Whenever Matthew has the day off from school, we have started a little tradition of going out for lunch at a tiny local Chinese restaurant. The restaurant opened less than two years ago and we would drive past it regularly on our way to the gym. Matthew, seeing the "Grand Opening" signs waving and liking the restaurant's eye-catching logo, kept begging me to take him there to eat. I had never before considered Matthew a lover of Chinese food, so I delayed taking him thinking it would just end with me eating two lunches. Finally, as a special treat, we stopped in on our way back from the gym. This particular restaurant has a full menu as well as several pre-made options in warming trays that can be quickly scooped into a box, paid for, and taken to go. These options were available for only $1.00 per large scoop and Matthew loved that he could see what the food looked like before he chose it, so we went with this option. He picked out the Honey Chicken, the Sweet and Sour Chicken, and an egg roll. He cleverly bypassed any rice options because he hates it simply because he finds it very difficult to eat and frankly not worth the effort.
He enjoyed that meal so much that it has become a little tradition to stop by for lunch if he has a day off from school. I'm thrilled that he likes to eat something besides the typical cheeseburgers and pizza.
The girls, on the other hand, are not as enamored with the Chinese restaurant as Matthew. Typically, I'll pick up the Chinese for Matthew and then head home to serve Lucy and Emma a peanut butter sandwich. They do enjoy the fortune cookies although if I don't intercept her first, Lucy tends to eat the fortunes.
My favorite place to lunch with my girls is Panera. Emma especially loves the pleasant atmosphere, the fireplaces, the calm jazzy music playing in the background. Both girls love choosing our table and then feasting on a carb-centered meal of bagels, fruit, and milk. Emma chats away about the things floating through her little mind and Lucy laughs, chatters, and points gleefully. It's an entirely enjoyable experience.
Whenever I go to Panera, I usually order the Mediterranean Veggie sandwich. It's simply amazing. If you haven't tried it yet, you should. This fall, however, I decided to branch out a little and tried Panera's new sandwich - the Turkey Apple and Cheddar sandwich. It's freshly sliced turkey piled high on cranberry-walnut bread with apple slaw, Vermont cheddar, and a horseradish-mustard spread. I was completely blown away by it.
After making this sandwich, I still had half a loaf of cranberry-walnut bread left. What better opportunity to recreate that sandwich? I made a basic sweet slaw, thinly sliced up some honeycrisp apples, and whipped up the horseradish sauce. I already had a brick of Vermont white cheddar in my fridge and some leftover turkey in the fridge so within minutes this sandwich was ready. I think the homemade version was even better than Panera's. Sweet, salty, and crunchy - so many textures and such incredible flavor. I served the sandwiches for dinner along with additional apple slices and soup. The whole family was happy! This just might be my new favorite sandwich.
Turkey, Apple and Cheddar Sandwich
inspired by Panera Bread
For the slaw:
4 cups thinly sliced green cabbage (not chopped)
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of Pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
For the Horseradish-Mustard Sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
To Finish the Sandwich:
Thin Apple Slices (I like Honeycrisp or Braeburn)
Generous Slices of Vermont White Cheddar
To make the slaw, combine the cabbage and onion in a bowl. In a separate, smaller bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and vinegar. Pour over the cabbage and toss gently to coat. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside for about 30 minutes while gathering the other sandwich ingredients.
For the horseradish-mustard sauce, whisk together all ingredients. Set aside.
To make the sandwiches, spread the horseradish-mustard sauce on each slice of bread. Layer one slice with cheddar, the sliced turkey, a few apple slices, and a generous scoop of slaw. Press the second half of bread on top of the slaw and cut the sandwich in half. Enjoy!