Lunch With Loni

Just another weblog

Slow Cooker London Broil (aka London Broil Stew) October 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — lonislens @ 11:31 pm

The amount of liquid turned this into more of a stew, but you could cut down on the liquid OR turn the broth into a gravy. 

Slow Cooker London Broil (Stew)

Recipe courtesy of: Merri C (at

Original location:


  • 2 pounds flank steak
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup (low sodium)
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup (low sodium)
  • 1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix (I used 1/2 packet)
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Fresh ground black peppercorn, to taste
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 4 red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce



  1. Place meat in the bottom of the slow cooker; if necessary, slice meat to make it fit!
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together mushroom and tomato soup. Pour mixture over beef. Sprinkle dry onion soup mix over top.
  3. Cover, and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours.

I did alter the recipe slightly with the addition of a few spices and fresh chopped onion, to add a little more dimension.  Potatoes and veggies were added to make it a “one pot wonder.”  I think it can handle an entire packet of onion soup mix, but be sure to use low sodium condensed soup if you do…otherwise it may be too salty.  We only had a 1/2 packet of soup mix left from another recipe, so that’s what we used.

My husband actually made this today and I came home to a yummy smelling house.  He sliced the meat up in one inch thick pieces…something several reviewers recommended.  My husband is NOT a cook but he said it was very easy. 

I wanted to taste it right away and was able to use a spoon to break off a piece of meat, that’s how tender it was (after approximately 5 hours).  This is a good one pot meal to make with an inexpensive cut of meat!


Central American Meatballs w/ Black Beans & Rice October 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — lonislens @ 3:02 am

Central American Meatballs

I mean no offense when I use the term, “Central American.”  It is used VERY loosely, because of the spices.

This is the type of dinner that happens when you come home, are hungry, and have a package of ground chicken and fresh bread crumbs you need to use up.  The husband does not care for chicken/turkey meatballs or meatloaf…so I improvised.



1 lb ground chicken

1.5 cups bread crumbs (I had some homemade bread crumbs from a three cheese semolina loaf)

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 egg

1/4 cup salsa

Salt & pepper to taste (which I never understand since you’re not going to taste the raw meat mixture)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Make 1 tablespoon sized meatballs and place on a cookie sheet that you’ve sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Note: these are also great to use in soup.

Rice & Beans:

I cheated and made a packet of yellow saffron rice.  What can I say, sometimes these shortcuts are great when you come home from work!

1/2 green bell pepper

1/2 sweet Vidalia onion

1 can black beans, drained & rinsed

1 tablespoon “sofrito”

3/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

Salt & Pepper

Secret ingredient: “Salsa Lizano” (we fell in love with this when we were in Costa Rica)

Sautee diced pepper and onion in a pan.  Once they are soft, add in the spices, and then the beans. 

Serve beans over rice and place the meatballs on top.

I have no idea what to call this, but it was very flavorful and the leftovers were just as good.  It does make more meatballs than you’ll need for dinner, but I made them all instead of cutting down the amount of meat.


Bar Exam Bars! Pumpkin Streusel, to be exact.

Filed under: Uncategorized — lonislens @ 2:40 am

A friend and co-worker of mine just found out she passed the bar exam, so I made these yummy Pumpkin Streusel bars and brought them to work.  They were a hit!


Recipe courtesy of: Karin at

Original recipe:


  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups pumpkin pie filling
  • 2/3 cup milk  (I used evaporated milk, as all of the reviewers suggested this.)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter    


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan.
  2. Pour one cup of yellow cake mix into a medium size mixing bowl; set aside.
  3. Combine remaining cake mix, 1/2 cup melted butter and 1 egg; mix well. Press into the baking pan.
  4. Combine pumpkin pie filling, 2 eggs and milk in a medium size mixing bowl; mix until smooth. Pour evenly over the crust in the 9×13 inch pan.
  5. Pour the sugar and cinnamon into the mixing bowl containing the 1 cup of yellow cake mix. Cut in the butter until the mixture looks crumbly. Sprinkle this mixture over the pumpkin filling.
  6. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the bars come out clean. Let cool before cutting.

Definitely be sure to substitute evaporated milk for regular milk.  Other than that, I would also recommend turning down the heat of your oven (if you’re using anything besides a glass pan, at least).  The bottoms of mine got a little darker than I would have liked, and I baked them for 40 minutes at 340, in a metal pan (though not very dark metal).

These aren’t “light” or “healthy”, which made them perfect for a treat to bring into work.  That way I’m not tempted to eat them all!

Honestly, the idea of pumpkin streusel sounded odd to me…but someone made something like this recently, and I thought they were delicious.  It’s worth trying out, they were gone in no time and a few co-workers said they went back to get a second one!


Mmmm…”Caramel” Apple Pie October 12, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — lonislens @ 11:46 pm

Recipe courtest of: Emtmom (at

Original recipe:

Caramel Apple Pie

Oops.  I forgot to buy the caramels.  So it wasn’t exactly a caramel apple pie.  But I did make the taffy mixture in the recipe.  My advice?  Choose the taffy or the caramels, or half the quantity of both.  Even the taffy mixture made this pie almost too sweet for my taste.  My husband didn’t think so, but I prefer to have more of the tartness of the apples coming through.  I knew it would be sweet, and some people love their pie really sweet and gooey.  As you can see, it got wonderful reviews.

I didn’t make many changes, but have highlighted them in red.


  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust deep dish pie
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups thinly sliced apples (The recipe calls for 5 cups, but many reviewers said 6 cups worked better.  I used a mixture of Golden Delicious, Cortland and McIntosh)
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (what can I say, I love nutmeg!)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 20 caramels, halved  (Ommitted…I couldn’t wait to make the pie so I skipped these!  I know, the husband asked for a caramel apple pie and I didn’t give it to him!)
  • 2 tablespoons milk  


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. To Make Taffy: In a small bowl combine brown sugar, melted butter or margarine, and 1/3 cup flour. Mix well and set aside.
  3. To Make Apple Filling: Place apples in a large bowl. Add white sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Toss until all ingredients are mixed well and apples are thoroughly coated.
  4. Spoon half of apple filling into pastry-lined deep-dish pan. Top with half of caramels and half of taffy mixture. Repeat process with remaining apple filling, caramels and taffy mixture. Place top pastry over filling and seal well (this is very important–if edges are not sealed, caramel will leak out all over). Cut steam vents and brush top crust with milk or light cream. Sprinkle sugar over the top (it makes it prettier!)
  5. Cover pie with foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil from pie and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until crust is golden. Serve warm.

Okay…now I need to go heat up a piece and eat it.  =)


Let’s get dirty…by which I mean “Dirty Risotto”

Filed under: Uncategorized — lonislens @ 11:33 pm

Recipe courtesy of: Giada de Laurentiis

Orginal recipe:

Dirty Risotto

This is a definite “go back for seconds” dish.  It’s not extremely budget-friendly, but is worth it.  I think it’s the perfect romantic dinner.  My husband loved it! 

I had never made risotto before, even though it’s something I love.  It requires constant “babysitting”, but isn’t difficult at all.


  • 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 ounces pancetta, chopped
  • 1 link (about 6 ounces) spicy Italian sausage, casing removed (I substituted spicy Italian turkey sausage)
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper (although I love red bell peppers, I used green because I had some on hand…I’d definitely go with red next time, for flavor and the added color)
  • 4 ounces button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves


In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer. Cover the broth and keep warm over low heat.

In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sausage and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms and saute until tender, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 25 to 30 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Stir in 3/4 of the Parmesan. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the parsley and remaining Parmesan and serve immediately.

Aren’t you craving some of this already?


Just peachy…”Peach-a-Berry Pie”

Filed under: Uncategorized — lonislens @ 11:21 pm

Recipe courtesy of: BARNBABE13 at

Original recipe:

Peach-A-Berry Pie Small



I made this a few weeks ago, before deliciously ripe peaches and raspberries would become a thing of the past until next year.  The pie was very tasty, but there are a few alterations I would recommend.  Here is my modified recipe.

FYI: I don’t pretend to be good at crust.  It intimidates me.  Perhaps I will work my way up to making my own crust.  Instead, I purchased the refrigerated ones at the grocery store.  I didn’t even make it look pretty!  Oh well, it tasted good!


  • 4 cups fresh peaches – peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 (9 inch) pie crusts
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened and cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon coarse granulated sugar    


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (the recipe called for 400, but that would have been too hot, at least for my oven)
  2. Heat the peaches up in a large saucepan, adding a small amount of water and two tablespoons of cornstarch.  Let it come to a boil, then reduce heat.  Stir until the cornstarch is clear.  If there is still too much liquid, drain in a colander.  Place back in the pot, adding butter, sugar, cinammon, vanilla extract and nutmeg.  Fold the raspberries in right before you put it in the crust, so they don’t break down too much.  (The recipe called for simply leaving the fruit in a colander for 15 minutes to allow the excess moisture to drain, but many reviewers said that there was too much liquid, so I tried this method instead—per my mom’s instruction—and the pie was not too soupy at all!)
  3. Transfer peach mixture to a pie crust.  Top with remaining crust. Cut vents in top crust, and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  4. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until crust is golden brown.



Welcome to my new blog!

Filed under: Uncategorized — lonislens @ 10:56 pm

My title is somewhat deceptive.  I will rarely be sharing lunch recipes.  Usually I eat leftovers for lunch!  But I will be sharing all kinds of recipes as I try them out, and even some of my “oldies but goodies.”  And if I go out to eat, I’ll include a review on here as well.

Hopefully you find something good to eat!