Sandwiches Save the Day!

Though they may not be the first thing that comes to mind when putting dinner on the table, sandwiches are an easy win with kids of all ages (and parents alike!) and can be incorporated into weekly or monthly meal rotations without becoming boring.

“Dinner is more leisurely than lunch—and more of a meal where people gather at the table—and sandwiches are people-pleasers,” says Lisa Cherkasky, food stylist and writer of The Lunch Encounter. “So, it can be very satisfying to make a sandwich meal memorable or even create new traditions.”

Dinner sandwiches can become part of a comfort food repertoire, like grilled cheese sandwiches that feature a special ingredient, like a fancy cheese or bakery bread, Cherkasky says. You can also consider tackling sandwich recipes for dinner that may be a little too much work for lunchtime, like a Monte Cristo, Reuben or grilled Panini. Making a more complete meal out of sandwiches can also include heartier side dishes.

“At dinnertime, you might include a soup or side that is a little more ‘grown-up’ than potato chips or cheese puffs,” Cherkasky says. “Think baby kale salad, homemade lentil soup (see recipe below) or red potato salad.”

Keys to Easy Sandwich-Making

Sandwiches are known for being quick to make, but Cherkasky offers the following tips for building your dinner sandwiches even faster:

  • Keep sandwich components ready for grabbing by prewashing and drying your lettuce and greens.
  • Have yummy, fresh toppings on-hand in your fridge at all times. Toppings can include sprouts, grated carrots, wilted broccoli rabe, sliced pickles, coleslaw and hard-boiled eggs.
  • Stock a selection of condiments, like horseradish, various mustards, tartar sauce, chipotle mayonnaise or sriracha sauce -- just a smear of any one of these items can make a plain sandwich sing.

Buying pre-cooked ingredients, like meatballs, or using your slow cooker to make pulled pork, can also speed up evening prep and cook time during the week. The options for building a perfect dinnertime sandwich are endless. But, there is one tip to keep in mind as you create: how much of each ingredient you’re using. The key to a perfect sandwich, according to Cherkasky, is the bread to filling ratio. Keep this in mind and you’ll be well on your way to building beautiful sandwiches every night of the week.

Sandwich Side Dish Recipe: Slow Cooker Lentil Soup

A basic slow cooker vegetarian soup recipe made with brown lentils, tomatoes, celery and onion for comfort food goodness.

Hands On:15  
Total: 495
Makes: 6 servings (about 1 cup each)

Ingredients:

 

  • PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt's® Petite Diced Tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup dry brown lentils, sorted, rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Directions

 

  1. Spray inside of 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all remaining ingredients to slow cooker; stir to combine.
  2. Cover; cook on LOW 8 hours or on HIGH 4 hours. Remove and discard bay leaves.

 

Nutritional Information:

6 servings (about 1 cup each) Calories 151; Total Fat 1 g(Saturated Fat 0 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 648 mg; Carbohydrate 27 g; (Dietary Fiber 11 g, Sugars 5 g); Protein 9 g; Percent Daily Values*: Vitamin A 10%; Vitamin C 17%; Calcium 4%; Iron 17%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Photo by Eaters Collective on Unsplash

Recipe: Artichoke Turkey Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 prebaked thin pizza crust (12-inch)
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (1-1/2 cups = 6 oz)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt's® Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano, drained
  • 1 cup chopped cooked turkey
  • 1 can (14 oz each) artichoke hearts in water, drained, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (2.25 oz each) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place crust on ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Top with drained tomatoes, turkey, artichokes, olives and Parmesan cheese.
  2. Bake 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Cut into 6 slices.

Recipe: Crazy Corn Dogs

Ingredients

 

  • 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 1 pkg (11.5 oz each) refrigerated cornbread twists
  • 1 pkg (12 oz each) Hebrew National® Beef Franks (7 franks)
  • 2 tablespoons Concord grape jelly
  • 1/2 cup Hunt's® Tomato Ketchup

 

Directions

 

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Sprinkle cornmeal on large cutting board. Unroll dough on cornmeal; separate dough into 8 long strips.
  2. Make each corn dog: Press dough together at perforations and flatten slightly. Spiral wrap 1 dough strip around each frank. Place on ungreased baking pan so both ends of dough are under franks. Discard remaining dough strip or bake with wrapped franks and use for dipping into sauce. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. Place jelly in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH 15 to 20 seconds or until jelly melts. Stir in ketchup; mix well. Serve with corn dogs for dipping.

Photo by Blake Guidry on Unsplash

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients

  • PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 1/4 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Kraft® Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 large eggplant, peeled if desired
  • 1/4 cup Parkay® Original Spread-tub, melted
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt's® Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano, undrained
  • 1 can (8 oz each) Hunt's® Tomato Sauce with Basil, Garlic and Oregano

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside. Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in shallow dish.
  2. Cut eggplant into 12 slices, about 1/2-inch thick. Brush slices with Parkay, then coat each side with bread crumb mixture. Place on baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes or until tender, turning once. Top slices evenly with mozzarella cheese.
  3. Meanwhile, combine undrained tomatoes and sauce in small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Spoon tomato mixture evenly into 4 shallow bowls. Place 3 eggplant slices over sauce in each bowl.

Nutritional Information

4 servings (3 slices eggplant with 1/2 cup sauce each) Calories 305; Total Fat 15 g(Saturated Fat 6 g); Cholesterol 23 mg; Sodium 1013 mg; Carbohydrate 27 g; (Dietary Fiber 6 g, Sugars 9 g); Protein 12 g; Percent Daily Values*: Vitamin A 25%; Vitamin C 22%; Calcium 34%; Iron 13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Kraft® is a registered trademark of Kraft Foods, Inc.

Photo by Lucian Alexe on Unsplash

Just Add Sauce

If you and your family resolved to eat healthier this year, you probably began by basing your dinners around grilled chicken and vegetables, occasionally adding whole-grain starches like brown rice and whole-wheat pasta. All too soon, you find you’ve either fallen off of the healthy eating wagon, or else dread the boring chicken and veggies on your dinner table every night! Luckily, stepping up your dinnertime game for delicious results can be as simple as tweaking recipes that are based around one sauce. (And we promise they won’t derail your healthy eating!). Here, we’ll show you some new ways to use tomato sauce in a variety of dishes to surprise and delight your taste buds.

For a quick and easy dinner -- or even an afterschool snack -- make English Muffin pizzas. Simply preheat your oven, split English muffins in half, and then top with sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake around 10 minutes at 375 F, or until the cheese melts. We give it an A-plus in ease and taste.

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For a fresh spin on chicken, whip up this Chicken and Wild Mushroom Pilaf recipe, made with chicken drumsticks, green peas, mushroom and herb rice pilaf mix, with tomato sauce. You’ll be surprised at how the rice absorbs the sauce in the skillet, and how this tomato base helps add a new flavor dimension to historically ho-hum chicken and rice dishes. Plus, it’s a new and delicious way to incorporate chicken and veggies into a dish that doesn’t feel tired.

Whether you love slow-cooker chili or make a faster version on the stovetop for a one-dish dinner, use tomato sauce as your base. Simply add it to the beef and bean combo, then add paprika, chili flakes, chilies, jalapenos or other seasonings to make it as spicy or seasoned as you’d like!

Tex-Mex may not be an obvious thought for a healthy weeknight meal. So you may be surprised that no salt added tomato sauce can be a great base for slow-cooker Southwest Beef and Bean Burritos. The sauce keeps the beef moist and tender for tasty tortillas!