GRILLED CHICKEN AND PEAR SANDWICH WITH SPINACH PESTO

Don’t let the fluorescent green put you off–it’s all natural. And delicious! Even my guys, who are a bit wary of food with a “foodie” look, gobbled down these sandwiches. Of course, I don’t think they were aware of the pear in the middle 🙂

SPINACH PESTO:

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used Kraft Reduced Fat Mayo with Olive Oil)

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

3 cups packed baby spinach

SANDWICH:

8 slices sourdough bread (make it a good one, like Panera’s)

1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese

2 cups cooked and shredded chicken breast (deli-roasted chicken works well too)

1 pear, sliced thin

3 tbsp butter, softened

1) PESTO: To food processor, add: olive oil, mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, salt, and pepper; process 30-45 seconds until well combined; add spinach and process 30-45 seconds until well combined

2) SANDWICH: Assemble each sandwich as follows: spread spinach pesto on both sides of bread; layer: cheese, chicken, and pear; top with second piece of bread

3) In large skillet (or grill pan) over medium heat, melt half the butter; place sandwiches in skillet; while bottoms are grilling (3-4 minutes), spread remaining butter on top pieces of bread; turn sandwiches and grill additional 3-4 minutes until cheese melts; serve, serve, serve!

Makes: 4 sandwiches

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 07/04/12–the one that disappeared into a black hole.

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SUN-DRIED TOMATO AND HAM GRILLED BAGEL

This sandwich was a result of another of my “What’s in the fridge?” episodes. The jumping off point was a jar of sun-dried tomatoes and a bunch of baby spinach. And it only got better from there. This recipe serves one, but is easily doubled, quadrupled or whatever-ed is required to feed your bunch.

1 plain bagel, separated

2 tbsp reduced-fat cream cheese

1/2 cup baby spinach

2 tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes (drained)

2 slices deli ham

1 slice medium cheddar cheese

1-1/2 tsp butter

1) Heat grill pan over medium heat

2) Assemble sandwich as follows: 1/2 bagel spread with cream cheese and topped with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, ham, cheddar cheese, 1/2 bagel

3) Melt half the butter in grill pan; add sandwich to pan and cook 3-4 minutes; spread remaining butter on top of uncooked bagel and flip sandwich; cook 3-4 minutes until cheese melts nicely; that’s it–eatin’ time!

Serves: Only 1

CHICKEN ARTICHOKE SPINACH GRILLED SANDWICHES

Sometimes you just don’t feel like cranking up the grill. The solution: a grill pan. The end result: these colorful mouth-pleasing sandwiches. Senior and Junior Too give them the nod.

1-14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

sea salt

ground black pepper

1-1/2 cups roasted deli chicken, chopped

2 cups baby spinach, chopped

8 slices sourdough bread

4 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened

1-1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

2 tbsp butter, softened

1) In large skillet over medium heat, saute artichoke hearts and red bell pepper 3-4 minutes; salt and pepper to taste; stir in chicken and cook 2-3 minutes; remove from heat and immediately stir in spinach

2) Assemble 4 sandwiches as follows: sourdough bread slice spread with cream cheese, then topped with chicken-artichoke mixture, mozzarella cheese, and sourdough bread slice

3) In large skillet (I used a grill pan) over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter; grill sandwiches 3-4 minutes on one side; spread top slices with remaining butter and flip; grill 3-4 minutes until cheese melts and bread turns golden

Makes 4 sandwiches

PROSCIUTTO-GOAT CHEESE-AVOCADO GRILLED SANDWICH

Lunch time! But what to whip up? Though my guys would have been happy with basic grilled cheese sandwiches served with a squirt of ketchup (er, hmm), I decided to make it special. They were skeptical when I started loading the kitchen counter with prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese, but when all was grilled and done… No crumbs.

8 slices sourdough bread

4 oz goat cheese, softened

3 oz prosciutto ham

1 avocado, sliced thin

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

2 tbsp butter, softened

1) Assemble four sandwiches as follows, dividing ingredients between each: sourdough bread slice, goat cheese, prosciutto, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, sourdough bread slice

2) Over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter in large skillet (I used a grill pan); place sandwiches in skillet and grill 3-5 minutes on bottom; spread remaining butter on top slices; flip and grill 3-5 minutes; serve!

Makes: 4 sandwiches

GRILLED TURKEY-SWISS-ARTICHOKE SANDWICH

Like turkey. Adore Swiss cheese. Love marinated artichokes. And so a grilled sandwich featuring all and more. A fabulous hit with my guys–four thumbs up!
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1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp chopped parsley

8 slices good quality sourdough bread

8 oz thinly sliced deli turkey

1 cup fresh baby spinach

8 slices Swiss cheese

1-12 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

4 Campari tomatoes, sliced thin

4 tbsp butter

1) In small bowl, mix mayonnaise, lemon juice, and parsley; spread mixture over four slices of bread

2) Assemble each of four sandwiches as follows, dividing ingredients evenly between them: top bottom slice of bread (with mayonnaise mixture) with turkey, spinach, Swiss cheese, artichokes, tomatoes, and top slice of bread

3) Add butter to large skillet (I used a grill pan) and heat over medium; add sandwiches and grill each side 4-5 minutes until cheese melts and sandwich is warmed through (you may have to do in two batches); serve

Servings: 4

APPLE-BACON GRILLED CHEESE

I love to fancy up a grilled cheese sandwich, and that I most certainly did by adding thinly sliced Granny Smith apple, turkey bacon, and Dijon mustard to this lunch treat. Wonderfully yum (though, in Junior Too’s case I was asked to “hold the Dijon”).

Apple Bacon Grilled Cheese

4 slices bread (I used our favorite sourdough from Panera Bread’s bakery)

1 tbsp Dijon Mustard

4 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 small Granny Smith apple, sliced thin

6 strips turkey bacon, fried

1 tbsp butter

1) Assemble each of 2 sandwiches as follows: spread mustard on both sides of bread, top bottom slice with one-fourth the cheese, one-half the apple slices, one-half the bacon, one-fourth the cheese, the top slice of bread

2) Melt butter in skillet over medium heat; add sandwich to skillet and cook 4-5 minutes each side until golden brown and lightly crunchy; remove from skillet and serve immediately

Servings: 2

BLUE CHEESE-PEAR-SPINACH GRILLED SANDWICH

Sunday lunch could have been soup, but it was such a pleasantly warm day that it seemed like overkill, and so…grilled sandwiches featuring two of my favorite (I have quite a few favorites) ingredients: blue cheese and spinach. As for the fruit, one of the most divine combinations going is pear and blue cheese. A very satisfying lunch!

Blue Cheese-Pear Grilled Sandwich

3 tbsp butter, divided

1 tsp olive oil

1 firm but ripe pear, sliced 1/4″ thick

1/4 cup white cooking wine

6 slices bread (I used swirled white-wheat)

3 oz reduced-far cream cheese

3 oz crumbled blue cheese

3/4 cup baby spinach

1) In medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter (reserving 2 tbsp) in olive oil; add pear slices and saute 5 minutes, turning once; reduce heat to low and add cooking wine; cook 4-5 minutes until sauce reduces, leaving a glaze on pears; remove from heat and set aside

2) Assemble each of three sandwiches as follows: Spread 1 oz cream cheese on one slice of bread, lay one-third of pear slices on cream cheese, followed by one-third of spinach and one-third of crumbled blue cheese, top with slice of bread

3) In large skillet (I used a grill pan) over medium heat, melt remaining 2 tbsp butter; grill sandwiches 3-4 minutes each side until cheeses melt; serve

Servings: 3