EZ Basil Pesto Sandwich

Open face Basil Pesto Sandwich

It was a typical Monday. The day was a whirlwind filled with every Murphy’s Law scenario imaginable. By 5 PM, I was panting for nourishment. Waiting more than 5 minutes for something to cook was not an option.

So what does Blimpy Girl do when pursued by a hunger attack… and trying to avoid the Cheez-it box and chocolate hidden in the 4th drawer next to the dishwasher? OK, OK, I’m getting a little sidetracked just thinking of what could of been… chocolate melting in my mouth intermingled with a handful (or two) of Cheez-its…

My strong will prevailed. Instead I walked outside, picked some fresh basil leaves from the garden and made these open-faced sandwiches.

Open face basil & tomato sandwich


  • Two slices French baguette bread (I used poppy seed flavor)
  • 2 slices of tomato
  • 2 tablespoon of marinara sauce
  • Onion slice cut in half
  • 4 teaspoons artichoke & asiago tapenade/pesto (purchase at Costco)
  • 5 pitted Kalamata olives cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons shaved/grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

How To

Add the following to each bread slice:

One tablespoon marinara sauce, 1/2 of the chopped basil, 1/2 of the sliced onion, 1 tomato slice, 1/2 of kalamata olives, a layer of cheese and 2 teaspoons tapenade/pesto.

Bake in toaster oven until bread is toasted and cheese has melted. About 5 minutes. You’re in the neighborhood of 302 calories for two open face sandwiches. Add a garden fresh salad with tomatoes and shredded carrots (drizzled with garlic balsamic vinegar) for an additional 20 calories.

Oops, let’s not forget the drink of choice for this dish… Pinot Grigio. A four-ounce serving will add an additional 98 calories. If you opt for Chardonnay, add 80 calories.





Henny Penny Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Cluck Cluck Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Half the fun of preparing Blimpy Girl meals is coming up with a name for the finished dish. This dish is named after one of my favorite story book characters. My concoction has chicken meat and eggs along with fresh garden goodies: tomato, onion, green pepper, pickle relish, celery and lettuce. I promise the sky won’t fall when trying this recipe and Henny Penny would be proud that farm fresh ingredients were used.

I threw together this dish before heading out for a steamy day on the lake. As usual, I grabbed food items available at the time. I keep plenty of chicken breast on hand (thank you, Costco) and garden items are at their peak (YES!!). When I discovered a loaf of French baguette bread in the freezer, the meal plan began to unfold.

This is a sandwich recipe  that “goes with the flow”. If you don’t have celery, then use grated carrot, if you don’t have green pepper, use diced green olives.

You can shred zucchini, add basil leaf, even serve the chicken mixture in red/yellow bell pepper halves. There are so many options for this easy-to-prepare dish.


  • 2 six-ounce cubed, cooked chicken breast
  • Chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (optional, but adds a nice crunch)
  • 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped (you can substitute with 1/4 cup green olive)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion (look for the sweet Vidalia type)
  • Salt / Pepper to taste. NOTE: if using green olive, which are already salty, cut down the amount of salt used.
  • French baguette slices
  • Lettuce (or spinach leaves) & sliced tomato (I cut mine slices in half to fit the baguette)
  • 1 hard boiled egg, chopped
  • 3/4 cup low-fat mayo PLUS 1/4 cup no fat mayo

How To

Mix together all the ingredients except the lettuce and tomato slices. Top each baguette slice with a lettuce. Spread chicken mixture over lettuce and dress with a tomato slice.

This recipe makes approximately 12 sandwiches. Calories, depending on your options are around 170 calories per serving. Add a spinach salad with a low-fat vinegarette dressing, carrot sticks or broccoli florets and you have a 200 to 225 calorie meal. Heck, if you’re still feeling hungry, chow down a second sandwich. Omit the bread and save on calories for the indulgence.

Turtle Hamburger

A turtle burger any kids would love!This was last night’s dinner for the grand kids. They generally are not burger kind of kids, odd as that may seem. I decided to try a different take on presenting the burger especially since the wine guy had purchased an enormous package of burger meat from Costco.

Well, it worked! All three kids chowed down and ate every last bite of their burger. They even ate the tomato and lettuce. The turtle burgers were served with corn on cob. It was a fun meal and easy to make. Here’s the how-to:

The beginnings of a turtle hamburger.

  • Shape hamburger or ground sirloin meat into patties. Cook as desired.
  • I didn’t have burger buns so I cut white bread slices into circles using a used a cookie cutter. I liked this idea better because the bread wasn’t so thick.  English muffins are another option, but my grand kids aren’t muffin fans.
  • Slice baby dill pickles to make the turtle’s head, tail and feet. Use any extra pickles to make the turtle shell (see below).
  •  Add burger, cheese and ketchup to the bread base.Add any other condiments you want, E.g., mustard, mayo, relish.
  • Top with Iceberg lettuce and add slices of dill pickles to create the turtle shell.
  • The turtle eyes are small dollops of mayo with a raisin cut in half.
  • Serve with a side dish like corn on the cob or mac & cheese.

This turtle theme can also be used to create a before dinner craft. Here are links to a couple of easy turtle ideas using items you have around the house. Link #1, Link #2

This is a great opportunity to teach kids about turtles. I’ve noted a few links that might prove helpful.

Link #1, Link #2, Link #3


Peach & Coconut Milk Ice Cream Treats

Filo cups filled with coconut milk, roasted peaches and raspberries.Coconut Peach PopsicleMichigan is setting record breaking temperatures this summer. Heck, we haven’t had rain in three weeks. Grass is fading to brown, temps are soaring and everyone is looking for ways to cool-off.

My cool-off idea was to pull out the grill and roast fresh peaches! Yep, roasted peach slices. Pair it with coconut milk and shredded cocount for a savory summer popsicle.

My soap making company sells the popsicle and pop sticks. But, in 95 degree weather, I discovered a better way to use the mold. Bite size filo cups filled with ice cream goodness.

The pops were very tasty with just enough sweetness to satisfy. I hope the grand kids give this summer treat a thumbs-up.

If you don’t want to invest in a pop mold, freeze mixture in a plastic tub. When ready to serve, place scoops into parfait dishes and drizzle with  honey (and coconut).

This picture is an indicator of the high temps we are experiencing. I took a bite from the popsicle and it was already melting. That’s OK, it only took me one minute to eat it!

Slice fresh peaches and roast in oven or grill.Here’s the scoop on how to make these yummy summer treats.


  • 4 fresh peaches cored and sliced, do not peel the skins
  • 2 cans of coconut milk (get the Light, if available)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

How To

Roast peach slices in oven.Leave skins on peaches, slice into wedges. Spread out onto cookie sheet and sprinkle with lemon juice. Roast in oven at 400-425 degrees. Bake until the peach slices start to caramelize (about 25-30 minutes). Remove and dice into smaller pieces. Set aside.

Rich coconut milk with vanilla extract.

Blend coconut milk, shredded coconut and vanilla extract until creamy.

Pour mold cavities 1/3 full of the coconut milk. Drop 2-3 diced peaches into each mold. Place in freezer and let set for 30 minutes. 

Remove mold from freezer. Drop in more peach pieces (try to evenly distribute), add another layer of coconut milk and freeze for 30 minutes.

Pour the coconut mixture into each mold cavitiy.

Remove mold from freezer. It’s time to pour the final layer. Top off mold cavities with the coconut milk, evenly distribute additional peach slices. Insert the pop sticks. Place in freezer for a minimum of 3 hours. The pops should be frozen solid once removed.

The popsicles may require a quick soak in warm water for removal. Note the word “quick”. If you soak too long, the pops will begin to melt.

Filling the popsicle mold


  • Make single serving bite-size desserts. Place any leftover popsicle mixture in a plastic tub and freeze. Using a melon baller, scoop out ice cream mixture and place into a mini filo cup. Dress with a raspberry and whipped cream. Serve immediately.
  • Use small binder clips to keep sticks centered in each mold cavity.
  • You don’t have to use a popsicle mold. Consider freezing the coconut mixture and scooping out servings into a parfait dish. Top with shredded coconut.

The popsicle molds filled to the top.

Serve petite single-serve portions with a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio wine. You can dip the filo cups into melted chocolate… YUMMM!

Use mini filo cups to serve up this delicious ice cream.

 This recipe makes 12 (6 ounce) popsicles, PLUS there is plenty leftover to make 24-36 bite size filo cups.

OK, let’s talk calories. You’re in the neighborhood of 28 calories per ounce for the coconut milk. One whole peach (roasted) and a tablespoon of grated coconut (unsweetened)  adds  203 calories.

A 6-ounce popsicle is 150 calories. The only down-side of using coconut are fat calories. They’re fairly high. But, an occasional indulgence shouldn’t affect your weight loss goal.

The bite-size filo cups might be a better option (as pictured above). They appease the sweet-tooth, and are less than 30 calories (per filled cup) if using fat-free whipped cream.


Fresh Grilled Figs with Goat Cheese & Basil

Grilled Figs and Goat Cheese with Basil

Every year, the wine guy and I mark our calendars for fig season. Today we rejoiced! Fresh mission figs were available at Costco. If you’ve never experienced grilled figs with dollops of goat cheese and basil… you haven’t experienced life. It’s a culinary delight.

Fresh grilled figs are a culinary delight.

The tray of figs were cut in half. Leave the seeds intact. I soaked wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes. This keeps the skewers from burning on the grill. You only need to grill for a few minutes under low heat.

Promptly remove the figs from the skewers and top each fig with a dollop of goat cheese. Fresh basil leaves add to the flavor. You may want to chop the basil first and then sprinkle on top of the goat cheese filling. This appetizer is best served warm, but the wine guy and I were headed out for a day on the lake. We put our coveted figs in a cooler and quite honestly they were tasty even when chilled.

 Grilled figs ready to fill with goat cheese.

We are picking up another tray of figs at Costco this week. There are 24 mission figs in a tray. Cutting the figs lengthwise yields 48 bite-size servings and is in the neighborhood of 45 calories per fig (including goat cheese and basil topping).

According to the California Fig Advisory Board, figs contain more fiber than other common fruits and vegetables. One medium fig contains 1.7 g of fiber. If you eat 4 ½ medium figs, you satisfy 30 percent of the daily recommended allowance for fiber. Fiber is essential to regular digestion, a healthy colon and beneficial in lowering lower cholesterol. Oh, and let’s not fail to mention that figs are a great source of calcium and potassium.
Pencil in a date night with a figs while they are in season.