Monday, February 13, 2012

Restaurant-Style Grilled Sandwiches

As I planned my dinners this week, I found that the Meijer ad was not particularly helpful or inspiring  :(  There weren't a lot of good, cheap ingredients that I could put least, not for the kind of food that I like to make!  {Oh, sure, there was chuck roast on sale...but you all know how to make a roast, so I wasn't going to post a recipe for that!} 

Anyways....when this happens, I try to use ingredients from my pantry (bought weeks or months ago when they were on sale!) rather than pay full price for other ingredients. But another favorite solution to uninspiring sale ads is grilled sandwiches.  There are so many delicious ways to make these sandwiches, and I'm willing to bet that you have most (or all) of the components for these sandwiches in your refrigerator, just waiting for you to use your imagination!   The result usually tastes like something you could order from Applebees...and in less time than it takes to drive there and pick up a to-go order!

Remember, the cheapest places to shop are your pantry and your fridge.  But if you don't have good sandwich components, it just so happens that Meijer has plenty of good deli meat, cheese, and bread on sale this week!

Here's the basic recipe...and then keep reading for suggestions (that's the interesting part!)

Grilled Sandwiches

Spreadable butter or margarine
Spread or sauce

Lay a piece of bread flat on the counter. Load it up with meat, cheese, and vegetables. Spread or drizzle the sauce on top. (If your sauce/spread is thick and heavy, try spreading it directly on the slice of cheese so that you don't tear apart the bread.)  Top with another piece of bread. Spread butter on the top of it. Put the buttered side on a hot griddle, electric fry pan, or skillet. Spread butter on the other piece of bread (top slice) while the sandwich is starting to cook. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, or until lightly (or darkly, if you prefer) browned.  You can make all the sandwiches identical, or if you're a really nice mom, you can make them "to order".

Options for each component:

Bread: We like the Meijer brand sliced Italian bread that is on sale this week ($1.50). You can also use any basic white, wheat, or sourdough bread, texas toast, or even tortillas if you want to make grilled quesadillas. Grilled sandwiches are also a great use for leftover homemade bread that is starting dry out a bit. If you have a George Foreman grill, you can fold the ingredients (envelope-style) into flavored wraps and grill them for a real restaurant-type experience. No need to butter the wraps if you are using the George Foreman.  Meijer has an in-store special on Mission brand wraps this week ($2.50). Sun-dried tomato and spinach-herb wraps are both delicious!  You can also use plain flour tortillas for grilled wraps to keep it cheaper.

Meat:  Any type of deli ham, turkey, beef, or salami (check the Meijer sale ad for a variety of deli meat on sale this week). We've also used (shredded or finely diced) leftover beef roast, chicken, and pork for these sandwiches. Canned tuna is another option (but I realize not everyone likes tuna as much as we do!). Add some cooked bacon if you have extra!

Cheese:  Colby jack is our favorite, but the possibilities are endless: pepper jack, mozzarella, cheddar, provolone, swiss.  Meijer has Kraft deli cheese slices on sale for $2.00 this week.

Vegetables: Leave raw or saute them, depending on how much crunch you like. Onions, mushrooms, red and/or green peppers, dill pickle slices (OK, don't saute those!). Lettuce and tomato can either be grilled right into the sandwich, or added after cooking.

Spread/Sauce (this is the fun part!):
  • mayonnaise with a little bit of Dijon mustard mixed in
  • spreadable flavored cream cheese...onion and chive, garden vegetable, salmon, spinach and artichoke (Meijer has Philadelphia tubs on sale this week for $2.00)
  • spreadable plain cream cheese and Dijon mustard
  • equal parts mayonnaise and salsa
  • spreadable plain cream cheese and salsa or taco sauce
  • guacamole
  • flavored hummus (Basha hummus is half off at Meijer this week). We like roasted red pepper, but other flavors (available in different brands) include garlic, pine nut, and jalapeno.
  • equal parts ranch dressing and barbeque sauce
  • honey mustard salad dressing...or for that matter, any flavor salad dressing that you like, including Thousand Island, Italian, French, Vidalia Onion, Southwest Ranch, and more
  • 2/3 part mayonnaise, 1/3 part pesto
  • french onion or spinach dip
  • any fancy deli dip (I just bought Margaritaville brand “Artichoke Jalapeno Garlic”...half off this week at Meijer)
  • pizza sauce

Here are a "few" of our favorite sandwich combos:

  • Turkey, swiss, lettuce, tomato, and honey mustard on Italian
  • Ham, pepperjack, lettuce, tomato, and mayo/dijon on Italian
  • Leftover roast beef, swiss, sauteed peppers, onions, and mushrooms and cream cheese/dijon in a grilled wrap
  • Leftover pork, cheddar, dill pickles, lettuce, tomato, and cream cheese/dijon on white
  • Leftover chicken, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and ranch in a grilled wrap
  • Leftover chicken, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and salsa/mayonnaise on Italian
  • Tuna, pepperjack, lettuce, tomato, and mayo/dijon on Italian
  • Leftover roast beef, cheddar, red and green peppers, guacamole, and taco sauce in a grilled wrap
  • Pepperoni, mozzarella, mushrooms, and pizza sauce on white
  • Turkey, swiss, mushrooms, and spinach artichoke cream cheese on Italian
  • Ham, colby jack, sauteed onions and mushrooms, and red pepper hummus in a grilled wrap
  • Turkey, cheddar, sauteed onions and mushrooms, and ranch/barbeque sauce on Italian
  • Leftover chicken, mozzarella, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise/pesto
  • Leftover roast beef, swiss, sauteed mushrooms and peppers, and Italian dressing on Italian  

The possibilities are endless!  Mix and match your favorites...and if you find a combination that you like, post it in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Not sure how I missed this post, but I'm glad I found it! I'm always looking for a way to improve regular grilled ham & cheese. Thanks for the ideas!