Oct 12, 2010

Saturday Sandwiches

I work 8-5 most Saturdays.  And that's a real drag.  Everyone knows all the cool stuff happens on weekends.  It's hard to do cool weekend things when my weekend is one day long.  Fishing, hiking, camping, gardening, festival-going all get cut short, postponed until I have a Saturday off, or just canned.   Waaaaah! 

But considering it took almost 8 months to find a job after we moved, I shouldn't complain.  Too much.

Planning lunches is also a drag.  We get tired of the same thing all the time.  Saturday lunches are particularly challenging since I rush home from work to eat a quick lunch with my family, then rush back to work.

So I take the easy way out.  I just wash my hands of it and leave Saturday lunches up to The Husband.  He's come up with some good ideas...usually from kitchen scavenger hunts.  He's better at that than I am.  Once I came home for lunch to find a Roasted Sweet Potato Soup that he invented, using things we already had.  

Thriftiness turns me on. 
The word tight-wad leaves me breathless. 
Oh...and the soup was good too. 

I was impressed with his soup.  Especially since had I been in that situation, I would have resorted to quesadillas and apple slices.

Probably the best lunch The Husband makes are these "gourmet chicken sandwiches on focaccia."  I think the title is pretentious and cumbersome, so I just think of them as Saturday Sandwiches.

The Husband found the recipe online while searching for something (anything!) different for lunch.  He's modified it and we like to make our own focaccia.  I usually do that part the night before and he does the rest.

And I get to come home for lunch to find a delicious, filling, homemade sandwich sitting on my plate.  Sometimes that's the best thing about Saturdays.

This is a recipe in 3 parts and may look hard and/or long.  But it's not; I'm just thorough.  Two of the three parts can be done ahead.  To make it even easier/faster, skip making your own bread and buy focaccia.  But it's hard to find here.

Part one: the rosemary-Dijon-mayo (aka the best part)

You'll need mayo, rosemary, and Dijon mustard (I use Creole).
Very simple.  Two minutes.  Tops.  If you're slow.
Mix the three ingredients together.  Can be made a few days ahead.
In fact, it's better if made ahead.

Part two: the focaccia
(modified from foodnetwork)

Yeast, warm water, sugar, flour, salt, rosemary, garlic powder
You'll also need olive oil for your fingers

Mix yeast, sugar, and warm water and let stand for about 5 minutes (until foamy).
Mix the remaining ingredients, except for the olive oil, and add to the yeast.  Mix until dough forms a ball.

Knead dough then cover and let rest for about 10 minutes.
Roll dough into a rectangle slightly less than 13 x 9.
Transfer to a greased 13 x 9 pan and pat to fit pan.
Let rise until doubled.
Make dimples with oiled fingertips, bake at 400 for 20 min.

Part three: the chicken

You'll need 1 small chicken breast per sandwich, olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder

I like to buy family size packs of meat on sale, divide, and freeze.
I knew I'd use these for sandwiches.

When I pulled the pack from the freezer, I started to wonder...

If I died, would The Husband know what I meant by writing "sandwich" on a pack of frozen raw chicken? 
After thawing, would he be surprised to find raw chicken rather than a sandwich?
I also wonder what else hides out in my freezer with cryptic labeling?

The container of chicken gizzards labeled "dirty rice."
A ziploc bag of onions and bell peppers labeled "jambalaya."

Maybe I should rethink my kitchen organization skills.

Anyway, once my secret freezer code is deciphered
the next part is straightforward. 
Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Heat the olive oil in a skillet, add the chicken, and cook through.

Sometimes we slice the chicken in half horizontally before adding to each sandwich.
Sometimes we like to speed up the the cooking process by slicing before cooking.  It's easiest if the chicken is partially frozen.

Or you could pound the chicken thin for quick cookin'. 
But pounding chicken, my friends, is my most despised kitchen task.
Don'tcha hate when some of the chicken is wonky?

To finish, slice the focaccia

Slather with the Dijon-rosemary-mayo.  Add the chicken and lettuce, tomato, or whatever else floats your boat. 

And be happy you can come home to this.

Linked to:
What's on the Menu Wednesday @ Dining With Debbie
Tip Day Thursday Carnival @ Around My Family Table
Souper Sundays @ Kahakai Kitchen

Saturday Sandwiches
adapted from Kaboose.com

4 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 teaspoons prepared Dijon or Creole
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (dried can also be used)

4 small skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - pounded thin or halved horizontally
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil

8 slices rosemary focaccia *see below for recipe, or buy premade
lettuce and tomato

Combine mayo, mustard and rosemary. If using dried rosemary, crush in the palm of your hand first. This is best when made ahead.

Season chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Heat oil in a large skillet and saute chicken until cooked through.

Spread mayo mixture on 4 slices of focaccia (don’t be shy). Divide chicken among each sandwich. Add lettuce, tomato, and whatever else you’d like. Top each sandwich with another bread slice and enjoy.

Rosemary Focaccia
from Foodnetwork, adapted for the sandwiches above

3/4 cup warm water (105-degrees to 115 degrees)
1 quarter ounce package (2 1/2 teaspoons) fast - acting yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves (dried can also be used)
1- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
olive oil

Lightly grease a baking pan, 13 by 9 by 2 inches. In a bowl stir together water, yeast and sugar and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl stir together flour, salt, rosemary, and garlic powder and gradually stir into yeast mixture until mixture forms a soft dough. On a lightly floured work surface with floured hands knead dough 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic, and shape into a ball. Invert bowl over dough and let rest 10 minutes.

On lightly floured surface roll out dough into a rectangle slightly less than 13 x 9. Transfer to a 13 x 9 baking pan, pressing into corners. Let dough rise, covered loosely with plastic wrap, in a warm place 30 minutes, or until doubled in bulk. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Press indentations about 1/4 inch deep and 1 inch apart all over dough with lightly oiled fingertips and bake focaccia in middle of oven 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool focaccia in pan on a rack.

* For the sandwiches, cut the focaccia into 4 pieces.  Carefully slice each piece in half horizontally.


  1. OK, what' time is lunch on Saturdays?? Yummy!!

  2. What an excellent sandwich!! I'm so coming over to your house on Sandwich Day!

  3. Sometimes lunch is noon. Sometimes 12:30. Sometimes not until 1. Just another reason I turn my back on Sat lunch prep!

  4. Oh my goodness...that looks soooo good! We make a chicken focaccia sammie and a turkey/cranberry sauce one too, but I can't wait to try this one. Thanks for linking up again at Around My Family Table

  5. Pounding chicken - definitely despise it. Wonky chicken - can't stand it.

    I have to say that I'm sorry that you don't like it either, but I'm glad that I'm not the only one who thinks of this stuff. Whew, that's refreshing! I actually go to the store and look for the thin sliced chicken breasts that are flat. I get real mad if I can't find them because I know I'll have to slice and pound the wonky stuff, which makes me very testy.

    Tell your husband that I would actually be willing to go to work for you if he would make me a Saturday Sandwich. I'll take mine heavy on the mustard - ha ha!

  6. Everything about these sandwiches makes me drool from the homemade bread to the sauce with rosemary--yum! Thanks for sending them to Souper Sundays this week. ;-)

  7. I really need to buy fast acting yeast. All I have is active dry yeast. :(

    I don't like pounding chicken either. Kinda messy and icky. I usually just slice it in half before cooking.


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