In the summertime, sandwiches fit the bill

By DEANA SEXTON,

If you are like me, I love a good sandwich. My Daddy used to say he could cook Momma a steak and she would chose a sandwich instead. There is just something about a good sandwich that always hits the spot.

During this time of the year, a fresh tomato sandwich from the garden is my favorite. Burgers on the grill are perfect mixed with some homegrown tomatoes, lettuce and onions. I love fresh veggies such as cucumbers, radishes and celery as a side dish with a burger or sandwich. To me, that is summertime.

I hope you enjoy some of my favorite sandwiches.

Italian Sausage and Pepper Burgers

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

12 ounces hot Italian sausage (if links, remove casings)

12 ounces sweet Italian sausage (if links, remove casings)

8 slices provolone

1/4 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons pesto

4 Ciabatta rolls, buttered and lightly toasted

Pickled banana peppers, for topping

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers and sauté until the onions are translucent and the peppers are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat.

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium high.

Combine both sausages in a bowl. Form into 4 patties. Grill until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Top each burger with some of the onions and peppers and 2 slices of cheese, cover the grill and cook until the cheese melts.

In a bowl, add the mayo and pesto and stir to combine. Spread the rolls with the pesto mayo, add the burgers and banana peppers and serve immediately.

Cheeseburger sandwiches

1 1/2 pounds leans ground beef

1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper

8 ounces Velveeta Light

2 tablespoons skim milk

1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)

1 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

12 sandwich buns, wheat

Cook beef and garlic pepper in 12-inch skillet over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain.

Spray 3 to 4 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Mix beef and remaining ingredients except buns in cooker.

Cover and cook on low heat setting 6 to 7 hours. To serve, fill buns with beef mixture.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

8 ounces cream cheese

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup mayonnaise

8 ounces Mozzarella cheese

8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

Sour dough bread

Mix cream cheese with the garlic powder and then add mayonnaise.  I cut the Mozzarella and Cheddar cheese in cubes, but I'm sure you could use the grated cheese if you wish. Mix the cheese in with the cream cheese mixture.  Spread the bread with a little Smart Balance margarine and put 1/4 cup of the mixture on each sandwich.