I like bread and butter; I like toast and jam”

Turn up your speakers really loud, click on those lyrics, and you’ll be in the mood for this blog.  And be sure to check out “Andy’s Corner” a new page where Andy has free rein (reign??).  And does a NYTimes opinion piece espousing the evilness of expanses of lawns tie into BigLittleMeals?  Of course it does. 🙂  Find it in “Food for Thought.”  Finally, here’s a Father’s Day toast to all of our dads!

Did your mom – or dad – ever make you chipped beef on toast?  Or perhaps  you remember it by the very graphic army mess hall term.  Or maybe as a child you had creamed tuna on toast?  My mom fixed both, and I haven’t tried to replicate either recipe! 🙂  But we’ve found that toast can easily become the basis for the perfect quick little lunch or dinner.  Toast for breakfast goes without saying.

Stay with me while I describe the other night around here.  We really aren’t big sports fans.  Really we aren’t.  But when a team we’re vaguely familiar with, usually because of a dynamic player on a team that’s near us – think John Elway and the Broncos; or Shaquille O’Neill when he was at LSU, or now Stephen Curry and the Warriors – gets to the playoffs, we often get interested.  SO, to make a long story short, we needed a quick, portable dinner, so we could watch the Warriors/Cavaliers Round 2 Playoff game the other night.  I didn’t have anything frozen, but I did have a partial loaf of Della Fattoria Pumpkin Seed Bread, a favorite out of Petaluma, CA,  and some Oscar Wilde Irish Cheddar Cheese.  And 10 minutes later we were eating our open-faced cheese sandwiches and cheering for Curry.   And for Klay Thompson.  And we were happy and full.  And the Warriors won.  And WON.

The key here is to find an artisan, rustic-style, unsliced, loaf of bread – we tend to always go for seeded breads – and have it on hand – either in the freezer or the breadbox (yes, we have one).  And to have a nice cheddar cheese always in the fridge.  AND, IMHO, to slice the cheese very, very thin.


But toast for dinner doesn’t need to end there.  The British apparently find beans and toast a most satisfying meal.  Though they traditionally just open a can of Heinz Baked Beans, we can easily concoct a U.S. version, which is vastly superior to the taste of the Heinz Baked Beans.  Since Jamie Oliver, the British chef, is sort of the equivalent of a football or basketball star for those of us who are into cooking, I looked at his recipes in creating my baked-beans-on-toast recipe.


In about a month our Early Girl tomatoes (and maybe our Ace, Better Boy, Black Krim, and Celebrity) tomatoes will be ripening, and we’ll be chowing-down on our all-time summer favorite: open-faced Bacon and Home-grown Tomato Sandwiches (on toast).FutureEarlyGirls

And for a last delicious toast suggestion:  be totally au courant and fix yourself avocado and toast.  A lightly mashed avocado, a little salt, a little lemon or lime, maybe a pinch of Dukkah; I just discovered this Turkish seed mix and it’s delish.  Don’t over-toast the bread for this.  You want the center of the bread to be warm but nice and squishy soft.

Toast with Avocado and Dukah

Open Face Toasted Cheese Sandwich


  • artisan style bread – sliced into 3/4″ slices
  • good quality cheddar cheese (we like Oscar Wilde Irish Cheddar), sliced very thinly; we like the bread (and butter!) to be the star here – more than the cheese.
  • butter

Toast the bread slices either in a toaster or in the oven, under the broiler, then butter generously.

Place the thin slices of cheese on top of the toasted bread and put under the broiler until melted, being careful not to burn the toast.

Recipe brought to you by Andy and Ann and Big Little Meals

Baked Beans on Toast

  • Servings: 4
  • Print


  • 1 14.5 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 14.5 oz cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (omit for vegetarian)
  • 1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp minced rosemary
  • grated cheddar cheese (optional)
  • good quality artisan bread, sliced about 1/2″ thick and toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Carefully mix  all of the ingredients together in an 8″x8″ glass oven proof dish.  Bake for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and spoon over toast.  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese, if desired.

Freeze whatever is leftover for another day or use the leftovers for breakfast: some toast, topped with re-warmed beans, then a poached or fried egg on top – and maybe, if you’re wild and crazy, a dash of Sriracha on top. Recipe brought to you by Andy and Ann and Big Little Meals

Dukkah for Seasoning


  • 1/2 c nuts of choice (cashews, almonds, and/or hazelnuts; if you can find nuts already roasted, use them and then you can eliminate the roasting step.  But do cut back on the salt, if they’ve been salted)
  • 1/4 c roasted, shelled pistachios (omit, if you can’t find them/don’t want to afford them)
  • 1/4 c sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 c pine nuts (optional – very pricey!)
  • 1/4 c toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Heat a skillet to medium (no oil), then add the nuts of choice.  Stir and mix constantly until they begin to slightly brown, about 5 minutes.  Remove to a bowl.  Add the pistachios, sunflower seeds, and pine nuts to the skillet;  stir and mix them also until they begin to slightly brown, about 2-3 minutes.  Be careful to not let them burn.  Remove the skillet from the heat and let the pistachio mixture cool.

Add the nut mixture, pistachios, sunflower seeds and pine nuts to a food processor, along with the sesame seeds, coriander, cumin, salt, and pepper.  Grind the mixture until it’s just slight chunky and not quite ground; you don’t want nut butter and you do want a little crunch!  Place in a lidded container and store in the fridge for several weeks.  Or freeze.  

Sprinkle the dukkah over your avocado toast.  Or on top of eggs.  Or on vegetables.  Or in your salad dressing.  Or season your lamb or chicken or fish with it before cooking.  Or do as the Egyptians do and dip bread into olive oil and then into the dukkah – and savor it.

Recipe brought to you by Andy and Ann and Big Little Meals.


  1. Beth Records says:

    Yummy. Love avocado toast. Usually put a little olive oil s an p on top. It is a family tradition to have creamed chippped beef on toast and scrambled eggs on Christmas morning.



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