Poppy Seed Ham & Swiss Slider Melts

by Julie Ruble on February 17, 2012 · 43 comments

When Mike was in middle school, his friend Chris decided they needed superhero names. Giving each other superhero names is apparently what adolescent boys were doing when I thought they might be writing me love letters. Oh.

Chris named himself Whopper Man and, inspired by the Dr. Perky soda Mike brought for lunch every day, he dubbed Mike Generics Man.

Even all those years ago, when Mike was in 7th grade and I was in 3rd (okay, well that makes it sound creepy), we were meant for each other — because I’m totally Generics Woman.

Don’t try to tell me that name brand yellow mustard tastes any different than store brand yellow mustard. Or that table salt needs to be produced by a certain company. I do love local and/or quirky and/or artisan products, but at the grocery store, I’d say about 90% of the products I buy are generic. And in case you haven’t noticed, I eat well.

In fact, I’m always a little surprised (but not judgey; don’t be judgey, y’all) to see someone grab the name brand can of tomatoes, or the name brand box of tissues. I’m sure they have their reasons — maybe they were raised in a home where only name brand items were used, maybe they like a flavor or scent that doesn’t have a generic equivalent, or maybe they’ve had a bad experience with the generics at some point — but all I can think of is how many extra dollars they’re shelling out.

Who knows, maybe this is what crazy coupon ladies (a title I use with the utmost affection) think when they look at my cart, right? Don’t I know if I’d just buy 18 more dish soaps, it would actually be cheaper than buying just 2?

Despite my penchant for buying cheap, there are some things that I’ve come to realize you shouldn’t skimp on. I don’t care how cheap the generic brand is. I don’t care how similar it looks to the real thing. For some things, no substitution will do. For instance:

1. Laundry detergent. I spend a bajillion dollars buying fancy schmancy “darks only” laundry detergent to try and save my clothes. I still keenly remember the time when, years ago, ONE WASH with the wrong detergent ruined an awesome pair of jeans. Then again, I have some superhuman knack for ruining clothing, so maybe I did something wrong. Maybe my superhero name should be What Happened To My Sweater Woman.

2. Toilet Paper. Everyone’s had that awkward moment where they realize they bought the 1-ply. Enough said.

3. Hair color. In fact, don’t even buy name brand hair color. Go to the flippin’ salon and PAY SOMEONE WHO KNOWS WHAT THEY’RE DOING. And don’t try to get away with going to the cheapie hair school salon, either.

Trust me on this. You’re either going to end up platinum hooker blonde because your mother leaves the dye in too long (thanks, Mom, for those memories) or you’ll end up with striped hair. Intentional stripes can be cute. Inadvertent stripes are not.

4. Coke. This one brings back fond memories of the time Mike tried to prove to me that I couldn’t differentiate between generic and regular Coke Zero. We did a blind taste test — well, sort of, except that I didn’t even have to taste anything. As soon as the cup got within a foot of my face, I could smell the difference. I think he was pretty impressed (or was that the facial expression for disgusted?) There’s just nothing like the real thing, y’all.

5. Paper towels. I do actually buy generic paper towels, but I kind of hate them. They’re so flimsy that they rip in half when you’re trying to pull them off the roll. How many more times will this happen before I suck it up and spend an extra 50 cents? Only time will tell.

6. Shampoo. I sound like I swallowed a commercial, but my hair really does feel silkier and more manageable with a quality shampoo. I go through a predictable cycle: I’ll get tired of spending so much money, decide to purchase generic shampoo, lament my decision after every shower for a month, and then re-decide to exclusively purchase name brand shampoos.

7. MAYONNAISE. This, much like the timeless debate about rolling the toilet paper over or under, can cause quite the firestorm, as we found out on Willow Bird Baking’s Facebook wall. Listen, I’m all about supporting your unique personalities and tastes. I love you just the way you are. But just to be clear, there is only one appropriate brand of mayonnaise: Hellmann’s, also known as Best Foods.

Now, pardon me while I sign out of my email and hide under my desk to avoid the inevitable mayonnaise fallout.

Unfortunately, the original version of this recipe for Poppy Seed Ham & Swiss Slider Melts called for Miracle Whip. Let’s just say if my superhero name were Mayonnaise Girl, Miracle Whip would be my arch nemesis. I hate the stuff. I still remember sitting at a friend’s house as a child and tasting it for the first time. I had to seriously evaluate whether or not I could bear to finish my sandwich.

Despite my fierce mayonnaise loyalty, I thought perhaps this time around I should stick to the recipe and use the Miracle Whip. What if that awful Miracle Whippy flavor was somehow crucial for the final product? With more than a little shame, I purchased a tiny jar of it just in case.

It was a short lived “just in case.” All it took a microscopic taste of that stuff upon arriving home to remember how much I hate it. I promptly threw it out of the recipe altogether. Turns out I do have some sense.

I’m happy to report that when slathered with the right sort of mayonnaise, stuffed with melty Swiss and honey ham, and smothered in a tangy butter sauce, these sliders really were the bee’s knees. They’re so easy to throw together, but come out of the oven gooey and comforting. And lest I totally offend a portion of my readers, I should add that (sigh) you can use Miracle Whip on them if you really want to. I’ll just look the other way.

Do you roll the toilet paper over or under? And (be gentle!) what’s your preferred mayonnaise?

Poppy Seed Ham & Swiss Slider Melts



Recipe by: slightly adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything
Yield: 24 sliders

These gooey, cheesy, delicious sliders have all the makings of the perfect recipe: they’re easy to make, fun to eat, and so, so good. They seems to inspire some sweet nostalgia, too — several people who ate them mentioned that they remembered this meal from their childhood! Just make sure to use tasty ham and Swiss cheese — and of course, good mayonnaise!

Ingredients:
24 good white dinner rolls (I like Hawaiian or potato rolls)
mayonnaise for spreading (or half mayonnaise and half Miracle Whip whisked together, if you must!)
24 pieces good honey ham
24 slices Swiss cheese
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon minced onion
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Split each roll and spread on a nice layer of mayonnaise (I love mayonnaise on melts, so my layer was thick). Stuff each roll with a slice of ham and the slice of Swiss cheese (I tore larger slices into fourths to make them fit and then poked all four pieces into each roll). Pack these stuffed rolls in close together in a large baking dish.

In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, poppy seeds, mustard, onion, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour this sauce evenly over all the sandwiches until they’re all coated (the original recipe notes that you don’t have to use all the sauce, but I did — maybe my rolls were bigger.) Let these sit for around 10 minutes until the butter starts to set up. Cover your baking dish with foil and bake the sliders for 12-15 minutes or until nice and melty. Uncover and bake them for 2 minutes more to toast up the tops. Serve warm and gooey from the oven.

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Sally Strong February 17, 2012 at 7:49 am

These look yummy. Just for the record, I put the roll UNDER, and I prefer Best Foods/Hellmans. No miracle whip in my house. It’s too sweet or something. Also, the best paper towels that hold up to EVERYTHING are Viva. I don’t bother with those select-a-size rolls because they are just not the right size for anything and when using a larger portion they rip at the tear mark. Nope, regular size sheets, white, Viva for me. I always think you waste more money on inferior paper products because they don’t hold up, which is also why I buy Cottonelle TP and Kleenex brand tissues. I’m one of those “brand” people probably because I like the brand my mom used to buy (is that a comfort issue because I miss her?), or in some cases I like the specific taste of a certain brand better. But I don’t vary on what brand I buy, just stock up when it’s on sale or buy at Costco.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 18, 2012 at 2:49 am

Thanks, Sally! I’ll have to give Viva a try, because I’m just about to throw my whole roll of paper towels off my balcony. LOL! Most paper products do seem to be better brand name in my experience!

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Alice February 17, 2012 at 10:03 am

There is only one mayonnaise and that is Hellman’s the only way to better it is to make one’s own. I can’t be bothered with the hassle that entails so I always have some in the house. There are few things that I will insist on brands for and they are paper products, and soaps and detergents. Other things the name brands get bought if offers make them cheaper than the generics.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 18, 2012 at 2:50 am

Amen!

That is one time I’ll buy brand name products — when the sales make them as cheap, if not cheaper.

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Alq February 17, 2012 at 10:56 am

I am SO going to have to try these on the hubby!

I don’t skimp on toilet roll either. That hard, tracing paper sort of stuff that comes in boxes and single sheets? It might be proven more hygienic because it doesn’t absorb so well but…just no. Hair dye? I do mine at home, and have just returned to henna, so..no probs there, these days I’ve been doing it long enough to have little issues with it, and I really cannot afford the prices of hairdressers (my hair’s pretty long and thick). However, I won’t skimp on the product I use.

Now…that mayonnaise issue…You may hate me for this, but when I used to work in a cheap supermarket many years ago, I always bought their cheap mayo in preference to the Hellmanns. Salad cream? (I think our UK salad cream is similar to your Miracle Whip.) Not a chance. Mayo all the way. The odd thing was that the cheap genuine mayo (which was a third of the Hellmann’s price) was much more like the mayo I’d eaten on the continent with my fries than the Hellmann’s which I found fairly bland in comparison! And if you’ve never tried fries with mayo, I heartily suggest you give it a go sometime!

I’m 100% with you on the Coke.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 18, 2012 at 2:51 am

LOL — yes, that tracing paper toilet paper sounds awful! I DO believe some people are totally fine doing their own hair at home — I know from experience I am NOT one of them. Oh, the memories. Ha!!

Also, mayonnaise with French fries is so happening… thanks!

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Sarah February 17, 2012 at 1:30 pm

That age difference is nothing to worry about! My husband is 15 years older than me…when he was finishing up college, I was starting 1st grade. We have friends who are married with a 25 year difference, but they make it work too – love is ageless :)

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 18, 2012 at 2:51 am

Aw, love it! I agree! :)

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Mariah February 17, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Over. And Duke’s. :) Happy Friday!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 18, 2012 at 2:52 am

Happy Friday, Mariah :) As I told someone else, I don’t remember the taste of Duke’s, so it totally deserves another try!

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Dayna February 17, 2012 at 2:21 pm

These look delicious and I’m not normally even much of a ham fan!

As for mayo – I grew up on Miracle Whip. That’s all I knew for about 29 years. I had tried mayo once during that time and I was just ugh. Pro Miracle Whip all the way. However, I have seen the light. I tried Hellmans this past year, have grown to love it, and there’s no more Miracle Whip in my house anymore :-P

I will say, if you’re ever able to try it, Trader Joe’s has a great store brand mayo. I would say it’s either on par or even better than Hellmans.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 18, 2012 at 2:52 am

YAY a convert!! ;) Can’t wait to try Trader Joe’s as well — sounds yummy. Thanks, Dayna!

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Karen February 17, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I was *just* looking for a similar recipe a day or so ago! Thanks for sharing. I know they are supposed toeb served warm and melty but was thinking of taking them as a potluck for a tennis match. Do you think they would still be tasty at room temperature?

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 18, 2012 at 2:53 am

Hi Karen, I’m hesitant to say yes just because of the mayonnaise — I worry about it spoiling if not kept warm OR refrigerated. I’m totally not an expert on food safety, though, so maybe it would be fine? Perhaps someone who has a better idea about it will chime in!

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Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe February 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Cute post Julie. I am a no name user through and through as well, although my exceptions include: garbage bags (I bought a huge box of no name garbage bags a couple of weeks ago and they honestly tear apart right down the middle as you try to open them up to put them in the garbage can. I think I went through 6 bags the first time around – SO frustrating!), chocolate (enough said), cereal (the no name stuff just tastes…weird), and shampoo/conditioner (I too am a brand name girl when it comes to my hair). And as far as the mayonnaise goes, I think I better keep my mouth shut on that one. ;)
Happy Friday!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 18, 2012 at 2:55 am

GARBAGE BAGS!!! You are SO RIGHT. Not only will I not buy generic garbage bags, I will only buy ONE BRAND of them — the kind that always fits my garbage can and isn’t flimsy! AND it just so happens to come in lavender vanilla scent (I know scented trash bags sound weird, but they smell AMAZING.) LOL.

I still love you despite our apparent mayonnaise differences ;)

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Karly February 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Love these with Hawaiian rolls, but never tried adding mayo1

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 18, 2012 at 2:55 am

Ooh, try it, try it! It makes ‘em gooier (that’s a word, right?)

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Stephanie February 17, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Team Hellmann’s Mayo all the way! We’re evenly split in my family though lol. Also, Team Skippy Peanut Butter (though the Planters one is pretty good too!).

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 18, 2012 at 2:55 am

Hurrah, team Hellmann’s!

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Christina February 17, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Oh sweet Mary, no, no, no Miracle Whip! I’m a Duke’s girl through and through. My best friend and I have an ongoing argument over Duke’s vs Hellman’s because we can totally tell the difference and think our preferred brand is superior. As for toilet paper, it’s definitely something I’m willing to shell out a little extra for because who wants to use something every day, multiple times a day that is…uncomfortable. P.S. Whenever I make these sliders they disappear with a quickness! SO good.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 18, 2012 at 2:56 am

I’m willing to give Duke’s another try, since I don’t remember how it tastes. Mike’s family are Duke’s people ;)

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KathyT February 17, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Toilet paper goes over, and the ONLY mayo in this house is Duke’s. I love these sandwiches, and my family has them at every gathering.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 18, 2012 at 2:56 am

Thanks, Kathy! They really are SO good and so easy!

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Sandra February 18, 2012 at 4:31 am

Let’s see, Cottonelle rolled under, and I will buy the store brand mayo. I will also try these Yummy looking spiders.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 18, 2012 at 4:36 am

I guess I WILL do the generic version OF HELLMANN’S — you know, the one made to look just like it (and taste like it). LOL.

Also, I love the autocorrect of sliders to spiders! I could go in and edit it, but it’s too funny the way it is! ;)

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Joanne February 18, 2012 at 4:48 am

I’m actually an equal opportunist mayo HATER…I hate all mayos equally. :P I also don’t recommend buying generic cream cheese. For me…it’s Philadelphia or bust.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 18, 2012 at 4:54 am

I can’t identify with the mayo hate — as I mentioned above, I totally ate plain mayo sandwiches as a kid (without my parents’ knowledge). LOL!

Oh, and I totally admit to using generic cream cheese. ;)

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Noey February 18, 2012 at 5:34 am

Over. And Miracle Whip. Sorry!

I usually buy a mix of name brand and generic stuff. For me it just comes down to personal preferences / budget. I refuse to skimp on my kleenex, though. I absolutely MUST have the kleenex brand with lotion and aloe. My friends think I’m crazy, but when we have winter colds or seasonal allergies I’m the only one who doesn’t have a bright red nose from the cruddy, scratchy, cheap kleenex!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 18, 2012 at 5:36 am

LOL, don’t worry, Noey, I forgive you! ;)

I’m with you on Kleenex. I’ll use generic all year (because I’m using them more infrequently), but when I have a cold, I have to get Puffs or Kleenex brand (with lotion!)

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Jules February 18, 2012 at 9:37 am

I am…not a mayonnaise person at all. I might buy a small pot if I know I’m going to be too lazy to beat the living daylights out of an egg yolk and a cup of oil, but I sincerely, actually, truly, genuinely prefer to make my own. That being said, I only do it when I have the time and energy (a cosmic convergence of Armaggedon importance).

But I totally hear ya on the generics, although the generics in Europe are pretty comparable and I use them with abandon (and that includes laundry detergent–we’re not big soda drinkers, so real-versus-fake Coke is a non-issue). There are a few things I will only buy name-brand, though, and those are toothpastes and mouthwashes (Listerine). I’ve been lucky to escape cavities for more than 20 years, but Karel’s dental turnaround really only started after I forced a bottle of Listerine on him.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 21, 2012 at 3:37 am

I haven’t made my own yet, Jules! I’ll have to give it a try. I just bought a tube of fancy toothpaste, too — it tastes awful, but is supposed to build enamel (you know, after all that Coke drinking). We’ll see!! I have some Listerine in my cabinet, too!

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Megan February 20, 2012 at 1:55 pm

My brand loyalty is to Heinz ketchup. Any other brand is just NOT as good, and my taste buds are offended. I will always spend more for the right taste, but yeah, most of the time who can tell the difference?

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 21, 2012 at 3:36 am

For real. But in those places you can tell, it totally matters! That’s like me and my Coke ;)

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Jenny @ BAKE February 20, 2012 at 2:27 pm

My boyfriend is terrible for only buying brand named stuff, it drives me insane! I have to agree with your list, and there are some brands that are just infinitely superior. I’d have to add to your list Lee and Perrins (if you’ve never tried it you need to get a bottle now!) and PomeGreat juice.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 21, 2012 at 3:35 am

Ooh, noted! Must try the PomeGreat juice for sure!! Thanks, Jenny :)

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Jessica @ Sunny Side Up February 21, 2012 at 3:33 am

You crack me up! Seriously, the 1-ply toilet paper? Why do they even make that anymore? Reminds me of that episode of Seinfeld “Can you please spare a square? How about a ply? Can you spare a ply?” Haha.

I don’t hate Miracle Whip though. It has it’s occasional place. But of all mayonnaise brands, Hellmans/Best Foods really is the best of the store bought. Have you ever tried making your own?

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 21, 2012 at 3:35 am

LOL, “Can you spare a ply?” I love it!

My roomie agrees with you on the Miracle Whip; she doesn’t love it most places, but says for some reason on a sandwich with rye bread, it’s just right. I’ll take her word for it (and give her my jar). Ha! I haven’t made my own yet — is homemade better than Hellmann’s? ;)

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Kathy February 21, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Over please and I’ll take Hellman’s. I think growing up we had generic salad dressing most of the time, so I didn’t know better. I won’t buy any version of it now. What is in that stuff anyway. My preference is Olive Oil or Canola Oil Hellman’s. Yum. Just made a meat salad with too much of it mixed in, so good.

I buy more brand name than generic, however Sam’s Club brand paper towels are good. The tp – don’t make me use the cheap stuff. Really? What did the old Loreal commercials used to say? “I’m worth it.” My thoughts exactly on tp, thank you.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm

LOL, totally agree, Kathy! I’M WORTH 2-PLY ;)

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Jen February 22, 2012 at 10:22 pm

I only bought generic chocolate chips one time. Never again! They were very watery and gross, and didn’t melt worth a flip.

As far as mayo, Hellmann’s is the way to go!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 23, 2012 at 4:58 am

I buy generic semisweet chips usually, but for my bittersweet chips (I always use both) I always go with the Ghirardelli 60% cacao — those things are so flippin’ good! ;)

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Alison R. October 22, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Y’all must not be from the south…Duke’s is the official mayonnaise of the south and the ONLY brand I will use. Tastes completely different than Hellman’s.

P.S. I’m an over not an under with regards to TP :)

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