Mary’s Memo – June 27th


The 2016 Consumer Action Handbook from has a wealth of information about purchases, problems and complaints you might have with hundreds of companies, trade association, national consumer organizations and more. It is also available in Spanish. To order a free copy, contact and ask for publication 5131.


Sugar snap peas and snow peas are available at the Chief. Daughter Mary Ann shared a way she used shucking peas, and I improvised using frozen peas. To make, cut each of 4 cremini mushrooms into 4 slices. Sauté in butter until cooked and juice has evaporated. Cover with sherry (not cooking sherry). Add ½ cup of frozen peas and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve as soon as peas are thawed and hot. Recipe makes I serving.

I love beet tops as well as the beets, but they’re not available this way in produce department. Instead, my options are whole beets minus tops or canned beets. Work beets into your menu plans. My cookbook includes my mother’s recipe for Harvard beets made with either fresh or canned beets.


1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water or canned beet juice
2 tablespoons butter
3 cups sliced, cooked beets (fresh or canned)

Mix cornstarch, sugar, salt, vinegar, liquid and butter together and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add sliced beets and heat thoroughly. Recipe makes 5 to 6 servings.
Source: “Thank You, I’m Glad You Liked It” cookbook.


We’ve been fortunate to have what my spouse called a couple “million dollar rains” in June. It certainly made my small “salad garden” come alive! While I anxiously wait for garden tomatoes to harvest, Baked Tomato Casserole is a delicious alternative! Even though the recipe makes 6 to 8 servings, it doesn’t make that many servings for me and reheats beautifully in the microwave. This is also one of the few times that soft white bread crumbs (made in the food processor) are preferred.


1 28-ounce can Our Family diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups soft white bread crumbs
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 teaspoons butter

Combine tomatoes, soft bread crumbs, sugar, vinegar, basil and Tabasco sauce. Spoon into 1½-quart casserole. Dot with butter. Bake in preheated 400ºF oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned. Recipe (for some) makes 6 to 8 servings.
Source: Thank You, I’m Glad You Liked It cookbook.


Chief’s produce department has fresh asparagus, but if you’re fortunate to have you own supply, do try this Purdue recipe for Rhubarb Custard pie. Hopefully, you have an 8-inch glass pie plate to make it.


2 eggs
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup sugar
2 cups finely sliced rhubarb
Unbaked 8-inch pie crust

Beat eggs. Add melted butter. Mix flour and sugar together. Stir in rhubarb. Pour into 8-inch unbaked pie plate lined with pie crust. Bake in 450ºF oven for 10 minutes, then in moderate 350ºF oven for about 30 minutes. Note: I have had these recipes since graduating from Purdue in 1949.
Source: Family Size Recipes from “Home Economics Lunchroom Favorites.”

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Easy Eats – Red, White & Blue Mason Jar Salad

Easy Eats - Red, White & Blue Mason Jar Salad

Ingredients 2 cups lettuce (spring mix) 1 cup strawberries (chopped) 1/2 cup blueberries 1/2 cup feta cheese 4 tbsps poppy seed dressing Directions
  1. To assemble your mason jars, start by pouring in 2 tbsps poppy seed dressing. Top with 1/2 cup strawberries, 1/4 cup feta, 1/4 cup blueberries and finally 1 cup lettuce. Repeat with the second mason jar.
  2. To eat, pour mason jar contents into a bowl and toss if necessary.

Mary’s Memo – June 20th


Use sunscreen daily, reapply often, and cover up when you’re outside during the day to reduce the likelihood of skin-related problems. KEEP YOURSELF HYDRATED!
Sip nonalcoholic liquids throughout the day, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
Source: Consumer Reports on Health, June 2016.


Betty Crocker’s 3rd Place Winner Bisquick Recipe Contest 2010 was Buffalo Chicken Pie. Original recipe called for cooked chicken strips but I used meat from a Chief rotisserie chicken. Also, I replaced regular Bisquick with Heart Smart kind. Never tasted a Betty Crocker impossible pie that I didn’t like!


2 cups cubed rotisserie chicken
½ cup Buffalo Wing Sauce
1 cup Our Family shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup Heart Smart Bisquick mix
½ cup cornmeal
½ cup milk (whatever kind you use)
1 large egg
2/3 cup blue cheese dressing
Preheat oven to 400ºF. In large bowl, toss chicken and Buffalo Wing Sauce until well coated. Stir in cheeses and celery until well coated. Pour into 9-inch pie plate. In medium bowl, mix Bisquick mix, corn meal, milk and egg. Pour over chicken mixture; spread to cover. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Cut into blue cheese dressing.
Source: Adapted from Betty Crocker recipe.


Leanne Stephens, a dietetic intern at Tufts’ Francis tern Nutrition Center, reports: “Although it may seem as if you are not getting enough potassium in your diet, you are probably consuming more than you think.” The Adequate (AI) for potassium suggests that adults need to aim for 4.7 grams of potassium per day in their diet. Data from a recent survey analyzing average potassium intake from food and beverages found that adult men are consuming 3.1 grams per day and adult women are consuming about 2.4 grams each day. The results of this survey are in line with other data suggesting that typical Western diet does not satisfy potassium requirements and may potentially lead to a slight potassium deficiency. “This does not mean that the only solution is to begin taking potassium supplements. In without feeling like you need fact, you should consume a potassium supplement only under the supervision of your physician. The body tightly regulates potassium, which can be just as dangerous as very low levels of potassium. The great news is that with planning, potassium needs can be met through diet without consuming oodles of bananas. While certain fruits and vegetables such as bananas and potatoes are known to be great sources of potassium, other food groups are also packed with this essential nutrient. Meat, legumes, nuts and dairy products contain ample amounts of potassium that can help you reach the AI of 4.7 grams per day. If you are concerned about your current potassium intake, you can meet with a registered dietitian to plan a healthy diet that will meet all of your micronutrient and macronutrient needs.”
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, June 2016.


You already know I like anything Buffalo. Another favorite is anything Reuben flavored. Farm Journal published Snacks cookbook just before Christmas in 1977 and this week’s Reuben Sandwich Filling has been on my “so good” list ever since!


1 12 ounce can corned beef, shredded
8-ounces Our Family shredded Swiss cheese
1 16-ounce glass jar of Silver Floss Sauerkraut, drained and
¾ Cup Our Family Light Mayonnaise
3 tablespoons chili sauce
Rye bread
Combine corned beef, cheese, mayonnaise and chili sauce. Cover and store in the refrigerator. To serve, spread filling between rye bread slices. Butter outside of bread slices. Cook on sandwich grill or in skillet until cheese melts. Recipe makes 5 cups filing.
Source: Farm Journal Snacks cookbook, December 1977.

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Easy Eats – Sirloin Kabobs

Easy Eats - Sirloin Kabobs

Ingredients 1/4 cup soy sauce 3 tbsps light brown sugar 3 tbsps white vinegar 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp seasoning sal 1/2 tsp seasoning (garlic pepper) 4 floz lemon-lime soda 2 lbs sirloin steak (beef, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes) 2 green bell pepper (cut into 2 inch pieces) 1/2 lb fresh mushrooms (stems removed) 1 pt cherry tomatoes 1 fresh pineapple (peeled, cored and cubed) Directions
  1. In a medium bowl, mix soy sauce, light brown sugar, distilled white vinegar, garlic powder, seasoned salt, garlic pepper seasoning, and lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage. Reserve about 1/2 cup of this marinade for basting. Place steak in a large resealable plastic bag. Cover with the remaining marinade, and seal. Refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight.
  2. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add green peppers, and cook for 1 minute, just to blanch. Drain, and set aside.
  3. Preheat grill for high heat. Thread steak, green peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and pineapple onto skewers in an alternating fashion. Discard marinade and the bag.
  4. Lightly oil the grill grate. Cook kabobs on the prepared grill for 10 minutes, or to desired doneness. Baste frequently with reserved marinade during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Adapted from EasyEats_EmailBlock_6.16_Beef

Mary’s Memo – June 13th


Although not a cookbook, it is a timely publication for safe summer outdoor cooking. What’s Your BBQ IQ has all the information you need to insure that your food is cooked to the right temperature to kill germs. Learn more about food safety at For example, you might think that cleaning grates with a wire brush is the way to go but it isn’t because you run the risk of wire residue sticking to the grates and the food you’re cooking. Instead, clean grate with a wet soapy cloth.


Although some grillers cook outside year-round, my outdoor grilling season begins Memorial Day weekend. Several years ago I invested in a grilling basket from Williams Sonoma. They’re also available from Bed Bath & Beyond. With a basket there’s no chance of vegetables falling through the grates.
Too often, you see meats and poultry cooked over a flame but I choose to heat one side of the grill and cook on the opposite side to avoid any flame touching the surface of the meat which can be carcinogenic.


Our children were never curious about cleaning supplies stored in the cabinet under the sink. Just give them a pot or pan to clang with a spoon and they were happy campers. That said, if you have children or grandchildren who are attracted to what’s in that cupboard, you have a responsibility to keep these supplies under lock and key. I mention this because Tide Pods, manufactured in Canada, are a concentrated detergent that includes a stain remover and I’m a pod user. The only time I might have a problem is at Thanksgiving when my great grandson will be here. Critics of the Tide Pods are concerned that they could be deadly to children if eaten but so can a knife or fork cause harm. A word about any of the pods: Don’t attempt to clean a stain yourself; let whatever pod you’re using do it.


Honey has been used for centuries as a natural remedy, for everything from dressing wounds to treating intestinal diseases. Regarding flavor, honey gets its flavor and color from the nectar of different flowers visited by honey bees. The darker the color, the more phytochemicals it contains, but the levels in a teaspoon are minuscule compared to what’s in a serving of fruits and vegetables. Honey actually contains more calories per teaspoon (22) than table sugar (16), but because it tastes sweeter, you may end up using less. The bottom line: Honey may have a few potential medicinal uses. But don’t buy all the hype about its healthfulness. What’s more, remember that it is still a sweetener and all the criticisms and concerns about sugar apply to honey as well. Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, May, 2016.


Labels can say “local” if a food was grown in your state or within 399 miles.
Source: Consumer Reports on Health, June 2016.

Jeanne P. Goldberg, PhD, professor at the Friedman School and Director of the Nutrition Communications Program, notes that the US Food and Drug Administration recommends against washing packaged produce items like mixed salad greens that are pre-washed and ready to eat. According to the FDA, “it is unlikely that consumers washing of such products will make the product cleaner compared to a commercial triple wash.” Moreover, the agency warns, “it is possible that additional handling may contaminate a product that is clean.”
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, June 2016.


The origin of this recipe is the New York Times' web site. Daughter Mary Ann gave a “thumbs up” to Roasted Asparagus Frittata. We’re printing the entire recipe but she made half of it in a 6-inch skillet.


8 to 12 medium to fat asparagus spears, trimmed
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper
4 large eggs
¼ to ½ cup roughly chopped Italian parsley
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 450ºF. Spread asparagus on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast, shaking pan occasionally, until the asparagus is lightly charred and tender, about 12 minutes. Beat the eggs with salt, pepper, half the parsley and half the cheese. Cut the asparagus into 2-inch lengths and arrange in single layer

In a 10-inch nonstick skillet. Drizzle with more olive oil and set over medium heat. Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus. Use a spatula if necessary to make a round frittata. Cook until nearly set, tilting the pan and lifting the edge of the set egg to let the liquid egg flow underneath, about 4 minutes. When top is almost dry, flip frittata onto a plate, then slide it back into the pan. Let cook for just a few seconds, then flip onto a plate. Alternatively, use an ovenproof pan and put it in the oven or under the broiler for a few minutes. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and cheese. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Recipe makes 2 servings.
Source: Adapted from New York Times website recipe.

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Easy Eats – Lemon Butter Chicken

Easy Eats - Lemon Butter Chicken

Ingredients 2 chicken breasts (pounded slightly flat) 1 tsp kosher salt 1 tsp black pepper 1 tbsp olive oil 2 lemon 4 tbsps butter (room temperature) 1 lemon (sliced, for garnish) Directions 1. Season the chicken liberally with salt, pepper, and olive oil. 2. Meanwhile, get a heavy skillet warm on medium heat and then sear the chicken on both sides until golden brown and cooked throughout. Then, remove the chicken breasts from the pan and let them sit for a moment on a plate. 3. Add the lemon juice and butter to the skillet and cook for a few moments on medium heat until the sauce thickens. Then, add the sliced lemon and chicken breasts to the pan. 4. Using a spoon, baste the chicken with the sauce until the chicken is coated with the sauce. Serve warm. Adapted from EasyEats_EmailBlock_6.9_poultry

Mary’s Memo – June 6th


Trading food is a practice as old as agriculture itself, and now this tradition has been reborn with a modern twist. Welcome to Food Swap, an event where home cooks, bakers, canners, gardeners and foragers get together to trade their homemade and homegrown food items - no money is allowed to change hands. From Emily Pastor, co-founder of the Chicago Food Swap, comes the book Food Swap; a perfect how-to guide for doing just that. With 80 artisanal recipes that are perfect for trading, readers will be fully prepared for their first swap. It’s filled with practical advice on topics like the ideal number of participants, the importance of following local regulations, getting the word out, finding a location and basic guidelines to ensure success. (Storey Publishing, May 2016, Paperback w/flaps, $19.95).

Compound Butter is butter that has been combined with flavorings such as herbs, spices and even sweeteners. These flavored butters are served in restaurants as an accompaniment to the bread basket. Beyond their use as a spread, compound butters are often used to flavor meats, seafood and steamed vegetables or added to sauces. To make, combine the unsalted butter and flavorings in the bowl of a standard mixer and mix on medium speed for several minutes until thoroughly combined. One combination is as follows:

Honey cinnamon
3 tablespoons honey
3 teaspoons cinnamon
Shallot and tarragon
¼ cup minced shallot
1 tablespoon minced tarragon
Bleu cheese and walnut
4 ounces softened bleu cheese
¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
¼ cup mixed herbs such as parsley, thyme and basil
Source: Food Swap: The Next Step in the DIY Kitchen Revolution by Emily Paster.


In a recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association, 245 overweight or obese women (ages 22 to 72) were enrolled in a structured weight-loss program and assigned to one of three diets: lower fat/higher-carb; higher-fat/lower-carb; or walnut-rich higher fat/lower-carb; or walnut-rich higher-fat/lower-carb. The walnut group had the most favorable changes in blood cholesterol, including a small rise in HDL (good) cholesterol. Walnuts are the only nut supplying a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid, a potentially heart-healthy omega-3 fat.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, June 2016.


Kale has become synonymous with health so it’s no surprise that the produce aisle is packed with salad blends that boasts their kale content. But they may not be the best option if your goal is to work more into your diet. Although they all contain plenty of healthful greens, Consumer Reports on Health said bags didn’t contain much kale. Instead, to get kale’s benefits buy a bunch or package of kale alone and make your own salad blend.
Source: Consumer Reports on Health, June 2016.


Just so you know, Pace Picante Sauce is to use as a dip while Pace Salsa is a flavor booster for most recipes. Pace is also a favorite brand. Over the years, my taster tolerates medium strength.


My mini-salad garden includes asparagus and I have a bumper crop this year, picking it daily! One way it is used is in Asparagus Cheese Pie made with only four ingredients, asparagus, shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, light mayonnaise and fresh lemon juice. It also reheats nicely in the microwave on medium low heat.


3 cups asparagus but into small pieces
2 cups Our Family shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup Our Family light mayonnaise
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust
In mixing bowl combine asparagus, cheese, light mayonnaise and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly. Spread mixture evenly in prepared pie crust. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven for 45 minutes to 50 minutes (mine took 50 minutes). Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm. Recipe makes 6 servings.

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Easy Eats – Green Bean Gremolata

Easy Eats - Green Bean Gremolata

Ingredients 1 pound French green beans, trimmed 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves) 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons) 3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts 2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper Directions Watch how to make this recipe. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the green beans and blanch them for 2 to 3 minutes, until tender but still crisp. Drain the beans in a colander and immediately put them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and preserve their bright green color. For the gremolata, toss the garlic, lemon zest, parsley, parmesan, and pine nuts in a small bowl and set aside. When ready to serve, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Drain the beans and pat them dry. Add the beans to the pan and saute, turning frequently, for 2 minutes, until coated with olive oil and heated through. Off the heat, add the gremolata and toss well. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and serve hot. Adapted from Barefoot Contessa. EasyEats_EmailBlock_6.2_vegatable

Mary’s Memo – May 30th


As you already know my slow cookers, are a favorite appliance. Not a week goes by that one of them isn’t used, either for myself or to test a recipe for Mary’s Memo. That said, I could not resist buying Fix-It and Forget-It Slow Cooker Recipes by Phyllis Good (Good Books, 2016, loose leaf bound/$24.99). Cookbook features 450 of her very best recipes from contributors. Contents include ways to cook meats, pasta, grains and vegetarian, soups, stews and chilies, vegetables and side dishes, breads, breakfasts and brunches, sweets and desserts, appetizers, snacks, spreads and beverages and every day from-scratch basics. In addition, Good shares hints for cooking with a slow cooker and information you won’t find in the manual. Phyllis Good is a New York Times bestselling author whose books have sold more than 12 million copies. Her commitment is to make it possible for everyone to cook who would like to, even if they have too little time or too little confidence. Good holds an MA in English from New York University, has authored many other cookbooks. Among them are Fix-It and Enjoy Healthy Cookbook (with nutritional expertise from Mayo Clinic). The Best of Amish Cooking and The Lancaster Central Market Cookbook. Leaping from the page was Fruit Medley, a recipe that can be made year round.


• 1 1/2 pounds mixed dry fruits
• 2 1/2 cups water
• 1cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon honey
• Peel of half lemon, cut into thin strips
• 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch
• 1/4 cup cold water
• 1/4 cup Cointreau
Grease interior of slow cooker crock. Pour in water. Stir in sugar, honey, lemon peel, nutmeg and cinnamon. Cover and cook on Low 2-3 hours. Turn cooker to High. In small bowl, mix cornstarch into water until smooth. Stir into fruit mixture. Cook on High 10 minutes, or until thickened. Recipe makes 6 to 8 servings. Source: Fix-It and Forget-It by Phyllis Good.


The Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University celebrated 110 years of foods and nutrition being part of the curriculum on May 6. For this occasion 110 “Diamonds” were honored including yours truly (Class of 1949). Needless to say, I’m blessed to have lived long enough to attend every event culminating with a banquet at the Purdue Memorial Union. One of the afternoon highlights was Snacks with Jan Buckles, Purdue Nutrition Science Alumni Society ( Jan proves that snacks can be healthy as well as flavorful! Trust me, the salmon spread is awesome!!!!


• 8-ounces cream cheese
• Juice from 1 lemon
• 2/3-ounce baby dill, chopped
• 1 jalapeno, minced
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1/2 pound (about 1 cup) hot smoked salmon (salmon should be cold. Hot smoked refers to cooking process)
• 1/4 cup cooked bacon ends and pieces
In bowl of standard mixer, cream together cream cheese and lemon juice on high speed for several minutes until well combined and fluffy. Scrape sides, then add dill, jalapeno and garlic and blend until well mixed. Add in salmon chunks and bacon and mix just until combined. The more you mix, the less salmon chunks you’ll have. Serve with crackers or crostini for an appetizer or spread on a bagel for breakfast. Makes 2 to 3 cups.


• 2 ounces cream cheese
• 1 teaspoon milk
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
• 20 dried apricots
• 1 teaspoon mild tasting honey
Mix cream cheese, milk and basil together with a fork until well combined and spreadable. Spread 1/2 teaspoon cheese mixture on each apricot and top with an almond. Drizzle with honey before serving. Make one day ahead.


• 1 cup caramel bits
• 2 tablespoons heavy cream
• Handful of seedless green grapes
• 1 cup salted peanuts, crushed
• Toothpicks
In small pot over medium-low heat, combine the caramel bits and cream. Stir until melted. Reduce heat to lowest setting just to warm. Place the peanuts in a shallow dish and dip the grapes into caramel sauce and then roll in chopped nuts. Place on a plate to set. Repeat until all the grapes are used.


• 2 cups whole wheat flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• Salt
• 1/2 cup applesauce
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup milk of choice
• 1 banana, mashed
• 1/4 cup honey
• 1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 large zucchini)
Preheat oven to 3500F. In large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In a separate medium-size bowl, whisk together apple sauce, oil, milk, banana and honey. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir to combine. Fold in zucchini. Pour mixture into lightly greased muffin cups and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tops have browned.

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Easy Eats – Pimento Burger

Pimento Cheeseburgers

Source: Annie's Eats
  • For the pimento cheese topping
    • 4-oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
    • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (light is fine)
    • 1 tablespoon diced pimentos
    • 1 tablespoon grated onion
    • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    • salt & pepper, to taste
  • For the burgers
    • lbs. ground sirloin
    • 3 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
    • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • teaspoons salt
    • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • 1-2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • To serve
    • burger buns
    • lettuce
Method Heat a grill to medium-high. To make the pimento cheese, combine the cheese, mayonnaise, pimentos, onion, and Worcestershire in a bowl; stir until completely combined. Set aside. To make the burger patties, combine the ground beef, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce in a large bowl. Gently knead together, being careful not to overwork. Form into four equal patties, indenting slightly in the center. Grill the burgers, turning once, until done to your liking. A couple of minutes before the burgers are finished cooking, add 2 tablespoons of the pimento cheese mixture and finish cooking so that the cheese melts on top. Remove from the grill and let rest about 5 minutes. Serve on toasted burger buns and top with lettuce and tomato. Enjoy!   EasyEats_EmailBlock_5.26 Pimento Burger