Category Archives: Panini and Sandwich

French Dips with Au Jus and creamy Horseradish Dill sauce

Or “Ahhh Juice” as my 5-year old calls it, after he slurps the remaining jus from the little bowl.

Any time I find roast beef on sale at my deli, and sometimes even when it is not, I make these toasty sandwiches, topped with swiss cheese and a creamy horseradish Dill sauce. Served with a side of flavorful Au Jus for dunking, it’s sandwich utopia!

Creamy horseradish Dill Sauce:
This can be made ahead of time, and should be chilled at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.
1/3 cup sour cream
2 heaping TBS of mayonnaise
2-3 TBS prepared horseradish (depending on preference)
1 TBS fresh snipped dill (or 1 tsp of dried)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, cover and chill until ready to serve.

Ingredients for Au Jus
Makes 4 – 1/2 cup servings for dipping
1 tsp butter
1 shallot diced
2 cloves garlic finely diced
1 TBS flour
Splash of Red Wine
2 Cups Beef Broth
A few splashes of Worcestershire Sauce

In a medium sauce pan, heat about 1 TBS EVOO and 1 tsp butter. Add Shallot, and allow to begin to soften stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, careful not to burn for about a minute. Sprinkle flour into onion garlic mixture and cook for about another minute. Add a healthy splash of red wine and let cook down until it begins to reduce. Slowly add beef broth, bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile prepare French Dips.

Ingredients For the French Dip:
Recipe Yields 4 Sandwiches

1 loaf french bread from your deli, divided into 4 sections and the cut crosswise making a top and bottom
1 pound Deli sliced Roast Beef

While Au Jus is simmering, toast the bread in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 6 minutes, remove from oven. With a pair of tongs, dip roast beef into au jus about 20 seconds and place on the bottom part of sandwich. On the top, spread a generous layer of horseradish Dill Sauce, assemble sandwich cut in half for easier handling. Pour 1/2 cup Au Jus into a small container for dipping. I prefer to strain the Au Jus before serving removing the shallot and garlic, this is optional


Fishwich with Lemon Caper Sauce – Not your Typical Catch of the Day

4 fillets of Sea Star Cod (or other mild whitefish) about 4 oz each
2 TBS Seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay)
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cup Panco Bread Crumbs (japanese bread crumbs)
3 eggs
splash milk (to thin out egg mixture)
EVOO (such as Mezzetta)
Arugula (about 2 cups loosely packed)
4 kaiser buns or buns of your choice
Roasted Sweet Red Peppers from a jar, enough to top 4 sandwiches (Mezzetta is the brand I used)

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
3 TBS Non-Pareil Capers (such as Mezzetta brand) lightly chopped
Zest and Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 TBS fresh Dill (use dried if fresh is not available)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients for sauce in a small bowl, cover and chill while preparing fish.

Set up your dredging station. 1 shallow bowl with beaten eggs and milk, one bowl or plate with just flour, and one with just Panco bread crumbs. Rinse and pat dry with paper towel the 4 fish fillets. Sprinkle with Seafood seasoning on both sides and lightly coat with flour. Shake off excess. Quickly dredge in egg mixture then in the Panco bread crumbs, set aside on a plate and repeat until all of the fillets are coated.

Heat enough EVOO in a large heavy frying pan to fry fish (about 1 cup depending size of pan). When oil is hot, test by tossing a pinch of flour in oil, if it sizzles, it’s ready. Carefully place fish in pan and fry until it is a golden brown, turn and finish the other side (about 3-4 minutes each side depending on how thick your fish is). When fish is cooked, remove from pan and transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Meanwhile, begin assembling your sandwiches. Spread a layer of Lemon Caper Sauce on both the top and bottom buns, place a layer of arugula on the bottom buns, then fish, then a layer of Roasted Sweet Red Pepper and top with the other half of bun. Viola! A fishwich full of flavor and style.

Pulled Pork BBQ

I’ve watched the Food Networks BBQ competitions many times and many other of their famous chefs making Pulled Pork BBQ. Their methods and techniques are practiced for many years and appear complex. I drool as I watch them pull apart the juicy Pork with its crusty edges and then pour their homemade sauce with ingredients such as apple cider, brown sugar, honey, spices, garlic and others that they keep secret. I have pondered attempting this seemingly daunting task of smoking a pork shoulder slathered in rub and mopped in sauce, but I, the common cook do not have the hours to spend over a smoker, nor, do I have a large enough grill to attempt. Not to mention, I’d be terrified that I would dry out my whole Pork shoulder, thus leaving me with serving grilled cheese and canned soup for dinner (though that is also a family favorite).

After much thinking and a bit of research, I am happy to say, I have found a way to deliver a manageable recipe for the common cook with all the flavors of the professionals, complete with your own homemade BBQ sauce!


4-5 lb pork shoulder
4-5 TBS McCormick Grill Mates Pork Rub (this has brown sugar, chili pepper, red pepper, onion and apple cider vinegar already in the rub)
2-3 tsp EVOO

I have an electric roaster that my Grandma purchased for me over 10 years ago from QVC that has also doubled as my crock pot that I use weekly! I spray with cooking spray and preheat it to 400 degrees for searing my Pork. Earlier, I had removed my Pork shoulder from the refrigerator to take the chill off from it (about 20 minutes) Rub the meat with EVOO, coating all sides. Then, generously massage in McCormick Grill Mates Pork Rub all over. Let meat sit for a few minutes while the roaster heats up. Then, place Pork into roaster to sear for about 5 minutes, turning to brown the other side. Lower heat to 300 and cook for about 4 hours covered until meat is falling apart. If you do not have an electric roaster, use a covered roasting pan in the oven. First, brown meat in a large heavy skillet, making a sweet crust on the outside. After the first couple of hours, add a cup or two of water if needed to keep meat moist, but there is usually enough juice from the Pork Shoulder to keep it happy. When pork is falling apart. Carefully remove from pan and let rest. Meanwhile, prepare your BBQ Sauce.

Ingredients for BBQ Sauce:

1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/3 cup Brown sugar
Pan drippings (plus water if needed) to make 1/4 cup
1 TBS diced garlic (I used the jarred kind already diced)
1/4 cup mustard ( I prefer the brown)
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tsp McCormick Grill Mates Pork Rub
Fresh Ground pepper to taste.

Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a low boil, using a wire whisk to dissolve sugar and make into a smooth sauce. Keep stirring occasionally mixture will begin to thicken 5-7 minutes. It should be the consistency of a cream soup (tomato soup for example), not as thick as your store-bought BBQ sauce. Add water if needed to thin or cook a bit longer if you need it to thicken more. Meanwhile, shred your meat using 2 forks (discarding any large portions of fat if needed). Put meat into bowl and pour BBQ sauce over. Place in your favorite grilled Kaiser roll or bun and enjoy!

Zesty Italian Subs Pizzaria Style

Cody was craving an Italian sub from the local delivery place. The cost $7.99 + tax and delivery. This got me thinking and I made a trip to the grocery store. For the price of 1 sub, I bought enough ingredients to make 6 subs!

Sub-style buns
Deli ham
Deli hard salami
Provolone cheese slices
Lettuce shredded
Bannana peppers sliced (mild yellow in a jar)
Onions (optional)
Zesty itallian dressing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a piece of foil, place bun and layer with ham, salami, pepperoni and provolone cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Top sub with shredded lettuce, peppers, olives and Zesty Italian dressing. Eat right off the foil that its cooked on…no dishes!

Perfect Panini

Panini’s are no more than adult grilled cheeses. This one is made with Ham, provolone,red onion slices, spinach and tomato with a few more touches. The bread needs to be the good deli kind, crusty and hearty. Serve with a side salad or your favorite cold pasta salad…perfect picnic food or lunch for company!


1 Loaf crusty bread cut into 1/2 inch slices. (I used sourdough, feta and spinach bread from family fare, just baked)
Deli shaved ham (Virginia baked was on sale or your favorite)
Deli sliced smoked Provolone cheese
Sliced tomato
Baby spinach (I used the organic on sale prewashed)
Thinly sliced red onion
Fresh ground salt and Pepper
Pinch of dried Oregano
Olive oil

Spray grill pan with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat at med-high. Brush outsides of bread with olive oil. Salt and pepper tomatoes and sprinkle with oregano. Layer on bottom piece of bread, ham, cheese, onion,tomato and baby spinach. Top with 2nd piece of bread. Place Panini on preheated grill pan. Weigh sandwich with a cast iron skillet or a clean brick covered with foil. Cook 3-5 minutes or until grill marks are dark brown. Flip Panini and weigh down with skillet or brick for another 3-5 minutes until done. Let sit 1-2 minutes before cutting in half.

Serve with a side salad or favorite cold potato or pasta salad.

Try this with any flavor bread, cheese, chicken, turkey, peppers, avocado, mushrooms….let your imagination lead your tastbuds!

Philly Cheesesteak Panini with Au Jus

This is a fun way to have all of the flavors of a Philly Cheesesteak in a Panini. Make your own Au Jus it’s simple and tastes better than the dry packet from the store.

This recipe makes up to 4 Panini’s

Ingredients for Panini
3/4 pound sliced roast beef from your grocery deli
8 slices swiss cheese
1 sweet red pepper cleaned and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 sweet green pepper cleaned and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 med. Vidalia onion peeled, halved and sliced into 1/4 inch half moon slices
8 slices of a good hearty sourdough bread from your bakery
2 TBS EVOO 1 to saute onions and peppers, the other to lightly brush outside of bread slices

Au Jus
3 cups beef broth
3 TBS finely diced onion
1 tsp finely diced garlic
1 TBS flour
4-5 dashes Worchestershire Sauce
Pepper to taste

Directions: Slice peppers and onions into 1/4 inch strips. Saute in EVOO until slightly tender but not soggy. Set aside. Lightly brush the outside of bread slices with EVOO. Layer bread slice with cheese, roast beef, peppers and onions, another slice of cheese and top with bread slice. Place Panini on a hot grill pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Place a heavy cast iron skillet over sandwich to weigh it down. When 1st side is done, flip and repeat. Serve with Au Jus.

Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan, heat EVOO and gently cook diced onion over medium heat careful not to brown onion. When onion is tender, add minced garlic. Cook 1 minute more. Add 4-5 dashes Worchestershire Sauce and flour. Stirring mixture with a wire whisk, cook flour for 30 seconds to 1 minute careful not to burn. Slowly add beef broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until ready to serve.

Place Au Jus into small bowl for dipping your Philly Cheesesteak Panini.