2017-08-30 / Entertainment

Think Outside the Lunchbox


Eating the same thing every day can make lunch seem so

“blah.” Now’s the perfect time to break out of the lunch rut and add some excitement to your meals.

Thinking outside the traditional lunchbox is easy with the right ingredients. Perk up your noontime noshing with fresh, seasonal ingredients coupled with kitchen pantry classics, like California Ripe Olives, which add a unique flavor and bold, distinctive color to any dish.

California farmers grow more than 95 percent of the ripe olives consumed in the United States. From planting, pruning, harvesting and processing, they make sure that the highest quality olives come from their farms to your table – one can at a time.

Adding olives to any lunch can help bring California sunshine to each and every bite. Try some of these portable and packable recipes to add excitement to lunch on-the-go and find more at calolive.org.

Greek Salad in Jars

Courtesy of Simply Recipes
Makes: 4 salads
Salad Dressing:
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste (optional)
pinch of black pepper, plus additional, to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon honey
5 tablespoons olive oil
4 pint-size canning jars with lids
1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 large English cucumber, sliced
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch
3/4 cup California black ripe olives
1/2 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
4 small handfuls fresh baby spinach or other dark,
leafy greens
4 pita bread rounds, halved (optional)
To prepare dressing: In small bowl, whisk together vinegar,
salt, pepper, oregano and honey.
Gradually whisk in oil. Taste. Add additional salt and
pepper, if desired.
Divide dressing between four pint jars.
To assemble salads: Divide onion between four jars.
Divide tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, olives and feta
cheese between jars. Pack remaining space with spinach,
compressing leaves slightly.
Secure lids and refrigerate up to two days.
To serve: Empty salads into bowls and toss with dressing.
Serve with pita bread.
Note: Store and transport salads upright so dressing stays
on bottom.

Smoked California Ripe Olives can
produce a crave-worthy culinary surprise
and become one of your favorite flavor
discoveries. There are a few easy ways
to make your own smoked olives,
including preparing them on the grill
with these quick steps:


Soak wood chips in water for 30
minutes. Drain well.Pierce a foil pan several times with a
small, sharp knife and spread wood
chips in a single layer in the pan. Set
directly on hot coals or metal bars on
a gas grill. Close the lid and set heat
to high only under the pan of chips.When chips are smoking, place
drained California Ripe Olives in a
grill basket on grill with the burners
off. Close the lid and smoke for
30 minutes.


Maple Olive Cheesecake Bites

Makes: 16-20 mini cheesecakes
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup graham cracker
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar, divided
6 ounces cream cheese, room
3 tablespoons pure maple

2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1/4 cup coarsely chopped
California Ripe Olives
Heat oven to 325 F and coat 16-20-cup mini
muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
In small bowl, stir together graham
cracker crumbs, butter and 1 tablespoon
sugar. Place equal amounts into each mini
muffin cup then press firmly into bottom
of each cup. Working with one cup at a
time, press small piece of plastic wrap onto

surface and press crust firmly into mini
muffin cups.
In large bowl of electric mixer, beat
cream cheese, maple syrup and
remaining sugar until smooth; beat in flour
and vanilla on low speed. Add egg and
beat until just combined; stir in olives.
Spoon equal amounts into each cup.
Bake 20-25 minutes, or until filling
feels set.
Let cool completely then run small,
thin knife around edge of each to remove
from pan.

Black and White Pizza

Makes: 1 pizza
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive
oil, plus additional for
pizza crust
1 cup onion, quartered and
thinly sliced
2 tablespoons roasted garlic,
4 ounces small baby bella
mushrooms, chopped flour
1 package prepared pizza
1 cup prepared Alfredo sauce
1 cup smoked mozzarella
cheese, shredded
4 ounces fresh mozzarella
cheese, torn into 1/2-inch
1 small boneless, skinless
chicken breast, cooked and
thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary,

1 can (6 ounces) extra-large
California Black Ripe
Olives, drained and cut in
freshly grated Parmigiano-
Heat oven to 450 F and line large
baking sheet with parchment paper.
In large skillet over medium heat,
heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add onion, garlic
and mushrooms, and cook, stirring
frequently, 10 minutes, or until onions
are soft. Reserve.
Roll pizza dough into thin oval on
lightly floured surface. Transfer to
prepared baking sheet and brush lightly
with olive oil then spread evenly with
Alfredo sauce.
Top with mushroom mixture,
cheeses, chicken and rosemary.
Sprinkle olives over pizza.
Bake 10-15 minutes, or until
cheese is melted and lightly browned
around edges.
Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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