Thursday, February 7, 2013

the salad days

Just this past week, my 7yo announced that he is at last tired of ham & cheese sandwiches. It only took two and a half years! I am thrilled because frankly, I am also tired of ham & cheese sandwiches - bored with making them, bored with sending them, bored with going through a large block of cheese every seven days.

So I needed to come up with an alternative.

Enter the salads - chicken, tuna, egg.

I know some kids do not like salad sandwiches, but happily all three of mine love them. As a make-ahead solution, they are brilliant, because you can make a large batch on Sunday night and use it for a couple of days.

It's also pretty easy to slip small amounts of vegetables into salad sandwiches. WIN.

Egg Salad

Half a dozen boiled eggs. Don't overboil them, or the yolks will get that weird greyish tint. It just makes the salad look muddy. My foolproof method is as follows:

- salt the water (keeps the shells from cracking)
- bring to a rolling boil, covered, on high heat
- as soon as steam escapes, slide the pot almost completely off the burner, and reduce the heat to low
- let simmer for 15 minutes
- drain and rinse well with cold water to stop the cooking process

Mince the boiled eggs up, salt & pepper to taste, mix with a couple tablespoons of mayo. My kids like theirs with minced red pepper and green onions. It looks really appealing and tastes great.

Tuna Salad

My kids prefer the chunk-style canned tuna rather than the flakes, and I quite agree. The flake tuna tends to turn out mushy. I mix mine with mayo, a little Dijon mustard, and a bit of relish. Then I add minced celery and red pepper. I make the sandwiches with baby spinach leaves, and that has been a hit.

Chicken Salad

If I have time, I'll roast a small chicken - one of those 3-pounders you can find every so often at a good price - or if not, I'll grab a roasted chicken from the deli counter at my grocery store. Strip the carcass and chop the white & dark meat together. Mix with mayo, salt & pepper, green onion, and celery. Again, made into a sandwich with baby spinach goes down well with my kids. They especially love chicken salad wraps, on a whole grain tortilla.

This week I was able to get some Greek yogurt on sale, so they've had yogurt, too. I baked some carrot-pineapple muffins as a treat, and blueberries were on for cheap this week, too, so the lunch situation has actually not been horribly painful this time around.


  1. It's funny how kids will eat the same thing for years and suddenly...they are done. It must be some developmental stage; the same stage that lets them happily watch the same movie 58 times without going insane.

    1. Good point. That's how I have the dialogue to "Cars" memorized. Wish I could get *that* brain capacity back.

  2. I can eat the same lunch day after day for years too. So I get it. Back in the day when I used to eat tuna, I would make it with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and pepper. I don't - obviously - eat it anymore but Mr still likes it that way.

    1. Oooh, that sounds yummy. I'm going to try that.

  3. Like Nicole, I eat my tuna with vinegar, too! But only once a week or so and I can't send it to school.

    We do chicken salad SOMETIMES. It's rare that I have enough leftover chicken to attempt it but when I do, it's G's favorite thing in the WORLD. I throw in some chopped grapes and curry powder because I'm very fancy that way.

    1. I'm going to try that, too. Grapes and curry powder! I'll bet that is delicious.

  4. Another thing about tuna salad! I always throw in diced red pepper and I use hummus instead of mayo on the bread to sneak a little bit of extra nutrition into my monsters.

    1. I'm a jerk because I don't put any extra spread on the bread when I make salad sandwiches. They've never had it, so they don't miss it. Poor deprived children. ;)