Build a Perfect Sandwich

Build a Perfect Sandwich


A soggy sandwich will surely put a damper on anyone’s day…

You slapped together a sandwich in the wee hours of the morning, and when it finally came time to devour your masterpiece for lunch, those juicy tomatoes turned that once fluffy bread into a wet, mushy mess. And the sharp cheddar cheese became nothing less than waterlogged.


Alas, it is possible to avoid this sort of lunchtime tragedy in the future.

All you need to do is layer it right.


1. Start with the bread.

Hearty fillings require hearty slices of bread. Ciabatta, focaccia and whole grain breads are best. Flimsy slices of white bread don’t stand a chance against a killer smoked turkey situation with major veggie action and condiment heaven. Leave thin slices of bread for simple PB&J’s please.


2. Now think fat-based spreads.

It’s time to lather one side of both slices of your bread with mayo, butter, nut butter and/or pesto. This layer will act as a buffer between filling juiciness and that defenseless bread.


3. Next up, cheese.

Cheddar, Swiss, Havarti, mozzarella, feta, provolone, muenster, (we can go on). Cheese and bread are best of friends. Cheese and juicy fillings… not so much.


4. And now for the protein.

Whether you prefer turkey, ham, chicken, roast beef, salmon, tuna or tofu, your protein will help keep all of the lovely produce juices in the middle of your sandwich and prevent those juices from mingling with the bread.


5. It’s time for wet spreads.

Mustard, ranch, BBQ sauce and/or jam go best right on top of your protein. The flavors will be evenly dispersed and your sandwich will stay nice and edible.


6. Tomatoes, it’s your turn.

That’s right, those juicy veggies and fruits (think tomatoes, cucumbers, peaches, berries) do deserve a place in your sandwich, and this is where they belong–far away from the bread and cheese.


7. Last but not least, dry veggies and fruit.

Top your sandwich off with greens, bell peppers, sprouts, avocado, apple slices, banana and/or crisp pear. These veg and fruits will act as a buffer between the more water-packed produce and the bread. Of course, use your best judgement. Some pears are juicy and some cukes are on the dry side. (You get the point.)


Finally place the other slice of bread on top (dry side out) and you can say goodbye to soggy sandwiches forever.



8 Apple Cooking Tips and Tricks



Fall is upon us. And that means one thing: pie. Lots. Of. Apple. Pie.


Check out the dos and don’ts on how to approach apple season:


1. Firm, sturdy apples are best used for baking. Apples like Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Honeycrisp maintain their shape and texture while in the oven, perfect for pies, muffins, and tarts.


2. Soft, easily broken down apples—like Fuji and Gala—are best used for cooking. These quickly smooth out in texture, an ideal outcome for butters, sauces, and soups.


3. Bruised and unusable? I don’t think so. Make the most of your batch by cutting up and cooking the mealy, but still delicious apples—a sure-fire approach to smart, economical cooking.


4. Mix it up. For a complex taste explosion, use an assortment of tart and sweet apples in your recipes.


5. Fridge me! Apples are best stored in cold temperatures and away from their enemies—ethylene-sensitive fruits and veggies that are prone to spoiling, such as asparagus, blackberries, carrots, strawberries, and spinach.


6. Get the most out of our little, red friend by using a vegetable peeler instead of a paring knife. On top of being fast and efficient, it spares large chunks of apple from being taken off. And in the words of Grandma, “Remember to pull towards, not away!”


7. Keep the peels! Apple peels can be used in smoothies, oatmeal, tea, and jelly. Toss them in the freezer and have them on-hand for later.


8. Sliced, STILL FRESH apples in your sack lunch? Yes, it’s possible. Slice the apple and bind it back together using a rubber band.




Foods That Pack Well

Foods-That-Pack-Well_April-2015Most everyone has been caught off guard by a sudden snack attack before.

Think violently growling stomach midmeeting.

Lightheadedness during the overly competitive annual neighborhood badminton match.

Floating cream-filled doughnuts suddenly appearing above your math teacher’s head.

Or maybe you just got a little hungry and simply needed something to munch on.

Keep a handful of these snacks on hand, and you can say adios to hangry outbursts forever. (Plus these durable snacks won’t get completely obliterated at the bottom of your bag.)


These protein-packed gems will keep you going for a couple hours, or at least until you can get your hands on some post-mega-hike deep dish pizza. Enjoy your favorite, or take along a mix.

Granola Bars:

No, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg stocking up your pantry with these convenient treats. Throw together a homemade batch and you’ll be set for a couple weeks.

Dried Fruit:

Sweet and almost like dessert, dried fruit will satisfy your sugary cravings and prevent you from diving face-first into that tempting tupperwareful of cupcakes your coworker just brought in. We like apricots, mangoes, cherries and figs!


Standard low-fat mozzarella sticks are always a good choice. But get your hands on some cheddar cheese sticks if you can and your taste buds will thank you. So much more flavor!

Trail Mix:

Combine some nuts and dried fruit and you’ve got yourself a power snack! Chocolate is always a must. (Just try to get some nuts and fruit in there too.)

Fig Bars:

Aka healthy cookies. Oh yeah, you can get away with savoring a couple of these at a time. Bonus! You can make some at home.

Whole Apples:

Because browning slices are not the most appetizing. To avoid annoying everyone and their mom with your munching and crunching, slice it up right before enjoying. Or just practice your ninja-quiet eating skills.


No need to wash this juicy fruit. Simply peel and enjoy. P.S. Your hands will smell amazing.

Cherry Tomatoes:

Is it a fruit or a vegetable? Who cares because cherry tomatoes are perfect for snacking. Whip out your cheese stick and you’ve got a snack worth bragging about.

Baby Carrots: 

They’re cute. They’re healthy. And how could anyone not love a baby?


Whether you’re on team green or team red, grapes will solve your inner snackage fiend issues. Please refrain from asking a random stranger to fan you with palm leaves while plopping grapes in your mouth.

Snap Peas: 

Your new favorite vegetable. And your new favorite snack. Maybe your new favorite food? (We won’t push it, chocolate does exist after all.)

Whether you’re out camping in the wilderness, stuck in class all day, chained to your desk or just find yourself getting a little hungry between meals, it’s always a good idea to keep some nutritious snacks on hand. And no, potato chip dust doesn’t count.

3-Ingredient Milkshakes

3-Ingredient Milkshakes


Cool down and satisfy your sweet tooth with one of these 3-Ingredient Milkshakes.


We won’t judge if you try them all in one sitting.


Peanut Butter Heaven:

Peanut butter lovers rejoice. This creamy, nutty shake is just for you. There’s protein and calcium involved, so it’s totally acceptable to gulp down both servings and lick the blender clean. (Just be careful of that blade.)


Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate:

WARNING: This shake is not for the faint of heart. Couldn’t pack in more chocolate if you tried. Kids and adults alike will be bouncing off the walls after consuming this indulgent treat.


Very Strawberry:

We know some of you out there are suckers for all things fruity. No this is not a daiquiri, but who needs a cocktail when you can chug (ahem sip) a refreshing strawberry shake?


Just Cookies: 

Comforting and simply tasty, cookies make every aspect of life 100 times better… including shakes. This kid understands.


Life is too short not to whip up a milkshake every once in a while. Don’t forget to share!

Grow, Cook, Eat.


Whether you grow your own produce or visit your local farmers market, the best of summer’s bounty of fruits and vegetables are peaking in August. We’re sharing some recipes to show them off as well as helpful tips! Your family won’t be able to get enough of these 7 summer favorite fruits and veggies.




Have your cucumbers overrun your garden? Cool and refreshing, look for firm, medium-sized cukes with bright colored skins.

Mojito Cucumber

Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad

Pickles | How to Make Refrigerator Garlic Dill Pickles




Sweet sweet corn! We await its arrival each summer and cannot get enough of it. Did you know that as soon as corn is picked, the sugar begins its gradual conversion to starch? Try to buy and eat your corn as soon as possible to enjoy it at its best.

Corn on the Cob (Oven-Baked)

Quinoa with Red Pepper, Charred Corn and Spinach

Corn Chowder




This member of the nightshade family (cherry, plum, heirloom, Roma, beefsteak) is great eaten at any mealtime! It’s the most versatile fruit/veggie and is a mainstay during the summer. Tomatoes can be enjoyed long after the summer harvest. You want to handle this summer delight gently, but look for firmness. Some blemishes are okay.

Tomato Puff Pastry Bites

Fresh Tomato Salsa

Roasted Balsamic Tomato Sauce




Beautiful to look at with their jewel toned skin, eggplants, also known as aubergines or brinjal, are never consumed raw but are a tasty enhancement to many dishes. These delights have a short season. The younger male fruit is the most flavorful and has fewer seeds. Males have an indentation or “navel,” and lighter eggplants also indicate fewer seeds.

Fried Eggplant

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Caponata


Summer Squash


It’s August and you can count on friends and family, who grow zucchini or crookneck (yellow) squash, to appear on your doorstep with them in hand because they have more than they can eat. These tasty veggies are best lightly cooked, eaten raw, or used in baking. Look for smaller squash with brightly colored skins and no spots or bruises for the best taste.

Minted Zucchini Fritters

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Summer Squash Ribbons




What is summer without WATERMELON?! This summertime fruit is an all-time favorite. A must have at every BBQ or picnic, this sweet, juicy fruit is the ultimate summer quencher on a hot day! There are over 50 watermelon varieties in the US so look for symmetrically-shaped, heavy, unbruised, and undented melons.

Watermelon Salad

Watermelon Popsicles

Watermelon Breeze




Pie and peaches go hand-in-hand and it’s definitely a summer delight not to be missed. With over 4,000 peach recipes to choose from and hundreds of peach varieties grown nationwide, the peach possibilities are endless. Remember peaches should have a sweet intense fragrance and give slightly when pressed.

Peach Pie

Peach and Jalapeno Pepper Jam

White Sangria and Summer Fruits



7 Simple & Refreshing Cocktails To Try This Summer



With one of the hottest summers on our hands, what better way to cool down and relax than with a refreshing cocktail. Here’s a list of 7 simple (alcoholic) drinks to help you beat the heat and truly enjoy your summer. Cheers!


1. Watermelon Raspberry Slushies

Now this is summertime in a glass. See the recipe


2. Southern Shandy

Clean and crisp with just a hint of peach brandy. See the recipe


3. White Wine Sangria

Stay cool with this delicious fruit-infused beverage. See the recipe


4. Peach Mint Bourbon Sweet Tea

Sweet with a splash of bourbon. A summertime classic. See the recipe


5. Watermelon Beer

A light and refreshing summer drink. See the recipe


6. Whiskey Slush

Perfect for your summertime parties. See the recipe


7. Bootleg Cocktail

Fresh and citrusy, with a slight kick! See the recipe

Next-Level S’mores

S’mores are easily the best part of camping. Gooey marshmallows cushioned between slightly melted chocolate, oozing out of graham crackers – what’s not to love? Get creative with these five twists on the tried-and-true.

Create Your Own S’mores Bar

Ready to take things to the next level? Host a “S’mores Bar” at your next campfire by adding some of these ingredients to your repertoire.

The Outside: Graham crackers aren’t the only way to sandwich your s’more. Try cookies like snickerdoodles, chocolate chip or Oreos. Pack thin-sliced brownies or magic bars for yummy open-faced s’mores.

The Sauces: Amp up the flavor by spreading hot fudge, butterscotch, nutella, pumpkin butter, salted caramel, raspberry jam or even lemon curd on the graham crackers.

Fancy Up Your Chocolate: Hershey’s isn’t the only choice here. Try caramel or raspberry Ghirardelli squares, Peppermint Patties, Rolos, Reese’s or your dark chocolate bar of choice.

Add Some Fruit: Strawberries and bananas are the obvious choices here. For an unexpected boost of smokiness, add grilled peaches or pineapple.

Flavor Your ‘Mallows: With a bit of advanced planning, you can make delicious homemade marshmallows to put in your s’mores. We like these Peppermint Marshmallows, these Vanilla Marshmallows and this recipe for Chai or Coffee Marshmallows.

It might sound a bit crazy…These ideas are for the more adventurous. For a sweet and spicy combo, try sprinkling chili or chipotle powder on the chocolate before adding to your s’more. Add pretzels, candied bacon, chopped peanuts or cashews for a salty twist.

Feeling inspired? See more Camping Recipes.


Improved Profile Page – A Great Way To Share Your Favorites with Friends & Family

Ever have a friend ask you for a recipe? BigOven makes it simple to organize and share your favorite creations.

Every time you add, favorite (heart) or mark “try” (by clicking the paperclip) a recipe on either the free BigOven apps or on, the recipe is placed onto your personal profile page.

Where’s your profile page?  It can be found by signing into and choosing “My Profile” from the dropdown list (see image below.)  You'll find "My Profile" on the navigation bar when you're signed in.

You’ll find “My Profile” on the navigation bar when you’re signed in.

Your profile page has the form{username}. For instance, mine can be found at  Other than a few test recipes that I add every now and then in helping to develop the BigOven platform, this page is an accurate reflection of the recipes I want to try, or that I know and love. I can look up my favorite ways to prepare mussels when they are fresh in the store.  I can easily make a Menu Plan for the upcoming week, or build grocery lists, sorted by aisle, from my favorite recipes.  And, when I get asked for a recipe, I can simply share this page with friends.

If you want to find our family’s favorite chicken recipes, simply visit my profile page and search on “chicken” (see callout #1 below). This searches just my recipes for all the chicken dishes. When I’m signed in, I can choose “Edit Profile” (callout #2) to change the header image, update my short blurb, my profile picture or other account settings.

The share icon in the upper left (callout #3) lets me share this page easily via Facebook, Twitter:

Share button on my profile page

Share button on my profile page

We’ve just enhanced the speed of this page, so searches should return fairly quickly.  If you’re a cook and want to share your own family’s cookbook, just share this page!


Introducing Pay with Amazon® for Pro Upgrades

Hi cooks, you can now upgrade to BigOven Pro membership with your Amazon account!

BigOven Pro membership takes home-cooking to eleven. With it, you can add unlimited recipes, enjoy an an ad-free experience, and enjoy special Pro-only features like Recipe Folders, Private Notes, Nutrition Insights and more.

BigOven Pro costs you less than one latte per month, and by planning and eating better, it’ll pay for itself with in the first few weeks. Pro membership also helps us deliver you the best recipe organizer and meal planner. One Pro membership works across all your sign-ins, and all your data syncs automatically. You can try BigOven Pro for free for 30 days.

To upgrade using your Amazon account, simply upgrade to Pro membership on the web, the click “Amazon” on the checkout page. You can then sign in with your Amazon account information and subscribe. Your payment is secured by Amazon; BigOven never sees your payment information, only that a payment has occurred.

Simply visit and click “Try it free for 30 days.”  Then, sign into Amazon right on the billing page to pay:

  1. Click on “Amazon” on the checkout page and sign into Amazon
  2. Choose your address
  3. Verify the card already on file
  4. Click “Pay”
Pay with Amazon(r) now on BigOven

Pay with Amazon(r) now on BigOven

Upgrade to BigOven Pro today!  Click here to give it a try for 30 days free.

Beat the Heat with Flavor-Packed Ice Cubes

Flavored ice cubes bring cooling relief from the heat and pack a delicious punch. Inspired by Rachael Ray Magazine, here are some favorites to add a burst of flavor and fun to your summer.

  • Summer fruit is abundant right now. Try single fruit concoctions or combinations, keeping fruit whole or pureeing into a mix.
  • Change up the temperature. Take hot things like chocolate or coffee, cool them and freeze. They can add sweetness or a jolt of energy to your drinks.
  • Add a splash of flavor. Spice up a cocktail with flavored ice cubes containing olives, pickles, tomato juice or your favorite hot sauce.

The best part about these ice cubes? The variety is endless and is only limited by your imagination. Play around with color and texture and see what results in your kitchen.