Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Great Party Sandwich Experiment

These petite party size sandwiches were the perfect addition to my Christmas party buffet. I found this recipe for Hot Roast Beef Party Sandwiches in the 08 December issue of Southern Living magazine. What appealed to me most was that these three-bite sandwiches could be prepared ahead of time and put in the freezer.

The combination of roast beef, creamy mustard, havarti and toasted walnuts sent me over the moon. But I got to thinking about other great sandwich combinations and I discovered recently that Jim absolutely went coo-coo for leftover turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce and a little mayo. This gave me a great idea! The weekend before the party, I experimented with three different sandwich combinations and Jim was lucky enough to be my taste tester. We chose our two favorite to serve at our Christmas Cocktail party.

Here are the ingredients I used in the “Great Party Sandwich Experiment!”

I used packages of King’s Hawaiian rolls in savory butter flavor. If you haven’t tried Hawaiian bread, oh lordy you are missing out!

#1 Roast Beef Sandwich
I purchased the Cajun roast beef for a little extra sumthin’ from the deli counter.
Mustard-mayonnaise blend
Sliced havarti cheese from the deli counter

#2 Ham and Cheese Sandwich
I was ecstatic to find a pre-cooked honey baked ham at my grocery store.
Sliced horseradish flavored cheddar cheese from the deli counter
Honey mustard

#3 Turkey and Cranberry Sandwich
Deli meat would work fine here, but I found a hunk of fully cooked smoked turkey breast.
Cream cheese
Cranberry sauce

I started by using a serrated bread knife and slicing the twelve dinner rolls in half.

Don’t separate the rolls, it’s easier if you leave them intact and just slice horizontally so you have a top and a bottom.

Next I measured a small handful of walnuts and chopped them finely.

In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, toast the walnuts while stirring often for about five minutes. They become super fragrant, but watch closely because you walk away to grab a beer and they burn. This picture is my second batch.

My first layer on the bottom half is a cream Dijon mustard on the first row – this will be my roast beef row. And I spread a sweet honey mustard on the second row – this will be my honey baked ham row.

The third row of sandwiches is going to be the turkey and cranberry sauce sandwich. Instead of using mayo, I’m pinching and smearing cream cheese as the first layer to these sandwiches.

Now I sprinkle toasted and chopped walnuts on top of the Dijon mustard. I was skeptical, but the crunch and nuttiness of the walnuts went SO incredibly well with the roast beef and havarti. Just wait!

The next layer is meat. You could chop the meat up and pile it high, slice and fold over individual sandwiches or do what I did and simply cover the entire area.
The first row is my Cajun roast beef. Second row is honey baked ham trimmed to fit in its row.

Now that I know I can buy this fully cooked hunk of boneless smoked turkey breast all year around I will treat Jim to his favorite turkey and cranberry sandwich more often. For these sandwiches I sliced the turkey pretty thick, about a half inch to inch thick!

The next layer is the cheese. Oh how I do love cheese! I used deli sliced havarti cheese over the roast beef.

For the honey baked ham sandwich I layered some horseradish flavored cheddar cheese on top.

No need to make it look pretty folks, just layer it on. See how nice and thick the turkey layer is? I’m not going to top it with cheese… I’m topping it with cranberry sauce!

This cranberry sauce was pre-made by my grocery store with real cranberries, but I really think a can of that jelly cranberry sauce would slice nicely on these sandwiches.

I gave the bottoms a little sprinkle of salt and pepper on top of the cheese. And to the top loaf I added more of the coordinating condiment. Roast beef = creamy Dijon, Ham = honey mustard, Turkey = cranberry sauce.

Make the sandwich complete by flipping the top on to the bottom.

Wrap it in foil so the rolls won’t get toasty or hard in the oven.

Bake at 325 for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Ohhhhh Yeah! When they come out of the oven the cheese is melty and the rolls hot. I used a pizza cutter to slice these up fresh from the oven.

And this is our beverage of choice this evening. Holiday cheer from Shiner, Texas.
The roast beef and havarti was my absolute favorite. These are a perfect three bite sandwich and super easy to assemble.

If you are a fan of ham, then this was a nice combination too.

Jim’s absolute favorite was the turkey with cream cheese and cranberry sauce. The tartness of the cranberry and the creaminess of the cream cheese worked really well together.

For the party I served the Hot Roast Beef and the Turkey Cranberry Sandwiches. I pre-assembled three packages of the rolls, when it was party time I put them in the oven for thirty minutes and then turned the temperature down to 200 degrees to keep them warm as I served them a dozen at a time.


  1. How cool is that it looks so simple. I bet that turkey and cranberry one is just to die for. Thanks for sharing I am going to have to try this for a holiday get together. Awesome Job Mandy. I have you on my blog roll!!

  2. I have another "recipe" for you, along those same lines. We make this a lot when taking food to someone just out of the hospital or something, and for that, we make it on the big round loaf of hawaiian bread, but for parties we use the rolls...it is just shaved ham, swiss cheese, and mushrooms & onions sauteed in butter and worchestershire sauce, then baked for about 45 minutes. Also, before baking, drizzle some melted butter on top of the bread, and sprinkle poppyseeds on top. These are AWESOME!! Just wanted to share!!

  3. Tina - Thanks for adding me to your blog roll!

    Jennifer - I love the idea of using a whole loaf of the roudn hawaiian bread. How do you serve it? By the slice?

  4. Awesome idea! The sandwiches look great . . . and I absolutely love Hawaiian bread too!

  5. Mandy - Yes, you serve it by the slice. And it makes A LOT of food!!

  6. you always have the best food at your parties, these look great! what an easy way to put together lots of sandwiches. I think the turkey one would be my fave!

  7. Thanks for posting this!! I had the same idea (for the turkey sandwiches) and now I've made them with confidence for our small group gathering tonight. I did mix a can of whole cranberry sauce with spicy mustard because we use to have that as one of our spreads when I worked at a cafe and it is amazing!!


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