Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwich

Today’s post is another episode of ‘things we actually eat all the time.’ I was stumped this weekend on what to share today and was about thisclose to throwing my hands up when I remembered that whole concept/thing about cooking with easily accessible ingredients I keep on hand all the time and quick fixin methods so that we can all be a bit healthier and happier, faster, especially during the meal time rush. That’s the thing that I love and grilled-chicken-Caesar-something is a dish that we eat weekly, in one form or another. When a recipe or ingredient combo repeats and cravings/excitement are still detectable, it’s time to share, no matter how simple it is. I’m excited to share more of those meals that are thrown together with regular pantry fare (and even some seasonal items), but still have an overall vibe of goodness too. Hope you can feel me on this. Big hugs and some fist bumps for everyday good eatin’.

Chicken Caesar Sandwich

So, what’s better than a chicken caesar salad? A grilled chicken Caesar sandwich on a fresh ciabatta, or torta, roll. These make a perfect lunch food without giving you food coma and it’s entirely customizable. Looking for a lighter dinner option? Grilled Chicken Caesar’s your guy. This recipe makes 4 solid-sized sandwiches. When we’re having it for dinner we double the recipe. Somehow, even when we’ve doubled it, there still aren’t ever any leftovers. But, if the sons are eating all their greens (with relish!) then that is fine by me.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwich

 Grilled Chicken Caesar Sandwich

1 cup romaine lettuce leaves, roughly chopped
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
4 ciabatta/torta rolls, toasted, for serving
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated or shredded, for serving
red onion, sliced thin
Caesar dressing

Directions

1. In a small bowl, toss the romaine lettuce with 1 tablespoon of your caesar dressing, and set it aside.
2. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with the desired amount of salt and pepper. Add olive oil to a large skillet and heat it  up over medium/high heat. Add the chicken and cook, flipping once, until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side. Let the fully cooked chicken rest 5 minutes before slicing across the grain. For a more authentic taste, season the breasts and then grill until completely cooked before cooling and slicing.
3. Serve sandwiches on ciabatta/torta bread with romaine lettuce, sliced chicken, red onion, Parmesan cheese and additional caesar dressing, each in your desired amount.

Do you love the strong, rich, and creamy taste that a good caesar dressing can bring to a recipe? Here’s some of our favorite caesar recipes: 

4 Sons 'R' Us: Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

4 Sons 'R' Us: Tortellini Caesar Salad

Tortellini Caesar Salad

4 Sons 'R' Us: Caesar Dressing

Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing

Spicy Rice & Bean Burritos

We all really like Chipotle. In fact, if we’re going to grab a bite somewhere, that’s probably where we will end up. Son # 1 even more than the rest of us. We find him wandering around the house daily, greeting us with ‘Yaaasss, Chipotle is my liiiiiiiiiiiiiffffffffffffe.’ The jury’s still out on if it’s because he’s morphing into a perpetually misunderstood 16 year old in a week, or if it’s just because he’s him. Either way, we can always agree on the fact that a Chipotle burrito is friggin’ delicious. Sometimes there are little hiccups in our plans to go ‘grab a bite’ though. The number one being the major bump in the road of having 4 hungry boys and only one income. So last week when son # 2 went a whole day without complaining about any chores, even helping out with extras, and then asked could we grab a burrito while we were out running errands did I let the piddly little issue of my budget get in my way? Of course not! Budget smudget. Okay, not really. It didn’t get in the way because we just took a different route. We came home, stuck our heads together and created our own version, full of copy-cat-ish Chipotle burrito love.

These are fantastic. Don’t let their humble appearance fool you, these could easily give Chipotle a run for their money! They are pretty spicy, but coming from someone who doesn’t like spicy food and loves these, I would say not too spicy. Feel free to dial down the heat though by using less of the spices.  Or, if you’re feeling brave really into spicy food and want to crank up the heat, splash some hot sauce onto the rice mixture, or you could sprinkle a few diced jalapeno peppers on top of the filling before rolling up the tortilla. Not feeling a burrito today? This rice/bean filling is just as good served as a hearty rice dish served alongside spicy, or fiesta-style, grilled chicken.

Spicy Rice & Bean Burritos

 Spicy Rice & Bean Burritos

recipe adapted from A Bitchin Kitchen

1 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1 pepper from a can of chipotles in adobo, minced
2 tsp sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo
1 tsp ground cumin
one large pinch of cayenne pepper
1/3 cup water
1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup salsa
6 burrito-sized tortillas
8 oz shredded cheese, mexican blend, cheddar, or monterey jack
shredded lettuce
4 green onions, thinly sliced
fat-free Greek yogurt, or sour cream

Directions

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, chili powder, pepper, adobo sauce, cumin, and cayenne. Allow them to cook just until fragrant, only about 30-60 seconds. Add in the drained/rinsed beans and the water. Bring the filling to a simmer, and then lower the heat to medium-low and allow it to cook for 8 minutes, mashing the bean mixture slightly. Remove from heat, and stir in rice and salsa until everything is evenly combined.
2. Divide the mixture evenly among the center of each tortilla. Top the filling with cheese, lettuce, green onions, and greek yogurt as desired. Roll them up by folding over both side about 1 1/2 inches and then rolling up lengthwise to close/make the burrito, and serve!

Balsamic Vinegar & Honey Pulled Pork Sliders

Pork that’s slowly roasted in the crock pot until it’s so tender it falls apart, and is then mixed with a sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar & honey barbecue sauce, makes for a crowd-pleasing platter of pulled pork sliders. Not only are they great party appetizers, but the sons tear them up when we have them for either lunch or dinner, and the left overs are just as yummy. I know, I know, the name makes them sound pretty fancy, but they couldn’t be any easier. Let the pork cook during the day and when it’s done it’s a snap to mix in the homemade sauce, making them a perfect option for any day, including those busy weekday meals. Got leftovers? This freezes beautifully to save for a later meal. Or you could always make up an entire batch and freeze that if you’re looking to have meals stocked on stand-by.

Balsamic Vinegar & Honey Pulled Pork Sliders

Balsamic Vinegar & Honey Pulled Pork Sliders

recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

2 1/2 pound boneless pork shoulder roast
1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
3/4 cup chopped green sweet pepper (1 medium)
1 tsp crushed dried thyme
1/2 tsp crushed dried rosemary
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp Worcestershire
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
20 slider buns
coleslaw, optional
sliced sweet or dill pickles, optional

Directions

1. First remove any excess fat from the meat. Place the trimmed meat in the crock pot, cutting to fit if necessary. Add in the onion and pepper, and sprinkle the vegetables and meat with the thyme and rosemary. Pour broth over the meat.
2. Cover and cook on low for 9 to 10 hours or on high for 4 1/2 to 5 hours.
3. Meanwhile, we’ll be making the bbq sauce. Combine vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, black pepper, and salt in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Let the sauce simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until slightly thickened, while stirring occasionally.
4. Transfer meat to a cutting board. Use two forks to pull meat apart into shreds, discarding any fat, or use a stand mixer to do the job for you. Strain the peppers and onions and discard the liquid. Return shredded meat and vegetables to the crock pot. Stir in barbecue sauce until fully incorporated. Cover and cook for 1 more hour on low.
5. To serve, spoon the bbq onto the slider bun bottoms. Top with coleslaw and pickles, if desired. Cover with bun tops. Eat & enjoy!

Caprese-Style Italian Sausages

Things have been a little quiet around the dinner table here lately. So when I came across this idea I thought, why don’t you get a little conversation going, you conversation starter, you. They definitely did the trick. Everyone had something to say, and all opinion were unanimous. These were delicious, and a nice change up to our normal way of eating Italian sausages, which was smothered with caramelized onions and peppers.

Caprese salad makes the perfect topping for Italian sausage. The hubs and I prefer a more traditional Caprese salad (‘relish’) with chunks of creamy, melt in your mouth fresh mozzarella, but the sons like their cheese melted on top… so, melted it is! They make a great addition to any cook out or get together, and they’re great for an easy lunch, or even dinner.

Caprese-Style Italian Sausages

 4 Sons 'R' Us: Caprese-Style Italian Sausages

recipe adapted from Lemons For Lulu

5 Italian sausage links
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1-2 tsp dried basil
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Directions

1. Let your grill preheat on medium. Before putting the sausages on the grill, use a fork to poke a few holes in each one to allow steam to escape and a quicker cook time. When the grill’s ready, grill the sausages for about 10 minutes per side, or until cooked through.

2. When sausage is done, put them in buns and top with the shredded cheese and basil. Drizzle each sausage with a little oil and a little vinegar.
3. Place the assembled sausages on a baking sheet. Put them in the oven under a broiler until the cheese is nice and melted.
4. Top with tomatoes and serve!

If you’d prefer the more traditional Caprese style, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve had it both ways, but the sons prefer their cheese melted. To make a Caprese relish, use 1/4 cup diced fresh mozzarella in place of the shredded. And 2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh basil instead of the dried. When sausages are ready, sprinkle with the cheese, basil and tomatoes.Drizzle with the balsamic and oil and serve.

Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwich

While most Southern dishes have long since jumped the Mason-Dixon line and can easily be found on menus and store shelves from New York to L.A., pimento cheese is one that’s still firmly stuck in the South. I blame the nasty cheap-store bought containers containing slimy orange goo occasionally peppered with flakes of things that vaguely resemble pimentos. To anyone else who grew up with Pimento cheese… move away from the soulless, processed stuff sold in supermarkets. Come home to the wonderful, chunky and flavorful hand-made version.

If you read this blog on the regular, you have probably gathered by now that I like cheese. And if you’re especially perceptive, you know that I like melted cheese. It’s like a hidden message I have buried deep within the posts. Subtlety is my forte.

This sandwich is a cheese-lovers dream. In fact, it’s so mind-blowingly simple — so forehead-slappingly perfect — that I couldn’t believe I’d never of it before:  grilled pimento cheese.

Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwich.

 4 Sons 'R' Us: Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwich 2

recipe adapted from Magnolia Days

1/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon grated onion
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of salt
Pinch of fresh ground pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper, optional
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 jar (4 ounces) chopped pimentos, drained & smashed
Thick slices of hearty white bread
Butter, softened for easy spreading

Look at all that melty, cheesy goodness oozing out. My sandwich runneth over.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwich

Directions

1. In a food processor, using the knife-blade attachment, process cream cheese, mayonnaise, onion, garlic powder, salt, and peppers until fully incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
2. Add in the other cheeses and pimentos and combine without over-processing. This time chunky is good. Transfer pimento cheese to a bowl and stir if needed to combine ingredients thoroughly. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours.
3. Heat a skillet or griddle to medium heat. Be careful not to let it get too hot or it will burn the butter and bread before it even melts the cheeses.
4. Butter one side of two bread slices. Spread a thick layer of pimento cheese on the un-buttered side of a bread slice.
5. Place the pimento cheese covered bread slice butter side down in the skillet/griddle. Cover the sandwich with a lid and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until pleasantly browned and cheese has begun to melt.
6. Remove lid and top sandwich with the other slice butter side up. Cook until bottom is lightly browned and toasted.
7. Flip sandwich over and cook until the other side is also lightly browned and toasted.
8. Transfer sandwich to a plate and allow it to cool slightly before slicing it in half.
9. Repeat with the remaining bread and pimento cheese or grill 2-4 sandwiches at a time, depending on size of skillet. Be careful not over-crowd the skillet.
10. Refrigerate any extra pimento cheese for up to one week.

Got a thing for all things grilled & cheesy? Try these recipes next:

Tex Mex Grilled Cheese

Tex Mex Grilled Cheese

4 Sons 'R' Us: White Pizza Grilled Cheese

White Pizza Grilled Cheese

4 Sons 'R' Us: Chicken & Broccoli Grilled Cheese

Chicken & Broccoli Grilled Cheese

Tex Mex Grilled Cheese

Although it only requires three ingredients (bread, cheese, and butter), grilled cheese is one of the most popular comfort foods in the world. The Ancient Romans were the first civilization to make a cooked bread and cheese sandwich, but many cultures have invented their own take on this ‘classic’ dish. In France, people enjoy Croque Monsieur (a grilled ham and cheese sandwich) while in Switzerland it is customary to melt the cheese and toast the bread separately before combining them. The American grilled cheese sandwich emerged in the 1920s when inexpensive cheese and affordable sliced bread became available. It is now a staple in cafés, diners, and school cafeterias across the country.

Despite this noteworthy past, and it’s longevity, today, it’s a sad world for the grilled cheese sandwich. Somewhere along the way it has been demoted from a classic comfort food to the dismal realm of the kid’s menu; thus, making it ‘socially’ off limits to the older-than-15-crowd. And when you’re an adult who just wants some melted cheddar between two buttery, toasty slices of bread…that’s a sad, sad thing. Being that I have the four sons, I jsut don’t care. Social norms be damned. If I want a grilled cheese, I’m having grilled cheese. Even if the waitress looks at me funny when I place an order for not 4, but 5, kid meals.

Still, being that April is ‘grilled cheese month’ and all, and I saw that waitresses’ questioning arched eyebrow,  I thought it was time for a revival. An upgrade, if you will, to make it worthy of a place in the world of socially acceptable adult fare. I know I’ve mentioned this in several posts before. I will never be to old for grilled cheese! At it’s most basic, it’s totally awesome. At it’s fanciest adaptation? It’s still freakin’ awesome!!

This is a far cry from your typical grilled cheese sandwich. Kick things up a notch with the salsa and chiles. If you happen to have a babysitter, enjoy it out on your patio with a margarita to make it REALLY good!

Tex Mex Grilled Cheese

4 Sons 'R' Us: Tex Mex Grilled Cheese

recipe adapted from Julie’s Eats & Treats

1 lb ground beef
1 packet taco season
1/2 c. salsa
1/4 cup diced, canned green chilies (optional)
12 slices bread
1 tbsp butter
1 lb Velveeta

Directions

1. Brown ground beef in medium sized skillet. Drain fat. Mix in taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions. Add salsa & green chiles.
2. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Cut Velveeta into 6 pieces.
3. In a large skillet place two pieces of bread, buttered side down. Top each piece of bread with one slice of Velveeta. On top of Velveeta spoon 1/6 of hamburger mixture. Place another piece of bread on top of beef with the buttered side up.
4. Cook over medium heat until bread is golden brown. Flip sandwich and repeat on other side. Repeat until all sandwiches have been made.

Crockpot Chicken Parmesan Sliders

I can’t stop. I won’t stop. No, I’m not trying to be Miley. I don’t want to get anywhere near Robin Thicke. I would much rather make a yummy slider sandwich than twerk. Seriously, though. I can’t seem to get enough of sliders recently. I don’t know if it’s the whole ‘mini’ thing that’s got me hooked, or just a refreshing change.  I’m guessing a bit of both. In either case, I’ve pinned every new slider recipe I have found, and am on a mission to try them all. One recipe at a time of course, like the easiest cheeseburger sliders ever and our chicken and waffle sliders. This is the latest, and it lived up to it’s name. These petite, slightly varied versions, have all the tried and true flavors of Chicken Parmesan, but without all the work. These healthy sandwiches are perfect for a party, a dinner, or even for a lazy weekend lunch. They are sure to score a spot on your list of family favorite recipes.

Crockpot Chicken Parmesan Sliders

4 Sons 'R' Us: Crockpot Chicken Parmesan Sliders

recipe adapted from Plain Chicken

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (can use frozen)
1 jar(28oz) spaghetti sauce
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp onion powder
salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
slider buns

Directions

1. Place chicken breast in the bottom of a crock pot. Top with spaghetti sauce, minced garlic, and onion powder. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or HIGH for 4. Shred chicken and stir until evenly combined with the sauce. 2. Preheat broiler. Toast buns. Top toasted buns with chicken and a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella cheese. Place chicken sandwiches under broiler to melt cheese.

The World’s Easiest Cheeseburger Sliders

I’m definitely a foodie at heart. I come from a long ling of women who love good food, and I’m pretty sure I’ve done my job of instilling that same feeling in my boys. While normal sized food is always great, there’s just something about food in miniature that I just can’t help but adore. It’s just so cute and fun. Not to mention, with four growing boy, two growing teenage boys who inhale food like vacuums, it’s often a whole lot less messy. With those things combined, sliders are a huge hit with this mom. Still, it was a wee bit time consuming to have to shape each petite patty by hand. Then I stumbled on this genius kitchen life-hack, and BAM! Mind.Blown. This recipe, literally, is for making the easiest sliders ever. Ever.

Easy Cheeseburger Sliders

4 Sons 'R' Us: The World's Easiest Cheeseburger Sliders

1 1/2 pounds, 93% lean ground sirloin
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
3/4 cup chopped onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (12-count) Kings Hawaiian sweet dinner rolls (or slider buns)
6 slices cheddar or American cheese

Directions

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.   In a bowl, combine beef, bread crumbs, onion, and salt.  Gently press mixture into a 9-by-13-inch pan so that it makes one large patty of even thickness.  Use the tines of a fork to poke holes throughout the meat.  Bake for 30 minutes.  As it bakes, the meat will shrink away from the sides and liquid will accumulate around the edges of pan.  2. When fully cooked, remove the pan from oven (keep oven turned on) and carefully drain off the liquid.
3. Top the meat with an even layer of sliced cheese; return pan to oven for about 2 minutes or until the cheese melts.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes.
4. Cut into 2-inch squares (or the size of the buns used), making 12 mini- hamburgers.  Serve with dill pickle slices and ketchup.  Serves 6 at 2 sliders each.

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

This meal is easy and perfect for our busy nights. The chicken comes out cooked to perfection with the perfect kick. Customize your ‘kick’ by adding less buffalo sauce or more, to taste. Don’t have buffalo wing sauce? Substitute hot sauce. I heart a flexible recipe!

You’ll want good bread. Life is far too short and unpredictable to suffer through bad bread. Trust me on this. Don’t go sale, don’t go clearance. Go fresh. We made ours using a nice fresh loaf of sour dough, the slices toasted to perfection.

Good butter goes with good bread. Turn these into a delicious grilled cheese version by buttering the outsides of both slices, adding some shredded cheddar and/or blue cheese crumbles to the inside, and ‘grilling’ on a hot griddle until the outside are nice and crisped with melted cheese inside.

These sandwiches are perfect for any occasion: a delicious dinner, a game day snack, you name it!

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

4 Sons 'R' Us: Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (12 oz.) bottle buffalo wing sauce
2 tablespoons ranch mix seasoning
2 tablespoons butter
1 loaf of sour dough bread, or other crusty bread
shredded cheddar cheese or blue cheese crumbles (optional)
ranch dressing (optional)

Directions

1. Place chicken breasts in a lightly greased slow cooker.
2. In medium bowl, combine the buffalo wing sauce and ranch seasoning.
3. Pour hot sauce mixture over chicken in slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
4. Shred chicken breasts in the slow cooker, or use your paddle attachment and easily shred them in a stand mixer. Stir in butter until melted.
5. Pile buffalo chicken onto toasted slices of crusty bread. Top with cheese and/or ranch dressing, if desired.