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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Oven Roasted Chicken Breast with Bacon Sandwich

Apart from wraps, sandwiches have to be the next best thing that I particularly love having for lunch. A bread lover since a kid, there hardly were many days that I recounted gone by without having a slice or two of breads in a day. Generously stacked, served plain with something fancy or simple to dip in or eaten as it is, I adore them all the same. Moving here, it has since played a bigger role in our lives than it was back in Malaysia. Bread is almost the item certainly guaranteed an appearance on the kitchen countertop. On most of the working days, homemade sandwiches are what fill us through our everyday lunches, sometimes even extended to weekends.
A sandwich needs not many fancy ingredients to make it stand out. A few basic ones as long as they are really fresh to begin with, mixing and matching is all you need to produce a variety of balanced, hearty and healthy sandwiches, probably with just a little imagination. Our lunches are usually prepared earlier in the day and finished just in time to pack hubby's for work. Biting into lunches that have gotten soggy at lunch time after long hours of anticipation can really be a huge disappointment and letdown. This I did learn it the bitter way, but sometimes a mistake or two are exactly what make you a little wiser along the way. Well they sure are in my case. Making sandwiches these days, these are what I will always take extra notes on-

  • Heartier, denser breads always make better sandwiches. They do a much better job at holding the fillings in place. Softer breads, as temptingly good as they can be, makes sandwiches collapse and they often are the main culprit in soggy and out-of-shape sandwiches by lunch time. My best choice - honey oat bran or anything multi-grain.
  • Streaking the bread with a thin layer of butter before assembling them does wonders. Apart from the slight enhancement in taste, these naturally make good protection layers keeping the bread from the moisture contained within the fillings in between.
  • Begin assembling the sandwich with relatively drier ingredients that make good barriers separating the fillings and the bread. Salad leaves, lettuce, pieces of deli meats, sprouts and cheese generally fit well into this category, making them the best candidates to be put into direct contact with breads.
  • Limit the amount of condiments (if any), and they are best positioned in the middle.
  • Likewise drippy ingredients like tomatoes, pickles or even cucumber, they are best placed the furthest away from the breads. 
  • An extra measure on top of all these will be setting all the ingredients on paper towels prior to assembling - this ensures that the extra moisture are taken care of to begin with.

Oven Roasted Chicken Breast with Bacon Sandwich 
Serves 1 (~500cal a serving)
2 slices honey oat bran bread
3oz oven roasted chicken breast (I had Sara Lee's)
2 slices bacon, pan fried
1 cup mixed salad (I used Dole Tender Garden salad)
4 slices seedless cucumber
4 grape tomatoes, halved
3 thinly sliced onion rings
2 tbsp roasted red pepper hummus
1 small handful gourmet sprouts
1½ tbsps shredded cheese (I had Kraft pepper jack with green and red jalapenos)
butter for spreading bread

1. In a small skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, turning regularly. When done, remove from heat and let drain and cool down on a paper towel before assembling.
2. Begin with spreading a thin layer of butter on the breads. Spread out and arrange the mixed salad.
3. Top with the onion rings followed by cucumber slices and the halved grape tomatoes, distributing them evenly.
4. Folding the deli meat each in half, lay them down one at a time with one slightly overlapping the previous one. 
5. Spread the hummus evenly throughout the layer and top it off with the shredded cheese.
6. Line the bacon on top and finish with distributing the gourmet sprouts on the top most level.
7. With the other slice of bread in place, place a toothpick in the center of each half of the sandwich securing it.
8. Cut the sandwich in half crosswise. End by wrapping each half separately.

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