Build-your-own homemade sub sandwiches

Build-your-own sub sandwiches
Build-your-own homemade sub sandwiches made with ham and swiss (served with kettle-cooked potato chips)

Last month, I decided to make my own sub sandwiches (or hoagies or heros, depending on what you like to call them), and they are definitely better than anything I could buy at a restaurant. So I’m saying goodbye to Jimmy John’s, and hello to making delicious sandwich combinations at home.

What’s the secret? It’s in great ingredients, a dash of dried oregano, and a drizzle of olive oil and red wine vinegar. And if you have a little extra time, homemade sub rolls put it over the top.

I use the same formula for each sandwich (inspired by this video), but the combinations are endless. I’ve shared some of our favorites below, including turkey bacon ranch, and an Italian grinder. We hope that you give one (or more) of our sandwich ideas a try! Because sometimes, you just want a good sandwich, and this is it.

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Italian beef sandwiches

Italian beef
Italian beef sandwich

If you’re looking for an authentic Chicago-style Italian beef sandwich, this probably isn’t it (you might want to check out this article for some tips). But if you’re looking for a very tasty Chicago-inspired Italian beef sandwich, this is definitely it.

The combination of beef, swiss cheese, onions, au jus, and giardiniera is savory, delicious, and flavorful. We smoked an eye of round roast on the grill, but you could also buy thinly sliced roast beef from the deli as an easy option. I also highly recommend purchasing a Chicago-style giardiniera (such as Marconi), instead of the Italian style (which won’t have the right flavor). Another tasty option is to cook sliced bell peppers and mushrooms along with the onions to make a sort of Philly-style sandwich.

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Vietnamese beef and rice noodles

Vietnamese beef and rice noodles
Vietnamese beef and rice noodles

I made this Vietnamese beef and rice noodle stir fry for dinner tonight, and it was absolutely delicious! Michael and I went to United Noodles in Minneapolis this afternoon and stocked up on some groceries that we can’t easily find, along with some of the ingredients for this dish.

Although the ingredient list looks a little long, this dish actually comes together quickly. One of the keys to this dish is the paper-thin sliced beef (you could also use pork), because it cooks extremely quickly and has a lot of surface area for the sauce to coat it. If you’re slicing your own meat, using slightly frozen/thawed beef will help you to cut thinner slices. I like to use “fancier” mushrooms (like enoki, bunapi, or oyster) if I have them, but otherwise, my go-to are sliced brown “baby bella” mushrooms.

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Salisbury steak with paprika cream sauce

Salisbury steak with paprika cream sauce

This recipe probably has the best sauce that I’ve ever made. It’s definitely a 10 out of 10, and we cleaned the last drops out of the pan after dinner tonight. The salisbury steaks were delicious too, and the fresh basil is a perfect garnish. We definitely recommend that you give this recipe a try for a great weekend meal!

I found this recipe in our latest Eating Well magazine, and immediately made a mental note to put it on our menu. I did made a few slight modifications so that I could use my new birthday present (a braisier!) and make it a one-dish recipe. We also served it over rice, instead of the suggested egg noodles.

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Irish shepherd’s pie

Irish shepherd's pie
Irish shepherd’s pie (served with marble rye bread and Dubliner cheese)

Last week, Michael and I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with this delicious shepherd’s pie and an oatmeal stout (this one). Shepherd’s pie is a classic comfort food, and I was really happy with how this recipe turned out — I only made a few small changes to the original.

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Hearty beef stew

Hearty beef stew

Michael and I often enjoy this hearty beef stew during the fall and winter months here in Minnesota. Since it’s easy to make this recipe in the crockpot, it’s the perfect meal to come home to on a chilly evening. This family recipe is originally from Michael’s mom, and we’re certainly glad to have it!

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Homemade taco hamburger helper

Homemade taco hamburger helper

I first saw a version of this taco pasta on Pinterest, and immediately pinned it as something I wanted to make. When Michael and I first tried it last week, we thought it was pretty good — it actually reminded us a lot of hamburger helper. I liked that the recipe was quick and easy, making it perfect for a weeknight dinner.

Updated 09/17/12: I made this recipe again, using leftover taco meat (already seasoned) and diced tomatoes in place of the ground turkey and salsa. I replaced the taco seasoning in the recipe with chili powder, cumin, onion and garlic powders, and a sprinkle of dried thyme. I omitted the cream cheese, and transferred to a 8″x11″ baking dish to keep warm (~300 degree oven) until serving. We ate it with cottage cheese and salad… delicious!

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Middle-Eastern spiced beef koftas

Middle-Eastern spiced beef koftas
Middle-Eastern spiced beef koftas

I first shared this kofta recipe a couple summers ago, and since then, it’s become one of our favorites. These koftas are quick, delicious, and versatile — you can make them out of ground beef, lamb, or turkey.

I often serve them sandwich-style in pita pockets with cucumbers, tomatoes, and feta cheese, but you can also serve them over rice. I’ve also used this recipe to make burgers a couple times — it’s a delicious option if you’re looking for something a little different from a traditional hamburger!

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Crescent rolls filled with Nutella, corned beef, and other goodies

Crescent rolls filled with Nutella, corned beef, and other goodies

Crescent rolls are the quick and delicious alternative to croissants. They’re easy and relatively quick to make — I’ve made them twice in the past week. They’re also perfect for special occasions. Michael’s family regularly makes then for holiday dinners.

I first made these crescent rolls last Thursday for Michael’s birthday. They were delicious, so I made them again this past weekend — and decided to try filling the rolls with goodies such as Nutella, corned beef, cheese, herbs, and even maple syrup. Filling the rolls doesn’t add much time to the preparation, but it makes the crescent rolls even more delicious and impressive-looking.

Our favorite fillings were corned beef and cheese, and Nutella. The corned beef and cheese-filled rolls would make an excellent picnic or fishing snack. Additionally, the Nutella-filled rolls would be great for breakfast or dessert, especially with a cup of tea or coffee. But don’t limit yourself to the fillings we tried — try your own combination and let us know how it turns out!

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Beef stroganoff

Beef stroganoff

When Michael returned from a conference in Spain this past weekend, he mentioned that he had eaten stroganoff while he was there. While stroganoff is by no means a Spanish dish (it’s actually Russian), it did remind him of how much he liked it. My knowledge of stroganoff, on the other hand, was limited to the Hamburger Helper variety. So Michael decided that we had better make the real thing.

Just as he promised, the beef stroganoff we made was delicious. Not only that, but it’s a simple recipe made with common ingredients. The hardest part is patiently waiting for it to simmer on the stove while you’re smelling its delicious aroma. Next time, we think that julienned red and green peppers would make a tasty addition.

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