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Don't we all have that favorite deli sandwich? The idea of lunch for dinner might not work so well when it comes to sandwiches. They don't hold up as well in the evening chaos of homework and end-of-day chores. So we have come up with a way to turn that lunchtime favorite into a dinnertime meal that captures the taste of the sandwich and mixes it with the fullness of a hearty dish. We'll show you how to accomplish it with the always-wonderful Rueben.
Make It A Casserole
The easiest way to take that sandwich you love at lunch and bring it to the dinner table is to turn it into a casserole. These dishes can be like a blank canvas. Casseroles by definition are just ingredients baked together. So when it comes to a sandwich for dinner, start with what it takes to put together a casserole.
Break It Down
Unlike your deli favorite which may have a bold taste, casseroles can work with more subtle flavors. So start by breaking down the different parts of your sandwich. For the Reuben, you have sauerkraut flavor; that one is easy because you can just add in some sauerkraut. For the protein, look for meats that are already packed with flavor, like Johnsonville's Polish Kielbasa Split Rope. The sausage is from Johnsonville's fully cooked line, which means it can go right into your dish and be ready to go with a little warming. For our sandwich, Thousand Island dressing is an easy addition to the recipe.
Oh, pasta, how we love you! Pasta could be called the chameleon of the kitchen—just waiting to become something new with every dish. In your deli casserole, pasta takes the place of bread, but unlike bread, pasta will absorb the flavors around it. It also makes your dish more filling for dinner.
Pop Of Flavor
A challenge in the casserole is keeping the flavors from marrying a little too well. That's where using a bolder meat can really help. We used to add a little pop of flavor to our casserole. Before putting it into the dish, we sauté the sausage slice in a skillet so that when you bite into it, it pops a burst of flavor in your mouth. So rethink how you see the meat you are taking from your sandwich, and how you cook it, to add a little more flavor to your dish.
Seal The Deal
The secret ingredient in casseroles is cheese. The key is to find a cheese that tastes good with all of the ingredients. There is a reason that most great sandwiches involve some kind of cheese. It acts as a nice binding agent to blend all of the flavors. For the Reuben, it's Swiss cheese.
Unlike the on-the-go sandwiches, deli casseroles are easy to make ahead and, as an added bonus, easily offer fun leftover lunches for the next day or two. You can find directions for our Reuben Casserole in the Womensforum 555 Meal Planner.