Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Slouching Towards Turkey Day

The Thanksgiving marathon is starting early for team MOTUS as we’re heading out today for the first of several stops between now and next weekend. So that means it’s officially recipe day!

I’ll be making these little gems for the pre-Thanksgiving dinner hour. We’ll be with Raj’s clan for Thanksgiving where the phrase “if everyone’s in charge nobody’s in charge” may have been invented. Dinner is always “planned” for 2:00 pm but never really hits the runway until 6:00 pm or so – and that’s in a good year when whoever signed up for the main event remembers to put the turkey in the oven.  Survival requires packing your own lunch box. I usually bring a pot of chili or sloppy Joes but this year I’m going with this tailgater stalwart that checks all the boxes: easy, filling, make-ahead and everybody likes them. They used to called these puppies “little sandwiches” but nowadays they are referred to as “sliders” so I’ll follow suit. Don’t tell me I’m resistant to change.


Ham and Cheese Sliders


  • one 12-count package Hawaiian sweet rolls (or any small dinner roll), sliced in half without separating individual rolls
  • 1 pound cooked deli ham, thinly sliced – I like a Polish style like Krakus or Kirkland from Costco
  • 3/4 pound Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard (Coleman's)
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  • Using a large serrated knife, slice the rolls in half so you have a ‘slab’ of tops and a ‘slab’ of bottoms; don’t pull the rolls apart.
  • Evenly layer about half of the ham over the rolls.
  • Evenly layer the cheese.
  • Evenly layer the remaining ham.
  • Add the top ‘slab’ of rolls; set aside.
  • Melt the butter together with the onions over low heat, and let it cool slightly.
  • Mix the mustard with about a tablespoon of the butter, stir until smooth. Stir the mustard mixture, Worcestershire sauce and the poppy seeds into the butter and stir until well blended.
  • Evenly and slowly pour the butter mixture over the rolls. Use a spatula or pastry brush to spread the mixture over the tops. Some of the mixture will pool at the base of the rolls. You may end up with more butter mixture than you want to use but just save it for your next batch because there will always be a next batch.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and allow rolls to stand at room temp for about 5 to 10 minutes. (Or, wrap and refrigerate overnight)
  • Bake covered for about 20 minutes or until cheese is all very melty.
  • Uncover and cook for about 3 minutes, or until tops are slightly browned – keep an eye on them as that much butter caused them to burn quickly! Baking time will vary based on the size of pan, oven variances, etc. Remove from oven, let cool for about 5 minutes before cutting into individual sliders and serve immediately. Sliders are best warm but feel free to make ahead and reheat in a slow oven wrapped in foil, or microwave unwrapped until cheese is melty again.

Modify at will: fresh onion instead of dried – cook in butter a few minutes, Dijon instead of dried mustard, turkey and havarti instead of ham and swiss, add pineapple slices for a sweet Hawaiian…all good.

And with that, the Thanksgiving recipe marathon officially begins: ladies and gentlemen, start your cleavers!


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