‘Pinwheel’ sandwiches ‘perfect’ for little hands

School lunches, with ideas recently posted to this blog and highlighted in an A la Carte story, garnered more social-media sharing than almost any other timely topic, so the newspaper’s Web editor tells me.

To keep the momentum rolling, literally, is the notion of wrap sandwiches — pinwheels, to kids. Cut into small rounds, the roll-ups are perfect for little hands, writes Newsday reporter Lauren Chattman. In this case, cute also means convenient, as pinwheels are best refrigerated for at least 30 minutes or, preferably, overnight, which forms their shape.

Most of us know the basics, but Newsday provided a few tips this week, just in time for back-to-school, and a few ingredient combinations to keep the concept interesting for more than one lunch.

Start with flatbreads, such as lavash or tortillas, which are easiest to roll. But in a pinch, and for children who only eat white bread, cut off the crusts and flatten slices with a rolling pin before proceeding.

Spreading a little butter, mayonnaise, soft cheese or salad dressing over the bread not only adds flavor and keeps the sandwich moist; it helps it to stay rolled up. Thin a thicker ingredient, like cream cheese or goat cheese, with dressing, yogurt or buttermilk, so it spreads easier.

Stick with a few, basic ingredients: a slice or two of deli meat and maybe some lettuce or tomato. Overfilling the sandwich may cause it to unroll. And most kids prefer straightforward combinations of no more than two or three ingredients anyway.

Construct the sandwich on top of a piece of plastic wrap, then use the plastic to wrap the sandwich tightly. It saves the step of transferring the sandwich to plastic wrap, and there’s no risk it will fall apart during the maneuver. After cutting sandwiches into slices, rewrap or repackage them together for packing into lunchboxes.

Here are some of Newsday’s sandwich suggestions:

MCT photo

TURKEY AND PESTO PINWHEELS: Lay 1 (7-inch) whole-grain flatbread on plastic wrap. Spread 1 tablespoon pesto over flatbread. Layer on 2 thin slices deli turkey and 3 thin tomato slices. Roll into a tight cylinder. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hour. Unwrap and slice into 4 or 5 pinwheels.

NECTARINE AND SMOKED CHICKEN PINWHEELS: Remove crusts from 2 slices of rye bread and lay slices on plastic wrap; roll over several times with a rolling pin to flatten. Spread 1 tablespoon mayonnaise over each bread slice. Layer on 2 thin slices smoked chicken or turkey, then 3 or 4 thin slices of peach or nectarine. Roll into tight cylinders. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours. Unwrap and slice each roll into 2 to 3 pieces.

HUMMUS, CUCUMBER AND CARROT PINWHEELS: Lay 1 (7-inch) flatbread on plastic wrap. Spread 1⁄4 cup hummus over flatbread in an even layer. Layer on 1⁄2 of a shredded carrot and 1⁄3 cup peeled and thinly sliced cucumber. Roll into a tight cylinder. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours. Unwrap and slice into 1⁄2-inch pinwheels.

HAM-AND-GOAT CHEESE PINWHEELS: Lay 1 (7-inch) whole-grain flatbread on plastic wrap. Blend 1⁄4 cup goat cheese with 1 tablespoon plain yogurt until smooth; spread in an even layer over flatbread. Layer on 2 thin slices deli ham. Roll into a tight cylinder. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours. Unwrap and slice into 4 or 5 pinwheels.

ROAST BEEF, BABY SPINACH AND RANCH PINWHEELS: Stir 2 tablespoons ranch dressing into 2 tablespoons cream cheese until smooth. Lay 1 (7-inch) flour tortilla flat on plastic wrap. Spread cheese mixture over tortilla in an even layer. Layer on 2 thin slices roast beef and 1⁄4 cup baby spinach leaves. Roll into a tight cylinder. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours. Unwrap and slice into 4 pinwheels.

PEANUT BUTTER, BANANA AND JAM PINWHEELS: Remove crusts from 2 slices white or whole-wheat bread. Lay bread slices on plastic wrap and roll over several times with a rolling pin to flatten. Spread 1 tablespoon peanut butter and 1 tablespoon jam over each bread slice. Layer on thin slices from half of a small banana. Roll into tight cylinders. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours. Unwrap and slice each roll into 3 pieces.

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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