Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Nectarine & Goat Cheese Salad


Fruit on a salad? Yes, I went there....well, more specifically, SweetGreen went there last month with their June salad of spinach, peaches, goat cheese, almonds, and basil. This salad cost me $7.95+tax in the store, which for DC, is not a bad price.

In my CSA box last week I had nectarines, which are not my favorite fruit to eat. I could tell this week that the fruit was almost ready to throw out (and I hate throwing away food!) so I racked my brain for what I could make. That's when I remembered the awesome salad from SweetGreen and voila! Dinner!

Ingredients (my version):
1 nectarine
5 leafs of romaine lettuce, chopped
handful of sliced almonds
1-2 T goat cheese, crumbled
1 T basil, chopped (optional)

Drizzle with your fav dressing (I like a little balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, salt & pepper) and your done!

So how much does my salad cost? Well, if you take into consideration that I buy a heads of romaine for my green juice,  left over goat cheese from my sandwich, nectarine from my CSA box, and almonds that I just keep in my fridge...then free, right?! Really it is approximately $2 total. 

This salad is perfect for lunch, but it was not really filling enough for dinner. Next time I'm going to toss on some roasted chicken or sauteed shrimp.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Copycat Recipe: Potbelly's Mediterranean Sandwich


I am literally OBSESSED with Potbelly's Mediterranean Veggie sandwich - spicy hummus with cool, crisp veggies and creamy feta cheese. My mouth is watering just thinking about it...I especially love the price ($4.50+tax), but I'm really trying to rein in my spending after reading the blog "No More Harvard Debt" (a GREAT read and inspiration to pay off my student loans) so I will be brown bagging it every day from now until my loans are paid off...ok, you caught me, I still budgeted for foodie outings, but hey, I am eating out far less!

Lunches can get boring when you don't go out to buy has to be something psychological because the restaurant salad/sandwich tastes better than the one I brought from home, even if they have the same components. *sigh* That's why I generally bring pasta/quinoa salads to work. They tend to keep me from going out to get something "better". However, I think this sandwich may be my turning point since I really liked how it turned out!

1 pita pocket
2 T hummus (roasted red pepper or garlic suggested, or the three layer hummus from TJ's!)
1 T Goat Cheese
1 handful packaged lettuce (or 2 romaine leaves chopped)
2 artichoke hearts (canned is the cheapest, then save the rest in Tupperware)
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
1/8 small cucumber, peeled & chopped

Fill pita with all of the ingredients and enjoy!

Now, I used pita because that's what I had on hand, but feel free to use any type of bread you like. If you're taking this sandwich to work, I would suggest ringing the water out of the peppers/artichokes with a clean towel before creating the sandwich. Otherwise you will have a soggy mess when you open it up at work a few hours later.

Another suggestion would be to simply keep the jarred ingredients at work, then stack up the sandwich there. This keeps your bread dry and saves you prep time in the morning.

Add the following for variation:
- Deli meat or left over chicken breast
- Chopped olives
- Chopped tomato
- Use olive/pepper tapenade instead of hummus
- Feta instead of goat cheese

Approximate cost of my sandwich - $3. This is taking into consideration the number of sandwiches I can make per can of artichoke hearts (4), and doesn't include the fact that the goat cheese and red peppers will last me far more than just 4 sandwiches and I can use the lettuce/cucumber for other salads. So really, it probably costs me more like $2.