Do Without

Sandwiches

One of the most frequently asked questions in my inbox is, “What do you use for sandwich bread?”

The answer is simple: I use French bread.

I sometimes will make baguettes and have sandwiches like I did in France: ham, cheese, and mustard on bread. More often, though, I’ll slice the bread, and just use it that way.

For meats, I’ll cook a bone-in ham, or a whole turkey. I use an electric knife to cut the ham from the bone in several large chunks. I then use my meat slicer to cut in into deli-thin meat. I was using a $5 meat slicer that I picked up used from a garage sale, until the motor burned out. We decided to replace it with a nicer slicer this time (with a stronger motor). I saved up my Amazon credit (thank you dear readers for purchasing through my links!) and I bought this one. I use it to slice bread as well. I can slice bread thinner on the slicer than by hand.

Turkey sandwiches on French bread with mayonnaise, tomatoes, basil, and Italian dressing

I will sometimes shred the cooked turkey and mix it with barbecue sauce, and add tomatoes from the garden (in summer).

I purchase ham and turkey on sale for under $1 a pound at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter (usually $0.75 a pound and under). I freeze them to use throughout the year.

When I have lettuce or arugula from the garden in spring and fall, I’ll use that on my sandwiches. In summer (when it’s too hot for lettuce to grow here), we’ll often have tomatoes and basil on our sandwiches, (or just tomato basil sandwiches!) We love Italian dressing on our sandwiches.

We’ll also have Thanksgiving style sandwiches, with mayonnaise, turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing.

I’ve planted a lot of basil up the walkway in front of our house so that I’ll be able to make pesto, which is delicious on a turkey or chicken sandwich with cheese. I plan on making these this fall when we have lots of basil.

Tuna melts are another favorite at our house, made with tuna fish, pepper, mayonnaise, homemade sweet pickle relish, and topped with cheese. We make those on our griddle. We also make grilled cheese sandwiches.

To go with our sandwiches, we’ll have homemade pickles, or giardiniera. We also always have some type of fruit with our sandwiches, depending on what is in season. Last week I cooked a ham and we had apples, peaches, and grapes from our garden with our sandwiches. I’ve also served carrots and dip made with homemade yogurt alongside our sandwiches.

What is your favorite kind of sandwich? What inexpensive sides do you serve with your sandwiches?

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26 Comments

  1. My husband and I have been looking at meat slicers, thinking it would be useful. I just didn’t know which one would work, or if the cost was worth it. I am also the only one in the house that can slice the bread straight so everyone waits for me to do it. Sam’s will slice hams for you around here, but Costco doesn’t. Costco prices are a dollar less per pound. So we just stopped eating sliced ham. Tools make such a difference. I’ll have to look again at slicers.My favorite sandwiches are chicken salad (with grapes) on croissants, cobb salad sandwich wraps, blt wraps (I like to add avocado or roasted red pepper), monte cristos, and shredded molasses BBQ pork tenderloin on flatbread. We don’t eat them regularly, but you just asked what we liked! I generally make loaf bread. I love french bread, but haven’t been successful yet with your recipe. I really want to get it right so I”ll have to try it again.

  2. We are not big sandwich eaters, in that we seldom use meat in them, but in the summer we like BLTs. We don’t do grilled cheese– we do open face cheese sandwiches under the broiler. Two of the children took a PBJ sandwich every day for school from K-12. We also make egg salad (lots of celery) and tuna ( lots of celery and homemade pickle relish.).I do bake a lot of bread but it overwhelmingly goes for toast. We eat a lot of toast and jam.My favorite sandwiches are radish slices and butter or sardine. I prefer rye bread. Our favorite sides are homemade pickles (I prefer dill, husband likes bread and butter), or corn relish. Cottage cheese is a good side with a sandwich too, sprinkled with chives. Or pickled beets, or pickled eggs or pickled beans …basically anything pickled.

  3. Oh, I like those too. The best one I ever had was when I was seven and having a sleepover at a friends house. Her mother made them for us for breakfast. First time I ever had one.

  4. Anthanasia,My mother-in-law made open-faced cheese sandwiches in her toaster oven with tomato slices on it as well. I don’t have a toaster oven but I could make them in the broiler! I love that idea!I love rye bread, too; I like sauerkraut and corned beef with spicy mustard. That’s something I haven’t had in years, though.I like the idea of cottage cheese as a side. I haven’t bought that in many years.We don’t have peanut butter and jelly at my house. Neither my husband nor I like it, nor do any of our children.

  5. This afternoon I found an expensive can of chickpeas to try your “chicken salad”. I have never eaten this before and was really surprised at how good it was. I used celery, grape halves, mayo, coarse brown mustard and pecan pieces. I was really surprised at how good it tasted. Thanks, Debbie!

  6. Yes, we do our open face in the broiler. I like Swiss cheese, with sliced onions and dipped in coarse ground mustard. We cook up several corned beefs when they are on sale in March and cook them, have a big get-together of any one who like corned beef and cabbage and then slice up the rest for a couple meals of sandwiches. We do the Swiss cheese, meat, sauerkraut and mustard. I put them in the George Foreman grill to toast them and melt the cheese. I do not use the sauce on them that is common with ruben sandwiches. We just use mustard.Cottage cheese is one of those must have ingredients at our house, for eating as is and as an ingredient.We love peanut butter here. I have 2 part time jobs and at my desk in each place I have a jar of peanut butter and a box of matzoh crackers for snacks. My youngest keeps a small container of peanut butter in her backpack to eat with crackers or apple slices when hungry at school. I told you about the two that ate PBJ every day already. My husband eats a piece of PB toast almost every evening as a snack. There have been times of panic when someone has thought we were out of PB. Isn’t it funny what is such a staple in one household is not in others?

  7. We don’t really eat PB&J, but I do take advantage of every opportunity to combine a coupon and sale and get it on the cheap. Several jars of PB in the pantry are a HUGE supply of protein if there should be no way to cook, or a sudden loss of income. Makes good cookies, too. A toasted cinnamon raisin bagel half with PB and some fresh fruit are a fine breakfast.

  8. I had a sandwich toasted on the griddle the other evening with Publix’s Italian Five Grain bread (my weakness–I never should have bought it!)with Duke’s Mayo, sliced grape tomatoes, mozzerella cheese and basil leaves. Delish!

  9. A meat slicer that is not to expensive but will work well (with great care is the Oster I think it is a GP11 041K (according to my box) You can find them on ebay for under $30 just take care with little ones around.

  10. I added some basil, oregano, and garlic salt to your French bread recipe. Love! I crock-potted a pork roast with a can of cream of mushroom for dinner the other night and reheated the leftovers for lunch with some of this bread to accompany as a sandwich (alongside some diced tomatoes from our garden) – yum!

  11. I added basil, oregano, and garlic salt to your French bread recipe. Love! I also crock-potted a pork roast with a can of cream of mushroom soup the other night for dinner and reheated some leftovers to accompany this bread as a sandwich (alongside some diced tomatoes from our garden). Yum!

  12. Geeorgene, being curious, I once kept track of the meals my husband and I got out of a ten pound boneless ham. We got 17 meals, but 45 servings. That is about 44.5 cents a serving, as the ham was $1.99 a pound. (My husband often has seconds, I occasionally do.) A serving was sometimes a good sized ham slice, other times it was a bowl of potato/ham soup, a ham and cheese biscuit, a ham sandwich, or a bowl of beans and ham.The late Peg Bracken said there was nothing quite as convenient for quick tasty meals as “a ham in residence.”In your calculations for how many large meats you would use in a year, allow for how often you might need to cook one for company, and whether it is the custom in your family to send part of the leftovers home with guests.

  13. That’s going to depend on you, and how often you want to eat turkey and ham! It will depend on how much meat you put on a sandwich and in other things.I used to do 7 turkeys when I just had the fridge above the freezer. I would cook 4 in November and freeze the cooked meat, and then keep the other 3 frozen for a while. We know have that plus a separate stand-alone freezer that’s pretty decent-sized. I love that. Last year (I think it was last year) we said yes to a free side by side. That is mostly for the fridge; the freezer there is tiny and it’s hard to fit many turkeys in a side by side. The ice compartment takes up a lot of room on those as well.

  14. I know this post is old, but I just thought I would throw a few questions out there and see if perhaps anyone happened to see them. I am very interested in purchasing the meat slicer that Brandy has. Does anyone know if it works well? I would like to make pork loin and turkey breast and then slice them thin to make meat for sandwiches. I saw a sale today for a whole frozen turkey breast for .99 cents a pound. Since we moved here a little over a year ago, I have never seen a price this low! Even last Thanksgiving Turkeys were $1.29 a pound on sale.I work full time during the day and my husband works evenings. I came home the other day to find that my bachelor brother had brought twinkies over and that is what they both had for lunch! I decided then that I had to come up with a frugal way to make “quick” and healthy lunches for them since our budget is very tight right now. If I were to cook a turkey, does anyone know how to cook a turkey so that it would come out tasting a little similar to store bought? Do you think if I were to slice the meat and package it in ziplock bags that I could freeze some for later?Thank you for any advice!

  15. I’m really happy with this meat slicer; it is doing so much better than the lower-priced ones we had before (one that I got at a garage sale for $5; it was one of those $40 ones and I had used one of those before). This was has a much more powerful motor. It has been fantastic, and we use it a lot.I cook my turkeys breast-down; you can see directions on my website. This makes a natural broth in the pan that almost reaches the top. When you cut the breast from the turkey (or any of the meat, really, but the breast is easiest for slicing) make sure to dip it in the broth before you do anything else with it. We usually pull turkey meat off, dip it, and freeze some to use later. The rest gets pulled off and dipped and put in the fridge, or cut and dipped and then sliced. The meat from the store has a lot more water added to it to give it that texture (so turkey tends to shred more than ham) but you could always brine your turkey first and see if that helps, too. You can definitely freeze it in freezer bags for later; we do that with every single turkey that we make.Pork loin would be super easy to slice; it’s already just the right size for putting on a sandwich.If you don’t have the money for a slicer, you can still cut them by hand. You can also use an electric knife to cut slices. We’ve also shredded the turkey and mixed it with barbeque sauce for sandwiches.As long as I have some turkey in the fridge, some mayo, and some homemade bread, my husband can make some sandwiches. Apples are coming in season; perhaps you can get some on sale to have as a side with your sandwiches.

  16. A. Lopez, there have been times when I needed to be sure my husband would eat properly while I was gone. For a couple of meals beforehand, I would cook enough to be sure there were leftovers. I would fix complete meals in sectioned microwaveable plates with covers. With a few of these in the fridge, plus sandwich makings and fresh fruit and cookies, plus breakfast cereal, even the most non-cooking husband should be able to feed himself.

  17. Brandy, just wanted to say how much I love your blog. I can see the love you out into creating a beautiful home and meals for your family. I read through your blog a couple of times a week and find inspiration and encouragement when I seem to be low on both. You continue to give me great ideas for meals and an attitude of gratefulness.

  18. Brandy, I just wanted to say I loved sandwich and also I prepared at my home with meat, cheese, bread etc. Even I have an automatic meat slicer that can be helped me a lot to slicing the meat, vegetable when preparing a sandwich in the morning breakfast for me and our families, it’s very time reducing when you can using a meat slicer at home. It sliced the meat at the proper shape, that can be loved my children’s.

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