Veggie melts

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These open-faced sandwiches will make a hit with the whole family. They require a knife and a fork for gracious eating.

For the bread

2 slices of cracked wheat bread

Mayonnaise for spreading

 

For the topping

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup sliced mushrooms

½ cup coarsely shredded zucchini

½ cup onion finely sliced onion

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

¼ cup finely shredded Monterey jack cheese

¼ cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese

Four ½-inch-thick tomato slices

Dash of freshly ground pepper

Finely shredded lettuce or fresh bean sprouts, as desired

 

Preheat the broiler. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat source for about 2 minutes per side, or until lightly toasted. (Or toast the bread in a toaster.) Spread 1 side of each slice with mayonnaise.

To make the topping: Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add the mushrooms, zucchini, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Combine the cheeses in a small bowl. Top each bread slice with 2 tomato slices, a sprinkling of pepper, and half of the sautéed vegetables, lettuce or bean sprouts, and the cheese mixture.

Place the sandwiches on the baking sheet. Broil for about 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.