Warming Weather Invites Brown Bagging At Businesses

IN THE KITCHEN

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The days are pleasantly warmer now. Perfect for a brown-bag picnic during the work-day lunch break. Though in truth, it is really rare to see an actual brown paper bag to carry lunch these days. Instead we have a rainbow of colors in both hard- and soft-plastic containers, specialized for carrying a mid-day sandwich meal.

Still, what we pack for lunch at the desk, in the break room, or maybe on a quick jaunt to Rumsey or Green Valley parks, is called a brown bag lunch. And the foundation of any good brown bag meal is a sandwich.

How about making one sandwich you can eat for a week: a Giant Hero or going international with Greek Meat Pockets? Then there are a few untraditional types to try: Sardine, Ham and Bacon Sandwich; Spanish Sandwiches; and a Tuna Danish Slim Sandwich.

Giant Hero Sandwich

(1) 3-ounce package of cream cheese, softened

Mayonnaise

1 long loaf of French bread

Prepared mustard

Ham slices

Salami slices

Sliced cooked pork

Bologna slices

Liver-sausage slices

Swiss cheese slices

Fresh tomato wedges

Green and ripe olives

Small pickled onions

Gherkins

Endive

Watercress

Place cream cheese in small bowl; stir in enough mayo to make smooth mixture for spreading on bread.

Cut bread in half lengthwise and spread each half with mayo mixture, then spread with mustard.

Arrange remaining ingredients on bottom half of bread; place top half over filling.

Cut diagonally into six pieces to serve.

Greek Meat Pockets

1/4 cup oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 small eggplant, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 large tomato, chopped

1 cup tomato juice

1/4 teaspoon crumbled oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

3 cups thinly sliced leftover meat (beef, lamb or pork)

8 pita pockets

1/2 finely crumbled feta or farmer cheese

Heat oil in skillet; sauté onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Add eggplant and tomato; stir over high heat until tomatoes are mushy. Stir in tomato juice and oregano. Add salt and pepper; cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until eggplant is tender and mixture is thick. Add meat; stir over low heat until hot and bubbly. Heat in 400 degree oven for 5 minutes, if desired. Open pockets of pita bread and fill with hot mixture, then sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Since we are talking about brown bag lunches though, you could probably go as far as filling the pita bread with the mixture, then let cool, wrap in microwave-safe paper or plastic, then throw the things in the microwave oven just before heading out to the park or sitting down for a work-day lunch at the office.

Sardine, Ham and Bacon Sandwich

12 sardines

1 cup, chopped, cooked ham

2 tablespoons chopped sweet pickles

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

1 teaspoon catsup

1 teaspoon lemon juice

12 slices of bread or toast

2 tablespoons shredded lettuce

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

12 slices broiled bacon

Remove skin and bones from sardines; chop with ham and pickles. Add mustard, catsup and lemon juice, mix well. Spread on half of bread, which has been buttered. Sprinkle with lettuce and add a drop of mayo. Arrange two slices of bacon on each sandwich, then top with remaining bread, also buttered.

Spanish Sandwiches

2 tablespoons chopped pimento

2 tablespoons chopped onion

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup tomato juice

1 cup grated cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

Dash of paprika

1 egg, well beaten

4 slices buttered toast

Sauté pimento and onion in butter for 5 minutes. Add tomato juice, cheese, salt and paprika. Cook 5 minutes more until cheese is melted. Stir small amount into egg. Return to hot mixture, cooking for 2 minutes. Serve on toast.

Tuna Danish Slim Sandwich

2 cans of tuna, 6-1/2 to 7 ounces each, water-packed

1 cup coarsely grated cabbage

2/3 cup coarsely grated carrot

3 tablespoons low-calorie salad dressing, mayo-type

1 tablespoon catsup

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Dash of pepper

6 lettuce leaves

6 slices low-calorie bread, toasted

18 cucumber slices

Drain tuna and flake. Combine tuna with vegetables. Combine dressing, catsup, lemon juice, salt and pepper, then add to tuna mixture and blend well.

Place lettuce on toast, add about 1/3 cup of tuna salad, then top with three cucumber slices.

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