My husband gets excited this time of year for fish sandwiches. He loves that he can get a deal on fish sandwiches at one of his favorite fast food restaurants. A few years ago, I decided to try to make a homemade fish sandwich that would be heathier, less expensive, and tastier than his fast food favorite.
The recipe I came up with is our March recipe of the month. You simply coat fish in a mixture of cornmeal and seasonings and lightly pan fry it in a small amount of oil. Top with your favorite sandwich toppings and enjoy! At 300 calories and 10 grams of fat (the fast food version is 390 calories and 19 grams of fat) and less than a dollar a sandwich, I know that I succeeded in making a healthier and less expensive sandwich. I think this sandwich is tastier than the fast food version, but I suspect that my husband still likes the deep fat fried version better. I hope that after trying this recipe, you will agree with me!
Serving Size: 4
- 2 tablespoons oil (canola or vegetable)
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 4 frozen filets (about 3 ounces each) of white fish (tilapia), thawed
- 4 hamburger buns
- Optional sandwich toppings: sliced onions and tomatoes, leaf lettuce, light ranch dressing or tartar sauce
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat until hot. Spread the cornmeal on a plate and press the fish into the cornmeal to coat on all sides.
- Fry the fish in the hot oil until the cornmeal is lightly browned. This will take about 2–3 minutes on each side. Fish is done when the internal temperature reaches 145˚F or it flakes easily with a fork.
- Move the fish from the frying pan to a plate lined with paper towels. Pat the fish dry with more paper towels.
- Assemble sandwiches with your favorite toppings.
- Thaw fish in the refrigerator overnight.
- For more flavor, mix 1 teaspoon seasoning with cornmeal before coating fish. Seasoning might be lemon pepper, pepper, garlic powder, or chili powder.
- Make homemade tartar sauce. Stir light mayo or salad dressing with pickle relish.
Shredded pork sandwich is an easy meal for a busy day. This is the type of meal that I like to have on my menu each week because some nights I am too worn out to put much energy into a meal. All you need to do is:
- Pull your leftover cooked pork from our January recipe out of the freezer,
- Thaw it in the microwave,
- Make coleslaw to top the sandwiches while the pork is thawing,
- Put your sandwiches together, and
- Serve with some fruit and a glass of milk for a complete meal.
Since that recipe was so easy, I would like to take a moment of your time and talk about something a little more difficult – menu planning. I plan a menu each week based on the food that I already have on hand. This saves me money at the grocery store because I only buy what I need. I like to keep my menu flexible by listing seven supper meals (I go shopping once per week). Instead of assigning one meal to each day, I let the way each day is going dictate which meal I choose. For example, if I am having one of those days when I am feeling too worn out to cook, I choose an easy recipe like shredded pork sandwiches. If you would like more information on menu planning, the SpendSmart.EatSmart website has a great section on menu planning.
I hope you enjoy this shredded pork sandwich recipe!
Shredded Pork Sandwich
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 1/3 cup light mayo
- 3 tablespoons cider or white vinegar
- 1 package (16 ounces) shredded cabbage
- 2 cups shredded pork (from pork chili featured in January recipe)
- 4 whole wheat buns
- 4 tablespoons barbeque sauce
Make the coleslaw
- Mix sugar, salt, mustard, and mayo together in a large bowl. Add vinegar and stir with a wire whisk or fork.
- Add the shredded cabbage to the bowl. Stir until ingredients are mixed well. You will use half the coleslaw for the sandwiches. You can use the other half as a side or with another meal.
Make the sandwiches
- Thaw shredded pork from the pork chili recipe, if it is frozen. Reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes. Stop and stir. Reheat for 1 more minute. The temperature should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Layer ½ cup shredded pork on bottom of 1 whole wheat bun. Put 1 tablespoon barbeque sauce on shredded pork. Put ½ cup coleslaw on barbeque sauce. Put top of 1 whole wheat bun on coleslaw.
• Look for coleslaw that is labeled ready to eat or triple washed.
• Coleslaw will keep for 4 days in the refrigerator if it is covered.
• This is a very quick meal because the pork is already prepared.
National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day is April 12. The classic grilled cheese became popular in the 1920’s when inexpensive cheese and sliced bread became available.
Our Supreme Grilled Cheese Sandwiches deliver all of the good filling ingredients but less bread (and calories). I have served them for lunch with soup and fruit and also as an appetizer cut into quarters. They are great because you just make them in a skillet on the stove. You can also modify them for your family by adding tomatoes or mushrooms and changing the type of cheese (but remember mozzarella is lower in fat and melts well).
Supreme Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Serving Size: 1 open faced sandwich | Servings: 4
- 1 cup peppers, red or green (1 medium)
- 1/2 onion
- 4 slices (about 8 ounces) firm bread
- 2 tablespoons light mayo or salad dressing
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup spinach leaves
- 4 slices (3/4 ounce each) mozzarella cheese
- Non-stick spray
- Slice onion and pepper very thin.
- Lay out 4 slices of bread and spread with the mayo.
- Sprinkle lightly with garlic powder.
- Add in layers the spinach leaves, peppers, onions, and a slice of cheese.
- Heat a skillet to medium low. Spray with non-stick spray. Lay sandwiches in pan. Cover with plate, lid, or aluminum foil.
- Heat sandwiches until cheese melts (about 2-3 minutes) or until the bottom is golden brown.
- Serve warm.
Last week after a program, I offered to leave some of the sandwich samples for the staff. One of them commented that they had a bunch of other snacks and that the sandwiches might not get eaten. I said, “Well, you can take these home and freeze them for another day.” The look I received was that of total shock. “You can freeze sandwiches?” was the reply. The individual was just sure the bread would be all soggy and the overall quality so bad that you would never want to consider it. But, the quality isn’t diminished. It’s time to use the freezer and save a few dollars…
Sandwiches you make ahead and freeze can save money and time. Just about any sandwich—other than those with a mayonnaise base (such as chopped meat or egg salad)—can be frozen. It’s best to apply condiments such as mayonnaise when ready to use. Some great filling choices include: peanut butter and jelly; deli meat; plain canned tuna; cheese; or cheese along with a meat. Or, you might consider buying a whole roast or chicken, cook it in the slow cooker or oven the day before, and use the meat from that for sandwiches. It will be cheaper than the deli meat and definitely lower in sodium. Dicing these larger meat cuts will make them stretch further. Make the sandwiches and wrap them in plastic wrap or a sandwich bag, put them in a larger freezer-weight plastic bag (being sure to mark the bag with the contents), then pop in the freezer. For more on freezing sandwiches, Nebraska Extension has a great tip sheet.
When you are ready to pack your lunch, just grab one of the sandwiches from the freezer and place in an insulated bag with an ice block. It should be thawed in time for lunch. You could add to this lunch a bag of vegetable sticks (prep several bags and have ready for grabbing from the fridge), fruit, string cheese, and cookie. Fast! Easy! And easily less than $2.00 for lunch.
-Jottings from Jan
My husband started a ‘community sandwich’ option at his worksite. He takes a week’s worth of ingredients for sandwiches (deli meats, sometimes cheese) on Mondays. It’s stored in the frig in the break room and anyone can use the ingredients to make a sandwich. They pay $1.00 per sandwich. Every week he buys a couple of different deli meats (pepper turkey is the most popular). Someone else brings the bread and other fixings. They take the money out of the sandwich ‘kitty’ to fund the ingredients each week. This started as a ‘trial’ run that has helped my husband save money and is so much easier then packing a lunch. Many of his co-workers are appreciating the cost savings and healthier eating as well.
-contributed by Renee
Apparently, sandwiches were invented in the 18th century when the Earl of Sandwich asked for his meat to be served between slices of bread, to avoid interrupting a gambling game or getting his cards greasy. If the Earl were alive today he probably would have invented sandwiches so he could eat while driving, or to avoid getting his cell phone dirty!
I love sandwiches because they are so versatile and convenient. Sometimes I make sandwiches ahead and freeze them. It saves time and is a great way to use those bits of leftovers.
Half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a great snack for me. When I have a couple of slices of whole wheat bread at the end of the loaf, I spread a little peanut butter on both sides of the bread and put the jelly in the middle. This assembly method will help reduce sogginess.
Summer is coming! Consider adding frozen sandwiches to a cooler to keep everything colder longer.
University of Nebraska has a useful tip sheet for Freezing Sandwiches.
-pointers by Peggy