Packing the same lunch for both school bags and briefcases can save on time, but it doesn't necessarily make everybody happy. Say goodbye to plain old peanut butter and jelly and hello to easy-to-make, big-flavor, healthy sandwiches with adult and kid appeal that both will enjoy.
For the tastiest "make-and-take" lunches for work and school, it's important to keep things "fresh," and we're not just talking food. Here are some simple ways to keep lunchtime appealing and help you and yours avoid brown bag boredom:
- Keep quality first. Start with the highest quality deli meats and cheeses, sliced ultra thin for the best flavor. Lean meats, tasty cheeses, smooth cream cheese, crunchy almonds and fresh veggies can make a lunch pop with color, texture and flavor.
- Mind the clock. For a real time-saver, make one big, family-pleasing hero sandwich that can be sliced so everyone can take a part for lunch.
- Revitalize leftovers. Pot roast for dinner? Dice up your leftover roast, mix in your favorite BBQ sauce and serve on an onion roll for a delicious leftover treat.
Perfect packaging pointers
1. Not every size sandwich fits into a small sandwich bag. Use sealable plastic wrap to create customized bags for sandwiches of any size.
2. If you're in a hurry, go to a grocery or convenience store and purchase deli-fresh meats and cheeses, already packaged in resealable plastic containers. Pick up a piece of fruit and a bottle of water, and you've got lunch on the run.
3. Having trouble getting out the door in the morning? Pack up lunches the night before. Turn this into a family activity, making time to be together and catch up on the day's events.
4. Keep salad dressing on the side when packing a salad for lunch. This prevents the greens from getting soggy during the day. The dressing will fit perfectly in a mini-round container.
5. Lock in freshness by placing small items like grapes, celery or carrot sticks, pasta salads or cookies in stackable, easy to open and close plastic containers. These durable containers create a tight seal both inside and out for double protection, keeping foods fresh while preventing messy leaks. They're also affordable enough to lose at the office or on the playground.
Super Hero Sandwich
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 large loaf bread, unsliced
1/2 package ultra thin pastrami
1/2 package ultra thin smoked turkey
1/2 package ultra thin smoked ham
1/4 head lettuce
1 medium tomato, sliced
4 slices Colby cheese
4 slices Swiss cheese
1 red onion, sliced
1/2 cup sliced pickles
Cut loaf of bread in half horizontally. Spread both halves with mayonnaise. On bottom half, layer ingredients in following order: lettuce, tomato, Colby cheese, Swiss cheese, onion, pastrami, ham, turkey and pickle. Top with remaining half loaf and serve.
Wrap leftovers in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to eat. Serves 6.
Pastrami & Turkey Deli Wraps
1/2 package ultra thin pastrami
1/2 package ultra thin turkey
8 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1 package ranch dressing seasoning mix, dry
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 cup chopped green onion
3 tablespoons chopped red pepper
5 dill pickle spears, sliced in half lengthwise
10 (6-inch) pretzel rods
In small bowl, combine cream cheese, ranch dressing mix, Worcestershire sauce and garlic salt; blend with hand mixer or food processor until smooth. Add green onion and red pepper; stir until well blended. Stack two slices pastrami and spread top with 1 teaspoon cream cheese mixture. Roll pickle spears in slices. Roll pretzel rods in turkey slices spread with cream cheese mixture.
Store wraps in plastic containers and refrigerate overnight to bring to work or school the next day. Serves 10.
Ham Sandwich With a Crunch
1/2 package ultra thin brown sugar ham
1 large plain bagel
2 tablespoons spreadable cream cheese
1 tablespoon brown mustard
1/4 cup almond slivers
Slice bagel in half and toast. Spread cream cheese on one half of bagel and mustard on the other. Sprinkle almonds on bagel half with cream cheese. Top almond-cream cheese half with ham and top with other half of bagel. Wrap in plastic until ready to eat. Serves 1.
Roast Beef Hearty Wrap
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
2 (6-inch) flour tortillas
1/2 package ultra thin roast beef
1/2 medium tomato, sliced
1/4 cup fresh spinach leaves
1/2 medium red pepper, seeded and sliced
Spread spicy brown mustard over tortillas. Layer each tortilla with one-half of roast beef, tomato, spinach and red pepper. Roll up and enjoy. Store leftovers in plastic containers for easy transport to work or school. Serves 2.
Layer ingredients in the center of the tortilla. Begin by folding the bottom third of the tortilla up over the filling. Next, fold over the right side of the tortilla, followed by the left side. This will create an open-ended wrap that's easy to eat and less messy.
Recipes from Family Features Inc.