Calzone grilled cheese from Awesome on 20

Calzone Grilled Cheese

Calzone grilled cheese from Awesome on 20

They tell me it’s National Sandwich Month. I’m ready to celebrate, as I’m a carboholic and wrapping food, especially cheese, in bread is sort of my favorite thing. I think I can get into this. Let’s celebrate.

August also means it’s time to go back to school. When I was a teacher this meant that the rest of my life completely fell apart. After the slow long summer evenings, the shock of returning to work left me exhausted. Putting my high heels back on left my feet stupid tired. Cooking dinner was pretty much the last thing I wanted to do. Grilled cheese seems doable. And delicious. And almost as comforting as a pillow.

Calzone grilled cheese from Awesome on 20

And here’s a crazy thing. This grilled cheese has a vegetable. What? Yes, that’s spinach in there. Between two slices of melty provolone is a blend of ricotta, parmesan, and chopped spinach. You’re gonna have bulging forearms in a second. Watch out!

This grilled cheese has all the gooey wonderfulness of a calzone without that whole yeast dough folding baking taking forever making your kitchen hot thing. Plus, dipped in tomato soup, as all grilled cheese sandwiches should be, it’s almost like dipping your calzone in marinara sauce. And there’s crunchy bread. It’s pretty awesome.

Calzone grilled cheese from Awesome on 20

Happy Sandwich Month! Crunchy, gooey, wonderful. Do it!

Calzone Grilled Cheese
Serves 4
Melty provolone and a ricotta spinach mixture come together in a grilled cheese sandwich packed with cheese and vitamins
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 box frozen spinach, thawed
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 10 grinds pepper
  6. 2 shakes ground nutmeg
  7. 1 cup ricotta cheese
  8. 1/3 cup shaved parmesan (or grated, use what you have)
  9. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  10. butter, softened
  11. 8 slices sandwich bread
  12. 8 slices provolone
Instructions
  1. Ring out as much water as possible from your thawed spinach.
  2. In a skillet, add oil and heat to medium. Cook garlic for about a minute or until you start to smell it.
  3. Add spinach and break it up in the pan. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook until heated through.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, mix spinach and garlic, ricotta and parmesan cheeses, and oregano. Adjust seasonings if needed.
  5. Place a slice of provolone on one piece of bread, spread two or three heaping spoonfuls of spinach ricotta mixture over bread. Top with another slice of provolone and then your second piece of bread.
  6. Butter the outside of one piece of bread and place your sandwich, butter side down, in a skillet over medium heat.
  7. While cooking, butter the outside of the other side of the sandwich.
  8. Cook 3 to 5 minutes per side.
  9. Cut in half, dip in soup, and see how far you can stretch your cheese.
Adapted from Rachael Ray
Adapted from Rachael Ray
http://awesomeon20.com/
*This post contains an Amazon Affiliate link.

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Don’t miss my all time favorite, cholesterol sandwich.

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Spicy Southwest Burgers from Awesome on 20

Spicy Southwest Burgers

Spicy Southwest Burgers from Awesome on 20

It’s hot! It’s time to cook outside! And keep it spicy! Supposedly, spicy food makes you sweat, which is supposed to cool you down. I don’t know if it works, but it’s definitely delicious.

My English husband loves spicy food. He’s happiest eating something loaded with habaneros or a vindaloo so hot it makes him cry. I find this ironic since English food is generally pretty bland. We’re also talking about a guy who ate nothing but chips and tomato soup for 18 years. But these days, he wants chiles in everything.

Spicy Southwest Burgers from Awesome on 20

I like a little heat, but I can’t quite handle the deathray status at which my husband prefers his food. These burgers, studded with green chiles and hot salsa,  have a definite heat to them, but they won’t blow your head off. Feel free to add habanero sauce to boost your heat level.

I served these at a picnic at the beach over the weekend. Everybody loved them, even though somehow the buns didn’t make it into the bag. It could have been my fault. It probably wasn’t. But it could have been. Definitely wasn’t.

Spicy Southwest Burgers from Awesome on 20

The point is, they’re just that good. This burger is loaded with flavor. Get outside and make it now.

Spicy Southwest Burgers
Yields 12
A juicy burger with a spicy Southwest flair
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 ounce can of chopped green chiles
  2. 12 crackers, crushed
  3. 1/4 cup picante sauce (I used hot)
  4. 4 teaspoons chili powder
  5. 1 tablespoon cumin
  6. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  9. 2 pounds ground beef
  10. 1/2 pound hot pork sausage
  11. 12 slices colby jack or pepper jack cheese
  12. 12 hamburger buns
  13. Your favorite burger toppings
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine chiles, crackers, picante sauce, and seasonings. Give it a quick stir to combine.
  2. Add meats and quickly work everything together by squishing it with your hands.
  3. Form into 8 to 12 burger patties depending on how many people you want to feed.
  4. Grill over medium high heat for 5 to 7 minutes. (You can also make these in a frying pan indoors. I did both.)
  5. Place a slice of cheese on each patty for the last minute or two to let it melt a bit.
  6. Build your burger and let the fiesta begin.
Adapted from Circle of Friends
Adapted from Circle of Friends
http://awesomeon20.com/
Check us out at Chef in Training's link party
Check us out at Chef in Training’s link party
Loco Moco from Awesome on 20

Loco Moco

Loco Moco from Awesome on 20

Honolulu is one of the most diverse cities in the world. We have a huge Asian population, mostly Japanese, plus constantly rotating military families. Throw in the Hawaiians, Samoans, Tongans, and other Polynesians, along with us regular haoles (technically, I’m hapa, or part Hawaiian) and you’ve got yourself one serious melting pot of awesome.

Also awesome is the fact that Hawaiians love to eat. Growing up, I remember my Hawaiian grandmother’s house felt like one constant party. It seemed like there were always visitors playing music and cooking and enjoying plenty of food. Out here in the middle of the ocean, comfort food is taken to a whole new level. All those different influences combine for some unusual, but very tasty dishes.

Loco Moco from Awesome on 20

Today, at my daughter’s request, we’re sharing loco moco. She helped me make it, and gleefully wolfed down almost this entire portion by herself. This dish can be found at just about every local eatery on the island. It may not be sophisticated, but it’s for real. You’ve got to try it.

Loco moco is simple and delicious. It starts with a bed of white rice, topped with a juicy hamburger steak, a sunny side up egg, and enough gravy to drown the entire thing. Truthfully, I held back on the gravy a bit to make the photo a bit more pretty, but that’s not what loco moco is about.

Loco Moco from Awesome on 20

This is what the locals call ono grinds. It’s not fancy. You could try to make it healthy. You could try to make it snobby. But I think that if you mess with a good thing, screw with tradition, then maybe you’ve created something else all together. It might still be good, but is it still loco moco? 

Loco Moco from Awesome on 20

Loco moco should be dirty, greasy, down home, made with aloha, and probably eaten on styrofoam. Try to avoid the last bit if you can. It won’t be easy. Unless you make it at home, which you should. It’s dead easy and kind of amazing. It might even make you a better ukulele player. I haven’t tested that theory.

Loco Moco
Serves 4
A local Hawaiian favorite of rice, hamburger, egg, and gravy. Ono kine grindz!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
For the rice
  1. 2 cups white rice
  2. 4 cups water
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
For the hamburger steaks
  1. 1 pound ground beef
  2. 1 teaspoon salt
  3. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  4. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  5. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  6. 2 tablespoons green onions, the white parts only, finely sliced (or scissored)
  7. 1 egg, lightly beaten
  8. 1 tablespoon oil
For the gravy
  1. fat from cooked burgers
  2. 1 to 2 tablespoons flour
  3. 1 to 1-1/2 cups beef stock
  4. Salt and pepper to taste
For the egg
  1. 1 tablespoon butter
  2. 4 eggs
  3. Green onions, the green parts, thinly sliced (or scissored)
For the rice
  1. In a medium pan with a tight fitting lid, bring four cups of water to a boil, then add salt.
  2. Stir in rice, put the lid on, and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to continue steaming for five minutes or until water is absorbed.
  4. Or just put it in the rice cooker if you are awesome enough to have one of those. I don't.
  5. When it's ready, divide the rice between four plates so it's ready to have juicy hamburger steaks placed on top.
For the hamburger steaks
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine beef, seasonings, soy sauce, onions, and egg. Work quickly with your hands and try not to handle it excessively.
  2. Form into four patties.
  3. Add oil to a large skillet and heat to medium high. Cook patties about 4 minutes a side or to desired doneness. Just make sure you get some good browning on the outside.
  4. Place a hamburger steak atop each mound of rice so that the juices will soak into the rice. Don't waste the flavor.
For the gravy
  1. First, remember that gravy making is as much an art as a science, so go with your gut and adjust as needed for your conditions. Everybody likes it a little different. Do what you love.
  2. Reduce heat to medium low on the remaining fat and delicious bits in your skillet. Sprinkle flour over the fat, just enough to absorb the fat and create a paste. Cook for a few minutes until the flour mixture turns brown.
  3. Add stock about a quarter cup at a time, stirring well to remove lumps. Also make sure you scrape up any bits off the bottom of the pan. They are full of flavor. Keep adding liquid until you get your favorite consistency and season to taste.
For the egg
  1. Add butter to a nonstick skillet and melt over medium low heat.
  2. Crack you eggs into the pan and season with salt and pepper if desired. Cook slowly until whites are just set.
Assembly
  1. Rice goes on the bottom.
  2. Put your hamburger steak on top right out of the pan to catch all the juices.
  3. You can put the egg or gravy on next, it doesn't matter. Just don't skimp on the gravy. (Unless you're crazy and want to take your food's photo)
  4. Scatter green onions over the top.
  5. Dig in and live the aloha.
Notes
  1. This recipe serves four normal humans or two big Hawaiians. It's easily scalable for a small family or a big gathering.
Adapted from Big Island Grinds
Adapted from Big Island Grinds
http://awesomeon20.com/
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