Tag Archives: cooking

Sandwich “Sushi”?

O yes! Like many, I am a sushi-holic. It is my go-to take-out food and a “guilt-free” guilty pleasure. Is that possible? I love everything about it, the delicious taste created by the fresh ingredients (crispy cucumber, buttery avocado etc.), and of course how beautiful it is. Each tiny piece of sushi is like its own miniature piece of art, which for me, makes it that much more delicious. YUM! To my surprise there are many foodies and mommy chefs out there using sushi as inspiration for their toddler lunches. No, they are not suggesting we all run and take our toddlers out for a sushi lunch (I do NOT feed my Jojo any type of raw fish or raw protein), but what they are doing is taking inspiration from these scrumptious pieces of food art and creating yummy spins on the sandwich.

It makes sense, I mean I said it myself, part of what makes sushi so delicious is the way it looks and how it is presented. So if you take that simple principle and apply it to making a sushi sandwich, your toddler will find it just as fun and delicious as you do!

Inspired by a picture I saw on the cover of the new Weelicious Lunches book last week online, and stumped about how to get my lil Jojo to eat chicken in other forms besides the pot-pie and pasta methods (there is something about plain chicken that is simply unappealing to him), I thought why not make it into a fun sandwich sushi roll where the whole grain bread acts as the rice and the filling is whatever fresh produce and/ or protein that is on the menu for the day. What an easy idea! So I did, and yes I got a “ummmmmm” on the first bite which means this was a complete success. What’s even better is that I can make sandwich “sushi” for all different types of fresh vegetables, fruits and cooked proteins.

JoJo’s Carrot, Cucumber and Cooked Chicken Sandwich Sushi


1 slice multigrain bread (edges trimmed)

2 tbsp cream cheese

5 thin slices of cucumber

2 tbsp steamed shredded carrot

pieces of diced cooked chicken breast


Cut off the edges to your slice of bread and then take a rolling pin and roll the bread flat. Spread the cream cheese over the flattened piece of bread. Top with the thin slices of cucumber, carrots and chicken. Roll the bread up into a sushi roll shape. Squeeze cylinder to set ingredients.  Cut into small pieces with a sharp knife.

*Prepartion Tips: You will need to experiment with the placement of your ingredients to get a perfect roll. The thinner the slices, the easier it is to form the bread into a roll.

* Dairy Free: For all my dairy-free moms out there, I know it can be difficult to find recipes that fit your needs. A good substitute for cream cheese in this recipe is hummus (any variety just be sure to use a nut-free variety and watch the salt content- I recommend making your own).

Other Variations:

  • Sweet: Cream cheese and berries
  • Savory: Black bean hummus, avocado, steamed shredded carrots, diced chicken breast cooked with cumin, thinly sliced fresh tomato and shredded cheddar.

Make It Exciting: For my Jojo nothing amps up a meal more than adding a dipping sauce. Jazz up your rolls by creating your own spectacular sauce- yogurt, sour cream, and applesauce are all great accompaniments. Pick what best fits the flavor profile of your rolls.

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Peas & Pasta…

I am the mother of a 17-month-old toddler who loves to be fickle at mealtime. He is a GREAT eater, loves his fruits and veggies, but there is no rhyme or reason to what he is willing to eat on any given day.  What he liked yesterday, he hates today. What he ate for lunch, is what he is throwing off of his plate at dinner. Can you feel my frustration? There is no telling how he will react when the food hits the tray…OY!

How do I deal with my lil’ Jojo’s unpredictability? Well, I have to stick with the foods I know he likes and create new meals that incorporate these key ingredients. Jojo LOVES PEAS & PASTA.  He will request them as soon as his cute little bottom hits the highchair. I don’t know what it is about these two foods, but he loves them and they are my go to foods. I am constantly creating and/ or seeking out new recipes that incorporate them so Jojo will be happy, healthy &FED!

Peas and pasta are my vehicle for introducing Jojo to the deliciousness of other veggies. During a spare moment I had the other day (while Jojo was in for his afternoon nap), I decided to curl up on the couch and see if I could find inspiration for a new meal in one of the 25 episodes of The Chew that lay idle on my DVR.  I scanned the episode titles as I scrolled through every episode from the month of May and June until, EUREKA! the Bite N’ Blog episode tweaked my interest (I wonder why?).  It just so happened that one of my favorite mommy food bloggers, Catherine McCord (from Weelicious.com) was a guest sharing a great Green Macaroni and Cheese recipe. Her recipe included pasta, peas (awesome), cheese and other veggies. PERFECT!

I made this recipe for Jojo that night and the first words out of his mouth (other than peas and pasta) were “mmmmmmmm” and “more”. I give this recipe and A+. Thank you Catherine McCord!

Here is the Weelicious recipe and a link to the Bite N’ Blog episode on the chew.




 Green Mac and Cheese  (serves 8 )

Prep Time:10 minutes, Cook Time: 30 minutes, Total Time: 40 minutes,


1 pound elbow macaroni (you can also use campanelle, cavatappi or shells)

3 cups whole milk

1 cups packed fresh spinach

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons flour

4 cups grated white cheddar cheese

2 cups chopped broccoli florets

1 cup peas


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  1. Cook pasta in salted water for about 3 minutes less than package directions call for, until al dente. Reserve half a cup of the pasta water and strain.
  2. While the pasta is cooking. Place the milk and spinach in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth.
  3. In a large pot melt the butter and then add the flour, whisking continuously over low-medium heat for 2-3 minutes to make a roux. Slowly whisk in the milk mixture and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until sauce is gently bubbling and starting to thicken.
  5. Add reserved pasta water and cheese and whisk until melted. Stir in the pasta, broccoli and peas.
  1. Transfer to a greased 13″ x 9″ baking dish and bake for 20 minutes, or until

My Modifications:

Of course I always tweak the recipes I cook to fit the needs of my family. When I searched through my fridge and pantry to collect the items necessary to prepare this recipe, I realized that I did not have elbow pasta or a pound of any of the same type of pasta. I decided I would go with an eclectic mix of the leftover pastas I had. I made 1 lb mixture of shells and rigatoni since I had a half a box of each lying around. Then I realized that we were out of fresh spinach, so I quickly substituted a box of frozen chopped spinach instead (defrosted and drained). NOTE- if you decide to use the frozen spinach your Mac and Cheese will be EXTRA green and it will yield more sauce because of the water in the spinach. Since I love sneaking in extra veggies, I also added 1 zucchini peeled and grated (I mixed it into the pasta before adding the sauce) and topped the dish with breadcrumbs mixed with parmesan cheese. It was delish!! Oh and I may have over measured a bit on the cheese…I mean who doesn’t love cheese :).  Prepare it however you like it!

Photo: Courtesy of Weelicious.com