One of my goals in the summer when we head out for the weekend, is to try to pack as minimally as possible. This means, strategically planning and prepping every meal and trying to use the ingredients to the fullest, so that we come home with an empty cooler. This pantry sandwich does just that. Pantry ingredients that work well together in the sandwich, and are great in other meals too if there are leftovers.
Pantry Sandwich Components
When I was developing this sandwich recipe, my criteria was:
Limited refrigeration required
Low squish factor
Easy on-site assembly and prep
I like using ciabatta buns for this sandwich because they are sturdy and don’t squish and flatten as much as hamburger buns do. You could also substitute with naan or tortillas for another low-squish option.
As a spread, I like olive tapenade. It’s briny, salty and full of flavor. Other options could be pesto, sundried tomato pesto or jarred antipasto.
I absolutely love sundried tomatoes. They are bursts of concentrated flavor and you can use them in so many other meals if you have some leftover. You can use sliced or whole sundried tomatoes for this. Oil-packed is best, so you don’t have to rehydrate the dried ones.
Roasted red peppers are an underrated pantry item. They are so sweet and perfectly roasted. Drain the liquid and pat them dry before adding them to your sandwich. I also love them in this Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup for a quick and easy slow-cooker meal.
Feta cheese is the last ingredient and the only ingredient you will need to pack in your cooler for your road trip. If you’re from Winnipeg, local Chaeban feta has a unique, creamy texture that you’re going to want to try! You can definitely substitute with a different cheese, like fresh mozzarella.
Making your pantry sandwich
The first step is to toast your buns. You can do this in a toaster, in the oven, on the BBQ, on a campfire or by drizzling with a bit of olive oil and grilling face-down in a skillet. Since all cottages and campsites have different amenities, you have a lot of options here. As I mentioned previously, you can also use naan or tortillas if you’d like a flatter option that would pack well in a backpack.
Next, spread some tapenade on the bottom half. You can definitely spread it on both halves if you want!
Follow up with a layer or sundried tomatoes, then roasted red peppers and finally crumbled feta.
Top it off with the other half of the bun and you’re done. Serve with a side salad or some crispy potato chips!
Using Up Leftovers
If you happen to have any leftover ingredients after making this sandwich, here’s how you can use them up.
Toss them into some hot pasta with some garlic-infused olive oil. Check out page 82 of the Ultimate Guide for some other pasta toss ideas.
This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.
Something we all tend to struggle with now and again is trying to get out of a food rut. Trying to find new ways to enjoy the foods we already love but eat way too often. Keeping the same flavors you already enjoy, but changing the way they’re presented is an excellent way to add variety to your menu.
This Asian Grilled Chicken Salad recipe from Manitoba Chicken Producers is a great base for spinning off other recipes. It serves 4-6 people, so you have the option of serving it family-style for dinner or splitting it up into containers for lunches. You could also make a smaller portion of the salad and use the remaining ingredients to make one of the three completely new meals that I’m sharing today. These three meals use all the same ingredients, along with a few extras:
Cashew Chicken Lettuce wraps
Asian Chicken Flatbread
Chicken Summer Rolls
Why is this a good idea?
If you already have the ingredients on hand, you may as well use them to their full potential. This prevents food waste and allows for flexibility and variety on your menu. Once you have already purchased some of these ingredients, for example, the hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and sweet chili sauce, you’re going to have more than enough to use in a few more meals, so you’re going to want some ideas to mix it up a bit. Also, if you make one of these recipes for dinner, you may want to use up the remaining ingredients to make a few lunches for the rest of the week.
If your life is busy like mine is, you’re going to want to save every minute you can in the kitchen, so you can have more time for relaxing and spending time with your family. There are many ways you can save time executing this dish. Here are a few:
Batch cook your chicken
If you plan on using these ingredients in the same week in different ways, grill up all your chicken at the same time. Slice it up and it’s ready to go for the salad, the summer roll, the flatbread and the lettuce wraps. If it isn’t a nice day, baking the chicken works just fine. Whichever cooking method you choose, be sure to use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. This chart will help you ensure your chicken is perfectly cooked.
Chop all your veggies at the same time
This will be especially helpful if you plan on using them in more than one meal in the same week.
Double the sauce, as needed.
Depending on which of the four recipes you will be making, double up the sauce if necessary. This will save you from having to make a second batch later.
Did you know that you should only store cooked chicken for three to four days in the fridge?
This guide is helpful for storing all cuts of chicken in your fridge and freezer.
Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps
I used romaine hearts for these because I love the crunch, but you could definitely use any larger leaf lettuce that could contain the filling. If you don’t have cashews, peanuts would be an excellent substitution.
This recipe is basically a salad on a pizza, minus the cheese. You will be topping it with the ingredients that can be served warm before popping it in the oven, then dressing it with a “salad” of julienned veggies, herbs and a squeeze of lime, once it comes out of the oven.
These Chicken Summer Rolls make a great lunch or appetizer. They are a bit more time-consuming to prepare than the other recipes, so you’ve been warned! You can use any amount of the sliced veggies for these rolls and you don’t really have to measure, which I love. If you don’t have some of the listed vegetables on hand, you could also try avocado and cucumber as substitutes.
These rolls tend to stick together when stored in the fridge, so it’s a good idea to either individually wrap them in plastic wrap, or a greener option is to place a lettuce or cabbage leaf between each roll when storing them in a container.
Chicken is an excellent ingredient for deconstructing and reconstructing because it is so versatile. If you’re looking for other ways to reconstruct and make the most out of the ingredients you buy, check out this post called Greek Chicken – Three Ways or head to manitobachicken.ca for more recipes using Manitoba chicken so you can try some reconstructing on your own!
Share your creations with us by tagging @toobusylivin204 and @manitobachicken on Instagram.
So last week I showed you Five things to consider when meal planning. That’s usually my starting point before getting down to figuring out what exactly we’re going to eat all week. I like to use a magnetic dry-erase weekly calendar that I just stick on the fridge, so I can quickly glance at it and remember what’s up for the week. Continue reading →
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