Monday, April 23, 2012


Sandwiches are all about the bread.  A sandwich is a good as the bread you put it on.  You can pick up beautiful artisan breads now in almost any grocery store, even in little Maquoketa.   After you have picked your bread, you need to decide if you are going to grill it, toast it, or even to make the bread yourself.  How you serve it will determine texture and extra flavor. 

There are so many wonderful breads out there it is hard to pick.  Just a few choices in breads might be:

Multi grain
Soft rolls
Hard rolls
French bread or a baguette
Country biscuit
Sour dough
Soda bread
Beer bread
Different seasoned breads like onion, cheese or herbs
Foot long subs 

Bread machines are wonderful things.  You can start it in the morning and come home to warm bread hours later.  The smell of warm just baked bread is heavenly. 

Don’t be afraid to make your own.  It might be time consuming, but it is sure worth everything you put into it.  That will be another chapter.  I’ll give you the few recipes I use for bread in another blog. 

The best sandwiches I ever had… I remember two.  One was years ago at a place called the Unicorn in Clinton.  It was an open faced sandwich on Brownsberry Oatmeal bread.  That started me on buying Brownsberry bread.  It had lots of sliced roast beef piled high and sliced cucumbers on it with a dill mayo.  I make it once in awhile, but it is not the same.  Guess that first time is always special and it is hard to duplicate. 

The second one was a lobster sandwich in San Diego.  It was served on a long hard roll and was not over dressed so you could taste the lobster.  I believe that delicate meats should not have over powering flavors like peppers or onions on them.  I want to taste the lobster and I did.  The mayo was fresh homemade and out of this world.

My favorite sandwich shows what a plain Jane I am.  I used to work at a Maid Rite years ago and would watch it get made up each morning but Duane Hayes would never share the secret.  After all these years I find out it is simply a ½ side of beef ground so you are getting a types of cuts of meat for flavor and the little something that he added was Worcestershire sauce.   There is no longer a Maid Rite in Maquoketa so if I see one in Dubuque, Cedar Rapids or Davenport, I’ll often stop.  I have to have mustard, ketchup and pickle on mine.  My mom loves them too so we often go together which adds to the pleasure.

Chicken Sandwich

When making a chicken sandwich, there are a few key elements that are always necessary. 

Roasted chicken with lots of flavor (I like to buy a rotisserie chicken from the deli to save time, work and mess.  They are usually well seasoned)
White crusty bread
Arugula, bib, or lettuce of your choice
Heirloom tomato from the garden if possible (It is not thick skinned, was ripened on the vine and has more flavor)

Additional flavor can be added in the form of bacon and or golden brown, caramelized onions.  You can also add a mild cheese like mild cheddar, Queso Fresco, brie or Colby.

Veggie Sandwich

Grilled Portabella Mushroom
Onion powder and garlic powder
Salt and pepper
Swiss Cheese
Kaiser Roll

Grill your portabella mushroom in butter with a little garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper sprinkled on it.  Grill on both sides and put a slice of Swiss cheese on top to melt.  Serve on a grilled hard crusty Kaiser roll with mayo, an avocado and a tomato. 

Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich with Strawberry Jam

Here is an over the top grilled ham and cheese sandwich.  You can grill cheese with many meats and have an over the top sandwich. 

¼ inch thick slices of brioche bread (French sweet bread)
Strawberry jam or my tomato preserves (see tomato blog)
Slices of baked ham
Slices of Gruyère cheese
Softened unsalted butter

Heat a large griddle. Spread the brioche slices with the jam. Top with the ham and Gruyère and close the sandwich. Lightly butter the outside of the sandwiches and cook over moderate heat until toasted and the cheese is melted, 2 minutes per side. Cut in half and serve right away.  Want to have a sweet, sour and spicy taste?  Add a tad bit of red wine vinegar and mustard to the strawberry jam for that sweet and sour taste. 

Breakfast Sandwiches

You can put your entire breakfast into a sandwich.  The question is do you put it on a bagel, a croissant, a biscuit or grilled artisan bread.  Always grill it if you can no matter what bread you are picking.  I love croissants and like to put a sausage patty, scrabbled egg and cheese on it.  You can use Canadian bacon or bacon to substitute the sausage.  Great way to start a morning.

Meatball Sub

1 pound ground beef
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 beaten egg
1 French baguette
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt to taste
Your favor canned spaghetti sauce
Provolone cheese or fresh mozzarella
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  In a medium bowl, mix by hand the ground beef, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic, parsley, Parmesan cheese, and egg. Shape into 12 meatballs, and place in a baking dish.

Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cooked through.  Cut the baguette in half lengthwise, and remove some of the bread from the inside to make a well for the meatballs. Brush with olive oil, and season with garlic powder, a little Parmesan cheese and salt. Slip the baguette into the oven during the last 5 minutes of the meatball's time, or until lightly toasted.

While the bread toasts, warm the spaghetti sauce in a saucepan over medium heat. When the meatballs are done, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the sauce. Spoon the meatballs and sauce onto the baguette and top with slices of provolone cheese or my preference mozzarella. Return to the oven for 2 to 3 minutes to melt the cheese.

Barbeque Sandwich

1 small red onion
2 cups each of shredded green and red cabbage
¼ cup Mayo
1 bottle of your favorite barbeque sauce  (I like Open Pit Hickory and add a little honey or maple sugar to it to sweeten it.)
1 Tbsp. oil
Sliced beef brisket
1 can of beef broth
2 minced cloves garlic
Kaiser rolls split in half

Heat the oven to 350ºF.   Mix cabbages lightly.  Mix dressing and 2 Tbsp. barbecue sauce.  Add to cabbage mixture; toss to coat.  Salt lightly to bleed the juice out of the cabbage.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  It is good to this in advance so it can sit and marinate to get a juicier slaw. 
Heat your oil in large skillet. Add meat; cook 5 min. or until browned on both sides, turning after 3 min. Transfer to 13 x 9 inch baking dish or crock pot. Chop onion; sprinkle over meat. Mix broth, 1/2 cup of the remaining barbecue sauce and garlic; pour over meat. Cover.
Bake for 2 ½  to 3 hours or until meat is done (meat thermometer at 160 degrees). Let stand, covered, 10 min. Shred meat with forks; place in large bowl. Add remaining barbecue sauce; toss to coat.
Pile meat on each Kaiser roll and top with coleslaw just before serving.


Rye bread
Thousand Island dressing
Can of drained sauerkraut
Swiss cheese
Pastrami from the deli

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. 

Spread each slice of bread with Thousand Island dressing. Top the bread slices with sauerkraut, cheese and pastrami. Place the remaining bread slice on sandwich. Spread butter on the outsides of each sandwich.

Grill until browned and flip.  Grill other side until heated through, the bread is well toasted and cheese is melted.  You must serve this with a dill pickle.  It is a rule not to be broken….ever.

Pizza Burger

1 pound ground beef
1/4 pound pepperoni – chopped or ¼ Italian sausage (or both and cut back on beef)
1/4 cup pizza sauce - extra to use as a condiment
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 cup minced onion
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 
Salt and pepper to taste
Mozzarella cheese or provolone cheese
Crusty rolls

In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, pepperoni (and or sausage), pizza sauce, Italian seasoning, garlic and onions.  Mix well to combine all of the ingredients.  Divide into four equal parts and pat into burgers.  Salt and pepper each burger to taste.
Fry the burgers in a large skillet or they can easily be grilled. Cook approximately 6 minutes on each side or until they reach the desired doneness.

Place a slice of mozzarella or provolone cheese on each right before they are finished cooking. Allow the cheese to completely melt over the burger.

Variation:  I have also taken fresh mozzarella and put it inside the patty.  I really like it this way, but is takes more work.  I do not put the cheese on top then, but you could do mozzarella inside and a provolone on top to really goose it up.

Grill buns.  Spread a tablespoon of pizza sauce on each grilled bun. Place a burger on top.

No matter what sandwich I pick, I want a big dill pickle on the side to go with it.  I will ask you for yours if you don’t eat it.  It is simply a must to serve with most sandwiches in my mind.  You can skip it on the breakfast sandwich. 

I can go on and on with recipes on sandwiches I love like brats, poboys, sliders, egg salad, tuna salad, pork chop, or the Elvis grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich, but I need to stop somewhere.  You can add to this list and share under comments if you have something you love.  I’m always into sharing.  I did not post any of the sandwiches that I have already blogged like the BLT, my real hamburger, the tomato or cucumber sandwich.  You can look them up in my blog under ham loaf, lettuce, or tomato.  Soup and sandwich…it’s what’s for lunch.

Be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

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