Category Archives: Sandwiches

Roasted Portobello and Goat Cheese Sandwiches

Well the diet is still on.  I’m pretty proud of myself actually, I’m sticking with it (knock on wood!) and seeing results.  It helps that there are so many tasty healthier options out there these days.  Options like this roasted portobello and goat cheese sandwich.

Let me tell you something, this sandwich was awesome.  It was so good that I cooked them again the next night.  I just bought regular goat cheese so I added just a very small amount of 1% milk and mixed it well to make it creamier and more spreadable.  I also served it on sandwich thins.  Excellent!

Roasted Portobello and Goat Cheese Sandwiches
Recipe from Clean Eating, November/December 2011 issue

1 lb. portobello mushrooms, stemmed and cut into 1/4 inch strips
1.5 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup goat cheese, spreadable if you can find it
1/2 green onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
4 sandwich thins
4 cups spring mix or arugula


  • Preheat oven to 375.  In a bowl, toss the mushrooms and oil then spread out in a large casserole and roast 20 minutes, tossing halfway through.
  • While that’s cooking, mix the goat cheese, green onion, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper (and milk if needed to make it spreadable) in a medium bowl.
  • Layer sandwich thins with spread, mushrooms and arugula.            *You can toast the buns if you want to, but we did not.

Per Sandwich…
Calories:  259
Total Fat:  11 g
Sat. Fat:  6 g
Monounsaturated Fat:  3.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat:  1 g
Fiber:  5 g
Sugars:  6 g
Protein:  13 g
Sodium:  456 mg
Cholesterol:  16 mg

Roasted Portobello and Goat Cheese Sandwiches

Slow-Cooker Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches

Have you ever noticed that some things just make your mouth water?  While perusing the Crockpot365 blog, I spotted a post for pepperoncini beef sandwiches and when I saw the picture, my mouth watered.  And I made it two days later.

I have to say this is one of the easiest dishes ever.  Doesn’t hurt that it tastes awesome and is pretty cheap to make!  I added a few things because if you can believe it, the recipe only calls for two things.  I’ll write the recipe as I made it and put my add-ins as “optional.”  I was a little worried that it would taste too tangy with all that pepperoncini and juice, but it wasn’t at all, it was absolutely perfect.  And the leftovers are even better. You can even put the meat in frozen.  I have a feeling this will be in our regular rotation!

Slow-Cooker Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches
Recipe adapted from:  A Year of Slow Cooking

1 2-lb. beef chuck roast
1 (16 oz.) jar whole pepperoncini peppers
5 baby bella mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1 yellow onion, chopped (optional)
1 packet dry Lipton’s Beefy Onion Soup Mix (optional)
1/4 cup wine (optional)
sliced provolone cheese (optional)

Spray a crockpot bowl with nonstick spray.  If using onions, place half of them on the bottom of the bowl.  Place the chuck roast on top of the onions and empty the jar of pepperoncini peppers on top.  Place the sliced mushrooms and the rest of the onions on top.  In a small bowl, mix the dry soup mix with just enough wine (or water if you don’t have wine) to where it is well combined.  Cook on LOW for 8 hours (may want to go 10 if using frozen beef).

When cooked, shred with two forks.  Serve on buns topped with cheese.  I put ours under the broiler for a little bit to melt the cheese.  But maybe left too long….see pic.  ;)

Slow-Cooked Pepperoncini Beef Sandwich

Beef and Mushroom Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes are always a good thing to have when you’re wanting comfort food.  Unfortunately, a glance at the nutrition information makes it not so comforting.  Luckily we can always count on Cooking Light to deliver a tasty recipe at a fraction of the calories. 

This was a really quick to cook recipe and though it’s a little odd with all of the chopped mushrooms, it is really REALLY good.  And you’d never know it was lower calorie.  They say that it yields 4 sandwiches at 439 calories each, but I guess we just don’t put enough meat on ours because it made like 6 or 7 sandwiches for us.  So I don’t know how many calories that would be.  Anyway.  It was good, try it!

Beef and Mushroom Sloppy Joes
Recipe from:  Cooking Light, June 2011 issue

1 tbsp olive oil
12 oz lean ground beef
1 lb. mushrooms, washed, stems trimmed and quartered (I don’t like presliced – they get brown and dry)
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup no-salt tomato paste
1 tbsp fresh oregano, minced
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp molasses
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp hot sauce
4 hamburger buns, toasted


In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the ground meat and cook until browned.  While that’s cooking, add your mushrooms to a food processor and blend until finely chopped.  Make sure your ground beef is chopped up small (with your spoon) and add the mushrooms, onions and garlic.  Cook until tender, two or three minutes.  Add the tomato paste, oregano, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, molasses and salt and cook five minutes until some of the liquid evaporates.  Add the pepper and hot sauce, taste for seasonings and serve. 

Beef and Mushroom Sloppy Joes

Goat Cheese & Strawberry Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Red Pepper Jelly

I love grilled cheese sandwiches, there are so many variations, the sky is the limit on what you can concoct.  Of course you know how much I love goat cheese, so when I saw this sandwich for goat cheese and strawberry grilled cheese sandwiches (that also uses pepper jelly!) recently, I had to try it immediately. 

The blog where I saw this commented that it is the pepper jelly that really makes this sandwich and she’s right.  It’s the perfect blend of spicy and sweet,  you can’t eat just one!  We added a little on to the recipe by including Monterey Jack cheese and some crumbled bacon.  Bacon makes everything better!  My dad even tried this sandwich and really seemed to love it!

Goat Cheese, Strawberry and Red Pepper Jelly Grilled Cheese
Adapted from recipe seen on Pink Parsley, originally from Southern Living, March 2011

Sliced bread (I think thick slices of sourdough would be great!)
sliced strawberries
goat cheese crumbles
Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
bacon, fried and crumbled
red pepper jelly
fresh basil, washed and chopped

Butter the outsides of each slice of bread.  On the inside of one of the slices, spread a generous layer of pepper jelly.  Top with Monterey Jack cheese, bacon crumbles, strawberry slices, chopped basil and goat cheese crumbles.  Grill on each side in a hot, greased pan until golden and the cheese is melted.  Cut diagonally and enjoy!

Goat Cheese & Strawberry Grilled Cheese with Red Pepper Jelly

Steak & Bleu Cheese Quesadillas

One of my favorite combos is beef and bleu cheese.  I mean really, does it get better than that??  I needed to use up some flour tortillas before they went bad so I decided to concoct a quesadilla that was a little different.  I hate to even call this a recipe because it was so easy, but there ya go.  The end result was pure yummy-ness and next time, I won’t wait till I’m trying to use up tortillas – I’ll buy them just for this!

Steak & Bleu Cheese Quesadillas
A Cooking With Christen original

1 pkg. tenderized cube steak (I think that’s what it’s called, anyway!  It’s those round patty looking things that have been tenderized, you know what I mean!  I wanted to use flat-iron steak but it wasn’t on sale.)
Dale’s marinade – to taste
3 tbsp butter
1 large onion, sliced
1/2 tsp thyme
4-5 white mushrooms, washed and sliced into thick slices
A couple of handfuls of fresh baby spinach
bleu cheese crumbles
flour tortillas


Set the meat in a tupperware container and drizzle the Dale’s marinade over it.  Allow to sit in the fridge a half hour or so (while you prep the rest of the ingredients).

Heat 1 tbsp butter over medium heat and add the onions.  Cook until soft, add some salt if you like.  Remove the onions to a plate and set aside.  In the same pan, add 1 more tbsp butter and cook the mushrooms until just soft.  Don’t cook them too long though because they’ll shrink down!  Add them to the plate with the onions.  Finally, add that last tablespoon butter and the spinach and cook until just wilted.  Set aside.

Remove the beef from the refrigerator and cut into bite-sized pieces.  Cook in a skillet or pan until done then set aside.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and place one tortilla in it.  Add some beef, bleu cheese crumbles, spinach, mushrooms and onions on only one half of it.  Fold the other half over and flip to cook each side and allow the cheese to melt.  Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.  Cut into wedges and serve.

Steak and Bleu Cheese Quesadillas

Barbecued Pulled Pork

My husband has been saying that he wanted pulled pork for months now.  He had an elaborate plan to create a smoker and do it that way, but he works a lot and really just hasn’t had the time to devote to it.  I decided to try to satisfy his craving and do some pulled pork in the crockpot, just until he gets a chance to try what he’s been wanting to do.

I tried a recipe out of my Make it Fast, Cook it Slow book (for anyone with Celiacs – this cookbook features gluten-free recipes).  It was really good, the only thing I changed is that I mixed the sauce ingredients before adding it to the crockpot, instead of putting everything in one at a time.  I figured the flavors would meld better this way.  But it was delicious and really easy, this will be my go-to recipe from now on.  It also makes a lot, it’d be great to serve if you’re having a little get together.

Barbecued Pulled Pork
Recipe from:  Make it Fast, Cook it Slow

4 lbs. boneless pork shoulder
1 onion, sliced into rings
2 cups ketchup (the contents of a 24-oz bottle)
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Tabasco sauce (I used the chipotle Tabasco)
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Spray crockpot bowl with nonstick spray. 

Trim the fat (as much as you can get off) off of the meat.  Place in the crockpot and put the sliced onions on top. 

Mix the remaining ingredients (once you pour out the ketchup, add the warm water to the ketchup bottle and shake it up to get the rest out) into a medium-sized bowl.  Pour over the pork and onions. 

Cover and cook on LOW 8-10 hours until the meat shreds easily with a fork – this was 9 hours for me.

Serve on buns. 

Barbecued Pulled Pork

Sweet and Spicy Tomato Jam

I recently had a BLT sandwich and instead of using sliced tomatoes, it had tomato jam.  What a great idea!  This way you can enjoy this sandwich year round and not have to use nasty supermarket tomatoes.  As I was making it, my mind started going to all the different things you could use this far, different sandwiches or even as a topping for goat cheese….yum!

Grilled cheese sandwich with tomato jam, turkey, Monterey Jack cheese, spring salad mix and avocado - Delicious!!

I did use canned tomatoes, since they are not currently in season.  This was very easy to make and I can’t wait to make a couple of big batches so I can jar them!

Sweet and Spicy Tomato Jam
Recipe adapted from:  The Perfect Pantry

2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger root
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
1 large can (1.5 lb) diced tomato (fire roasted would probably be great!)
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp white granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
pinch ground cloves
1-2 tsp chopped pickled jalapeno peppers

In a nonstick pan, heat oil then add the garlic and ginger and saute’ until turning golden, about a minute.  Add the vinegar, allow it to sizzle for a minute or two then add the remaining ingredients.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 30-45 minutes, until thickened to a jam consistency.  Refrigerate until cold before serving.  Can store in the refrigerator up to three weeks.

Sweet & Spicy Tomato Jam

Christen’s Chicken Salad

A few years ago when I still lived in the Baton Rouge area, we’d go to the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings.  If you’ve never been and are in the area, I highly suggest checking it out.  They have everything from fresh flowers to fruits, vegetables, baked goods, dips, seafood…you name it, they have it.  One thing they used to have but I don’t believe is out there anymore was a vendor selling the BEST chicken salad you will ever eat.  It was so good I wanted to serve it at our wedding.  But at almost $12 a tub, it was not an option.

Once we moved, I kept remembering how delicious it was and decided to recreate it myself.  I must say I think it comes pretty close and tastes fantastic!  I normally put slivered almonds in it but didn’t have any on hand, so I used chopped walnuts which was just as tasty.  This is definitely a nice change from regular old hum-drum chicken salad!  If you don’t want it on sandwiches, you can also use it as a dip with crackers.

Christen’s Chicken Salad

1 whole cooked chicken, found in the deli section
1 small package slivered almonds
1/2 pkg craisins
1 cup mayo
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1-2 bunches green onions, cut
Seasoning to taste (I used a little bit of blackened
seasoning, Tony’s, and salt)


Using your fingers, tear the chicken meat into shreds.  Add the rest of ingredients and mix well.  Taste for seasonings.

When seasoning is just right, stick it in the fridge, covered, overnight.  Serve cold.

Christen's Chicken Salad

Chicken Sate’ Wraps

I’ve been having this recipe saved forever and am finally getting around to trying it.  I think the thing that was stopping me was the coleslaw on it – I do not like coleslaw.  At all.  Luckily I found this stuff at the supermarket that was a broccoli slaw and I felt would be a good substitute.

Let me tell you, this meal came together so quickly!!  I bought a rotisserie chicken the other day and pulled all the meat off and shredded it and put it in two ziploc bags in the freezer.  Just pulled it out of the freezer a little in advance to thaw.  So that was done.  It literally cooked in less than 10 minutes!  And the flavor.  OMG.  So.Freaking.Good!!! In the recipe, they suggest serving chilled but I served them warm and they were fantastic.  Also, like I said earlier, I used broccoli slaw rather than the dry coleslaw mix.  See Cooking Light’s recipe if you want to try it their way.  Trust me, try this SOON!

Chicken Sate’ Wraps
Adapted From:  Cooking Light

1/2 cup broccoli slaw mix, plus more for topping
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
2/3 cup light coconut milk
1 tbsp soy sauce (I used Tabasco brand)
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp curry powder
3 tbsp peanut butter
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups shredded chicken
flour tortillas


Spray a nonstick pan with Pam cooking spray and heat to medium heat.  Add the 1/2 cup broccoli and the green onions, saute’ for about a minute.  Stir in the coconut milk, soy sauce, rice vinegar, curry powder, cayenne and peanut butter.  Cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly until well blended.  Stir in the chicken and coat, cook (stirring) about a minute to heat through.  Remove from heat.

Warm tortillas per package instructions and fill with chicken and broccoli slaw.  Roll and serve hot or cold.

Chicken Sate' Wraps

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

This is my second year attempting to cook a traditional Irish meal for St. Patrick’s Day.  Last year we had Irish Beef Stew, so I wanted to do something different.  When you think traditional Irish food, your mind goes to corned beef and cabbage, with some Irish soda bread on the side.  I’ve never had corned beef OR soda bread, so this was the perfect opportunity to try it out.  I’m used to lots of flavor, so I used Bobby Flay’s Corned Beef recipe, which is just kicked up a bit.  All in all, it was a huge success.  With the leftovers, we had Reuben sandwiches! 

Bobby Flay’s Corned Beef
Source:  Bobby Flay 

1 corned beef, prepared (instructions below)
1 lb bacon, cut into pieces
spice rub for the meat
Dijon mustard
coarse ground mustard
prepared horseradish


To prepare the corned beef, simply remove from packaging and rise off.  Place in a large pot and fill with water until just over the meat.  Add the spice pack that came with the meat.  Boil at a slow simmer for 2.5 to 3 hours, until fork tender.  Remove and allow to cool.  Trim and discard the fat. 

Fry the bacon in a pan, and set aside once browned.  Slice the corned beef and season each side with the rub.  Flash fry in the bacon grease about 30 seconds on each side, just to get the flavor and a touch of crust on each side.  Remove to paper towels. 

To make the sauce:  combine mustards, honey and horseradish (sorry didn’t measure) until it tastes to your liking.  It’s spicy!  Drizzle over the meat to serve. 


Corned Beef


Cabbage and Bacon: 

1 head cabbage, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
bacon from the corned beef recipe
touch of water
seasonings to taste 


In a large pot, combine the cabbage, onion and garlic with about a tablespoon water.  Cook over medium heat until the cabbage has cooked down and is soft.  Season to taste and serve with crumbled bacon. 

Cabbage with Bacon

Brown Soda Bread
Source:  Cooking Light, March 2010 Issue 

Cooking Spray
2.5 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup steel-cut oats (there IS a difference between this and regular oats)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp wheat germ
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten 


Preheat oven to 325.  

Combine the flours through the salt in a large bowl until well mixed.  Combine the buttermilk and the egg in another bowl, then pour into the dry mixture.  Stir till combined. 

Pour into a greased 9×5 loaf pan and bake for one hour and five minutes or till cooked through.  Remove from pan and cool completely before serving. 

Brown Soda Bread

Got leftovers?  Make a Reuben sandwich!  Simply use the slices of bread, add some thousand island dressing, some corned beef, sauerkraut and voila! 

Reuben Sandwich

For dessert, we had simple cupcakes.  There’s no recipe for these because they were the boxed funfetti cake mix with buttercream icing colored green.  But they looked cute! 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!