Lunch With Loni

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Lemon Berry Ricotta Pancakes May 25, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — lonislens @ 6:06 pm

I have to pronounce ricotta in the true Italian fashion a la Giada when I say what’s in these pancakes.  That’s as fancy as I’m going to get.  This was another breakfast for dinner meal (always a winner in this household).  I made them with blackberries, because I had some in the fridge.  Blueberries or raspberries would work just as well.  I wound up slicing the blackberries in half length-wise so that I could have more berry in each bite and didn’t have berries sticking too far out of the pancakes as I cooked/flipped them.  I also added a bit of lemon juice to the milk to turn it into buttermilk.  Overall, delicious recipe and with a nice richness from the ricotta.  You don’t even need syrup on these (though I warmed up some coconut oil, agave syrup and lemon juice to drizzle on top).  I would cut down on the baking powder if I made again.  One tablespoon seemed like a bit more than necessary for pancakes, and I felt like I could taste it a little in the final result.  Otherwise, delicious recipe that’s a nice twist on the classic blueberry pancake and totally brunch-worthy (would go perfectly with a bellini)!


 Recipe Located At: Pancakes by Adrianna Adarme



Lemon Berry Ricotta Pancakes



  • 1/2 cup of whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of ricotta
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup of berries (your choice)
  • Butter for the skillet (I used coconut oil this time and it worked well)



1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees F. Combine the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
2. Combine the ricotta, milk, egg, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and melted butter in another bowl, mixing until smooth.
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Be careful to not over mix.
4. Preheat your skillet over medium high and brush with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of butter. Scoop up a 1/4 cup of batter into a measuring scoop and drop onto the skillet. Add a few berries, gently pressing them into the pancake. Cook pancake for 2-3 minutes (until bubbles appear on the surface) then flip and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, until golden brown. Repeat with the rest of the batter, re-buttering the skillet and adjusting the temperature, as needed.
5. Transfer warm pancakes to a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm.


Mexican Chili Cheeseburgers May 24, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — lonislens @ 8:45 pm

These actually aren’t what I expected when I first read “chili cheeseburger.”  There is no chili oozing out the sides of a super cheesy burger.  Nope.  Instead, it’s a burger flavored with many of the ingredients you’d use in chili, topped with a nice thick slice of sharp cheddar cheese, grilled onions, and sliced tomato.  Less steps than making chili to put on your burger, healthier, and with huge flavor payoff.  I used 92% lean beef for these and they were still oh-so-juicy.  Cooking Light, you did not fail me with this one!  As usual, my recipe had a few minor alterations.  I did not have jalapeno peppers on hand, so  I seeded some canned chipotle peppers and included those instead.  It lended a nice spicy/smoky flavor to the burger.  I also blended some with BBQ sauce and Greek yogurt to use as a topping to the burger instead of the usual ketchup/mayo/mustard.  Good call.  But you do with it what you will, as burgers are made to be modified to suit your tastes (and pantries)!

 Recipe Located At:


Mexican Chili Cheeseburgers 


  • 1 pound ground round
  • 1 cup chopped seeded plum tomato
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeño pepper (or 2 teaspoons minced seeded chipotle pepper)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 (3/4-ounce) slices reduced-fat Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup lowfat Greek yogurt (or lowfat sour cream)
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce
  • 1 tablespoon pureed chipotle pepper
  • 4 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns
  • 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices tomato (optional)
  • Grilled onions (optional)
  • Iceberg lettuce leaves (optional)


  1. Combine first 9 ingredients in a bowl; stir well. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping into 1/2-inch-thick patties.
  2. Prepare grill. Place patties on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 6 minutes on each side or until done. Place 1 cheese slice on top of each patty; cover and grill an additional minute or until cheese melts.
  3. While burgers cook, mix Greek yogurt or lowfat sour cream with pureed chipotle pepper and BBQ sauce.  
  4. Spread 1 tablespoon of yogurt mixture over top half of each bun, and set aside. Place patties on bottom halves of buns; top each with lettuce/ tomato/onions, (if desired), and top half of bun.

French Onion Dip Burgers May 17, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — lonislens @ 8:19 pm

Who doesn’t love French onion dip?  When you combine that flavor with a burger, you have yourself a winner—especially on toasted pretzel buns (not homemade, sorry).  The sauce that goes on this burger is good enough to eat on its own, which of course I did.  The original recipe calls for potato chips and pickles.  I didn’t have either, but I still thought these were some darn good burgers.  They weren’t as pretty as some burgers, but I don’t really care.   They’re also messy, but isn’t that a sign of a good burger?!

 Recipe Located At:


French Onion Dip Burger 


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 5 onions, 4 thinly sliced and 1 peeled
  • bay leaf
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 cup beef consomme
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 2 pounds ground beef sirloin
  • About 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce (eyeball it)
  • A handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  •  buns, split


1.  Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and bay leaf; season with salt, pepper and the thyme.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until deep caramel and very soft, 35 minutes. Deglaze with the beef consomme; cook until all the    liquid   is almost absorbed. Let cool, then discard the bay leaf. Stir in the sour cream or Greek yogurt.

2.  Preheat a griddle or large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat (we cooked ours on the grill). Season the beef with the worcestershire, salt (for a crusty coating) and pepper. Using a box grater, grate 3 to 4 tbsp. of the peeled onion over the meat (this flavors the meat and keeps the burgers moist). Add the parsley. Mix the meat (dont overwork) and form 6 patties thinner at the center than at the edges. Drizzle with olive oil. Cook, turning once, for 6 to 8 minutes for pink centers.

3.  Serve the burgers on the buns, topped with the sauce (and potato chips and pickles if you want).


Lemon Blueberry Sour Cream Crumb Bars May 5, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — lonislens @ 1:51 am

Yep, I’m still at it.  The lemon blueberry combination has not gotten old.  I made this recipe for a work picnic, and they were a hit. I will let you know in advance, these are more blueberry than lemon, though.  I’d actually amp up the lemon flavor in them if I make them again for myself.  If you have a crowd that prefers the blueberry to the citrus, then it is probably right up their ally.  Personally, I love a good kick of citrus.  I actually added lemon zest to the crust, which the recipe didn’t call for.  It still didn’t come through enough for my liking if I’m expecting lemon.  The crust is deliciously buttery, which always makes for a good bar.  I found I needed to bake mine longer than the recipe called for, and the center kind of all melded together so it looked more like blueberry than sour cream/blueberry.  That didn’t bother me at all, though.  Also, it always seems like I don’t have as much crumble topping as the photo of the recipe I’m making.  I think people are secretly using more than they’re telling me on their blogs.  😉


 Recipe Located At:


Blueberry Bars 



  • ½ c butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • ½ c light brown sugar
  • 1½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lemon zest


  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ c sour cream
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract



  1. Preheat oven to 375 and prepare an 8×8 square pan by lining with parchment paper and spraying with cooking spray.
  2. Make the crust by whisking together in a medium bowl the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the melted butter. The dough will be crumbly but make sure all of the butter is incorporated.
  3. Reserve ¾ cup of the crust and press the remaining into the bottom of your 8×8 prepared baking pan.
  4. Combine the fresh blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice in a small bowl until the combined and set aside.
  5. For the sour cream filling, mix together in a large bowl the sour cream, sugar, 1 Tbsp flour, egg, and vanilla. Pour over the crust in your 8×8 pan.
  6. Spoon the fresh blueberry mixture evenly over the sour cream.
  7. Sprinkle your reserved ¾ cup crust over the top and bake for 25-28 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely and serve into squares. Store in the refrigerator up to 3 days.