blta grilled cheese

Since we love grilled cheese in this house, we decided to add "grilled cheese" to the bi-weekly menu rotation. This also means that we will be coming up with unique grilled cheeses in the future since there is no way we could stand making grilled cheese every other week and be happy with the lack of variety.



As you may know, three of the five people in the family are back to college now (the fourth is heading to USC in the spring) and that means fast, easy and tasty meals are on the menu - and that also means everyone helps out with the cooking (at least one person, once a week - besides me).

This past week we had BLTA Grilled Cheese sandwiches. Bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado - all on a grilled cheese sandwich. Really, this can only be good.

I used my bacon recipe from Everyday Vegan Eats (AMAZON) because it is STILL my most favorite bacon recipe hands down and it freezes really well so I make a huge batch and pull out what I need when I need it. Toss it in the air-fryer and have crisp, crunchy, amazing vegan bacon.

Use commercial cheese or make your own, but if using commercial block cheeses, use a mix of different brands to get a melty, gooey vegan cheese that isn't over-powering in flavor.

Have at it - make grille cheese a regular addition to your menu and you can customize it and have lunch on the table in record time.







BLTA Grilled Cheese
Makes 4 sandwiches

8 slices bread
Vegan butter
Vegan mayonnaise or 1 small mashed avocado
4 slices vegan swiss cheese or other vegan cheese
12 slices vegan bacon
Lettuce
Tomato

1. Butter one side of each bread slice. Spread mayo or avocado on the top slice of each sandwich.
2. Heat a skillet over medium-low heat, add the slices of buttered bread, top with cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and add the top slice of mayo-ed (or avocado-ed) bread (butter side up). Cover with a lid and cook until the bottom slice of bread is golden, about 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Flip the sandwich and cook, uncovered, until golden brown. Reduce heat if the bread is cooking too fast.
4. If the cheese is not melted, add a tablespoon of water to the skillet, tip the skillet to avoid making the bread soggy, cover with a lid and cook until the cheese is melted. Serve.



© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

cordon bleu

Chicken Cordon Bleu is a popular dish of ham and swiss cheese wrapped inside a chicken breast, which is then breaded and fried. We can do better than that, though, so here is an easier (and kinder) Cordon Bleu.


This sandwich is presented on a homemade bun with a slice of seitan that has been seared. The seitan is topped with smoky seitan that is thinly sliced and then is topped with vegan Swiss cheese. The final addition is a maple-mustard sauce that is as delicious as it is easy to make.

While this sandwich comes together in as little as 15 minutes, including the sauce, there is no denying that most of the work is done beforehand: seitan, bread and cheese, if making it homemade. However, once you have all the components, it is a snap.

This is one of those sandwiches whose total is so much better than the parts. In fact, as you are making your various kinds of seitan, keep this sandwich in mind to use up any leftovers.






Cordon Bleu Sandwich
Makes 4 sandwiches

Sauce:
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil or vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Sea salt and black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil
12 thin slices vegan ham
4 vegan scallopini or seitan slices (about 1/2-inch thick)
4 slices vegan swiss cheese or other vegan cheese
4 kaiser rolls or burger buns, split and toasted 

1. Sauce: Combine the mustard, oil, vinegar, maple, lemon juice and salt and pepper, to taste, in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ham slices and cook until golden brown. Set aside. Add the vegan scallopini and season with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown and flip. Add the reserved slices of ham, three to a scallopini and a slice of cheese. Add a teaspoon of water to the pan and cover with a lid. Cook until the cheese melts. 
3. Spread some sauce on the bottom of the buns. Add a cordon bleu stack and top with more sauce. Add the top of the roll and serve immediately. 


© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.








vegan meatball sub

I've always had a soft spot for a terrific meatball hoagie. Native Foods has a great vegan meatball sub that at least one family member gets whenever we go, but I only get to snag a bite of. I decided it is time to make one at home.


We have at least one sandwich for lunch during the week and since sandwiches are supposed to be on the faster side, I just used store-bought vegan meatballs, but you can, of course, make your own. I've been making so many different components of meals that I just wanted a bit of a break.

As it is, I made the rolls at home and you can, too, if you have a Fridge Dough.



This sandwich has two sauces, but you can pick one or the other to do if you don't feel like making two different ones. If you make the red pepper sauce only, double or triple it for 4 sandwiches.

I added oven-roasted tomatoes to this sandwich and I have to tell you, I was eating them right off the baking tray; they are good! If yours cools by the time the sandwich assembly comes, heat them a bit in the oven or make sure your sauce is pipping hot - it will warm the tomatoes, too.



I'm getting the family ready for the fall, since I am going back to school, too, so I've streamlined the menu and we now have two week rotations of lunch and dinner ideas that can be customized so we don't get bored.

For example, for lunch on week 1 we have:

Sunday- Tofu Scramble
Monday- Cup of soup and simple sandwich
Tuesday- Salad
Wednesday- Sandwich
Thursday- Mom's pick
Friday- Leftovers
Saturday- Veggie Dogs

As you can see, for example, the tofu scramble can be further customized into Migas, Hungarian Scramble, Benedict, Frittata, etc. The Veggie Dogs can be California Dogs, Chicago Dogs, Potato Dogs, etc. You get the idea.

Next order of business is to announce the winner of The China Study Family Cookbook giveaway! The winner is: RunLonger45! Congratulations! Contact me so I can get you a copy of the book!!







Vegan Meatball Sub
Makes 4 subs

Tomatoes:
2 large tomatoes
1 tablespoon garlic oil*
1 teaspoon dried basil
Sea salt

Red Pepper Sauce:
3 large roasted red peppers (jarred is fine, but freshly roasted is better)
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Sea salt
1 tablespoon garlic oil*

Tomato Sauce:
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon garlic oil*
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
Sea salt and black pepper

Other: 
4 (5-inch) crusty rolls, split and toasted
20 vegan meatballs, semi-thawed, if frozen
1 tablespoon garlic oil*
1 cup shredded vegan cheese 

1. Tomatoes: Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F (or air-fryer to 335-degrees F). Cut the tomatoes into 1/2-inch wedges and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with the basil and sea salt and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the sheet pan and set aside. Add the meatballs and another tablespoon of garlic oil and bake the meatballs until golden on one side. Flip the meatballs, add the cheese, cover the meatballs with a cake pan and bake until the cheese melts. Add the bread to the baking sheet to toast while the cheese melts, about 8 to 10 minutes. Do not burn the bread.
2. Red Pepper Sauce: Add the peppers, broth, herbs, salt (to taste) and oil to a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Use an immersion blender to blend the sauce until smooth. Continue to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. If you don’t have an immersion blender, blend the sauce ingredients in a standard blender before heating.
3. Tomato Sauce: Add the tomato sauce, oil, herbs, sugar and salt and black pepper (to taste) to a small saucepan. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cook until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Season to taste. 
4. Assemble the sandwich: add the meatballs to the split rolls (with the melted cheese), top with the tomato sauce, add a few slices of roasted tomatoes and add a few tablespoons of the red pepper sauce. Serve immediately. 

* If you don’t have garlic oil, use 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 garlic clove, minced, for each tablespoon of garlic oil. 

© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.