The Ultimate Italian Grilled Cheese

The Ultimate Grilled Cheese www.bellalimento.com

At any given time we have at least 6 different types of cheeses in our house. To say that we love cheese is an understatement. As much as I love dessert and I do I’m hard pressed to turn down a cheese plate when it’s on the dessert menu. It’s cheese, seriously what’s not to love about it. I love it to snack on, to add oomph to dishes and yes most definitely in GRILLED CHEESE sandwiches like this one.

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Grilled Mini Meatball Subs

Grilled Mini Meatball Subs

Do you like to get your grill on? As in bbq grill not dental grill (which I have never ever understood – How do you clean those things? I mean just buy a ring or a bracelet already). IF you do, and you think you have what it takes my friends at Dole are hosting their Dole California Cook-Off and you should honestly consider entering. Besides glory there’s a whole lotta gumbo cash at stake. Like $25,000. All you have to do is come up with a killer recipe (some rules and regulations apply see contest page for full details – did that come across in my announcer voice?) and submit it.

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Grilled Chicken Caprese Wraps

Grilled Chicken Caprese Wraps

The countdown to summer is on like Donkey Kong AND yeah  yeah I’m on the workout wagon. And by working out I mean walking. We have to start somewhere right. In addition to moving moving it I’m lightening my plate and eating healthier. We’re not talking or mentioning the D word because that doesn’t work for me. Ever. Instead I’m making better choices without cutting out everything I love. Moderation people, moderation.

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Sweet and Spicy Mini Meatball Subs

 

So apparently there’s a big football game coming up soon. Or so I keep hearing. I’m not a football person. Gasp. Sorry. Never have been. My husband is a football person. I am a snack person. You know that thing about opposites attracting? It’s true. I make the snacks and he gets to watch the game and all is right in the Jones house. I’m going to be making a plethora of carb heavy foods for the big shebang, including these mini meatball subs. These aren’t any ordinary subs. That would be boring. They’re amaze-balls sausage meatball subs with a sweet and spicy sauce served up a warm toasted steak roll.

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Homemade Pretzel Rolls

 

A good sandwich requires quality ingredients. Both Inside and out. Otherwise you just might as well make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and call it a day. We’re starting with the bread. Homemade pretzel rolls. Worth the effort. Trust. Soft, dough-y, and will have you looking for mustard sauce to slather on it before you can say pretzel. If you’re going to go through the trouble of making these homemade pretzel rolls (and you really should) then you’ll want to go to the trouble of finding the best possible filling to add. Boar’s Head.

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Nutella Banana Marshmallow Creme Panino

I visited Chicago for the first time last month. I have to say I wish I’d had more time to hang around and get to know the windy city (which btw she was) a little better. Outside of working almost non-stop while we were there I did manage to squeeze in time for a lip smacking good meal at The Purple Pig. Ehem, here is where I take a moment to tell you that I (we – actually I dined with the loverly Meredith and Leslie) paid for our meal before I wax poetic about it.

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Salami and Spinach Stromboli

I’m not quite done with my holiday baking yet (don’t worry there are more brownies coming your way – thank goodness right?) but I have to admit by the end of my marathon baking days I have been craving something salty and dare I say with a little veg it in. Who am I? The catch is I’m not all that hip on the idea of staying in the kitchen to whip up something that will take forever. In comes Stromboli. Think stuffed bread that filled with salty salami, cheeses and a little veg. Who wouldn’t want a slice or two of that?

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Slow Cooker Mini Meatball Sliders

If I never had to do dishes I would be one of the happiest people on the planet. Buying dishes that’s another story that I could do for hours on end but washing them bleck. Needless to say one pot wonders are pretty stinkin’ spectacular in my book.  Slow cooker recipes that use a liner insert that you just toss after your done with no washing required. Now that’s worth a cartwheel or two. Maybe even a round-off. Or maybe just a solitary happy dance around the kitchen. 

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Italian Sub Sandwich + {Panera Contest}

Sometimes a girl just needs a nice big sandwich (or is it just me?) To me the bread is JUST as important as the filling. I like mine with a little crunch on the outside, where you have to wipe away the crumbs after each bite. Then once you’ve broken through the crust you’re rewarded with a nice and pillowy soft inside.  CIABATTA fits that bill for me. Every. Single. Time.  Baking bread is incredibly rewarding.  From kneading it (or letting Ruby do it for me), to watching it rise, to smelling it in the oven and diving in when I can’t wait any longer for it to cool. I’m a little light headed just thinking about it. Don’t even get me started on warm bread with a smidge of butter.

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How To Make Piadina

I’m kind of obsessed with this Italian flat bread. Especially when it’s stuffed with Prosciutto. It’s usually made with lard  (I can’t  believe I’m about to say this) BUT we’re watching our waistlines at the moment and we’re making ours with olive oil instead. Feel free to lard up if you wish. I would but, well you know. Sigh. If I make it to the end of this Tony Horton induced purgatory I’ll be larding up next batch.

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Connecticut Style Lobster Rolls

I have a confession to make. This is my first lobster roll ever. EVER. Before getting  started, I did a little research online googling and people are very passionate about lobstah rolls. There seems to be a lot of “discussion” about the “right” way to make one. Passionate fussing discussions. From what I gathered there is the Maine Lobster Roll that includes mayo and celery and then there is the Connecticut lobster roll which is butter based. Since I’m not a huge fan of mayo (GASP much to my family’s chagrin) I took the butter road. You’re not surprised are you?

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Skinny Black Bean Wraps

It’s a wrap! I told you I was pretty obsessed with wraps lately. Did you see our Mushroom, Roasted Red Pepper & Spinach beauty? Well these skinny black bean wraps are super simple to make and require no cooking at all! This is my “no more excuses for grabbing a bag of chips for lunch” lunch. If you’re feeling fancy you could add a little cheese and then simple warm it up. Easy peasy right.

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Caramelized Onion, Mushroom & Swiss Panino

In the week after Christmas but before the New Year, I’m a little cooked out. I have to admit, making elaborate meals just isn’t on my radar. I do however need to eat and want something quick and delicious. My go to? PANINI! They’re perfect for lunch and if you add a salad (gah did I just mention salad in two posts back to back, feel my head quick ; 0 ) or a hearty bowl of SOUP and you’re all set.

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Cheesy Pancetta Panini with Rosemary {Panini al Rosmarino e Formaggio}

Bread, Cheese and Pancetta. What’s not to love right? Put it together and you have this small crunchy ooey gooey bite of bliss that’s been kissed with a smidge of rustic woody rosemary. Yes, it’s pretty fantastic and EASY. It’s a great snack, light lunch or an amazing appetizer.

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Announcing: Pasta 101 & Build a Better Panino!

There are so many exciting things going on lately that I wanted to share a few of them with you loverlies…In case you missed my announcement, I’ve joined the featured contributor’s writing team over at babble’s family kitchen. I’m thrilled beyond words and I’m literally bubbling over with ideas, tips, tricks and recipes that I can’t wait to share with everyone. 

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{Not your regular} Roast Beef Sandwich

You might have heard through the web vine about the Mezzetta “Make that sandwich Recipe Contest” or as I like to call it the 2010 Summer Sandwich Smackdown ; ) It’s a contest where YOU create an original sandwich using at least 2 Mezzetta products {for rules/regulations please see their website} and up for grabs is $25,000 yes that’s right not $25, not $250, NOT even $2,500 {which is still a lot of cash these days} BUT a whopping $25,000 baby!

I had so much fun creating my Gaucho Steak Sandwich with Chimichurri Saucelast year, that I decided to do again this year.  The nice folks over at Mezzetta sent me a sampling of their products to help get me started {ehem, disclosure} I toyed around with a lot of ideas but in the end I settled on something a little out of the ordinary.

*drum roll please* Roast Beef with melted provolone cheese. Kissed with a horseradish and caper sauce. Topped with caramelized onions, roasted red bell peppers and crispy fried sweet potato strips! Now that is one mouthful of a sandwich and one mouthful of a name so I’m going with {Not your regular} Roast Beef Sandwich ; )

I love the horseradish and caper sauce. It gives the sandwich a little kick. You can never go wrong with carmelized onions and roasted red bell peppers, swoon. And what’s a warm sandwich without melted cheese?  And the unexpected twist…Crispy Fried Sweet Potato Strings! Everything comes together in one harmonious bite. Albeit a big bite ; )

I have a tendency to come up with ideas {IE: sweet potato strings} and then am left with the task of how to execute them. You know I’m a ”how hard can it be” kinda girl. Cutting these into super thin strings would take forever and probably end badly LOL SO I go through my kitchen drawers looking for something, anything that might do the job. After about what seemed like an hour of digging through kitchen tools I see in the back my OXO Good Grips Lemon Zester and I think, that might work ; ) Sure enough SCORE!

I served these sandwiches with some additional fried sweet potato chips! So easy to do, just thinly slice a sweet potato into rounds and fry with the remaining oil from the sweet potato strips ; ) Easy Peasy!

There’s still time for you to come up with your own sandwich creation and throw your hat into the ring! It is the sandwich smackdown after all ; ) What are you waiting for, ENTER today! While you’re there you can VOTE for your favorite celebrity sandwich. The winner will get $10,000 to put towards their favorite charity!
Go ahead and help support a worthy cause {whispering Jamie Oliver & his Food Revolution, Food Revolution, Food Revolution ; ) }

Baci e in bocca al lupo {good luck}!

Print This Recipe


What you’ll need: {Makes 2 sandwiches}
2 tablespoons Mezzetta Horseradish Cream Style
1/2 tablespoon Mezzetta Imported Capote Capers – drained and minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 onion – sliced thin
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
8 ounces Mezzetta Deli-Sliced Roasted Sweet Bell Pepper Strips
1 small sweet potato – peeled and cut into strings
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 slices of ciabatta bread
8 slices of Roast Beef – sliced thin
2 slices of provolone cheese

What to do:
1. Into a small bowl add the Horseradish sauce and minced capers. Mix well to combine. Set aside.

2. Into a medium saute pan, add the olive oil and sliced onions. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Mix well to combine. Cook over low heat until caramelized. Stirring every so often.

3. WHILE the onions are carmelizing, slice the sweet potato into strings. NOTE: to achieve this I used an OXO Good Grips lemon zester. Into a small saute pan add your vegetable oil and heat until you have small bubbles on the sides. CAREFULLY add the sweet potato strings and fry until golden and crispy {this will just take a minute} Using a slotted spoon transfer sweet potato strings to a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.

4. Once the caramelized onions have cooked. Transfer them to a small bowl. Into the same pan, add the roasted red bell peppers and cook until they are just heated through. Set aside.

5. To assemble sandwiches: spread the horseradish/caper sauce onto the tops of each piece of bread. Top with 4 slices of Roast Beef and a slice of Provolone. Place the bottom  half of each sandwich into a toaster oven or into the oven and allow cheese to melt. Toast the top halves of the bread at  the same time. Top the roast beef/cheese with caramelized onions, roasted red bell peppers and a sprinkling of the fried sweet potato strings. Top with the remaining piece of bread.

Buon Appetito!

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Mozzarella in Carrozza {Fried Mozzarella Sandwiches}

 

Saying this is just a grilled ham and cheese doesn’t do it justice at all. Yes, it has cheese {ah-mazing ooey gooey fresh mozzarella cheese} and yes it has ham {glorious prosciutto} and yes there’s bread. But the magic is in the preparation and in the ingredients themselves. I had forgotten how much I loved these simple little treats. They’re perfect for lunch or a quick snack in between meals. We start out by removing  the crusts from the bread {seems much more elegant that way, no? LOL} and then a layer of bechamel is spread on. Nice, eh? Then you add a layer of prosciutto and basil leaf and a mozzarella slice that is equal to the thickness of the bread for extreme cheesy goodness. Can you almost taste it? Grill it like that would be quite a tasty sandwich but we’re not stopping there.

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Gaucho Steak Sandwich with Chimichurri Sauce

I have been feeling like the Beef Category needs a little attention (yes, I realize there is only ONE lone beef recipe there) so here is another addition to the category. I think you’re going to like it. This one was inspired by a recipe contest put out by Mezzetta. The contest was to create a sandwich (either hot, cold or vegetarian) that had to contain at least two of their products. Easy enough!

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Gigi’s Monte Carlo Sammie

gigis_wm

Before I get started let me just say that this is one AMAZING sandwich. It’s right up there with my love for my strawberry nutella panino & that’s saying a lot.

Hubs & I were eating at Gigi’s one day & I was looking over all of his open face sammies for lunch & saw the Monte Carlo (spotlight coming down & music playing now) and after I read through all of the ingredients I knew I had to try it.

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