Main Dishes, Recipes, Sandwiches and Wraps

Eggplant Caponata Sandwiches

A hot vegetarian sandwich that is more flavorful than you ever could imagine! 

Eggplant Caponata Sandwiches | thepajamachef.com #summer #meatless #recipe

Eggplant… in a sandwich? Umm, is that for serious? That was Ben’s reaction, pretty much verbatim when I told him I was making these sandwiches with–you guessed it–a cache of farmer’s market goodies. Eggplant, bell peppers, onion, mushrooms, garlic, oregano, basil cooked in a rich tomato sauce. The result is an intensely flavorful sauce that is absolutely incredible on a good, thick baguette with some melty cheese. Mmmm! And oh? If you encounter any doubters when making this recipe, the smell alone should be enough to sway them. 🙂

Eggplant Caponata Sandwiches | thepajamachef.com #summer #meatless #recipe

Truthfully I hadn’t ever heard of eggplant caponata before finding this recipe, but it sounded kind of Italian sooo I put my librarian hat on and found out it’s a traditional Sicilian dish. It’s always made with eggplant and usually is made with a sweet and sour sauce seasoned with vinegar and olives or capers. You can serve the caponata on bread like I did, or over pasta. This made a huge batch so I served some sandwich-style, more over pasta, and some actually over rice. We eat a lot of rice in this house so it was a natural choice.

Eggplant Caponata Sandwiches | thepajamachef.com #summer #meatless #recipe

I’m not really the meatball sub type, but honestly, this reminded me of a vegetarian meatball sub. It’s hearty and tomato-y, with lots of great flavors and a hearty texture. This is definitely a great meatless dish to try if you like eggplant, or even if you want to introduce it to your family. I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed this saucy goodness [and#thatmeltycheese] for dinner for dayyys on end. I know you’ll ❤ it too!

one year ago: Baked Cauli-Tots
two years ago: Quinoa Black Bean Burritos with Southwest Sauce
three years ago: Summery Squash and Chicken Lasagna
four years ago: Watermelon Coolers
five years ago: Tomato Pie

Eggplant Caponata Sandwiches

  • Servings: 6-8
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from The Sweets Life

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed – about 4 cups
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 ounces white mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 – 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • baguette, sliced into small pieces, to serve
  • shredded mozzarella, to serve
  • fresh basil, to serve

Directions:

Heat oil in a large pot set over medium heat. When hot, add eggplant, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 10-12 minutes, until veggies are soft.

Stir in olives, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, sugar, and oregano. Taste and season again as desired. Reduce heat to low, then cover and cook for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally, adding a little water [1-2 tablespoons] if mixture gets too thick or sticks to the bottom of the pan.

Allow caponata to cool for about 20 minutes, then spoon onto slices of baguette, top with mozzarella, and broil until cheese melts. Top with basil and serve immediately. Caponata also freezes well, or can be served over rice or pasta.

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Beans, Main Dishes, Recipes, Sandwiches and Wraps

Spicy Chickpea Bacon Burgers

These chickpea burgers are amped up with bacon and Sriracha, making them a fabulous addition to your burger repertoire!

Spicy Chickpea Bacon Burgers | thepajamachef.comAre you scared of veggie burgers? If so, no shame necessary here… these aren’t TRUE veggie burgers! I say they’re close enough though. Legit vegetarians can use facon instead of bacon to make these tasty treats, and the rest of us can use the good stuff. 🙂 I have a long history with veggie burgers, though I am most certainly not a true vegetarian [though I do threaten to become one from time to time, just to agitate my husband]. Back in the day, I’d love to have some packaged veggie burgers or black bean burgers in the freezer at all times for an effortless, tasty dinner. But in recent years, I’ve made my own. I’ve tried alot of recipes online and have invented some of my own, with mixed results. While I’ve seen some highs in this veggie burger quest, I’ve also seen some lows. Some really, really deep lows. Ben would agree that the lowest point of them all was a sweet potato burger that I [secretly] hated but pretended I liked so I could convince him to eat them. What can I say? The recipe made a bunch and I HATE food waste. Oops.

Spicy Chickpea Bacon Burgers | thepajamachef.comI doubt you’ll have to waste any of these burgers though. They are good. SO good in fact, that you may not want to share them. I certainly didn’t. The burger itself is made out of chickpeas, so they’re kind of reminiscent of falafel, except with a spicy, meaty twist. They’re chewy and hearty, just as a burger should be. If spice isn’t your thing, omit the sriracha and things should be justtt fine. If you like spice, I would think some red pepper flakes or jalapenos might make a tasty addition. I like some spice, but not a ton, so I was happy with the recipe as written.

Spicy Chickpea Bacon Burgers | thepajamachef.comAs you can see from the above photo, I’m a ketchup-lover and I don’t care who knows it. I don’t style my food in ways that I wouldn’t eat it, and the naked bun looked plain so I added my condiments. 🙂 The original recipe suggested serving these burgers with a roasted garlic yogurt sauce [YUM], arugla, and red onions, all of which sounded amazing. But I used what I had, which was [a giant piece of] lettuce and ketchup. No matter how you serve these burgers, they are fab. I highly suggest you make them asap! Enjoy friends!

one year ago: Zin-Zen Chicken
two years ago: Guacamole Salsa
three years ago: Ham & Cheese Baked Pasta
four years ago: Oreo Truffles

Spicy Bacon Chickpea Burgers

  • Servings: 8
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from Running to the Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 3 slices thick cut bacon [or 4 slices of regular bacon]
  • 3 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed [from 2 – 15 ounce cans]
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 inch thick slice of onion [or a few green onions if you want a milder onion taste]
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  •  1/2-1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • buns, optional
  • toppings: lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, ketchup, Sriracha, honey mustard, etc.

Directions:

In a large skillet, fry bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Place bacon on a paper towel to drain, and reserve bacon grease in the skillet. When bacon is cool, chop into small pieces.

Next, place half of the chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until roughly chopped. Remove to a large bowl.

Add remaining chickpeas, garlic, onion, sesame seeds, Sriracha, cornmeal, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and egg to the food processor. Process until smooth, then transfer to the bowl.

Stir chickpeas, chickpea mixture, and mayo together. Fold in bacon.

Form mixture into 8 patties, about 1/3 cup each. You can use a scoop or your wet, clean hands. Place on a lined baking sheet and cover, then refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

When ready to cook, heat skillet with reserved bacon grease over medium-high heat. When hot, cook for 3-4 minutes per side until crispy and golden brown.

Serve on a bun with desired burger toppings, or serve fritter-style with a dipping sauce [honey mustard, mayo + ketchup + Sriracha, garlic yogurt sauce, etc.].

 

10 Minute Lunches, Main Dishes, Recipes, Sandwiches and Wraps

10 Minute Lunch #7: Curried Chicken Salad

Chicken salad… it can be boring, or awesome. This version is pretty darn amazing! I hope you give it a try. 🙂

Back in the days of grad school, I was ALL about the 10 minute lunch. These working days, I am ALL about leftovers for lunch… or special salads. 🙂 But I resurrected the 10 minute lunch lately with this fantastic curried chicken salad! I saw a few pics of curried chicken salad from different folks on Instagram, but I just made my own version based on what I had in my fridge.

Curried Chicken Salad: a 10 minute lunch on thepajamachef.com

I enjoyed this chicken salad on some fresh, homemade whole wheat bread. Recipe coming soon! But back to this chicken salad…it’s filled with all sorts of deliciousness. Golden raisins [golden > regular in my book!], crunchy celery, curry powder [duh], cinnamon [for a sweet kick!], and real mayo! I’ve tried to like using greek yogurt in the place of mayo, but I almost never like it… So why skip the good stuff?

Curried Chicken Salad: a 10 minute lunch on thepajamachef.com

This curried chicken salad was a great few day’s worth of lunches. I used leftover shredded chicken from one of the whole chickens we roast a couple times a month, but you could also use store-bought rotisserie chicken or just poach some chicken. It made for some great, hearty sandwiches. Creamy, crunchy, and flavorful! And fast! Just what I like for busy lunchtimes. 🙂 Enjoy!

one year ago: Coconut Curry Popcorn
two years ago: Dark Chocolate Crumb Bars
three years ago: Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Icing
four years ago: Chicken Pot Pie

Curried Chicken Salad

  • Servings: 2
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1/4 of an apple, diced – about 1/2 cup
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • bread, lettuce, crackers for serving

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine chicken, apple, celery, and golden raisins. Add mayo, lemon juice, and mustard and stir to coat. Sprinkle curry powder and cinnamon on top then stir again.

Serve on good bread, a crisp lettuce leaf, or with crackers.

Beef, Main Dishes, Recipes, Sandwiches and Wraps

Easy Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches

These French Dip Sandwiches cook all day in your crockpot, making a delicious dinner with almost no work! 

Easy Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches | thepajamachef.com

I almost hate to admit that I made these yummy sandwiches in March, for Ben’s birthday. And I’m just now getting around to sharing them. #whoops! Sorry guys, sometimes I just blog about what I made recently… what sounds good… and forget about what’s been sitting in iPhoto for ages. What will be really bad is when I start blogging about recipes that I made when we lived in Indiana–more than 9 months ago! Oh wait, that’s happened already. #whoopstimestwo

Easy Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches | thepajamachef.com

Anyways, back to these sandwiches. As it often goes in our house, the only time I cook “big hunks ‘o meat” are for special occasions or on the weekends. The rest of the time it’s vegetarian fare or meat on the side sort of meals. Obviously, Ben’s birthday qualifies as a special occasion, and he chose French Dip Sandwiches. I know alot of people eat them at restaurants all the time, but I’m not sure I’d ever had one before. Now I’m hooked! I loved how tender and flavorful the beef is in this dish, but my favorite bites included all the extras: a little bit of  meat, some soft, meaty onions, and a big hunk of chewy baguette. I used these cute mini baguettes for extra crust on each sandwich. 🙂 Deeeeeelish! I need to make this meal again soon. You can add cheese to the sandwiches if you like too, but it’s flavorful enough as is so we left it off. Enjoy!

one year ago: Kale Pesto Pasta
two years ago: Fresh Tomato & Mozzarella Crostini 

Easy Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches

  • Servings: 4
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Easy Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches | thepajamachef.comfrom What Megan’s Making
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef brisket, trimmed
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large baguette—cut into 4 pieces, split horizontally or 4 mini baguettes
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese, optional

Directions:

Add broth, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and flour in the bottom of a large crockpot. Whisk to combine. Season the brisket with a generous amount of pepper, then place in the crockpot. Turn to coat with broth, then cover and cook until very tender, approximately 6-8 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high. I cooked mine on low for about 7 hours.

Ten minutes before serving, place brisket on a cutting board and thinly slice against the grain. Alternatively, you can gently shred meat with two forks [this is what I did]. If desired, strain the cooking liquid and reserve onions, then bring cooking liquid to a boil and cook about 5-7 minutes until reduced. [I didn’t do this.]

If using cheese, place cheese on bread and toast at a low broil for a couple minutes, watching carefully. Serve brisket on bread with onions, and serve cooking liquid as au jus on side for dipping.

Main Dishes, Recipes, Sandwiches and Wraps

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese

So, any other Call the Midwife fans out there? The season finale was last night–and oh my goodness!!! If you haven’t seen that show, you are missing out. It’s my newest love this spring–right up there with jalapeños, both of which are QUITE surprising because I never have liked medical-type shows and I certainly have NEVER been a spice kind of person. But now I crave it. Spice and midwifes. Mhmm.

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese | The Pajama Chef

The inspiration behind this incredibly cheesy, gooey grilled cheese with a kick is one of my absolute favorite restaurants, Scotty’s Brewhouse. Scotty’s is an Indiana chain and if we ever move from Indiana college towns I will be so super sad because pretty much everything there is great. From their waffle fries to their burgers to their salads, I’m just in love. We ate there at the end of April for my birthday and I randomly ordered this Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese. Why? I have no clue–it just sounded good. And it was good. So good in fact that I craved it for days on end, and was disappointed that this, of all times, was a date where Ben agreed to SHARE our entrees. He never wants to do that, but this time… man, what timing! Last week, I finally took it upon myself to recreate it at home. Allow me to introduce you to this masterpiece….!

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese | The Pajama Chef

It is basically grilled cheese to the max. EEEEK! I can’t even describe it any further except to say it’s just awesome and you need to try it, like now. Cheesy, spicy, gooey. What more do you need to know? It has four kinds of cheese–sharp cheddar, Monterrey Jack, cream cheese, AND a pub cheese spread, and it also is amped up with sweet sauteed onions, crisp bacon, and spicy jalapeños! I mean COME ON! I apologize for the excessive use of capitalization and exclamation, but what can you do when something is this amazing?! Have you ever had anything like this before? This isn’t a healthy grilled cheese at all… but you can indulge a little on a Monday. In my case, I’ll be needing it to drown my sorrows about the end of this season of Call the Midwife… but in Ben’s case, he’ll be drowning his sorrows about the fact that the show has been renewed for season three. YAY! [Oh boys and their squeamishness.] Enjoy!

P.S. SHAMELESS PLUG! Please check out and like my new blog Facebook page… pretty please with a cherry on top? And sprinkles? And jalapeños? I started the page back in 2011 but just started using it over the weekend. Ha! Thanks! 🙂

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese [a TPC original, inspired by Scotty’s Brewhouse]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced Vidalia onion
  • 2 jalapeños, thinly sliced [partially deseeded if desired]
  • 4 slices whole wheat bread [or something that’s good for grilled cheese]
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter [divided]
  • 3-4 tablespoons cream cheese, softened [divided]
  • 2 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, thinly sliced [divided]
  • 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, thinly sliced [divided]
  • 3-4 tablespoons cheddar cheese spread [I used Trader Joe’s pub cheese with jalapeños, but I think something like this recipe would work too]  [divided]
  • 3 slices of bacon, crisply cooked and chopped  [divided]

Directions:

In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When shimmering, add onion and jalapeños, and cook for 4-5 minutes until soft. Stir constantly, and if they start to burn, reduce heat slightly. Remove from heat and set aside.

Next, preheat grill pan or panini press–I used a panini press set on medium.

Butter one side of each piece of bread. Then assemble by spreading a layer of cream cheese on the non-buttered side of one piece of bread, topping with Monterrey Jack cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, bacon, and half of the onion/jalapeño mixture. Spread the cheddar cheese spread on the non-buttered side of another piece of bread, then place cheese spread on the onion/jalapeño mixture. This leaves the buttered sides on the outside. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Place on grill pan/panini press for about 5-6 minutes so cheese melts and outside gets crispy. Enjoy!

Time: 20 minutes.

Yield: 2 sandwiches.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.