Let’s talk sandwiches …

Excuse my absence on the blog as of late, it’s been a busy couple of weeks at home between helping my family with a couple of things, enjoying time with my vacationing Wifey Nadia and celebrating the last birthday of my 20’s on Catalina Island.

I’ve cooked one of the meals for our upcoming “Southern Comfort” week, but then I put on the brakes because, well, I have been eating meals out lately. I know I said I wouldn’t, but it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, especially with late nights, birthday meals, incoming visitors–life in general.

But I will be hunkering down, and as I explained with that lasagna cupcakes recipe, I’m looking for ways to make quick meals that fit into, well, life in general. On a positive note, my weight has stayed relatively the same, and I’m not falling victim to processed fast foods, so at least some of my old habits have permanently changed for the better … though not all of them, obviously, lol.

When I need a quick meal, chances are I turn to my panini press. I love sandwiches because you can do pretty much anything with them–I recently made a Southern Chicken Sandwich with chicken breast, havarti cheese, fresh tomatoes, kale and Red Rooster mayonnaise.

Thinking up that crazy combo reminded me of Chef Brian’s Christmas Cookbook, which had quite a few yummy sandwiches in it. If you’re into sandwiches or paninis, try some of these:

-Roast beef with sliced tomato, Swiss cheese, Dijon mustard and horseradish mayonnaise

-Smoked turkey with avocado, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, Dijon mustard and olive oil mayonnaise

-Sliced tomato, basil, fresh mozzarella and basil pesto (recipe)

-Roasted chicken with bacon, tomato, avocado and chipotle mayonnaise (two chopped chipotle peppers  in adobo mixed with olive oil mayonnaise)

-Hot turkey pastrami, cole slaw, Swiss cheese, homemade Russian dressing (Olive oil mayonnaise, ketchup, small diced pickle, easy black pepper)

-Turkey Italian sausage, arugula, ricotta cheese, roasted red bell pepper and basil pesto (recipe)

-Media Noche (recipe after the jump) with citrus-marinated pork, Swiss and pickles

-Roast pork (Media noche recipe below, minus all the Cuban marinade ingredients–so, just salt and pepper), goat cheese, bacon, arugula and fig jam (recipe)

I know that’s a lot to take in, but they’re mostly simple to put together and you’ll have a solid meal in no time. Follow the jump for Chef Brian’s Media Noche recipe.

As a final tip, if you’re in Orange County, check out Cafe Chiarini in Santa Ana for your bread. They’re only open on weekdays, and each (massive) loaf is $10, but split one with a friend and you’ll still have enough to make sandwiches all week (one slice in half is enough for one sandwich, the loaf is that large). It’s my favorite sandwich bread in OC, and totally worth trying if you haven’t yet.

Anyways, on to that Media Noche …

Chef Brian’s Media Noche

6 oz. pork chop
1 orange, juiced
1 lime, juiced
1 lemon, juiced
1 t dried oregano
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 T olive oil
2  T yellow onion, minced
1 ciabatta roll,
1 dill pickle, sliced
sliced ham, to taste, optional
2  T olive oil mayonnaise
1 T Dijon mustard
2 slices Swiss cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Place pork in a ziplock bag with orange, lime and lemon juices, oregano, garlic, 1 T of olive oil and onion. Marinate for  30 minutes-1 hour. Remove pork chop from marinade, pat dry and reserve.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium saute  pan over  medium-high heat, add the remaining olive oil. Saute pork chop until golden brown on one side. Add remaining marinade to the pan and transfer to the oven, cooking to medium, about 8-10 minutes.

3. Slice and toast ciabatta roll.

4. Mix mayonnaise and Dijon. Spread  on the bread, and top the spread with pickles. Slice the pork thinly and place on the roll. Drizzle the reduced marinade over the pork and top with cheese. Place the sandwich back in the oven to melt the cheese, about 30 seconds.

5. Remove and serve. Enjoy!

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