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.
Makes: 6 servings (about 1 cup each)
- 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
- Spray inside of 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all remaining ingredients to slow cooker; stir to combine.
- Cover; cook on LOW 8 hours or on HIGH 4 hours. Remove and discard bay leaves.
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.