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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SIRLOIN-ONION-GIARDINIERA HOAGIE

Senior says this is the best sandwich ever (I think I’ve heard that before). Of course, one of his recent dinners was a salad he deemed “too green,” so anything overflowing with meat was bound to earn a gold star. The only complaint came from Junior Too who, to my surprise, said there was no way he could eat the whole thing. But he did–and a piece of pie 🙂

STEAK:

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp olive oil

1-1/2 lbs boneless top sirloin steak

ONION AND GIARDINIERA TOPPING:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large red onion, halved and sliced thin

1 cup beef broth

1-1/2 cups Giardiniera (I used Mezzetta brand), drained and coarsely chopped

6 pepperoncini, sliced thin

OTHER GOOD STUFF:

4 Hoagie rolls

1-1/2 cups shredded jack cheese

1) Fire up grill; remove steak from fridge and pat dry

2) In small bowl, combine oregano, basil, thyme, black pepper, and sea salt

3) Rub olive oil into both sides of steak, followed by combined seasonings on both sides; let sit 10 minutes

4) Meanwhile, to large skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil and onions; stirring often, cook 10 minutes until onions soften; reduce heat to low and add beef broth, Giardiniera, and pepperoncini; cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally

5) Meanwhile, toss steak on grill and cook to desired doneness (for medium, I cooked 8 minutes each side)

6) Remove steak from grill and let sit 5 minutes; slice thin

7) Assemble each sandwich as follows: cut hoagie almost all the way through and lay open; top with sirloin, onion-Giardiniera, and jack cheese; serve immediately

Serves: 4 with big appetites

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

STUFFED FRENCH TOAST SANDWICH

No syrup for these tasty slices of french toast, although. . . Nah. Senior, Junior, Junior Too–not to mention the cook–liked this meal in all it’s non-syrup glory. Give it a try!

5 eggs

3/4 cup milk

sea salt

pepper

2 tbsp butter, divided

8 slices bread (I used country oatmeal, but sourdough…oh, that would be really good)

4 oz goat cheese (or cream cheese), softened (about 20 seconds in microwave)

1 large tomato, sliced thin

8 slices bacon (I used turkey bacon), fried to slightly crisp

8 slices thin deli ham

1 cup spinach, stems removed

1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees

2) In shallow bowl, beat eggs, milk, and pinch of salt and pepper

3) In large skillet (big enough to accommodate 4 slices of bread at a time) melt 1 tbsp butter (reserve 1 tbsp for second batch) over medium heat

4) Lightly dip 4 slices of bread in egg mixture, coating both sides; transfer to skillet and cook 2-3 minutes each side until golden brown; transfer from skillet to oven-safe plate and keep warm in oven while cooking 4 remaining pieces of french toast in reserved 1 tbsp butter

5) Assemble each sandwich as follows: 1 slice french toast spread with goat cheese, tomato, bacon, ham, spinach, 1 slice french toast; then feast!

Heartily serves: 4

AVOCADO EGG SALAD SANDWICH

I should have used my favorite sourdough bread from Panera, but I didn’t want to make an extra trip, so I went with grocery-store-bought sourdough bread. Not that the sandwich wasn’t wonderfully tasty, it just could have been that times two–or three. Have you tried Panera’s sourdough?

5 eggs hard-boiled, cooled, and chopped

2 tbsp reduced-fat mayonnaise

2 tsp dijon mustard

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

8 slices sourdough bread (highly recommend Panera’s)

4 slices Monterey Jack cheese

8 slices turkey bacon, fried to slightly crispy

2 avocados, sliced thin

1) In medium bowl, gently combine eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper; refrigerate 15-30 minutes before using

2) Assemble four sandwiches as follows, dividing ingredients between each: sourdough bread slice, cheese, bacon, avocado, egg salad, sourdough bread slice; 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

PHILLY CHEESE STEAK

The only problem with a sandwich stuffed this full is the difficulty of getting it from plate to mouth without losing half the filling–and really, you don’t want to miss a single bite of this Philly Cheese Steak. The solution: hollow out top and bottom halves of rolls, then stuff to your heart’s content for a hearty and wonderfully satisfying meal. Gone. All gone!

Philly Cheese Steak

1 tbsp olive oil

1 lb flat-iron steak, thinly sliced across the grain

sea salt

ground black pepper

1 medium onion, halved and sliced thin

1 green bell pepper, halved and sliced thin

1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms

1 tsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

2 oz provolone cheese, chopped

1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp dry mustard

4 hoagie rolls, sliced horizontally and hollowed out (1/2″ thick shell)

1) To large skillet, add olive oil and heat over medium-high; add steak and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper; cook, stirring often, 3-4 minutes until no longer pink; transfer to a bowl and keep warm

2) To same skillet over medium-high (you may need a bit more olive oil), add onion and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes; stir in bell pepper and mushrooms and cook additional 3 minutes; remove from heat and stir in soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce; cover with lid to keep warm

3) To saucepan, add flour and gradually whisk in milk; heat over medium and cook 2-3 minutes until slightly thick; stir in provolone and Parmesan cheeses and mustard and remove from heat; continue stirring until sauce is smooth

4) Divide steak mixture between bottom halves of 4 hoagie rolls, drizzle sauce over top, cover with top halves of rolls, and serve!

Serves: 4