Rush Hour

When you're really in a rush, it's hard to beat a good sandwich. But that doesn't mean that you should pull up to the drive thru window at the local fast food joint. You can enjoy a healthy meal that's tasty and fast. The key is having the right things on hand and doing a little work in advance.

Because sandwiches are a regular part of my weekday lunches, I try to have a wide variety of ingredients on hand to make them interesting. Here are a few ideas:

  • Always have a variety of spreads and relishes available -- and don't be afraid to make your own.
  • Remember that iceberg lettuce is fine, but keep some other greens around to perk up your next sandwich. Basil, spinach and clover sprouts are all great choices.
  • Don't be afraid to experiment with some sweet additions such as jams or thinly sliced fruit. Add some raspberry preserves to a ham and cheese sandwich or sliced peaches to a roasted turkey club.
  • Fresh tomatoes, onions, pickles or cucumbers, olives and other veggies add taste and texture to sandwiches -- don't forget them!

The open-faced sandwich featured in this month's column gets its kick from a tangy spread that can be made ahead. In fact, I suggest you double the recipe for the spread and keep some extra on hand for your other sandwiches.

Open-Faced Smoked Turkey Sandwiches

  • 4 slices bread
  • 4 T. Everything Spread (see below)
  • 1 c. fresh basil leaves
  • 12 oz. smoked turkey, deli-sliced
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced onion
  • 3 oz. sliced Monterey jack cheese

Spread each of the 4 slices of bread with 1 T. of the Everything Spread. Layer the basil leaves, turkey, onion and cheese on top of the slices of bread. Broil 3 inches from the heat for about 2 minutes or until the cheese melts. Serve immediately with your favorite salad and fresh green onions.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Everything Spread

  • 2 1/2 T. nonfat mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well. Recipe can be multiplied. Store any unused spread tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to one week.

  • Yields: 4 servings (serving = 1 tablespoon)
  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes