All posts tagged sandwiches

Slow Cooker Cuban Pork Sandwiches

Published May 15, 2013 by jenmatteson

I absolutely love the slow cooker, and it is so underused in my kitchen.  Especially in the warmer months.  We tend to do a whole lot more grilling; who doesn’t?  But, the slow cooker is good in the summer too because it doesn’t heat up your kitchen, and you can enjoy the wonderful weather in the evening instead of trying to get dinner on the table at a reasonable time.  We’ve all been there.

Slow Cooker Cuban Pork Sandwiches

I saved this recipe about a month ago for several reasons.  1) As mentioned above, I need to use my slow cooker way more.  2) I like the sound of all the ingredients in this recipe. 3) I’m a sucker for any type of pulled pork sandwich. 4) I had a pork shoulder in my freezer that I had purchased on sale a few weeks back calling my name (and this recipe’s name).  Normally, I probably would have just made BBQ pulled pork sandwiches with the pork shoulder, but we’re adventurous and wanted to try something a little different.  This was perfect.

Everything came together super quickly, and I had everything on hand already – with the exception of a lime.  I pretty much always have lemons and limes on hand, but just happened to be out when I was pulling this together. Seeing as though I was doing it before work, I really didn’t have time to run to the store, so I forged ahead without the lime juice.  I feel like that was a mistake.  The pork was still really tender, moist and delicious, but it seemed like it was lacking a bit of freshness, which I’m sure the lime would have contributed.  The cilantro mayonnaise was great!  Nate said he didn’t think it added much to the sandwich, but I liked it and it was a change from my usual BBQ and/or hot sauce.  When we had leftovers, we added a little mango Habanero hot sauce to our sandwiches and they were awesome!  This would be an excellent meal for company on a Friday night so everything is ready to go when you get home from work and you have little prep.  You can focus on cleaning those last little places and getting cocktails and appetizers out instead of worrying about the main event!

Slow Cooker Cuban Pork Sandwiches

Slow Cooker Cuban Pork Sandwiches

Source: Adapted from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Servings: 6-8


For the pork:
1 onion, halved and sliced
3 lb boneless pork shoulder (butt would work, too)
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tsp dry minced garlic
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
juice of one lime
1/4 water
hamburger buns. toasted (toasting is optional, but it keeps the bun from getting overly soggy)

For the cilantro mayonnaise:
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp cilantro, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp lime juice


1. Arrange onions on bottom of slow cooker.  Place pork shoulder on top.

2. In a small bowl. combine brown sugar, garlic, salt and pepper.  Sprinkle over pork.  Pour lime juice and water around pork.

3. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, until pork very tender.  Meanwhile, combine ingredients for cilantro mayonnaise and refrigerate until ready to use.

4. Remove roast from slow cooker and pour liquid into bowl.  Return roast to slow cooker and shred with two forks.  Skim fat from reserved liquid and pour about 1 cup skimmed liquid over pork.

5. To serve, spread cilantro mayonnaise on one side of the bun and top with pork.

Mango-Habanero Chicken Sandwiches

Published October 25, 2012 by jenmatteson

I wanted to make a chicken sandwich with my latest homemade hot sauce, mango-habanero.  I quickly Googled it as I knew I couldn’t be the first person to think of such a sandwich, and guess what?  I wasn’t.  Domino’s Pizza has a chicken habanero sandwich, so I used that as inspiration.  I added some additional ingredients, and omitted cheddar cheese and jalapenos.  Normally, I wouldn’t omit a pepper like jalapeno, but I thought the mango-habanero hot sauce was spicy enough, so they weren’t necessary.

We both thought the sandwiches were perfect.  Nate said it met his threshold of spicy, but really enjoyed it.    I’ll have to come up with more ways to use this homemade hot sauce, but for now, this was great!

Mango-Habanero Chicken Sandwiches

Source: Adapted from Domino’s Pizza
Servings: 2


2 hoagies
4 slices provolone
handful spinach leaves
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I used taco seasoning on mine)
2 tbsp mango-habanero hot sauce
sliced onion
1/4 cup pineapple tidbits


1. Preheat broiler.  Slice the hoagies down the center on top.  Scoop out a little of the insides.  Spray with olive oil, and layer cheese on each hoagie.   Place under broiler until cheese is melted and hoagie is lightly browned, 2-3 minutes.

2. Remove from oven and add spinach leaves and shredded chicken.  Drizzle 1 tbsp of hot sauce over the chicken.  Add onion, pineapple bits and another layer of provolone cheese.  Place under broiler until cheese is melted.  Remove and let cool before serving.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Published September 7, 2012 by jenmatteson

A few nights ago I hosted my second fantasy football draft at my house.  I must say, the Madtown Muskrats will be pretty good, so my cousins best watch out!  I planned on making some pulled pork sandwiches using a 3-4 lb pork shoulder in the slow cooker with some beer.  I didn’t have any small bottles of our homebrew, and I didn’t want to use an entire 22 oz bottle (seeing as though it was 7 AM before work, it probably wouldn’t have been the best idea to drink the rest of it 😉 ).  So I grabbed a bottle of black cherry soda that had been in my fridge for probably close to a year and prayed for the best.  I’ve seen several similar recipes using Dr. Pepper or Cherry Coke, so I figured what’s the worse that can happen?

It actually turned out really well, but I couldn’t even taste the black cherry soda – sort of a disappointment, but the meat was tender and flavorful (too spicy for some, but that is easily adjustable).  After cooking and shredding it, I removed the bone and added some BBQ sauce.  Not homemade, but maybe that’ll be on my list for next year.  I like Ken Davis BBQ sauce.  It’s affordable, smokey, a hint of tangy, and no spice (you might be thinking what has happened to me, but really it’s just because I can add my own heat, but others can’t take it out if it is already in the sauce).

I served Nicole, from Prevention RD’s, bacon coleslaw with the pulled pork sandwiches.  I didn’t put the slaw on my sandwich that night, but I did with the leftovers, and boy did I miss out before.  What a great combination – and bacon on pork?  Oh yeah, I did it.

What would you have made for a fantasy football draft?

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: 10-12


3-4 lb pork shoulder (pork butt or tenderloin would work too)
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried jalapeno peppers
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp salt
olive oil
12 oz black cherry soda (or use your favorite – or in my case, what you have on hand)
1-2 cups BBQ sauce
hot sauce to taste
favorite buns


1. In a small bowl, mix cumin, garlic powder, oregano, jalapenos, chili powder, pepper and salt together.  Sprinkle generously over pork and drizzle with olive oil.  Rub in seasoning so it is evenly distributed.  Place pork in slow cooker and add soda.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

2. Drain juices.  Shred pork with two forks or in a stand mixer (I removed a lot of the fat on the pork so it wasn’t mixed in before shredding).  If you used a shoulder, be sure to remove the large bone.  Add BBQ sauce and hot sauce to taste.  Season with more salt and pepper if desired.

3. Serve pulled pork on buns and garnish with additional BBQ sauce, hot sauce, and/or coleslaw as desired.

Recipe Swap: Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

Published August 13, 2012 by jenmatteson

The theme of the most recent recipe swap was “Too Hot to Cook”, so all the recipes submitted were ideally no cook recipes, so at least no stove/oven, but grilling and slow cooker were allowed.  I submitted my Chili Lime Shrimp Salad.  I received Tina’s blog, Tasty Treats by Tina, and she submitted sloppy joes.  This was originally a swap recipe she’d received in the past, but altered to her own liking the second run, so I went off of her recipe.

I was a bit hesitant as I’m very particular about sloppy joes, and I’ve only liked my mother’s recipe growing up (and still).  My only change to her recipe is to use ground turkey instead of ground beef.  No biggie.  Nate and I love them; I guess I should blog it sometime – though I’d have to get permission from Mrs. Pigzilla 😉

Anyway, I did the same thing with Tina’s recipe and substituted turkey meat for ground beef, and omitted tarragon, really just because I didn’t want to buy any just before leaving on vacation.  I also adjusted the measurements for my own taste.  After tasting it after it’d been in the slow cooker for a while, it was a little too tomatoy for my taste, so I did add more mustard to combat that.

In the end, they were pretty tasty.  Nate commented that they were a little too sweet, and I even lowered the amount of brown sugar it called for.  Next time, I’d probably omit the sugar as I find it unnessicary.

Sloppy Joes

Source: Tasty Treats by Tina
Servings: 4


i lb ground turkey
1/2 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
1/4 cup yellow mustard
5-8 leaves fresh basil, chopped
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 can tomato paste
salt and pepper


1. In a large frying pan, brown turkey meat over medium heat.  Drain and add to slow cooker.  Add remaining ingredients, mix, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  *Since I only used 1 lb of turkey meat (vs. Tina’s 2 lb ground beef), I only cooked my sloppy joe’s on low for about 4 hours.

2. Serve on toasted bun.

Southwest Chicken and Swiss Panini

Published June 14, 2012 by jenmatteson

I didn’t have time to take anything out of the freezer this morning, and I knew we were running pretty low on fresh produce.  While at work, I envisioned what I had in the freezer to make for dinner.  I basically concocted a combination of several leftover ingredients to come up with a fantastic panini.  Of course the chicken and bacon were frozen, so I did have to thaw them out, but I used up to leftover ciabatta rolls, some chipotle mayonnaise, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and some swiss cheese that I feel like has been in the fridge forever.  Paired with a salad, it was a fantastic little dinner.

Southwest Chicken and Swiss Panini

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: 4


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp southwest seasoning (recipe below)
4 ciabatta rolls or 8 slices of hearty bread
4 tbsp chipotle mayonnaise
4 leaves of greens (Romaine, spinach, arugula are good choices)
1/4 red onion, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
8 slices thick cut bacon, cooked
4 slices swiss cheese


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Season each side of the chicken breasts with southwest seasoning and rub into chicken.  On on a foil lined baking sheet, bake chicken for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through.  Remove from oven and let rest for at least 5 minutes.  Slice thin.

2. Preheat panini grill.  Spread both sides of rolls or each piece of bread generously with the chipotle mayonnaise.  Add greens, onions, and tomatoes to each sandwich.  Add sliced chicken, two slices of bacon and one slice of swiss cheese to each sandwich, and top with ciabatta, or second slice of bread, spread with chipotle mayonnaise.

3. Place sandwiches on panini grill and press top down, careful not to let sandwich tops slide off.  Cook for about 5 minutes, or until bread begins to turn brown and cheese is melted.  Let sandwich rest for 2 minutes, cut in half, then serve.

Southwest Seasoning Mix

2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp black pepper
2 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust if you are heat sensitive)
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt


1. Mix all ingredients together.  Store in an air tight container.

Smoked Salmon and Dill Egg Salad Sandwiches

Published June 4, 2012 by jenmatteson

The first time I made these, it was for my best friend’s bridal shower.  They were a huge hit.  I haven’t made them since, and I thought my wine exchange was a great excuse to make these classy little finger sandwiches again.

Really, I love egg salad on its own, but throw in a little smoked salmon and dill, and this brings your ordinary egg salad sandwich to the next level.  Everyone at work will be jealous of your yummy looking (and tasting) lunch!

Smoked Salmon and Dill Egg Salad Sandwiches

Source: Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh (Food Network)
Servings: 20 tea sandwiches


6 eggs
2 oz smoked salmon, chopped fine
2 tsp nonpareil capers
2 tsp dill, chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp low-fat mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste
20 slices sturdy whole grain bread
1/4 cup chives, chopped


1. In a large sauce pan, cover eggs with cold water.  Bring to a boil.  Once water has come to a boil, remove pan from the heat, cover, and let sit for 20 minutes.  Drain water and peel eggs.  A great time my mom taught me was to run the eggs under cold water while peeling them, and the shells come off like magic.

2. Using a box grater, grate eggs (or you can just chop them).  Add salmon, capers, and dill.  Mix until combined.  Fold in mayonnaise.

3. Spread salad between two slices of bread (cut off corners for an even fancier look), and cut diagonally.  Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on the diagonal cut, and dip into chopped chives for garnish.

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

Published May 18, 2012 by jenmatteson

If you’ve followed my blog at all, you’ll notice that my “beef” category is lacking a bit.  It’s not that I don’t like beef, though I do think cows are lovely creatures, but I just don’t cook with it a lot.  I’m thinking I may have to venture out of my comfort zone if I’d like to gain more readers 😉

I do enjoy French dip sandwiches, and I also love using my slow cooker, so I thought this was really a no brainer.  The beef cooks for several hours in juicy broth with onions, and it’s so tender, you can literally peel the meat off with tongs as you build your sandwich.  The onions get super soft and add a little sweetness to the broth and your sandwich, for a perfect combination.  Top with some provolone and horseradish if you wish, and viola!

I used two cans of broth with this recipe, but the first time I made it, I used one can of broth and a beer.  My parents aren’t beer drinkers, and my dad seems to be able to pick out the taste, regardless of what it’s cooked in, so I didn’t want to use a beer this time around.  The alcohol in the beer of course cooks out, but the flavor is intensified making a more flavorful au jus and it seems to tenderize the meat a bit more.  Do what you like and what fits your tastes.

Unfortunately, this was the last meal my slow cooker will be making.  There was a large crack, which leaked much of the juicy goodness onto my counter 😦  Guess I’m in the market for a new one.  Any recommendations?

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: 12


olive oil
3-4 lb rump roast
salt and pepper
4 onions, halved and sliced thick
1 package dry onion soup mix
2 10.5 oz cans low sodium beef broth
or 1 10.5 oz can low sodium beef broth and 1 12 oz beer
12 French rolls
12 slices provolone


1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over high heat.  Salt and pepper both sides of the roast.  Sear until browned, about 3 minutes each side.

2. Place 1/2 the onions in the bottom of slow cooker.  Add seared roast.  Sprinkle with onion soup mix.  Add remaining onions.  Pour beef broth (and beer if using) over roast and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Roast should be very tender and shred easily with a fork/tongs.

3. Preheat broiler.  Spray rolls with olive oil and place under broiler until brown and crusty, 3-5 minutes.  Top rolls with shredded beef, onions and provolone and place under broiler for one minute more, or until cheese is melted.

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