Friday, March 11, 2011
Learn With Me: Make Ahead Gourmet Sandwiches
Did you know that you can prepare sandwiches ahead of time and freeze them for later? I know it sounds strange if you've never done it or thought of it before. Why would I want a frozen sandwich when I can make a fresh one, you might be wondering.....
It never occurred to me to try it until my friend Briony educated me that you can freeze just about anything. She even taught a "Make and Take" class for my moms group last year where we all pitched in and made meals to be frozen for later, including a batch of sandwiches. That is what gave me the idea for this post.
Don't let the word "gourmet" scare you either. I only call them gourmet because you don't use the typical mayonnaise on the sandwiches. Mayonnaise doesn't freeze well after all. Therefore you want something that will keep its consistency. Use the opportunity to make your own sandwich spread like I did. You can easily sneak in a fruit and vegetable on your sandwich too.
I looked inside my pantry to see what I had in stock. I found a can of chickpeas, a jar of roasted red bell peppers and also some fresh cilantro in the fridge. Surely I could whip up something with that, right?
Here's what I came up with:
Roasted Red Pepper, Chick pea and Cilantro Sandwich Spread
(My, that sounds fancy, doesn't it?)
Serves 8 sandwiches (or about 2 cups)
1 can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup of roasted red peppers, diced (I used some from a jar)
1 tbsp of oil from that red pepper jar
1/3 cup of cilantro
juice from 1 lime (about 1-2 T.)
2 garlic cloves, minced
Place all items in a food processor and blend until smooth.
It started out looking like this:
Then it came out like this:
It may not be pretty. (It actually resembles vomit a little doesn't it?) But I really loved the flavors of this spread. This may not be your cup of tea though so here are some other ideas for make-ahead sandwich spreads. Be careful about the ingredients as some of these do not freeze well but they can be kept in the fridge for several days!
Here's what you need for your sandwich if you're making it ahead of time and freezing it:
-Two slices of bread (I like the whole wheat sandwich thins)
-1 tsp of butter for every sandwich you make (use 1/2 tsp per slice of bread)
-A plastic storage bag or container
-Meat or veggie of choice - I typically use pieces of chicken already pre-cooked and sliced
Then start the prepwork for your sandwiches....
(1) Set up your assembly line of goods.
(2) Spread the butter on the insides of each piece of bread. The butter help preserves it a bit longer, especially in the freezer.
(3) Then spread your "sandwich sauce" on the bread. Top it with your vegetable (such as an eggplant or black bean burger) or use regular meat (like I used chicken).
(4) Sprinkle it with cheese if desired. I find that shredded or grated cheese works best instead of a slice of cheese. I used Parmesan on this sandwich.
(5) Squeeze the pieces of bread together. Then place it inside a storage bag or container.
I used the above sandwich recipe and made 8 sandwiches out of it. I chose to freeze all of them.
To defrost, I simply put one out on my kitchen counter in the morning (9:00 a.m.). By lunchtime (12:30 p.m.), it was thawed. I placed it in the toaster oven for a few minutes. Then voila! my sandwich was ready!
These would be great to take along for a day trip or picnic. You can make them the night before or days before.
The sandwiches will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months as long as you're not using products like eggs, mayonnaise or potatoes in them. I encourage you to try them out. Sometimes just having that ready-made sandwich for lunch oneday can be a real treat. Simply pull it from the freezer and warm it. Save the time and effort for something else!
Have you ever made sandwiches ahead of time like this? Did you freeze them? I'd love to hear the ideas and details on what you did!
Be sure you check out my pal Briony's blog, Freeze Your Way Fit. This is where my friend shares great recipes that reflect her clean eating, healthy lifestyle along with great ideas for freezing foods and money-saving tips too!