I want cheap, fast food for dinner. I’m not talking about the stuff you get at the drive-through window. I’m talking about food that’s healthy, that I can make at home, quickly. That’s why I cherish the sandwich. Sandwiches are the ultimate ultra-quick dinner. I can whip up a satisfying dinner sandwich start to finish in 30 minutes or less without a hitch. To keep it interesting and feeling more like dinner, I change up what I make, and think beyond the deli-meat and cheese combos. What I put between my two pieces of bread varies each time, but what remains constant is the fact that sandwiches are budget-friendly recipes. At $3 a serving or less if you make it at home, that’s nearly half of what you would pay for a sandwich at a store. Now that’s my idea of cheap fast food.
Here are a few of my “go-to” sandwich recipes that take 30 minutes or less:
Chicken Parmesan Sub You may disagree on whether the chicken parm sandwich should be known as a “sub,” “hoagie” or “grinder,” but who doesn't love this neighborhood-deli classic? We've added some spinach and done away with all the greasy breading to make it more healthy. Make it a meal: The sandwich is filling and complete on its own, but add some crunch with carrots, celery and cucumbers on the side.
Hot Chile Grilled Cheese This deconstructed version of a chile relleno turned sandwich packs some heat and an ooey-gooey filling. We like the flavor of sourdough, but any kind of bread will work well. Serve with: Coleslaw and sliced pineapple.
Indian Spiced Chicken Pitas Make a perfect supper: grill spice-rubbed chicken breasts and tuck them into whole-wheat pitas along with fresh vegetables and a tangy yogurt sauce. Serve with: Grilled vegetables and a pilsner.
Italian Vegetable Hoagies: This delightfully easy, and somewhat messy, sandwich packs a punch with sweet balsamic vinegar, artichoke hearts, red onion, provolone cheese and zesty pepperoncini. We love it for dinner as well as lunch. If you’re packing the hoagies to take along, keep the ingredients separate and assemble right before eating to avoid soggy bread. Serve with tomato and cucumber salad.