When I was a kid, I was one of the weird ones that actually liked school lunches. I think I even loved them. I liked them because I was usually embarrassed when I brought my lunch from home. My sandwich was on whole wheat, whole grain rectangular bread and always stood out amongst the sea of square, glaring white Wonder Bread. Their sandwiches were full of processed meat and cheese. Mine? Organic, natural, chunky peanut butter (the kind you have to stir like crazy when you open it because the oil separates...SO WEIRD) and honey. Literally no one at my elementary school had ever seen anything like it. And kids are kids, so they poke fun of the unfamiliar and abnormal.
Little did they know, and, unfortunately, little did I know (or care to realize), I had that food because I was blessed with an aware and caring mother. She tried her best to keep me on a diet consisting of only real food.
My aunt ruined her hope of me growing up unaware of McDonald's when she took me through the drive-thru at age 3. I usually got a tummy ache when I went to stay at friends houses because I would overdose on junk food. As it turns out, I inherited that piece of her. But I lapse from time to time. It's easy to do that in this society. So when I came across a recipe on bunsinmyoven similar to one of my favorite school lunches - Hot Ham & Cheese - I had to try it.
I made these mini hot ham & cheese sandwiches last night and took them to book club with me. FYI: we've dubbed our book club the Illiterate Winos' Book Club. If that tells you anything about this group. There's not as much wine involved these days since half of us are pregnant or nursing, but the rest of us try to make up for it. These women are my support group. We learn so much from one another. We run the gamet of ideals, opinions and lifestyles - but we all have a shared connection. We help each other through any and everything. And we teach each other a lot, too. (Last night's trending topic: labor & delivery - what no one tells you.)
...And that's why it's girls only.
I have to share this recipe with you because the girls loved the sandwiches. So did I. So did The Stallion. I've made a few tweaks to the recipe since I made it because I thought they were way too buttery (yes, seriously).
Confession: I used Oscar Mayer ham. I'm sure it was processed. But I did use real swiss cheese. The rolls were likely made with bleached flour. I ate two. The only thing I'm really struggling with is the ham. I doubt Oscar Mayer 'fully respects and honors the pigness of the pig'.
That was a reference to the movie Food, Inc. I watched it a month ago. More to come on that one. I'll 'hippee out' for y'all when that time comes.
**Photo credit to bunsinmyoven, where I found the original recipe, as my camera malfunction is keeping me from taking pictures of my own food. Her pic is missing the onion flakes - she's got some finnicky kiddos.**
Here's what you'll need to make Grown-Up Hot Ham & Cheese:
- 12 Kings Hawaiian rolls (you can use any type of roll - beware these are sweet - but I think they're perfect)
- 14-16 oz. deli sliced ham
- 8-10 oz. deli sliced swiss cheese (you could use some sharp cheddar (white, of course) - that would be pretty tasty, too. Or do half and half! Great for those who can't commit.)
- 2-3 T salted butter, melted
- 2 t ground mustard
- 1 t onion powder (or salt)
- 2 t Worcestershire
- Onion flakes
They're better if you let them set for at least 30 minutes, but if you can't wait - go ahead and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Turn up the heat a bit at the end if you want more 'crispies'. These are great made ahead of time. I did everything up through the baking step and covered the sandwiches overnight, then baked them at book club, and they were delish!
These are great as appetizers at a party or as a main dish for dinner. Just don't forget a side of vegetables!