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Daycare Hot Ham and Cheese

Summer after college graduation, I worked at a local small daycare while waiting for the next school year interviews to begin.  It was fantastic!  So fantastic, I spent the next 10 years there as a teacher, an office assistant, and then as assistant director.  I loved the children, I loved the job, and I loved the food!

One of my most favorite meals served monthly, sometimes like during the summer twice monthly, was Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwiches.  Oh, they were fabulous.  Cheap ham lunch meat, slice American cheese, toasty hamburger buns served with either pork and beans (gross), tater tots (good, but not my favorite), or plain ruffle-ish potato chips (my favorite).

Black Forest Ham (the thin generic type, not the fancy deli version)
American Cheese (the kind that comes in a block and you peel off in slices like this but single serve Kraft slices will work, too)
Hamburger Buns (the small cheap white honkey version, they are the best!)

Set oven to 350 degrees.  

To a large cookie sheet lay out hamburger bun on their lids/backsides exposing the middles.  To the bottom half place two to four slices of meat.  If meat is longer than bun, fold over the ends back to middle.  To top of bun, add cheese slice.  Place open faced bun halves into oven and cook on top rack far away from heat source until meat warms to the touch (less than five minutes).

Remove from oven.  Place cheese tops on meat bottoms and return to oven until cheese just melty allowing top of buns to toast.

Scaled for Likability: Great
The key to making this perfect is to use cheap meat so its thin, to set out meat and cheese allowing them to come off fridge temps while the oven warms, and to place far away from the heat source so the bottom bun does not burn.  

Hot Ham and Cheese sandwiches are crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside, and are even better when ruffle-ish type chips are smashed between the two halves before eating!  As a broke college student, I could eat three or four of these and be set for the rest of day even when having missed breakfast.  As a broke adult, they are relatively inexpensive, filling, and are good for any meal of the day.  Add a fried egg for breakfast HHC.  Add a side salad for fancy dinner HHC.  Add a cold glass of milk and they are perfect late night game night snacks.

They are good straight out of the oven or a few hours later when the bread become dry from sitting out and they haven't yet made it to the fridge.  Easy to make one or a hundred and one.  And yes, I have made a hundred and one. Well, to be honest, I have made closer to a thousand and one for summer lunches when feeding close to 600 daycare summer students/staff!  Never meet a child/teen/staff/volunteer that didn't love HHC day!

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