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Pesto Chicken and Mozzarella Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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Pesto Chicken and Mozzarella Grilled Cheese Sandwich

There’s a little restaurant in Orlando called Toasted that specializes in different kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches. They also have killer burgers and truffle oil fries, but the grilled cheese sandwiches are the draw for me. I recently learned that the restaurant was started by the former CEO of Sonny’s, which takes the prize of coolest thing I learned this week. Before eating at Toasted, I’d never had any other kind of grilled cheese than sliced sandwich bread with some American cheese slices in between. Boring! This place has truly inspired me! I had a pesto chicken and mozzarella sandwich there and it was only a matter of time before I brought my own version to the table. This pesto chicken and mozzarella grilled cheese sandwich has a few slices of tomato and beet greens, and the bread is a whole wheat loaf from the Publix bakery that we sliced ourselves. You can use any greens you have on hand; we had beet greens because the beets at the Farmer’s Market last weekend looked too good to pass up.

beet greens

The bread is the key to this: regular sandwich bread won’t cut it. Bakery bread that you can slice yourself is so fresh, personal, and fulfilling. You can choose either thin or thick slices, and then after you toast them (assuming you’re going the toaster route) you broil them. So technically, there’s no grilling of any kind with these grilled cheeses. There’s just a whole lot of yum. Maybe I’m alone in this, but I love sandwiches for lunch. Since I’m usually eating by myself, it doesn’t feel worth it to get out pots and pans and do a lot of cooking for one person, and sandwiches are just so delicious! I look forward to them most days as if they’re the hot new thing. I don’t know why I haven’t thought of toasting and broiling them before, but it merges the two awesome sensations of a sandwich and a hot meal. I just can’t argue with that kind of logic staring me straight in the face.

mozzarella whole wheat bread

This would go really well with spinach or kale, but beet greens bring a great texture to the mix. Beet slices are also a fun experiment with grilled cheese sandwiches, but I tried that later and added blue cheese which ended up being too strong for me. Now if I look at beet slices I get slightly nauseous, which is unfortunate since I still have two large beets staring me down in the kitchen.

pesto chicken and mozzarella grilled cheese sandwich

What’s your favorite week day lunch routine?

Pesto Chicken and Mozzarella Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Yield

1 sandwich

Ingredients

2 slices fresh whole wheat bread
1/2 to 1 cup boiled and shredded chicken
1 to 2 tbsp pesto
2 slices of tomato
1/2 cup beet greens (or other greens)
2 to 3 thick slices mozzarella

Directions

1) Toast both slices of bread in a toaster until they become stiff and golden. If you don’t have a toaster, you can place them on the oven racks on broil and toast both sides.
2) Place one slice of the toasted bread on a small oven-proof dish and lay the mozzarella on it. Broil it for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mozzarella starts to melt over the sides.
3) Mix the pesto with the boiled chicken.
4) Layer the greens, tomato, and chicken on the second slice of bread. Place the first slice of bread on top when the cheese has melted. Serve immediately.

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