Mark doesn’t often request a particular food, but when he does we see what we can do.
He saw this intriguing Italian Hero Crescent Rings on Reddit and we decided to take it a little father.
Not only did we make the Italian Hero with a few tweaks, we also made a roast beef and cheddar that was insanely good.
These were super quick and easy to make with a lot of flavor.
It’s a great take on classic sandwiches for dinner or lunch.
Italian Crescent Ring Sandwiche
- 2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
- ½ cup well drained roasted red bell peppers (from a jar)
- 8 slices provolone cheese, halved
- ⅓ lb deli sliced hot salami
- ¼ lb deli sliced ham
- ¼ lb deli sliced capocollo
- ½ cup well drained hot pepper rings (from a jar)
- Heat oven to 375°F (350°F for dark or nonstick cooking sheet).
- Unroll both cans of dough; separate into 8 rectangles. On ungreased 12-inch pizza pan, arrange rectangles in ring so short sides of rectangles form a circle in center. (Dough will overlap; half of each rectangle will hang over edge of pan. Dough ring should look like a sun.)
- Spread roasted red bell peppers toward center of ring on bottom halves of rectangles. Top with half of the cheese. Layer salami, ham and capocollo slices over cheese. Arrange pepper rings over top. Cover with remaining half of cheese.
- Bring each dough rectangle hanging over side of pan up over stacked filling, tucking dough under bottom layer of dough to secure it. Repeat around sandwich until entire filling is enclosed (some filling might show a little). Sprinkle with black pepper.
- Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until dough is golden brown and thoroughly baked. Cool 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into serving slices.
We used three different kinds of salami, pepperoni, and nixed the ham.
For the beef and cheddar sandwich, we soaked about ¾ of a pound of roast beef in an au jus overnight, and then drained it well before putting it on the sandwich. We then topped that with a very meltable cheese dip.
When I lived in New Hampshire, there was a local pizza joint that we frequented and one of the things I would get most often was a Chicken Cutlet Sub. It was simple and delicious and my favorite.
I have much loved memories of getting a whole sub to myself while we watched the New England Patriots play in the super bowl; it felt super special.
Ever since I moved away I haven’t been able to find one quite like it. I don’t really see it on the menu around here either.
My craving became so intense that I decided to embark on a journey to make my own.
I didn’t realize it would be a journey at first though, I assumed that I would be able to just throw the ingredients together and have it be exactly what my mouth remembered, but clearly that was asking too much.
Although this recipe is delicious and tasty and yummy and such that Cat immediately wanted seconds, it’s not quite what I was hoping for. I’m determined to keep tweaking to see what needs to change. Maybe the bread?
Comment if you have any suggestions!
Chicken Cutlet Sub Sandwich - Take 1
- 1 chicken breast
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- ¼ cup seasoned bread crumbs
- ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
- Oil for frying, enough to be half an inch deep in a medium pan
- 2 sub sandwich rolls
- 2 slices hothouse tomato
- ½ cup shredded iceberg lettuce
- 4 slices provolone cheese
- Red onion slices
- Butterfly the chicken breast into halves and pound each half even.
- In one of two wide mouth dishes combine the egg and water (whisking with a fork), and in the other, the two breadcrumbs.
- Heat the oil on the stove to 350 degrees and while the oil is heating dip the chicken breast halves in egg to evenly coat, and then in the breadcrumbs to evenly coat.
- Fry the chicken in the oil on each side for three minutes or until golden brown.
- As soon as the chicken is ready, place them on a folded paper towel to drain and cover each with two slices of the cheese to begin to melt a little.
- Spread each side of the rolls with a generous layer of mayonnaise.
- On the bottom add half the shredded lettuce, two slices of tomato, and your desired amount of onion rings.
- Place the chicken on top and close up the sandwich!
- Slice in half and enjoy.
I spend a lot of my time in the car during the week (about 10 hours) and do some of my best thinking there. Most often I forget about my genius ideas as soon as the engine turns off, but this particular thought was so persistent there was no way I was forgetting.
Get this (and I know you already know what I’m going to say, but just go with me on this)…
Instead of noodles!
I had a few moments of doubt before I started cooking as to whether I was legitimately a genius, or if I was delusional.
But as soon as I got to the second layer, I could tell that this was to be one of my most bestest creations.
- 2 jars of your favorite red pasta sauce
- 25 oz (1 bag) of frozen ravioli with your desired filling (I did a layer of portabello mushroom and 5 cheese)
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 onion, diced
- 15 oz Ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
- In a medium skillet, saute the onion with the ground beef until browned and set aside.
- In a small bowl add the ricotta, egg, and seasoning and mix until smooth and fully combined. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In the bottom of a large glass baking dish, spread several tablespoons of the pasta sauce to coat.
- Evenly place one layer of ravioli on top of the sauce in rows. Mine fit just about perfectly, hopefully yours will too.
- On top of the ravioli evenly dollop one half of the ricotta mixture.
- Then sprinkle half of the ground beef onion mixture evenly over the ricotta.
- Pour the rest of the first jar of sauce over the entire tray and spread until the ravioli are completely covered/submerged.
- On top of that add the second and last layer of ravioli and repeat steps 5 through 7.
- Cover the sauce evenly with the grated mozzarella.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 40 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- Cool for 10-15 minutes and serve warm.
I don’t know about you, but certain meals can sound really boring and kind of old-hat, but when I try them again I realize how fantastic they are.
This happens to me all the time with your basic “pasta and red sauce” combo, which is terrible because it’s so easy to do on a busy night.
Even with how much I LOVE pasta, the thought of red sauce just doesn’t get me excited though.
But then I make myself a bowl – which is just. so. quick and easy – and I’m reminded just how delicious and worth it this dish is!
The best thing about pasta and red sauce is in how versatile it is. You could literally just change what kind of pasta you use, and it’s a whole new dish!
What I like to do though, is saute my favorite veggies and meat and then mix it into the sauce.
My hope is that this will inspire to you to give a simple and boring sounding recipe another chance.
Pasta with Red Sauce
- 4 ounces dry pasta
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 jar tomato sauce
- Parmesan cheese, grated
- Boil your pasta according to package directions. Or, you can boil it the right way, which is to cover the dry pasta in a pot with water plus a couple inches, bring to a boil and then boil until pasta is to your desired tenderness.
- Saute the diced onion (and any other vegetables you like) in a large skillet in a touch of butter or oil or whatever you have lying around.
- Once the onions are translucent add your ground beef (or sausage or chicken, etc) into the cook thoroughly.
- Once the meat is cooked through and browned, add the jar of sauce and stir to combine and warm up.
- Turn off the heat, and then add your cooked and drained pasta. Mix
- Serve into bowls, and grate a little cheese on top.
Craving a creamy pasta sauce, but don’t want to invest the time into making it authentic? Check out my superquick shortcut recipe for a FAST, flavorful sauce to put on your pasta (or to dip your bread in – yum!).
This started as a “Cat is lazy and out of jarred Alfredo” recipe, but evolved into something that’s actually tasty enough to serve to company.
Hope you like it!
Fauxfredo: A quick, creamy alternative to Alfredo sauce
Recipe type: Pasta Sauce
Cuisine: Faux Italian
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 3 Tablespoons squeeze-bottle garlic
- 1 teaspoon "Italian seasonings" mix (or any garlic and herb, mixed herb, Spike, etc type spice mix)
- A dash of pepper (to taste)
- A dash of salt (to taste)
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1⅓ cups ricotta
- Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat.
- Whisk in garlic, seasonings, salt and pepper.
- Reduce heat to low and whisk in heavy cream and ricotta.
- Once combined and heated through, serve over the pasta of your choice.
This recipe is part of Feeding A Crowd: French(ish!) Birthday.
This is a really tasty option for folks who don’t drink alcohol, but still want something festive.
Just put 1/4 cup of peach juice into a tall glass, then fill it the rest of the way up with sparkling apple cider.
Wanna check out the rest of the French(ish!)-inspired menu? Try one of these!
After rummaging through my cupboards for dinner inspiration (and failing), I turned to the Great Google God (GGG). I searched “tomatoes, vodka, heavy cream, onions” on a lark and ended up finding this offensively named recipe by Rachel Ray (seriously, horrible).
Yes, that is a hammer in the background. No, I don’t know why.
Despite finding such… icky inspiration, the fact that “vodka cream sauce” is a THING was actually new to me (Italian food was not a staple for me while growing up). So I Googled several recipes, tweaked a bunch, and ended up with a really lovely, brightly flavored dish.
The key here is to reduce the living daylights out of it. And keep on reducing. And reducing. And. Yeah.
Tomato Cream Sauce with Vodka
Recipe type: Pasta Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 4 Tablespoons squeeze-bottle garlic
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 2 cups vodka
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 6 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons squeeze-bottle basil
- 2 lbs thick pasta (penne, rotini, etc)
- Combine olive oil, butter, garlic, and onions in a large saucepan and cook until onions have softened (5-10 minutes).
- Add in vodka and simmer until reduced by half. Stir occasionally.
- Add chicken broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and honey.
- Reduce, reduce, reduce by simmering for about 20 minutes or until reduced by about ⅔. Stir often and do not allow to burn. This is a good time to start the pasta and make a side dish (we usually have garlic bread).
- Stir in cream and basil until sauce just begins to bubble, then remove from heat.
- Serve over pasta and enjoy!