Grilled Cheese

My niece and nephew were over this weekend. After they had been running around and playing I asked if they were hungry. I got two yeses across the board so I decided to make them something quick because I truthfully didn’t have anything prepared that would’ve been a quick small meal.  So I decided on grilled cheese sandwiches.  Theirs were made with your classic white bread and American cheese …. And I made one for myself on my light bread using fat free american cheese.
This is a great, quick meal where I’m able to have a sandwich with my niece and nephew and not have to sit on the “sidelines” and have my niece or nephew wonder why auntie isn’t having lunch with them.
The greatest part this sandwich is ONLY 3 points plus values!  How? Well, I use light Italian bread.  I buy the store brand because it’s cheaper but I do know Country Kitchen makes a version which is also 1 points plus value. Brand names differ region to region but if you can find a Light Italian they’re typically the same calories/points plus value wise.  For cheese … I use 1 slice of fat free American. Butter? I use a few sprays of spray butter on each side of my bread and toast it up until nice and crisp.
I’ve even jazzed my sandwich up in the past with some deli meat or if I want to keep it simple and light I’ve even added slices of tomato with some black pepper to season it.
Are you a grilled cheese fan?

Chicken Barb Sandwich

I live in an area where the Chicken Barb Sandwich was born. Chicken barbs are known universally throughout my area and the cities surrounding it. When someone who is not from my area hears of the sandwich they assume it means chicken with barbecue sauce … but that is not it.
Here’s a little history … chicken barbs were “developed” in Lawrence, Massachusetts. If you get it from a restaurant/diner the chicken is cooked in a pressure cooker which was cooked in a seasoned water.  The sandwich is constructed on a bun and has lettuce, mayonnaise, shredded chicken and lettuce leaves on it.  When I make these at home I boil my chicken (which I’ve seasoned with poultry seasoning) and boiled off in a covered pot with chicken stock. Since I make them at home I tailor them to my liking – by adding some tomato to it and seasoning it with a little extra black pepper and a dash of salt.
It’s a delicious, simple yet filling sandwich and it’s so unique that I love it.  The entire sandwich was only 9 points plus.
What is one of your favorite foods that have been ‘invented” in your area?

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McDonald’s Southwest Grilled Chicken Premium McWrap

I was awarded a Klout perk to try the new McDonald’s Southwest Grilled Chicken Premium McWrap. I was interested in trying it because I’ve tried the Sweet Chili Grilled Chicken McWrap and found I quite enjoyed that one. I figured with “southwest” in the title, it was going to be spicy.
The McWraps come in both grilled and crispy (fried). I always opt for the grilled version because I just find that to be more satisfying. The grilled sandwich itself is described as “Grilled chicken breast with cilantro lime glaze, crunchy tortilla strips, fresh spring greens, sliced tomato, shredded cheddar jack cheese, and a spicy, creamy habanero ranch sauce — wrapped up in a soft, warm flour tortilla.” Upon ordering my McWrap I opted to order it without cheese and tortilla strips because it was just a personal preference.
Bringing my sandwich home I unwrapped it and was anticipating it to be a little spicy … after all McDonald’s slogan on their nutrition page for the sandwich says “add a little spice to your day.” Now, I’m not a wimp when it comes to spice – I can pretty much handle my own.  I took one bite and it was okay, but rather plain because the sauce wasn’t on that part. I took another bite and whoooooo-weeee! It was spicy. I took another bite and my mouth was on fire.  After taking a fourth bite my nose was running, my mouth was in a blaze (I felt like I could breathe fire), and I was just overall uncomfortable. McDonald’s calls this sandwich spicy? This sandwich takes that statement to a WHOLEnew level. In fact this should come with a warning because this is not for the faint of heart … nor is it for those who, like me, enjoy a pretty moderate level of spice in their food.  It was too spicy to be enjoyable, let alone palatable.
One day while out with my mother she mentioned something about the new McWrap.  She’s not a spice lover, so I told her to not even bother. I actually told her, I feel this sandwich could be fed to people on Fear Factor – except those folks would have to eat 5+ of these before their head blew off their shoulders from all the internal “steam”.
The grilled southwest McWrap as is without any substitutions is 520 calories or 14 points plus values.
The grilled southwest McWrap as I ordered it without cheese and tortilla strips is 430 calories or 11 points plus values.
If you wanted to order it without cheese but with the tortilla strips it would be 470 calories or 12 points plus values.
I can’t say I’d ever order this again … in fact, I’ll stay as far away from it as I can.
Have you given the new Southwest McWrap a shot? If so, how’d it fare on your taste buds?

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Homemade Chicken Shawarma Sandwiches

Chicken shawarma sandwiches are one of my favorite Lebanese dishes. I enjoy them so much that I purchase the shawarma seasoning at my local Lebanese store and make them at home. Although my shawarma sandwiches are slightly different than a shawarma you’d get at a restaurant.
Incase you’re not familiar with shawarma it’s an Arabic dish that consists of either chicken, lamb, beef, turkey or veal that has been seasoned with spices and grilled or “roasted” on a spit. If cooked on a rotating spit, the meat is trimmed off and added to your sandwich. I’ve had shawarma that way while in NYC, but back at home I’ve always had it grilled or cooked on a hot top. The sandwiches are usually encased in pita bread.
Shawarma can be served up in a number of ways – really depending on where you get the sandwich from.  It can be served with tabbouleh, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, tahini, hummus, pickled turnips, pickle, garlic mayonnaise, hot sauce, etc.
Making the dish at home, I clean and cut up my chicken into small chunks. I then make my shawarma seasoning, which is mixed with water.  The directions call to marinate the meat and grill up after marinating, but I pour the marinade over the chicken, add in tomato, garlic and onion and I bake it off in the oven for roughly 30-40 minutes.  After it’s cooled for about 5 minutes, I add in a few tablespoons of hummus to help thicken the “sauce”.  I serve the chicken, tomato and onion mixture on pita bread, with lettuce, red onion, and tabbouleh.
It’s completely delicious, filling and it’s a nice ode to a classic sandwich.  The whole sandwich pictured is only 9 points plus values. Worth it? You betcha!
Do you make your own version of a classic sandwich at home?

Don’t play with your food … well, unless it smiles at you!

First of all, how cute is this?! It was almost so cute that I didn’t want to eat it. But … I admit that I did.
I really wanted peanut butter, but since I didn’t want a peanut butter sandwich, I decided to make a peanut butter banana and peanut butter apple sandwich.  Admittedly this is not something I normally make but it’s nice to step outside the box.  Plus it was so delicious, I’ve decided this is going to be a dish I make more often.
I started by slicing up a fuji apple into thick slices and removed the core.  I then peeled my banana and sliced it down the middle.  I measured out 2 tablespoons of PB Crave CoCo Bananas peanut butter and smeared it onto the banana and stuck the top on, then smeared it over the apples and made a sandwich out of them.  It resembled an adorable happy food face.
The greatest part was it was filling, I got 2 fruits in for the day, and I got a serving of healthy fat all for 5 points plus values. Yummo!
Do you like PB Apple or PB Banana sandwiches?

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Bahn Mi

I have a local Vietnamese grocery store that gets in fresh cooked foods every Saturday morning. I had to pop into the store to pick up some vegetables and seasonings to help make eggrolls. Since there I decided to pick up one of my favorite sandwiches – a Bahn Mi.
Incase you don’t know what a bahn mi is, it’s a Vietnamese sandwich which is made on a Vietnamese style French baguette – the bread itself is softer and chewier and not as “bready” and is comparable to a hoagie roll.  Every place tends to make them slightly different, but they all tend to follow the same line of ingredients.  This particular sandwich has seasoned seared beef as the protein and it’s loaded with fresh and pickled vegetables – cucumber, parsley (or cilantro, but this particular sandwich has parsley on it), and pickled daikon radish and carrots.  It’s brought together by a bit of mayonnaise and spicy chili sauce (or in some instances jalapenos).  The sandwich itself is delicious and so different from anything sandwich I’ve ever had. The ingredients are relatively simple but when together it makes a fabulous and delicious meal.
Since I did not make this, I had to guestimate at the points plus values. I looked up what bahn mi’s were points wise on the E-tools app and tried to guestimate as close as possible to the true value – 12 points plus. I did take the meat out of my sandwich and weigh it (it was 2 ounces), so that gave me a good estimate, plus an estimate for the bread and then the mayonnaise.  I do enjoy these and I do have them from time to time as a nice different meal.
Have you ever had a bahn mi?

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Sandwich Bros. Gyro Sliders

After trying out the Sandwich Bros. Angus Burgers I decided to give the Sandwich Bros. Gyro Slidersa try.  I’m a fan of gyros every now and again, but since it’s hard to find Gyros in my area, unless I travel to get them, that these would be a unique and different treat.  I do on occasion make a chicken gyro at home, but … it’s true sometimes a gyro just isn’t complete without that burger/lamb meat combination.
The thing I like about these Sandwich Bros sandwiches is the fact they are all set and ready to eat. The only work involved is wrapping the sandwich up in a napkin and heating in the microwave for 40 seconds. It really simplifies a quick meal or snack without having to think much.
The gyro is, as are all the sandwiches in the line, encased in a soft pita bread pocket. The gyro meat is flavorful and juicy.  I will say it’s not truly complete without some tzatziki sauce, tomato and onion.  The pockets are small, but they can hold additional toppings, which is a plus.  I think these are good but they’re not as good as the Angus Burgers I tried.
Each sandwich is 150 calories – which translates to 4 points plus values.
Have you tried the Sandwich Bros. Gyro Sliders?

Sandwich Bros. Angus Burger

A new item hit my local grocery stores shelves a few weeks ago and they had me intrigued. Firstly because they are premade small sandwiches but the kicker is they are served inside pita bread (one of my favorite breads). There are a wide range of sandwiches available but I decided to go with the classic hamburger as my introduction to the line.

The Sandwich Bros. Angus Burgers are half of an angus hamburger stuffed into a small but moderately thick pita bread. The sandwiches are fully cooked and only require heating up in the microwave. Lunch or a snack can be served in a mere 45 seconds or less. There are times when I’m hungry, bordering on hanger (hungry and angry mixed together) and these can give me a quick meal in a jiffy – plus they don’t require any assembly or thought process.

After heating my sandwich, I dropped in a squirt of ketchup, 2 halved grape tomatoes and a small piece of lettuce. After the first bite, I was sold — they are delicious! The hamburger packs great flavor and the bread is nice and chewy. It truly is a great little snack or lunch (although for lunch I would have 2 of them).

The nutrition stats aren’t bad at all. Points plus wise each sandwich is 3 points plus, although if you were to have two they would be 7 points plus. I found they really are a great “grab and go” meal. Quite enjoyable and I hope this line sticks around for a while because it’s a nice shake up from the norm.

Have you tried anything from the Sandwich Bros. line?

Chicken Philly Cheese “Steaks”

I make homemade steak and cheese often, but I was in the mood for a different twist on a classic.  I threw out the idea of chicken philly cheese steaks and my boyfriend was on board as long as the meat was sans cheese.  That’s a doable request, plus it’s the way I prefer my homemade sandwiches, so off and prepping we went.
These turned out quite delicious and were enjoyed for a couple days.  I wrapped my sandwich up in a large pita bread from a local Lebanese bakery in town.  I tend to prefer my wraps that way because one of my all time favorite sandwiches is a steak and cheese salad – which is a steak and cheese, on top of a bed of salad, rolled up into a pita.
My large bread was 4 points plus values, my slice of fat free American was 1 points plus values, and my meat mixture was 3 points plus values (I weigh out the meat per ounces and then sprinkle over the onions, peppers and mushrooms).  I layered my chicken over a bed of salad and then topped with some reduced sugar ketchup.
I cooked the vegetables in the microwave with seasonings to get the consistency I was looking for.  I cook my onions and peppers together and cook the mushrooms in their own container (because in my family, mushrooms aren’t a favorite by all).
Here’s how I made the chicken philly “steaks”:

  • 1 lb chicken breast, trimmed of fat, sliced into strips
  • 1 large red and green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 small package sliced mushroom
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon, Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon, McCormick Steak Seasoning
Toss chicken with minced garlic and McCormick steak seasoning, a splash of pepper and salt.
Spritz a pan with non-stick cooking spray and drizzle in 1 teaspoon of olive oil.  Heat on medium high until pan is hot.  Add in raw chicken and cook on one side then turn over to cook evenly on the other.
Add sliced peppers and onions to a microwave safe bowl. Add in a sprinkle of black pepper, salt and half of the Mrs. Dash seasoning and drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons of water.  Cover with a loose microwave safe cover and cook for 3 minutes, stirring when done. Place back into the microwave for an additional 2 minutes until onions and peppers are soft but still holds shape.
Add mushrooms to a microwave safe bowl; add in a sprinkle of black pepper, salt and half of the Mrs. Dash seasoning and 2 tablespoons of water.  Cook for 3 minutes, stirring when done, returning back to the microwave until mushrooms are softened.
When vegetables are done, drain excess water from bowls and toss vegetables with the cooked chicken.
Assemble sandwiches – weighing out your portion of chicken (sans vegetables).  Add in veggies after measuring out ounces of protein.
Please adjust your points plus values for the dish based on the ounces of chicken you are eating, as well as the bread of choice and your choice of cheese!

Ham “Club” Sandwiches

This here is a sandwich I find I sometimes tend to gravitate towards whenever BLT’s are on the menu.  I like protein to pack a punch in my meals and sometimes just 6 slices of ultra-thin turkey bacon isn’t going to do the trick.  I realize club sandwiches typically come with 3 slices of bread, but there is no need for that especially since, if I am really hungry, two sandwiches are more than sustainable.
I purchase the Butterball Ultra-Thin Turkey Bacon which you can have 3 slices of bacon for 1 points plus value.  Usually I have 6 slices of bacon for 2 points plus values, which in my opinion is the best “bang for your buck” turkey bacon on the market.
Each sandwich is 4 points plus values each, two being 8 points plus values.  I do usually add 1 tablespoon of Hellmann’s light mayonnaise into the mix (adding half of it onto each sandwich) making the two sandwiches 9 points plus.  Or if you truly only wanted one you could use one teaspoon of the light mayo and still keep it 4 points plus.
Here’s what I use to assemble my 2 sandwiches (if you only want one sandwich, cut each amount listed in half):
4 slices Light Italian bread, toasted
4 ounces shaved Krakus Polish Imported Ham
6 slices Butterball Ultra-Thin turkey bacon
1 tablespoon Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise
Tomato, sliced
Onion, sliced
These are a home run. They’re delicious, filling and you feel like you’re having something you’d order at a dinner … but in the comfort of your own home.