Sandwiches- A Meal in a small package

One of the major comfort foods that are quick and easy to prepare are sandwiches. Why? Sandwiches are fast, easy to prepare, and cost very little money. However, not all sandwiches are created equal. Some sandwiches are healthier than others. There are three main aspects to a sandwich: the bread, the spread, and the filling. The foundation of a sandwich is the bread. When buying your bread try to buy the whole wheat or whole grain variety. Whole grains provide more heart-healthy fiber than regular white bread.
The next thing that goes on a sandwich is the spread. When choosing salad dressings, mayonnaise, or cream cheese as a spread, try to buy the “light” versions. These will contain less calories and fat than the regular versions. If you want to be adventurous, try using different types of mustard such as honey, spicy, deli mustard, and dijon mustards which add additional flavor to the sandwich. Other spreads are peanut butter, jelly, butter, vinegar, olive oils, and even vegetable or olive spread such as on a muffuletta.
Finally, the bulk of the sandwich is made of fillings. When it comes to sandwich fillings, the possibilities are endless. Some of the healthier options are fresh vegetables, turkey, tuna, chicken, and ham. Vegetables will provide additional vitamins and minerals to the sandwich. Peanut butter, cheese, meats, poultry, and fish will add extra protein. Eating a healthy sandwich is a great idea for lunch or dinner. What if you don’t have time to make one during your busy day? Try making a sandwich the night before. After making the sandwich, place it in a container, foil, or sandwich bag and place it into the refrigerator. The refrigerator will keep it cool and ensure that it will be safe to eat the next day. Sandwiches come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors. People of all ages can find a sandwich that is healthy and delicious to them. To make your tasty and healthy sandwich, follow these tips, be creative, and don’t forget to have fun!

Peanut Butter and Apple Sandwich
2 slices of whole wheat bread
1 small apple, cored and shredded
1 tablespoon peanut butter

Spread thin layer of peanut butter onto one side of each slice of bread. Place shredded apple onto the peanut butter, and place the other peanut buttered side of bread on top. Serve immediately.

Healthy Finger Sandwich
2 slices whole grain bread
1 tablespoon lowfat cream cheese
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 slice lowfat cheddar cheese
Spread a light layer of cream cheese over both bread slices. Place sliced cucumbers over the cream cheese on one bread slice. Place sliced cheddar cheese on other bread slice. Put 2 bread slices together to form sandwich. Slice into finger-sized sandwiches.

Grilled Cheese and Caramelized Onions
½ small onion, sliced
2 slices whole wheat bread
3 tsp. butter
1-2 oz. cheddar cheese
In a small skillet, cook onion in 2 tsp. butter over medium heat about 10 minutes or until onion is soft and golden brown. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Place one slice of bread on work surface. Top with cheese and cooked onion. Top with remaining bread slice. Spread with 1 tsp. butter. Place buttered side down in a skillet over medium heat. Carefully butter top bread slice. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until cheese is melted.

Vegetarian Panini
3 thin slices of tomato
1 handful of spinach
1 thin slice of red, yellow, orange, or green
Pesto sauce
2 slices sourdough bread
Take 2 slices of sourdough bread and spread pesto sauce on them. Place the tomatoes, pepper, and onion on one slice, then place the other slice over it with the pesto sauce face down on top of the vegetables. Grill in a toaster oven, regular oven, or an Italian panini grill until the bread is golden brown.

Chicken Salad
3 cups cooked chicken, diced
2 tsp. lemon juice
½ cup celery, diced
3 tsp. sweet pepper relish
4 tbsp. purple onion, finely chopped
Dash of Cajun seasoning blend
½ cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine chicken with celery, onion, ¼ cup mayonnaise, lemon juice, pepper, relish, seasoning, and salt. Add more mayonnaise, as needed. Makes 6-8 sanwiches.

Turkey Muffuletta
½ cup light Italian salad dressing
1 lb. round Italian, or French loaf
¼ cup chopped black olives, drained
½ lb. sliced turkey
¼ cup chopped green olives, drained
¼ lb. sliced provolone cheese
In a small bowl, combine Italian salad dressing, black olives, and green olives. Cut bread in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Remove centers of each half to make room for the filling, leaving ½ inch think shell. Spread half of the olive mixture in each half of bread, pressing down gently. In the bottom half of the bread, layer turkey and cheese on top of the olive mixture. Cover with top half of bread. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before cutting into wedges. Serves 8.