This post brought to you by Sargento Foods, Inc.. All opinions are 100% mine.
In this journey I’ve taken with Mom to help her lose weight, one of our biggest hurdles has been her tendency to skip meals when she gets busy. Every week I find myself telling her, “Just take a break—even if it’s only for 10 minutes.” She’ll nod as she flies out the door. And yet, later in the day when she recounts her meals to me, it’s always the same: “So I had cereal for breakfast…and then for dinner dinner I had grilled steak tips with a baked sweet potato…” I’ll stop her there, asking what happened at lunchtime. “I was just going, going, going nonstop. There really wasn’t time.”
What I find most difficult about the lunch skipping, is that once dinnertime rolls around, Mom is the first one at the table, clearly ravenous, and asking me, “What would happen if I had two burgers tonight, instead of one?” It’s been so long since she’s eaten that she’s now ready to eat two meals. And it makes sense. When I miss a meal, I often end up eating way more at my next meal than I would have otherwise. I’m also not sure that I can quite enjoy my food as much when I’m that overly hungry and rushing to fill up.
Only very slowly, over the course of the past three months, have I started to see a shift in Mom’s mentality about lunch skipping. Maybe I’m rubbing off on her. Looking over her food logs for the last few weeks, it’s becoming more rare to see a missed meal on the weekends. Last week, the two of us were out hunting for a sofa for my apartment, and we’d been at it for hours—the morning well into the afternoon. By two o’clock, Mom looked at me and said, “Do you think we should go get something to eat?” I, the one who is always harping on her to pause and eat a real lunch mid-day, had lost track of time, and now look, she was showing me.
A few week’s back, I got in touch with Sargento, a brand I’ve used for years, about their “Take a Real Lunch” campaign. I couldn’t help but get on board. It’s already such a work in progress in Mom and my life; I can’t help but wonder how many more people struggle with finding the time for themselves. How many of us actually take a break mid-day to eat a real, healthy meal? It’s something that I believe in so strongly, having eaten on a pretty regular schedule for years since losing weight.
When I was dreaming up cheesy recipes using their new line of Ultra-Thin sliced cheeses (which are so convenient, only 40-45 calories per slice, and also sliced right from the block for those of you who are looking for products with minimal added ingredients and processing), I wanted to step away from summery cold salads I love and make a sandwich that was healthy, but also a little on the warming side, too.
This Open-Faced Cheesy Chicken Caesar Sandwich is a merging of two of Mom and my favorites: chicken Caesar salads and fresh bakery bread. The flavors combine to taste just like the traditional salad, since I chose not to simply lay romaine lettuce on the sandwich with a smearing of dressing, but to toss the shredded leaves in Caesar dressing first—creating a real dressed salad on your sandwich. The toasted bread even gives the sense that you’re eating a crouton on your salad. The reasoning behind making the sandwiches open-faced was to allow the melted Swiss cheese (and Parmesan!) to really shine. It also lightens the sandwich by about 100 or so calories, which can help with weight loss goals.
It’s simple and quick enough to make in under 10 minutes for those of us, like Mom, who are time-crunched but still wanting to eat healthfully. I hope you love it!
Open-Faced Cheesy Chicken Caesar Sandwich
1 half-inch thick slice of your favorite multigrain bread
2 leaves romaine lettuce, chopped (about ¾ cup)
1 tablespoon Caesar dressing, I like Ken’s Steak House Light Options Caesar
3 ounces all-natural chicken breast deli meat (about 3 slices)
1 slice Sargento Ultra-Thin Swiss cheese
1 tablespoon Sargento shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat your oven’s broiler. Toast your slice of bread, turning once to brown both sides and taking care not to let the bread burn.
In a small bowl, toss the lettuce with the Caesar dressing.
Place your slice of toast on an oven-proof baking sheet or broiler pan. Pile the dressed lettuce on top of the bread, followed by the chicken, and finally the slice of Swiss cheese. Broil just until the cheese melts, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Carefully transfer the open-faced sandwich to a plate and sprinkle the top with the Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Info for 1 Open-Faced Sandwich (entire recipe above): Calories 320, Total Fat 10.0 g, Total Carbohydrate 31.5 g, Dietary Fiber 1.5 g, Sugars 0.5 g, Protein 28.0 g
What about you? Are you good about taking a real lunch, or are you more like Mom, who sometimes skips right over it?