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LifestyleColumnistsMarge Perry

3 Simple dinner sandwich recipes

An open-faced dinner sandwich with roasted vegetables, lightly

An open-faced dinner sandwich with roasted vegetables, lightly mashed white beans and mozzarella. Credit: Marge Perry

OPEN-FACED ROASTED VEGETABLE AND FRESH MOZZARELLA SANDWICHES

1 large zucchini (about 1 pound)

2 medium red bell peppers, each seeded, trimmed and cut into 4 panels

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided

1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

3 oil-packed sundried tomatoes, drained and chopped

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

4 slices country-style wheat bread, about 1 1/2 ounces each

1 cup baby arugula

6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 8 slices

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Coat a large sheet pan with cooking spray.

2. Cut the zucchini across in half around its equator, and cut each half lengthwise in 4 pieces. (You will end up with 16 thin rectangles). Toss it with the bell peppers, 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper in a bowl. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on the sheet pan.

3. Roast 15 minutes. Transfer the zucchini to a plate and return the bell peppers to the oven and roast until tender, about 5 minutes longer.

4. Meanwhile, combine the cannellini beans, sundried tomatoes, vinegar, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Mix well and roughly mash with a fork so that the mixture stays together.

5. Toast the bread.  Arrange it on a clean sheet pan and top each slice with 1/4 cup arugula, 2 bell pepper panels, 1/4 bean mixture, 4 pieces of zucchini, and 2 slices mozzarella. Transfer to the oven and roast until the cheese has melted and the vegetables are warm, about 4 to 5 minutes. Makes 4 servings

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 400 calories, 17 g protein, 36 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber, 19 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 631 mg sodium

SMOKEY JOES

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

1 green bell pepper, cut in 1/2-inch dice

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika

1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey

3/4 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 English muffins, split and toasted

1. Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, green pepper and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are somewhat softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin and smoked paprika and cook, stirring, until the spices are well distributed, about 1 minute.  

2. Add the turkey and cook, stirring and breaking the meat into crumbles with your spoon, until it is no longer pink, about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the ketchup, sugar, and Worcestershire, and cook until the mixture is slightly thickened and the turkey is cooked through, about another 5 minutes.

3. Place the two sides of an English muffin on each plate and top both with the mixture. Makes 4 servings

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 481 calories, 36 g protein, 59 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 15 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 851 mg sodium

TIP: Make a double batch of the Smokey Joe filling and freeze one for a heat-and-eat dinner.

BUFFALO CHICKEN PANINI

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

3 tablespoons light sour cream

2 teaspoons cider vinegar, divided

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

3 tablespoons Louisiana style hot sauce (such as Frank’s)

1 tablespoon butter, melted

2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

4 4-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness (about 1/2-inch)

8 thin slices sourdough bread

1. Combine the blue cheese, sour cream, 1 teaspoon of the vinegar, and the Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Combine the remaining 1 teaspoon vinegar, hot sauce, and butter in a large bowl.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a grill pan or skillet over medium high. Add the chicken and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into the thickest point registers 160 degrees. Transfer the cooked chicken to the large bowl with the hot sauce and turn the chicken several times to coat each cutlet.

3. Spread the top of the bread slices with the blue cheese mixture. Place the chicken on four of the slices, and spoon any hot sauce mixture sauce remaining in the bowl over the chicken. Place the remaining slices of bread, blue cheese sauce facing down, over the chicken to close the sandwiches.

4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet or grill pan. Place the sandwiches in the pan and top with a second, heavy pan to press them down. Cook until the underside is golden and toasted, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and cook until the underside is again golden and toasted, about another 3 to 4 minutes. Makes 4 servings

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 467 calories, 35 g protein, 37 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 19 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 752 mg sodium

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