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focaccia sandwich

I am quite sure you really do not need a recipe for a sandwich…but all of us get into ruts with what we eat. Next time you walk through the aisles of your Trader Joe’s, mix it up and think of new things to use to make a quick simple meal. Start with the bread; pick out something new, something other than the standard baguette or French bread. Look around, there is ciabatta, focaccia, brioche, and all sorts of things to try!

Then go to the produce area and pick out a bag of greens you haven’t tried before. While in produce; snag a couple of heirloom tomatoes, an avocado, a cucumber, or an Asian pear. Go down that lovely long aisle that is full of olives, sun-dried tomatoes, tapenade, mustards, olives, pickled this and that, and various flavored mayo jars, and grab a few things new to you.

Then head over to the coolers and pick out one of the dozens of cheeses you haven’t tried or had in a while; Fontina, smoked Gouda, Manchego, mozzarella-prosciutto cheese roll, TJ’s Unexpected Cheddar, goat cheese, or just a nice sharp cheddar. Next to the cheeses are all sorts of sliced meats, although, with all the flavors you have in your basket by now, you don’t really need meat for a great sandwich!

Be sure and grab a nice bottle of wine or two and a package of pasta (you’re going to need that to make a second meal with all the odds and end you are sure to have left, after making sandwiches!). And stroll down the freezer section, pick up a package of those handy cubes of frozen minced garlic and other convenient cooked and frozen items (such as the chicken strips used for this particular sandwich). Once you are finished filling your cart, go stand in the long lines of other satisfied shoppers and be ready to pull out your reusable bags to help the cashier bag up your groceries. It brings me to the brink of insanity when I watch the guy or gal in front of me just standing there – uselessly!!!

The quantities for the sandwich below are not the amounts needed for the sandwich, but instead the quantity as it is sold at Trader Joe’s. Tomorrow, we will use the extra stuff to make pasta… if you want to be prepared to make it be sure you have on hand – or pick up – a package of spaghetti, Parmesan cheese, a mozzarella-prosciutto cheese roll, and a fresh head of garlic along with your sandwich fixings.


Trader Joe’s Focaccia Sandwiches

15-ounce package focaccia
Sandwich spread of your choice; mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, hummus, tapenade, etc.
7-ounce package arugula
1 package or bunch of tomatoes
Gruyere cheese, sliced
16-ounce package “just grilled chicken strips”


Cut off as much of the focaccia as you need to make the number of sandwiches you need (for instance, I only made one sandwich as pictured above). Slice the focaccia in half horizontally. Spread both cut sides of the bread evenly with the sandwich spread you like best, I used hummus. Top with a thin layer of the fresh arugula leaves and then with a layer of tomato slices. Next place on slices of cheese and then the chicken strips. Top with the other half of the focaccia and cut into sandwiches.

For a hot sandwich: Preheat the broiler to high. Place the bottom half of the focaccia on a baking sheet. Cover both sides of focaccia with your sandwich spread. Layer the bottom half with chicken and then cheese, and place under broiler until the cheese begins to bubble and brown, about 2 or 3 minutes, watching closely. Remove from oven and cover with tomatoes, then arugula. Top with the other half of the focaccia and cut into sandwiches.

Makes up to 8 sandwiches

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1 comment

1 Sloane { 02.03.10 at 2:45 PM }

I love Trader Joes! Especially those old ladies who hog the aisles and you cant get past them!

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