Category Archives: Sandwich

The Secret to Awesome Grilled Cheese

  
Really- who doesn’t love a good grilled cheese sandwich? If you know someone, you should disown them.  You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life!  

This isn’t a recipe, really.  But it is a method.  A delicious, crispy, melty method.  One that takes a good grilled sandwich and makes it awesome.  

Hope you love this method as much as we do!

The Method

1. Gather ingredients.  Good bread, real butter, and your favorite melty cheese- cheddar, Swiss, Gouda, whatever.  And… Grated Parmesan. Not the stuff from the green can.  The GOOD stuff.

2. You know the drill- butter bread, put cheese between the two slices (butter side out) and grill until golden.  BUT WAIT! Before you put the butter side to the pan, sprinkle it with 1/2 to 1 tsp grated Parmesan. Grill slow and low until golden brown outside and melty inside.

3.  Please let it cool a bit before biting into your awesome grilled cheese.  Burned taste buds are duds!

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Jalapeno BACON Cheddar Bread

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Jalapeno

BACON

Cheddar…

Are you drooling yet?  You should be.  If you’re not, you need to get that checked out.  Seriously.

I’m warning you – if you make this bread, it has a tendency to disappear.  I made 8 mini-loaves (really, it should have been 10), and the little loaves grew legs and walked away.  Some even walked into some mayo, tomato, lettuce and bacon slices.  Holy crap.  Good thing I caught that one.  Didn’t want it getting away.  Just think of the accidents if it actually made it down the street.  See?  I really AM a super hero.  🙂

You can make this bread with just about any mix-in you want.  But jalapenos, bacon bits, and diced cheddar are really, really good.  Some people don’t like jalapenos.  That’s cool.  Just leave them out.  Bacon cheddar bread is pretty darn good, too.  Just not AS good.  So, you know.  Choose wisely.

Jalapeno BACON Cheddar Bread

  • 1/2 cup warm water (115°F)
  • 1 packet quick rise yeast (2-1/4 tsp)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into small cubes
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup bacon bits (the real kind.  Bacos are for weenies)
  • 8 oz can diced jalapenos, drained
  • 3-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 cup cheddar cheese, cut in small cubes and frozen.
  1. Preheat oven to lowest possible temp.  For me, that’s 170°F.  When it gets to this temp, turn it off.
  2. Place yeast in a bowl and sprinkle a little of the sugar on top.  Pour in warm water and stir well.  Let sit about 5 minutes.
  3. Place remaining sugar and eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment.  Whip them up!
  4. Put butter and milk in a microwave safe dish and heat on high until butter melts, about 1 minute 30 seconds.
  5. Pour milk and butter mixture, and foamy yeast mixture into the egg and sugar mixture.  Whip it again!
  6. Add the 3 cups bread flour and mix on low until incorporated.  Add bacon bits and jalapenos.  Then, you know– WHIP IT!
  7. In a medium bowl, mix the all purpose flour and salt. Replace the paddle attachment with a dough hook.  Add the all purpose flour/salt a little at a time until it’s all incorporated.   If needed, you can add a bit of warm water, a teaspoon at a time, to wet the dough a bit and help the last of the flour get incorporated.
  8. Once all the flour is in, turn the mixer on low and let it do the kneading for you – about 5 minutes.
  9. Remove the dough from the bowl, and flatten into a large rectangle.  Sprinkle the cheddar on top, then knead by hand about 3 minutes, or until dough springs back when poked and cheese is distributed evenly.   Freezing helps keep the cheese intact.
  10. Place dough in a large, well oiled bowl, turning once to coat with oil.  Wrap with plastic wrap and place in the oven until doubled, about an hour.  Once rising is done, heat oven to 375°F.
  11. Shape and bake according to options:
    1. Mini Loaves (5-1/2″ x 3″ x 2-1/2″): Divide dough into 10 equal portions.  Shape each into a log, sealing seams on the bottom if needed.  Place in greased loaf pans and let rise until over the top of the pan, 45 minutes to an hour.  Bake 20 minutes, rotate pans, and bake another 15-20 minutes.
    2. Regular Loaves (8″ x 4″ x 3″): Divide dough into 4 equal portions.  Shape each into a log, pinching seams closed on the bottom if needed.  Place in greased loaf pans and let rise until over the top of the pan, 45 minutes to an hour. Bake 25 minutes, rotate pans, and bake another 25 to 35 minutes.
    3. Rolls: Divide dough into balls about the size of a hacky sack.  If you don’t know what a hacky sack is, go hang out on a college campus and ask one of the hipsters. They might roll their eyes, but they’ll tell you.  Anyway… Shape each ball and place in a greased 9″ x 13″ pan.  You should be able to fit 12-15 rolls per pan with about a half an inch around each ball to allow for room to rise.  Grease the top, and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Let rise about 45 minutes, then bake 20 minutes.  Rotate pan, and bake an additional 10-15 minutes.
  12. Let cool about 5 minutes on a cooling rack, then remove from pan to cool completely.  If you have any left over (yeah, right), store in an airtight container in the fridge.

PS: If you REALLY want to be awesome, make rolls but leave out the cheese in step 9.  Put a bit in the middle of each roll instead of incorporating into the dough.  Make sure it’s completely surrounded by dough and sealed.  Don’t want any cheese leak-ers on my watch… Bake and cool as directed.

Bruschetta Halloumi Sandwich

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Sunshine, soft breezes, and lazy afternoons.  Summer is here!  When summer hits, I start avoiding things.  Things like hot stoves, hot ovens, shoes, socks, and long pants.  Just to name a few.  I gravitate toward fresh tomatoes, fragrant basil, and crunchy garden carrots.  The tomatoes aren’t quite ready, but they’re getting there!

Speaking of tomatoes and basil, do you like bruschetta?  I do!  I make a very basic recipe during the summer that’s great over a slice of toasted bread, pasta, or grilled chicken.  Know what’s even better?  Cheese.  Especially cheese you can grill.  Halloumi is one of my favorite cheeses because you can slice it and grill it- it doesn’t get all melty and fall apart.  The texture is slightly squeaky, with a crisp outside and tender inside.  Really, it’s great stuff!  The kind I like to get is made from cows milk at Ballard Family Farms in Gooding, ID.  If you’re in the Boise area, look for it in the Co Op, Fred Meyer, or Albertsons with the specialty cheeses.

Hope you enjoy this lazy day recipe.  Happy summer!

Bruschetta Halloumi Sandwich

Serves: 2

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Bruschetta:

  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh basil, shredded
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar (I use a combo of half balsamic and half sherry vinegar)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Sandwich:

  • 4 sliced sturdy artisan bread (I used a whole grain bread)
  • 4 slices Halloumi cheese (Greek Grilling Cheese), sliced 1/3″ thick
  1. Make bruschetta by combining all ingredients.  Set aside.
  2. Preheat grill on low heat for about 10 minutes.  Place on the bread slices and cheese.  Cook 1-2 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
  3. Carefully flip the cheese slice onto the toasted bread slice.  Top with a few spoonfuls of bruschetta, including a little of the juice from the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Repeat with the remaining bread, cheese and bruschetta.
  5. Eat while the cheese is still warm.

Hoppy BBQ Pork

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So, here’s the thing.  I don’t like beer.  Not even a little.  It’s too bitter.  It’s too foamy.  It’s too… hoppy.  Yeah, you heard me.  Or read me.  Whatever.

Know what else is too hoppy?  The Easter bunny.  Think about it.  He gets his kicks from hiding fake eggs from kids.  That bunny must be on LOTS of sugar to get all of that done.  Plus, he fills baskets with grass.  Who does that?  Never in my LIFE have I ever looked at an empty basket and thought, “you know what that basket needs?  Fake plastic grass.”  Never.  Not once.

I think I know what makes that Easter bunny so hoppy.  It’s the beer.  Admit it.  He has to be under the influence of something!  Well, luckily, I have something else that will make you hoppy this Easter.  And not in the-hide-fake-eggs-full-of-black-jelly-beans-because-those-are-the-only-ones-left-after-the-hubby-found-the-bag kind of way.  In the my-tummy-is-full-and-now-I-need-a-nap-and-a-napkin kind of way.

Easter is right around the corner.  Hope you have a Hoppy One!

Hoppy BBQ Pork

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  • 2-3lb pork shoulder roast
  • 12 oz. beer, divided (use a light colored beer)
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 16 oz. BBQ sauce (we like Bullseye)
  • 4 to 6 hoagie rolls, toasted
  1. In a bowl, combine one cup of beer and 1 Tbsp minced garlic.  Pour over roast in a gallon size ziptop bag and turn the meat to coat.  Squeeze out as much air as you can, and let marinate in the refrigerator 8 to 10 hours (overnight), turning once or twice.
  2. Combine 1 cup BBQ sauce with the remaining 1/2 cup of beer.  Remove the roast from the marinade and place it in the crock pot (discard marinade).  Pour the BBQ/beer mixture on top.  Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until meat falls apart.
  3. Remove the meat from the BBQ beer mixture and shred the meat.  Serve on toasted hoagie rolls with the BBQ/beer mixture or extra BBQ sauce.

French Roll Pizza

Sometimes, I don’t want to cook.  I know, SHOCKING!  But there are those days that you really need to go to the store, but just don’t WANT to.  Or that you have things on hand that you could cook, but they’re still frozen.

Luckily, on this particular evening, we still had some things left over from making pizza and sandwiches earlier in the week.  I wasn’t in the mood to make a crust from scratch, so I used the next best thing.  Bread.

I am not a big fan of thick crust pizza.  I like my crust to be crispy and crunchy.  When I take a bite of pizza, I want to taste all the wonderful toppings, not a hunk of too soft dough.  These french rolls were the perfect solution.  They were slightly stale and dried out, which meant that they really crisped up in the oven.  Hooray!  Happy Josie!

I did a little trick with the Pepperoni.  My husband sometimes complains that his pepperoni pizza is too oily.  To solve that problem, I put pepperoni slices in a paper towel and cooked it for 30 seconds.  A lot of the oil soaked into the paper towel and his pizza was less oily.  Happy T!

I hope you enjoy this quick weeknight recipe.  What do you cook on busy nights?

French Roll Pizza

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Serves 4

  • 2 French Rolls, split
  • 4 Tbsp tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 large mushroom, sliced thin
  • 6 black olives, sliced thin
  • 4 slices Canadian bacon, sliced into strips (fits better on the roll that way)
  • 8 slices pepperoni
  1. Place pepperoni on half of a clean paper towel.  Fold paper towel over the pepperoni, and microwave on high for 30 seconds.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place rolls on the sheet, cut side up.
  3. Spread 1 Tbsp tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce on each roll half.  Layer with meats, mushrooms, and olives.  Divide cheese evenly over the top of each roll.
  4. Bake 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Let cool slightly and serve.

No Mess Mushroom Burgers

As picky as the Hubby is, he loves mushrooms.  He loves Mushroom Swiss burgers.  I hate it when I take a bite and mushrooms go all over the place– usually landing right in the middle of my white shirt coated in ketchup.  This generally sends me into a laundry-stain-panic.  Well, NO MORE!!  I’ll teach those pesky mushrooms.  Plus, if you have kids, this is a sneaky way to get veggies into one of their favorite things. 😉

I dug out my handy dandy food chopper to chop the mushrooms.  I learned the hard way that it is a very good idea to take the chopper apart and coat the blades and inner parts with PAM before chopping.  Those little mushroom pieces are a bugger to get off later.

I like to boost my ground meat (beef, pork, chicken or turkey) with mushrooms in just about anything– meatloaf, spaghetti sauce, burgers, etc.  Its healthy, keeps the meat moist, and adds more protein.  Did you know that mushrooms are a complete protein when they are cooked?  Cooking them breaks them down enough so all the nutrients can be absorbed by your body.  Cooked mushrooms don’t have to be paired with anything else to provide your body with all the amino acids it needs.  Isn’t food science fun?  And mushrooms are fun.  Fungi.  You know…

See those lovely potatoes next to the burger?  They’re the new Ore-Ida Grillers and they are super-cool.  You make them on the grill and they only take about 15 minutes.  I like the seasoned ones.  You should try them.  This weekend.  Tonight.  NOW.  🙂

Mushroom Burgers

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For 2 burgers (can easily be doubled, tripled, etc.)

CLICK HERE for the printable recipe

  • 2 oz. Mushrooms, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup, button mushrooms or cremini)
  • 1/2 lb. 90% lean ground beef (you can also substitute turkey, chicken, or pork)
  • 2 Tbsp hamburger seasoning (McCormick Grill Mates or Amazing Taste are good ones, or you can make due with a sprinkling of salt and pepper)
  • 2 buns
  • 2 slices cheese (Optional, we used cheddar here, but Swiss would have been great)
  • Burger toppings (ketchup, mayo, mustard, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, relish, etc.)
  1. Place chopped mushrooms in a small skillet over medium heat.  Cook until they release their moisture and are dry again.  They should shrink quite a bit.  Set aside to cool for about 5 minutes.
  2. Preheat the grill over medium-high heat.  In a medium bowl, combine cooked mushrooms, ground beef, and half the seasoning.  Be gentle when handling the meat.
  3. Divide in two equal pieces and shape into a patty that is about 1/2 inch thick.   Sprinkle one side with seasoning and place, seasoned side down, on the preheated grill.  Cook for 2 minutes, flip, and cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Serve on the bun with your favorite cheese and toppings.  Enjoy your mostly-mess-free burger in your white shirt. 😀

My favorite hamburger topping is dill pickles.  What’s yours?

Egg Salad

The daffodils are out, the rain is falling every other day, and the bunny has come and gone.  And he left some eggs.  LOTS of eggs.  He hard-boiled them, too.  Silly bunny.  How am I supposed to use all those hardboiled eggs? 

I know!  Egg salad.  The good ol’ standby.  Deviled eggs are a favorite, too, but sometimes those eggs don’t peel so pretty.  Right?  Egg salad to the rescue!

I like to add chopped pickles or relish to mine.  This is completely optional.  This recipe is easily altered to fit your taste.  Sometimes, I even mix a little ham in.  I’m a rebel, I know!  😉

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Egg Salad

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 or 2 tsp relish or chopped dill pickle
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Hard Boiling Eggs

  1. Place eggs in a single layer in a small pot.  Fill with cold water until it covers the eggs by at least 1 inch.
  2. Bring to a boil, cover, and remove from heat.  Let sit for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of your eggs (I let my large eggs sit for about 14 minutes).
  3. Drain the water and run cold water over the eggs for about 10 minutes.
  4. Peel immediately (they will be harder to peel once they cool).
  5. Use as desired

For the Egg Salad

  1. Cut two peeled eggs in half.  Scoop out the yolks and place in a bowl.  Smash with a fork.
  2. Combine with mayo, mustard, relish or pickle, salt and pepper.  Whip until nearly smooth.
  3. Chop the egg whites into small chunks.  Stir into the yolk mixture.
  4. Serve on greens, in a pita, or on bread.  YUM!

Thanks, EB!