Some Like it HOT

By Cindy Coopwood & Cordelia Capps
Photography by Bill Powell 

4 Baked Sandwiches to try Right Now!

It’s a shame some think of sandwiches as only a lunchtime option. If you start with good bread, load it with flavorful, cheesy ingredients and bake them to delicious, toasty perfection, the humble sandwich transitions very well into something quite dinner-worthy. Made with ingredients that are easily kept on hand— they just might become your go-to for everything from busy weeknight meals to last minute game-day fare, or paired with your favorite soup for a casual get-together.

CHICKEN, BACON & RANCH SANDWICHES
Assemble these ahead of time for a quick weeknight supper, or for a hearty game-day treat. Simply cover and keep chilled till ready to bake.

1 pound thin sliced roasted deli chicken
8 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
12 slices colby jack cheese
1⁄3 cup prepared ranch salad dressing
1⁄2 cup butter
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a serrated knife slice horizontally through the middle of the rolls, placing the bottoms side by side on a sheet pan. Set the tops aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt together the butter, garlic salt and onion powder. Brush the cut sides (both tops and bottoms) of the sliced rolls with about one-third of the seasoned butter. Place half of the cheese slices over the bottoms, tearing slices if needed, to fit. Next, layer the chicken and bacon crumbles over the cheese. Spoon ranch dressing over bacon and top with an additional layer of cheese. Place the buttered tops on the cheese. Brush remaining butter on top and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. To prevent over browning, cover loosely with foil. Bake covered for about 15 minutes then uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden. Separate and serve while warm with additional ranch dressing, if desired.

CUBAN SANDWICH
This recipe can easily be multiplied depending on the size of your crowd. We used a large loaf of Italian bread cut into several sections for individual sandwiches.

1 small loaf of bread, preferably Cuban or Italian
Yellow mustard to taste
5 ounces deli sliced ham
5 ounces plain pulled pork
2 slices Swiss cheese
Dill pickles, sliced lengthwise
2 to 3 tablespoons butter

Slice bread lengthwise and assemble sandwich. Spread mustard, then layer ham, pulled pork, pickles and cheese. Butter one side of sandwich and place on griddle, grill pan or panini press. Cook until cheese begins to melt, then spread butter on alternate side and flip, cooking until brown.

 

ITALIAN SLIDERS
Feel free to choose your favorite italian deli and cured meats for this tasty, cheesy sandwich. There are many varieties such as mortadella, many types of salami, sorprosatta, prosciutto and more.

1 package of 12 Hawaiian buns
6 to 8 ham slices
6to8 salamislices
6 to 8 large pepperoni slices
peppered salami
12 to 18 provolone slices
2 to 3 tablespoon grainy mustard
1⁄4 cup butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Carefully cut the tray of buns in half horizontally. While still attached, place the bottom buns on a baking sheet or pan. Spread bottoms liberally with the mustard. Begin layering the sliced meats and cheese; ham, cheese, salami, more cheese, then pepperoni. When all layers are finished, replace top half of the buns. Melt the butter in a small pan and add the garlic and parsley. Brush onto the top of the buns. Bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the tops of the buns are browned. Cover lightly with foil if they begin to over brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly, then cut apart and serve.


SPICY ROAST BEEF HOAGIES
Simple deli sliced roast beef is transformed when cooked in beef broth with hot chili pepper spread for a little heat. Toasting the buttered bun keeps the sandwich from getting too soggy.

1 pound thin sliced deli roast beef
1 cup beef stock
3 tablespoons hot chili pepper spread, if desired
1⁄2 teaspoon course black pepper salt to taste
6 hoagie buns
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
sliced Monterey Jack cheese
sliced Colby Jack cheese
1 jar sliced hot cherry peppers (roasted red peppers may be substituted)
1 jar sliced pepperoncini rings

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large pan over medium heat stir together beef stock, chili pepper spread (optional) and black pepper. Add sliced beef and stir until beef is coated. Simmer beef for about 10 minutes. Taste beef and adjust seasoning, adding salt a little at a time as needed. Butter both halves of hoagie buns. Place buns butter side up on a baking sheet and bake until slightly brown, about 10 minutes. Pile roast beef on toasted buns, allowing buns to absorb some of the juices. Add cheese slices and place back in oven just until melted. Top with pepper rings and cherry peppers.