THERE’S USUALLY A WAY TO MAKE it more interesting, but not always time. I went to a parents’ discussion at our local library last night, something that made me feel extremely grown-up, where the social worker who was speaking described parenthood in two ways: sometimes it’s about surviving, other times we’re thriving. Immediately I thought of cooking because that’s exactly how I feel in the kitchen. Sometimes there’s enough time to carefully consider a fun way to spice up lunch, sometimes we’re lucky to have the makings of a PB&J in the house.
This week, we spent a little extra time on sandwiches and discovered a new noon-time favorite. And it works for any kind of sandwich.
Straight from the pages of Weelicious Lunches, an expensive ($29.99) but adorable book brimming with creative lunch ideas (160 of them), we found these rolled sandwiches. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this sooner but I’m so glad that someone else did!
To make them, you take a regular piece of bread, crust and all, and simply roll it out with a rolling pin. (I like Arnold 100% Whole Grain because it’s loaded with whole grains and fiber, doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup and it’s a good shape for these. No affiliation with them, just a fan.) This makes the bread flatter and bigger. Spread on your usual toppings — or go rogue and add a few new/good-for-you ingredients — and just roll the whole thing up. This part’s important: use a bread knife to cut them into 3 parts, like sushi. If you don’t, your bread will get all squished down on the sides. (I know because that’s what happened when I was trying to avoid using a second knife for this project the first time I tried it. Use the second knife. And even a steak knife works in a pinch.)
We’ve done them with PB&J and also turkey, mayo, mustard and mini dill pickles. Now when I’m trying to coax the kids off the playground during preschool pickup, I can just say, “Let’s go home and make rolly pollies!” Actual cheering starts. And funnier still, other kids on the playground start yelling it too, even though they have no idea what they are. “Rolly pollies! Rolly pollies!” (Hey parents, I’m sending you this link today just in case you’re wondering what the heck the kids are talking about!)
I won’t be making rolled up sandwiches forever, but for now, it actually takes about one more minute than it does to prepare a real sandwich and there are three more benefits:
- It’s easy to entice kids who’ve suddenly decided they don’t like sandwiches (or bread, or cheese) to try them.
- You can just as easily make yourself a turkey or PB&J sandwich in the regular fashion and everyone is eating the same thing.
- Portion size: This is one piece of bread and that amount of food is perfect for a preschooler. If you have bigger kids, by all means make them two but for my 1, 2 and 4-year-olds, this is just right.