The other day, temperatures topped 100 here in Connecticut, so I polled some internet friends on their plans for dinner. Almost universally, the answer was simple: Sandwiches.
Who can blame them? The towering temperatures (and the associated awful humidity) made using any sort of heat-producing cooking device (including the grill outside) frightful.
Cold Cut Sandwiches -- Not everyone keeps cold cuts on hand. Frankly, we only do in the summertime when my husband likes to pack sandwiches for lunch at work (in the winter, he usually takes leftovers that can be heated up).
But if you know the heat is coming, it's good to stock up on a few that you like. I am a big fan of honey maple turkey or ham and my husband adores roast beef or chicken deli meat. Everyone in the house loves cheese, so we usually get Swiss or provolone. Then, when the high temps strike, we just build a few sandwiches and lay out a salad and chips. Best of all, it takes no time to prepare.
Want to kick it up a notch? Arrange the meats and cheeses on a platter and offer a selection of spreads for the bread such as pesto, fancy mayo, different varieties of mustard and hummus.
Leftover Sandwiches -- About six or eight weeks ago, I switched to a lower fat diet that consists of a lot of chicken and fish and not much beef. As a result, we have grilled chicken a few times a week -- and we often have leftovers which are absolutely perfect for ... leftover sandwiches.
Grilled chicken is so versatile. It can be paired with a cheese, lettuce and tomato for a simple, fast dinner sandwich, or it can be jazzed up by chopping it and tossing it in a wrap with rice, beans and salsa. It can also be awesome served in Greek Chicken Salad Sandwiches (served on a pita!).
Don't worry if chicken doesn't hit your grill often; leftover grilled veggies like summer squash, eggplant and tomatoes can also be fabulous in sandwiches. Just pile them high on some crusty bread and drizzle with a little vinaigrette or spread on some pesto. A slice of fresh mozzarella can also be a great addition too.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out these great recipes for delicious sandwiches that are perfect for summertime:
Sarah W. Caron (aka scaron) is a food writer, editor and blogger who writes about family-friendly foods and raising a healthy family at Sarah's Cucina Bella.