Place grill press on top of the sandwiches.

Hot Pastrami Panini


A hot pastrami sandwich can only be improved in one way, to make it into a panini.  So that’s what I did.  Panini-ing a sandwich nine times out of 10 will serve to elevate it to a new level.  This is no exception.

If you have never tried pastrami, you are really missing out.  Whatever can be done to this meat has been done.  It has been brined, dried, highly seasoned, smoked, and steamed.  With the care that it takes to produce a deli meat such as this, it is only right to treat it with the reverence it deserves. In most cases pastrami meat that is found in your run of the mill grocer’s deli is beef, but it can be made from pork, mutton or turkey.  In this case we are sticking to the beef variety.

Traditionally served hot, paired with mustard and cole slaw and some sort of rye bread, this sandwich is anything but ordinary.  I have taken the traditional and modernized it a bit using a marble rye, a Dijon mustard and a home-made Honey Mustard Slaw, oh and a panini press!  Can you say yum?

Freshly sliced deli pastrami.

Place slices on skillet all separately.

I chose to use marble rye bread. The rye is pretty traditional for a pastrami sandwich, the marble (the darker part) is a pumpernickel bread which adds just a touch of sweetness which will be reflected later in the sandwich building.

This is a stone ground Dijon mustard.

Spread evenly on the bottom of bread. This acts as glue and adds some great flavor.

Fry up the pastrami until it looks like this. This should take about 5-7 minutes on med. heat.

I know you can’t see it, but this is six pieces of pan-fried pastrami on top of that bottom piece of bread with the mustard spread on it.

Add two slices of cheese. I chose to use some deli sliced American, but a swiss, provolone or even a mild cheddar would be good here as well.

Pile on some Honey Mustard Slaw. This is great because it will echo the stone ground Dijon we used on the bottom bread slice.

Get a little veggie oil going on your grill pan. This is the Pampered Chef square grill pan. (I love this pan!) Heat on high.

Place the grill press on the pre-heating pan to heat up itself. This way when it’s placed on top, it can start the grilling process.

Place your built sandwiches on the grill pan. (My husband isn’t a slaw guy)

Place grill press on top of the sandwiches.

Remove panini from the pan when grill marks have formed and cheese is sufficiently melted.

Hot Pastrami Panini

Serves 2


12 slices thinly sliced deli pastrami

4 slices Marble Rye bread

4 slices cheese (Swiss, American or provolone)

1/2 cup Honey Mustard Slaw

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 Tbs. Vegetable oil


Pan fry pastrami on a skillet over medium/high heat until edges get a bit crispy.

Prepare two slices of bread with 1 tsp Dijon mustard each.  Add 6 slices of hot pastrami to each slice of bread right on top of the mustard.  Add two slices of cheese to each sandwich.  Add 1/4 cup of Honey Mustard Slaw to each.  Top each with the two remaining slices of bread.

Heat grill pan with about 2 Tbs. veggie oil with the panini press on top.  Once pan is very hot, place both sandwiches on the pan and press the heated panini press on top of both.  Cook until cheese is melted and bread has nice grill marks on top.  (The sandwiches may need to be flipped to achieve good grill marks.)

Serve hot, enjoy!


Chili Cheese Dog (with the works!)


It’s Championship weekend here in the states and football is on the minds of every fan!  And to go along with any good football game is good “football food”.  I don’t think there is another sport that has food and gatherings so closely associated with it than football.  There is football tailgating, there are home parties and there are just regular sit around the t.v. with some buddies gatherings all requiring beer and “football food”.

Hense, I bring you the Chili Cheese Dog.  It’s so simple, yet soooo good.  Using my recipe for “Chris’ No-bean Chili” these dogs are a snap to make and can really be made to order.  Just set out a crock pot of steamed dogs and another of the chili and set out the fixin’s and you’ve even got a great hot dog bar.  No muss, no fuss. This way, just because you like good football food doesn’t mean you miss the game! woo hoo!

A great hot dog bar can include: chili, shredded cheese, mustard, ketchup, soaked minced onions, maybe a cheese sauce, chopped jalapenos, black olives and pickles or relish.  Get some good fresh buns, good quality dogs and you are in business!

Take a look at this Chili Cheese Dog with the works!

Start with your favorite kind of bun… Being in New England we use the New England style bun here with the sides cut off making for a softer bun and easier to grill should you choose too.

Steam some hot dogs. You could also grill, but I prefer a juicy steamed hot dog.

Now we start to build. Place your dog in your bun.

This is where we start to at “the works”! Start with a nice yellow mustard.

Then add-on some no-bean chili. I am using “Chris’ No-bean Chili” here.

Spread on a sloppy amount of chili.

Now freshly grate some cheddar cheese, which should melt on top of your hot chili.

And to finish off “the works” you can add-on some water soaked minced onions. Yum.

Chili Cheese Dog (with the works)

Serves 6-12


12 hot dogs

12 New England style buns (or your favorite)

2 cups Chris’ No-bean Chili, prepared

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup water soaked minced onions (optional)

mustard (optional)


Steam hot dogs. Soak onions in water for at least 1/2 hour.

Place hot dog in bun.  Add mustard.  Add chili. Add cheese. Add onions.  Serve, enjoy!

*note – to make gluten-free, use a gluten-free hot dog bun and be sure to follow the gluten-free adjustment when preparing Chris’ No-bean Chili

You will need to start by gathering about 2 cups of leftover codfish casserole.

Codfish Omelet Sandwich (Torta de Bacalhau)


There are some foods that are wonderful and then there are some foods that are made exponentially more wonderful when they are transformed into a left over dish.  With the base main meal being Baked Codfish Casserole (Bacalhau Assado), Torta de Bacalhau is one of those foods.  Much like how people quite often calculate their Thanksgiving dinner to not only include enough turkey and stuffing for the dinner itself, but to also account for a sufficient amount of leftovers, most Portuguese people do the same with their Bacalhau Assado.  On Thanksgiving night or the next morning there is really nothing like biting into that Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing sandwich topped with just a bit of cranberry… Well, with Bacalhau Assado, there is nothing like frying up some left over casserole into an omelet and adding in a nice slice of cheese and serving it up on a nice fresh pop-seco roll.

In Portuguese Torta is meant to mean any leftover food that has been folded into egg and fried up and then stuffed into a sandwich.  In my opinion, Torta de Bacalhau is the king of that particular type of sandwich.  Not to say that a turkey dinner is not grande and wonderful, but that sandwich the next day is a meal all on its own.  The same is true for the Codfish Omelet Sandwich!

You will need to start by gathering about 2 cups of leftover codfish casserole.

Place that on a cutting board.

Dice it up a bit into even smaller pieces.

Get 10″ non-stick skillet ready with a fair amount of olive oil. Heat over med/high heat.

Place 1/2 your chopped casserole into the preheated skillet. This recipe will yield 4 sandwiches, but to keep it manageable, it needs to be done in two stages.

While the codfish is reheating in the pan… Crack 6 eggs into a bowl. Normally I like to add cream or milk to an omelet, not here.

Vigorously beat eggs.

Move the contents around a bit until you have some caramelazation.

Add in a small pinch of salt, just enough to season the egg… remember the cod is salty itself.

When it gets to this stage, its time for the flip. “Have courage” as Julia Child would say. The reason we used so much olive oil was so this step would not overwhelm you.

Once flipped, cook for another minute and remove from pan.

Add on two slices of whatever cheese suits your fancy, I prefer good old-fashioned melty American cheese.

Split down the middle.

You need to act quickly because we want the cheese to melt in while the egg is still hot.

Gently fold the egg up and over the cheese.

Once you’ve done this on both, they are ready for bread.

A pop-seco (Portuguese bread roll) is the best choice here. You want a medium bodied bread with a crispy crust.

Slice open while leaving it still attached.

Add the omelet right onto the bread.

Serve immediately!


Recipe for Torta de Bacalhau:

(serves 4)

2 cups prepared Baked Codfish Casserole

1/4 cup olive oil

4 slices American cheese

pinch of salt

4 Portuguese pop-seco bread rolls


Chop prepared codfish casserole.  Add 1/2 to a preheated 10″ non-stick skillet with olive oil.  Fry codfish casserole over medium heat. Beat 6 eggs.  Once codfish casserole is heated through and starting to caramelize, add in 1/2 egg mixture, sprinkle with a small pinch of salt.  Cook 3/4 way through, then flip.  Remove from skillet.  Add two slices of cheese to one side of the round omelet.  Divide in half and gently fold cooked egg over the cheese.  Serve in fresh bread roll. Serve hot.  Enjoy!


London Broil Grinder

done1Grinder, Hoagie, Subway, Sub, Torpedo, Hero or Dagwood… whatever you like to call a big perfectly designed sandwich is up to you… but no matter how you slice it, this dish is pretty delectable.  London Broil as a deli meat is fairly new to me.  I love to make an actual London Broil Roast in the cooler months, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it available at my local grocer in the deli department!  Basically it is a kicked up sort of roast beef.  London Broil comes from a much more flat and narrow piece of meat, unlike your traditional roast.  This means the surface to flavor ratio goes up by quite a bit.

Fresh and flavorful ingredients are a great start to a good sandwich, but the key to a good grinder is all in the details of how to build your sandwich.  For example, I like my bread to be soft on the inside, but to have a toasty exterior.  There needs to be the correct meat to bread ratio. Then there are the seasonings.  In this sandwich we will season the meat and be sure to have oil and vinegar.

This sandwich is great for lunch, dinner or just a snack if you’re super hungry… It’s great for a meal on the go, a picnic or to cut up for Sunday Football!  It’s very versatile and travels well wrapped in foil.

Start with a good sandwich roll… this one happens to be a portuguese roll from a local bakery and is about 7-8″ long.

Take a serrated knife and cut along the side of the bread, careful not to cut all the way through.

Grab some good olive oil and pour it into a bowl for easy use.

Brush onto both exposed insides of the bread.

Once you have it moderately coated, stick it in under your broiler for a minute or two. With the oil this goes pretty quickly… I like my bread a little over toasty, but it that’s not your preference and you don’t like scraping black, watch the oven, don’t send a text, don’t answer the door… watch the bread.

Here is the London Broil meat. This one is Boar’s Head… I’m sure your local deli has either Boar’s Head or another brand, if not, you can use roast beef.

Once your bread is properly toasted, add on your deli meat individually.

Once your bread is properly toasted, add on your deli meat individually.

We are using a 1/4lb. of meat here, so you want to pile it on with some volume.

The outside of any good roast is usually a pretty yummy seasoning, however, the inside is usually in need of a little help. So, just a sprinkle of some kosher salt will do it.

Then a couple cracks of black pepper.

Can’t have a good sandwich without the right cheese… My favorite for this particular sandwich is a nice Provolone.

Now layer it on. You are going for full cheese coverage here. Again, pop this under the broiler for a minute or two, but watch it.

I am not a fan of burnt cheese, so this a nice melt and warm through was all I was after here.

Now I am brushing on a bit more olive oil.

Add on a good mayonnaise. If you want to roast some garlic in with your mayo, that would be really yummy here too. Of course you may be of the mustard persuasion and that’s o.k. too… but not me.

Evenly distribute your mayo. Here would be the step where you would add in any fresh veggies you would like to add… so lettuce, tomato, pickles etc… none for me thanks. I would rather have a salad on the side than to interrupt this perfectly balanced sandwich. (Also, if you want to add fresh veg. just be sure you aren’t traveling too far otherwise you may want to bring it along separately so they don’t get all wilty.)

Just one last addtion...  the peppers... you can use sweet peppers of course, but there is something about the kick of a nice hot pepper ring that I love here.  Pickled hot peppers also provide your sandwich with that briney vinegar... If you don't like peppers at all, still add in some vinegar for the flavor and balance.

Just one last addition… the peppers… you can use sweet peppers of course, but there is something about the kick of a nice hot pepper ring that I love here. Pickled hot peppers also provide your sandwich with that briny vinegar… If you don’t like peppers at all, still add in some vinegar for the flavor and balance.

Now add on those hot pepper rings. Don’t be shy about including a few drops of the yummy liquid they are kept in too!


Recipe for London Broil Grinder:

(Serves 2)

1/2 lb. sliced deli style London Broil

4 slices deli style Provolone cheese

2 sub rolls, Portuguese rolls

1/8 cup olive oil

1/8 cup mayonnaise

1/8 cup hot pepper rings

kosher salt

fresh cracked black pepper


Pre-heat broiler set to low. Prepare a sheet pan with a layer of foil or parchment paper.

Slice into bread lengthwise with a serrated knife.  Be sure not to cut all the way through.  Brush with olive oil.  Pop under the broiler to toast.  Watch the progress.

Take out of the oven and build your sandwich.  Place each piece of London Broil on individually splitting between the two sandwiches.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add cheese up on top of each sandwich.  Again place under the broiler for one minute or so until cheese becomes melty.

Remove from oven and brush with a little more olive oil.  Then add on mayonnaise and hot pepper rings.  Close up and wrap in foil to keep warm.



Mom’s Amazing Chouriço & Peppers (Chouriço com Pimenta)

done7My Mom makes the most amazing Chouriço & Peppers sandwiches. We just celebrated my son’s 3rd birthday and of course I asked my Mom to make this delightful treat.  I also asked that she be sure I was there to document her exact steps with my trusty camera, so you get the recipe right from the source.

Five easy ingredients, one pot, and three simple steps make for a new favorite week night meal, pot luck contribution, tail gating staple or party request time and time again.  I don’t think I can ever recall a Portuguese party that did not have some version of this sandwich piled up on a platter.  But, I have to say every time I bring these little sandwiches with this specific recipe to a party, I hear nothing but compliments and requests for the recipe. This past weekend was no exception. People ate them right up and kept coming back for more! So here it is…

Here is the start.

Here is the start.

This is ground chouriço… Most recipes involving chouriço that I have shared thus far have involved chouriço in its original form… but this is a version sold without the skin and ground up.

It’s the same price as regular chouriço and for this recipe we are starting with 3 lbs. because this is for a party.

A lot of people like to use green bell peppers for this recipe, but I am not a fan of the green, I prefer the sweeter red, orange and yellow. This is total personal preference. If you want to go the traditional route, go ahead and use green.

Three small cans of tomato sauce. We like to use plain Hunt’s… not ‘no salt added’ not ‘italian seasoning’ …just plain.

My mom likes to dice her onions pretty finely, she is not a fan of chunky onions in anything.

My mom likes to dice her onions pretty finely, she is not a fan of chunky onions in anything.

The peppers however, are diced up pretty big, each piece is roughly chopped to the size of between a nickel and a quarter. Saute both onions and peppers in a bit of olive oil for just a few minutes.

Add in all the tomato sauce and stir.

Now you want to add in about 8 oz. of beer per pound of chouriço.

Add in chouriço.

Stir.  Notice how thick the consistency is when you start out.

Cover, lower heat to medium/low and allow to simmer.

As the cooking process goes on some of the fat is released from the chouriço and it becomes much more liquidy. Continue to cook until that liquid gets reduced by about half. In the end, you still want it moist.

Each brand of chouriço has a different level of fat, this recipe is based on Michael’s Provisions Chouriço which has a low fat content and so it produces less liquid when cooking… If you are using a chouriço with a higher fat content, you may need to cook longer to cook off some of the liquid.



Recipe for Mom’s Amazing Chouriço & Peppers:

(makes 30 party size sandwiches)

3 lbs. ground chouriço

3 bell peppers, large dice

3 onions, small dice

3 small cans tomato sauce

24 oz. beer

olive oil

30 mini portuguese sandwich rolls (or lg. rolls cut in half)


Saute onions and peppers in olive oil.  Add in chouriço, tomato sauce and beer.  Cover and simmer over medium/low heat for about 1 hour.  When liquid is reduced by about half, turn off heat and stuff sandwiches. (The meat should be very moist, but not soupy.)


***NOTE: this recipe is a one to one ratio throughout, so if you want to cut it down or increase the amount, just do so in kind… for example to make for a family dinner use 1 lb. chouriço, 1 small can tomato sauce, one pepper, one onion and 8 oz. of beer 🙂


Southwest Turkey Burger


You might be thinking you only like burgers made from 100% All American beef. I say that because that’s what I used to think too… So what I did was examined the difference between ground turkey and ground beef.  On the plus side ground turkey is by far a much healthier option.  However, if you were to take ground turkey and just form it into a patty, you might find your burger dry and bland.  So, in keeping this in mind, I came up with a recipe to leave your turkey burger flavorful and juicy.  This is not your average Turkey Burger…

Packed with nutrients, vitamins and protein, this Southwest Turkey Burger is a healthy and delicious addition to your weekly dinner rotation.  Olive oil, onions and peppers add in not only flavor, but plenty of moisture. Black beans add in an extra protein punch, more of that moisture and some great texture.  Along with fresh ingredients and a pantry staple, there are a host of spices that highlight one of this county’s most tantalizing food genres.

Now, I am preparing these burgers for my husband, myself and our two toddlers… So, I will take you first through the not so spicy kid friendly version.  Then, we will kick things up a bit with adding some more heavy-duty spices and a bit more onions and peppers.

Start your base mixture here with black beans, ground turkey and an egg…

Rinse one can of black beans.

Add the washed beans into a clean bowl.

Add the washed beans into a clean bowl.

To the beans add in about one pound of ground turkey.

Add an egg into the ground turkey and beans. Stir together to get the mixture going.

Now you can start getting a key component ready, your sautéed onions, peppers and garlic.

Saute a medium onion, chopped in olive oil over medium heat.

Saute a medium onion, chopped in olive oil over medium heat.

Add your peppers to your onions and continue to saute.

Add your peppers to your onions and continue to saute.

Mince some garlic and add it into your sautéed veggies.

Saute until golden brown.

Place your veggies in a separate bowl to speed the cooling process.

You’ll want about a teaspoon of kosher salt.

Mix the salt into your meat and bean mixture. To this mixture, add in about 1/3 of your cooled sautéed veggies… I do this for the kid friendly version of these, I’ll add the rest in a bit for the adult version.

Add in a good 6-7 shakes of cumin.

Add in a good 5-6 shakes of smoked paprika.

Now lets turn these babies into kid patties…

Make a patty with this not so spicy mixture.  And if you aren't into spice, then you are set to turn all the mixture into patties.

Make a patty with this not so spicy mixture. And if you aren’t into spice, then you are set to turn all the mixture into patties.

I make a couple of these smaller burgers for my kids and add the additional spices in for the grown ups.

Get good color on each side as they cook through.

Get good color on each side as they cook through.

Now for the grown ups add in a few shakes of cayenne pepper.

Add in a few shakes of chili powder.

Now for the grown up burgers I add in the rest of the sauteed veggies.  Then I use my extra large cookie scooper to handle the mixture because it is a delicate blend.

Place the scoop directly on the grill that is heated with oil.

Take the back of a wooden spoon and press down forming the ball into a patty.

Take the back of a wooden spoon and press down forming the ball into a patty.

Get good color on each side as they cook through.

Again, get good color on each side as they cook through.

Place the cheese on the burger when you are about 2 minutes from pulling your burger off the grill.

People underestimate the importance of the bread they use for their burgers. Find the freshest keiser rolls you can for this recipe… These are fresh from my bakery.

Cut your rolls in half and toast them up on the grill.



Recipe for Southwest Turkey Burgers:

(serves 4-6)

1 lb. ground turkey

1 15.5oz. can black beans, rinsed

1 onion, chopped

1 pablano pepper, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 egg

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

1/2 tsp chili powder (optional)

1/4 c. olive oil

4-6 slices pepper jack cheese (or cheddar for the kid friendly version)

4-6 Keiser rolls


Start by preparing your meat mixture base.  Add one can of rinsed black beans to a bowl with one pound of ground turkey meat and one egg. Also add in your kosher salt. Mix together.

In a non-stick skillet over medium heat add in your olive oil, onions and peppers.  Saute until lightly golden brown.  Add in garlic and sprinkle with salt.  Continue to saute until golden brown.  Once the veggies are nicely cooked, remove from skillet and place in a separate bowl to cool.

Now, for the kid friendly version:

Add in 1/3 of the cooled veggies.  Also add in cumin and paprika.  Mix.  Form kid sized patties and serve on white or wheat buns.

For the adult version:

Add in remaining veggies and your cayenne and chili powder. Mix. Scoop out with XL cookie scooper and grill on medium heat until just about done.

At this point add-on cheese until melty.

Serve on roll.  Enjoy!

*Note: This burger patty is gluten-free and can be enjoyed on a salad or on a gluten-free keiser roll as well.