Easy dinner recipes: Sandwiches and 31 great dinner ideas

Could it possibly get any easier than sandwiches? Probably not. Simple, fast and easy to consume, sandwiches are tailor-made for dinner after a long day.

This panini inspiration comes courtesy of chef and cookbook writer Deborah Madison and her husband, Patrick McFarlin, in their book "What We Eat When We Eat Alone." Sandwiches, simple to make and adaptable to almost any ingredients you have on hand, are a perfect choice whether you're feeding the family or flying solo. This version -- ciabatta bread piled with mustard greens, cheese and roasted red peppers, then cooked in a panini maker or skillet -- is one of McFarlin's favorites.

Or how about grilled cheese? For its take on the classic, Lucques starts with a gentle, buttery Cantal, a mild semi-firm cheese with a fantastic creamy consistency when melted. Caramelized shallots punctuated with a little fresh thyme add another dimension. Put all that between two crisp slices of country-style bread and you're set.

RECIPES: 31 dinner ideas you can make in an hour or less

Or top it with a fried egg, with a classic croque-madame. La Dijonaise's take on this classic French comfort food sandwich is rich béchamel sauce and ham between two slices of pullman bread, topped with cheese that's melted to gooey perfection. On top of that goes a fried egg (this is what distinguishes the "madame" from the "monsieur"). Yes, it's unapologetic goodness on a plate.

For more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com.


Total time: 25 minutes

Servings: 1

Note: Adapted from "What We Eat When We Eat Alone" by Deborah Madison and Patrick McFarlin. It is one of McFarlin's favorites. This recipe makes more mustard greens than are used in the sandwich.

1 bunch mustard greens, stemmed and washed but not dried

1/2 cup water

Salt and pepper

1 garlic clove, pressed or minced

Red pepper flakes, a few pinches or to taste

Pepper sauce or red wine vinegar, to taste

2 pieces ciabatta, or your favorite rustic bread

Olive oil

Grated Gruyère or fontina cheese

Roasted bell pepper cut into wide strips