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Melt into fall with cheesy comfort food

Sheela Prakash

As cooler weather settles in, the craving for something warm and gooey becomes fierce. Here’s the solution. These melts, stuffed with chicken, cheddar and apples, bring together some of the best flavors of the season to satisfy that craving. They’re hot and toasty and made in one big batch on a baking sheet, which makes them a simple yet ideal way to cap off a fall day.

Half of the buttered bread slices are topped with tangy honey mustard and shredded chicken, and the other slices are topped with plenty of shredded sharp cheddar before being placed on a pre-heated baking sheet. The hot baking sheet helps instantly toast the bread so it remains crisp as the cheese melts and chicken heats through.

A quick seasonal slaw — matchstick-sized apple slices combined with shredded Brussels sprouts and a big squeeze of lemon juice — lends crunch and freshness when piled on before closing the sandwiches. That’s four dinner-worthy melts quick.

Apple, Cheddar & Chicken Melts

8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices sourdough bread (from a 9-inch round boule)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

4 teaspoons honey mustard

2 1/2 cups shredded, cooked chicken

1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

1 small Gala apple, cored and cut into matchsticks

4 ounces Brussels sprouts (about 5), finely shredded with a knife or food processor attachment

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven, place a baking sheet on a rack, and heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Spread the butter evenly on one side of each of the 8 slices of bread. Spread the honey mustard on the opposite side of 4 slices of the bread.

Using oven mitts, carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the oven. Place all the bread slices, butter-side down, on the baking sheet. Evenly distribute the shredded chicken among the mustard-spread bread slices, then distribute the cheese on the remaining 4 bread slices.

Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the slaw.

Combine the apple, Brussels sprouts and lemon juice in a small bowl. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the bread slices with the chicken to a cutting board. Evenly distribute the apple and Brussels sprouts slaw over the chicken. Place the remaining bread slices cheese-side down on top of the slaw to close each sandwich. Cut each sandwich in half and serve.

Recipe note: The slaw can be made up to one day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Serves 4.

Per serving: 499 calories; 17 g fat (9 g saturated fat; 31 percent calories from fat); 50 g carbohydrates; 10 g sugar; 106 mg cholesterol; 610 mg sodium; 37 g protein; 4 g fiber.