Dining In

A Great Game Plan
By Nancy Finch, Food Columnist


Garden Muffalatta
with Swiss Cheese

Whether it is packing lunches for your school-age children or planning a tailgate party for fall football games, September often means preparing foods that can travel in a paper bag, lunch box, cooler or picnic hamper.

A big flap several years ago saw schools eliminating peanut butter from school menus as parents of children with allergies insisted on banning the all-time children’s favorite. U.S. Director of Public Health Robert Earl said at the height of the debate that, “Banning food eliminates numerous food choices and can limit balanced nutrition for non-allergic children.”

He added, “It also goes against the central message in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans — eat a wide variety of foods in moderation.”

It took me a while, as the nest emptied, to stop buying peanut butter by the vat! That was THE favorite in our lunch boxes for years. We’d have been in a bind if peanut butter had been banned.

Sandwiches, of course, are the mainstay of most lunch boxes. Likewise, a gussied-up sandwich can be the star of your next tailgate party. And some of those parties are often a greater attraction than the game!

We suggest some sandwiches that are perfect for tailgaiting. A Garden Muffalatta with Swiss Cheese is based on the famous New Orleans specialty, “Muffuletta,” created in 1906 by the Central Grocery in the French Quarter. The “muffalatta” that we made is good for tailgating because you can wrap the entire round in plastic wrap and then slice it in pie-shaped wedges just before serving.

Of course, you can design your own “muffalatta” using whatever cheeses and sandwich meats you choose. We used a sourdough bread round. Likewise, with the Hero Sandwich featured here, use meats and cheeses of your choice, but those suggested are very good. Both of these sandwiches can be heated or served cold.

For your tailgate, take sliced cheese squares, apple and pear slices (sprinkled with lemon juice to prevent darkening) and crackers. Assemble snacks, as pictured, at the tailgate party.

Garden Muffalatta with Swiss Cheese

Ingredients:

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4 T Ranch salad dressing

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1⁄2 cup shredded or finely chopped carrot

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1⁄2 cup chopped cucumber

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1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and minced or sweet green pepper, 1⁄4 c chopped

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1 round loaf French, Italian or sourdough bread (1 lb., 101⁄2-inch)

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4 oz. thinly sliced cotto salami or pastrami

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4 oz. thinly sliced smoked ham

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8 oz. (8 slices) Swiss cheese

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Lettuce leaves

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Tomatoes, sliced

Directions: Mix dressing with carrot, cucumber and pepper. Cut bread in half. Remove approximately 3⁄4-inch inside top and bottom halves of bread. Spread bottom half of bread with vegetable mixture. Fill with meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato. Makes 8 servings.

Hero Sandwich

Ingredients:

Lettuce Slaw

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2 T mayonnaise

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2 t dijon mustard

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1⁄2 t celery seed

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2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

Sandwich

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1 loaf French bread

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Italian salad dressing

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4  oz. salami, cut in half

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4 oz. Provolone cheese, cut in half

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8 slices tomato

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4 oz. Cheddar cheese, cut in half

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1 green pepper, sliced

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4 oz. Swiss cheese, cut in half

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8 oz. pepperoni, sliced

Directions: For slaw, combine all ingredients. For sandwich, slice French bread loaf lengthwise. Sprinkle bread with Italian dressing. Spread slaw over bottom bread half. Top in layers with salami, Provolone cheese, tomato slices, Cheddar cheese, pepper rings, Swiss cheese and pepperoni. Wrap in foil, if heating, and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese begins to melt. Or, if serving cold, slice into 4 sandwiches. Serves 4.

 

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