Category Archives: Sandwiches and Paninis

Grilled Flank Steak and Garlic Herb Aioli Sandwiches

Through July 4th 045The picture doesn’t do these sandwiches justice – my sincere apologies. These were the sandwiches I featured at one of our recent concerts in the park. The sandwiches are pretty basic, but the key to the flavor is in the quality of the ingredients. I used great fresh Italian bread which I grilled, marinated flank steak, fresh artisan lettuce from the garden, and a garlic herb aioli made with fresh herbs. For a quick shortcut, you could make a garlic herb mayonnaise by simply combining fresh herbs, garlic and mayonnaise, but I think the aioli is worth the extra effort. You could add other ingredients such as grilled onion, red or yellow peppers, or substitute arugula for the lettuce. These sandwiches pack well and make great picnic fare – particularly when paired with a good pasta salad.


For the Marinade:

  • 3/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil (plus a little extra for grilled bread)
  • 4 TBS. Onion (red, sweet, or white) – finely chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. Worcesteshire Pepper (or seasoned pepper)
  • 1 TBS. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 TBS. Dried Italian Herbs
  • 1 Flank Steak
  • 1 Loaf Italian Bread – sliced
  • Fresh Lettuce

For the Aioli:

  • 3 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 TBS. Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Parsley- chopped
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Basil – chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. Fresh Thyme – chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. Fresh Rosemary – chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper


Combine the marinade ingredients in a glass baking dish or a bowl large enough to hold the marinade and steak. MarinadeAdd the steak and marinate for at least 2 hours – up to overnight.Flank Steak in Marinade In the meantime, prepare the aioli: combine the garlic, egg, lemon juice, herbs, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender and puree. Add the oil in a slow stream and continue to blend until the mixture has forms a thick emulsion. Garlic Herb Aioli

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill until preheated to about 450-500 degrees. Grill the flank steak for a few minutes on each side to desired doneness (I prefer medium rare); remove from the grill and let rest for at least ten minutes. Grilled Flank SteakBrush the bread on both sides with olive oil and grill on each side until lightly browned. After the meat has sufficiently rested, slice against the grain into thin slices.Slice Flank Steak Assemble the sandwiches by generously spreading the garlic herb aioli on one slice of breadGrilled Bread with Aioli; place a few slices of steak on another slice, Add Flank Steakcover with lettuce (and any other ingredients – if using) Top with Lettuceand top with the aioli covered sliced of bread.




Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Sandwich

We enjoyed these sandwiches the other week at our concert in the park. However, I originally created this sandwich as a thank you for an awesome IT tech who rescued all of my photos from my hard drive when my computer crashed recently. Yes, there is a lesson in that – back up your stuff!!! The sandwich features my standard grilled chicken breast, crispy proscuitto, roasted peppers and shallots and a garlic arugula mayonnaise. I used ciabatta rolls, but substitute your favorite roll/bread. This sandwich would be great as a panini, but since I wasn’t going to be able to serve the sandwiches hot, I didn’t grill them. The arugula mayo is made by combining arugula pesto with mayonnaise – you can use the extra pesto as a mix-in for a pasta salad which is a great accompaniment for this sandwich. If you happen to be serving anyone who has a nut allergy (as I was), simply eliminate the pine nuts – the pesto is still delicious. You can use any combination of toppings (or even use basil pesto if you prefer) – grilled or roasted tomatoes would be a great substitute if you don’t like roasted peppers. You can certainly add cheese, but I chose not too since the pasta salad I served had fresh mozerella.


  • Grilled Chicken Breasts (click to link to previous post)
  • Proscuitto (2 slices per sandwich)
  • 2 Red Peppers
  • 3 Large Shallots- thinly sliced
  • 4 TBS. Arugula Pesto (recipe follows)
  • 1/3-1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
  • Ciabatta Rolls (or other bread/rolls)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper


Preheat oven to 375 Degrees. Lay proscuitto in a single layer on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake proscuitto for 7-10 minutes until crispy. In the meantime, brush whole red peppers with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place peppers on a foil lined baking tray and roast for 45 minutes (turning every 20 minutes). Brush the shallot slices with olive oil and add to the baking sheet – roast with peppers for an additional 15 minutes. Remove peppers from the baking sheet and place in either a plastic or paper bag – allow to rest (and steam) for about 5 minutes. Peel the skin from the peppers and remove the stem and seeds – slice peppers into 1 inch strips. Combine the mayonnaise and pesto.

Assemble the sandwiches:  Add a grilled chicken breast, 2 slices of crispy proscuitto, 2 strips of roasted peppers, and a few roasted shallots to the bottom portion of the roll. Spread a generous layer of pesto mayo on the top slice of bun and add to the bottom portion. mediterranean grilled chicken sandwich

Arugula Pesto:

  • 4 Cups Arugula
  • 1/4 Cup Pine Nuts
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Toast pine nuts in a small saute pan over medium heat until browned and aromatic. Blend arugula, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese in processor until almost smooth. With machine running, gradually add olive oil; process until well blended. Season pesto to taste with salt and pepper.

Greek Grilled Chicken Wrap

Greek Grilled Chicken Wrap

Greek Grilled Chicken Wrap

The other night we had soup and sandwich night. My daughter loves the chicken Greek wrap sandwiches at the deli near school, so I decided to recreate that and serve it with Chicken Lemon Rice Soup (one of my son’s favorites). It was an easy weeknight dinner, and everyone was pleased. I decided to buy the taziki sauce at our local Greek Coney Island restaurant; it’s easy enough to make, but it needs to be made in advance in order for it to have good flavor. (Serves 6)


  •  2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts- cut 3/4″ wide strips
  • 6 Oz. Feta Cheese
  • English Cucumbers – thinly sliced
  • Leaf or Romain Lettuce
  • 1 Tomato – thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Purple (Red) Onion – thinly sliced
  • Kalmata Olives – pitted and sliced
  • 1 1/2 Cup Taziki Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 3/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 3/4 Cup Lemon Juice
  • 4 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. Dried
  • Oregano
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 6 Wraps


  • Combine Olive Oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper in a shallow baking dish or bowl. Add chicken to the marinade and allow to marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes. Marinate chickenIn the meantime, combine taziki sauce and mayonnaise and set aside. Heat a griddle or large saute pan over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook until well browned on each side and cooked through; remove from heat and set aside.Grill chicken until well browned To assemble the sandwiches: Lay out a wrap and spread a thin layer of the taziki mayonnaise mixture over the wrap, leaving about an inch clear around the edges.Spread a layer of sauce Lay the lettuce across the wrap, top with chicken. Through January 31 044Add cucumber slices, red onion, and tomatoes, and finish with  feta cheese and olives. Ready to wrapPull the bottom edge of the wrap over the filling, fold the sides over, and continue to wrap. WarppedCut in half, and use toothpicks to secure the two sandwich halves. Repeat until all wrap sandwiches are assembled. Serve with extra taziki sauce.Grilled Chicken Greek Wrap

Italian Chicken Cutlet Sandwich

Italian Chicken Cutlet Sandwich

Italian Chicken Cutlet Sandwich

Last weekend I had one of my hard core chicken tender frying marathons so that I could re-stock the freezer for the kids. I was overzealous in the amount of chicken that I bought (about 10 lbs.) and I was growing tired of the process. So I decided that, for the last package of chicken, I would make cutlets which would involve fewer batches to batter and fry. The chicken breasts were thick, so I sliced them in half and pounded them out a little bit; this way the inside would be fully cooked without the outside being too browned. Well, we didn’t eat the cutlets that night, so I refrigerated them to have for the next day. I wasn’t in the mood for Chicken Parmesan (and I like more of a breaded cutlet for that anyway), and they looked kind of uninspiring just by themselves, so I decided to turn them into sandwiches. I didn’t really have that many options in my refrigerator, so the sandwich is a result of what I had on hand. I did have the option of using regular bacon and making a standard club sandwich, but since I had some proscuitto, I decided to crisp that up instead. The tomatoes you see in the photo are Kumato tomatoes – they’re not an heirloom, but a hybrid, and they’re excellent. I love arugula, as does my daughter, so she and I had that on our sandwich while I made the boys’ sandwiches with leaf lettuce. The garlic herb mayonnaise was super easy because I just combined prepared mayonnaise with garlic and herbs. I had really great French dinner rolls, but you could use Italian rolls, or even ciabatta bread. The sandwiches were a big hit and made it onto the “make that more often” list. This recipe is for 4 Servings, but can easily be adjusted.


  • 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts – sliced in 1/2 to make 4 thinner breasts (or purchase the thinner cut breasts)
  • 3 Cups Buttermilk (enough to cover chicken)
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Corn Starch
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Vegetable Oil (enough to cover when frying – amount will depend on the size of the pot you fry in)
  • 1 Package (about 4 oz.) Proscuitto
  • Mozzerella Cheese (can use shredded or sliced)
  • 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. Dried Italian Seasoning
  • Arugula, lettuce, or your favorite green
  • 2 Tomatoes – sliced
the toppings

The Fresh Toppings


Season chicken generously with salt and pepperSlice chicken in half and soak in buttermilk for 4-12 hours (the longer they soak, the more tender they are). Combine flour, corn starch, 2 tsp. salt and 2 tsp. freshly ground pepper in a large plastic bag and shake to mix thoroughly; set aside. Add vegetable oil to a medium or large stockpot – oil should cover the bottom of the pan by about 2 inches (enough so that when added, chicken will be submersed). Heat oil to 350 degrees. In the meantime, heat a little bit of vegetable oil in a medium saute pan, add proscuitto slices and cook until crispy; fry the proscuittodrain on paper towel. Remove 1 chicken breast from buttermilk (do not try to shake off excess buttermilk – this makes for good batter) and transfer immediately to flour mixture. Shake until chicken is well coated. Set coated chicken aside on a cooling rack. Repeat process until all chicken breasts are battered. Working in batches, add chicken to oil and cook until outside is golden brown and inside is cooked through (about 5-7 minutes each, depending on size of your cutlets). (You can test on breast by cutting into it). Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the mayonnaise by combining mayonnaise, garlic and herbs; set aside. Garlic herb mayoPlace cutlets on a baking sheetFried chicken cutlets and top each cutlet with mozzerella cheese.Thru Jan 24 237 Bake until cheese is melted. Assemble sandwiches by coating top pieces of rolls generously with mayonnaise. Add one cutlet to each bottom roll;melted cheesetop with crispy proscuitto,Top with Fried proscuitto and then top with tomato slices and greens.Add lettuce and tomato
Slice sandwiches in 1/2 and serve immediately so chicken is still warm.

Smoked Chicken, Roasted Pepper and Shallot Panini with Avacado Mayo

Smoked Chicken, Roasted Pepper and Onion Panini with Avacado Mayo

Smoked Chicken, Roasted Pepper and Shallot Panini with Avocado Mayo

This little sandwich doesn’t look very impressive in the photo, but boy was it good! I love grilled sandwiches, and I love them even more when they’re done on a panini press. My Dad was the one who got me started on paninis; they were one of his signature dishes. The great thing about paninis is that you can stuff a lot of different stuff into a sandwich, add cheese, put it on the panini press, and the sandwich stays together. I think the best panini creations are those that are a result of using what you have in the fridge/pantry. The options for bread are limitless, as are the options for meat, veggies, and cheese, and you can easily throw together a simple flavored mayo or mustard (or leave it off altogether). Prior to Thanksgiving, Bryan smoked a whole chicken (as a test run for the turkey he would smoke for Thanksgiving). The smoked chicken was great, and we had plenty of leftovers – hence, I was inspired to make paninis. I didn’t have much else around, but I did have a red pepper, some shallots (no onion – which worked out fine; I liked the shallot), some cheese and an avocado. My avocado had some icky spots, so I didn’t have enough to put slices on everyone’s sandwich, so I decided to just mash it and combine it with mayonnaise to make a spread. If you don’t have a panini press, you can make these sandwiches in a pan or griddle on the stove just like grilled cheese, or you could do them on an outdoor grill. Now I’ll have to post some soups or salads – the perfect accompaniment for a weeknight dinner. I haven’t posted very specific quantities because that’s easy enough to figure out depending on how many paninis you are making.


  • Smoked or Roasted Chicken (at room temperature)- fairly thinly sliced, (can substitute any deli meat)
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 2-3 Medium Shallots (can substitute several rings of sliced red onion)
  • Italian Bread (can substitute any sliced bread)
  • Pepper Jack Cheese – sliced
  • Avocado
  • Mayonnaise
  • Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove stem, seeds and membranes from the peppers. Peel and thinly slice the shallots, place in a bowl and toss with a enough olive oil to coat. Place the peppers skin side up on a baking sheet (foil lined for easy clean-up). Sprinkle the peppers and shallots with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Thru November 15 088Cook for 10-15 minutes, checking occasionally. Flip peppers and onions to roast on other side until they reach the desired tenderness; remove from oven and allow to cool. Thru November 15 095When peppers are cool enough to handle peel off the skin. Peel and remove the pit from the avocado and mash the flesh. Thru November 15 091Add desired amount of mayonnaise. Assemble the sandwiches by spreading a layer of avocado mayonnaise on one or both sides of the bread. To the bottom piece of bread, add a layer of chicken, Thru November 15 097then peppers, then shallots. Top with cheese Thru November 15 101and the top piece of bread. Heat the panini press, pan, griddle or grill to medium high. Brush both sides of the sandwich with olive oil and cook until the outside is well browned and the cheese is melted.Thru November 15 106


Lazy Lunch at the Lake

BLT – the perfect cottage lunch

I am still struggling to pull myself away from the beautiful beach to cook and blog. We’ve been enjoying a lot of meals one would expect to eat at a cottage – grilled chicken, grilled steak, grilled potatoes, crisp salad etc. My BLT lover friend was here the other day and, you guessed it, we enjoyed BLTs for lunch. I didn’t even use fancy bread (it’s hard to find here), so we had our BLTs with grocery store Italian bread – toasted, of course. We did enjoy heirloom tomatoes and the bacon was the super thick cut that I buy from John Henry farms (they have a booth at our local farmer’s market, but they also deliver). What goes better with a BLT than sour cream and onion potato chips? We even ate off of cute plastic plates adorned with sailboats. I am going to try out a new risotto idea and I think I might pair it with a cranberry braised chicken – that is if I don’t spend too long at the beach and watching the Olympics.

The view of Lake Huron from the cottage

And it’s beautiful even after it rains

Humphrey training for Olympic kayaking



B.E.L.T – Bacon, Egg Salad, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich

B.E.L.T Sandwich pictured with Homemade Potato Chips

I feel odd about posting such a simple sandwich (particularly one month late), but Easter had come and gone, and I was faced with what to do with the remaining hard boiled Easter eggs. I love egg salad, but my kids have always been skeptical. I solved the problem by adding bacon to the egg salad sandwich and making it a Bacon Egg Lettuce and Tomato sandwich. After all, bacon improves everything! I used a hearty whole grain bread which I toasted. To me, the crispier the better; the crispy bread and bacon add great contrast to the egg salad. The sandwich is a little cumbersome, so you’ll want to have forks readily available. As you can see, I didn’t skimp on the egg salad; you could certainly use less and the sandwich wouldn’t be quite so messy. In general, however, this is not the sandwich to serve at an elegant ladies tea, but it makes a great hearty weeknight dinner.


  • 6 Large Hard Boiled Eggs (see below instructions for boiling the perfect egg)
  • 1/3 -1/2 Cup Real Mayonnaise
  • 1 TBS. Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. Celery Salt
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 6-8 Slices of good quality Bacon
  • 1 Large Tomato – 4-8 thin slices (depending on circumference of tomato)
  • 4 Leaves of Green Lettuce


Cook the bacon in a skillet on the stove, or in the oven at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Set on paper towel to drain.

To Prepare the eggs: Allow eggs to come to room temperature. Place eggs in a medium sized saucepan and cover with water (water should be at least 2 inches above tops of eggs). Over high heat, bring to a boil. Once water boils, remove pan from heat and allow eggs to sit for 14-15 minutes. HINT: I always boil and extra “tester” egg which then goes to the dog. After 14-15 minutes, run the eggs under cold water until completely cooled.

Chop the eggs into a small dice. Mix in 1/3 cup of mayonnaise – add additional mayonnaise a little bit at a time until desired creaminess is reached. Add Dijon mustard and celery salt, mix well and taste. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Toast bread and assemble sandwiches – spread about 1/2 inch of egg salad on bottom piece of toast, add bacon slices, tomato, and lettuce – top with another piece of toast.