Italian Sandwiches for a Picnic

This post is sponsored by Häagen-Dazs® ice cream, encouraging life’s little luxuries.

We recently rounded up and packed a lot of my overflowing cabinets: extra plates, bowls, serving dishes and platters, props, and baking pans – who has time to bake cupcakes, tarts, or bread 3 weeks before they move anyway? – were all carefully wrapped and packed away over the last week.

Photos from Instagram

The reality of what moving means is starting to set in. Our home here in New Mexico is no longer attractive or organized. And honestly, it’s stressing me out just being in here. 

No matter how much I clean up and try to put things back in their proper places it just doesn’t feel like home anymore.

We’re trying our best to maintain family meal time as a priority. I’ve written a list of dinner ideas that don’t take a lot of tools, ingredients, or time to prepare that we’ll likely be cycling through for the next 4 weeks. That doesn’t mean food needs to get boring.

I have recipes like Sweet Potato Tacos, Burgers on the grill, 5 Grain Pancakes with Flax (mix already prepared), Sweet and Sour Asian Meatballs with Vegetables (meatballs in the freezer), Spaghetti, and the like on our menu this week.

Food will still be tasty and nutritious, but we’ll be working on whittling away at our freezer and pantry stores so we have as little food as possible to deal when it’s time to start filling up the moving truck.

But there are days now and more that will be coming when it will be far too hectic to prepare anything and we’ll be much in need of a break. Some time to recharge our batteries as a family.

Times like this we turn to our backyard. Thrown down a blanket or big beach towel on the grass and have a picnic. This isn’t a picnic worthy of the pages of a magazine. It isn’t styled to be beautiful by any means, but to the kids is feels like such a luxury. A special treat.

The plates we eat on are paper so there will be minimal dishes to wash. The food doesn’t create a large mess in the kitchen. We served simple Italian Sandwiches, fresh fruit, and grilled corn. The crumbs become bird food rather than something I need to vacuum after our meal.

Two of my other favorite ways to indulge – playing outside with friends and reading!
Photos from Instagram

These breaks from reality don’t need take a lot of effort or be pretty enough for the pages of a magazine but they are special enough to give us a moment of joy to cherish.

How do you treat yourself during times of stress?

Italian Sandwiches

These Italian Sandwiches are inspired by my dad who always made them for family outings when we needed to eat on the go. They've always been a family favorite from my childhood!

Ingredients:

Artisan Bread, such as Ciabatta
Your favorite Italian Salad dressing or Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil
Italian Seasoning
Black Olives, sliced
Cucumbers, slicd
Sundried Tomatoes
Deli Meats like Smoked Turkey, Honey Ham, and Genoa Salami
Italian Cheese, like Provolone Cheese
Romaine Lettuce

Directions:

Slice the bread in half lengthwise.

Spread Italian Dressing or oil and vinegar on the inside of both halves of the bread. Then sprinkle with Italian Seasonings.

On the bottom half, layer sun-dried tomatoes, cucumbers and black olives. Then layer your preferred amount of meat. We like smoked turkey, honey ham and Genoa Salami.

Top with Provolone Cheese and Romaine Lettuce. Tightly wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving. I usually make the sandwiches a couple hours in advance.

Before serving, slice the sandwich into individual portions. Spear with a toothpick if necessary. Enjoy!

Notes:

Mix things up with your favorite meats, cheeses and toppings.