TOPLESS CHICKEN CLUB SANDWICHES

Not as racy as the name suggests, but super tasty, especially minus that top piece of bread. You will, of course, need a fork and knife to eat this mountainous beauty. Thumbs up, up, up!

Topless Chicken Club Sandwich

3 tbsp light mayonnaise

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and mashed

4 slices sourdough bread (I used Panera Bread’s)

1 cup fresh baby spinach

3 cups chopped deli-roasted chicken

1 cup diced tomatoes

4 slices bacon, cooked, drained, and cut in half

1) To small bowl add: mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and mashed avocado; mix well

2) Place bread slices on plates and spread with avocado mixture; top with spinach, chicken, tomatoes, and bacon; 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

RASPBERRY MONTE CRISTO SANDWICH

This has been the week for revisiting family favorites, and this sandwich certainly deserves to be on the list. It’s rather like a french toast sandwich with the sweet (raspberry jam) tucked inside along with provolone and ham. However, if you’re not certain about the raspberry jam, serve it on the side and give it a dip. Poor Junior Too–I forgot that he prefers his Monte Cristo spread with mustard. Sigh.

Raspberry Monte Cristo 070513

8 slices white bread

4 tbsp raspberry jam

8 slices Provolone cheese

4 slices ham (about 1/8″ thick)

3 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese (or grated)

2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

2 tbsp butter

1) Assemble each of 4 sandwiches as follows: spread 1 slice of bread with 1 tbsp raspberry jam, top with 1 slice Provolone cheese, 1 slice ham, 1 slice Provolone cheese, 1 slice of bread; set aside

2) In shallow bowl, mix eggs, milk, Parmesan cheese, and parsley

3) Heat large skillet over medium heat (depending on size of bread, you may have to make in two batches or use two skillets); melt butter in skillet

4) Dip both sides of each sandwich in egg batter and grill in skillet 4-5 minutes each side until cheese melts and bread is golden brown; remove from skillet and serve with fresh fruit; sooooo good!

Makes: 4

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

CROISSANT CROQUE MADAME

A little something special was needed to hold my guys over until Easter dinner and, since I had four croissants remaining out of the dozen with which I started the weekend, I decided on a twist to the ever tasty Croque Madame. It’s not a sandwich easily put to hand, but a fork and knife make quick work of it. Chomp, chomp!

Croissant Croque Madame

4 large croissants, sliced in half

4 thick slices cooked ham

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup grated (or shaved) Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 cup grated swiss cheese

2 tbsp butter

4 large eggs

1 tbsp parsley, chopped

1) Preheat broiler

2) Lay bottom slices of croissants on baking sheet and top each with a slice of ham

3) To small saucepan, add cream, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper; heat over medium high and, stirring often, bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook additional 2 minutes, stirring often; remove from heat and stir in lemon juice; set aside to cool a few minutes

4) Pour sauce over ham slices, dividing between sandwiches; place top slices of croissants on sandwiches and scatter swiss cheese over them; place under broiler 1-2 minutes until cheese melts (keep an eye on them!); remove from oven

5) Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat; place sandwiches in pan and heat bottoms 3-5 minutes until warmed through; place sandwiches on plates

6) Using same skillet (you may need to add a bit more butter), fry eggs (I made ours “over medium); top each sandwich with an egg and sprinkle with parsley; serve

Servings: 4

HAM AND SWISS GRILLED CROISSANTS WITH BROWN SUGAR-BALSAMIC ONIONS

It’s hard to go wrong with anything paired with a croissant—from honey to this combination of ham, swiss, and brown sugar-balsamic onions. These sandwiches were so well received by my guys that I was charmed into making a second batch. As happens more often than not, they put away an enviable number of calories without paying the price it would cost me when it comes time to weigh in. Fabulous sandwich!

Ham and Swiss Grilled Croissants with Brown Sugar-Balsamic Onions

1 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp butter, divided

1 large red onion, quartered and sliced thin

4 large croissants split in half

8 slices black forest ham

4 slices deli swiss cheese

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (I used cherry balsamic but basic balsamic is delish too)

1/2 tsp sea salt

1) To large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and 1 tbsp butter (reserving 2 tbsp); when butter melts, add onion and cook 10 minutes until onions soften and begin to brown

2) Meanwhile, layer 2 slices of ham and 1 slice of cheese on bottom half of each croissant; set aside

3) Stir brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and salt into onions and cook additional 5 minutes; remove onions from heat and spoon over cheese; place top halves of croissants atop onions

4) Melt 2 tbsp reserved butter in large skillet (I used a grill pan) over medium heat; place croissants in skillet and grill 3-4 minutes each side until cheese melts and croissants are lightly crisp; serve and stand back

Servings: 4

CARAMELIZED APPLE-HAM-PROVOLONE GRILLED CROISSANT

Shrimp and noodles was on the menu tonight. However, when I was tempted by fresh-baked croissants and crisp Fuji apples, I took a detour and paired them with black forest ham and provolone cheese. Granted, pressed and grilled croissants lose some of their lofty beauty, but–goodness!–talk about delicious. Can I see a show of thumbs? Oh, yes!
Caramelized Apple-Ham-Provolone Grilled Croissant

4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided

2 apples (I used Fuji), cored and cut into 1/2″ thick slices

3 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

4 croissants, sliced sandwich-style

4 slices provolone

4 oz thin-sliced black forest ham

1) In large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp butter (reserving 2 tbsp); add apple slices and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally; sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon and, stirring often, cook 4-5 minutes until sauce thickens; remove from heat

2) Assemble sandwiches as follows, dividing ingredients between 4 croissants: bottom slice of croissant, provolone, ham, caramelized apples (extra sauce drizzled over apples), and top slice of croissant

3) In large skillet over medium heat, melt reserved 2 tbsp butter; place croissant sandwiches in skillet and grill 3-4 minutes each side until cheese melts and croissant is lightly crispy; serve with a salad (or some such)

Servings: 4