Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.
TIP When pressing or weighting sandwiches as they cook, top them with a skillet that is smaller than the one in which they are cooking.
CARAMELIZED ONION, TURKEY, CHEDDAR AND CRANBERRY PANINI
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 cups thinly sliced onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
4 ounces reduced-fat Cheddar, thinly sliced
8 slices rye bread
8 ounces sliced leftover turkey
1/2 cup cranberry sauce or relish
1. Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sage and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden and very soft, about 14 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and wipe the skillet out.
2. Build the sandwiches: place half the cheese on each of 4 slices of bread, top with turkey, followed by the cranberry, onion-sage and the remaining cheese. Close the sandwiches.
3. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in the skillet; add 2 sandwiches and top with a heavy skillet to press the sandwiches. Cook until golden on undersides, about 2 minutes; turn sandwiches over and repeat, cooking until the cheese is melted and the bread golden. Repeat with the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil and 2 sandwiches. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving 481 calories, 13 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 33 g protein, 58 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 676 mg sodium
6 slices center-cut bacon
4 (3-ounce) rolls, split
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
4 ounces thinly sliced reduced-fat Swiss cheese
8 ounces leftover turkey
4 slices deli ham
8 slices dill pickle
1. Cook bacon in large, nonstick skillet, reserving drippings when done; transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Let cool; cut into 2-inch pieces.
2. Spread the cut sides of the rolls with the mustard. Place half the cheese on the bottom of each roll and top with the turkey, ham, pickles and bacon. Add the remaining cheese and close the sandwiches.
3. Heat bacon drippings in skillet over medium high; add 2 sandwiches and top with a heavy skillet as weight. Cook until undersides are golden; turn and cook until cheese is melted and rolls are golden on both sides. Repeat with remaining sandwiches. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving 465 calories, 13 g fat, 4g saturated fat, 41 g protein, 49 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 962 mg sodium
SPICY-SWEET TURKEY SANDWICH
1/2 cup cranberry sauce
1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder
4 hamburger rolls, split
4 ounces thinly sliced Monterey Jack cheese
8 ounces thinly sliced leftover turkey
2 plum tomatoes, sliced
1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
4 thin slices red onion
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1. Microwave cranberry sauce just long enough for it to soften, about 20 seconds. Stir in chipotle powder and spread mixture over bottom halves of the rolls.
2. Build the sandwiches: start with a layer of the cheese, followed by the turkey, tomato, lettuce, onion and avocado. Close the sandwiches and secure with toothpicks, if desired. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving 439 calories, 20 g fat, 7g saturated fat, 30 g protein, 41 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 456 mg sodium