Sunday, March 10, 2013

Reinventing a Diner Classic

My husband had a special request for dinner. It wasn't steak, nor was it pizza. It was a diner staple... A patty melt. Before then, I have never even eaten a patty melt but now I am hooked. It was so easy, and had rave reviews from the whole family. With a little prep during the day or the night before, you can use this diner classic on your busiest night of the week.

This is one of those meals that you don't need a recipe to make it. Just a few of your favorite toppings.

Make your burger patties about 4 oz, and cook all the way threw. In the winter, I cook them in a skillet, but in the summer cook extra patties on the weekend from the grill. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the patty melt night. ( if it's longer than 3 or 4 days, put in the freezer, but thaw before using)

You can use whatever leftovers you want. My husband likes caramelized onions and pickled jalapeño peppers. I like sautéed mushrooms and bell peppers. Add a little barbecue sauce or hot sauce or pesto and a cheese of your choice. I find shredding the cheese helps it melt easier, and it uses less cheese to save a few calories. All you do now is place your filling between two pieces of bread, buttered on the outside and cook like you would a grilled cheese sandwich. I like to use my panini maker.

How great would this be on the night where everyone is home for dinner at different times? How about on soccer practice night when you have 30 minutes to get out the door?

What I really like about this meal is the versatility. How about a chicken burger with tomato sauce and mozzarella for a Chicken Parmesan melt, or with a slice of ham and swiss cheese for a Chicken Cordon Bleu melt? Turkey burger with bacon, tomato and white cheddar for a BLT melt? Beef burger with sautéed peppers and onions and provolone cheese for a philly cheesesteak melt? Turkey burger cranberry sauce and brie?  The possibilities roll around in my mind until finally its time for dinner.

It's a Diner Classic for a reason. It's fast. It's easy. It's tasty. A virtual trifecta of suburban cuisine.