I have to admit, I am a sandwich snob. I believe it all started when I worked in the deli of my local grocery store. I was in charge of making the catering trays and I took pride in the mini sandwiches I usually had to make. One day I made a sandwich for an employee and word spread about how good it was and soon, the lines were so long at the deli during lunch time that my department manager put a stop to my sandwich making days. I’ve had a couple dabbles into the grocery business in my life. I worked at a high-end organic grocery that I won’t name, where my sandwich making skills were put to good use. I refused to pay for the pricey, pre-made deli sandwiches the store sold so instead, I started making my own on my lunch breaks by foraging for the fixin’s on the salad bar. My co-workers always had serious sandwich envy when they saw what I came up with. Mr. Tipsy also requests a sandwich more than any other dish I make , so while I don’t work in a grocery store any more, I still get a lot of practice. After all the years of perfecting my sandwich craft, I have it down to a science.
I was craving a sandwich for lunch today and thinking of blog posts for the week when I decided to present myself with a cooking challenge. I would test my sandwich making skills once again and attempt to make a sandwich that was better than a fast food restaurant, and that would cost about the same. I would need to find a grocery store that had both a deli and salad bar.
I chose Mariano’s for this adventure because it is close to work, they have an awesome, fully stocked salad bar & it is one of my favorite stores to grocery shop. I was able to put my foraging skills to good use and I accomplished my goal and was able to make this sandwich for around $5!
In fact my whole lunch; sandwich, chips and expensive iced tea was just about $10. WAY LESS than I usually spend for my lunch. Let me show you how I did it!
First up, find your local grocery store that has a deli and a salad bar. I chose Mariano’s which is probably my favorite for salad bar and hot food items.
I hit up the salad bar first, and I have to say, the options for sandwich topping were abundant. In fact, there were probably more choices for sandwich toppings than at your local Subway restaurant. Get creative with your choices and remember you can always do a tiny bit of slicing and dicing of the salad bar items when you’re preparing your sandwich so don’t let the cut of the veggies deter you from picking it.
I chose the following:
- shaved purple onion
- shaved purple cabbage
- red pepper
- Italian dressing packet from Marzetti
Next, I headed over to the bakery to pick a roll. I love a good Kaiser Roll or Onion roll and today I chose the Kaiser Roll.
The next stop was the deli. This is where you will need to buy your meat and cheese. I have a preference and only buy certain brands. I decided on a Tipsy classic, Ham & Cheese.
My very favorite brands for sandwiches is Krakus Polish Ham and Land O Lakes American Cheese. If you choose to go with this option. You MUST ask the deli worker to shave the ham and slice the cheese paper-thin. Trust me, this makes all the difference in the world. I ordered 1/3 of a pound of the ham and 4 slices of the cheese. It was shockingly cheap. Under $2!!!
Pro Tip – If you work in an office without access to a fully stocked kitchen, grab a plastic knife, mini mustard and mayo packets from the area of the deli where they sell pre made sandwiches.
Finally pick out your chips, your drink and head out to make your sandwich.
Pro Tip – Doritos are highly encouraged, they get used IN my sandwich recipe. But I suppose any chip would do. It’s all about your preference.
The sandwich making steps are key for the perfect sandwich. they must be followed exactly. When it comes to crafting the perfect sandwich it’s all about the perfect bite and that means LAYERS are important. Not to worry, I will walk you through it below.
Mustard and Mayo must be combined and spread on both sides of the roll.
The ham must be spread evenly across the roll so that every bite is perfect. This is also why having the cold cuts shaved is key.
Next, place your shredded veggies on top. I had to slightly shred the lettuce leaves, but this took mere moments.
Now, you take your dressing and drizzle it over the shredded veggies so that the veggies absorb the dressing and make them more flavorful. You only need to use about a tablespoon, so save the rest for another sandwich.
On top of our shredded & dressing marinated veggies go your crunch items. I used cucumber and red peppers, this is also where a tomato or a pickle would go if you were going to use one. My top-secret sandwich ingredient is next!
Doritos are a KEY ingredient in this recipe. The original nacho cheese variety. I used exactly THREE fully formed chips. The final step is next!
The cheese is to be used as the anchor, the topping that holds the whole magical creation together! Four slices should do the trick and remember, they are thin slices so it is the perfect meat to cheese to veggie ratio in each bite.
Now, top that sandwich with your bun topper , get yourself a pickle or a pepper, pour yourself a cold glass of iced tea and get ready to dig in!
Oops, one more step….Cut your sandwich in half. As you can see from this half, there is the perfect meat to veggie to cheese ratio so that every bite is perfection!
I was also able to execute this meal for about what I would pay at a fast food chain. The sandwich itself cost only around $5 to make. It tastes a whole lot better than anything I have ever gotten from a sandwich shop. Plus you can enjoy the satisfaction knowing you prepared a tasty meal for yourself and that always makes everything more delicious!
I have put a lot of thought and trial and error into the perfect balance of flavors and textures over the years and this sandwich is the result. I guarantee if you make this sandwich exactly as I explained you will never make a sandwich any differently.
For a simple list of ingredients and a step by step to this recipe CLICK HERE.
As always, happy eating!