Griddled Banana, Mango, and Jalapeño Sandwiches



2 teaspoons grapeseed oil (or substitute canola oil)
4 slices (4 ounces total) dense multigrain bread (best quality), thinly sliced
2 tablespoons peanut butter, natural
1 small (1/2 cup) banana (ripe, coarsely fork-smashed) or very ripe plantain
4 ounces mango, very ripe, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large jalapeño pepper, sliced paper thin
3 tablespoons cotija or feta cheese, finely crumbled
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.

Brush grapeseed oil on 1 side of each bread slice. This will be the pan-contact side. Lay out all 4 bread slices, oil side down, on foil or parchment paper (as a work surface).

Spread 1 tablespoon peanut butter evenly onto each of 2 bread slices. Evenly distribute banana over the peanut buttered bread. Shingle mango evenly over banana. Scatter jalapeño over mango. Sprinkle evenly with cheese and salt. Close the sandwiches. Press gently to adhere all the ingredients.

Griddle the sandwiches for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, pressing gently to ensure that all the surface area of the bread is in contact with the pan. Be patient, and let it cook without peeking (you’ll get a more even toast that way).

Combine powdered sugar and red pepper. Cut sandwiches in half, and dust with powdered sugar mixture.

Serves 2

This recipe was adapted from the website, MyRecipes.


SoCal Guacamole Burger



1 ripe peeled avocado, divided
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 cup chopped seeded tomato
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 pound 90% lean ground sirloin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
4 (1 1/2-ounce) whole-grain hamburger buns
1 cup broccoli sprouts

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Place half of avocado in a bowl; mash with a fork until almost smooth. Add sour cream and next 3 ingredients to bowl; stir to combine. Dice remaining half of avocado. Add diced avocado, tomato, jalapeño, and 1/8 teaspoon salt to bowl; stir gently to combine.

Divide beef into 4 equal portions. Gently shape each portion into a (1/2-inch-thick) patty. Press a nickel-sized indentation in center of each patty. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 3/8 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place burgers on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Lightly coat cut sides of buns with cooking spray. Place buns, cut sides down, on grill rack; grill 1 minute or until toasted.

Place 1/4 cup sprouts on bottom half of each bun; top each with 1 patty, about 3 tablespoons guacamole, and top half of bun.

Serves 4

This recipe was inspired from the website, MyRecipes.

Chesapeake Bay “Crabby” Mac



4 tablespoons butter
1 large shallot (or 2 small) minced
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 tablespoon seafood seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese
2 cups grated manchego cheese
1 cup grated Cheddar
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
2 tablespoons sherry, optional
1 (16-ounce) box elbow macaroni
1 pound lump crabmeat


4 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons seafood seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley leaves

For the sauce: Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add minced shallots and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the flour to make a roux. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes to cook the flour. Slowly, add 3 cups milk. When milk is incorporated into the roux, add the seafood seasoning, and the block of cream cheese. Cook until cream cheese is melted. Add shredded manchego and Cheddar cheeses and parsley. Cook until all the cheese is melted. Add the sherry, if desired.

Cook macaroni according to package directions or until just al dente. Drain macaroni. Stir cheese mixture into cooked macaroni and old in crabmeat. (Be sure to fold in crabmeat so you don’t break up the lumps too much, you want nice chunks of crab.) Put mixture in a baking dish.

For the topping: Mix melted butter, bread crumbs, seafood seasoning, and parsley. Sprinkle topping on the dish. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes to make the topping crispy. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Serves 4 to 6

This recipe was adapted from the Food Network website.

Pear and Gruyère Strata




4 cups sliced peeled Anjou or Concorde pear
2 teaspoons butter, melted
6 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
12 (1-ounce) slices cinnamon swirl bread (such as Pepperidge Farm), cut in half diagonally
Cooking spray
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 cup egg substitute
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup

Combine pear, butter, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a large bowl; toss gently.

Arrange half of bread in an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spoon pear mixture evenly over bread; top evenly with cheese. Arrange remaining bread over cheese.

Combine the remaining 5 tablespoons granulated sugar, milk, egg substitute, and cinnamon, stirring with a whisk. Pour milk mixture over bread, pressing down to submerge. Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Uncover dish. Sprinkle turbinado sugar evenly over bread. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut into 8 equal pieces; drizzle with syrup.

Serves 8 (serving size: 1 strata piece and 1 tablespoon syrup)

This recipe was adapted from the website, MyRecipes.

Stilton-Stuffed Baked Pears



1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled Stilton cheese
1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
8 Bartlett pears (about 3 3/4 pounds)
1/4 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon port

Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine sugar and butter in a small bowl, and stir until well blended. Add cheese, cranberries, and pecans; stir well.

Cut 1 inch off stem end of each pear; reserve top. Remove core from stem end, and scoop out about 2 tablespoons pulp from each pear half to form a cup, using a melon baller or spoon. If necessary, cut about 1/4 inch from base of pears so they will sit flat. Place the pears in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Fill each pear with about 2 tablespoons sugar mixture, and replace top on each.

Combine juice and port in a small bowl; pour into baking dish. Bake pears at 375° for 30 minutes or until tender. Serve warm.

Serves 8 (serving size: 1 strata piece and 1 tablespoon syrup)

This recipe was inspired from the website, MyRecipes.

Fresh Tomato Feta Pizza




1 pound refrigerated fresh pizza dough
4 plum tomatoes, sliced
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon cornmeal
4 ounces feta cheese
1 ounce pitted kalamata olives, halved (1/3 cup)

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

Let dough stand at room temperature, covered, for 30 minutes. Arrange tomato slices on a jelly-roll pan lined with paper towels; top with more paper towels. Let stand 30 minutes.

Place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet in oven. Preheat oven to 500° (keep pizza stone or baking sheet in oven as it preheats).

Combine tomatoes, 2 tablespoons oil, and garlic. Roll dough into a 14-inch circle on a lightly floured surface, and pierce dough liberally with a fork. Carefully remove pizza stone from oven. Sprinkle cornmeal over stone; place dough on stone. Arrange tomato mixture on dough. Crumble cheese; sprinkle over pizza. Bake at 500° for 19 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is lightly browned. Remove from oven; top with olives and basil. Brush outer crust with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil. Cut pizza into 6 large slices.

Serves 6 (serving size: 1 slice)

This recipe was adapted from the website, Cooking Light.

Poached Egg in an Avocado




1 avocado
2 eggs

Bring 2-3 inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan. Crack an egg in a small bowl, then pour that egg into a sieve and get rid of the excess egg whites. Return the egg back to the original bowl. Gently slip the egg into the simmering water. Cook for 2-3 minutes. While the eggs are poaching, slice an avocado in half and remove the pit. Then, scoop out a shallow hole in each half.  Remove the egg from water and place in the avocado, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Serves 2

This recipe was adapted from the cooking magazine, Cooking Light.