Warmer Weather Equals Picnics and Sandwich Season

My grown son is now in his own condo and this collection of recipes I called, Dearest Michael were written when he was younger as you will see by my references, as a gift to him for this very moment. 

Whether you read them for the story or the recipe, know that they were written as a tribute to the many people who have influenced my kitchen, my cooking and my notion of family.


“ Mom, you are the only one I know who can put raspberries on a sandwich and make it taste as good as it does,” my son said to me a while back. (He may have been turning on the charm to get me to make him one).

When the months start their uphill climb towards Mid May and June, I begin thinking about the beach and picnics that wait patiently for my blanket spread and umbrella opening.

I eagerly get my beach bag ready, packing it with the usual suspects, beach towels, SPF, lip balm, my beach hat, whatever books I am reading, my journal and the pencil pouch filled with all types of writing utensils.

In the early months when it is bound to be on the cooler side, there is always a few extra layers along for the ride, sweatshirt, sweatpants and socks, too because when I get to the beach, unless it rains, I am in it to win it.

Besides my beach chair, the pièce de résistance though, is my grandparent’s cooler brought up from Sarasota filled with drinks, snacks and of course the perfect sandwich.

During my days of perpetually trying to avoid carbs, bread specifically, a food I love, because diet-speak was ingrained in my head, I would try to come up with ways around sandwiches. Salad bowls, tuna in glass dishes with a fork (if I remembered) or whatever other creative way I could come up with an alternative to sandwiches.

In my humble opinion, along with a bag of chips, there are no good alternatives to sandwiches at the beach. Once I made the decision to move towards my sixties finally leaving behind the constant jibber jabber of over analyzing every single thing that goes into my mouth, sandwiches made a gold star comeback as a star of the show.

Sandwiches are the perfect beach food. As much of a daily grind it was to make lunches every day when my son was school age, I got really creative as Michael’s taste buds improved beyond the basics. High school sandwiches were my experiment and 

Michael’s enthusiastic comments would propel me into coming up with new ways to take an old standard up a notch without over doing it so that it could end up a soggy mess.

Bread, condiments, protein, cheese, vegetables and sometimes fruit became the ingredients that opened up a world of choices. Along with my Great Grandmother, Mimi’s Tuna Salad recipe, a few weeks ago, today I am going to share a few other sandwiches I regularly make for the beach and picnics.

Some of the layers may seem odd for your more traditional sandwiches, but give them a try, you may be deliciously surprised!
Happy Picnicking!

*Because I make some product recommendations in my blogs, I may get a small commission as an affiliate and or an Amazon affiliate. Anything I recommend I personally use. I want to make it easier to shop for items you may not have, need to replace-- or if you are a lover of all things kitchen like me, just want to add to your collection.

Creative Sandwiches for Picnics and Work Lunches

In my humble opinion, along with a bag of chips, there are no good alternatives to sandwiches at the beach. Once I made the decision to move towards my sixties finally leaving behind the constant jibber jabber of over analyzing every single thing that goes into my mouth, sandwiches made a gold star comeback as a star of the show.


smiling woman with glasses looking up at her son, a young man

Prep Time: Less than 10 minutes


All of these can be played with. Take some ingredients from one and play with on another.

  • 4 slices of your favorite bread (I love a good sourdough, but typically I use Dave’s Killer Bread or Ezekial)
  • White meat of some of a Rotisserie roast chicken* or 8 slices of deli good quality Roast Chicken
  • 1 good tomato sliced (Camparis are not too bad this time of year- otherwise those delicious in season tomatoes that are so short lived, but incredible)
  • Hellman’s Mayonaise (Nothing like Hellman's)
  • Avocado is good on any of these

OPTION 1 (shown in photos)

  • A few thin slices of Feta Cheese
  • Fresh Mint and or Cilantro leaves washed and rinsed and chopped a bit to make it easy to eat on a sandwich
  • a few slices of cucumber (I like the small Persian ones when cukes aren't in season yet)
  • 1 Clementine, peeled and segmented


  • 1 generous t. Red Pepper Jelly (mixed with mayonnaise on 1 side or both)
  • 4 slices of Cheddar Cheese
  • 4-5 pieces of Butter Lettuce
  • 1 small apple thinly sliced

OPTION 3 (this is really good on rye bread)

  • Horseradish (mixed with mayonnaise on 1 side or both)
  • A few thin slices of Feta Cheese
  • Fresh Baby Spinach leaves
  • 1 small beet sliced* (instead of tomato option)

I tend to use Cape Cod 40% Reduced fat chips, not because of the reduced fat part, I just have found I like the taste of these the best.


Depending on what option you choose:

  • Spread Mayo on both slices
  • If using red pepper jelly or horseradish, put that on one of the mayo slices
  • Place tomato and avocado on one side (if using)
  • Top with cheese choice: cheddar or feta
  • Protein next - Top with chicken
  • Follow with green choice spinach, OR Basil/Cilantro OR butter leaf lettuce
  • Add fruit next
  • Sandwich other slice of bread on top
  • Slice in half
  • Wrap in foil and put in Ziplock baggie to keep moisture from ice interrupting your delight.
  • Remember to pack cloth napkins and Cape Cod 40% reduced fat Potato chips!
  • Add 1 container of some easy to eat fruit (diced pineapple, squared watermelon or raspberries)
  • Some sort of sweetness. I love chocolate snacks or cookies.
  • Nice big iced bottle of water. I usually put a tea bag of earl grey into my water bottle for the beach.
  • Ice packs are great, but if it is a really hot day, I freeze a few water bottles the night before and use these for ice packs instead and eventually extra thawed water.

VOILA. Perfect Beach or Picnic Day

the ingredients for the sandwich using the feta and cucumber and herbs, option 1
making the sandwich, putting it together


Cutest bag for picnics, love the wicker bottom and the very important long handles.

When I went to Spain, I bought some incredible cotton blankets. I use them for tablecloths, couch covers and the beach. Super versatile. These are a little thicker, but there is nothing like a cotton blanket at the beach!

Great slim ice packs. Though, I prefer frozen water bottles, but sometimes I forget to put them in the freezer the night before. Love the size of these.

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