September 02, 2009
By Bev Bennett, Tribune Media Services
Deli meat pressed between two slices of bread is fine when you're rushed, but it doesn't offer the pleasures of a meal.
However, if you like the informality of a sandwich but also crave the heartiness of a warm entree, you can have both.
To transform the typical sandwich into a robust meal, layer on flavors and textures. Every additional step you take makes a sandwich more satisfying.
In the following delicious example, a fresh chicken breast half takes the place of deli meat. An average chicken breast half will serve two if you slice the breast in half to create two fillets.
Dust the chicken with seasoned flour and saute it in olive oil. Don't overcook the chicken because it's going to be reheated as the sandwich filling.
Next, top with a savory hot vegetable. No timid lettuce leaves here. Instead opt for one or two cooked vegetables, such as onions, bell peppers or mushrooms. The Chicken and Onion Grilled Sandwich recipe below calls for a red onion seasoned with herbs and balsamic vinegar. You can prepare the flavored onion a day in advance and refrigerate until preparation time.
The appropriate bread is another key to the success of this hot sandwich.
You need something that holds a moist filling and stands up to heat. Replace the usual sliced white bread with plain or whole-wheat English muffins. When grilled in a heavy-bottom skillet, the muffin's coarse interior soaks up the onion and chicken juices while the exterior becomes crusty.
Chicken and Onion Grilled Sandwiches
Makes 2 servings
1 (6 to 8 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast half
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed, dried oregano
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 English muffins
1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
With a sharp knife, cut chicken in half widthwise to form two thin slices. Place on a plate. Dust with flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick heavy-bottomed skillet. Add chicken and cook over medium heat until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Remove chicken and set aside.
Place sliced onion, oregano, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper in skillet. Cook for 7 minutes or until tender. Add vinegar and sugar. Scrape up any browned bits in skillet. Remove onion and set aside.
Assemble sandwiches. Place half the chicken on bottom half of each muffin. Top with half the onion and half the cheese. Close with top half of muffins. Press down.
Wipe skillet clean. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in skillet over medium heat. Ease sandwiches into skillet. Heat for 3 minutes per side or until cheese melts and English muffins are toasted brown. Serve with honey mustard for dipping.
Each serving has: 470 calories; 19 grams total fat; 45 grams protein; 121 milligrams cholesterol; 627 milligrams sodium and 2.5 grams dietary fiber.
Bev Bennett is the author of "30 Minute Meals for Dummies," John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003. (c) 2009, Bev Bennett. Distributed by Tribune Media Services Inc.