Dress Up Your Brown Bag Lunch

Wanda Mann, of blackdresstraveler.com, offers tips on how to transform your bagged lunch into a party for your mouth!


Dress Up Your Brown Bag Lunch

Take your lunch from drab to fab…

-Wanda Mann, www.blackdresstraveler.com

Chef Jean-Stephane PoinardAre you trying to save a few dollars and control your portions? Packing your own lunch can be wallet and waist-line friendly and just as delicious as a restaurant meal. Skip the boring celery sticks and soggy tuna sandwiches and add a dash of ooh la la to your afternoon meal.

Chef Jean-Stephane Poinard, a fifth generation chef from Lyon, France, and owner of Bistro de Leon in St. Augustine, Fla., offers these easy and delicious recipes that take a brown bag lunch from blah to wow. While you’re at it, skip the brown bag; this easy-yet-elegant meal deserves to be carried around in style in a cute little shopping bag from your favorite boutique.

Fresh Strawberry Salad in Balsamic Reduction with Basil

What You’ll Need:

8 oz. ripe strawberries
10 basil leaves. Washed and chopped.
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. vanilla sugar (see recipe below)

How to Prepare:

1. Wash and cut the strawberries into 4 pieces. Add the chopped basil and vanilla sugar and very gently mix together. Place in refrigerator.
2. Boil the balsamic vinegar for 5 minutes to reduce the acidity and let it cool.
3. Mix the balsamic reduction with the strawberries and enjoy!

This salad can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days. The more it marinates, the better it will taste.

French Vanilla Sugar

How to Prepare:

1. Cut 3 French vanilla beans in half.
2. Place the vanilla beans in an air tight plastic container with some granulated sugar.
3. Store in a cool dry place.

Goat Cheese and Pesto Sandwich with Fresh Grape tomatoes & Serrano Ham

What You’ll Need:

One fresh crispy French baguette
Fresh goat cheese
Grape or cherry tomatoes
Paper thin slices of Serrano ham (optional)
2-3 tbsp. of homemade pesto (see recipe below)
1 tbsp. of olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 fresh basil leaves

How to Prepare:

1. Mix the goat cheese with 2-3 tbsp of pesto, 1 tbsp of olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper.
2. Spread the goat cheese mixture onto the baguette. Cut the baguette in half.
3. Cut the tomatoes in half and add to sandwich.
4. Add the sliced ham and basil leaves.

To reduce calories, omit the ham and use only a portion of the baguette.


What You’ll Need:

Half bunch of fresh basil
3 cloves of garlic
½ pint of olive oil
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 tbsp of parmesan cheese.
Salt and pepper

How to Prepare:

1. Mix all of the ingredients in a blender until a nice green paste forms.
2. Place in the refrigerator.

Pesto can be kept in your refrigerator for several weeks. Use if for pasta, salad dressing and even as a marinade for chicken breasts. Pesto can also be frozen in an ice cube tray and you can thaw what you need.

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