Inner Chef

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BLT Pizza



Don and I love BLT’s and we love pizza! So we decided to combine the 2 into one amazing dish. This works out great for company (I hate making toast!).

The ingredients are simple:

1 Pre-made pizza crust

Mayo or Miracle Whip

Fresh crisp bacon pieces

Lettuce and tomatoes

Toast the pizza crust, then top with mayo, bacon, lettuce and tomatoes. Easy as pizza pie!

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Grilled Cheese Sandwich (Kicked Up a Notch)

Today is National Grilled Cheese Day!

What better way to celebrate National Grilled Cheese Day than with warm, toasty, creamy GRILLED CHEESE!

Grilled cheese sandwiches are said to have started as far back as the early 1900’s. But today’s notion of the grilled cheese sandwich began in the 1920’s; thanks to James L. Kraft and the man who from Iowa who invented the bread slicer.

Over the years people have tried many ways to cook their grilled cheese; campfire, oven, microwave and even with an iron (flashback to “Benny and Joon”). But sooner or later they all come back to the stove top!

Years ago, we had a choice between white or wheat bread and American cheese seemed to be the only “go-to” for cheese. Not anymore! There are so many breads out there today, so many cheeses, even fruits and veggies to add to our GRILLED CHEESE that it may be overwhelming to some. So thanks to my sister; Cory, I have a few recipes for you and I hope you enjoy them.


How to Make a Grilled Cheese

1. Heat 1 Tbsp. salted butter in a cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.

2. Press the sandwich slightly and place it in the skillet. Cook until golden on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Flip, adding more butter to the pan if needed, and cook until the other side is golden and the cheese melts, 3 to 5 more minutes.

(That is how Food Network tells us to make one…I myself find it easier to do it the way mom taught me; spread butter on 2 slices of bread. Lay one slice of bread, butter side down in heated pan, lay your cheese down on the bread slice and top with second slice of bread; butter side up. Proceed as directed above.)

These recipes came from: FOOD NETWORK MAGAZINE

Twists on an Old Classic

Classic Sandwich: 2 slices cheddar, Monterey jack or Swiss cheese between 2 slices country white bread; cook, flipping once, until golden.

Bacon and Tomato: Make Classic Grilled Cheese, adding 3 slices crisp bacon and 1 slice tomato between the cheese.

Diner Sandwich: 2 slices American cheese between 2 slices white bread. Spread mayonnaise on the outside of the sandwich and cook, flipping once, until golden. Serve with ketchup.

Cheddar and Pickles: Make Diner Grilled Cheese, replacing the American cheese with aged white cheddar and adding sliced pickles between the cheese.

Garlic Ham and Cheese: Prepare 2 thick slices frozen garlic bread as the label directs. Sandwich with 2 slices each Monterey jack and ham. Cook, flipping once, until golden.

Avocado: Toss 1/4 sliced avocado with lime juice and lime zest to taste. Sandwich 2 slices white bread with 2 slices pepper jack and the avocado. Cook, flipping once, until golden.

Swiss-Mushroom: Spread 2 slices rye bread with Thousand Island dressing. Sandwich with 1 slice Swiss cheese, some sautéed mushrooms and onions, and another slice of Swiss. Cook, flipping once, until golden.

Ham–Apple Butter: Spread 1 slice country white bread with apple butter and another with Dijon mustard. Sandwich with 1 slice Swiss cheese, 1 slice ham and another slice of Swiss. Cook, flipping once, until golden.

Recipe from Inner Chef Member Correen: My very favorite grilled cheese sandwich is a light coating of raspberry jam, Sargento® Swiss cheese slices (2 please) and 2 pieces of bacon, crumbled or whole.  The cheese melts perfectly over the bacon and mixes slightly with the jam.


For more mouth-watering Grilled Cheese recipes:

Food Network

Food Network





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Zesty Calzone

Zesty Calzone             Serves: 4

(Simple & Delicious)

1 tube (13.8 oz) refrigerated pizza crust

2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

8 thin slices deli ham

8 thin slices hard salami

¼ cup chopped onion

¼ cup chopped green pepper

¼ cup chopped tomato

1 cup (4 oz.) mozzarella cheese (part skim mozzarella may be used)

In a greased 15x10x1 inch baking pan, pat dough into a 13×8 inch rectangle. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to within ½ inch of edges.

On half of the dough, layer the ham, salami, onion, green pepper, and tomato to within 1 inch of edges. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Fold dough over filling; pinch edges to seal. Cut slits in top.

Bake at 425° for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes. Cut into 4 pieces.


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Italian Meatball Mini Subs

Italian Meatball  Mini Subs

This was another sandwich for the Sister Schubert’s house party. I changed up my usual meatball recipe for this.


Sister Schubert’s Artisan Style Mini Baguettes

Meatballs (recipe below)

Marinara sauce (recipe below)

Fancy shred Mozzarella cheese


Prepare baguettes as directed on package. When cool to the touch, slice lengthwise until almost through.

Add 2-3 meatballs, a spoonful of marinara sauce and cheese. Place in oven and toast until cheese is melted.


Italian Meatballs

1 pound lean ground beef

2 eggs, lightly stirred

4-6 oz. Italian breadcrumbs (You don’t want the meat to be too wet and sticky)

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425°

Mix all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and then roll into ball the size of a ping-pong ball.

Place on cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Let the meatballs rest on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes and remove to a plate layered with white paper towels (this will remove any grease that is on the bottom of your meatballs).

Marinara Sauce                                             Makes: About 3 cups

(Taken from Bucca de Beppo’s cookbook and altered)

This recipe can be doubled and frozen in serving sizes in ziplock freezer bags. Use this marinara sauce for meatball subs, pizzas, and as a light pasta sauce.

2 Tbsp. Olive oil

½ Red onion, chopped

3 Garlic cloves, small chop

1 (28 oz.) can Crushed tomatoes


2-4 Tbsp. Fresh basil, chopped (use more or less depending on your love for basil)

1-2 tsp. Sun-dried tomato paste


  1. In a 3-qt. saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, cook until golden brown, approximately 8 minutes. Watch the carefully so the garlic does not burn.
  2. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and 1/8 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, and then cook over low heat for approximately 30 minutes, stirring often so that the tomatoes do not burn.
  3. Turn off heat and add fresh basil and taste for more salt. Let stand for about 6-8 minutes so that the basil flavor can marry into the tomatoes.


You can freeze leftovers by allowing to cool, then placing amount desired into ziplock bags and seal tightly. Marinara can be frozen for up to 3 months. I usually put about 1-2 cups per bag depending on what I plan to use it for and how many I am serving.

Remember that once you defrost the sauce you cannot re-freeze it.

This can also be canned using the hot water bath method.





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Turkey & Prosciutto with Pineapple Salsa

Turkey & Prosciutto with Pineapple Salsa

I think this was the winner at my Sister Schubert House Party. Don’t let the sound of the salsa scare you away….it changed many people’s minds positively.


Sister Schubert’s Hawaiian Rolls

Oven Roasted Turkey (sliced about ¼”)**



Pineapple Salsa (recipe below)



Prepare the Hawaiian rolls as directed on package. Let cool to the touch and slice horizontally.

Layer sandwich in this order:


Prosciutto (you need very little of this; ½ of a strip will do nicely)


Pineapple salsa

Pineapple Salsa

Pineapple, small dice**

¼- ½ red onion, small dice

Cilantro, to your liking

Salt to taste.

Mix all ingredients together, cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.

**Inner Chef Notes:

I used deli turkey, but this is a great way to use up those Thanksgiving leftovers.

I purchased a pineapple that was already peeled and cored (saved me the hassle of doing it myself) and I used just over ¼ of the pineapple.

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California Chicken Sliders

California Chicken Sliders

I made these at my Sister Schubert’s House Party and they were a hit!


Sister Schubert’s Pretzel Rolls

Smoked chicken breast**

Garlic Rosemary Mayo (recipe below)

Prolone Cheese slices

Bacon slices

Avocado slices


Tomato slices



Prepare the pretzel rolls as directed on package. When they are done and cool to the touch; slice in half horizontally.

Lay cheese slice on inside top of roll. Place chicken followed by bacon on bottom of roll.

Place in oven and toast long enough for the cheese to begin to melt.

Remove from oven and place avocado slice, tomato slice and lettuce on top of chicken and bacon.

Add a small dollop of Garlic Rosemary Mayo on top of the cheese and put the sandwich together.


Garlic Rosemary Mayo

1 cup REAL mayo

1 to 1 ½ garlic cloves, finely diced

Finely diced rosemary to taste (I used about ¼ of a sprig)

Mix all ingredients together, cover and chill for at least 1 hour.

    (Please note that the garlic and rosemary will become more intense the following day, so you may need to add a bit more mayo to balance it out.).

**Inner Chef Note: You can use grilled chicken, rotisserie chicken, deli chicken.




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Mozzarella Cream Dream Sandwich

Mozzarella Cream Dream Sandwich   Makes: 1 sandwich


2 tsp. Olive oil

2 (1/4″) slices of fresh mozzarella

2 slices of sourdough bread

1/4 tsp. Aleppo pepper**


Heat oil in a 10″ nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Place mozzarella between slices of bread, and add to skillet. Press sandwich with a spatula or plate and cook, adding more oil if needed and turning once, until golden brown and cheese is melted, 6–8 minutes. Sprinkle with pepper before serving.


*Inner Chef Note:  Aleppo Pepper:

A dark red, robust, sweet and sharp chili pepper from the Aleppo region of Syria, with moderate heat that doesn’t overpower its fruity flavor. With a high oil content, dried crushed aleppo pepper has a deliciously deep, aromatic flavor, with a bit more heat than paprika. It is delicious in chili, grilled chicken breast, steak or chops. Aleppo Pepper is attractive to sprinkle on potatoes, deviled eggs or chicken/tuna salads. In Syrian cuisine it is used for many dishes, especially soups, salads, and fish.

Substitutions: Ancho peppers OR 4 parts sweet paprika plus 1 part cayenne pepper.

Saveur Magazine

Saveur Magazine