Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.
TIP To cut calories in any of these sandwiches, substitute "light" bread or English muffins.
4 (1/2-inch-thick) eggplant slices (6 to 7 ounces)
2 red bell peppers, cut in half (seeds and core removed)
12 ounces zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
12 ounces yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 small (3-inch diameter) red onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
4 portobello mushroom caps
4 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 (3-ounce) ciabatta rolls, split horizontally
8 ounces reduced fat Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat 3 baking sheet pans with cooking spray. Place the vegetables on the 3 pans. The bell peppers should be skin-side up, and the gills of the mushrooms should face down.
2. Brush all vegetables except red peppers and tomatoes with olive oil; sprinkle with salt. Roast in oven, rotating pans every 10 minutes, until vegetables are lightly browned and crisp-tender; a total of 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven.
3. Stack vegetables on bottom half of each roll. Place top halves, cut sides up, on a baking sheet; top bread with cheese. Bake in oven 2 to 3 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and place the bread, cheese side down, on top of the sandwiches. Press lightly so the warm cheese adheres to the top layer of vegetables. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving 549 calories, 30 g protein, 63 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 22 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 910 mg sodium
4 slices center-cut bacon
4 (4-ounce) salmon fillets
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
8 slices sourdough bread
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon drained capers
4 lettuce leaves
8 slices tomato
1. Cook the bacon in a large, nonstick skillet; transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Cut each strip in half.
2. Season salmon with salt and pepper; add to skillet and cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until golden and cooked through.
3. Toast the bread.
4. Combine mayonnaise, lemon zest and capers in bowl; spread mixture on top of each slice of bread. Place lettuce leaf on each of 4 slices, top with 2 tomato slices and salmon. Top with 2 pieces of bacon and close sandwiches. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving 555 calories, 33 g protein, 40 g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 28 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 1,036 mg sodium
CHICKEN, SUN-DRIED TOMATO AND KALE PANINI
4 4-ounce pieces skinless boneless chicken breast, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup drained sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped
8 ounces torn kale (about 8 cups)
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella, divided
8 slices Italian bread
1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium high; add chicken and cook until golden brown on undersides, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook until internal temperature is 160 degrees, about another 5 minutes. Transfer to plate.
2. Add garlic and sun-dried tomato to skillet and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add kale and cook, tossing, until kale is tender but still bright green, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from pan.
3. Place half the cheese on each of 4 slices of bread; top with chicken and kale. Finish with another layer of cheese and close the sandwiches.
4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet and add as many sandwiches as comfortably fit. Place a heavy skillet on top of the sandwiches, weighting it with a big can. Cook until sandwiches are golden on the undersides, about 3 minutes; turn and cook until the cheese is melted and the sandwiches are again golden on the undersides, about another 3 minutes. Repeat until all 4 sandwiches are golden. Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition for each serving 454 calories, 37 g protein, 44 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 15 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 853 mg sodium