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New Sandwiches & Back-to-School

It’s that time of year, when kids all over go back to school. It’s the time of year for new clothes, anxious bus stop waits, and bagged lunches. I tried to think back at the lunches that were packed for me, and sadly, I couldn’t remember. Were they that unremarkable? I think I had a ‘Garfield’ lunchbox.

Fast forward a few decades. I still have a bagged lunch. This time, I make them myself. I pack lunches for work because I’d rather have good, inexpensive, homemade lunches than whatever fast-food restaurant lingers near my workplace. Many times, my lunches consist of leftovers, with each little component packed neatly in individual containers. You should see some of the little spreads I create. Hot and cold courses separated. Condiments at the ready. Dressings in their own little jars. Real utensils.

Sometimes, I just have a sandwich.

I made this chicken specifically to make into sandwiches. I’m adding more Middle Eastern-inspired flavors into my repertoire. I’m enjoying the unusual combinations of spices and ingredients. Well, unusual for the average American. The Middle East is an area of interest, one that could take up a post all by itself. In the meantime, I will share this little bit with you. (Stay tuned at the end of the post. I’ll share a few more favorite sandwich creations)

Chicken Doner from the wok

Adapted from Oriental Basics

For the meat:

  • 1 1/2 lb chicken cutlets
  • 2 stalks mint
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tsp each sweet paprika, ground cumin, & ground corriander
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper

For the topping:

  • 1 small cucumber (less than 1/2 lb)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 sweet onions, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 4-8 lettuce leaves
  • sesame buns or small pitas (I only had French bread)
Inspired lunch

Inspired lunch

1. Cut the meat into thin strips. Wash and dry the mint, then finely chop. Peel the garlic and chop very fine with onion in a food processor. (Alternately, finely chop garlic, and grate onion.)

2. Combine spices with the oil, mint, garlic and onion, and stir well. Stir in meat strips and toss to coat thoroughly. Cover and chill in the fridge at least 4 hours, occasionally stirring.

3. To make the topping, peel cucumber then halve lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Finely grate the cucumber. Peel and crush the garlic clove, then add to the yogurt. Stir in the cucumber, then season with salt and pepper.

4. Preheat a wok or large, heavy skillet over high heat. Cook the meat strips in two portions, without oil, and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Keep cooked meat warm on a covered plate while cooking remaining meat.

5. Divide chicken between buns or pitas. Top with yogurt mixture, lettuce, tomato and onion.

More favorite sandwiches:

Roast beef, sharp cheddar & horseradish on sourdough

Roast beef, crumbled blue cheese, lettuce & tomato, oil & vinegar, on French bread (steak house salad on bread!)

Ham, brie, tart apples & Dijon on a baguette

Ham, Swiss or brie & chutney on Sourdough

Roast chicken, goat cheese & oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes on a baguette

Roast chicken, goat cheese & chutney on French.

Wrapped in waxed paper, these pack well for a out-of-the-ordinary office lunch.