Two of these Ham and Cheese recipes have been chosen as finalists for an amazing Applegate & Feed Feed contest so please please please go show me some love: VOTE HERE!
In High School I ate one thing for lunch every single day: a ham and cheese sandwich with mayo on a roll. Sometimes I would switch up the cheese from american to cheddar to swiss, you know, to keep it fresh, but at the end of the day it was still a ham and cheese sandwich. If I’m being truly honest it started in 7th grade and went all the way through through senior year. Before that I ate a tuna sandwich from 1st through 6th grade.
I guess you could call me a creature of habit.
Like the uniform I wore to school every single day, my sandwich became another check in my long list of to-do’s on a weekly basis. And just like I promised to never wear tights or burgundy ever again after graduation (I went a whole 10 years without doing either), the ham and cheese sandwich was something I lost a taste for once I left school.
That is, of course, until I got pregnant. Why is it that when you get pregnant you crave the few things you can’t have: wine, blue cheese, smoked salmon, and deli meats. I won’t lie to you guys- I didn’t deny myself the aforementioned luxuries when I got knocked up. Instead I made sure to have it very sparingly and of the highest quality. At 16 weeks pregnant I flew to Copenhagen to go to a work retreat and our dinner was at one of the swankiest restaurants. Yes, I had a few sips of some excellent wine and yes, I enjoyed some of the finest smoked salmon in the country. And upon returning home I also treated myself to another no-no: the tiniest ever ham and cheese sandwich.
I wanted to make a conscious choice in my meats so I picked up a brand I’d heard some buzz about and enjoyed my ever so tiny deli sandwich. 2 and a half years later and it was the same meat I gave to my son to enjoy his first ever ham and cheese sandwich. Yes, it took me 2 and a half years to give my kid deli meat. Besides wanting him to have a love for fresh fruits and veggies (which we’ve thankfully achieved) I was also cautious of the amounts of additives and sodium I fed to him.
Now that I’ve gone down that road someone’s going to have to reel me in. It is seriously such a must have for those tumultuous toddler meal moments. You know the ones. The “yes I ate this last night but REFUSE to have it again for lunch (or ever)” or the “yes I know I asked you for a mushroom omelette but how dare you have made me a mushroom omelette?! Throw it in the trash where it belongs!”(Insert eye roll emoji). Having some Applegate deli meat on hand to roll into a little snack to bring on long bus rides, to make a quick half sandwich to accompany some veggies for lunch, or to melt onto a veggie grilled cheese was a frickin’ life saver!
As for me? I’ve also recaptured my love of my beloved ham and cheese but I gave it a remix and had fun reimagining my high school classic. Check out what I made:
- A Ham and Cheese Empanada: You guys knew it was only a matter of time before I made an empanada once the whether cooled down. Not only was this one of the tastiest ones I’ve ever made but it was also one of the easiest. Following my recipe for empanadas here, roll a slice of meat and a slice of cheese together, cut in half, and then place into the center of the empanada before closing it. That’s it! Bake as per the instructions and serve with some homemade honey mustard or, as I did, made a quick recaito by blending some recao (also known as culantro- and that is not a typo), onions, peppers, and garlic with some olive oil. My husband hates cilantro but almost licked the bowl!
- A Cleaner Croque Madame: I fell in love with croque madame’s when I started living on my own. Back then I would go all out with mayo and a homemade bechamel. While there’s certainly a time and place, when feeding my family I prefer lighter options. I’d planned to substitute the mayo for avocado mayo but my supermarket was all out. However I was fortuitous in finding a perfectly ripe avocado which I smashed with some salt, pepper, and a scoop of 0% plain Siggi’s for extra creaminess which I dolloped in between my grilled Applegate Ham, Swiss, Herbed Turkey sandwich and fried egg. BTW- if you get a chance to grab some of that herbed turkey, please do so. No need to thank me once you fall in love.
- A Ham and Cheese Egg Cup: I’m not a huge fan of egg cups but after making and easily transporting these for lunch the next day, they’ve become a must have in the rotation. I also topped these with the recaito from the empanadas and they were a hit with the toddler.
So there you go, a few quick ways to transform your ham and cheese into something with a little more pizazz and all 3 of these just so happen to also be toddler approved. But, you know, if you want to have a classic ham and cheese sandwich that would work too.
Psst, I just found these coupons on the Applegate site. You’re welcome!