Sandwiches represent a certain failing for me. Whenever I can’t get a home cooked dinner on the table, I rely on this old staple to sustain my hungry people. It’s a default if my kids won’t eat what I’ve made (yep, I’m one of those parents who don’t MAKE the kids eat what I fix.) But I’ve learned that sometimes, when you make a sandwich, there is a certain comfort in being able to take your plate and eat in front of the TV while watching Seinfeld re-runs. Here are some of my favorites:
Perfect for an easy summer dinner, especially with fresh homegrown tomatoes
3 slices toasted bread
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 slices American cheese
4 slices shaved ham
4 tomatoes, sliced, divided
4 leaves lettuce, divided
4 slices crisp bacon, divided
2 slices Monterey jack cheese
4 slices shaved deli turkey
Spread mayonnaise on one side of a piece of toast; add layer of American cheese, ham, two slices of tomato, two leaves of lettuce, and two pieces of bacon.
Spread mayonnaise on second piece of toast and place on top, mayo side down.
Spread mayonnaise on top of that second piece of toast.
Layer Monterey Jack cheese, the rest of the tomatoes, lettuce, turkey and bacon on top.
Spread mayonnaise on third piece of toast and place on the stack mayo side down.
Slice the sandwich in quarters diagonally.
Skewers or long toothpicks may be used to hold all the layers together.
Grilled Chick N Wrappers
A wrap is a kind of sandwich, right? I made this one for the family last night and it was a spot hitter. You know, it hit the spot? OK, so it comes together easily, and even though the word “grilled” is in the title, you just cook up the chicken in a skillet. I suppose actually grilling it could only improve its flavor.
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 sweet onion
8 ounces Monterrey jack and cheddar cheese blend
6 slices hickory smoked bacon
16 ounces shredded Lettuce
ranch salad dressing
6 (10 inch) flour tortillas
In a skillet heat olive oil on medium.
Cut the chicken thighs into strips and add to skillet.
In a separate skillet, fry the bacon.
While they are cooking, slice the onion, cucumber and set aside.
When chicken is done and the bacon is done, remove from skillet and set aside.
Assembly time. Heat the tortilla in microwave for 15 seconds.
To the tortillas, add the ranch, lettuce, cucumbers, onion, bacon, cheese, and then chicken and squeeze a little lime juice over and wrap like a burrito.
Pressed Chicken Tortas
I got this recipe when I was using Blue Apron. They have some really great recipes, probably the best service I’ve found. This one seems long, but it’s just because they over-explain all steps 🙂 Give it a go. Delicious sammy!
Wash and dry the fresh produce. Halve the rolls. Core, halve and thinly slice the tomato. Crumble the queso fresco. Pick the cilantro leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Cut off and discard the root end of the lettuce; roughly chop the leaves. Quarter the limes. Halve, pit, peel and thinly slice the avocado; top with the juice of 2 lime wedges to prevent browning. Peel and halve the onion; small dice 1 half and thinly slice the remaining half. In a medium bowl, combine the diced onion and thejuice of 4 lime wedges.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season on both sides with salt, pepper and (reserving a pinch) as much of the spice blend as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken. Cook 4 to 6 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board to cool slightly. Wipe out the pan.
While the chicken cooks, add the sour cream and remaining spice blend to the diced onion-lime juice mixture. Stir to thoroughly combine; season with salt and pepper to taste.
When cool enough to handle, thinly slice the cooked chicken. Place the bottoms of the rolls, cut sides up, on a clean, dry work surface. Divide the sliced chicken, avocado, as much of the sliced onion as you’d like (you may have extra), the tomato, half the queso fresco and the cilantro between the roll bottoms; season with salt and pepper. Top with the juice of the remaining lime wedges and the roll tops.
In the pan used to cook the chicken, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Working in 2 batches, add the tortas. Place a heavy pot on top of the tortas to press them down. Cook, occasionally pressing down on the pot, 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until lightly browned and slightly flattened. Transfer to a cutting board or plate.
While the tortas toast, in a large bowl, combine the lettuce, pepitas,remaining queso fresco and as much of the dressing as you’d like (you may have extra dressing). Toss to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut each toasted torta in half diagonally; divide between 4 plates. Serve with the salad on the side. Enjoy!
Another favorite is LEMONY CUCUMBER CREAM CHEESE SANDWICHES. I made these for a Broker luncheon at a home I had listed in Lincolnton during the summer and they were cool, refreshing and tasted of summer. The original recipe is from Chew Out Loud.
DIAN’S CHICKEN SALAD
PREP TIME: 1 hr 15 mins
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 30 mins
YIELD: 4 cups
4 chicken breast halves, bone in
8 ounces green olives, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
Skin chicken, put in pan, cover with foil. Bake at 375 for 75 minutes. Cool, pull from bones and chop finely. Add mayo and chopped olives.
*Depending on how big your chicken breasts are, you may want more mayo and olives. Make it to your favorite consistency.
Chop and dump. Sometimes supper is really just that easy. Here are a few of my favorite salads:
Bucca Di Beppo Chopped Antipasto Salad
Perfect for Italian dinner.
1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 ounce pepperoni, diced
1 ounce mortadella, diced
1 ounce red onion, diced
2 ounces roma tomatoes, diced
2 ounces cucumbers, diced
1 ounce gorgonzola, crumbled
1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 ounce pepperoncini pepper, chopped
1/2 teaspoon oregano
4 ounces Italian vinaigrette dressing
3 pepperoncini peppers, whole
Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl, except 1/2 the tomatoes, the whole pepperoncini, olives and dressing and toss.
Add the dressing and toss until fully incorporated.
Mound the salad mixture on a chilled plate, getting as much height as possible.
Place remaining tomates around the outside of the salad.
Garnish with whole pepperoncini and olives and serve
“The Wedge” with homemade Ranch Dressing
The Wedge is one of the simplest salads ever, but looks kind of fancy and is really one of my favorites. I core one head of lettuce (bang core on counter, it comes right out) then cut your head of lettuce into 4 wedges. Top with your favorite things: Mine are bacon bits, shredded cheddar and chopped tomatoes. Drizzle with this amazing dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped herbs (combination of parsley, chives, chervil, savory, dill or celery leaves)
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Combine ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
Abe & Louie’s Salad
1 head bibb lettuce
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1 apple, thinly sliced
4 ounces blue cheese
Wash and chop lettuce. Mix all ingredients together.
Birthdays are big deals in my house. You get to choose a home-cooked meal of your choice or a restaurant dinner of your choosing. My brother-in-law, David, is so awesome (pictured with my gorgeous sister above). He put in so many man hours on my new home, all for free. So, when his birthday rolls around and he says he wants a lasagna dinner, I make it my business to make a sauce for the lasagna that is simmered all day, and finally baked into a lasagna.
So, while loads of my recipes are quick, this one isn’t. But if you have a day to hang around the house, while your sauce gently bubbles on the stovetop, make this. So.worth.it.
Delicious Veal and Pork Bolognese Sauce
ABOUT THIS RECIPE
“This sauce must be cooked for 2 hours or even more is even better! the first hour covered then the last uncovered. If possible prepare this sauce one day in advance and refrigerated, it will increase the flavor. This is a very hearty sauce, you can also add in a can or plum tomatoes, chopped and drained if desired.”
3 -5 tablespoons olive oil
4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 small carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes ( you can add in more to taste)
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 lb ground veal
1 lb ground pork
1 1/4 cups dry red wine
2 (14 ounce) cans beef broth ( or beef consomme for an even richer flavor)
1 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
whipped cream (optional)
Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.
Add in the diced bacon and saute until beginning to brown (about 5 minutes).
Add in the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, thyme, basil, dryed pepper flakes and bay leaves; saute for about 5-6 minutes.
Add in tomato paste; cook stiring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Then add in the ground veal and pork; cook until cooked through and well browned (about 12 minutes, the meat should be BROWNED well!).
Add in the wine then simmer for about 8 minutes uncovered.
Add in the broth and crushed tomatoes; reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring often with a wooden spoon.
Uncover and season with salt and pepper; simmer for another hour or more (uncovered).
If you prefer a creamy sauce, add in about 1/4 cup whipping cream towards the end of cooking.
Serve over cooked pasta and top with parmesan cheese.
Now use that sauce to make your favorite lasagna recipe. Here’s one of mine: Lasagna Suzanne
Sometimes I like fancy, and sometimes I like comfort. Last night I was in the mood for sandwiches, but my husband wanted meatloaf. Ugh. No one else in the house likes it, but he pulled the “I’ve been working all day” card, so I acquiesced. Turns out this meatloaf was pretty darn good, even though I made it under duress.
Here’s the Comfort Food Night Menu:
Darn Good Mashed Potatoes
The Lady’s Macaroni and Cheese
Marie Callender’s Cornbread
The Very Best Glazed Meatloaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon thyme
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 lb chuck (ground beef)
1/2 lb veal (optional. Use half pork and beef if you can’t find ground veal or don’t buy veal)
1/2 lb ground pork
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a skillet over moderate heat, add the oil. Heat the oil until hot, but not smoking. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, mustard, and hot sauce together. Add marjoram, thyme, salt, and pepper.In a large mixing bowl, combine the meats, egg-milk mixture, bread crumbs, parsley, and the cooked onion mixture.
In a small bowl stir together ketchup, sugar, and vinegar. Set aside.
Form 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture into a small patty, add it to a small oiled skillet, and cook until no longer pink. Taste for seasoning and adjust.
Transfer meat mixture to an oiled loaf pan.*.
*NOTE: The best way to make the meatloaf is to use a baking sheet, lined with foil. Place a cooling rack on top. Cut a piece of foil to be larger than a the loaf– and shape the meat into a loaf. Using a metal skewer, poke holes along the foil — usually every other hole.
Place the shaped loaf on top of the foil. I prefer this method, as the loaf is less likely to “steam” in a loaf pan. You can also glaze all around the meatloaf, which is even better!
Brush meat with ketchup glaze.Bake in oven for about 45 minutes, until glaze has set.
Brush meat loaf with remaining glaze and bake for 15 minutes more; glaze again.
My oven takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to reach the desired doneness. Times do vary, so allow for that!
Internal temperature of loaf should be 160 degrees F.
Darn Good Mashed Potatoes
5 lbs baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup heavy cream
Place the potatoes in a large Dutch oven, cover with water and add the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and cook until tender, (15-20 minutes). Drain well.
Place the drained potatoes in a large bowl, add butter and whip the potatoes with an electric mixer until there are no lumps. Pour in the cream and continue whipping until the potatoes are fluffy.
The Lady’s Macaroni and Cheese
4 cups elbow macaroni, cooked & drained
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Once you have the macaroni cooked and drained, place in a large bowl and while still hot and add the cheddar.
In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and add to the macaroni mixture.
Pour macaroni mixture into a casserole dish and bake for 30 to 45 minutes.
Top with additional cheese if desired, and bake a few minutes more until cheese is melted.
Marie Callender’s Cornbread
2 cups Bisquick baking mix
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup real butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease an 8×8″ pan on bottom and sides; set to the side.
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until well blended.
Add sugar, milk, melted butter and whisk thoroughly.
Add Bisquick and cornmeal to egg mixture, and mix just enough to completely moisten dry ingredients and leave no lumps.
Do not overmix.
Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out dry and top is firm to touch.
Doubles easily into 9×13″ pan; adjust baking time accordingly.