Fredericksburg Parent

March 2020

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8 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • March 2020 WRITTEN BY DEBRA CAFFREY practical pantry practical pantry As much as I find pleasure in cooking more elaborate dishes, as a busy mom, I appreciate simplicity and finding easy ways to get a crowd-pleasing dinner on the table. As the years go by, I have discovered guaranteed winners to keep in my meal- planning rotation, as well as "base" meal concepts that can be tweaked and custom- ized to keep things varied. One of those concepts is something so easy it almost sounds silly, but it's been quite a revelation in my Practical Pantry. And the big, fancy idea is–the giant sandwich! Seriously. creating a big, bountiful giant sandwich on the biggest rounded loaf bread you can find and splitting it up between your family members can be one of the easiest, quickest, cheapest, and yet delicious ways to get dinner done without lots of fancy cooking technique needed. The concept of the giant sandwich for dinner is simple: get your favorite freshly baked loaf of bread from your store's bakery section (long ciabatta, fat Italian loaves, or rounded sourdough or whole grain work well), fill it with yummy components, a zesty oil, dressing or spread, slice and serve! You can stick with deli meats and sliced cheeses, or experiment with grilled meats, roasted, raw or pickled vegetables for some kick and tang, and different pestos. It's a virtual endless list of mix-and-match Mad for Muffaletta! possibilities and everyone can contribute their ideas about how to make the next yummy giant sandwich. Best of all, there is only minor prep involved, easy clean-up and delicious leftovers! The concept of the giant sandwich is also a great idea for picnics, road trip lunches and dinners on the go for those weirdly-timed soccer games and late night rehearsals. I'd love to share a recipe for one of my favorite giant sandwiches, the muffaletta. This delicious creation originated in New Orleans, but you don't have to travel to experience how awesome it is. It's super simple to make and definitely feeds a crowd! The star of the muffaletta is the tart olive salad, which soaks into the bread and provides a necessary and out-of-this-world balanced yummi- ness to the meats and cheeses. If you don't have a food processor to coarse blend the ingredients, you can just finely chop by hand. You can also play around with the classic fillings; I've even done a vegetarian version with sprouts, radishes and car- rots. No matter what you choose to do with your giant sandwich, adding this easy concept into your meal rotations will be a game changer for your busy weeknights. Have fun!

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