Making the cut with holiday sandwiches

By Olivia Fowler
For the Courier

The holidays stretch out before us, and we look forward to them with pleasure and a little bit of apprehension. All the traditional dishes we celebrate with are delicious, but they are also pretty heavy and rich.

It’s OK to lighten the load a little bit by adding sandwiches to the mix. And if you want something extra special, the sandwiches featured this week are much more than ordinary.

You can whip them up for almost any festive occasion. They’re a little different from the usual, but are tried and true crowd pleasers, and fairly easy to make.

I hope you enjoy one or more of these recipes.

Garden Vegetable Spread

  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 c. sliced green onions
  • 2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
  • 2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 16 thin rye bread slices

Peel and seed cucumber; dice cucumber and bell pepper. Grate carrots, and mince garlic.

Combine cucumber, bell pepper, carrot, garlic, green onions, and next four ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until well blended.

Spread mixture on half of rye bread slices, and top with remaining slices. Cut vegetable sandwiches in half diagonally.


Asparagus Roll-Ups

  • 24 fresh asparagus spears
  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (4-oz.) package crumbled bleu cheese
  • 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
  • 12 bread slices, trimmed
  • 12 thin deli ham slices
  • 1/4 c. butter or margarine, melted
  • Paprika
  • Garnishes: green onion curl, red bell pepper

Snap off tough ends of asparagus, and remove scales from stalks with a vegetable peeler, if desired. Arrange asparagus in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam 4-6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from steamer, and cool on paper towels.

Stir together cream cheese and next three ingredients.

Roll each bread slice with a rolling pin to flatten. Spread one side of each slice with two tablespoons cream cheese mixture; top each with one ham slice.

Place two asparagus spears, tips pointed toward opposite ends, on one end of each bread slice; roll up, and place, seam side down, on a greased baking sheet. Brush with butter; sprinkle with paprika.

Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until golden. Serve immediately. Garnish, if desired.

Note: Freeze unbaked rollups up to one month in an airtight container. Thaw in refrigerator, and bake as directed.


Artichoke Cream Cheese Spread

  • 2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped green onion tops
  • 1 (14-oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
  • 1 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
  • 3/4 c. bottled roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
  • Assorted fresh lettuce
  • Thin white or wheat bread slices, crusts removed and cut into triangles
  • Red, yellow, and orange bell pepper strips
  • Garnishes: bottled roasted red bell pepper strip, slivered; radish slices

Stir together cream cheese and green onion tops, blending well; set aside. Stir together artichoke hearts and next five ingredients.

Spread one-third of cream cheese mixture on bottom of a four-cup glass bowl lined with plastic wrap. Layer with half of chopped roasted bell peppers, 3/4 cup artichoke mixture, and one-third of cream cheese mixture. Repeat layers with remaining chopped roasted bell peppers, artichoke mixture, and cream cheese mixture. Cover and chill at least two hours.

Invert onto a serving plate, and remove plastic wrap. Serve over lettuce with bread slices and bell pepper strips. Garnish, if desired.

Chicken Mandarin Cheese Spread

  • 12 raisin bread slices
  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 c. chopped cooked chicken breast
  • 1/2 c. toasted chopped pecans
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 c. mandarin orange segments

Cut crusts from bread slices. Cut bread slices into four triangles, and place on baking sheet.

Bake at 400° for five minutes or until toasted.

Combine cream cheese and next six ingredients in a large bowl until blended.

Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Spoon one tablespoon of cream cheese mixture onto one side of each raisin bread triangle; top each with a mandarin orange segment.