The holidays are over. We've been back at school for a week and already my enthusiasm for creating 3 packed lunches each day is waning ... and the worst part always seems to be deciding what to make. Whatever I end up packing into the lunch boxes almost always includes sandwiches of some flavour, so today I thought I'd share my 3 biggest critics' favourite filling combinations.
We holidayed at Disney World in Orlando this summer where a turkey sandwich is filled with a whole PACKET of sliced meat and where generally the rolls are so enormous that you need a little sleep halfway through - so there is a risk that anything I make will feel like a poor relation. Or perhaps just a small relation. After all, it is generally understood in our house that you'll never get ham AND cheese in a sandwich because that's TWO sandwich fillings not ONE.
But even though I don't pack the sandwiches with a tonne and a half of fillings, I do always put a few leaves in there. Baby spinach, little gem lettuce etc ... there will always be something green lurking inside.
So these (in no particular order) are the sandwich fillings that are going down a storm around here at the moment -
- Sliced sausage with tomato chutney - the sausages are mostly leftover from dinner, although the trick is to squirrel them away before dishing up. Otherwise, we all know that leftovers are just never going to happen. Having said that you could cook them specifically for the freezer and then they are always to hand ...
- Hummus with grated carrot and spicy pumpkin seeds - it's nice to have a veggie option in the mix. The carrot and the spicy pumpkin seeds make the texture of the sandwich more exciting and it feels good to sneak a few extra vegetables in there. Homemade hummus or a shop-bought variety - they both work.
- Roasted chicken tossed in a little sweet chilli sauce - it's a nice change from mayo.
- Tuna with gherkins and red pepper - my two teenage boys have concluded that tuna without gherkins is wrong on every level. The addition of the crunchy, sliced red pepper is the icing on the cake.
- Cheddar and chutney - my Nan always had a cupboard full of homemade chutney, so I grew up with it as my condiment of choice. I'm pleased to say that my children feel the same way. I'm loving this one at the moment.
- Egg mayonnaise - I like mine sliced but I'm alone in that, so mashed it is. Plenty of seasoning and a good crunchy lettuce.
- Cream cheese and grapes - these go down particularly well on bagels. Spread the cheese (fairly generously), halve the grapes and you're done.
- Roasted chicken with pesto - the chicken is mostly from the deli counter and the pesto is a good way to pimp it up. Fresh pesto is nice if you have some but the jarred variety works just fine too.
- Ham and dijonnaise - nobody will be surprised to see ham on the list, but for me, the dijonnaise is the game changer. It's somewhere between a mustard and a mayonnaise and gives a nice, gentle kick rather than an aggressive boot. Our fridge is never without it.
- Peanut butter - these are always popular with the boys, especially on days when there are sports fixtures. Sometimes simple is good. Oh, and it's always 'crunchy' for us.
- Grilled salmon with a minty dressing - this might sound a bit too fancy for a packed lunch, but the next time you are grilling some salmon fillets for dinner, do a couple of extra ones. Mix a bit of natural yoghurt with some mayo and a touch of chopped mint and you have a delicious dressing to drizzle over your flakes of salmon.
- Steak with a mustard/horseradish dressing - we always seem to have a solitary leftover steak after we've been BBQing and turning it into a sandwich filling for the next day is always popular. Cut it thinly and make a little bit of dressing by combining some wholegrain mustard, a dash of horseradish cream, a bit of mayo and a touch of natural yoghurt. You won't need much.
So now that I've shared our favourites, what are yours? Would love to hear ...