July is National Sandwich Generation Month — a time to recognize the efforts of those men and women who pull double-duty, attending to the needs of aging parents while raising their own children and oftentimes juggling a professional career, as well.
In honor of a role that is both challenging and rewarding, here are five sandwiches for the sandwich generation:
Elegantly simple grilled cheese
Fast and simple—if not entirely healthy—this sandwich does double-duty as an easy-to-make comfort food that is acceptable fare for both you, the kids and your parents. Adding spinach, tomatoes, onions, avocado, berries, apples and other fruits and vegetables can up the nutrition factor and help balance out the creaminess of the cheese. Strategies for building the ideal grilled cheese include:
- Use the right kind of cheese, and combine them for a richer flavor profile. Ideal cheeses include: American, Fontina, Gruyere, Tallegio and Brie (especially tasty when paired with the aforementioned berries). But you’ll want to stay away from crumbly, aged cheeses such as goat, feta and Parmesan. Vegan cheese is also tricky to use in grilled cheese as it melts slightly differently than traditional cheese. Remember, different cheeses have different melting times, so make sure to keep an eye on the status of your sandwich fillings and use cheese slices for more even melting.
- Stale bread can be a boon when making grilled cheese, since it has even less moisture than fresh bread.
- A little bit of pre-toasting in the pan or toaster is key to achieving golden-brown goodness and eliminating soggy bread.
- Two flat griddles can act as a makeshift panini press.
Meatball sub made in a crockpot
A crockpot is one of the handiest kitchen appliances for time-crunched caregivers. Meatballs made in the crockpot are very moist and retain just the right balance of texture and taste.
- 1 pound ground beef (or chicken, buffalo, etc.)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 28 ounces of spaghetti sauce
- 16 ounces crushed tomato (1 can)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- Mix ground beef, garlic, parsley, onion, egg and breadcrumbs in a bowl. Form into a dozen, equally-sized meatballs.
- Place spaghetti sauce, crushed tomatoes and meatballs into crockpot and cook 6-8 hours on low.
PB & J perfection
A perfect snack for those rare nights when everyone else is asleep and it’s just you, your sandwich and a blissfully silent house. In lieu of a recipe, here are a few tips for elevating this anytime classic:
- Use pieces of organic fruit instead of artificially-sweetened jelly, and swap almond butter with healthy omega-3 fats for peanut butter.
- Place your completed sandwich on the grill or griddle—or even a waffle iron—for a warm treat that contains the perfect blend of crunchy softness.
- Don’t feel like you need to stick to the traditional white or wheat bread. Banana bread and zucchini bread are two flavorful bases on which to construct your PB and J masterpiece.
Energy-maximizing Mediterranean wrap
For those members of the sandwich generation who feel so wrapped up in the lives of their parents and children that they don’t know where their own lives begin, this low-carb alternative to the traditional sandwich may provide a much-needed energy boost to get everything untangled. Using a whole grain or spinach wrap, salmon or lean chicken, pine nuts, olives, zucchini, tomatoes, spinach and other vegetables, and a drizzle of olive oil or hummus spread in lieu of cholesterol-laden condiments, helps you tap in to the many health benefits that can be found in Mediterranean foods. And adding couscous, quinoa or bulgur wheat can help boost the staying power of this pared-down sandwich.
Indulgent ice cream sandwich options
Because you should never feel the need to justify a little indulgence. You can go the traditional route—rectangular chocolate wafers with vanilla ice cream in the middle—or, you can mix things up a bit:
- Make a healthier alternative to the traditional ice cream filling by blending up frozen bananas or frozen Greek yogurt and add a few pieces of fruit, some nuts, or bits of dark chocolate for extra taste.
- Sandwich your frozen dairy base between chocolate chip cookies, brownies, donuts, waffles or cinnamon rolls.
“5 Fabulous Sandwich Recipes to Honor the Sandwich Generation“originally appeared on AgingCare.com.
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By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor