Trouble With Toast

Recipe: Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Sandwich

May 17, 2011
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One of the hardest parts about “dieting” is planning for lunch, especially when your office is walking distance from many tasty treats.  Lean Cuisines and turkey sandwiches can only get you so far, ya know?

Originally, when I saw this recipe in Women’s Health magazine, I thought I’d make it for dinner one night.  But as I was buying ingredients, I pondered to myself, “Why can’t I make extra and then pack one of these sandwiches for the next day’s lunch?”  I just marinated and grilled some additional chicken breasts and pineapple slices, and I waited until I was ready to eat before I toasted the bun and melted the cheese (as I was reheating the chicken) – that way, the bread didn’t get soggy and the cheese didn’t get oily or rubbery.

What a delicious delight, regardless of the time of day!  I love the combo of sweet pineapple, salty chicken/cheese, and spicy jalapeno.  And if you don’t like raw onion, you could easily slice those thick and throw them on the grill with everything else (or caramelize them, if you prefer a little added sweetness).  You definitely won’t be tempted by neighborhood restaurants when you have this number in your lunch pail!

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4 to 6 oz each)
    4 pineapple slices (1/2-inch thick)
    1/4 cup pickled jalapeno slices, or 1 fresh jalapeno, thinly sliced
    Teriyaki sauce
    4 slices Swiss cheese
    4 whole-wheat kaiser rolls
    1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

Combine chicken and enough teriyaki sauce to cover it in a resealable plastic bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.

Heat a grill until hot (you shouldn’t be able to hold your hand above the grates for more than 5 seconds). Remove chicken from marinade and place on the grill; discard any remaining marinade. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, flip, and immediately add cheese to each breast. Continue cooking until cheese is melted and chicken is lightly charred and firm to the touch. Remove from grill; set aside.
While chicken rests, add pineapple and rolls to the grill. Cook rolls until they’re lightly toasted, and pineapple slices until they’re soft and caramelized, about 2 minutes per side. Top each roll with chicken, pineapple, red onion, and jalapeno slices. If you like, drizzle chicken with a bit more teriyaki sauce.

Per serving: 387 cal, 13 g fat, 29 g carbs, 703 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 36 g protein

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Recipe: Spicy Chicken Sandwiches with Cilantro Lime Mayo

December 19, 2008
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Whenever I get a new Cooking Light magazine, I tear out a bunch of recipes that look good.  Then, I hand the stack to Jason and ask him to pick his four or five favorites so I can shop for ingredients and make the selected dishes for that week’s meals.  This month, this recipe was the first one chosen, so I decided to tackle it first as well.

The verdict?  These are some tasty sandwiches.  The chicken marinade gives the meat some heat, and the crunchy tortilla chip coating is a nice change from the usual breadcrumbs.  The cilantro lime mayo has both a nice Southwestern kick and a great acidic finish, making it seem lighter than your average spread.  I thought about adding some sliced tomato to the list of toppings, but 1) tomatoes are not looking so yummy right now, and 2) the lettuce and onion were just enough to add some zing and crunch without overpowering the flavor or texture of the rest of the sandwich.

This is a great, quick, easy weeknight meal, and the leftover sandwiches were actually very good served cold the next day.  Of course, you could always prepare the corn-crusted chicken and use it in other dishes (tacos immediately come to mind as something that would work well).  Enjoy!

  • 1/4  cup  reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1  teaspoon  fresh lime juice
  • 1  garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4  cup egg substitute (or 1 egg)
  • 3  tablespoons  hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
  • 1  teaspoon  dried oregano
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 2  (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 4 1/2  ounces  baked tortilla chips (about 6 cups)
  • 2  tablespoons  olive oil
  • 4  (2-ounce) Kaiser rolls, split
  • 12  (1/8-inch-thick) red onion slices
  • 4  lettuce leaves

To prepare mayo, combine the first 4 ingredients.

To prepare chicken, combine egg substitute, hot sauce, oregano, and salt in a large zip-top plastic bag. Cut chicken breast halves in half horizontally to form 4 cutlets. Add chicken to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator 2 hours or up to 8 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Place tortilla chips in a food processor; process 1 minute or until ground. Place ground chips in a shallow dish.

Working with one cutlet at a time, remove chicken from marinade, allowing excess to drip off. Coat chicken completely in chips. Set aside. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken and chips.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned and done. Spread mayo evenly over cut sides of rolls. Layer bottom half of each roll with 3 onion slices, 1 lettuce leaf, and 1 chicken cutlet; top with top halves of rolls.

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Recipe: Lamb burgers with spinach and red onion salad

March 3, 2008
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After reading this month’s Bon Apetit, Food & Wine, Cooking Light, and Real Simple magazines, I had torn out about 20 recipes that I really wanted to try. Since I couldn’t decide which one would be first in line, I asked my boyfriend (a.k.a., my guinea pig) to pick Saturday night’s experimental meal. He opted for these delicious lamb burgers, and they really turned out well. The combination of the cinnamon and paprika gave the meat a nice smoky tinge, and the mint chimed in at the end of each bite to add a little refreshing kick. The spinach, onion, and feta salad was the perfect accompaniment, and you could easily serve it on the side if you didn’t prefer to top the burgers with it. Jason really liked the texture of the lamb and found it to be a nice change of pace from the usual beef burger. Enjoy!

  • 1/3 cup fresh chopped mint
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/3 pounds ground lamb
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 1/3 cups crumbled feta
  • 4 1/4-inch thick red onion slices
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Mix first 4 ingredients and 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in medium bowl; mix in lamb. Shape into four 3/4-inch thick patties. Cook patties in large nonstick skillet (I used a grill pan) over medium-high heat. Note: the recipe says 4 minute per side for medium, but I cooked mine 5 minutes per side, and I still got rare to medium rare. Granted, that’s what I was going for, but I just thought I’d let you know to go with your own timing if you don’t like your lamb baaaa-ing at you like I do.

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Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Broil buns until golden, about 2 minutes. Top each bun bottom with burger. Toss spinach, feta, onion, vinegar, and 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in bowl. Place salad atop burgers. Cover with bun tops, pressing firmly to compact.

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Recipe: Turkey Burgers with Portobello “Buns”

January 15, 2008
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This is another Rachael Ray recipe, though I modified it significantly due to my boyfriend’s intense hatred of mushrooms. The burgers were pretty thick, so I had to cook them longer on the grill pan AND finish them in the oven (even before I put them in the oven to melt the mozzarella). However, they were spicy and moist, and they tasted great with the portobello (I can’t vouch for how the wheat bread bun tasted, but Jason’s plate was empty, so I think it turned out alright). The smoked mozzarella was out of this world–I don’t think the burgers would have been as satisfying with regular mozzarella, but you could certainly go that route based on your tastes and your on-hand ingredients.

  • 1 1/3 pounds ground turkey breast
    Salt and pepper
    1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
    1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    3 tablespoons tomato paste
    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    1/2 cup grated pecorino
    Extra-virgin olive oil
    2 large portobello mushroom caps (I used these, but Jason opted for wheat bread)
    Coarse salt and black pepper
    1/2 pound fresh smoked mozzarella, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Combine meat with salt and pepper, chopped bell pepper, chopped onion, garlic, tomato paste, Worcestershire, crushed red pepper flakes, and cheese. Score and form meat into 4 large patties, 1 inch thick. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil on top the patties then fry 5 or 6 minutes on each side in a hot skillet.

Place portobello caps on a small baking sheet gill side up and drizzle extra-virgin olive oil on them. Roast the caps 12 minutes. Remove them from the oven and season them with salt and pepper. Turn oven off. Top each burger with mozzarella and place back in still-warm oven. Melt the cheese 1 minute. Transfer burgers on “bun” bottoms to plates. The picture doesn’t really do the burgers justice–they were pretty damn good.

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