BLT Lettuce Wraps (No-Carb BLT)

Sometimes I get things that look amazing as an impulse purchase. Some people might be tempted by a cute pair of shoes, a new outfit, or the latest tech gadget. More often than not, my impulse buys are food related. I see a recipe that sounds good and I’m off to the store, and that’s what happened when I saw these BLT Lettuce Wraps.

I first saw this video clip on Facebook and then the pin popped up on my Pinterest feed. I love BLT sandwiches as you can see from the Weave Your Bacon BLT and Egg Salad BLTA Sandwich posts. This BLT Lettuce Wraps recipe was trying to sound healthy since it doesn’t have any bread and is, therefore, no-carb. I thought, sure, let’s go with it. Anytime you want to try to combine BLT + healthy I’m willing to give it a try.

Pintesting BLT Lettuce Wraps

The Pintesting:

The beauty of this recipe is in its simplicity. Large leafy romaine lettuce, juicy tomatoes, mayo and bacon. Although not specified, I seasoned my tomato halves with salt and pepper.

Pintesting BLT Lettuce Wraps

Spread some mayonnaise on a romaine lettuce leaf and top with several tomato halves.  TIP: make sure your romaine lettuce leaves are blotted dry if you want the mayo to stick.

Pintesting BLT Lettuce Wraps

Add the bacon and you’re done.

Pintesting BLT Lettuce Wraps

I put three on a plate thinking that this should be the serving size because that’s what the video did. After all, these BLT Lettuce Wraps are supposed to replace a BLT sandwich.

Pintesting BLT Lettuce Wraps

I have to say that it was not easy to get the pictures before digging into these BLT Lettuce Wraps.

Pintesting BLT Lettuce Wraps

I made a total of 6; three each for my HH and me. They were delicious if just a wee bit messy. I’m not sure if I should have used two slices of bacon on each wrap, but I think that would have thrown off the balance of the B-L-T. That said, after finishing them we both still felt hungry and agreed that these would be a fantastic appetizer, salad, or finger salad (if there’s such a thing, and if not I just made it up).

The Pintesting Results:

OVERALL RESULTS:  4.85 PINS

Pintesting - 5 Pins Overall Rating

 

Accuracy:  The recipe was very simple and straight forward and the taste was delicious. I was very pleased that it turned out exactly as the recipe and video said that it would. I also liked how refreshing they looked. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty: This was one step easier than a traditional BLT in that there’s no bread to toast, but the rest of the process was pretty much the same. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Time: Putting this together took very little time. The longest part was cooking the bacon, and I did that on the stove-top so it took about 15 minutes for crispy thick-cut bacon. From prep to plate took 20 minutes – 5 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Cost: This is a low cost dish – especially if you get the bacon on sale (which I did; buy one get one free). The romaine  came two heads to a package and there was a LOT leftover that I used for salads.  The tomatoes were also buy one get one free, so the cost per BLT wrap was less than a dollar. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Practicality: If you’re looking for a satisfying meal then you might be disappointed. If you’re looking for some great taste, a gluten-free or paleo BLT snack, an appetizer, or a salad that’s finger food, then this is a fantastic recipe. The original recipe doesn’t specify that it will be as filling as a BLT sandwich, but three to a serving size should have at least been close. Even people on diets don’t want to feel hungry after eating. Therefore, I’m giving this  4 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

 

Easy Cheeseburger Sliders

The other day was National Hamburger Day. Who comes up with these “holidays”? Well, thank you to whomever, because even though I’m not a huge carnivore, I LOVE a good burger.

Burgers are like pizza in that there are so many different ways to approach them: big and juicy, stuffed with fillings, thin with a quick sear, to tiny little sliders. I used to love getting the sliders in the cute little boxes. Does anyone else remember these?

White Castle Burgers

When I saw this pin for Easy Cheeseburger Sliders by Kristina Vanni, I was all in! These use King’s Hawaiian rolls and a really different method for cooking. I went straight to the store to pick up the ingredients, and got cooking.

Pintesting Easy Cheeseburger Sliders - ORIGINAL PIN

The recipe calls for 2 lbs of  hamburger. Because it’s just my Handsome Hubby and me, we didn’t need to make 2 pounds worth of sliders, so we halved the recipe with some help from Taste of Home website, and from the kitchn website for what size pan to use. Did you know that half of a 9×13 pan is an 8×8? I love learning new things!

Pintesting Easy Cheeseburger Sliders

Mix the ground meat, bread crumbs, onion, and salt in a bowl.

Pintesting Easy Cheeseburger Sliders

Put the mixture in a pan, press it nice and flat, then poke it with holes with a fork.

Pintesting Easy Cheeseburger Sliders

Bake it (SO much easier than grilling or pan frying a bunch of burgers). Look at that shrinkage!
Pintesting Easy Cheeseburger Sliders

Cover it with cheese and pop it back into the oven for a couple more minutes.

Pintesting Easy Cheeseburger Sliders

The big square cheeseburger patty came out of the pan easily, and I cut it into 9 squares to fit the buns.

Pintesting Easy Cheeseburger Sliders

Here you have the final results. Yes, I made 9 sliders. Yes, there are only 8 in the picture. My HH snatched one before I could stop him. He says that they smelled too good to wait.
Pintesting Easy Cheeseburger Sliders

Overall Results: 4.85 Pins

Pintesting - 5 Pins Overall Rating

Accuracy:  These cheeseburger sliders were very easy to make, as the title says. They produced a lot of delicious, juicy burger without having to flip a bunch of minis a bunch of times. I would pick these over their fast-food version any day. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty:  The recipe title didn’t lie. By baking the meat mixture in a pan, you let the oven do the work. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Time:  This one was a tough call. If you were making a regular burger vs. a slider, it takes about 5-10 minutes depending on how you like your burger cooked. These took 30 minutes of cooking time. That’s not a long time to cook supper, but it is longer than traditional burger cooking methods. 4 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Cost:  These are an inexpensive way to feed a crowd, or to make ahead as for freezing. (Cheeseburger sliders ready to heat and eat? Yes please!) My local Fresh Market has ground chuck on sale every Tuesday for $2.99/lb. If you look at the ingredients picture, you’ll notice that the package of meat was $3.06. Add the cost of the rest of the ingredients, and that’s about 50 cents per slider. I was full at 2 sliders; HH was full at 3. The extra 4 sliders made both of our lunches – much better than fast-food. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Practicality:  If you need to feed a crowd, then these are absolutely the way to go. They were simple, juicy, flavorful, and I didn’t feel guilty about throwing away a bunch of cute cardboard boxes. Since the oven does the cooking, you don’t have to stand and flip anything. These are absolutely going into my recipe box! 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Pintesting Weave Your Bacon BLT

Sometimes less is more, and there is a lot of minimalist going on lately. (Wait. Is that an oxymoron?)

Tiny houses are all the rage right now. Have you seen them? They look like glorified tree houses, or doll houses on steroids. They’re so cute, but I can’t live in a house that’s smaller than my kitchen. I already almost live in my kitchen. Almost…

Food portion sizes are shrinking, too – not that that’s a bad thing. Meal portions had gotten so big that most restaurant meals can equal 2-3 appropriate portions. Super sized is not a super thing.

The Minimalist decorating style is very popular and all over Pinterest.

And according to a business article, even our attention spans are shrinking (from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight in 2012), and so our meetings and emails need to be shorter.

So just as a fun experiment, I’m going to use as few words as possible to describe this Pintesting.

The biggest problem with the traditional BLT is that there are always those bites that either don’t have enough bacon, or they have none at all. *GASP*  This is NOT the time to be minimalist! Then I saw this pin for a video that solves the problem completely. Watch this 35-second video. (Even the video is short!)

Ingredients

Pintesting Basket Weave Bacon BLT

Bacon

Pintesting Basket Weave Bacon BLT

Cut Bacon

Pintesting Basket Weave Bacon BLT

Weave Bacon

 

Pintesting Basket Weave Bacon BLT

 

Bake Bacon

Pintesting Basket Weave Bacon BLT

Cooked Bacon

Pintesting Basket Weave Bacon BLT

Bacon – BLT

Pintesting Basket Weave Bacon BLT

Crumbs

Pintesting Basket Weave Bacon BLT

So there you have it – my minimalist post. Somehow I think the story got across.

Overall Results: 5 Pins

Pintesting - 5 Pins Overall Rating

Accuracy:  The video was detailed and self  explanatory. By using the cooling rack on top of the bacon, it cooked nice and flat. Most importantly, there really was bacon in every single bite. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty:  This was simple, and the video did a great job showing the step-by-step instructions. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Time:  The total time, including prep, weaving, baking, and sandwich assembly was less than 30 minutes. It took a little longer for the thick-cut bacon to cook, but it was sooooo worth it. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Cost:  The basic BLT ingredients are often already in my kitchen. I was lucky to find this thick cut bacon that normally sells for $7-8 on sale for $3.00. (Score!)  The rest of the ingredients work out to be about $1.00 per sandwich, plus there was lots of leftovers of everything. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Practicality:  This is a great way to cook bacon for any sandwich application; BLT, breakfast, burgers, etc. I’ve seen a similar idea in which you weave the bacon in a muffin tin to make bacon cups to fill with breakfast foods, salads, or what have you. I could see that being a possibility, but we’ll have to test it another day. THIS test gets 5 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Egg Salad BLTA Sandwich

All bloggers get the occasional case of writer’s block. Sitting down to write this post, my brain just wasn’t coming up with a satisfactory intro.

As I was looking for inspiration, I started singing quietly to myself, “Do You Want to Build a Sandwich” to the tune from Disney’s Frozen. Those who are very close to me know that I often break into song, making up words to other tunes. This sent me on a search for other parodies, and there are a lot out there! My favorite is Do you want to go to Starbucks. (Big surprise.)

Do you want to build a sandwich

No more distractions. Focus. Bacon. Bacon is always a good thing… no. Not when you’re coming off of a 30-day health challenge. (Incidentally, I’m happy to be 10 pounds lighter!) Okay, health. How about the health benefits of avocados? Maybe, but it just wasn’t resonating. This sandwich had so many of my favorite ingredients in a delicious sounding combination. How to approach this?

And suddenly – that’s it! These are a few of my favorite things. Yes, now I’m singing in earnest.

This pin caught my eye because I love BLT’s, avocados, and egg salad. I also liked the use of spinach rather than iceberg lettuce. You might remember Chungah of Damn Delicious from my post on her Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli recipe. She’s at it again, and I’m ready to get on with this Pintest.

(Note: per the blogger’s request, the photo of the original pin has been removed. You can see the original pin and the site by following the links above.)

The ingredients are simple and what you would expect for the recipe.
Egg Salad BLTA Sandwich IngredientsThe egg salad has hard boiled eggs, mayo, mustard, red wine vinegar, and salt & pepper.
Egg Salad BLTA Sandwich Egg Salad IngredientsI use a potato masher to combine these rather than chop the eggs.Egg Salad BLTA Sandwich Use a MasherIt makes perfect egg salad in seconds.Egg Salad BLTA Sandwich Egg Salad Toast the bread – I used Ezekiel bread.

 Egg Salad BLTA Sandwich Ezekiel Bread Toast

Start building the sandwich.

 Egg Salad BLTA Sandwich Build the Sandwich Foundation

 

Add the rest of the ingredients

Egg Salad BLTA Sandwich Build the Rest of the Sandwich

Top it off and chow down

Egg Salad BLTA Sandwich Finished

 

This sandwich is a perfect combination of salty, crispy, creamy, tangy, juicy, sweet, and savory. And it’s BIG. This is one mammoth sandwich! I was really hungry and couldn’t wait to eat. It was a case of my eyes being bigger than my stomach. I could only eat half. The handsome hubby had to eat the other half (poor guy). After thinking about it, this sandwich has a lot of healthy components; veggies (spinach), fruit (tomato and avocado), whole grain (Ezekiel bread), and protein (bacon & eggs). Okay, maybe calling bacon a healthy anything is a bit of a stretch, but it really upped the flavor by adding the Umami factor.

Now for the Pintesting results.

Overall Results: 4.55 Pins

5 Pins Overall

Accuracy: The sandwich was as delicious as it looked on the blog. The only thing that a traditional BLT has that wasn’t specified in the recipe is mayo on the toast. However, the creaminess of the egg salad and avocado was more than enough to compensate for that. Also, I’ve never had egg salad with red wine vinegar as a component.. Delicious! 5 Pins

Rated 5 Pins

 

Difficulty: The sandwich is not complicated, but it does require a bit of preparation. The slicing, toasting, egg-salad-making, and NOT eating all of the bacon after cooking it requires me to give this 4 Pins.

Rated 4 Pins

 

Time: Most sandwiches take about 2-3 minutes to make. This one took me about 20 minutes due to the bacon. It was totally worth it, but that gives it 4 Pins.

Rated 4 Pins

Cost: The majority of these ingredients are regularly found in my kitchen since we’re trying to eat healthy consistently. The only thing that I had to purchase was the bacon, which I bought by the pound at The Fresh Market so I could get just what I needed rather than a full package. The cost for 1 sandwich was less than you’d pay at a fancy deli – 4 Pins.

Rated 4 Pins

 

Practicality: This is one of those sandwiches that is good enough to serve to company for a casual lunch, brunch, or dinner. I might not make these every day for a work lunch unless I assembled at work (to keep the bread from getting soggy). But will I be making this again? Oh YES. 5 Pins

Rated 5 Pins

 

Grilled Cheese Cook-off/Grill-off/Throwdown

It’s National Grilled Cheese Day! My personal humble opinion is that a grilled cheese sandwich is comfort food at it’s finest – especially when accompanied with tomato soup. Grilled Cheese + Tomato Soup = Happy Anne!

So when my handsome hubby showed me this article this morning, I KNEW what I’d be having for lunch today. (The things I do for this blog.) Unfortunately the article wasn’t pinnable (is that a word now?), so I had to find a similar one to make things official. This is PINtesting, after all. Thankfully, the folks at the Kitchn had already obliged and I found this pin on the topic.

Grilled Cheese Cook-off - Original Pin

The articles said that using mayo rather than butter would give the sandwich a nice crust, one described as french toast like, and also a nice tangy flavor that butter didn’t provide. These are the qualities that I’m looking for in this grill-off.

So with no further ado, on to the Pin Test!

Grilled Cheese Cook-off - Ingredients - Pintesting

This had a total of 4 ingredients; the cheese (Sharp American), the bread (whole wheat), butter and mayo.

Grilled Cheese Cook-off - The Cheese - Pintesting

I used 2 1/2 slices of cheese per sandwich. This keeps an even amount of cheese on the whole sandwich for better cheesey distribution.

Grilled Cheese Cook-off - Mayo vs. Butter - Pintesting

The sandwich on the left was spread with mayo, and the sandwich on the right was spread with butter. (Outside only for both sandwiches.)

Grilled Cheese Cook-off - First Side - Pintesting

I preheated the pan to medium-high so that it would be warmed, then reduced the temperature to medium before dropping the sandwiches in to grill.

Grilled Cheese Cook-off - Second Side - Pintesting

Each sandwich was dropped into the pan within 5 seconds of each other.

Grilled Cheese Cook-off - Grilled Mayo - Pintesting

Grilled Cheese Cook-off – Grilled Mayo

Grilled Cheese Cook-off - Grilled Butter - Pintesting

Grilled Cheese Cook-off – Grilled Butter

Each sandwich was flipped in the order in which they went in to keep the cooking time even; about 2-3 minutes on each side.

Grilled Cheese Cook-off - Grilled Cheese Sandwiches - Pintesting

The bread was toasted nicely for both sandwiches. There wasn’t a noticeable distinction between the butter or mayo “greased” sandwiches. Neither gave a crust like french toast. The cheese was evenly melted on both sandwiches, as well.

Grilled Cheese Cook-off - Grilled Cheese Taste Tested - Pintesting

The only discernable difference that I could tell was the taste. The buttered sandwich had the traditional grilled cheese taste that I’ve known since childhood. The mayo-ed sandwich had a bit of a tang; not overpowering, but definitely there.

Honestly, I don’t think either one had a huge advantage over the other. But if you ever run out of butter and HAVE to have a grilled cheese sandwich at that very moment and don’t want to run out to the store, now you have options.

So here are the official Pintesting results.

Overall Rating: 4 Pins

4 Pins Overall

 

Accuracy: Both articles gave promises of an unbelievable crust that would come with using mayo rather than butter, described as french toast like in one article, and also a tangy flavor. While I definitely got a nice tang with the mayo, the crust was not any different than the buttered sandwich. Because the crust was not elevated to heights of glory, this gets 4 Pins.

Rated 4 Pins

Difficulty: The method for making a grilled cheese sandwich with either spread is exactly the same. Since neither is difficult, 4 Pins.

Rated 4 Pins

Time: The total time to make either version is about 5 minutes from start to finish. 5 Pins

Rated 5 Pins

Cost: I had to run to the store to pick up the cheese, because we don’t normally buy any kind of American sliced cheese. However, I think it’s the best to use for a grilled cheese sandwich because of the superb meltability. It was on sale for less than $3.00 for the 16-slice package. Add the cost of 2 slices of bread and a schmear of butter or mayo (all of which were on hand) and you’re looking at about $1 per sandwich. 5 Pins

Rated 5 Pins

Practicality: I don’t know that I would go out of my way to grab mayo vs. butter for a grilled cheese sandwich unless I was making something more gourmet that would be accentuated by the tang that came with the mayo. Adding tomato and bacon might make it a better choice, for example. If you were out of butter, this is a helpful trick. Since this is such a toss-up I’m going right down the middle and giving it 3 Pins.

Rated 3 Pins

Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich with Honey Roasted Grapes and Walnuts

There’s something wonderful about Grilled Cheese. It’s one of my ultimate favorite comfort foods. I mean, what’s not to love? It’s about cheese – and well, that’s enough for me. But then take a grilled cheese sandwich and pair it with tomato soup and some apple slices, and I’m a happy 8-year-old again. And isn’t that what comfort food is all about? It brings you back to that time and place when everything in the world is “as it should be”. This year I found out there is a National Grilled Cheese day, and there were a lot of amazing sounding grilled cheese recipes that flooded Pinterest; Grilled Mozzarella with Tomato Basil SoupFrench Onion Soup Grilled Cheese, or Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese. But the one that had me running to the store was this Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich with Honey-Roasted Grapes and Walnuts by Cassie from her blog Bake Your Day. I love goat cheese – especially with honey. My oldest daughter got me hooked on that, paired with a nice wine. (thank you sweetie). But I’d never heard of roasted grapes. There was no choice – I had to try this.

http://www.bakeyourday.net/grilled-goat-cheese-sandwich-honey-roasted-grapes-walnuts/

http://www.bakeyourday.net/grilled-goat-cheese-sandwich-honey-roasted-grapes-walnuts/

The ingredients are few and simple. One note about grape seed oil, it has all of the same great health benefits that olive oil has, but it has a much higher smoke point. It also has a more neutral taste than olive oil, which can make it a better choice when cooking with delicate flavors. I keep both on hand in my kitchen at all times. Okay, back to the Pintest. Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich with Honey Roasted Grapes and Walnuts - Ingredients - Pintesting Prepare the grapes for roasting by tossing in a little grape seed oil, honey and a tiny pinch of salt. Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich with Honey Roasted Grapes and Walnuts - Grapes - Pintesting Oven roast the grapes… Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich with Honey Roasted Grapes and Walnuts - In the oven - Pintesting …at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich with Honey Roasted Grapes and Walnuts - Roast - Pintesting Until they look like this and make you drool from how amazing they smell. You might want to pop them in your mouth, but they’re HOT. Please refrain unless you like the feeling of your soft pallet melting. Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich with Honey Roasted Grapes and Walnuts - Pintesting Build the sandwich by buttering the bread (don’t be stingy here) and putting one slice buttered side down on the pan. Cover with goat cheese crumbles… Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich with Honey Roasted Grapes and Walnuts - Goat Cheese - Pintesting   …then top with the grapes, walnuts and a drizzle of honey. Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich with Honey Roasted Grapes and Walnuts - put it all together - Pintesting Top it off with the other slice of buttered bread. Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich with Honey Roasted Grapes and Walnuts - Grill - Pintesting Make sure you pre-heat the pan and cook the sandwich no higher than medium heat. You don’t want to rush this or the bread will burn and the inside will be cold. This tip works on all grilled cheese sandwiches. Some things are worth the wait. Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich with Honey Roasted Grapes and Walnuts - Grilled - Pintesting Cut, plate, eat. You’re welcome. After enjoying this over the weekend, I decided to make another to take to work on Monday. I ate half and cut the rest into bite-sized pieces to let my foodie friends to taste. I had marriage offers. Yes, they know I’m happily was married. THIS is how to win friends and influence people – with food. Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich with Honey Roasted Grapes and Walnuts - Finished - Pintesting Now, for the Pintesting results.

Overall Rating: 5 Pins5 Pins Overall Accuracy:  These sandwiches are a fabulous twist on the traditional grilled cheese. The honey roasted grapes are pure genious! Roasting intensifies and deepens the flavor of the grapes. One of my co-workers said the flavor reminded her of concord grape juice or jelly. The combination of of the tangy goat cheese with the sweet but not too sweet grapes, and the crunchy walnuts is a perfect trifecta of Umami. 5 PinsRated 5 Pins Difficulty:  The recipe is easy to follow, and the hardest part is to NOT pop a roasted grape into your mouth as soon as they come out of the oven. Flipping the sandwich after the first side was grilled took a little careful maneuvering to keep the grapes and walnuts from falling out; I used one hand to guide while flipping with the spatula. It was worth the effort. 5 PinsRated 5 Pins Time:  The grapes took 20 minutes to roast, and the sandwich was grilled in about 7 minutes since I cooked it lower and slower. I recommend making a double batch of the grapes and saving the extra for sandwiches or making these open-faced as an appetizer on crostini. 5 PinsRated 5 Pins Cost:  While none of the individual ingredients are overly expensive, grape seed oil and goat cheese crumbles are not common to all kitchens. Even though they are in most grocery stores, depending on where you live they could be a bit pricey. I happen to keep grape seed oil as a staple in my pantry, but had to run out to get the goat cheese (which was on sale that week – yea!). For that reason I give cost 4 Pins.Rated 4 Pins Practicality:  This is a wonderful grown-up version of a grilled cheese sandwich that somehow makes me think of French cooking. I brought some to a friend who is French and was a restauranteur for many years; now he has a lovely wine shop with his lovely wife. He said that although it isn’t a French recipe that he’d heard of, it definitely had a French quality about it and was delicious. Vive fromage grillé! 5 Pins

Rated 5 Pins