Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Nearly No-Cook Meal

As usual, I've got some chicken hanging around my fridge this week, left-over roast chicken to be exact. And, frankly, nothing makes me happier than a surplus of roast chicken. It can be turned into so many other wonderful meals. The obvious choice, of course, is chicken soup ... but without the noodles, I just don't see the point. Until I find an acceptable whole wheat noodle, my standard soup is off the menu for awhile. And, though the weather has cooled some, August really doesn't feel like chicken soup time to me, so that can wait.

Tacos, chili or fajitas would make a fine venue for the chix as well, but I'm not feeling very Mexican today. And, to be honest, my stove and kitchen are spotless right now and the idea of having to re-clean everything does not appeal. I think its time for a no-cook meal.

I don't know about you, but here in Divaland we love sandwiches. The husband is especially crazy for them - any and all kinds - and, at this point, I suppose I should admit my addiction to the humble grilled cheese. My love for grilled cheese is profound. It knows no limits or depths. Its been my favorite sandwich for as long as I can remember. In fact, I loved gc so much as a child that I insisted on taking it to school for lunch every day ... for a year. (Or at least it seemed that way.) My mom would make one in the morning, wrap it in foil, and I would eat it cold at lunch. It sounds crazy - and, ok, kind of gross - when I think about it now, but it was the only sandwich I ever wanted.

I still love them today, and though I made the transition to whole wheat bread decades ago, I'm not above savoring a gc on plain old white bread when dining at The Glenwood Drive-In. Their grilled cheese is sublime! If you're ever in this area of Connecticut, do yourself a favor and pop into Glenwood for lunch. Go with a friend, order a foot-long hot dog, a grilled cheese and an oder of onion rings and split them. You won't be disappointed! The husband is a big fan of Glenwood's fried clams - and ,if you're not averse to the sea creatures, by all means oder up. They are spectacular.

But I digress ... and at this point you're wondering what kind of grilled cheese I'm going to make with that left-over chicken, right? Right. I'm going to make an open-faced sandwich that will be South Beach friendly, throughly delicious, and ... no pans or stoves will be soiled in the process.

Open-faced Chicken, Provolone and Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich:

  • 4 slices of sugar-free multi-grain bread
  • some sliced, cooked chicken breasts (roasted or grilled, whatever you have)
  • 1 large garlic clove, halved lengthwise
  • 4 tsp. pesto sauce (standard basil pesto, you can use jarred)
  • 2 or 3 jarred whole roasted Piquillo peppers, drained*
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices of reduced-fat provolone or Monterey Jack cheese
Pre-heat your broiler.

Toast the multi-grain bread until lightly golden and rub both sides with the cut garlic. Spoon a bit of the pesto sauce onto one side of each slice of bread, and top each slice with some of the roasted peppers. Arrange the sliced chicken on top of the peppers, hit it with a grinding of fresh black pepper, top with with cheese and place all of the sandwiches on a foil-lined, heat-safe baking sheet. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown. (Alternately, you can use the broiler of your toaster oven if you don't want to heat up the house.) Serve and enjoy!

*You can use regular roasted red peppers in place of the piquillos if you wish - I happen to prefer the flavor of the piquillos, but the choice is up to you.

I've adapted this recipe from The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook and as written it will serve four - one slice person. I'm fine with the one slice myself, but the husband always eats two. Adjust the recipe accordingly for your needs.

I like to serve the sandwiches with a big, fresh salad and some lightly steamed summer squash. This is a healthy, delicious and satisfying summer meal. I know, its not *exactly* a grilled cheese ... but, hey, there's cheese and its melted! I like to think of it as a more grown-up, enhanced version of a classic. I hope you'll try it.


Deb said...

We'll have to check out the Glenwood next time we're in CT. My husband is a huge fan of the hot dog and I've been known to eat a dog or two in my day.

Loved the chicken melt idea, I'll try it next time I have leftover supermarket rotisserie bird. It is one of my shortcut indulgences - the grocery bird.

Have a great Friday!



Red pepper goes great with chicken and cheese in a toasted sandwich with black pepper on the top... oooh... it's nearly my lunchtime here so I need this I've made myself hungry!

Scarlet xx

The Diva on a Diet said...

Deb, if you're ever going to be in CT ... drop me a line via email and pixelgal and I will meet you at Glenwood for a dog!

I'm with you on the grocery bird ... Fairway may be a nightmare, but their rotisserie chicken is out of this world.

Scarlet - you reminded me that I forgot to add the black pepper to the recipe! Must edit that in now. Good call! Hope you had a tasty lunch. :)


Deb said...

I will probably be there before the end of the year - my mom has not been well and I try to get up a couple times a year and I'm due.

I'll definitely check in if I'm coming - would love to meet you and pixiegal!


pixelgal said...

Praise of the Glenwood and the grilled cheese history is all true, honest! And Deb I'd love to meet you too. We'll figure out how to get in touch the next time you're in CT. Meanwhile, what the Diva didn't tell you is that grilled cheese was about as fancy as I got in those days cooking wise. But Costwold savory notwithstanding, my culinary skills have improved somewhat these days thanks to the Diva. And I'm about to try to learn the fine art of canning veges with so many delicious tomatoes in my yard grown by her bro. Hopefully those unwanted guests will not try to enter my home (S n E).

The Diva on a Diet said...

Deb - I'm so sorry to hear that about your mom. Def. keep us posted if you're going to be in CT ... we'll splurge on a non-beachy hot dog meal!

Pixelgal - exciting about the canning! And a bit scary too ... lets not invite Sam and Ella! LOL