Lunch Recipes

Old Fashioned Homemade Ham and Bean Soup

Growing up, my mom made ham and bean soup with cornbread on a weekly basis. She was the Queen of stretching a dollar, as she was a stay-at-home mom with 4 kids trying to feed 6 people on one income.

She would prepare a bone-in ham for Sunday dinner and use the leftovers for grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and ham and bean soup.

Mom made everything from scratch and insisted that the only way to avoid bland and boring ham and bean soup was to use dry beans (never canned!) and include the ham bone during the cooking process.

Nowadays, it's just my husband and me, so rather than purchase a bone-in ham, I usually buy a small boneless ham and a ham hock. Feel free to use whichever method works best for your family.

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bean Soak Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 3 hours


1 lb package dry White Beans
1/2 large White Onion, diced
2 medium Carrots, diced
2-3 medium stalks Celery, diced
6 cups Vegetable Broth
1/2 lb pre-cooked Ham, cut into bite-size chunks (Hickory, Smoked & Honey Ham are great choices)
3-4 large cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried Parsley
1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
1 teaspoon Beau Monde Seasoning
1 teaspoon fine Pink Himalayan Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
2 Bay leaves
1 medium Ham Hock


  1. In a colander, wash and drain beans and check for any residue or rocks.
  2. In a large stock pot, add beans and cover with water, about 2-inches above beans.
  3. Cook over high heat until boiling, then reduce to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 1 hour.
  5. Drain beans, place in a container and set aside.
  6. Add 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable broth to stock pot and heat over medium high for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Add onion, celery and carrot and cook for 5-6 minutes; until onion becomes translucent.
  8. Add vegetable broth and remaining ingredients and stir.
  9. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 2-1/2 to 3 hours; until beans are soft and tender.
  10. Remove ham hock from soup and scrape meat from bone, if desired.
  11. Transfer to individual soup bowls or mugs and serve immediately.

This recipe pairs well with Buttermilk Jalapeno Cornbread.


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Sausage and Beef Hand Pies

Meat-hand-pie-the-cheap-gourmetPersonally, I love meat pies because they contain an entire meal in flakey dough and can be consumed without utensils.

I'd never attempted making my own, simply because I don't have a great track record with dough. However, I found a recipe for Natchitoches Meat Pies at Food Network and felt I could pull it off. I adapted the recipe to suit my tastes and am happy to report the dough was light, flakey and crispy and very easy to make. 

The sausage and beef hand pies have become a favorite in our household. I've modified the recipe in various ways and used ground turkey and chicken, different types of beef, breakfast sausage and scrambled eggs, and even a vegetarian version. Let your imagination run and see what ingredients you can change to create your own version of meat pies. 

Yield: 12 individual pies
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 2-3 minutes per batch of 3 pies



1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
1/3 lb Grassfed Ground Beef
1/4 lb Ground Sausage (we prefer Chorizo or Andouille)
1/4 cup Leek (or sweet onion), finely chopped
1/4 medium Bell Pepper (red or green), finely chopped
1 rib Celery, finely chopped
1 small Jalapeno (seeds removed), finely chopped
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
2-3 cloves Garlic, minced
1-1/2 teaspoon organic all-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Beef Stock (Kitchen Basics is our preferred choice)


1-1/2 cups organic all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 cup Crisco shortening
1 Egg
1/2 cup whole Milk
Vegetable or Peanut Oil for frying


Meat-pie-filling-the-cheap-gourmet1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Add coconut oil and coat bottom of skillet.
3. Add ground beef and sausage and stir cook until browned; about 5 minutes.
4. Add the leek, bell pepper, celery, jalapeno, salt and pepper.
5. Stir and cook until vegetables are soft; about 6-7 minutes.
6. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.Stir in flour and beef broth.
7. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened; about 1 minute.
8. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.


  1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder.
  2. Use a fork or pastry blender to cut shortening into flour mixture until it becomes coarse crumbs.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the egg and milk together. 
  4. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until dough is pliable. 
  5. Form dough into a ball and flatten into a round disc.
  6. Pastry dough can be used immediately or wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and stored in refrigerator for up to 24 hours.


Meat-pie-dough-the-cheap-gourmet1. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces.
2. Lightly dust a cutting board or work surface with flour.
3. Flatten each piece into a 6-inch round disc; about 1/4-inch thick.
4. Place 2 tablespoons of meat mixture on one side of the dough. Fold in half and crimp edges with a fork to seal them.


1. In a deep fryer or large skillet, preheat oil to 375 degrees.
2. Carefully place 2 to 3 meat pies into the oil and fry until golden brown on both sides; about 3 minutes.
3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pies to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to absorb grease.
4. Transfer to serving dish and enjoy.



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Rustic Italian Chicken Sandwich

Here is a simple rustic Italian chicken sandwich recipe that's affordable and easy to prepare. I purchase a loaf of freshly baked bread from our local bakery, which yields 4 good-sized sandwiches. My favorite breads include poppyseed (as shown in the picture), sesame seed, and of course, Italian.

It's best to marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes to infuse the Italian dressing flavor. It's even better if you can marinate for a few hours. This Italian chicken sandwich is perfect for lunch or dinner and is always a favorite at family gatherings. 

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Servings: 4
Marinate time: 30 minutes to 2 hours
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minute


1 loaf Italian bread, quartered
1-1/2 cups bottled Italian Dressing
4 (4-ounce) Chicken Breasts
1 medium Tomato, sliced
4 Romaine lettuce leaves, chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. Pour Italian dressing into a resealable plastic bag. Add chicken breasts and gently massage dressing into each piece. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 2 hours. 

2. Slice bread loaf lengthwise, then cut into 4 sections. Wrap in foil and set aside.

3. Slice tomato and chop lettuce; set aside.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade and place in skillet. Cook for 6-7 minutes per side, until no longer pink.

6. While the chicken is cooking, place bread in oven and heat for 7-8 minutes.

7. Assemble sandwiches and sprinkle each chicken breast with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. Pairs well with chips and a pickle spear!



Caribbean Caesar Chicken Salad

Caribbean Caesar Chicken Salad is one of my all-time favorite summer salad recipes. It's super easy to throw together and low in calories. You can have it for lunch or dinner and can serve the chicken hot or cold. Whenever I bake chicken breasts for dinner, I like to bake a few extra so I can add them to salads. Preparing the chicken ahead of time greatly reduces the prep time!

Caribbean Caesar Chicken Salad

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Serves 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

1 head Romaine lettuce
2 cups fresh Pineapple, cut into chunks
1 cup Mango, peeled and cut into chunks
2 4-ounce boneless, skinless Chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons Salad Dressing (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rinse chicken in cool water and pat dry. Place chicken in glass baking dish and bake in oven for 20 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the center.
  3. Wash and dry romaine lettuce. Cut off bottom, trim leaves, and cut into bite-size pieces.
  4. Place lettuce in medium bowl and add pineapple and mango chunks. Toss well.
  5. Remove chicken from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Slice chicken breast and place on salad.
  7. Add 2 tablespoons of your choice of salad dressing, if desired

This recipe and many more are available in my cookbook, "The Diva Diet". This spiral-bound cookbook provides more than 100 healthy, yet delicious recipes and can be purchased for just $18.74 at

Confetti Chicken Salad Recipe

This delightful chicken salad recipe uses millet; a gluten-free grain packed with protein. It's best to marinate the chicken for at least two to three hours before serving. Add the millet and avocados when serving so they don't get watered-down and soggy. 

Confetti chicken salad is great for brown bag lunches, summer celebrations, picnics and cook-outs. Since it contains no mayonnaise, it makes for perfect pitch-in food!


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Serves 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Ready in: 20 minutes
Chill for 2 to 3 hours before serving.


1/4 cup Lime juice, fresh
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
2 cups Chicken breast, cooked and cubed
1 cup Celery, diced
2 tablespoons Parsley, fresh, chopped
3 cups Millet, cooked
2 Avocados, seeded, peeled and cut into chunks


1. Blend lime juice, oil, garlic and salt in large bowl.
2. Add chicken, celery and parsley and stir well to incorporate ingredients.
3. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours.
4. Add millet and avocado chunks; toss lightly, and serve.

You might also like Napa Valley Chicken Salad made with Poppyseed Dressing!

The Diva Diet The Diva Diet, by Kathy Browning

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Super Simple Summer Salad with Grilled Chicken and Bread with Melted Brie Cheese

Today, I'd like to share a super simple summer salad with grilled chicken and a side of bread with melted brie cheese. This recipe takes less than 15 minutes to prepare and is packed with protein, calcium, fiber and flavor!

You can make this super simple summer salad using a prepackaged salad mix. However, I prefer to use fresh ingredients. It is actually cheaper to buy the vegetables and chop them your self. The salad will be much fresher and crisp and tends to last longer than the bagged salad mixes.

Perdue Chicken offers prepackaged chicken breasts, which are perfect for adding to salads. They are the perfect portion size and come in a variety of flavors. The Italian marinated chicken works great with this particular recipe. You can also use packaged chicken strips or plain chicken breasts. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination!

Super Simple Summer Salad with Grilled Chicken and Bread with Melted Brie Cheese

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Serves: Two
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes

Salad Ingredients:

2 6-ounce skinless, boneless Chicken Breasts
1/2 bunch Romaine lettuce, stems removed and chopped
1/4 head Iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 Carrot, diced
1 stalk Celery, diced
2 Green Onions, chopped
1 medium Tomato, chopped
Salad Dressing
Salt and Pepper, if desired

Bread Ingredients:
1/4 loaf Artisan Bread (found in the bakery of most supermarkets)
1/4 round Alouette Baby Brie, thinly sliced


  1. If using regular chicken breasts, add salt and pepper or other seasonings of choice. I like Mrs. Dash because it adds a nice flavor. You could also use McCormick's Roasted Garlic seasoning or marinate the chicken in 1/4 cup of Dale's Seasoning for 10 minutes.
  2. Cook chicken in the broiler or on a gas or charcoal grill. Cook for 6-7 minutes per side or until center is no longer pink.
  3. While chicken is cooking, prepare salad mix.
  4. Wash and dry vegetables. If using packaged salad mix, empty bag into colander and rinse with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.
  5. Loosely chop romaine and head lettuce. Cut spine out of romaine leaves.
  6. Dice celery and carrots.
  7. Remove the root from green onions and slice thin rounds.
  8. Quarter tomato, remove seeds (if desired) and cut into chunks.
  9. Toss ingredients together and place in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  10. Slice four 1/2-inch thick bread slices from Artisan Bread.
  11. Cut four 1/4-inch slices of Baby Brie and place on top of bread.
  12. Remove chicken from broiler or grill and place on plate. Allow to set for 5 minutes.
  13. Place bread on baking sheet and place in 350-degree oven. Heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven.
  14. Slice chicken into strips or cut into 1/2-inch chunks.
  15. Transfer salad to serving plates.
  16. Top with grilled chicken and add salad dressing, if desired.
  17. Serve with two slices of baked bread with melted brie cheese.

Super Simple Summer Salad

Philly Cheese Steak Quesadilla Recipe - The Cheap Gourmet Original

I am excited to share this Philly Cheese Steak Quesadilla recipe with you. A few weeks ago I saw a commercial for a local restaurant offering two new cheese steak sandwiches; one of which was a quesadilla. What was ironic about it was my husband and I had been discussing the concept a few nights before.

To us, a philly cheese steak quesadilla seemed like a perfect fit. It also seemed less messy. I LOVE philly cheese steaks, but always end up wearing half of it. Do you have that problem too?

A few nights ago, my husband was attending an event and I had to fend for myself come dinner time. We had all the makings for cheese steaks sandwiches except for bread.

The light bulb went on and I decided to give the quesadilla concept a try. I am happy to report it was an incredible success. Even better, this recipe is super simple to make. The icing on top is you can make personal quesadillas to accomodate everyone's taste buds.

I love mushrooms on my philly cheesesteaks. My husband isn't too fond of those. I added fresh diced tomoatoes in the quesadilla and it added a nice flavor contrast. We've had cheese steak quesadillas three times in four days -- that's how addicting these things are!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

Philly Cheese Steak Quesadilla Recipe

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Serves 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

2 medium flour Tortilla wraps
4 slices frozen Philly Cheese Steaks
1/2 green Bell Pepper, diced
1/3 cup Red Onion, diced
1/3 cup fresh Tomatoes, diced (optional)
4 Tablespoons Ragu Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Cooking Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Chop bell pepper, onions and tomatoes.
  3. Preheat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Remove frozen Philly Cheesesteak meat from package. Break into bite-size pieces and add to skillet.
  5. Add pepper and onion, stirring frequently.
  6. Cook 5 to 6 minutes or until beef is thoroughly cooked.
  7. Cover each quesadilla with 2 Tablespoons Ragu Cheddar Cheese Sauce. Spread cheese evenly and all the way to the edges.
  8. Place half the meat mixture on one half of each quesadilla.
  9. Top with fresh tomatoes, if desired.
  10. Fold the other half over meat mixture and seal edges using the cheese sauce.
  11. Place on baking stone or baking sheet.
  12. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until tortillas begins to turn light brown.
  13. Remove from oven, transfer to plates and serve immediately.

Philly Cheese Steak Quesadilla

Gourmet Bacon Lettuce Tomato Sandwich Recipe: BLT Never Tasted So Good!

I am a huge fan of Bacon Lettuce Tomato Sandwiches. As a child, my mom served BLT sandwiches at least once a week. She grew the lettuce and tomato in her garden and mom's BLTs were always bursting with flavor. After moving away from home it was hard to create a sandwich that tasted as good as mom's.

Yesterday, I had a craving for bacon lettuce tomato sandwiches. It's been at least a year since I last ate one and I wanted something spectacular. I'm probably one of the most frugal people you will ever meet and I can't stand waste; especially when it comes to food.

We had a few slices of leftover lunch meat and a tiny portion of Brie cheese. My mind went into overdrive as I concocted the following recipe on-the-fly. Personally, I think it's one of the best BLTs I've ever consumed. I hope you enjoy it too!

I cooked everything using a flat electric griddle. The same results can be obtained by using a skillet and toasting the bread, or by baking the bacon. If you have never baked bacon, it's super easy to do. Simply line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, place the bacon on the sheet and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 18 minutes; flipping slices halfway through.


Gourmet Bacon Lettuce Tomato Sandwich Recipe

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Serves: 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 to 12 minutes


4 slices Italian bread
8 slices Bacon
2 slices Deli Ham
2 slices Deli Pastrami
2 slices Deli Salami
1 small Tomato, sliced thin
3 Romaine lettuce leaves, chopped
3 Tablespoons Butter (or margarine)
4 slices Brie cheese, cut about 1/4-inch thick

Cooking Directions:

  1. Preheat electric griddle to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place bacon slices on griddle and cook for 4 minutes; flip bacon and cook 4 more minutes or until desired crispness.
  3. While bacon is cooking, prepare Romaine lettuce and tomatoes.
  4. Place butter in microwave-safe dish. Heat in microwave for about 30 seconds or until butter melts.
  5. Using a pastry brush, coat one side of each slice of bread with butter.
  6. Place 2 paper towels on a plate and transfer bacon from griddle to allow grease to drain.
  7. Using a spatula, push bacon grease into the griddle's grease container.
  8. Reduce griddle heat to 350 degrees. 
  9. Place deli meat slices on one side of griddle. Cook for 1-1/2 minutes per side.
  10. Place bread, buttered side down on other side of griddle.
  11. Place 2 slices of Brie cheese on bread and allow to melt.
  12. Add 4 strips bacon to each remaining bread slice.
  13. Top with deli meats.
  14. Using a butter knife, spread Brie cheese from edge to edge of the bread.
  15. Add lettuce and tomato on top of deli meats.
  16. Place brie cheese side of bread on top of the BLT sandwich.
  17. Transfer to serving plate. Cut in half and serve immediately.

Serve with seasoned fries, potato chips, potato salad, cole slaw or fruit cup.


What's for Lunch? Seven Simple Lunch Ideas

Are you tired of eating leftovers and fast food lunches? If so, you'll love these easy-to-prepare meals for people on the go! If you plan on brown-bagging your lunch, I recommend making these recipes the night before. That way, you can grab your lunchbag as you head out the door. If you work from home or serve these recipes on weekends, you'll be happy to know all of them can be made in 30 minutes or less! Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

Monday: Sesame Ginger Turkey Salad: For less than $5.00 you can have a wonderful salad that will tantalize your tastebuds. Prepare the turkey the night before and reheat in the microwave before adding to the salad greens. Delicious!

Tuesday: Healthy Lunchmeat Wrap with Fresh Fruit: This is one of my personal all-time favorites! Make the sandwich wrap the night before and wrap it in butcher's paper or plastic wrap. Place the fruit in a Tupperware container and you have a cheap gourmet lunch that is certain to satisfy!

Wednesday: Spring Vegetable Soup: This soup is packed with flavor and super easy to make. I recommend making this soup one or two nights before. The flavors marry to create a burst of fresh flavor in every bite!

Thursday: Caribbean Caesar Chicken Salad: Baked chicken combined with fresh pineapple and mango chunks atop a fresh bed of romaine lettuce provides a delightful island flavor!

Friday: Gourmet Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich: This unique twist on a classic favorite is more like dessert than lunch. Dark chocolate peanut butter, raspberry preserves, macadamia nuts and shredded coconut are certain to delight your tastebuds and your sweet tooth! 

Saturday: Spicy Garlic Grilled Chicken Wings: This is my highly regarded "secret" wings recipe. Serve with potato salad, baked beans and fried pickles for a flavorful meal that is certain to please!

Sunday: Grilled Gourmet Sandwiches: Let your imagination run free and experiment with these super simple, exceptionally tasty gourmet sandwiches!

Vegetarian Chickpea Burgers

In light of the recent massive beef recall, many people are seriously considering becoming a Vegetarian. I'm one of them. In fact, I was a Vegetarian for several years. It wasn't until I met my husband that I converted back to a meat and potatoes kind of girl. But, the more I hear and learn about tainted meat, the less I desire to eat it.

As you may recall, several years ago I worked as a chef for a health food store. One of our most popular dishes was known as a Nut Burger. Made from a variety of nuts and shaped into patties, these burgers are packed with protein, essential fatty acids and they taste amazingly delicious.

My favorite way to serve them is on a lightly toasted whole wheat sesame seed bun with Dijon mustard and pickle slices. Just as with a regular hamburger, you can top Nut Burgers with your favorite condiments including mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, pickles and even cheese.

While I no longer have the recipe for the Original Nut Burgers, I have created one that is similar and tastes nearly identical to the ones we sold at the health food store. These are made using chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo beans. For best results, these burgers should be cooked on the grill or under a broiler. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!


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Serves 8
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10-14 minutes


2 small Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon Sunflower or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 medium Green Onions (or Scallions), white and green parts cut into 1-inch strips
1 15-ounce can Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/2 cup Ketchup
1/4 cup Sunflower seeds, toasted and ground into a coarse powder in spice grinder or blender
1-1/2 cups plain Bread Crumbs
Sea Salt (to taste)


  1. Add 3 to 4 inches of water to a large saucepan. Add potatoes to a steamer basket, cover and bring water to a boil. Cook until tender, 15 to 18 minutes.
  2. Drain potatoes and transfer to a small bowl. Mash with a fork.
  3. Transfer 1-1/2 cups mashed potatoes to the workbowl of a food processor.
  4. Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add scallions and cook until limp, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Add scallions, chickpeas, ketchup, and ground sunflower seeds to food processor. Pulse on and off several times until ingredients are well blended.
  6. Transfer mixture from food processor to large bowl. Add bread crumbs. Mix by hand using a large spoon until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  7. Season with salt to taste. Mixture will be moist, but should hold together well.
  8. Divide and shape mixture into eight patties approximately 3-inches across and 1/2-inch thick. Add extra bread crumbs if patties don't hold their shape.
  9. Prepare grill or preheat broiler.
  10. If using a grill, place patties on vegetable grid to avoid sticking. If using the broiler, place patties on a broiler pan or large cookie sheet lined with lightly oiled piece of aluminum foil.
  11. Grill over medium-hot coals or broil 3 to 6 inches from heat until lightly browned, approximately 5 to 7 minutes per side.
  12. Check often to prevent burning. Remove from heat. Transfer to serving platter and serve with favorite toppings and condiments.


More Grilled Gourmet Lunch Meat Sandwich Recipes

I am a huge fan of grilled gourmet lunch meat sandwiches. My favorite brand of lunchmeat is Boar's Head, but I also like Hormel's Natural Choice and Hillshire Farms Deli Select. Making grilled gourmet lunchmeat sandwiches is super simple and only requires a few minutes of time. With a few basic ingredients, you can have a mouth-watering delicacy that will tantalize your taste buds and make your stomach smile!

Grilled gourmet lunch meat sandwiches can be served on just about any kind of bread you like. If you're counting calories, consider using a tortilla wrap. Tortilla wraps are available in multiple flavors including whole wheat, spinach, and sundried tomato (my personal fav!).

Thomas' Bagelbread Squares are perfect for creating grilled gourmet lunchmeat sandwiches. Available in Plain, Whole Wheat and Everything (to die for!), Bagelbread Squares are cholesterol free and low fat with zero trans fat.

I used the Everything Bagelbread Squares to create the following grilled gourmet lunchmeat sandwiches. However, you can use any type of bread you prefer.

Grilled Gourmet Lunch Meat Sandwiches Recipe
Serves 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5-7 minutes


2 Thomas' "Everything" Bagelbread Squares (cut in half)
6 slices Brown Sugar Ham
6 slices Mesquite Turkey
6 slices Pastrami
2 slices Bleu Cheese (slices should be about 1/4-inch thick)
1 Tablespoon Butter, melted


  1. Preheat skillet or griddle to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush melted butter on inside of each bagel.
  3. Arrange meat slices in skillet or on the griddle.
  4. Heat meat slices until they start to curl on the edges.
  5. Once meat slices are heated, stack 2 slices of each meat on top of one another and move to the side of skillet or griddle.
  6. Place bagel slices with butter side down onto skillet or griddle.
  7. Once bagel slices turn light brown in color, flip them over and add meat slices on top of two bagel halves.
  8. Top meat slices with bleu cheese.
  9. Place the bagel top onto the meat and cheese.
  10. Heat for about 30 seconds on each side.
  11. Remove from heat, transfer to plate and serve immediately.

Below is a photo of how I arranged the meat slices. My husband says I am anal retentive, but I think the meat slices look pretty - don't you??


Below is a photo of the end result:


Click here for more grilled gourmet lunchmeat sandwich recipes.

Gourmet Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Recipe

Gourmet Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches are the perfect Hurricane Party food; particularly, if children are present. Everybody loves PB&J and it definitely ranks at the top of comfort foods. Additionally, sandwiches can be prepared a day or two ahead of time, which can come in handy if the power goes out. Wrap individual sandwiches in plastic wrap to retain freshness.

Gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can be served on just about any type of bread. Most people prefer using pre-sliced bread, but there's no reason you can't cut your own. Some people like to grill them, while others like them plain. If you decide to grill them, you'll need to have melted butter on hand.

Feel free to substitute items and create your own unique version of gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When serving at a party, offer a variety of breads, both chunky and smooth peanut butters, and a selection of jellies and jams. Set up a buffet and include bowls of "toppings" such as raisins, chocolate chips, chili peppers, marshmallow creme, sunflower seeds, etc.

Sliced fruits are excellent to add to the toppings buffet. Bananas, strawberries, kiwis, mandarin oranges, grapes and mangoes are popular selections.

A fun way to keep guests occupied during the storm is to engage in a gourmet peanut bully and jelly sandwich creation competition. Guests create their own concoction and people vote for their favorite. Prizes are award to the top competitors. Kids are particularly fond of this game, but be forewarned -- things can get messy!


Gourmet Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Recipe

Serves 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes or less


2 slices Sourdough bread
1-2 Tablespoons Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter by Peanut Butter & Co.
1-2 Tablespoons Raspberry Preserves
1 Tablespoon Macadamia nuts, chopped
1 teaspoon shredded Coconut, toasted*

*To toast coconut, melt 1/4-teaspoon of butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add coconut and mix with butter. Stir constantly until lightly browned.


Spread peanut butter on one piece of bread and raspberry preserves on the other. Top with macadamia nuts and shredded coconut; put bread slices together and Enjoy!

Caribbean Caesar Chicken Salad

Caribbean Caesar Chicken Salad is one of my all-time favorite summer salad recipes. It's super easy to throw together and low in calories. You can have it for lunch or dinner and can serve the chicken hot or cold. Whenever I bake chicken breasts for dinner, I like to bake a few extra so I can add them to salads. Preparing the chicken ahead of time greatly reduces the prep time!

Caribbean Caesar Chicken Salad
Serves 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

1 head Romaine lettuce
2 cups fresh Pineapple, cut into chunks
1 cup Mango, peeled and cut into chunks
2 4-ounce boneless, skinless Chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons Salad Dressing (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rinse chicken in cool water and pat dry. Place chicken in glass baking dish and bake in oven for 20 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the center.
  3. Wash and dry romaine lettuce. Cut off bottom, trim leaves, and cut into bite-size pieces.
  4. Place lettuce in medium bowl and add pineapple and mango chunks. Toss well.
  5. Remove chicken from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Slice chicken breast and place on salad.
  7. Add 2 tablespoons of your choice of salad dressing, if desired

This recipe and many more are available in my cookbook, "The Diva Diet". This spiral-bound cookbook provides more than 100 healthy, yet delicious recipes and can be purchased for just $23.49 at

How to Create a Gourmet Lunch for Under $5.00

Here is a recipe for a delicious and healthy gourmet lunch that you can create for around $5.00. You can use any type of lunch meat. My personal favorite is the Boar's Head brand. Although a little more expensive than commercial brands, Boar's Head meats do not contain by-products, cereals or fillers. Once you wrap your lips around Boar's Head luncheon meats, you'll never settle for less.

Healthy lunch

Yield: 1 serving
Prep Time: 10 minutes


1 Toufayan Wheat wrap
3 slices Black Forest Smoked Ham (thin, deli sliced)
3 slices Pastrami (thin, deli sliced)
1 slice White American cheese
2-3 slices Tomato, sliced thin
Deli mustard, to taste

Fruit side dish:
1/4 mini Watermelon, rind removed, sliced
1/4 Mango, skin removed, sliced
1/2 Kiwi fruit, skin removed, sliced


  1. Spread deli mustard on wheat wrap.
  2. Place ham, pastrami, cheese and tomato slices on top of wrap.
  3. Fold one side of wrap, up and over ingredients. Roll wrap up, making certain the fold stays in place.
  4. Garnish plate with fruit slices.
  5. Serve immediately.

You can eat this meal for lunch or dinner. You could even eat it for breakfast if you so desire. This is a great brown bag option and is considerably healthier for you than greasy fast food.



Turn Grill Into Pizza Oven

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