Do you ever wish blogging could be like a Choose Your Own Adventure Book? I sure do. Particularly on days like this when I’m just not sure what trivial detail of my personal life I feel like rambling on about before I awkwardly somersault my way into a recipe for open-faced melty goodness.
I could tell you about the four servings of salt and pepper potato chips I just hoovered before realizing that a “portion” is NINE FREAKING CHIPS.
Or I could mention that we’re going to New York this coming week for the first time both A) together and B) not for work to celebrate my big Three-Oh where I will be sucking down Salty Pimps like they’re going out of style. (Did you click the link? If not, I can only the imagine the type of person you think I am at this moment.)
Or I could get into my new affinity for Zumba, which I know I’ve mentioned in passing but haven’t really given the attention it deserves. You know those ladies that you always see at Starbucks that look like they just came from something active except they aren’t really sweaty and their hair is a little too coiffed and, actually, come to think of it — are they… — wait a minute — it looks like…maybe…they might be wearing…makeup?
Those women do not do Zumba.
Barre class, maybe, but not Zumba. How do I know this? Because during Zumba, my face produces roughly enough sweat to reverse drought in a third-world country, I’m the color of this monkey’s ass, and I could probably show up a wet sponge in an ambiguously funky smells competition.
Now see, if this were a Choose Your Own Adventure Book, you could have avoided that detail by telling me which one of those irrelevant anecdotes you actually wanted to hear more about, and I’d oblige you on page 2, 7, or 12.
But instead, you waded through all that nonsense just to get to the same quirky interlude where I attempt to make any or all of what you just read relate even remotely to the food I’munna show you.
The CHEESY food I’munna show you.
The CHEESY, CHICKEN-Y food I’munna show you.
The CHEESY, CHICKEN-Y, JALAPENO-Y food I’munna show you.
The SUPER EASY CHEESY, CHICKEN-Y, JALAP—oh, you get it?
Well, at least we’re there now.
This is a recipe that I sort of fell in love with the more I ate it. The chicken, in particular, is super versatile — and it has to be in order for me to like it, because I’m just not a big chicken girl. It’s packed with flavor, and because it’s super simply roasted on a sheet pan, you can make double or triple the amount and feed a whole buncha folks in the same amount of time, easy peasy. As a bonus: once it’s mixed with the ricotta and jalapenos, it’s not just for sandwiches. Use is as a filling for quesadillas, enchiladas or burritos. Stuff some pasta shells with it. Or even serve it scooped over a crisp green salad. (Wild, I know.)
Just make sure you try it this way at least once, and with really good, nutty whole grain bread for the full textural experience.
It’ll be a party in your mouth.
Just like those Salty Pimps.
Jalapeno-Cheddar Chicken Melts
By Emily Stoffel
Cook Time: 45 mins | Makes 5-6 generous sandwiches
Note: We like things relatively hot around here, so feel free to adjust the jalapenos to your family’s taste. Or substitute them with mild green chilies if you’re after the flavor but not the heat. And as mentioned above, it’s worth it to make plenty of the chicken “salad” mixture as it’s good stuffed into/sandwiched between just about everything.
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 3 T sweet mesquite seasoning or grill seasoning (we love this Costco variation)
- 2 T olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped jarred jalapenos
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 6 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 5-6 slices nutty, whole grain bread (such as my obsession, Alpine Valley)
Preheat oven to 450F. Toss chicken breasts with olive oil and seasoning. Arrange on a baking sheet and roast until cooked through, about 25-30 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, lightly toast bread. Set broiler to preheat.
When chicken is cool enough to handle (or using two forks), shred into a large bowl and add jalapenos and ricotta. Mix thoroughly.
Arrange bread on a baking sheet or broiler pan and mound chicken mixture on top. Evenly distribute cheese across sandwiches. Broil until cheese is melted to your liking. (Watch carefully, it happens quickly!)
Remove sandwiches to a plate and enjoy — preferably with a dill pickle spear or two.