Spicy Tuna Melt with Jalapeños and Sharp Cheddar

This is my go-to sandwich when I’m feeling too lazy to cook a full dinner but still want something satisfying. Melted cheddar, zippy jalapeños and tuna on crispy bread…. my mouth is watering just thinking about these sandwiches! This is a pretty versatile recipe- you can omit, substitute, increase or decrease your favorite ingredients based on your personal preferences (we never measure for this– just eyeball it- so all of the measurements below are approximations). This particular iteration is my bf’s latest creation.

Tasty Tuna Melt Goodness

Spicy Tuna Melt with Jalapeños and Sharp Cheddar

Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 sandwiches (or one humongous sandwich)

Ingredients

7 oz. can of tuna or chicken packed in water
2 heaping spoonfuls of light Miracle Whip (about 1/4 cup give or take)
1 heaping spoonful of coarse grain mustard (about 2 tablespoons)
1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
2 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp dried onion flakes
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
dash of hot sauce (bf used The Sauce That Killed Kenny)

1-2 ribs celery, finely diced (optional)
6-12 jalapeños (sliced, pickled)
2-3 generous slices of sharp white cheddar per sandwich
2 or 4 slices of your favorite bread (I use a whole grain bread)

Special Tools: Panini press/grill (optional)

What To Do

If you’re using a panini press that requires preheating, start that now so it’s nice and hot when you’ve assembled the sandwiches. If you don’t have a panini press, you can use a non-stick pan or pan sprayed with non-stick spray on medium-low heat.

Open the can of tuna and drain off the excess water. I usually rinse the can before opening, and use the lid to drain off the liquid after opening by pressing the lid against the meat.

In a medium size bowl, separate the tuna chunks with a fork. Basically just smush the tuna until it looks like the picture below.

Separated Tuna Chunks

Next, add in the globs of Miracle Whip (or mayo). Don’t add too much at this stage- you can always add in more Miracle Whip or mustard if you feel that the tuna is too dry.

Tuna & Miracle Whip

And the coarse grain mustard. You can spend a lot of money on fancy mustard, but we’ve found that a certain discount store’s house branded coarse grain mustard tastes just as good as some of the expensive mustards I’ve purchased.I also really like Trader Joe’s whole grain mustard.

Coarse Grain Mustard

Sprinkle on the spices, dried onions, parsley and pepper. Add a dash of hot sauce if you dare!

Spices on Tuna

Carefully incorporate the Miracle Whip, mustard and spices into the tuna using a fork or spatula. The mixture should be just moist enough to hold everything together.

Mix it all together

If you’re using the celery, add it in now. Stir to distribute evenly throughout the mixture. We didn’t use celery this time, but it does add a nice crisp crunch to this sandwich. And the fiber content in the celery will help you keep feeling full after this meal.

If you’re making two sandwiches, divide the mixture evenly and spread onto the bread. You can also save half of the tuna mix for later (another tasty sandwich or add to a salad for a healthy lunch) or make one huge glorious sandwich if you’re feeling ravenous.

Arrange the sliced pickled jalapeños evenly on each sandwich.

Sliced Jalapeños on Tuna

Slice the sharp white cheddar using a cheese cutter (for soft cheeses) or a knife.

Who cut it?

And distribute evenly across the sandwiches.

Cheese on Tuna SandwichPlace the second slice of bread on top and place onto the panini press with the tuna mixture on top (the slice of bread you just added should be on the bottom). I’ve found that this tends to decrease the likelihood that the sandwich will get soggy.

Grill for about 2-3 minutes, then flip over and grill for an additional 1-2 minutes until the cheese is melted. If you are talented enough to be able to flip the sandwich without making a mess, try positioning it at a 45 degree angle from the first grill marks– this will give the bread pretty crosshatched grill marks. I can occasionally do that.

Pretty Tuna Sandwich Grill Marks

Cut the sandwich into halves diagonally (it’s a scientific fact that sandwiches cut diagonally taste better and help you with geometry tests).

Nom Tuna Sandwich

Eat hot. Enjoy!

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Whole Wheat Beer Bread

Bread. It can be both rustically simple and exquisitely divine. Few other foods evoke such feelings of reverence (and boredom– White bread?!? Come on!). This simple quick bread is on the rustic side of the scale, though you might be inclined to thank a deity when you realize you’ve just found a way to use up all of that old Natty your friends brought to your last party.

I love this bread (and AllRecipes for the recipe) because it satisfies my cravings for piping hot homemade bread in just over an hour. And as an added bonus, my apartment gets that awesome baked goods smell! Whether you pair this with a soup (like my Crushed Lentil or Barley & Lentil Vegetable Soup) or eat it hot right out of the pan (perhaps slathered with a thin generous layer of butter), this bread is super satisfying.

His bread is buttered on both sides.

Whole Wheat Beer Bread

Time: 60 min (10 min prep, 45-50 min bake)
Servings: 12 (… if you’re not hungry)

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer (Any beer- old or new- works. I’ve used Great Lakes Brewing Christmas Ale, Edmund Fitzgerald, Bud Lite, Miller High Life–sooo classy, Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy with Lemonade)

Special Tools: Bread loaf pan (9×5 in), sturdy mixing spoon/spatula

What To Do

Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F.

Spray your bread pan with non-stick spray.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients EXCEPT beer. With a whisk, fork or mixing spatula, mix the dry ingredients evenly.

Pour in beer- slowly! If your bowl isn’t large enough, wait until the foam has evaporated or whatever foam does, stir once, and pour the rest of the beer in. Mix until the ingredients form an elastic but stiff dough.

Pour the dough into the bread pan.

Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes until the bread passes the toothpick test (insert a tooth pick halfway into the dough. If it comes out clean, the bread is done).

Cool and serve, or eat hot right out of the pan!

[More great bread quotes]

Cornbread

I make this cornbread probably every other week, and each time it only lasts a couple of days…

Anyway, this is an easy and versatile bread that you can customize to your particular tastes and the dish its accompanying. My most recent iteration included jalapeños- the perfect amount of kick.

Cornbread

The gnomes are coming... for the cornbread!

Makes 20ish pieces

Cook Time: 10 min prep, 25-30 min cook, 10 min cool (if you can keep your hands off them!)

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

2 cups plain yogurt or buttermilk
½ cup milk
¼ cup brown sugar or maple syrup
2 eggs, beaten
Non-Stick Spray (or melted butter)

Optional: diced jalapeños, minced garlic, shredded cheddar or parmesan cheese (choose ONE of these, or none)

What To Do

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Coat a 9×13 inch pan evenly with non-stick spray or butter. You could also use a cast iron skillet.

Sift the dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Since I dislike sifting things, I usually just dump everything into the bowl and mix together with a wire whisk.So dry! Like a desert. In your mouth.

In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients (yogurt, milk, brown sugar and eggs) and whisk until mixed.

Yin and yangFold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir (slowly) until combined.

If you’re adding in any optional ingredients, drop them into the bowl now and fold them in. I added jalapeños and diced crushed garlic to this batch, but you could add shredded cheddar cheese, sun dried tomatoes, onions or peppers.Pour (spoon, really- this mixture is pretty thick) the cornbread dough into the prepared baking pan. Be sure to spread it evenly- smooth it out with your spatula if needed. I topped mine with shredded pecorino romano.

Bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cook longer if you prefer drier cornbread.

Once the toothpick comes out clean, remove the cornbread from the oven and cool for ten minutes before serving… or scarf down half the pan. Your call.

Serve warm with (garlic herb) butter or your favorite soup!