In my mind, the biggest benefit of suburban living over city dwelling is not having to carry your groceries home from the grocery store. Hands down, no contest. But the second biggest benefit of the suburbs is the proliferation of chain restaurants and chain stores. I know a lot of people actually hate this about the suburbs, but I’m not one of them. I love it.
The weird part is, even though there have always been plenty of chains in the cities I’ve lived in, I never seem to go to them. I guess because there are so many other options? One chain restaurant I heavily associate with the suburbs is Panera, even though there’s one less than a mile from my city apartment. And I love Panera! So much good stuff there. When my husband and I are on a long car trip, I keep an eagle eye out for a Panera sign, in the hopes that we won’t have to resort to greasy burgers or gas station food for sustenance.
If you’re a Panera fan, you’ll probably be a fan of these sandwiches. In fact, as soon as he finished chewing his first bite, my husband said, “You should sell this recipe to Panera!” I mean, I think Panera can probably take care of its own menu without my help, but I get what he meant. These have a very light, fresh, Panera-y vibe to them, and I know I’ll be making them again.
CHICKEN CAESAR SANDWICHES (windykitchen original, dressing adapted from Food Network)
6 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp white vinegar
3 tbsp nonfat Greek yogurt (can sub mayo or sour cream)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp anchovy paste*
pepper to taste
2 chicken breasts, poached and shredded
1/2 cup Asiago cheese, grated
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Four sandwich buns
Additional toppings (romaine lettuce, red onions, etc.)
1. To make dressing, combine garlic, Dijon, vinegar, and anchovy paste in food processor; process to combine. Add Greek yogurt, then olive oil, then lemon juice, processing between each addition until smooth and creamy. Taste and add pepper, adjusting other ingredients for desired taste and consistency.
2. In large bowl, combine shredded chicken, cheese, and parsley. Add dressing to chicken mixture; stir well to combine. Refrigerate until chilled.
3. Serve chicken on toasted sandwich buns (I made my own) with romaine, red onions, or other fixings.
Yield: 4 sandwiches
*if you can’t deal with anchovy paste and want to omit it, make sure to add some salt
This dressing worked so well as a chicken-salad-type base. When I first made the dressing, I was absolutely in love with how much bite it had, but I do think some people might have found it overpowering. Mixed in with the chicken, though, it was perfection. If you want to make this more veggie-heavy, try tossing in some chopped celery.