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These 'Dragon Sandwiches' are designed to be eaten in bunches

Monday, February 18, 2013 - 12:01 am

Stieg Larsson's “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” is a great read, but I wasn't nearly as obsessed with finding out what happened to Harriett as I was with this underlying mystery: What's with all the sandwiches?

Every other page, it seems, the Swedish journalist Blomqvist takes stock of his increasingly perilous situation by making coffee and sandwiches. And his 90-pound sidekick Lisbeth Salander is prone to not just eating said sandwiches but to “wolfing them down.”

Always plural, these sandwiches. And all this time I thought Europeans were so much more refined than us American pigs.

However they were portrayed in the movie (which I haven't seen), I suspect Blomqvist's sandwiches are rather dainty compared to what we're used to here in the U.S.

Needless to say, all that reading made me covet a pile of sandwiches of my own. For guiltless consumption purposes, I set the following criteria:

1. The total calorie count per sandwich tray should not exceed 300 calories.

2. Each tray must contain at least two sandwiches, meaning each sandwich must register 150 calories or less.

3. The goal is to get as many “Dragon Sandwiches” on the tray as possible.

Here are 10 sandwich trays I came up with:

1. Caramel apple sandwiches:

Cut a medium Granny Smith apple into 16 5-calorie slices and place in lemon juice so they don't turn brown. Set out four slices of whole grain cocktail bread (23 calories each). Place two apple slices on each piece of bread, drizzle one teaspoon of T. Marzetti's fat free caramel dip over each and top with another slice of bread. Makes four sandwiches for a total of 279 calories. (Refrigerate leftover apple slices for later).

2. Turkey BLTs:

The key here is using Aunt Millie's Healthy Goodness Bread (70 calories for two slices) and turkey bacon (17 calories a slice). One bacon strip, tomato slice, iceberg lettuce leaf and 1/2 teaspoon of guacamole on two slices of toasted bread yields a 97-calorie sandwich, so you could have three on your tray.

I prefer two slices of bacon on mine, which bumps the calorie total to 114. One is usually pretty satisfying, but when making up a tray of “Dragon Sandwiches,” I make two of these and cut them into fourths for eight tiny taste treats.

3. PB&J Lite:

I just love PB2, a powdered peanut butter that's only 45 calories per serving. Add a tablespoon of Smucker's Sugar Free Red Raspberry Preserves to two slices of Healthy Goodness bread for two 125-calorie sandwiches.

4. Dragon Dogs:

Two all-white-meat turkey franks (45 calories each) on a pair of Aunt Millie's Whole Grain hot dog buns (80 calories apiece). At 125 calories per dog (130 if you squirt a little mustard on top), you can have twice as many as a standard beef frank.

5. Mini pepperoni pizzas:

Top each of three halves of a thin sandwich round with a tablespoon of pizza sauce, three slices of turkey pepperoni, 1/2 tablespoon of chopped onion, 1 medium sliced mushroom and 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese. At exactly 100 calories per pizza, you get three.

6. Bread and jam:

Spread 1 tablespoon of Smucker's Sugar Free Red Raspberry Preserves on two slices of Pepperidge Farms Very Thin Sliced Whole Wheat Bread for an 82-calorie sandwich. Three per tray.

7. Bird bites:

One slice of Oscar Mayer fat free smoked turkey breast, one lettuce leaf, one tomato slice and a teaspoon of mustard on two slices of Health Goodness bread is 90 calories. Make three and cut into quarters for 12 bird bites.

8. Peanut butter and lettuce:

Mix up a double serving of PB2 and divide it among three slices of Healthy Goodness Bread. Top with two lettuce leaves and another slice of bread.

9. Mini bagels:

Spread 1 teaspoon fat free cream cheese on a mini bagel half. Garnish with chopped carrot or cucumber, or a grape, strawberry or blueberry trio. Each half is 54 calories, and each garnish is less than 6 calories, so you get a total of five mini bagel halves.

10. Breakfast sandwiches:

Microwave an egg white in a bowl coated with low-cal cooking spray. Place on one slice of toasted Healthy Goodness bread. Top with two slices of turkey pepperoni, a couple of drops of hot sauce and another piece of toast. At 100 calories each, you get three.

Got any ideas for low-calorie sandwiches you'd like to add? E-mail your suggestions to tcaylor@news-sentinel.com for possible inclusion in a future column.

Tanya Isch Caylor, a News-Sentinel copy editor, blogs on diet and fitness at www.90in9.wordpress.com. This column is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of The News-Sentinel.