Tuna Tostadas – Lenten Lunch Ideas

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Vegetarianism never lured me to ditch my carnivore urges, but every Lent I go meatless on Fridays. Except for those times I forgot. Hopefully Jesus was watching March Madness instead of my sinful lunch plate with processed turkey or a delicious burrito.

Imprisoned at home with a cold, I didn’t have a ton of options for today’s Lenten lunch. My first thought was to make a tuna melt. I keep my bread at the office rather than making sandwiches every morning and carting them to work. As I inspected the bread in the fridge and on the kitchen table, most needed to be tossed out.

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Matthew 14:19-21

tostada

Clearly, I’m no Jesus. Can we clarify if those five loaves were moldy?

Know what seems to never mold? Tortillas.

Left with no other options it was either tuna tacos or quesadillas. Tuna never seems to be high on the list of meats in Mexican cuisine. I don’t think I have ever seen in on the menu.

I fired up the cast iron skillet, drizzled some vegetable oil into the pan and began frying up the corn tortillas. Meanwhile, I opened and drained one can of tuna. Slice on stalk of celery. Add one tablespoon of mayonnaise. Combine all three. Tuna is usually salty, so you can skip that if you want to spend more time on this earth. If you have bell peppers, I suggest adding those. Otherwise, that’s your basic tuna salad.

Once my tortillas were flipped and crisp, I scooped a spoon of tuna salad, sprinkled shredded cheddar, sauteed red onions and added a few slices of cherry tomatoes.

What are your go-to Lenten lunch options?

Chicken Salad from Scratch | Tortilla Challenge

chicken salad, tortilla challenge, lunch, wrap

chicken salad, tortilla challenge, lunch, wrap

The more I look at what I eat, the more I notice how they are slight variations. This lunchtime gem was an easy and tasty recipe. It’s a jazzed up chicken salad. The key difference being homemade mayonnaise (recipe buried here). I had grilled chicken from another night, so this was a slice and mix job.

Diced red onions and celery got added to the cubed chicken and 2-3 tablespoon dollops of homemade mayo. Warm up some tortillas and your lunch is ready to be inhaled.

Mayo:

1 large egg yolk, preferably organic or farm-raised
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon water
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
1 cup vegetable oil

Chicken Salad

1/2 red onion, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1-2 chicken breasts, cubed

Lettuce/spinach/leafy things

Tomatoes

Salt/Pepper

3 Egg Omelette | Tortilla Challenge

tortilla, eggs, tortilla challenge

tortilla, eggs, tortilla challenge

As part of the ongoing series, here’s another simple way to use tortillas. Eggs are one of my staples for quick and tasty meals, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

This amalgamation cleaned out a lot of ingredients lurking in my fridge: Spinach, cherry tomatoes, baby bella mushrooms, pecorino cheese. Pecorino has a strong salty flavor, so go easy on the salt in the eggs/veggies. I sauteed the ingredients before cooking the eggs, cleaned out the skillet, re-oiled, then added in the beaten eggs. In place of toast, I warmed two tortillas and used them to grab up some omelette deliciousness.

My Fat Weekend (and assorted tales)

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In my defense, I went to the gym Friday after work, successfully bookend-ing the week with visits to the meathead factory. That may have been the last healthy life choice in the decadence that was Saturday and Sunday. The weekend included a visit to my aunt’s, Walmart, Taco Bell and the un-mapped region known as Aurora.

The culinary highlights were numerous. After driving to pickup our ceramic creations at Terra Incognito, Leann and I wandered the street (yes, singular) of Forest Park. Not in the mood to day drink or buy antiques, we ventured to Taco Bell. After uttering “I don’t know the last time i’ve been to Taco Bell,” I educated Leann on the many wonders of their menu. The lesson concluded with the dictum “You can’t go wrong.”

What did I have you ask? Those that know me, know my order when ringing the bell. But this particular Saturday I deviated from my standard order to try the quesarito. I had read numerous descriptions but had to see how they repackaged their core ingredients into a new package. The only real difference from any other items on the menu is the black foil wrapper. The contents are beef, beans, rice, nacho cheese sauce, sour cream and a spicy sauce. It’s essentially a grilled beefy five-layer burrito.

We rolled to Aurora to sample Leann’s first attempt at making tiramisu. I had my reservations, not for her ability to bake, which has yet to be matched, but for the effect of the espresso granules and coffee-soaked lady fingers on my fickle body clock. I don’t drink coffee. Bold statement. I know. But I just pass out occasionally at my desk and blame our nation’s reliance on carbs. So when I was spooned a small portion at 7PM, I hoped the morsel wouldn’t impact me the same way that the coffee-laced desserts in Roma had. Fast forward a few hours when I kept waking up every 45 minutes and we can give this victory to caffeine.

Today started with making my favorite breakfast: french toast. We added a splash of Kahlua to the batter for a little extra coffee zip. I snagged a recipe from All Recipes.

  • 6 thick slices bread

  • 2 eggs

  • 2/3 cup milk

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

nachos, fat
Giving up on life

The weekend wrapped up meeting mi amigo at the driving range to hit a bucket. The weather was ideal. After spraying balls in every possible direction, we grabbed lunch at the course’s restaurant. Then I made another stellar decision: BBQ Chicken Nachos.

If you’re giving up on your life, why stop at french toast?

After everything I ate this weekend, I fear this may be the only tent that fits me.IMG_4464

Delicious Grilled Chicken Sandwich

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The weekend presents the chance to make a better lunch than you pack during the week. The chance to thunk your cast iron skillet on the stove to make yourself a panino.

If you’re at all like me, for your sake I hope that’s not the case, weekday lunches are the path of least resistance. I have a loaf of bread and lunch meat at the office. I’m essentially treating myself like a prisoner with basic sandwiches 4-5 days a week.

Today’s delectable creation was sliced grilled chicken, sautéed red onion, cherry tomatoes and cheddar cheese on toasted oat nut bread with slathered homemade mayo and sliced cucumber.

I eat a lot of sandwiches and this one ranks toward the top. The only thing left to elevate this creation: bacon.

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Lebron: The Chef

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This summer has become an insipid rumor mill surrounding where NBA players will take their talents. Will they or won’t they? A reporter had a reliable source who ended up being as dependable as an inflatable pool.

My relationship with sports has become like a faltering marriage. With athletes saying they don’t make enough and taking their talents to different beaches, I became less interested in sports. Instead I shifted the time I used to spend reading the Sports page and watching ESPN to reading recipes and ogling a chef’s technique.

I had a few issues after reading Lebron’s letter. These stem from a short stint as Sports editor for my high school paper and a raging insecurity complex where spotting grammar errors elevates my sense of worth.

Were the repeated words and phrases like “no question” used as dangling clauses necessary? I’m sure four years in Miami were just like college. College without a composition class.

But Lebron said he has grown. After four years he is now a sage. He knows how to build a premier team. He can get more out of players. He knows all these things at the age of 29. For perspective, Lebron has five months on me. And two championship rings. And millions and millions of dollars. He probably also has a much easier time trying to find a home.

As I sat wondering what to have for lunch today, I wondered what would Lebron do? He’s decisive. Then it occurred to me. He’d make homemade mayonnaise.

The beauty of mayonnaise, like Lebron, is that if you screw up, all is not lost. Like the prodigal son, the emulsion can be saved. Hallelujah!

Mayo is incredibly simple to make. It’s a simple emulsion. You combine acid, seasoning and an egg yolk, then furiously whisk and slowly drizzle in oil. If I watched ESPN more I’m sure I could make references to which ingredient corresponds to players on the Cavs.

I used this ratio from Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio for my first attempt.

Ingredients

1 large egg yolk, preferably organic or farm-raised
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon water
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
1 cup vegetable oil

Possibly unlike Lebron, I nailed it on my first attempt. A swish. I slathered it on toasted French bread and made myself a sandwich with arugula.

In the end, Lebron is just trying to patiently make some mayonnaise in Cleveland.

“We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process.”

Lebron, if you need a demo on how to make mayo, I can take the Megabus to Cleveland.

No question.
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Twerkin’ Chicken Wrap

chicken, wrap, tomato, lettuce, cheese, lunch, dinner

There are nights we don’t have time to make a dinner from scratch. There are also nights where we contemplate buying one of everything at Taco Bell. This will happen at some point in my life. You could call it a life goal.

This pic is of a breaded chicken wrap with tomato, cucumber, lettuce and pepper jack cheese. I also topped with a splash of italian dressing. The shortcut was buying the frozen chicken patties. They took 15 mins to cook in my toaster oven vs 45 minutes to make from scratch. Slice them up and add on top of a warm tortilla.

Boom goes the dinner.