Leftover Steak Makes an Easy but Sophisticated Sandwich

We had a lotta leftover steak recently, because we tried this recipe from the Food Network’s show, The Kitchen. It involves huge porterhouse steaks, a cast iron skillet, and a unique method. Our foodie-senses were intrigued when we saw this, and we just had to make it.

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Photo from the Food Network

It was good, but more work – and more food – than we anticipated. The instructions called for porterhouse steaks that were 2″ – 2 1/2″ thick, so of course I went for the thickest (wouldn’t you?). The butcher thought I was crazy.  Turns out, he was right! And in looking at the picture above from the Food Network, there’s no way that’s a 2″ steak or bigger.

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A 2 1/2″ thick porterhouse is a huge steak at about 3 1/2 lbs. (each)
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We didn’t have a cast iron skillet that was big enough for both steaks, so we had to use two. Geez!

I gave up the idea of getting photos mid-recipe because it was a bit overwhelming; just suffice it to say that we had steak for days. Steak salad, steak quesadillas, steak burritos, steak tostadas and steak sandwiches. (Did I say it was a lotta steak?)

Well, Gentle Reader, in this Steak Week Odyssey, the steak sandwich was the best. Sautéed onions and jalapeños enhanced the flavor of the steak, and we dressed the sandwiches with ripe red tomato, fresh mint from our herb garden, and shreds of crisp raw cabbage, serving them on onion rolls. Double-Yum! Creating this Steak Sandwich for 2 recipe more than made up for the somewhat disappointing experience of the original steak dinner.

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It wasn’t just tasty, it was pretty!

Steak Sandwiches for Two

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb. of leftover steak, cut in very thin slices
  • 1 medium onion, sliced (I used part red and part yellow)
  • 2 fresh jalapeños, sliced (leaving in the ribs and seeds for the heat unless that doesn’t work for you)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 ripe tomato, sliced
  • 1/4 cup shredded raw cabbage
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint, sliced in ribbons
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 onion rolls
  • optional condiments of your choice – I used stone ground mustard

Cooking Instructions

In a medium skillet, sauté the sliced onions and jalapeños in the olive oil over medium high heat until they are soft. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.  Heat the steak briefly to warm it without overcooking it; the microwave is fine for this. Try 1-2 minutes on half power. Assemble the sandwiches on warm onion rolls or other buns of your choice by starting with the steak on the bottom, adding freshly ground pepper, then the sautéed onions and jalapeños, then the tomatoes, cabbage and mint.


This sandwich was delightfully easy, with a very sophisticated taste. The crunch of the fresh cabbage and brightness of the mint were the perfect compliment to the juicy earthiness of the onions and steak. Pair it with potato salad and a quick black bean salad for an easy weeknight meal whenever you’re wondering what to do with leftover steak from the weekend’s barbecuing. Here’s a recipe for the black bean salad.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Sandwich Wednesday, Bavarian Bistro Series #1 – Der Red Baron

Hello friends!

Panini Time!If you’ve been following Glover Gardens, you know that Sandwich Wednesday is a thing. Ever since our blended family was established nigh on ten years ago, the Grill-Meister has been the Sandwich-Meister on Wednesdays. It might just be my favorite weekday.

A variety of bread-ensconced offerings have come my way on Sandwich Wednesday, and nary a one has disappointed. The Grill-Meister is great about taking requests, and I recently realized that I hadn’t experienced most of the sandwiches he used to produce at his restaurant, the Bavarian Bistro. This phase of his career was before my time, but I don’t want to miss out on the sandwichy goodness. The only Bavarian Bistro sandwich I had experienced to date was the U-Boat Sub, and it was worthy.

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The U-Boat, a perfect party presentation; click here for the recipe

So we decided that there should be a Bavarian Bistro series for Sandwich Wednesday, until I have experienced every sandwich. Lucky me! The Grill-Meister rooted around in his computer and dug up the 15-year-old menu, and let me pick.  The first one was:

Der Red Baron: A triple decker of real breast of turkey, lean corned beef, imported Swiss cheese, crisp lettuce, tomato, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing.

Yum!

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The Grill-Meister gets going with the Red Baron makings
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Der Red Baron: a big and beautiful sandwich

So there isn’t really a “recipe”; it is all assembly. The list below is ingredients without specific amounts.

Ingredients

  • Pumpernickel, dark rye or other sandwich bread of your choice, 3 slices per person
  • Thinly sliced turkey breast
  • Thinly sliced corned beef
  • Swiss cheese slices
  • Sauerkraut
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Sliced ripe tomatoes
  • Sauerkraut, room temperature or warmed
  • Thousand Island dressing, mustard, or other tangy condiment of your choice

Cooking Instructions

To assemble each Red Baron, slather a piece of bread with the condiment of your choice, then top with a Swiss cheese slice. Mound a generous amount of corned beef atop the cheese, then add another slice of bread. Repeat with another slice of Swiss cheese, a mound of turkey breast, and a generous dollop of sauerkraut.

Place the sandwich(es) on a panini press and cook on medium high until the bread is nicely toasted and the cheese is melted. (You can also cook in a skillet if you don’t have a panini press – press down on the sandwiches with a spatula to compress them.)

When the bread is toasty and the cheese is melted, remove the sandwiches from the heat. Open them up and add the lettuce and  tomato slices. Serve immediately, potentially with more of your preferred condiment on the side.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

 

Sandwich Wednesday: Pesto Mozzarella Paninis for Two

Another Wednesday, another sandwich! The Grill-Meister continues to kill it on Sandwich Wednesday; last week it was a vegetarian offering, a Pesto-Mozzarella Panini. The bright flavors of the pesto is perfectly balanced with the melty-creaminess of the fresh mozzarella and the righteous crunch of the toasted bread. Yum!

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This panini is very quick to pull together. The Grill-Meister gets everything prepped and then turns it into a do-it-yourself project, which means I can have exactly the right amounts of goodies on my sandwich. My recommendation is to go heavy on the pesto, because in this panini, it’s not just a condiment, it shares the main ingredient spotlight with the mozzarella.

The Panini Makings

  • Four slices of sourdough bread
  • 3/4 cup of pesto (the Grill-Meister makes a mint-basil pesto from one of our cookbooks, but you can use a good quality purchased one)
  • 6 oz. fresh mozzarella, in thick slices
  • 1 very ripe medium tomato, sliced
  • several slices of red onion, separated
  • salt (optional) and freshly cracked black pepper

Cooking Instructions

Slather pesto on both slices of bread, then top one with slices of mozzarella, tomatoes and onions. Add a liberal amount of freshly cracked black pepper. You may also want a bit of salt, unless your pesto is already just right, salt-wise. Top with the other slice of bread and cook in a panini maker on medium high until the bread is toasted, about 5-7 minutes. You can also cook this sandwich on the stove like a grilled cheese, for about 4 minutes on each side.

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A thick layer of pesto ensures maximum tastiness
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Next goes the mozzarella 
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Then the ripe tomatoes
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We like a lot of onion!
Liberal with the Pepper!
Don’t forget the pepper

Like it? You can find more Sandwich Wednesday recipes here.

I wonder what the Grill-Meister is going to make this week?

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens

 

 

Sandwich Wednesday: The Grill-Meister’s Tuna Steak BLT Panini (the TBLT)

As I’ve said before, Sandwich Wednesday is a thing here at Glover Gardens.  The Grill-Meister breaks out the panini maker for the midweek supper and delivers deliciousness between two slices of grill-marked bread. Read more about it here.

A recent delight was what he calls the TBLT, grilled tuna steaks nestled in a panini with the traditional BLT ingredients plus red onion and a spicy condiment. Oh yes, this was a wonderful winter Wednesday!

Since we are empty-nesters now, this recipe is for two; you can multiply it if you have a larger crowd.  It saves time and is fun if you let everyone assemble their own.  The Grill-Meister does that and I always have exactly the right amount of each accoutrement on my panini. 

Tuna Steak BLT Panini for Two

Ingredients

  • Two tuna steaks, at least 4 oz. each
  • Your favorite spice mix (we use our Everything Rub or Zippy Southwest)
  • Two tsp olive oil
  • Four slices of sourdough or your other favorite panini bread
  • Butter or olive oil
  • A spicy condiment – your choice!
  • Four slices of thick bacon, cooked the way you like (extra crispy for me!)
  • One medium tomato, sliced
  • Two more big leaves of romaine lettuce
  • Salt and pepper

Cooking Instructions

Gather all ingredients and prepare to assemble them for the paninis.

Pat the spice mix all over the tuna steaks.  Preheat a nonstick pan on high heat with 2 tsp olive oil, then add the tuna steaks and cook for about 2 minutes per side.  Remove from the pan and set aside. (You could also grill the tuna steaks; just be sure not to overcook them.)

Preheat a panini maker to medium.  Spread the four pieces of bread with butter on one side or brush with olive oil and turn over.  Spread your condiment of choice on the inside of the bread, then layer one side with the onion, bacon slices (2 each) and tuna steaks and top with the second slice of bread. Put the sandwiches on the panini maker, close the lid and cook until the bread is nicely toasted, about 7-10 minutes.

When the sandwiches are toasty and warm, with beautiful grill marks, remove from the panini maker. Open them up and add the tomatoes, then salt and freshly ground pepper, and then the romaine. Replace the top piece of bread and serve.

Note: you can steer the flavor profile of your panini with the condiment – we used Pain Train Green Salsa (from our local farmer’s market) the last time the Grill-Meister produced this scrumptious sandwich, but you could substitute a spicy mustard, a pepper jelly, an herb mayonnaise or some other wonderful condiment. Or just go whole hog and use soft, spreadable Boursin cheese – yum!

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Sear the tuna steaks in a hot pan
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Turn and sear for a couple more minutes
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Have all the ingredients ready before searing the tuna
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Condiments and onions go first
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Layer the tuna and bacon atop the onions
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Give the sandwiches long enough in the panini to get a good crust
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Open the paninis for the crisp, fresh garnishes
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First the tomatoes (we like a LOTTA tomato!), which is a good point to add the salt and pepper
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Then the crispy romaine
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And voila! you have a beautiful TBLT panini

More Panini Intel

For more about Sandwich Wednesday and the Grill-Meister’s perfect paninis, and methods check out:

fullsizeoutput_201aIt’s a Family Thing

One of my beloved nieces has a panini maker now (a gift from the Grill-Meister and me), and sent me this photo of a recent success.  I suspect I’ll be posting her delectable panini achievements and recipes as time goes by.

(Especially if y’all encourage her! Isn’t this photo enticing?)

Copyright 2018, Glover Gardens

Sandwich Wednesday: Steak and Fontina Panini

Sandwich Wednesday is a thing at Glover Gardens. The Grill-Meister is also a Sandwich King and takes over the kitchen on Wednesdays, surprising me with a variety of bread-borne main courses like paninis.

I love Wednesdays!

The latest press-perfect panini featured slices of leftover grilled ribeyes and fontina cheese. The Grill-Meister gathered these sturdy ingredients along with some baby arugula we had on hand and sliced some red onions. (We think red onions make almost all sandwiches better.) He pulled out a variety of condiments and set up a do-it-yourself assembly next to the sourdough bread so we could each have a customized sandwich made exactly to our own specifications.

Steak and Fontina Panini Ingredients
Panini ingredients and a parade of condiments

As you can see, the condiment choices were bacon jam, remoulade, Dijon, horseradish cream, and more mustards: deli, creole and stone-ground. All great options, but I went immediately for the Dijon because of its classic combination with steak. The Grill-Meister decided to do Dijon on one side and horseradish cream on the other; horseradish and beef being another classic combo. I followed his lead, and let me tell you, Dear Readers, the Grill-Meister was right. The spicy Dijon and horseradish produce a dual but complementary bite that was balanced by the almost-sweet creaminess of the fontina cheese.

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Doesn’t the gooey melty cheese make your mouth water?

And hey, it’s a weeknight, so don’t go to a lot of trouble on the side dishes – paninis are great with simple sides like fruit, beans, potato salad or even just carrot sticks or cherry tomatoes.

The recipe below serves 2; just increase the amounts if you aren’t empty-nesters like us. Also, if you’re a vegetarian, don’t despair; this panini would rock with a grilled vegetable in place of the steak. You could use portobello mushrooms, eggplant or thick planks of zucchini.

Ingredients

  • 4 large slices of sourdough bread
  • Dijon mustard and horseradish cream, or other tangy condiments of your choice – see above
  • 6 oz. of sliced cooked steak, deli roast beef or pot roast
  • 1 cup loosely packed arugula (we used baby arugula but grownup greens would be ok, too)
  • 3-4 slices of red onion
  • 4 oz. sliced fontina cheese or other medium-flavored, medium-hard cheese (Gouda or Edam would be a good substitute)
  • Softened butter to spread on the bread

Cooking Instructions

If you have a panini press, set it to heat up to medium high. Spread the condiments of your choice on the bread slices, then build the panini on one piece of bread, starting with the beef, then adding the onion, arugula and the cheese. Put the second bread slice atop the cheese, then spread a light layer of butter on the top slice. When you are ready to press the paninis, turn them over and place the buttered side down on the bottom plate of the panini press, then spread butter on the top piece of bread and close the press. Push down the top slightly to compress the sandwich and cook for about 7 minutes, or until the bread is lightly browned and the cheese is melted. Remove from the panini press and serve.

If you don’t have a panini press, you should get one! But actually, you can simply heat a skillet to medium high and follow the same process, using a spatula to press down the sandwich and turning to cook the second side after the first is browned.

Note: The panini party with the leftovers is why we always, always, always grill more steak than we can eat, but this sandwich would be just as good with roast beef – either the sliced kind from the deli, or the for-real kind if you had an old-fashioned roast for Sunday dinner.

Panini Press

Glover Gardens is non-commercial, but we do occasionally recommend products, just our opinion about stuff that works or is good. That’s the case with this panini press.

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The Cuisinart panini press is perfect for the Grill-Meister’s sandwich Wednesday magic-making (photo courtesy of Amazon)

Resources

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Home Alone Comfort Food: Scrambled Egg Sandwich

So over the last three weeks I had a long trip for work to Paris and then right away, a shorter trip for relaxation to Colorado (I know, I know, you’re not crying for me). After arriving home in Southeast Texas in the wee hours last night and working all day today, I found myself home alone for dinner tonight with no “on purpose” food in the refrigerator. That is, no food that was purchased with a menu or recipe in mind; all the Grill-Meister and I have in the icebox is a plethora of condiments and some too-old leftovers, and he’s not here tonight to justify my ordering Chinese.

What to do? What to do?

Comfort food to the rescue: a Scrambled Egg Sandwich.

I give thanks to my Dad for teaching me the joys of this humble little culinary bundle of joy. I made it a little differently than he did when I was growing up: his version with “Sandwich Spread” and cheddar on white bread evolved into mine with jalapeño jack and fresh baby spinach on wheat, but it’s still a wonderful go-to comfort food item.

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There’s really no recipe for this:  simply scramble a couple of eggs the way you like them (don’t forget the salt and pepper), toast a couple of pieces of bread, and assemble by resting the eggs atop a bed of baby spinach or perhaps some thinly sliced tomatoes on the bottom piece of toast, adding a slice of your favorite cheese and topping with the second piece of toast.  Voila, a lovely dinner for one, reminiscent of your childhood.  Or mine, at least.

I’m curious – what is YOUR easy comfort food when you’re home alone?

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Big Food for Good Times: The U-Boat Sub

The Grill-Meister owned a German deli here in our little suburb of Houston for a while, years before we met.  The relics of that adventure are “I would never want to own a restaurant again” and this marvelous sandwich, the U-Boat.  It’s a German-ish variation of an Italian sub sandwich.

The U-Boat is party food.  Big bites for people with big appetites.  Perfect for big games or big parties or just a bunch of hungry teenagers.

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The U-Boat is magnificent in its simplicity

I convinced the Grill-Meister to revisit the U-Boat recently for a Super Bowl party we were attending, and documented his every move as he made it.  Here is the recipe, just for you.

The U-Boat Sub

Ingredients (serves 4 as a main course, 8-12 as an appetizer)

  • Large loaf of soft Italian or French bread (not a baguette), sliced in half longways
  • 7 oz. thinly sliced Black Forest ham
  • 5 oz. thinly sliced garlic (German) bologna
  • 2 oz. thinly sliced hard salami
  • 6-8 slices each of provolone, American and Swiss cheese
  • 2 large, ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, shredded or sliced in ribbons
  • Your favorite Italian dressing, about 1/4 cup or enough to spread across the top of the French bread
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Large wooden picks (optional)

Cooking Instructions

Gather all ingredients and place the bread on a cutting board.  Starting with the ham, add a layer of meat, then alternate with a layer of cheese, overlapping the slices in each layer.  Then scatter a layer of red onions, followed by the tomatoes.  Add a liberal amount of freshly ground pepper, then the lettuce.  Sprinkle a generous amount of the Italian dressing on the second half of the bread, then position it atop the sandwich.  If you’re serving the U-Boat as an appetizer, use the picks to secure it in sections, about 1 1/2 inches apart.  If it is a main course, cut the U-Boat in quarters.

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Origins

Where did the name U-Boat come from?  The Original Italian U-Boat was a successful submarine sandwich restaurant in Chicago that swelled from a single location in 1975 to 32 stores in its heyday, only to file for bankruptcy and close during the recession in 1983.  Chicagoans remember it fondly, according to this article.  There isn’t a recipe for their U-Boat Sub online, although it may exist in someone’s attic.  The Grill-Meister’s U-Boat is similar to recipes for an Italian Sub, although it has a German spin with the Black Forest ham and garlic bologna.

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The Italian U-Boat restaurants closed in 1983

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Canadian Bacon, Provolone and Mushroom Panini

Panini Time!
A previous panini

We love to make paninis when we visit Little House in the Rockies in Central Colorado.  There’s something about eating a hearty sandwich by the fire while looking out the window at a snowy forest – it’s comforting food in an even more comforting setting.

The latest is a throw-together panini that turned out great!  Canadian bacon, provolone, mushrooms and fresh basil on ciabatta buns rocks!  Here are some loose instructions; this is a recipe that is wonderful in its inexactness.  If you don’t have a panini press (or two), just make this sandwich like a grilled cheese, turning it to cook each side.

Canadian Bacon, Provolone and Mushroom Panini (Makes 6)

Ingredients

  • 6 ciabatta buns
  • 12 Canadian bacon slices
  • 6 slices provolone cheese
  • 2/3 cup of sliced mushrooms
  • approximately 1/4 cup Italian dressing
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh basil, roughly chopped or torn
  • freshly ground pepper
  • small amount of olive oil in a bowl (to brush on the buns)
  • Dijon mustard and dill pickles (optional, for serving)

Cooking Instructions

Toss the mushrooms in a small bowl with just enough Italian dressing to coat them. Open the ciabatta buns and lay them out on a cutting board, then arrange mushrooms on the bottom half of each bun. Top with a generous amount of the torn basil, then with freshly ground pepper.  Next, add the provolone, one slice for each sandwich, folding the slices so that they don’t hang over the sides of the buns.  Follow with two slices of Canadian bacon for each sandwich, then add the bun tops.  Turn the paninis over and brush lightly with olive oil on the bottom.

Heat the panini press to medium and add the sandwiches, olive oil side down, then brush the tops with more olive oil.  Close the press carefully, press down, and cook until the inside of the paninis are done and the ciabatta buns are nicely toasted.  Serve with Dijon mustard or other condiments, as desired.

Canadian Bacon, Provolone and Mushroom Paninis
Assembling the ingredients makes everything go faster
Panini with Mushrooms and Basil
Start with the mushrooms and basil; we left the mushrooms off of a couple paninis because one of our party is not in love with them
Panini with Canadian Bacon
Arrange the provolone and then the Canadian bacon atop the mushrooms and basil
Paninis in Presses
About ten minutes in the panini press results in a wonderful sandwich

Paninis Done

Note:  these panini presses are Sunbeam, and while they’re fine for a little cabin in the Rockies, we prefer the one we have at home.  It gets a workout every Wednesday when the Grill-Meister makes dinner, AKA Sandwich Wednesday.  Read all about it in the posts below, which also provide a couple of recipes and panini cookbook recommendations.

Ham and Sharp Cheddar Panini on Jalapeño Cheese Bread
Hearty Ham and Sharp Cheddar Panini on Jalapeño-Cheese Bread

Happy paninis!

 

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

 

Chipotle Chicken Salad

I first tasted Chipotle Chicken Salad on a multi-family road trip to the Rio Frio area of West Texas.  It was a marvelous concoction by my friend Theresa on her day to make lunch for the crowd. I never got her recipe, and she is cooking with the angels now.  I miss her every day.  But I devised my own recipe based on that taste memory, and it’s pretty darn good.  It’s also very easy, and quick. I made it recently as an appetizer for a football-watching party and aw, shucks, there was abundant praise.  This recipe is as foodie-worthy as it is appropriate for a tailgate party.  Hmmm, there’s a big game coming up…

 

Chipotle Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked chicken, white and dark meat, skin off, roughly chopped (one regular-sized rotisserie chicken should yield about 3 cups when deboned)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (red, white or yellow based on your preference or mood)
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup jalapeño jack or jalapeño cheddar cheese
  • 1 minced chipotle chile and 1 1/2 tbsp. of the adobo sauce (from a small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 can of mild green chiles (4 oz.)
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ancho chile pepper (ground)
  • bread, rolls or crackers for serving, or you can put it on a bed of mixed greens
  • pepper jelly spread (optional), if you make little slider sandwiches
  • chopped cilantro for garnishing

Cooking Instructions

Combine the chicken, onion, cilantro and cheese in a medium bowl and toss.  In a small bowl, mix the chipotle and adobo sauce, yogurt, mayonnaise, green chiles, salt and ancho chile powder, then pour over the chicken combination.  Stir well to mix, taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.  You can also add more mayo or yogurt if the mixture is too dry.

Garnish with cilantro and serve with crackers, slider rolls or on a bed of mixed greens.  Pepper jelly is a great condiment; I like the Inferno Sauce from Just Pure Flavors, a regular at our local farmers’ market.

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I took this batch to a football playoff party and let the guests make their own sliders
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We donated the (scant) leftovers of the first batch to the gracious party hosts, and were so sad to leave it behind that I made some more for us the very next weekend

About the Ingredients

I use a rotisserie chicken for this recipe, both the white and dark meat, which provides a broader range of taste and texture than just using chicken breast.

I go back and forth between using red, white or yellow onions – they are all good for their own reasons.  Red onions are apropos in Southwest dishes, and pretty.  Yellow onions are sweet and mellow.  White onions are crunchy, sharper and more pungent.  It’s all dependent upon your onion mood.

The Greek yogurt really gives the chicken salad a tart and tangy taste, while the mayo provides a sweet creaminess.  I like using them together for the balance.  You can use nonfat yogurt and light mayonnaise without impacting the taste, in my humble opinion.

If you have never used chipotle chies, it’s easy.  Just pop open the can and use the amount you need, saving the rest for later.  For this recipe, fish out a whole chipotle pepper, then mush your measuring spoon in the adobo sauce to get the 1 1/2 tbsp. you need.

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I like McCormick’s Ancho Chile Pepper for the dried spice-it-up kick.  If you can’t find it, cayenne will do, but it won’t be as multidimensional, taste-wise.

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As the “delivery device” for serving the Chipotle Chicken Salad, I used King’s Hawaiian Rolls this time, both jalapeño and regular-flavored, and of course the jalapeño ones went first – bring on the spice!  The slider-sized sandwiches are just right for a hearty party like the football-watching event we attended.  160212-jalapeno-rolls-framed-w-pkg-300x300

Wheat Thins or water crackers are also a great delivery device, more appropriate for snacking or an appetizer for a cocktail party.

 

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

 

Hearty Ham & Sharp Cheddar Panini on Jalapeño-Cheese Bread

If you saw my post about Sandwich Wednesday, you know that the Grill-Meister is also a whiz at panini-making.  We’re at our cabin in the Rocky Mountains right now, and panini are definitely on the menu.

Czech Stop Jalapeño Cheese Bread
The Jalapeño-Cheese bread from the Czech Stop is not for the faint of heart! The bread is very important in this recipe.

First-night food when you’re traveling and have landed at your destination needs to be easy.  Right?  That’s why we settled on the Hearty Ham and Sharp Cheddar Paninis.  We brought the last of the Christmas ham with us on our cross-country driving trip, and picked up some wonderfully spicy jalapeño-cheese bread on our requisite road-snack stop at the Czech Stop in West, Texas.  (There’s an upcoming blog about the Czech Stop – it is legendary.)  The Grill-Meister figured that sharp cheddar would compliment the bread and the ham perfectly, and he figured right.  He’s smart that way.

This recipe is so easy it hardly needs to be typed out.  I bet you could make it easily just from these directions:  4 slices of bread, enough ham for two sandwiches, sliced red onion, and a bit of sharp cheddar.  Assemble, brush with olive oil or butter, and press on the panini press, or cook like a grilled cheese.  That is all.

But I’ll be a little more prescriptive, just in case.

Ham and Sharp Cheddar Paninis on Jalapeno-Cheese Bread

Ingredients

  • Four thick slices of jalapeño-cheese bread, or other specialty bread of your choice; make sure the slices are of even thickness if you’re using a panini press
  • 1/4 lb of sliced ham (we used spiral sliced ham leftover from holiday entertaining)
  • Enough sliced sharp cheddar for two sandwiches
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Olive oil or butter for

Cooking Instructions

Heat the panini press to medium. Lay out the four slices of bread on a cutting board. Put a small amount of olive oil in a saucer or small dish, and then brush it on one side of each piece of bread, then turn over. Alternatively, put a thin spread of butter on one side of each piece, then turn over. Assemble the sandwiches:

  • Place a layer of cheddar on two slices of bread, reserving a small amount.
  • Top the cheddar with the ham.
  • Add the sliced red onion.
  • Top the ham and onion with a bit more cheddar. This will help the fillings “stick” to the top slice of bread and prevent the sandwich fillings from falling out.
  • Place the remaining two slices of bread atop the filling on each sandwich.

Put the sandwiches onto the panini press, close the lid and press gently. Cook until the filling is hot and the bread is golden brown. If you don’t have a panini press, cook the sandwiches like a grilled cheese, first on one side in a large, flat skillet, then on the other, pressing down slightly.

There are only a few ingredients in this hearty ham and cheese panini.
There are only a few ingredients in this hearty ham and cheese panini.
The finished product is appetizing - and filling!
The finished product is appetizing – and filling!

Voila! You have a tasty, main-course sandwich that only needs a salad or fruit. On our just-arrived-at-the-cabin-weary-from-traveling-day, we just had clementines on the side. It was just fine.

We left 2015 Winter Storm Goliath behind us as we drove across the New Mexico-Colorado Border. Travel days call for easy dinners!
We left 2015 Winter Storm Goliath behind us as we drove across the New Mexico-Colorado Border. Travel days call for easy dinners!
This rabbit showed up at the back door of Little House in the Rockies, right before dinner.  Maybe he likes paninis?
This rabbit showed up at the back door of Little House in the Rockies, right before dinner. Maybe he likes paninis?
This was our view this morning, looking out toward Breckenridge.  Nature is the BEST!
This was our view this morning, looking out toward Breckenridge. Nature is the BEST!