And to think there was a time when I thought I’d never be able to eat another ham & cheese sandwich ever again for as long as I lived!
It was 2003, and I was working as a summer camp counselor on a US military base in Sagamihara, Japan, after my sophomore year of college (Camp A – holla!) Twice a week, the kids and us counselors would head out on field trips to the finest and most fun destinations eastern Japan had to offer – wave pools so big they’d be outlawed in the US, aquariums with crabs that were bigger than buses (horrifying,) city parks, cultural landmarks, zoos, and every amazing place in between – with camp-provided sack lunches in tow.
Among the contents of said sack lunch were approximately 1 1/2 clementines (sometimes 1, sometimes 2 – it was always a surprise) those packaged cheddar cracker sandwiches thingies with crumbly peanut butter in the center, and a ham & cheese sandwich on stale white bread, which had inevitably come to room temperature on the bus while we were out playing the morning away.
I don’t think the kids ever really cared what was in that sack lunch, as long as they got to go to Tokyo Disney after they ate it, but by the end of the summer us counselors had resorted to hoarding their uneaten 1 1/2 clementines just to avoid choking down another lukewarm ham & cheese sandwich for lunch.
It was years before I would even think about having another one, and buttery, warm and chewy versions like Baked Ham & Cheese Pretzel Sandwiches with Garlic Butter sure help with the healing process!
The star of Baked Ham & Cheese Pretzel Sandwiches with Garlic Butter is the Pretzel Rolls I used to replace the bread in the sandwich. The squish factor on these babies is insanely high! I got my rolls at Trader Joe’s, but I just saw ‘em at Costco this weekend, too.
Start by cutting the rolls in half to make a bun for the sandwich, then scrape out the excess bread inside. You can save it to feed to the ducks at your local pond/hungry husbands after work, or turn ‘em into bread crumbs.
Next, mix up some honey mustard using Dijon mustard and honey, then thinly spread it on each side of the bun.
Pre-made honey mustard works great too!
Pile on thinly sliced deli ham, and a slice of cheddar cheese next.
Use whatever kind of deli ham you prefer, btw. There were about 26 different kinds to choose from at the store, and I blabbered out peppered ham in a panicked state at the deli counter when I was called before I had made my final decision.
Anyways, here’s where it really gets good. Place the sandwich on a sheet of foil, then brush the top with a wee bit of melted butter mixed with garlic powder.
Can you say Auntie Anne’s Pretzel?! You know you hate walking by that place at the mall too!
Wrap the sandwich the rest of the way, then toss it into the oven just as it is, to bake, melt, and warm the sandwich through and through, about 20 minutes.
Keep the clementines, kids!
Baked Ham & Cheese Pretzel Sandwiches with Garlic Butter
4 pretzel buns
1/4 cup honey mustard, divided
1lb deli ham, sliced thin
4 slices cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut buns in half and scrape out excess bread in the center. Spread 1 Tablespoon honey mustard on each bun , then layer on ham and cheese. Wrap each sandwich in foil, leaving the top open.
- Mix together melted butter and garlic powder, then brush over tops of pretzel sandwiches. Close foil, then bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted, and ham is hot.
UNbelievable! The pretzel gets even more soft and chewy in the oven, and the sweet honey mustard is just divine with the salty ham. That garlicky butter top is absolutely sinful too, for just a few additional calories. Worth it!
In other news…
I have to tell you about the book I read on the way to California last week – The Paris Wife. It was so good I finished the whole thing before I got home!
This fiction novel based on fact is set in the 1920s, in post-war Paris, and tells the story of legendary American author Ernest Hemingway and his wife, Elizabeth “Hadley” Richardson, trying to survive life (and each other) during the early years of their marriage.
I’ve always known Ernest Hemingway as a famous author, of course, but it was fascinating to get to know him more as a person, and reading it all from Elizabeth’s point of view made it even better. Plus, reading about life in Paris in the 1920s killed me! Travel, drink, travel, eat, travel, drink, drink, fight, drink, fight, drink, travel. I couldn’t put this book down! Have you read it The Paris Wife?
Now that my Kindle is back on the market, got any reading suggestions for me?
Have a great night!