Ham & nectarine paninis with gouda cheese are inspired by Joanna’s recipe from Magnolia Magazine!  Melty Gouda cheese and ham alone make a great panini, but the addition of nectarines make this sandwich a real keeper.  Kids are pleased, dinner is warm with little prep or mess, and they’re versatile enough to serve with a number of sides.

Joanna’s panini (or toastie) version included peaches and prosciutto which has a nice ring to it.  It does sound a bit more fancy than a ham and gouda panini, but it’s the taste that I care about most.  I’m confident either panini will win you over.  It’s a warm sandwich with melty cheese…

…just don’t eat it in the shower like Joey from Friends. #stillafan

joey eating a sandwich in the shower

Since I’m a wee bit behind in posting this recipe and we’re now days away from Christmas, when nectarines might not be as freshly available, thinly sliced crisp apples or pears would be great too!

ham & nectarine panini

Paninis require no skills.  Start with a good bakery bread + choice of meat/veggies/fruit or combination + choose a little sauce factor + add a little crunch if desired + slather the bread with butter and press!  

Joanna’s toastie included putting mayo on the *outside* of the bread which I’ve not tried.  The mayo I keep on hand is the light stuff made with olive oil…I’m thinking the real kind would be amazing.  Just like real butter, there’s no real comparison. For real.

We chose standard white bakery bread but a flavored variety would be great too for a little extra something.  We used finely shredded romaine lettuce (once removed from panini press) for that cool crunch in every bite.  The sweet kiss of nectarines paired with ham and gouda makes this panini so refreshing.

To bring the panini all together with a little extra creaminess and zing, a simple mixture of lite mayo and whole grain dijon mustard slathered on the insides of the bread did the trick.  

*I really should make these again and photograph the cheese oozing out…it’s there, and it was gooda.

ham and nectarine panini with gouda cheese

We served our paninis with fresh sweet corn (hey, I did say I was a little late posting!), but would be great with soup, salad or veggie.

After you try our ham and nectarine panini with gouda cheese, give our other favorite panini combinations a go!  It’s hard to screw up a panini, really.  

Try these other favorite panini combinations: 

*leftover grilled chicken, pesto, cheese, tomatoes and lettuce

*leftover fajita peppers and chicken/steak, cheddar cheese, avocado

*ham, sautéed onions, jalapeño cream cheese, lettuce

*turkey, red pepper and onions, chipotle laughing cow cheese

*leftover meatloaf, provolone cheese, sautéed onions


Remember this episode???

joey sandwich king

Do you need a recipe for a panini?

Ham and Nectarine Panini with Gouda Cheese!


  • Your choice of hearty bread
  • deli sliced smoked ham, 2oz. per panini (or prosciutto)
  • Gouda cheese (fontina would be good as used in Magnolia Market's recipe)
  • nectarines, apples, or crisp pears
  • romaine lettuce
  • 2 TB light mayo
  • whole grain dijon mustard to taste
  • butter


  1. Hardly a recipe at all, but here goes...
  2. butter one side of each slice of bread
  3. layer ham, cheese, and sliced nectarines on non-buttered side.
  4. Mix mayo with a little dijon mustard and spread on the other slice, non-buttered side.
  5. Place sandwich butter sides up on preheated panini press and close.
  6. If you don't have a panini press, cook in a skillet like a grilled cheese pressing the sandwich down after it's been flipped once.
  7. Cook until desired crispiness and cheese is melty.
  8. Allow to cool slightly then slice in half.
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A ground beef gyro sandwich? You betcha! In fact, we think it’s the BEST ground beef gyro sandwich and rated it 7 out of 10 stars… also earning its spot in the family of easy ground beef recipes!

ground beef gyro sandwich

The idea to use ground beef for a gyro sandwich isn’t a new concept, but it was new to us!  Greek flavors are one of my favorite whether it’s a hot gyro sandwich or my Greek Chicken & Lentil salad with hunks of feta cheese, you can’t go wrong!  Developing a recipe that not only I found delicious, but my kids too…IT’S A KEEPER!

My beautiful helper in the kitchen has grown a bit since her last time on the blog.  She was busy slathering our gyro sandwich bread with the “secret” sauce, except for one.  My son loves grilled cheese sloppy joes, so that’s how we chose to make his gyro too.  A little less adventurous he is, but he nibbled his sandwich down to the very edge of the crust.

(also photobombed by our cat-dog, Bailey)

ground beef gyro sandwich panini

As we were browning the ground beef it occurred to us that our sandwich needed something to help it all stick together.  Unlike our favorite sloppy joes, there’s no sauce in this gyro sandwich.

Wanting to stick to our original recipe idea of using thick white bakery bread, we busted out some “secret” sauce (aka, garlic and herb Laughing Cow Cheese) and slathered it on one side of the bread while the other side got a coated in some heavenly tzatziki sauce.

easy gyro sandwich with tzatziki

Not only did we create the best ground beef gyro sandwich, but the leftovers made the best greek noodle salad!  Anytime I get a chance to repurpose leftovers I’m giddy with excitement.

Yes, I’m that much of a dork.

Next time though we will double the tzatziki sauce.  Can’t be having any close calls not having leftovers of THAT around.  Trader Joe’s has a great version but it’s a little thinner with sliced cucumbers in it which doesn’t do well on a sandwich (unless you like sauce dripping from you face to your elbows.)

Either way, tzatziki sauce makes it all come together.

greek gyro salad

*I’ve also made this with lean ground turkey and it’s excellent as well.

Gyro sandwich, salad, or both? Beef or Turkey? Let me know when you try one or both!


*recipe slightly adapted from Kayotic Kitchen

The Best Ground Beef Gyro Sandwich
with Easy Tzatziki Sauce


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef (or turkey but beef is better)
  • 1/2 c. chopped white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 TB paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp greek seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp each: curry powder, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, thyme
  • White Italian Bread, sliced thick
  • 1-2 TB light butter
  • Garlic Herb Laughing Cow Cheese (1 per sandwich)
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Tomato slices
  • Tzatziki Sauce Recipe


  1. Brown ground beef in large skillet with onion over medium-high heat.
  2. While the meat is browning, add all spices to a small bowl.
  3. Drain and return meat to skillet over low heat. Add minced garlic and all seasonings stirring to combine. A little water can be added to help it come together if needed. Remove from heat.
  4. Spread butter on 1 side of bread slices and place butter side down on griddle or large skillet to toast. Spread laughing cow cheese on one slice before turning on griddle/stove then allow 5-8 minutes for the bread to get nice and browned (like a grilled cheese). Remove from heat and spoon gyro meat onto slice with the cheese spread pressing down to pile it high. Top with shredded onion and tomato. Spread tzatziki sauce onto other slice and smoosh the sandwich together, slice in half and devour!
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Beef Sandwich

I’ve wanted to share this recipe for Oven Baked Mexican Sloppy Joes for a few months now.  Listen, this takes sloppy joes to a whole new level of awesomeness.  Words can’t adequately describe their scrumptious perfection.

mexican sloppy joe

Unlike my #1 homemade sloppy joes, these mexican inspired bad boys get tossed in the oven with a heavenly glaze overtop the buns.  The glaze gives the tops a bit of a sweet crunch yet they stay steamy and soft and all melty inside.  I might claim this as sloppy joe perfection, people. 

Now I still love the classic version because it’s delicious without the bun (served alongside some broccoli or piled high on some macaroni and cheese).  BUT, you need both recipes in your life! 

These come together in a snap:  brown the meat, toss in the seasonings, add a can of tomatoes with green chiles and dump it on the bottoms of hamburger buns assembled in your casserole dish.  Slap each sloppy joe with a good ol’ slice of American cheese and…(meet me at the next picture…)

oven baked burgers

…Finish them with a slather of glaze.  Now, this glaze is something that I’m very familiar with because my mom slathers it on top of her famous ham and cheese baked sandwiches, which are made in similar fashion.

oven baked sloppy joes

When they come out of the oven the tops have caramelized a bit giving them a nice sweet and slight crunch.

Notice the bun without sesame seeds? Every party has a pooper and that would be my 6 year old son.  He’s anti seed aka, “weird things on my bun.”

But we love him dearly and I provided a seed-less bun.

sloppy joes

Anyone close to me knows I love breakfast (and food in general).  I wake up and immediately want food.  Weekdays I usually rise at 6:15 and have a small snack, then closer to 8 I have a real breakfast, then usually around 10am I have a post workout snack before lunch…

Why am I telling you this?

Because I discovered a reheated mexican sloppy joe for breakfast is the bees knees!  You know those food informercials that show people taking a bite while awkwardly smiling and nodding their heads?? THESE SLOPPY JOES WILL CAUSE THAT EFFECT!

Well, they did for me.  I love mixing non-traditional breakfast food at breakfast once in a while.

baked sloppy joe

Make these for your family, your next social gathering and hit me with your comments!

Oven Baked Mexican Sloppy Joes


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1-2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 10oz. can diced tomatoes and green chiles (I use Kroger brand), undrained
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 6 slices american cheese
  • 6 regular size hamburger buns
  • Glaze
  • 2 TB unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 heaping tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds


  1. In a large skillet, brown beef and onions. Drain and return to pan.
  2. Add garlic, tomatoes, salt and cumin. Allow to simmer 5 minutes to reduce some of the liquid.
  3. While beef mixture cooks, arrange hamburger buns in bottom of 9x13 casserole dish.
  4. In a small microwaveable bowl add butter and cook 15 seconds at a time until melted. Stir in remaining glaze ingredients and set aside.
  5. Spoon beef mixture on top of buns. Add a slice of cheese to each and place the top bun on.
  6. Using a basting brush, gently brush each top bun with the glaze mixture allowing it to coat the sides of the bun a little as well.
  7. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Allow to sit at least 5 minutes to cool upon removing from oven.
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recipe slightly adapted from www.kevinandamanda.com


A healthy gluten free sweet potato, quinoa and chickpea burger that’s spiced just right and served best with a dollop of homemade greek yogurt honey mustard sauce.

gluten free sweet potato quinoa burger

Sweet potatoes are a staple in my pantry AT ALL TIMES.  So make no mistake they are undoubtedly the star of this “burger” (patty just sounds like something you’d get at a school cafeteria) but the *red quinoa and chickpeas aren’t to be forgotten.

*Red quinoa is superior to any other variety in my opinion.  If you’ve tried the regular variety (yellow) quinoa and didn’t like it, try red!  It’s kinda like going from wild rice to brown rice…less in your face flavor but still just as good and good for you! It’s what I used in my BJ’s Brewhouse Copycat Bistro Grains Side Dish recipe which is phenomenal!!

red quinoa recipe

Cube your sweet potatoes in small uniform sized chunks so they cook evenly and get that nice char to them.  Grab a fork and mash away until all the potatoes are smooth and the chickpeas have been mashed.  Some small chunks are ok, but don’t be tempted to use a food processor…it will make it too creamy and the burgers won’t hold together.

roasted sweet potatoes and chickpeas

Toss your cooked quinoa into the bowl along with the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly to shape 4 patties, burger patties that is!

sweet potato burger

Seriously these sweet potato burgers are out of this world.  I’m not gluten free or vegetarian but I do love mixing things up once in a while and these hit the spot! Filling, healthy and full of tremendous flavor with our without the bun.

quinoa sweet potato burger

You could easily use any store bought brand of honey mustard sauce you prefer but this homemade version is so easy with just 3 ingredients: greek yogurt, honey, whole grain dijon mustard!

greek yogurt honey mustard sauce

Whatever your preference for bun or no bun, slather of sauce or sauce on the side…this sweet potato burger is ready for consumption.

gluten free sweet potato quinoa burger

bunless vegetarian burger

Gluten Free Sweet Potato
and Quinoa Burger


  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced into small uniform bites
  • 2/3 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained (about 1/2 a can)
  • 1/4 cup red quinoa, rinsed and cooked according to package
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 tsp coconut or olive oil
  • Greek Yogurt Honey Mustard
  • 1/4 c plain greek yogurt (Oikos brand is my preference)
  • 1 TB honey (adjust to preference)
  • 1 TB whole grain mustard (adjust to preference)


  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Toss diced sweet potatoes in a bit of coconut or olive oil and spread on baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes in preheated oven.
  3. While potatoes are cooking prepare quinoa.
  4. Add cooked potatoes and chickpeas to a mixing bowl and mash with a fork until potatoes are smooth and chickpeas are mostly smashed. Some small chunks are ok.
  5. Add quinoa, cumin, chili powder, and egg to bowl and mix thoroughly.
  6. Shape into 4 burger patties.
  7. Toss onto a slightly preheated skillet sprayed with non-stick spray over medium heat and cook for 5-7 minutes per side. Flip when they get a nice rich color to them.
  8. Serve with or without a bun and don't forget that honey mustard sauce!
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