Show Mom you care with toasted cheese

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Try these add-ons

If you don’t like oregano, use your favorite dried herb or a combination of herbs. While I favor the simple version in the recipe, it obviously is easily adapted. Consider these add-ons:

• Whole-grain mustard.

• Crisped bacon.

• Canadian bacon.

• Pesto.

• Cooked spinach (well-drained).

• Jarred banana peppers or jalapeño peppers.

• Fresh arugula.

• Roasted red peppers.

• Mango chutney.

• Tapenade.

Happiness is … a warm cheese sandwich.

It's a sentiment as true today as when I read it as a child in my very first cookbook, the "Peanuts Cook Book." It described the simple joy of slapping cheese on a slice of bread, topping it with tomato and oregano, then waiting patiently as it toasted to a bubble.

In my family, the sandwich evolved. The bread was replaced by English muffins. The American cheese became cheddar or mozzarella. We kept the slab of tomato and sprinkle of dried oregano, which made all the difference in the world once it meshed with the bubbling juices of the tomato and the melted cheese.

Though I haven't made these sandwiches in a while, they came to mind recently as I thought about Mother's Day. It's perfect to eat in bed. It's simple enough for the kids to make.

English Muffin Cheese and Tomato Sandwich

Start to finish: 20 minutes; Servings: 4

4 English muffins, split with a fork

8 slices of cheddar cheese

8 center slices of tomato

Dried oregano

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the toaster oven or conventional oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet or pan with foil.

Toast the English muffins halves until lightly colored, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Top each muffin half with a slice of cheese, then a slice of tomato, a sprinkling of oregano and a bit of the Parmesan cheese. Arrange the muffins on the prepared baking sheet, then return them to the oven and toast for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly at the edges and the tomato is hot and cooked through. Let cool for several minutes before serving.

Per serving: 380 calories; 190 calories from fat (50 percent of total calories); 21 g fat (12 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 60 mg cholesterol; 28 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 21 g protein; 580 mg sodium.