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Countdown to Dinner: Bagel sandwich packs flavor

Thursday, September 30, 1999

Tested by Rebecca Sodergren

Chris Catley of Hopewell is used to trying new recipes -- and using fancy gadgets to do so. Besides being a self-proclaimed "stay-at-home mom," she's a Pampered Chef kitchen consultant. That means she gets to go to in-home parties and do recipe demonstrations using tools made by Pampered Chef, a cooking- and baking-tool company.

Chris is married to Bob, a freight truck driver. They have two children -- Bobby, 6, and Brandi, 2.

One day when the family was home for lunch, Chris was hungry for an Italian hoagie, but she likes to keep the fat and caloric intake low in her family's diet, so she wanted to avoid using Italian dressing and gobs of salami. So she made up this recipe instead -- and now she makes it all the time.

We liked how the basil does imitate the flavor of Italian dressing, giving the sandwich a little zip. Sun-dried tomato bagels are usually available at the major bagel chains, though Catley says she has found them at both Shop 'n' Save and Giant Eagle stores.

For her ingenuity, Catley wins a free cookbook -- and you could, too. Just follow the instructions below.

Italian Bagel Sandwich

4 sun-dried tomato bagels
1/2 pound lean Virginia baked ham, thinly sliced
4 tomato slices
4 onion slices
4 slices mozzarella cheese
Dried basil

Slice bagels in half. Place 2 to 3 slices of ham on bagel half. Top with a slice of tomato and sliced onions. Sprinkle with dried basil. Top off with a slice of mozzarella cheese. Place bagel half open-faced (Catley also places the other half of the bagel alongside it) in toaster oven or broiler for about 10 minutes until cheese is melted and sandwich is heated through (in broiler, sandwiches probably need less time than in toaster oven, so check sandwiches occasionally). Serves 4.

Do you have an entrée, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner. The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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