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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Isn’t Every Day A Sandwich Day?

By Sherrie Norris

In just a few days, on Wednesday, November 3, we can celebrate National Sandwich Day. As if we need a designated day to do that! 

But, the entire month of August was actually National Sandwich Month. Sorry we missed pointing that out to you, but I’m sure we still celebrated it without a conscious thought.

If the long lines wrapping around most fast food restaurants on most days are any indication, we Americans love us some sandwiches! But, how did this phenomenon really get its start?

Legend (or history, maybe?) has it that the sandwich was invented in the 1700’s by an English nobleman, John Montague, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, who ordered a servant to bring him two slices of bread with a piece of roast between them during a 24-hour gambling spree. He was trying to save himself time to eat without being forced to leave his game. 

Some 300 years later, we are still finding that the concoction of bread, meat —and more — to be the answer to a busy lifestyle. 

Through the years, the sandwich has taken on various personalities, and in many ways, has become so much more than just something slapped between two pieces of bread.

Favored cartoon character, Dagwood, could offer us unlimited ideas on building the perfect sandwich, but with just a little imagination, anyone can come up with a classic in no time.

First, choose from an ever-growing selection of breads: anything from white and whole wheat to pitas, wraps and croissants will likely fit into the “sandwich” category these days. Then, add whatever meats, cheeses, veggies, dressings and seasonings that suit your taste. There are open-faced sandwiches, club sandwiches, submarine sandwiches and just plain ole’ finger sandwiches. Try our suggestions or stretch your imagination just a little for a whole new way of looking at the world of sandwich.

Family Hero

¼ cup purchased sandwich spread or thousand island dressing

4 hoagie buns, split

4 lettuce leaves

4 slices cooked turkey

2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced

4 slices salami

4 slices cheese

Spread sandwich spread evenly on cut slices of buns. Layer bottom halves of buns with lettuce, turkey, tomatoes, salami, cheese and top halves of buns.

Peanut Butter Sandwich Kabobs –a new twist for the kids

2-4 Tbs. peanut butter

6 slices raisin bread

¼ cup strawberry jam

8 large strawberries

4 small bamboo skewers

To make sandwiches, spread 1 – 2 tablespoons peanut butter on 2 bread slices. Top each with a second bread slice. Spread 2 Tbsp. jam on each. Top each with third bread slice. If desired, trim crusts from sandwiches. Cut each into 4 triangles.

Alternately thread 2 sandwich triangles and 2 strawberries on each bamboo skewer. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for later.

Chicken Apple Sandwiches

2 cups shredded or chopped chicken

½ cup chopped apple

½ cup chopped cucumber

½ cup chopped cashews

¼ cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

½ tsp. sugar

¼ tsp. onion powder

¼  tsp. salt

Dash pepper

10 slices whole wheat bread

15 spinach leaves

3 additional Tbsp. mayonnaise or salad dressing

In medium bowl, combine chicken, apple, cucumber and cashews. Add ¼ cup mayonnaise, sugar, onion powder, salt and pepper; mix well. Spread ½ cup chicken mixture on each of 5 bread slices; place spinach leaves over chicken mixture. Spread remaining bread slices evenly with 3 Tbsp. mayonnaise, place mayonnaise side-down over spinach leaves. Serves 5.

The Cubano 

6 hoagie rolls

4 Tbsp. unsalted Butter, room temperature

3 Tbs. yellow mustard

1 lb. deli-style ham, sliced

1 lb. roasted pork, sliced

1 lb. Swiss cheese, sliced

1 cup dill pickle chips

Split and toast the hoagie rolls in a preheated oven or toaster oven. Lay open the rolls on a clean work surface; spread 1 tsp. butter on one side of each roll and ½ tbsp. mustard on the other side. Top each roll with even amounts of ham, pork, and cheese; add pickles and close sandwiches.

Spread the remaining butter (2 tbsp.) on the outside of each sandwich (top and bottom) and wrap in aluminum foil. Press down on sandwiches to flatten slightly.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.

Place foil-wrapped sandwiches in preheated grill pan, as many as will fit. Place another heavy skillet on top of sandwiches to apply constant pressure. Cook sandwiches 3-4 minutes per side. Remove sandwiches from heat and discard foil. If necessary, return sandwiches to pan and cook another 2-3 minutes or until sandwiches are heated through and bread is crispy and golden brown. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

Transfer sandwiches to a cutting board and cut at an angle into halves. Serve immediately.

Turkey Salad Pitas

1 cup chopped cooked turkey

1 cup chopped apples (skins left on)

½ cup sliced celery

1/3 cup salted sunflower seeds

1/3 cup bacon bits

1 small can water chestnuts, drained

½ cup French fried onions

½ cup alfalfa sprouts

1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed or homemade whipped cream

(Mayonnaise, starting with ½ cup for desired consistency, can be substituted for the whipped topping/cream.)

Mix all together thoroughly and stuff into pita halves.