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The lazy days by the pool or on the beach are over. The sun is setting sooner, days are short and so is your free time. Now it’s back to school and back to business. If you’re feeling a time crunch and stressing out about packing lunch for the family and preparing your own mid-day meal, here’s an easy solution: an Italian muffuletta.

I also enjoy this sandwich to serve for tailgating as you can assemble the night before, then slice and serve. You can make the tapenade as instructed in the recipe but if you really want to save time, there’s a black olive tapenade that I tried recently at Leon & Lulu’s Made in Michigan Artisan Market that really impressed. Sofia’s Selection’s makes high-quality marinated olives, tapenades and vegetables that are marinated in a special blend of vinegar, garlic, sugar, salt and unique spice blend to give them their distinct flavors. To find where available or order online visit, https://sofiaselection.cherriesandgrapes.com.

Meanwhile, this sandwich will impress and you won’t be stressed.

KLawson@detroitnews.com

KateLawson14@twitter.com

Italian Muffuletta Sandwich

Olive Spread:

1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives

1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced

1/4 cup cocktail onions

1/2 cup Pepperoncini

1/4 cup capers

1/4 cup pickled cauliflower, roughly chopped

1/4 cup diced celery

1/4 cup diced carrots

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon celery seed

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

Sandwich:

1 large round Italian loaf

3 ounces ham, thinly sliced

3 ounces Genoa salami, thinly sliced

3 ounces provolone, thinly sliced

3 ounces capicola, thinly sliced

3 ounces mortadella, thinly sliced

3 ounces mozzarella, thinly sliced

To prepare the Olive Spread, put all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the mixture until finely chopped. Set aside.

To prepare the sandwich, cut the bread in half horizontally. Scoop out some of the bread from the center of the top half, creating a dome effect. (You need space for the fillings!) Then, evenly spread the olive mixture on both halves of the bread.

Evenly layer the ham, salami, provolone, capicola, mortadella and mozzarella, in that order, on the bottom of the sandwich. Then, carefully place the top half of the bread, olive-spread-side-down, onto the layered meats and cheeses.

Wrap the entire sandwich in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least for 1 hour. (Refrigerate up to 24 hours.) Slice the sandwich into 12 wedges and serve.

Per serving: 369 calories; 15 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat; 37 percent calories from fat); 42 g carbohydrates; 2 g sugar; 27 mg cholesterol; 1,140 mg sodium; 16 g protein; 2 g fiber.

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