Friday, April 20, 2012

From the Toaster Oven: English Muffin Ham and Swiss Sandwich with Red Grapes

By Guest Writer Michelle PG Richardson (aka Frieda Babbley)

A simple sandwich paired with fruit can be
just what your body needs for lunch time.
In the world of lunch for one, plopping together a sandwich is a common act.  Pairing that sandwich with chips is just as common. Sometimes this is all we want or need, and that’s fine.  But we all know that it’s good to treat yourself to a sandwich that can wow you and a side that gives you a bit more than a handful of chips has to offer.  A warm homemade sandwich like this English muffin ham and Swiss with a side of grapes is sure to hit the spot and give you a variety of nutrients to boot.

What You'll Need

  • English muffin - I like to use an original Thomas’ English Muffin (or you could try the whole wheat version)
  • Butter and a butter knife - for spreading
  • Ham - plain, smoked, honey cured, or low sodium is fine to use
  • Cheese - Swiss, baby Swiss, or provolone (remember, low sodium is available)
  • Fruits and vegetables as a filling or as a side - a good variety is listed below
  • Dollop of your choice of condiment - mayo, Dijon, ranch or honey mustard dressing
  • Oven set to 250 F or toaster oven set to toast - a toaster oven works faster, more efficiently, and uses up less energy

What You'll Do

  • With a sharp knife, cut your English muffin in half horizontally and set it in the oven or toaster oven.  Once it’s lightly toasted to where you are just noticing some golden hues, pull each half out and onto a plate.  Lightly butter the inside surfaces.  This will help ensure the perfect crunch-smoosh while you are enjoying your sandwich.
  • On one of the muffin halves, place the ham.  If you will be adding any fruits or veggies you want toasted or warmed, add those to the ham side - over the ham if you are want them in the middle of your sandwich, under the ham if you want them close to the bread. On the other muffin half, place your cheese and anything you want melted in.
  • Place each half on a small piece of foil, just big enough for your sandwich halves to fit, and place into the oven or toaster oven.  The foil will catch any drippings from the cheese.  Cook until the cheese has melted and your muffin is to your desired crispness.  Slide the foil onto your sandwich plate for easy transfer. 
  • Add your condiments to the center or under the ham, and do the same with any additional fruits or veggies you’d like to add.

Delicious, Nutritious Ingredient Choices

While we tend to grab for the sandwich bread, there is a world of breads out there just waiting to hug your sandwich stuffing.  My mother loves rye bread without seeds.  My sister can’t do without pretzel bread.  As for me, I love English muffins, and unless I’ve had an English muffin at breakfast (usually with butter and honey, jam, preserves, or marmalade) it’s usually the type of bread I’ll be in the mood for come lunch time.

I’m a lover of ham. I’m not afraid of the salt content as I don’t usually add salt to my dishes and I keep hydrated with plenty of water throughout the day. You can find low sodium ham, of course, which makes most feel better about eating it.  Quite frankly my taste buds prefer a low sodium ham, but in this case I’ve chosen a Boar’s Head Honey Maple Ham. When thinly sliced it’s perfect for folding, allowing for a medium bite and texture to complement the smoothness of the cheese and the crunch-smoosh of the English muffin.  For me, ham is lighter than a roast beef, but has more flavor than a turkey or chicken; thus my body will feel neither too heavy nor too hungry before dinner.

My favorite cheeses to use for this are Swiss, baby Swiss, or provolone, depending on my mood.  These melt well and quickly, which is what you want if you don’t like your English muffins super crispy.  You can get any of these in low sodium as well.  In fact I prefer the taste of a low sodium provolone.  In this recipe, I’ve chosen Swiss for the sharpness.

I love adding fruits or vegetables to this sandwich, and have previously done so in quite a variety of combinations.  When I’m in a plain mood, I’ll simply add thinly sliced cucumber and serve with a carrot or grapes on the side.  When I want something more, I choose from one or more of the following: spinach, lettuce, sliced beets, artichoke hearts, avocado, tomato, small pieces of broccoli, cranberry jelly, thinly sliced apples.  All make for delicious and healthy foods to add.

If you enjoy a good condiment in your sandwiches, mayo or Dijon would be my suggestion. I’ve been known to dollop some salad dressing, like ranch or honey mustard, on there as well, in lieu of mayo or Dijon for that restaurant taste and feel.   It’s up to your taste buds of course.

The Finishing Touch

Enjoy your meal in the ambiance of cut flowers or a bouquet as it is especially good for your digestion because it softens your eating and relaxes your soul.

You can find more great recipes and food ideas by Frieda Babbley on “What to Serve” at Eye on Life Magazine, and at Frieda Babbley on HubPages.

Photo source: Frieda Babbley


  1. Thank you Michelle! I love English muffins and ham. These sandwiches are so smart and easy, and would make a lovely addition to a brunch as well as a stand-alone meal for one.

  2. You're so welcome! It was a pleasure. Yes, it would make a great addition to a brunch. It makes a great make it yourself sandwich as well, allowing your guests to choose from a variety of fruits and veggies and their own choice of condiment(s) that you can set out as a buffet or on a serving platter in the center of your table. Absolute fun. Never the same sandwich twice! Well, almost never. You do end up with a favorite, at least for a while.

  3. I love the grapes instead of chips-- much healthier and I too am a ham and cheese buff, but I'll take whole grain bread instead of that English Muffin please. Lunch for one, two or many more-- this is fabulous.

    1. LOL, pinkpackrat...I'll take a Thomas' over whole grain bread any day, but did you know Thomas' comes in a whole grain version?

    2. It sure does. As a matter of fact I was going to include that too as an option. Where it says "English muffin - I like to use an original Thomas’ English Muffin" you can maybe add, ", there Thomas' has a whole grain version you may also like to try."?

    3. Good idea, Frieda. Done. :)

  4. A great article;I am saving as I want to try it out. I will let you know how I get on.
    Take care;