Superbowl 2014

In honor of Superbowl Sunday (I still don’t know who I’m rooting for tonight), here’s a few recipes you may wany to try this evening at your party for the Big Game:

This is the first year in a long time that either a) my husband doesn’t have to work, or b) we’re not going anywhere. We’re planning on Slingboxing the game (thanks to my father-in-law) and taking it easy. I’m personally looking forward to seeing Bruno Mars at halftime 🙂

Have a great Sunday, everyone!

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Asparagus & Prosciutto Panini

I’ve said it before, and as this blog continues, I’ll continue to say it again:

“All of humankind has one thing in common: the sandwich. I believe that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich.” ~ Liz Lemon

I love, love, LOVE Liz Lemon. And sandwiches.

One of the first blogs I ever started following was Panini Happy – probably around 2007 or 2008. I love Kathy’s writing and she has some fantastic ideas for not only grilled cheese, but uses for your panini press. We registered for and received one as a wedding shower gift and it has given us nothing but amazing results over the past several years.

While doing my nightly perusing of my favorite blogs, I came across her recipe for an asparagus and prosciutto panini sandwich. I had just picked up some asparagus at a local farmer’s market and was looking for a fun idea for how to use it. This panini caught my eye – using flavors and ingredients that I absolutely adore. And, of course, it’s a sandwich!

Asparagus & Prosciutto Panini – adapted very closely from Panini Happy

  • 1 pound asparagus, tough ends broken off (bend each spear; it will break in the ‘right’ place)
  • 8 slices of asiago/parmesan bread – I used Pepper Parmesan from our local breadworks
  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • 8 oz fresh mozzerella cheese, sliced into about 1/4″ (make sure you have enough for all the bread!
  1. Turn on your panini press (mine doesn’t have a heat control – if it does, Kathy recommends a medium high heat).
  2. Lay the asparagus spears in a single layer onto the press, and grill for about 3 minutes until they turn a bright green. Remove from heat & wipe down the grates.
  3. To assemble the sandwiches: On one slice of bread, lay a slice of prosciutto, followed by about two slices of cheese. Then, add as many asparagus spears as will fit onto the bread without falling off. Top the sandwich with another slice of bread.
  4. Grill each sandwich for about 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and the bread is nice and crunchy.

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The “asparagus and prosciutto” combination is one that I’ve had before, and really enjoy – and it definitely works between two slices of really good bread. I think I would like to make this again sometime, but with a different kind of cheese – not sure what would work, or what would be too overbearing? Hmm…

…either way, this sandwich is fantastic, easy to make, and is on the lighter side. I ate one before heading out to rec soccer – and once I started unwindulaxing (awesome word, thank you Lemon!) it was time for another one since I was pretty hungry. It definitely hit the spot! So while asparagus is still in season – and time is running out – go make this sandwich.

King’s Hawaiian Roast Beef Sandwiches

This is a long overdue post – because it’s a recipe from New Years Eve! 🙂

We spent the evening with some good friends, C & S, as they were hosting a NYE party. My husband & I wanted to help them prepare some of the food that they would be serving (to about 20 people or so, plus a few kids). We first had these sandwiches on Christmas Eve, made by C’s sister. The three of us decided to recreate them for New Years, with just a few twists.

These are not the healthiest sandwiches in the world, but they have GREAT flavor & are a hit at any get-together. They’re best served nice and hot, fresh from the oven.

King’s Hawaiian Roast Beef Sandwiches – adapted from Recipe Schmessipe

  • 1 12-pack King’s Hawaiian Original Rolls
  • 1 lb. roast beef from the deli, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. provolone cheese
  • 1.5 sticks of butter
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1.5 tsp. worcestershire sauce
  • Penzey’s Sandwich Sprinkle
  • 1 onion, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350*.
  2. In a saucepan, melt butter and mix in mustard, worcestershire sauce, and onion. Simmer for several minutes.
  3. Cut the entire pack of rolls in half, horizontally, so that you can make small sandwiches out of them.
  4. In a greased 9×13 baking pan, place the bottom halves of the rolls, and spread 1/3 of the butter-onion mixture over them.
  5. Place a folded slice (or two) of roast beef on each roll. Then, layer slices of provolone cheese over all.
  6. Replace the tops of the rolls and spread the remaining onion mixture over top. Sprinkle liberally with the Penzeys blend.
  7. Cover and bake for 15-20 minutes. Once they are finished baking, seperate with a spatula & serve.
Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven!

We served these with a horseradish mayonnaise of mayo, horseradish, salt & pepper. Since we were serving a significant amount of people at the party, we doubled this recipe, and made a double batch of the original ham & swiss sandwiches.

They were a hit – and paired very well with the libations that were served 😉

Easy Caprese Panini

I’ve decided that I’m officially obsessed with the garlic scape pesto I made. We’ve eaten it  (together and on our own) atop of fresh bread, tortellini, and in sandwiches. It’s so fresh-tasting, less garlicky than typical pesto, and, well, is just awesome.

Another flavor combination that really screams summer to me is the ‘caprese’ salad, a basic combination of tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella. I had the tomatoes laying around, as well as the mozzarella; both were probably going to go bad in the coming days, and needed to used up. I figured, why not use them with the pesto?

Easy Caprese Panini – The Spicy Simmer

  • 4 slices good bread (I used pepper parmesan & rosemary olive breads from work, lucky me!)
  • 1 roma tomato, sliced
  • several slices of fresh mozzarella
  • 4 tbsp garlic scape pesto
  • balsamic vinegar, for dipping
  1. Spread 1 tbsp pesto on a slice of bread. Add tomatoes, then mozzarella. 
  2. Spread 1 tbsp onto the piece of bread that completes the sandwich. Form sandwich 😉
  3. On a heated panini press or grill pan, sprayed with cooking spray, grill the sandwich until the mozzarella melts.
  4. Makes two sandwiches.

The panini, atop rosemary-olive bread. Divine.

This was a really easy lunch to prepare, and was also very quick, which was helpful since my husband needed to head off to work in the afternoon. I simply made the panini, cut it in half, and sent him on his way. He’s not much of a fresh tomato fan, but agreed that the panini was pretty good. Definitely one to make again, once I make my next batch of pesto 🙂
Today is another blessed day off from the bakery, and instead of writing drill for marching band, I’m going to play around in my kitchen some more. I’m going to try dabbling in the art of refrigerator canning…look out!
 
Question of the Day: Are you a fan of pickles, let alone pickled vegetables?

Manchego & Mushroom Paninis

I came across this recipe in my March 2012 issue of Cooking Light magazine. Since it’s Lent, I’ve been looking for a few new meatless meals to add to my arsenal. I can only eat so much seafood during this time of year (sad, isn’t it?). I made this tonight and made a few slight adjustments, based on what I had in the house today.

Manchego & Mushroom Paninis – adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 clove minced fresh garlic
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 (8-ounce) package presliced cremini mushrooms (also known as ‘baby bellas’)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 8 slices sourdough bread
  • 6 ounces shaved Manchego cheese
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 garlic clove

Directions:

1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add shallots, thyme, garlic, and mushrooms. Season with salt & pepper. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently.(You may think, what liquid?! After about 5 minutes, the mushrooms begin to release water.) Add vinegar; cook until liquid has almost completely evaporated.

2. On four slices of bread, place some pieces of cheese, followed by the mushroom mixture and a few more pieces of cheese (try to make all 4 pieces as even as possible). Top with remaining bread slices.

3. Coat a grill pan or both sides of a panini press with oil. Grill the sandwiches, two at a time, until each side is golden brown & cheese has melted. *If using a grill pan, place a cast-iron or heavy skillet on top of the sandwiches so that they flatten.*

4. When sandwiches are done, rub the top and bottom of each with the garlic clove.

Manchego & Mushroom Panini, with sweet potato fries on the side

After dinner this evening, Mike asked me if I would save this recipe, to make again. While my husband does enjoy most of the dinners I prepare, it’s not very often that he asks me to save one.

This dish was very easy to prepare – an added bonus for if it had been a long day for the both of us. I also liked how much flavor the mushrooms had. The bread was nice and crisp, without being too greasy; we bought the bread from a local baker and sliced it on our own, to keep the loaf as fresh as possible. The garlic oil (from rubbing the clove on the warm bread) was a nice touch as well. This sandwich was enjoyable and I’m looking forward to making it again!