If you’re anything like me, you too will hate having to make sandwiches for your families lunchboxes everyday! Cue a busy morning of dressing, feeding and making sure everyone has everything they need for the school or work day, and making sandwiches becomes an unnecessarily stressful addition to the morning rush. And, if you ask me..it is boring and monotonous too.
I find that no matter how organised I am with all the bits (you know, the fruit, crackers, sweet treat, drinks and veges etc) that go into the lunch box, making sure you have fresh bread and tasty filling ingredients is sometimes a challenge…I also like to bulk buy and take advantage of offers whenever I can so that I can keep costs down for my family of 5. Because of this, in the interests of keeping my daily sanity, keeping the kids and hubby fed and happy and sticking to a family budget, I decided to try out freezer sandwiches. I hopped onto the internet and researched ingredients that freeze well and those that don’t (don’t worry-you won’t need to do that, I have included my findings below-lucky you!)
Bread freezes incredibly well, and so do cooked meats and cheeses. I settled on a doing a trial of 3 loaves and three different meats with cheese and then various sauces. I created a “conveyer belt” on my kitchen counter..first buttering all the bread, then adding meat, then cheese and finally the sauce (if any-the kids don’t really like them) . Then it is off to the wrapping area.
I made the following freezer friendly sandwiches:
- Ham and cheese
- Plain ham
- Plain cheese
- Beef, cheese and mustard
- Beef, cheese and homemade chutney
- Chicken, cheese and chutney
How can you keep the Bread from Getting Soggy?
To keep your bread fresh and firm you need to make sure nothing watery can be soaked into it. The simplest way to do this is to put sauces on the inside (between other ingredients-not touching the bread) or add them later. I wanted to skip this step because a) kids can’t add sauces and b) my hubby doesn’t want to have to keep a bottle of Mayo in his office. The alternative is to put a layer of something high in fat over the inside of the bread, such as butter or peanut butter. Now that sounded like the easier version!
The filling choices are many so I’m pretty sure you’ll find something in this list to suit fussy eaters and adventurous palates alike:
- butter, margarine or cream cheese
- cheeses such as cheddar, Camembert, brie, Swiss, Parmesan, feta etc (but not cottage cheese). Note that full-fat cheese freezes better than low-fat cheese
- ham, cooked bacon, salami or deli meats (eg Devon)
- cooked chicken or turkey, roast beef, lamb or pork- yes, pretty much any cooked meats
- tinned tuna or salmon (drain well first- no soggy brine or oil to spoil the bread)
- smoked salmon
- cooked egg yolk (not egg white)
- cooked meatballs, slices of cooked meatloaf, leftover burger patties
- pesto, olive tapenade and mustard
- peanut butter, nutella and Vegemite/marmite
- honey, jam and golden syrup can be frozen but the bread may go a little soggy but kids don’t seem to mind (butter the bread first for best results)
- grilled eggplant (aubergine) and grilled zucchini (courgette)
- chopped olives and capers
- semi-dried or sun-dried tomatoes
- caramelised onion or onion jam
- pickles and chutneys
- Miracle whip
- salt and pepper
What Can’t Go In a Frozen Sandwich?
- lettuce of any sort
- celery, apples, grapes, like in a chicken or tuna salad sandwich
- raw onion- cooked/sauteed is good
- Mayonnaise and salad cream
* TOP TIP: Cut lettuce, tomato and other fresh toppings ahead, bag separately and keep refrigerated. These ‘sandwich kits’ can be put in your lunchbox with your frozen sandwich and added to the sandwich when you eat.
How to Freeze Sandwiches
Place sandwiches in cling wrap and then in foil or in freezer quality plastic bags . Label with stickers or a permanent marker (sharpie).
How to Thaw Sandwiches
This is not rocket science…put sandwiches in your lunchbox in the morning and by lunchtime they will have thawed on their own and be fresh and ready to eat.
And? you ask…how has the experiment gone? Well, I did not tell my kids or hubby that the sandwiches had been frozen and sent them off in their lunch boxes. Later that evening, I asked how their sandwiches had been and got a unanimous “good”. None the wiser to the previously frozen nature of their perfect lunches = one happy and less stressed mommy!
I hope this inspires you to have a go at freezer friendly sandwiches and to experience a less frantic morning.