Food You Can Eat: Tuna Melts With Artichoke Hearts; Sheet-Pan Baked 3-Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

In which I upsize a perfectly good Weight Watchers recipe

Image via weightwatchers.com. Recipe inspired by WW but this FYCE uses bagels and is topped with shredded cheese.

The tuna melts are not difficult at all and kind of not even worth posting, but post it I will because:

On one of Better Half’s recent scouting missions I remembered that we were out of artichoke hearts, which we don’t buy very often, but I was in a mood. I texted him in barely coherent English to pick some up. He came back with way too much.

Because even I know how to do this, my phone is synched to my Desktop Nerve Center and no sooner had he walked through the door did I get an unexpected email from Weight Watchers. In it was attached a recipe for tuna melts with artichoke hearts. I’m telling you, even the most Luddite among us is under a degree of surveillance that would have put the Stasi to shame.

We are not on Weight Watchers, but I decided to adapt this and give it a go. My version has approximately 3X the calories found in the original. It’s really good, although very filling. Feeds 2 big people and 1 Ravenous Hound.

For the tuna melts with artichoke hearts:

3 5-oz. cans of albacore tuna packed in water, drained and flaked. To channel my inner Seinfeld, what is up with the incredible shrinking cans of tuna? But I digress.

About 1 cup of artichoke hearts, drained well and chopped

1 fairly long scallion, let’s say 1/3 cup, chopped

The juice of 1/2 of one small—medium size lemon

2 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. herbes de Provence

2 big New York-style bagels. Not the puny ones that I have seen in suburban supermarket refrigerator cases. You really want plain or wheat for this. I mean, you pretty much always do, but especially here. 

5 oz. (a little more than 1 cup) of shredded cheese. For my experiment I used a mild cheddar. Let your taste and experience be your guide.

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Preheat a broiler.

Slice the bagels in half and put them on a foil-lined baking sheet and toast them, cut-side up, for a couple of minutes. Remove and put the sheet on the stovetop.

In a small bowl put about a teaspoon of the tuna. Set aside.

In a larger bowl, combine the rest of the tuna and all the other ingredients except for the bagels and the cheese.

Over the four toasted bagel halves apportion this spread. Top with most of the cheese, but sprinkle a little over that tsp.-ful of tuna in the small bowl.

Put the bagels back in the broiler for 2 or 3 or 4 minutes depending on broiler until the cheese is gooey and melted but not to the point where it or the bagels are starting to take on that burning black color.

Let the bagels cool for a little bit and top The Faithful Hound’s kibble with the cheesed tuna from the small bowl.

For the grilled cheese sandwiches:

Somewhat related to the tuna melts, here is a great way to whip up a batch of grilled cheese sandwiches pretty quickly and effortlessly. I have done these sandwiches twice because I happened to have everything on hand and I had unexpected “drop-ins”. I figured we needed to eat something. You can also cut this into smaller chunks and make cocktail party snacks out of them. Makes 12 (!) sandwiches, but pre-pandemic, our general sociability and our friends’ inability to make a plan and stick with it, combined with the general clubhouse atmosphere that prevailed at the Casa Encantada, ensured that a hungry horde would stop by now and then.

2 tbsp. melted butter

1 tsp. garlic powder (you need powder, not minced or shaved garlic) that you have melted in with the butter. You can do this in a microwave but you have to interrupt at least once to stir. If you do it on a stovetop, cube the butter to make the melting go faster and stir and stir the garlic. This goes very quickly.

2 sheets of pastry dough, thawed

1/2 lb. sliced American cheese (yes, because these are grilled cheeses, and American is very good for gilled cheeses)

1/2 lb. sliced some other cheese. Cheddar is probably best, that’s what we usually have lying around, but you could use provolone or mozzarella.

[Note: buy blocks of cheese and slice it yourself, or buy it fresh from a deli and have them do it. For best results don’t buy pre-packaged.]

1/4 cup (or a little more if you want) parmesan cheese that you have grated yourself

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees.

On a 15X10X1 baking sheet, spread half the butter/garlic mix but leave a 2″ border all around. You do this because if you go to the edges the butter might burn, or congeal too much and become sub-optimal.

Lay one sheet of the pasty dough on top so that it covers the whole sheet.

Layer the American cheese first and then the secondary cheese. Leave a small border. You should only have about enough cheese to make 1 layer each, but overlap the slices, don’t try to make a tiling out of them. The cheese should look like this: [[[[] and not like this: [][][]. If you feel like you have too much cheese, nibble on it and flip some extra to The Ravenous Hound, who will catch it in his mouth mid-air.

Roll out the second sheet of dough and make sure it covers the whole pan. Push it down gently so it makes a seal. Yes, you are making a huge Hot Pocket, but swat away any self doubts you might have.

Brush the top sheet with the rest of the melted butter/garlic and then sprinkle the grated parmesan as evenly as you can, leaving maybe a 1/2″ border all-around.

Put this in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, maybe a little more, until it looks golden ‘n delicious.

To make sandwiches, cut (use a pizza cutter if you have one; a knife is slightly more difficult) so that the 10″ side is divided into thirds and the 15″ side divided into quarters, 3 rows X 4 rows, and you get 12 sandwiches. Twelve grilled cheese sandwiches in about 1/2 hour and everyone eats at once. Magic.

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