A warm, gooey, cheesy sandwich on crusty bread is the perfect end to a cold winter day.
I love warm sandwiches any time of year but particularly in winter. Whether it’s a grilled cheese or another concoction a hot, toasty, cheesy sandwich really gets my taste buds dancing.
The wonderful thing about a sandwich is it’s so easy and you can make a single serving.
This week, I have three incredible sandwiches to share with you. These are restaurant quality sandwiches that you can make at home.
My Chicken, Mushroom Tapenade Cheese Sandwich is one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever tried. I make a homemade tapenade with mushrooms and olives, then add cream cheese to hold it together. Then layer that with chicken and mild Havarti and sharp Parmesan and fresh basil on toasted bread. It’s amazing.
The next sandwich I actually call “Garden of Eden” because it’s sinfully good. It has a lot of sweetness to it, but it’s still a wonderful dinner sandwich. Serve it with a side salad or vegetables and you have a meal. First, I mix Grand Marnier and cream cheese together and then layer that mixture on a croissant with brie, blueberry preserves and sliced strawberries. If you’ve had a cheese plate with jam and fruit, this sandwich takes all those concepts and grills it on a buttery croissant. Sound delectable? It is.
And finally, my Shrimp, Horseradish and Sundried Tomato Sandwich has long been a favorite of mine. I created the sandwich after tasting something similar in a tea room. It was served with fresh tomatoes, which I didn’t like, so I used sundried instead and upgraded the bread to French bread (it was served on a hoagie style bun). I tweaked the recipe recently because I had leftover cocktail shrimp from a party. I didn’t want it to go to waste, so I used it in this sandwich. My old version called for raw shrimp that was sauteed in butter but this one uses already cooked shrimp. I mix mayonnaise, garlic powder, horseradish and sundried tomatoes and layer that on bread. Then I add the shrimp and two types of cheese and cook this for five minutes. It’s marvelous and incredibly easy to make. It is perfect paired with a salad.
Any one of these gooey sandwiches should make your taste buds happy. Enjoy.
Chicken, Mushroom Tapenade Cheese Sandwich
Just wait until you taste this sandwich. Creamy Havarti melts perfectly on this sandwich, which is stuffed with a homemade mushroom tapenade, chicken, sundried tomatoes and herbs, cream cheese, and then topped with salty Parmesan. It's an explosion of flavor and textures. This is fantastic with a glass of dry red wine (open the good stuff; this sandwich is worth it).
Three-fourths of French baguette
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
7 Spanish green olives
1 large portabella mushroom cap
1/3 of a small red bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes
3/4 cup chopped rotisserie chicken breast
3 ounces cream cheese
3 slices of Havarti
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
5 basil leaves
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place mushroom, green olives, red bell pepper and sundried tomatoes in a food processor and process into small pieces (like a tapenade consistency).
In a medium nonstick pan, heat the olive oil. When hot, add chopped onion and mushroom mixture and rosemary and cook for seven minutes. Then stir in cream cheese until it is well combined and remove from heat. Stir in chopped rotisserie chicken.
Cut the baguette in half horizontally, being careful not to slice it all the way through. Then open it up and place Havarti slices on top.
Fill the sandwich with most of the mushroom mixture (there will be a little leftover). Top the mushroom tapenade with Parmesan and bake the sandwich for seven minutes (or until cheese melts and bread is toasty).
Add fresh basil to the sandwich and serve. Prepare to be wowed.
Garden of Eden
This delectable sandwich features smooth cream cheese whipped with orange liqueur, slices of melting creamy brie, blueberry preserves and fresh sweet, strawberries all sandwiched in a buttery croissant. This versatile grilled cheese can be served as dessert, for brunch, as breakfast or at a party. It’s sinfully good.
As a brie lover, I personally like it served for dinner with a glass of red wine.
1 ounce of brie, cut into thirds
1 tablespoon softened cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon good quality wild Blueberry Preserves
2 strawberries, hulled and sliced
Unsalted butter for the pan
Slice croissant in half, horizontally, being careful not to slice it all the way through.
Stir together the cream cheese, Grand Marnier and powdered sugar until well combined and spread on top half of the sandwich. Then, spread the blueberry preserves on the bottom half of the croissant.
Next, place brie slices on the croissant and top with fresh sliced strawberries. Close the croissant.
Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat and add a teaspoon of butter. Grill the sandwich for 2-3 minutes per side. Serve immediately.
Shrimp, Horseradish and Sundried Tomato Sandwich
1 (6-inch) piece of French bread or baguette
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 to 2 teaspoons horseradish sauce (depends on strength and preference)
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Dash of garlic salt
1 1/2 teaspoons diced sundried tomatoes
6-7 cocktail shrimp, tails removed
1 tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese
Dash of Italian seasoning
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice French bread in half. Mix together the mayonnaise, horseradish sauce and garlic powder. I say to add 1-2 teaspoons or horseradish sauce because the strength of those varies dramatically by brand so taste it and start small.
Spread 3/4 of the mixture on the bottom of the sandwich. Top with sundried tomatoes. Layer the shrimp on top of the tomatoes. Then add the rest of the mayonnaise mixture on the top slice of bread. Sprinkle the cheese on the top slice of bread. Sprinkle the shrimp with a dash of garlic salt and Italian seasoning — just a tiny dash.
Place sandwich on baking sheet and bake 5-6 minutes until the exterior is crunchy and the cheese has melted. Serve immediately.