Slice and Serve Brunch Subs

I was cooking for a church event this weekend, and I really didn’t feel like going “all out.” So here’s what I came up with: 2 loaves of French Bread (no, I’m not about to go all “5 loaves and 2 fish” on you), sliced in half and layered with either pimiento cheese or hummus (I found this really great hummus at Wal-Mart that has some sort of Indian spice in it- vair vair good!). Layer some ham or turkey on top, and don’t skimp. Then in a separate bowl, whisk together 7 or 8 eggs, add about a quarter cup of milk, a cup of cottage cheese, and some salt and pepper. Throw some veggies and sliced red onion into an oiled pan and top with the egg mixture, then shred some cheese on top before baking. When the egg “casserole” is done, let it cool and slice it up to place on the sandwiches! Finish it off with another slice of cheese.

For me, this was much easier than putting all of the individual ingredients on the bread separately. Plus, it made it feel a little fancier to have an egg filling inside the bread. These are ideal for making ahead of time, especially when you need to cook for a big group! Just slice up the long loaf after you let it cool a bit, and you’ve got cute little brunch subs to share!



Slice and Serve Brunch Subs
Recipe Type: Brunch, Sandwich
Cuisine: American
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 16
An easy way to cook for a big group, with minimal ingredients and minimal time!
  • 2 loaves French bread, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup pimiento cheese
  • 1/2 cup hummus of your choice
  • 1 package turkey
  • 1 package ham
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • handful of shredded spinach
  • broccoli and cauliflower florets
  • sliced tomatoes
  • 8 slices cheddar
  • 8 slices provolone
  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg.
  2. Spread one loaf with an even layer of hummus, and the other loaf with an even layer of pimiento.
  3. Layer ham and turkey on top of each loaf.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cottage cheese, and S+P.
  5. In an oiled casserole dish, layer veggies and pour egg mixture on top. Layer cheddar slices on top. Bake at 350 deg for 30-40 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and eggs have browned around the sides. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes, then slice into long strips.
  6. Place each strip on top of bread, then top with a few more layers of provolone.
  7. Close with other half of the loaf and secure every few inches with a toothpick.
  8. Slice into even sandwich slices.






Pesto Feta Chicken Burgers

Ben told me that he was craving a big, juicy chicken sandwich last night. We didn’t end up getting him one, since I was craving a big, juicy salad…

You’re always craving a salad! he said to me when I suggested we go to Jason’s Deli.

What did we end up doing?

Jason’s Deli, FTW. But it’s ok. Because he still got a chicken panini. And I got my big salad (side note: isn’t J’s Deli awesome? You can get a humongous salad to-go and make it last like, three meals. Plus, free pickles!)

Tonight I decided to be a good wife and make my hubby his precious chicken sandwich. But not just any chicken sandwich. I decided to make Pesto Feta Chicken Burgers. Juicy chicken breast stuffed with pesto and feta cheese (or pimiento, since we had only a bit of feta left), seared in olive oil and served over a nice big kale salad (ok, he really ate it on a bun. The salad on the side only stayed because it was already on the plate from me taking pictures of it). These are juicy and savory, and you’ll really love the surprise of the oozy cheese in the center. They’re also really versatile. Add whatever kind of cheese or seasonings you want to customize to your own tastes, or make the patties a bit smaller/rounder for meatballs!



Pesto Feta Chicken Burgers
Recipe Type: Burger, Chicken
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 15
Tender, savory chicken stuffed with feta or pimiento cheese and seasoned with garlicky pesto… how can you go wrong?
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white beans, drained
  • 2 packages ground chicken, 50% lean
  • 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp Italian parsley, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Pimiento cheese
  • Feta cheese
  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onions and garlic, stirring occasionally, until soft- about 4 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mash beans with a potato masher until chunky. Add remaining ingredients (except cheese) and stir to combine.
  3. Spray hands with olive oil or cooking spray. Grab a handful of mixture and form into 2″ diameter patties. Place each onto a sprayed sheet of parchment paper and with your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each patty.
  4. Fill each patty with about a teaspoon of feta or pimiento cheese. Add a bit more of the meat mixture (or just pinch up the sides) to close the patties.
  5. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  6. In a large skillet or griddle, add remaining olive oil or cooking spray and cook each patty on medium-high heat (to get that nice seared look!) for 3 min per side, or until cooked through.
  7. Serve on a bun or over a big kale salad!
Combine all the ingredients in a big bowl.
Poke a hole in the center of each patty and fill with cheese of your choice! I used feta and pimiento.
Cook 3 minutes each side on medium-high heat.
Nice and browned. Yum.
Ready to devour! Pesto Feta Chicken Burgers, FTW!

Gorgonzola-Stuffed Burgers w/ Grilled Peach Salad



Gorgonzola-Stuffed Burgers
Recipe Type: Burger
Cuisine: American
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12-16
Why not stuff your burger with something delicious tonight? I stuffed these beef and pork patties with a bit of gorgonzola cheese and served ’em up with a dollop of Cville Farmers’ Market Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam. The combo of savory and sweet was unbeatable! Serve with corn on the cob and a side salad.
  • 1 lb ground beef (I used 80% lean)
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp whole grain dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped roughly
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning (I had a creamy peppercorn dressing rub that I tossed in there!)
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup raw oats
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1 small container crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  1. Combine all ingredients above in a large bowl (except cheese and oil). Stir until well-incorporated.
  2. Using hands, roll meat mixture into small balls (I made mine about 2 inches in diameter). Reserve a bit of meat mixture for “covering” the burgers later.
  3. Gently press thumb in center of each ball to make a small indentation in center.
  4. Roll about a teaspoon of gorgonzola cheese into a small ball (it helps if your hands are slightly wet to get the cheese to stick together) and press gently into each thumbprint.
  5. Press the sides of the patties inward to cover the cheese. If you need more meat to cover, use the reserved mixture from earlier!
  6. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and set aside until ready to grill.
  7. Preheat grill to medium heat. Grill burgers about 4 minutes per side, or until tops begin to get juicy and you can see those fantastically delicious looking grill marks on the bottom!
  8. Serve on a bun or with a dollop of jam over the top of the burger (I used a strawberry rhubarb jam that a friend brought us from the Cville farmers’ market and it was DELICIOUS!). Also delicious with a fruity side salad like my Grilled Peach Salad with Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette (see separate post), and corn on the cob (always!).





Gourmet Grilled Pimiento Cheese Sandwiches, Starring Ninth Street Bakery Sourdough



I promise that this time I am actually using real cheese. But this is not just any grilled cheese recipe (you know the kind I’m talking about, with the gross perfect-right-angle-so-orange-it-probably-doesn’t-even-need-to-be-refrigerated type singles that come in their own little plastic packages). This is a GOURMET grilled cheese recipe. You know why? Not only because it tastes way better, but because the bread demanded it. I didn’t just use any bread, I used fresh Ninth Street Bakery bread! If you haven’t heard of this local bakery based in downtown Durham, NC, you need to go check it out. They sell all types of organic breads, pastries, and other baked goods, using only the highest-quality ingredients. They have a spot at the Durham Farmers’ Market, too- I swear every time I walk by I get a waft of something different and delicious. They’re always handing out samples of some creative hand pie or blueberry turnover.

Since I was using NSB’s sourdough French (it was a hard decision between this and the sunflower loaf!), I wanted to make sure to do this sandwich right. I decided to slather each slice with pimiento cheese (not local, I confess. judge me.), top it with some spinach and crushed tomatoes (oooh those were local and from the farmers’ market too!), and some leftover mole chicken I had on hand. I decided to toast the buttered slices on the stovetop first, then fill them up, close them and finish in the oven. This way I was sure to get that nice, crispy top and bottom instead of having one side of the bread all soggy from not flipping it before baking!

Try it and let me know what new grilled cheese creations you come up with! Thanks again to Ninth Street Bakery for making it possible for me to share this gourmet sandwich with ya’ll!

Gourmet Grilled Pimiento Cheese Sandwiches
Recipe Type: Sandwich, Grilled Cheese
Cuisine: Grilled Cheese, American
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Here’s a gourmet grilled cheese recipe perfect for a cooler summer night! Smothered with pimiento cheese and topped with fresh sautéed cherry tomatoes, spinach, and mole chicken! Serve it with a side salad or a nice n’ plump fried egg!
  • 1 loaf sourdough French bread (I used Ninth Street Bakery!)
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 12 oz container pimiento cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup leftover shredded chicken (I had some leftover mole chicken on hand that I wanted to use up!)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, add olive oil and tomatoes. Cook on medium heat until soft, about 3 minutes. Crush tomatoes against side of skillet so that they are no longer plump.
  3. Add spinach to skillet and remove from heat, stirring, until wilted. Set entire mixture aside.
  4. Microwave the butter in a shallow dish until melted.
  5. Dredge each slice of bread or use a spoon to drizzle butter over both sides of bread. Place each slice in skillet and cook on medium-low heat for about 2 minutes per side, or until nice and golden-brown. (Don’t worry if it’s not completely browned- we’ll finish them in the oven!)
  6. Continue above step with remaining slices. Remove from heat and set on a few large paper towels. (It’s helpful to keep the slices in the order they were placed in the loaf to match sizes later!)
  7. Line up the slices of bread in order on a large baking sheet. Spread pimiento cheese on each slice of bread.
  8. On half of the slices, layer spinach and tomato mixture on top of cheese, followed by the chicken. Sprinkle on a few red pepper flakes if you like a little more heat!
  9. Close the sandwich with its “partner” slice.
  10. Bake 4 minutes at 350 degrees, then flip and bake 4 minutes more.
  11. Allow to cool slightly, then slice on the diagonal.
  12. Serve with a side salad (like my Southwestern Quinoa Salad) and a fried egg!












Smokey Grilled Cheeze Panini featuring “SPREAD”: “Cheeze that’s to LIVE for!”


Welcome to the first post of my new blog theme! Ben and I have been working on coming up with a new design for Claire Tastes for a while now, and we finally found this one! We wanted something that would showcase the pictures (I mean, that’s all that ya’ll look at anyway, isn’t it?) and otherwise be pretty minimalist. Keepin’ it classy. I can’t wait to see how this one evolves over time! Still working on a header logo, but I am told that I can’t do it all. Or at least not all at one time. 🙂

Anyway, this weekend was my White Coat Ceremony (more on that in a later post) and so my parents were down visiting from CT. Eager to do all the Durham-y things, we noshed at Nosh (see what I did there?), went to the Durham Farmers’ Market, went biking on the ATC (ok that was just me), took Samoa for a walk, and enjoyed a fun dinner at the Mediterranean Deli in Chapel Hill. Oh, I guess that last part isn’t Durham-y. But it is still amazing and you need to go.

At the Farmers’ Market (which my dad, who knows farmers’ markets, said was the “best one he’d ever been to”), I just had to introduce them to my “cheese friend Justin,” the long-haired, bearded man who stands just on the outskirts of the market near the fresh-squeezed lemonade stand. Justin and I bond almost every week as I bike down to the market, and every week I take his samples and have the (very legitimate) excuse that I “can’t actually buy anything today because I don’t have a way to get it back.” Well, this time, I told Justin, I will definitely be buying some “cheese” because my parents brought a car! Justin and his wife work at SPREAD, a Gourmet Plant Based “Cheeze” that is vegan, soy-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free. If you’re wondering what’s left to make anything good out of, there are always almonds! And that’s exactly what you’ll find here- its main ingredient is almonds! Low in saturated fat and rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, SPREAD is freshly made in Downtown Durham and sold at Whole Foods as well as the Durham Farmers’ Market. You can like their Facebook page here.



I’m no vegan, and I don’t have an issue with gluten or soy products (or dairy, for that matter), Since I am a lover of all things almonds, I was instantly hooked. They sell a cheddar variety, smokey variety, and jalapeño variety. All are equally good (and yes, I know this because I sample them every week. Don’t judge me.) They taste almost like hummus, but a little more dense and well, cheesy. Justin has told me that they make a great sauce for mac and cheese, a theory which I definitely will be testing out. So far I’ve been sticking to using SPREAD (I bought a container of the smokey kind) on sandwiches and crackers. Uh-mazing! It gives a great little kick to a sandwich and works in place of hummus AND cheese. Since today was a rainy, dreary day here in Durham, I decided to make some grilled “cheeze” on Ezekiel bread (which I have also gotten into lately and LOVE). I added a bit of red pepper flakes and basil on top of the spread, topped with spinach, red onion, and tomato, and pressed it in the Geroge Foreman for about 6 minutes at 350 degrees. Served next to a mug of lentil soup with a dollop of greek yogurt on top, and some juicy red cherries!

The perfect cozy-day lunch! Happy Monday!



Smokey Grilled Cheeze Panini with Gourmet Plant-Based “SPREAD”
Recipe Type: Panini
Cuisine: Lunch
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1
The perfect lunch for a dreary Monday afternoon! I used SPREAD, a Gourmet Plant Based Cheeze made of almonds, and spread it on the bottom slice of this panini to give it an extra smokey kick!
  • 2 slices Ezekiel bread
  • 2 tbsp SPREAD Gourmet Plant-Based Cheeze (I used the “smokey” variety)
  • Sprinkling of red pepper flakes
  • Sprinkling of basil
  • Fresh spinach
  • 2 slices tomato
  • A few slices of red onion
  • S&P
  • Cilantro, to garnish
  1. Preheat George Foreman or panini press to 350.
  2. Spread the Cheeze SPREAD on the bottom slice of bread.
  3. Sprinkle red pepper flakes and basil.
  4. Layer spinach, tomato, and red onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Top with other slice of bread.
  6. Press in George Foreman for 6 minutes, until cheese is melted and onions are soft.
  7. Serve on the side of a mug of lentil soup, with a dollop of greek yogurt and fresh cherries! Garnish with cilantro, if desired.


Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Burgers with Pineapple Salsa

Happy weekend! Ben and I were finally fortunate enough to have a B-E-A-utiful day to get our grill up and running! If you remember, we got money for a new grill from Ben’s parents for Christmas this year. Every time we tried to go get it, though, we either didn’t have the right car, or it was monsooning (or snowing!) outside. But thanks to my incredible husband, it is now fully assembled! After one of the most stressful days in a while in terms of house-projects and life events (more on that later), we sat down to a romantic candlelight dinner outside on our patio.

The menu for tonight? Grilled chicken teriyaki burgers with pineapple salsa. YUM. Adapted from this Iowa Girl Eats recipe, we decided to test out our newest toy with some fresh chicken and pineapple (thank you, Harris Teeter!). And let me tell you, this meal did NOT disappoint. The chicken was tender and juicy, and if you’re like me and love anything teriyaki-flavored, the orange juice was a really nice addition to give the meat a little extra tang.

As far as the salsa, I chose to do a pineapple salsa with a few peaches thrown in (instead of the watermelon-cucumber salsa in the original recipe). It seemed like a perfect addition to the teriyaki, and I knew how much Ben likes pineapple on his burgers. The colors were magnificent and reminded me of how lucky we are to have access to so much fresh, seasonal produce! And for the warm summer weather 🙂

I hope you enjoy your own variations on this perfect Memorial Day supper!



Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Burgers with Pineapple Salsa
Recipe Type: Chicken, BBQ, Teriyaki, Grilling
Cuisine: BBQ, Chicken
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8
Dust off that grill and try this perfect Memorial Day meal! Fresh and filling, this recipe for teriyaki chicken burgers is sure to get your patriotic juices going 🙂
  • For the Teriyaki Marinade:
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • For the Pineapple Salsa:
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1 squirt lime juice
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, rinsed and minced (about 3 tbsp total)
  • 1/4 cup chopped peaches (I just used some frozen ones)
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 lbs chicken breasts (about six large breasts) pounded to an even thickness
  • 2 large hamburger buns
  • 1 cup cooked pearl barley (I made mine in the rice cooker- it only took about 15 minutes vs. the 1 1/2 hours the package suggests!)
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  1. Mix together all ingredients for marinade in a large tupperware container. Wedge the chicken breasts into container and marinate in refrigerator for two to three hours.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare salsa by chopping up pineapple, onion, cilantro, peaches, and green onion. Mix together in a bowl and add the lime juice and salt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Prepare barley according to container directions.
  4. Preheat grill to medium heat.
  5. Grill chicken breasts on medium, 5 minutes per side or until no longer pink in the center. Remove from grill and keep warm in tin foil.
  6. Steam or grill broccoli.
  7. When you’re just about ready to eat, place halved buns on top of grill rack and grill 1-2 minutes until lightly toasted.
  8. Serve chicken on buns or over barley with a nice big spoonful of pineapple salsa on top!
Serving size: 1 burger (with 1 large bun) Calories: 450 cal Fat: 9 g Carbohydrates: 51 g Fiber: 5 g Protein: 43 g


Prepare the marinade.


Wedge in the chicken breasts and marinate 2-3 hours in the fridge. It helped me a bit to also slice a few slits in the breasts so that the marinade could really seep into the meat (as Iowa Girl suggested!)


Prepare barley in rice cooker!


Get your pineapple salsa ingredients ready…


I probably could have eaten this entire bowl.


It was just so pretty that I had to take about a gazillion pictures. I mean, really? Those COLORS!


Barley’s all done!


Light up that grill!

Wait a minute… whose hairy hands are those?!?


Ohhh that’s right… that handsome husband of mine! (Slash why is he always wearing that shirt when I take pictures of him for the blog?) 😛


We were so excited to try out our new grill! Ben’s territory, I’m told.


Yummmmmm… juicy and tender and smelling like teriyaki!


Top with pineapple salsa and serve on a bun with broc on the side 🙂


Or over barley! I loved how the juice from the salsa seeped down deeply into the barley and gave it an extra tang!

Happy Memorial Day, everyone! Thank you to all who serve our nation with pride! We are so thankful. 🙂