GRILLED CHICKEN AND PEAR SANDWICH WITH SPINACH PESTO

Don’t let the fluorescent green put you off–it’s all natural. And delicious! Even my guys, who are a bit wary of food with a “foodie” look, gobbled down these sandwiches. Of course, I don’t think they were aware of the pear in the middle 🙂

SPINACH PESTO:

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used Kraft Reduced Fat Mayo with Olive Oil)

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

3 cups packed baby spinach

SANDWICH:

8 slices sourdough bread (make it a good one, like Panera’s)

1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese

2 cups cooked and shredded chicken breast (deli-roasted chicken works well too)

1 pear, sliced thin

3 tbsp butter, softened

1) PESTO: To food processor, add: olive oil, mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, salt, and pepper; process 30-45 seconds until well combined; add spinach and process 30-45 seconds until well combined

2) SANDWICH: Assemble each sandwich as follows: spread spinach pesto on both sides of bread; layer: cheese, chicken, and pear; top with second piece of bread

3) In large skillet (or grill pan) over medium heat, melt half the butter; place sandwiches in skillet; while bottoms are grilling (3-4 minutes), spread remaining butter on top pieces of bread; turn sandwiches and grill additional 3-4 minutes until cheese melts; serve, serve, serve!

Makes: 4 sandwiches

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 07/04/12–the one that disappeared into a black hole.

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PEAR-CRAISIN-PECAN TUNA SALAD

Junior Too was in the mood for tuna salad, so the two of us teamed up in the kitchen and added pear, Craisins, and pecans to cans of Albacore tuna. Since he isn’t keen on Dijon mustard, we left that out of his portion. However, with or without Dijon, the result is a hearty yet refreshing salad–and no leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Sad…

Pear-Craisin-Pecan Tuna Salad

1/2 cup light mayonnaise

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

2 pears, peeled, cored, and diced small

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/4 cup Craisins

1/4 cup chopped pecans

2 tbsp chopped parsley

4-7 oz cans Albacore Tuna, drained

4 cups baby spinach

Optional dressing (Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette is a lovely addition)

1) To large bowl, add mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and mix well

2) Stir pear, celery, Craisins, pecans, and parsley into mayonnaise mixture

3) Gently stir tuna into mayonnaise-pear mixture

4) Divide spinach between four plates and top each serving with tuna mixture; serve with or without dressing and enjoy

Servings: 4 hearty dinner-sized portions

BLUE CHEESE-PEAR-SPINACH GRILLED SANDWICH

Sunday lunch could have been soup, but it was such a pleasantly warm day that it seemed like overkill, and so…grilled sandwiches featuring two of my favorite (I have quite a few favorites) ingredients: blue cheese and spinach. As for the fruit, one of the most divine combinations going is pear and blue cheese. A very satisfying lunch!

Blue Cheese-Pear Grilled Sandwich

3 tbsp butter, divided

1 tsp olive oil

1 firm but ripe pear, sliced 1/4″ thick

1/4 cup white cooking wine

6 slices bread (I used swirled white-wheat)

3 oz reduced-far cream cheese

3 oz crumbled blue cheese

3/4 cup baby spinach

1) In medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter (reserving 2 tbsp) in olive oil; add pear slices and saute 5 minutes, turning once; reduce heat to low and add cooking wine; cook 4-5 minutes until sauce reduces, leaving a glaze on pears; remove from heat and set aside

2) Assemble each of three sandwiches as follows: Spread 1 oz cream cheese on one slice of bread, lay one-third of pear slices on cream cheese, followed by one-third of spinach and one-third of crumbled blue cheese, top with slice of bread

3) In large skillet (I used a grill pan) over medium heat, melt remaining 2 tbsp butter; grill sandwiches 3-4 minutes each side until cheeses melt; serve

Servings: 3

CARAMELIZED ONION, PEAR, AND POMEGRANATE BITES

I toted this gorgeous appetizer to my annual book club Christmas party at Neiman-Margaret’s (her new moniker for reasons obvious to those invited into her home) and happily watched it disappear. The combination of caramelized onion, pear, and pomegranate is simply out of this world. And when you toss in a bit of bacon and feta… Fabulous! And not at all difficult to put together. Enjoy!

Caramelized Onion, Pear, and Pomegranate Bites

2 tbsp olive oil

1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 tsp sea salt

4 slices turkey bacon (optional), fried lightly and slivered

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 pears, cored and chopped

2 tsp brown sugar

1-8 oz pkg Crescent Seamless Dough Sheets (by Pillsbury)

1/2 cup crumbled Feta (or blue cheese)

1 cup pomegranate seeds (about 1/2 large pomegranate)

1 tbsp minced parsley

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees; lightly oil a baking sheet (I used a rectangular pizza stone and dusted with cornmeal)

2) To large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil; add onions and salt and, stirring often, cook 20 minutes until onions caramelize; transfer to large bowl and mix with bacon

3) In large skillet over medium heat, melt butter; stir in pears and brown sugar and cook 5-6 minutes; mix with onions and bacon in bowl; set aside

4) Unroll crescent sheet and place on baking sheet; using a pizza cutter, slice into 2″ squares

5) Spread onion-bacon-pear mixture over crescent sheet and bake in oven 10-12 minutes until crescent sheet puffs and edges turn golden; remove from oven, scatter with feta, pomegranate seeds, and parsley; serve (you may need to gently slide a knife beneath the crescent sheet to loosen)

Servings: 12

BLUE CHEESE PEAR WITH HONEY

When I saw the gorgeous Roquefort Pear with Honey recipe on Stephane Gabart’s My French Heaven blog, I bemoaned being the only one in our household who would dine on something so beautifully daring since, outside of Junior who’s at university, only I adore blue-veined cheeses. After all, why spend time in the kitchen for just little old me, right? Wrong. I cooked up my own slightly modified version of this taste sensation for lunch. Only one thumb up, but–my!–do I feel spoiled.

Blue-Cheese Pear with Honey

2 cups water

3 tbsp granulated white sugar

pinch of salt

1 pear (I used a small Bartlett)

2-3 tbsp crumbled blue cheese (adjust amount according to how deep and wide you scoop your pear)

1 tbsp honey (I used organic Eucalyptus honey–very distinctive flavor)

1) To small pot, add water, sugar, and pinch of salt; bring to a slow boil

2) Meanwhile, cut off top of pear (I also cut off a bit of the bottom to level it so it would stand upright); scoop out center of both pieces (about 1″ deep in bottom and 1/2″ deep in top)

3) Add top and bottom pear pieces to pot and cook 15 minutes; remove from pot and let cool completely; stuff with blue cheese and chill 1 hour or more in refrigerator; place pear on a pretty plate, drizzle with honey, and serve

Servings: 1 (and it’s all mine)

GRILLED CHICKEN AND PEAR SANDWICH WITH SPINACH PESTO

Don’t let the fluorescent green put you off–it’s all natural. And delicious! Even my guys, who are a bit wary of food with a “foodie” look, gobbled down these sandwiches. Of course, I don’t think they were aware of the pear in the middle 🙂

SPINACH PESTO:

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used Kraft Reduced Fat Mayo with Olive Oil)

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

3 cups packed baby spinach

SANDWICH:

8 slices sourdough bread (make it a good one, like Panera’s)

1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese

2 cups cooked and shredded chicken breast (deli-roasted chicken works well too)

1 pear, sliced thin

3 tbsp butter, softened

1) PESTO: To food processor, add: olive oil, mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, salt, and pepper; process 30-45 seconds until well combined; add spinach and process 30-45 seconds until well combined

2) SANDWICH: Assemble each sandwich as follows: spread spinach pesto on both sides of bread; layer: cheese, chicken, and pear; top with second piece of bread

3) In large skillet (or grill pan) over medium heat, melt half the butter; place sandwiches in skillet; while bottoms are grilling (3-4 minutes), spread remaining butter on top pieces of bread; turn sandwiches and grill additional 3-4 minutes until cheese melts; serve, serve, serve!

Makes: 4 sandwiches

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 07/04/12–the one that disappeared into a black hole.