Thursday, October 2, 2008

Weekly Lunchbox- Chunky Chicken Salad Sdwh, Sliced Veggies w/Dip, Pesto Pasta, Chocolate Sdwh Cookies- and Spicy Bulgur Salad w/ Nectarines

Some people couldn't decide between peanut butter frosting and marshmallow so they took both.

This week's lunchbox takes most of it's recipes from Todd English. There was an article on that featured this Chunky Chicken Salad- which got a double thumbs up from my son, Pesto Pasta Salad, Veggies and Frenchy Dip, and Chocolate Sandwich Cookies. I made them throughout the week and since there was a cookie recipe, I decided to compare a recent Chocolate Sandwich Cookie from Cooking Light. I didn't make either of the frostings that went with the cookies because I had just enough leftover marshmallow frosting from Cupcake Hero and some Peanut Butter Frosting from some cupcakes a week ago. The Cooking Light Cookies were like giant cake cookies that went great with the marshmallow frosting and Todd English's cookies were very chocolately and dark, like a brownie, but they were impossible to roll out I ended up rolling them into balls and smooshing them down a little. The last salad was very delicious and used our last nectarine from the backyard. (The pic is awful because I forgot to take a pic until there was no natural light, sorry!)

Todd English Sandwich Cookies above, Cooking Light Cookies below

Chunky Chicken Salad Sandwich From Todd English, on
6 oz. leftover skinless chicken breast or rotisserie chicken, cut into small chunks
1/4 cucumber, diced
2 Tbs. fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste
4 slices whole wheat bread
2 tsp. soft butter (optional)

Step 1: In a bowl, mix all ingredients except bread and butter. Toast bread or, to grill, spread one side of each slice with butter. Spoon half the chicken salad onto a slice of toast or bread, butter side down. Top with another piece of toast or bread, butter side up. Repeat. If grilling, place in a skillet on low heat for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. Cut in half.

Sliced Veggies and Frenchy Ketchup Dip from Todd English,
For kids over age 4, pack raw veggies with 1/4 cup of this delicious dip. In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup ketchup and 1/4 cup light mayonnaise. Stir in 2 Tbs. diced pickles.

Pesto Pasta Salad from Todd English taken from
1 lb. orzo pasta
2 cups basil, chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove
5 pitted black olives
2 large, ripe tomatoes, diced

Step 1: Cook orzo according to the package directions. Drain and place in a bowl with very cold water and a few drops of olive oil so it cools fast. Drain again.
Step 2: In a food processor, pulse basil, cheese, remaining oil, garlic, and olives until mixed.
Step 3: In a large bowl, stir together pasta, basil mixture, and tomatoes.

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies from Todd English, taken from
Makes: 20 cookies
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup plus 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
3 Tbs. water
Step 1: Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and mix together. Gradually mix in cocoa powder and flour. Stir in water.
Step 2: Form dough into a flattened disk; chill for 30 minutes.
Step 3: Preheat oven to 325?F. Carefully place dough on parchment paper; roll out to approximately 1/4" thick. Cut into circles using a 1 1/4" round cookie cutter. Place on cookie sheets. Bake about 5 to 8 minutes, until the cookies are firm at the edges and no longer doughy in the middle. Cool completely. Spread cream cheese frosting (see recipe below) on the cookie bottoms; assemble to form a sandwich cookie.
Cream Cheese Frosting
In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup low-fat cream cheese, 1 1/3 cup powdered sugar, and 6 Tbs. softened butter. Mix well.
Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Marshmallow Cream Filling from Cooking Light
1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup fat-free buttermilk
Cooking spray
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (about 2 1/2 teaspoons)
3/4 cup cold water, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light-colored corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. To prepare cookies, combine 1 cup sugar and butter in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 2 minutes). Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and eggs; beat until combined. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, 1 teaspoon salt, baking powder, and baking soda; stir well with a whisk. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
3. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes or until set. Cool on pans 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
4. To prepare filling, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water in a large bowl; set aside. Combine remaining 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, syrup, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 244°. Remove from heat. Gradually pour hot sugar syrup into softened gelatin mixture, beating with a mixer at low speed, then at high speed until thick (about 6 minutes), scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; beat until well blended.
5. Quickly spread about 2 tablespoons filling over bottom side of 1 cookie; top with another cookie. Repeat procedure with remaining filling and cookies.

Spicy Bulgur Salad with Nectarines from the Top 100 Recipes for a healthy Lunchbox by Nicola Graimes
1/2 cup bulgur wheat
scant 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 Tbls olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 ripe nectarine, halved, pitted and sliced
3 Tbls pinenuts, toasted
2 Tbls chopped cilantro

1. Put the bulgur in a saucepan with the stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the stock is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let hte pan stand 5 minutes with the lid on.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet and fry the garlic for 1 minute, then add the spices and cook another
minute. Remove from the heat, add the bulgur, and stir to coat it in the spices. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
3. Stir in the nectarine, pine nuts, and cilantro. Season with pepper.
Can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to 3 days.


Anonymous said...

I love that salad! I'm not big on chocolate but that cookie is calling my name.

The Blonde Duck said...

My favorite is, of course, the PB cookies!

Maria said...

The orzo and cookies would be a perfect lunch for me!! Delicious!

Cathy said...

Whoa! I think I am going to dream about those chocolate/peanut butter/marshmallow sandich cookies tonight. The chicken salad looks fantastic too -- I love that this version does not call for mayonaisse. It all looks great!

Prudy said...

It all looks wonderful but that cookie with double frosting is giving me serious cravings. YOur lunches definitely rock the playground.

Marie said...

Oh gosh Mary Ann, I sure with you were packing my lunch box!!! Fabulous!

Matt said...

I have got to get my lunch act together! These look great!