madison Farmer’s Market and a hugely disappointing walleye dish.

- Max, trying to decide which panini she should have tonight…

May 22, 2007

Everyday Panini

On weekend mornings, when we don’t feel like making pancakes, R and I often get sucked into the Food Network‘s morning TV lineup. Somewhere around 10:00 Rachael comes on, then Giada, then Ina and then the British lady whose soothing voice usually lulls me back to sleep (I have caught her show during non-sleepy hours of the day and she’s actually quite adorable). This past Sunday was no different.

I have a little side job on the weekends working for an event coordinator (mostly high-end weddings, anniversaries and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs) and Saturday night was a doozy. I had been on my feet from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. and so my ambitions for Sunday consisted of waking up, and potentially showering… if I felt up to it.

Anyway (sorry, got a bit sidetracked), there we were, lounging with the Food Network and learning about Giada’s “Everyday Lunches” when we got inspired. Giada is actually one of the few Food Network chefs that doesn’t irk me to watch (ahem, Rachael), and although her head may be slightly larger than most and her cleavage is always showing, the woman knows her food.

This particular episode was about quick, easy and tasty lunches and her recipe for Taleggio and Pear Panini is what really piqued my interest. By now you all know how I feel about cheese, and melted cheese on a sandwich is always up my alley. Add to that fruit, greens and a drizzle of honey and I’m basically in heaven. After a quick trip to Trader Joe’s (my big outing for the day), we decided to make our own version of this fantastic-sounding sandwich.

Admittedly, R did most of the work, but I kept a diligent eye out to make sure I could recreate it. The key to this sandwich is fresh ciabatta bread and a creamy cheese. We didn’t see taleggio, so we opted for brie instead (an excellent choice!). We also swapped out the pears for green apples to give it a more crisp crunch and added a slice of turkey for some protein. I’m a big fan of paninis in general, but I was fantastically satisfied by this gem.

Apple and Brie Panini
adapted from Giadia DeLaurentiis’ Taleggio and Pear Panini


1 long ciabatta loaf, fresh
1 green apple, thinly sliced
1 wedge brie
2 handfuls baby spinach
Olive oil
2 slices turkey (optional)


Cut ciabatta loaf in half and then slice each half open for sandwiches. Drizzle the inside of each piece with olive oil and place face down in a large skillet or pan. Heat on medium-low until warm and toasty. (NOTE: if you have a panini maker, you can skip this step.) Once heated through, spread generous portion of brie on one half of the sandwich. Place a few slices of apple on top of the brie and drizzle with honey. Finish with a handful of baby spinach and a slice or two of turkey. When fully constructed, place back in heated pan for a few minutes on both sides to get extra-melty. You can also utilize your panini maker if you have one.

Yield: 2 sandwiches

Photo courtesy of flickr and timelas

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