If you’ve read some of my other food-related blog posts, you know I’m crazy about potatoes, BBQ, pizza, and sandwiches. What I love about these foods is that they provide unlimited options for customization, which maximizes creativity in the kitchen. It’s how people come up with mouthwatering combinations like nacho pizza (black bean spread, mozzarella, cheddar, pepper jack, taco chicken, pico, jalapenos, and cilantro) or scalloped potato grilled cheese.
My boyfriend once asked me what food I would choose to eat if I could only pick one for the rest of my life, and my answer was, of course, the sandwich. There are so many ways to create the base of a sandwich—wraps, crepes, rye bread, baguette, sourdough, mountain bread, pumpernickel, bagels, etc., etc.—and then your topping choices are only as limited as your palette.
I’m crazy for sandwiches and I hope you are, too, because tomorrow is National Sandwich Day! Say what you will about it being a “made-up marketing holiday,” but I like to look at it as “a way for consumers to get freebies and good deals at their favorite sandwich shop one day a year.” It’s like Christmas for sandwich freaks.
The history of this sacred sandwich holiday begins with John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich and the first person to have the best job title ever. The story goes that Montagu loved to play cards, but he hated getting them greasy, and when he was engaged in a 12-hour (some say 24-hour) card game, he requested that his usual meal of meat be delivered to him between bread. Why bread, you ask? Because bread absorbs the grease, so there’s not even a need for a napkin (brilliant! But also kind of gross).
As the food became more popular, people began ordering “the same as Sandwich” until it just became “a sandwich, please!” And if you’re hoping for a sandwich now, we can partially help with a list of delicious sandwich-day deals and a menu of must-make sandwiches you’ll definitely want to keep eating until the next Sandwich Day.
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and it’s not unusual for me to eat scrambled eggs for breakfast, bacon and hash browns for lunch, and a breakfast sandwich for dinner. I’m also cheap, so eggs, bread, and some sort of meat are usually hanging out around my kitchen anyway.
One thing that has changed my life—yes, my life—is Hamilton Beach’s breakfast sandwich maker. Okay, yes, you caught me—this is a product plug, but after reading the review for this sandwich maker on TopProducts, I immediately bought it, and now use it probably every day (it does a great job at just toasting bread, too, so I often use it as my toaster). While this may be my personal favorite, there are many great brands of sandwich makers to choose from.
This little machine is so awesome, I actually bought one for my parents, and my mom uses it every morning. In about 10 minutes—only 3-4 minutes “cook” time—you can have a tasty, better-than-fast-food-or-restaurant sandwich that’s hot, crispy, cheesy, and just drool-worthy (I’m salivating right now).
I’ve duplicated the classic McDonald’s Egg McMuffin in my little breakfast machine, but you don’t need the machine to make it. I promise I’m not trying to force this appliance down your throat (because then where would the sandwich go?), but I’m 100 percent serious when I say that it’s significantly easier to keep the whole sandwich hot and toasty with the sandwich maker.
My boyfriend and I tried to make breakfast sandwiches before we had that machine and they were good, but they required us to pull out our toaster, pull out a pan to fry our eggs, warm our meat in the microwave (jerky on sandwiches is NOT good), and time it all perfectly so that everything is ready all at once.
Timing is everything for a good sandwich, but in the “Real World” perfect timing is so, so rare. What happens is the inevitable: the bread pops before the eggs are done, or the meat is warmed too soon and then gets cold, so then it needs to be reheated again, or the egg overcooks waiting on the bread… Ugh. And if you’re like my mom—always in a hurry because you’re always running late—you don’t have time for all that.
Okay. I hope my speech about the breakfast sandwich maker inspires you to buy one because, man… It’s an awesome, no-regrets-ever purchase. And I’ve got the perfect sandwich for you to make right when it arrives in the mail!
Copy-Cat Egg McMuffin Recipe
- 1 English Muffin
- 1-2 (or more!) slices of Canadian bacon
- 1 egg
- 1-2 slices of American cheese
- Your favorite garnishes (mine are pickles, a little mustard, mountains of mayo—I know, it’s gross, I can’t help my love of mayo, either—and a little salt, pepper, and oregano).
You can also swap out the Canadian bacon with sausage and add avocado. Yum!
Breakfast sandwich maker directions
1. Plug in your breakfast sandwich maker
2. While it heats, cut your English muffin in half and grab your egg, meat, and cheese
3. Once it’s hot, put the bottom of the muffin in the lower ring
4. Place your meat on top of the muffin and add your cheese
5. Place the top ring over the bottom one, and lightly butter the “frypan” top (this is where the egg goes)
6. Crack your egg and place it on the buttered surface
7. Use a toothpick to poke a hole in the top of egg
8. Place the top of your English muffin over the egg
9. Close the lid and set the timer (2.5-3 minutes for runny yolks; 3.5-4 minutes for medium yolks; 4-5 minutes for firm).
10. Once the timer beats, lift the lid and slide the frypan surface away so that the egg and muffin top fall onto the bottom half of the sandwich
11. Use a spatula to slide the sandwich onto a plate—it’ll be hot!
12. Open the sandwich, add your garnishes, and then let it cool for a minute before enjoying!
1. On medium heat, get your frypan hot
2. Cut your muffin in half and place it in the toaster (but don’t start toasting yet!)
3. Once your pan is hot, add a little butter and let it melt
4. Add your egg and Canadian bacon to the pan, and start toasting your muffin
5. Once the muffin is done, place your egg and meat on the bottom half
6. Add your cheese and the top half of your muffin
7. Let it sit for a minute or two so the cheese can melt (if it’s not melty enough, pop it in the microwave for a few seconds. Don’t do it too long or your egg will become rubbery)
8. After your cheese is melted, add your garnishes and enjoy!
Even though the breakfast sandwich maker version requires more steps, it takes a lot less time and it doesn’t dirty nearly as many dishes. You can also make a LOT of different things with it, like hash brown cakes and pancakes.
For both foods, I use the rings from my sandwich maker as a form. Why? Well, I’m sort of lazy and like to do things in batches, so I make LOTS pancakes and hash browns, then vacuum seal and freeze them for later. When I want mini pancakes or hash browns as a side to my sandwich, they’re a perfect fit for my breakfast sandwich maker (and super easy to reheat!).
If you don’t feel like making breakfast, let Subway do it for you!On Friday, Nov. 3rd, this restaurant chain is providing customers with BOGO sandwiches—plus a free meal for Feeding America—all day long!
Light Lunch Open Faced Sandwich
After such a delightfully filling breakfast, you may be a little full for lunch… But that’s no reason not to eat! I personally like to keep my carbs a little low during the afternoon so I don’t end up crashing when my blood sugar drops. I know a lot of people like to keep their lunches light for similar reasons, which is why I think this super tasty lox sandwich, courtesy of Lemon Tree Dwelling, is a great choice for a healthy, light meal.
Well, sandwich isn’t quite the right word for it (technically, it’s toast), but you can always make it into a sandwich if you’re craving that second piece of bread (or do what I do and just make double). This recipe is really super simple, making it perfect for work lunches.
Lox Avocado Toast
- One slice of your favorite bread (mine’s sourdough)
- One avocado, halved
- Smoked salmon (lox)
- 1 vine-ripe tomato (3-4 slices, depending on thickness)
- 1 tbsp. capers (or more. I love capers)
- Salt, pepper and whatever seasoning you like
1. Toast your bread
2. Mash or slice half of your avocado (if slicing, go thinner)
3. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and seasoning on your mashed or sliced avocado
4. Top with your salmon, capers, and tomatoes
Lots of people know the bagel lox sandwich—cream cheese, salmon, capers, and tomatoes on a tasty everything bagel—but bagels are calorie- and carb-heavy, and cream cheese, while delicious, isn’t so great for folks with dietary restrictions.
Swapping out the cream cheese for avocado still gives you that creamy, soft texture that pairs so well with the smokiness of the salmon and the saltiness of the capers. And don’t skimp on the tomatoes, either, because the salt makes them juicier (the salt pulls the liquid out of the tomatoes, so the juice is richer and slightly tart, which offsets some of the saltiness).
If you’re more of a fan of the traditional lox, you can use cream cheese instead of avocado on your toast. However, make sure your cream cheese is at room temp. or that you’re using a very firm bread. Sourdough and cream cheese taste great together, but fresh sourdough is super soft and easily tears, making it a bad (but still delicious) choice for hard-to-spread spreads.
Because this wonderfully tasty holiday falls on a Friday, you have lots of time to make a super-duper delicious sandwich that’ll end your Friday—and start off your fun-filled weekend—just right.
For this recipe, I highly recommend going with homemade Hawaiian bread—not the Hawaiian rolls that come in the orange and white packaging. When I was growing up, my mom always made bread in her bread maker, and she made sandwich-style Hawaiian bread a lot.
Bread takes a while to make, even with a machine, so your best bet is to set all your ingredients inside your bread maker, and schedule it to turn on later in the day. When you arrive home from work, you’ll have your delicious bread awaiting you. And, because it’s Hawaiian bread, a Hawaiian-themed grilled cheese is what you’ll want to make.
Pineapple, Ham, and Grilled Cheese Sandwich (gently adapted from Taste Spotting)
- 1/3 to 1/2 pound of ham, cut fresh at the deli, from a half- or whole-baked ham
- Fresh pineapple (you can usually find pre-sliced at the store, but try to avoid canned because the slices are too wet)
- 1/4 to 1/2 pound of cheese (pepper jack for a kick; mozzarella for a more “Hawaiian pizza” sandwich; muenster for ultimate melty cheesiness (and my favorite!)
- Homemade Hawaiian Bread (original recipe uses the Hawaiian sweet rolls)
1. Slice your fresh bread to desired thickness (I love thick bread, but some people don’t)
2. Heat TWO frypans on medium; add butter or oil to one pan
3. Add ham and pineapple to the pan that’s oiled, letting them sizzle until they’re hot (alternative: if you have a grill or grill rack, grill the ham and pineapple instead)
4. While that’s getting toasty, grab two slices of your homemade bread; butter one side each
5. In your second pan, place one piece of bread in it, butter side down.
6. When your ham and pineapple are nice and hot, place it on top of the bread that’s in your second frypan.
7. Add your cheese—really go crazy with your cheese here unless you chose a very strong-tasting cheese (mild is best here—Havarti, gruyere, a very mild swiss or cheddar, etc.)
8. Place the other slice of bread on top of your ham, pineapple, and cheese, ensuring the butter side is facing up (toward your ceiling)
9. Once the bottom of your sandwich is golden brown (or whatever doneness you desire), flip it!
10. Let the other side cook to a golden brown before transferring to a plate. Enjoy!
There are a few adaptations you could do with this sandwich. My favorite is to toss the grilled pineapple and ham in a little BBQ sauce while it’s frying in the pan. I love, love, love Hawaiian pizza, but ONLY if it has a BBQ sauce base (tomato sauce and pineapple… Yuck).
There’s also the German adaptation of this sandwich—smear some bread with a little ketchup, add ham, pineapple, and cheese, and then put it in the oven until the cheese melts.
Since it’s sandwich day, feel free to try all three versions of this sandwich, or you come up with your own tasty combination. Who knows? You might be on your way to discovering the next award-winning sandwich.
We wouldn’t give you such a great recipe without an equally great meal-deal to go along with it! For a big-and-tasty dinner, McCalister’s will give you $4 off their 13-layer sub. Yes—13 layers of meaty, cheesy, veggie heaven. And did I mention you can enter their contest to win free sandwiches for a year?
Obviously, I’ve saved the best for last. If you’re wondering what a dessert sandwich is, don’t worry—there is no “cover a baguette in chocolate sauce” or “Nutella and bananas” or any other combination that’s gross and/or way overplayed (Sorry if it’s one of your favs, but I just… don’t understand Nutella and banana. Yuck.).
So how does one go about making a dessert sandwich anyway? Well, the answer is crepes, but before you go, “Ugh. Everyone has a crepe recipe!” I’m going to tell you why my recipe is super-duper.
A few years ago, I visited my sister in Takashima-shi (near Kyoto and Osaka) in Japan. She lives there full time and teaches English, but she, like me, loves to eat. To say, “I visited Japan to see my sister” really means “we ate our way through multiple prefectures.”
In Japan, the go-to dessert is what’s known as street crepes. Girls and boys walk around with their massive (and I mean massive) crepes that are so stuffed with goodies, they’re nearly exploding. I’m not sure how everyone stays so trim in Japan—I did not see a single obese Japanese person and I was looking—but it has nothing to do with their jaw-dropping crepes.
Right near my sister’s house, there’s a really strange shop that sells crepes, but it also sells books, manga, anime, and other kinds of knickknacks. My sister kept talking about the delicious crepes there, and I figured it was the same-old, same-old “berries and crème” or “chocolate strawberry crepe,” so I wasn’t too excited about it.
Then I ordered a cheesecake apple pie crepe, and then I actually ate the crepe, and… Did you know they put little cubed pieces of cheesecake in their crepes? And those little pieces are slightly frozen, so it’s almost like eating ice cream? And the “apple pie” part of my crepe? Um, yeah, it was literally apple pie filling (the homemade kind… not the sticky, super sweet canned kind), and it was just… One of the best things I’ve ever eaten.
Making crepes is hard, though, if you don’t have a handy crepe maker for your kitchen. It’s not impossible, but… I’ll be honest—I just buy the premade ones at the bakery in my grocery store. It’s take a lot of practice to make a good crepe. It also takes a lot of patience, which I don’t have (although the crepe maker definitely makes it 100 percent easier).
If you have a nice grocery by you, you should be able to find crepes. Alternatively, you can always serve the crepe filling/ingredients over angel food cake or a similar soft, airy cake (it’s no longer a sandwich—more like short cake—but that’s okay, especially if you want to go fruit-heavy with your toppings).
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Street Crepe
- 1 Crepe (homemade or store bought)
- 1-2 slices of plain cheesecake, quartered or crumbled (from a bakery or homemade)
- 1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled, cored, and sliced (or quartered)
- Whipped Cream (homemade or store bought)
- Small container of caramel ice cream
- Caramel sauce
- Chocolate sauce (optional)
1. After you’ve prepped your apple, pat the slices (or quarters) dry
2. Heat a skillet on medium high; add 1 tbsp. of butter and apple slices
3. Cook until the apples begin to brown (about 5 minutes)
4. Add a pinch of apple pie spice and 1-2 tbsp. of brown sugar
5. Mix it all up; cook until the sugar starts to caramelize (adjust your heat as necessary. You may need to turn the heat to medium to prevent burning)
6. Once cooked, set the apples off to the side
7. Place your crepe on a smooth surface
8. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out 1-2 balls of caramel ice cream and place on the center of the crepe
9. Smash the ice cream balls down with a spatula and “spread” it all around the crepe (stop a little before the edges in case the ice cream starts melting)
10. Add your cheesecake (crumbling is easiest because you can just crumble it all over your ice cream)
11. Add your apples, spreading them out all over
12. Next, squeeze your caramel sauce over the toppings (if using chocolate, add it now)
13. Add whipped cream to the BOTTOM half of your crepe (when you fold it, the whipped cream will get pushed up. Plus, you can always add more at the top, if you want)
14. Fold your crepe “crepe suzette style”
“Crepe suzette style” just means fold it like you would a square washcloth—fold the crepe in half, fold it in half again, and you’re done. You can fold it in half a third time, but with all those toppings, it might be hard.
This is such an easy-to-customize recipe! No more “chocolate and fruit” crepes or “fruit and whipped cream” crepes! Get creative with it, especially now that Thanksgiving is so close. Any leftover pies, cakes, or cookies you have, you can just throw them right into your crepe! Leftover whipped cream? In the crepe! Leftover cheesecake? In the crepe! Leftover stuffing? Sure! Just do a turkey-potato-stuffing-and-gravy crepe (yum!).
Did this post get your mouth-watering? I hope so! But if you’re still hungry for more, check out the Kitchen Appliances section of TopProducts.com. You can find all sorts of great, well-written reviews, which means less holiday research and more holiday shopping.
August Wright, TopProducts Staff Writer