A better name for this spicy chicken salad would be ‘absolutely fantastic, totally different, outrageously great chicken salad’, but that’s too long for a blog post title. This is not your typical chicken salad. Sure, it’s creamy, but there are special, unexpected ingredients in there too. Like cheese (in a chicken salad????!). And bell pepper (why didn’t I think of that? It adds great crunch and flavor). And tart sour cream???! And my favorite flavors, spicy smoky chipotle and cooling creamy avocado. What a great chicken salad this is! I wouldn’t change a thing about this salad.
If you aren’t going to use the entire batch at once, I do recommend that you only mix in avocado with what you will use. The avocado isn’t going to keep for long. You’re better off mixing it in when you need it.
The meat sauce in this stromboli sandwich is absolutely fantastic. It will be my go-to meat sauce from this day forward, for everything from lasagna, to spaghetti, and of course, more stromboli sandwiches. Nice and thick, but not too thick, it is packed with Italian-inspired flavors. Next time I make a batch, I’ll probably quadruple it and store the leftovers in the freezer. A quick defrost, some cooked pasta, and I have a great main dish done in no time. You can also make this meatless and you’ll have the perfect sausage for grilled sausage sandwiches or serve it up with warmed meatballs over pasta or on French bread for a meatball sandwich.
1 pound ground beef (or substitute Italian sausage)
1 medium onion, chopped
8 ounces small mushrooms, sliced thin
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup condensed tomato soup
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 12 ounce can tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375 F.
In a large skillet, crumble the beef and brown along with the onion. Drain any excess fat.
Add the mushrooms and bell pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes or until they are just starting to get soft.
Add the tomato sauce, tomato soup, garlic powder, dried oregano, chili powder, tomato paste and black pepper. Stir and reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for at least 10 minutes, the longer the more the flavors will meld. If the sauce gets too thick add a bit of water.
Cut bread in half lengthwise and scoop out as much of the bread as you can.
Transfer bread to a sheet of aluminum foil.
Fill insides with the meat mixture.
Top with cheese and cover in foil.
Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Maybe it’s because I don’t get out enough, but I’d never heard of putting Giardiniera on a meatball sandwich before. Whomever came up with the idea should be knighted (if we knighted folks in the US). Add a bit of roasted red bell pepper and you have a super-easy-to-make incredibly yummy sandwich. Perfect any time, but also great because I almost always have the ingredients to make Giardiniera meatball sandwiches on hand. I used mild Giardiniera when making these meatball sandwiches, but hot would be fantastic too. Just chop it up a bit before spooning it on top.
I did ‘cheat’ and use frozen meatballs. If I’d had more time to throw dinner together, I would’ve made a batch of my Italian meatballs. I try to keep some on hand at all times, but truth is, they are just so good that there’s just never any leftovers.
These Italian sausage sandwiches have become somewhat of a tradition in our house around New Year’s and the Superbowl. I make a nice big batch of them and let them slow cook either on the stove or in a slow cooker, ready to eat at any time. Perfect eats for watching football games, specially college bowl games. Spicy sausage with a flavorful tomato sauce loaded with peppers, onions, and mushrooms. All topped (of course) with ooey-gooey cheese. I’m not sure I’ve ever made my Italian sausage sandwiches exactly the same way each year. Sometimes I go the spicy route, sometimes I use sweet sausages. Sometimes I add more bell peppers, sometimes I just add more mushrooms. It just kind of depends on how I feel that day. If you don’t mind spicy, add more red pepper flake and a good amount of hot sauce.
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon (more or less, to taste) red pepper flake
2 loaves French bread
2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Place the pizza and tomato sauces into a large pot over medium heat.
In a large Dutch oven, heat a splash or two of oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the sausages, browning on all sides. Transfer browned sausages to the pot of sauce.
Add more oil to the Dutch oven and add all of the vegetables. Saute until just starting to get soft, then transfer to the pot of sauce along with the sausages.
Season with salt and pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flake.
Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5-6 hours, stirring occasionally.
Slice the bread in half. I prefer to do this by cutting a 'V' down the top of the bread, making a trench for the sausages and sauce. I find that the bread doesn't split so easily this way. I also remove some of the bread inside just to make more room for the great toppings.
Cut bread into lengths a tad shorter than the sausages.
Add meat and top with sauce and a little bit of the vegetables.
Top with cheese and place on a sheet pan under the oven broiler just long enough to melt the cheese.
Anita and I recently returned from the Pittsburgh, PA area. Anita was there for a conference, and I was there for food. Right down the street from our hotel was Pizza Bella. They made the most amazingly good hoagie that as soon as we returned home I had to make hoagies. And here it is in all of its glory. Great meats, cheese, and fresh toppings, all with a fantastic dressing. I hope I never have to decide between which is my favorite: hoagies or muffulettas. They are both fantastic sandwiches, both with a lot of Italian influence in the ingredients. One thing is for sure, though. The next time we are in the Pittsburgh area we’ll swing by Pizza Bella and grab more hoagies.
I’m a sliced-corned beef Reuben kind of guy. Or I was. We recently ate at a little restaurant where a Reuben was on the menu. I’m a big fan of Reuben sandwiches, and I think they are a good test of the quality of the food a restaurant turns out. Tough corned beef? I’m not coming back. Well, to my surprise the Reuben at the restaurant had chopped corned beef mixed in with kraut. I thought…. hmmmm… I’m not sure about this… but I took a bite and loved it! So I went home and made a big batch for the week’s lunches! There’s nothing fancy about this Reuben. It’s your standard fare. Slow-cooked corned beef, tender, and then chopped. Mixed in with well-rinsed and drained kraut. Easy dressing, cheese, and rye. Done. Eat!
2 pounds fresh sauerkraut, rinsed and drained well
2-3 pound corned beef brisket, rinsed
1 cup Thousand Island dressing
16 slices pumpernickel rye bread, toasted
8-16 slices Swiss cheese
Place kraut in slow cooker.
Add corned beef brisket and the spice packet that came with it.
Add lid and cook on low for 12 until the corned beef is about to fall apart.
Remove the corned beef and chop. Yes, you can slice it if you prefer. Return the beef to the slow cooker and stir to combine.
At this point you can add the Thousand Island to the slow cooker and stir, if you desire, or simply slather it onto the bread slices.
Spoon kraut and beef mixture onto the bread. Note: I like to transfer the mixture to a strainer first. I press down on it lightly to remove as much moisture as I can. This prevents me from having a soggy (bleh!) Reuben.
Anita and were driving to Nashville, TN, when we passed a sign on the interstate for a Schlotsky’s. I instantly flashed back to the days when we had a Schlotsky’s near where I worked in Indianapolis. It was my favorite lunch spot. I so loved their bread. Sadly, it was early in the morning so the Schlotsky’s was closed. At that moment I went on a journey to recreate my favorite sandwich, Schlotsky’s The Original. This copycat is a fantastic copycat of the classic great sandwich, from the bread to the meats to the garlic dressing. It may look like it takes a lot of work and ingredients to make a copycat of the Schlotsky’s The Original, but it’s actually quite simple and the end result will more than reward your efforts. The key is the sourdough bread, which comes out light, airy, and full of air bubbles. It holds up perfectly to the ingredients, including my favorite, the garlic mayonnaise. I made a big squeeze bottle of the dressing and also find myself using it on burgers and wraps.
It was a beautiful spring day here in Indianapolis. That had me wishing it was summer and fresh tomatoes were available. I couldn’t wait any longer. I had to make a few BLTs, even if the tomatoes weren’t perfect. Sometimes, you have to do what you have to do. But to make up for the tomatoes I decided to make a simple bacon weave. BLTs elevated. I made these bacon weave BLTs two days in a row. I will never make them any other way again at least as far as the bacon goes. Making a weave out of the bacon is not only easy, the bacon stays together better. No chunks flying off when you take a bite. And the best part? You’re guaranteed bacon in every single bite. You can’t beat that.
Make a bacon weave. If you're unsure exactly how to do this, click this link to see the original post (with great step-by-step pictures) on Chin Deep.
Lay out 3 halves of the bacon in a square. Make sure the pieces are together tightly.
Lift up and fold back the ends of every other one on one side of the baking sheet. Place a bacon slice perpendicular (vertically) to the horizontal rows of bacon, directly on top of the bacon strips that you did not fold back. Unfold the folded bacon to cover the strip that you just placed on the baking sheet.
Lift up and fold back the ends of the horizontal bacon strips that are now under the vertical bacon strip to the side of the baking sheet. Place a bacon slice right next to the first vertical bacon strip, directly on top of the bacon strips that you did not fold back. Unfold the folded bacon to cover the strip that you just placed on the baking sheet. Repeat the process of alternating the vertical and horizontal bacon strips till you reach the other end of the horizontal bacon strips.
Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until crispy. Carefully remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Slather bread with mayonnaise.
Add bacon weave, lettuce, and tomato and salt and pepper to taste and serve.