Last week I read about an very ingenious idea on Everydayfoodstorage.net- make sandwiches cinnamon roll style, bake and freeze them. The kids just grab one (or two if they are teenage boys!), throw them frozen in their lunches, and they're ready to eat by lunch. I don't know why I have never thought or heard of this before, but I tried them for dinner on both Friday and Saturday and my family loved them. We had them 2 nights in a row because the first night I tried ham and cheese. The second night I tried pizza. Both were good and both were gone.
The members of my family are not huge mustard fans, so I did make a couple of changes from the recipe at Everydayfoodstorage.net.
First, I used the basic bread recipe from Fasteasybread.com because I'd used it before and it was familiar to me. I also knew I could substitute some of the white flour with wheat and it would work fine. It makes 2 loaves worth of dough which I made into 24-30 sandwiches, depending on how thick I cut them. I rolled one half on the dough at a time into about a 13" or 14" x 9" or 10" rectangle.
Second, instead of a honey mustard sauce, which no one would eat, I improvised a ranch flavored sauce from a chicken recipe I use. First, I mixed up one can's worth of a food storage Cream of Chicken soup mix recipe that I have. It makes 2 or 3 cups of powder. I mixed 1/3 of a cup of powder with one cup of water, brought it to a boil and turned it off.
Cream of Chicken soup mix
2 c. non-instant powdered milk
3/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 c. chicken bouillon (about 12 cubes smashed)
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp basil (optional)
1 tsp thyme (optional)
Mix 1/3 c powder with 1 1/2 c. water, bring to a boil while stirring.
For these sandwiches I only used 1 cup of water because I wanted it a bit thicker to spread. You could probably use a can of cream of chicken soup, but I only had large ones on hand and didn't want to open one.
I mixed the soup with 4 oz. of cream cheese (reduced fat) and a teaspoon or so of ranch dressing powder for flavor and spread it on the dough. This ended up making enough "sauce" for 3 batches of sandwiches (about 36 rolls).
Rolling like a cinnamon roll was easier than I expected and cutting them into 1 inch slices was WAY easier than cinnamon rolls. Usually with cinnamon rolls I use dental floss. These cut really well with a sharp knife. When I made the pizza rolls I used cheese only, no meat. Those were easier to cut with dental floss.
The recipe from everydayfoodstorage says to bake at 400 for 10 minutes on a greased cookie sheet or in greased muffin tins for more a more "gourmet" look. I tried both ways and found the muffin tins made rolls that stuck together better and were a more uniform size.
I let the sandwiches cool for a little bit in the pans, then all the way on a cooling rack, wrapped each in plastic wrap, and tossed them in the freezer. The boys all took them for lunch yesterday and I thawed one for several hours on the counter at home to see what it would be like. Obviously, they are much better right out of the oven, but they tasted pretty good thawed from the freezer. The boys all took them again today, so that's a good sign.
This gives us something easy and different for lunches, at least for a while. Plus, they have less fat than mayo on sandwiches, use less meat and cheese than a regular sandwich, I can get some wholewheat into the lunch bag, and there's less cleanup from lunch-making in the morning. Wonder what other combinations we could try. Roast beef and mozzarella? Maybe with a little pepper and onion in there? Turkey? We ought to have a few weeks worth of experimentation ahead of us!