This is one of our current why-did-you-let-me-eat-all-of-that meals. : )
It's really easy and fast, and it's a perfect accompaniment to watching Friday Night Lights.
The bread: Slice a loaf of Italian bread in half, put it on a cookie sheet with the cut side open, and pop it in the oven at 350 for a few minutes until it's lightly toasted. Now, this step is critical and I'm not even joking because you know I don't joke about food. Smash a garlic clove with the side of a large knife. As soon as you take the bread out of the oven, rub the toasted sides with the garlic. Pieces of the garlic will flake off. That's okay, just remove any big pieces so you don't bite into any chunks. Your fingers will smell like garlic after this. If you're not cool with that, you can rub them on a stainless steel mixing bowl. Your fingers will smell like stainless steel after this.
The sauce: Dump a jar of your favorite marinara in a small pot on the stove; heat on low. You'll need bowls (like regular-sized cereal bowls, not wimpy salsa bowls) for dipping. If all you have are wimpy salsa bowls, then serve the hoagies with a spoon.
The chicken: Trim about 3/4 of a pound of chicken tenders. At your option, pound them so that they're 1/2" thick. Bread with seasoned breadcrumbs, and pan-fry in a skillet with olive oil on medium heat.*
The cheese: Cut the cheese. That's for George.
The hoagie: The beauty of the assembly is that it really doesn't matter - it's all going to fall apart anyway. : ) But I like it in this order from bottom to top: bread, sauce, chicken, sauce, cheese. Finagle the sandwich shut, then put it back in the oven until the cheese melts.
And that's your sandwich!
Just kidding. I cut it into 4-5 pieces, and we maybe have one piece left over between J and me.**
On this day, I ate one and a half pieces, told J, "I can't do it," he finished his two pieces and my half piece, told me, "Why did you let me do that?"
If you do have leftovers, wrap them in foil and stick them in the fridge. To heat them back up, put them in a 350 degree oven (still in the foil) until it's heated through, about 8 minutes. I know it's not as quick and easy as the microwave, but just trust me. You're saving yourself from chewy bread and cold-in-the-middle chicken.
*Edited to add: The last time I made these, I double-stacked the chicken and cheese. There was seriously moaning.
**One loaf + half a bag of curly fries will perfectly feed J + me + Ethen.