Make it a BLTA, Friday

As someone who pinches pennies, often until they yelp in protest, I still try and treat myself with the simple things in life. That means that every Friday. as I look to finish up another remote work week, I will celebrate by doing something special for lunch. Not take out, never take out. I want something only I can make perfectly and that means despite my vegetarian leanings, I will make a bacon,, lettuce, tomato and avocado sandwich every time.

I buy a cheap pack of bacon, always on special at my local discount grocery store and crisp it up in the oven, the entire pack. The whole house smells like bacon so I do it all at once because while I love the smell, it’s a once a week at best kind of smell. I do this by laying strips of bacon out on baking sheets lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. I cook at 325-F deg until crisp, 30 minutes are so but I keep an eye on it. I then drain and cool the bacon. I have crisped bacon in the microwave when in a hurry but oven baked is best so I try and plan for it.

In the same oven, at the same time, I roast thinly sliced Roma tomatoes sprinkled with salt and pepper and drizzled with good quality olive oil. It’s still winter so frankly speaking, those greenhouse tomatoes taste like watery cardboard. Drastic culinary measures are called for which, in this case means oven roasting. Oven roasting brings out the natural sweetness and glory of tomatoes and pretty much can salvage the taste of any winter grown tomatoes you have. It is also a great frugal trick for other winter produce. Oven roasting brings out the natural flavors of root vegetables in particular and what it does for onions is amazing. And I like to fill a hot oven every chance I get so bacon and roasted tomatoes is the way to my heart. I do this all on Thursday by the way. And the tomatoes can take upwards of an hour. They are totally worth the wait.

Come Friday, I can hardly wait. I toast two slices of white bread, literally the only time I never eat white bread. I then slather the toasted bread with a generous smear of mayo and layer on the bacon, lettuce (which I sometimes forget in my haste), roasted tomato, and slices of creamy avocado. I also scatter a few caramelized onion slices on top when I have them which I usually do.

This is the perfect way to end my work week lunches. The comfort and pure taste appeal of a BLTA cannot be over stated during a time when we are not going out save for groceries and bubble isolation visits to my daughter. We go nowhere so this singular sandwich is a real treat.

For my partner, it is a roast beef dip all the way. Because these cost $12 and up at the local sandwich shop, we found a way to take that cost less than $5 a sandwich. My partner buys a pound of deli sliced roast beef which we can make four sandwiches from. I toast a hoagie roll, bought at the discount grocery store until the surface gets crispy and then top with caramelized onions, roast beef and a slice of swiss cheese. I wrap it all up in a sheet of foil and put it back in the oven for 5 minutes so the cheese can melt. We actually buy the dry packaged au jus dip and that lasts for four dip sandwiches as well. My partner reports the taste is not bad at all. This sandwich is my partner’s favorite lunch time treat. Because I make the caramelized onions, I try and make both sandwiches at the same time. Double happy celebration. And it turns out, the BLTA costs me about $2.50 to make whereas the versions at the local sandwich shop cost three to four times that amount. So, not only am I celebrating but I am saving money while doing it.

So, make the of your work week, whatever day that is, special. Make a BLTA or a roast beef dip or whatever is your absolute favorite sandwich and favor the savings.

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