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Kids Cook Monday: Mini French Dip Sandwiches
Looking for an Easy Family Dinner Recipe the Kids will Love?
I'm a busy mom of four. After running errands and carpooling, I'm tired! But I want to make an easy family dinner that will be healthy, inexpensive and quick.
Not only that, I want my children to enjoy the meal without fussing or complaining.
I have found that kids especially like dinners with some or all of the following characteristics:
- Funny or entertaining (think fun shaped pasta)
- Kid-sized (mini muffins, mini sandwiches, you get the idea)
- Cheesy (this is one ingredient that can make just about any food taste better - cheese sauce for broccoli anyone?)
Mini french dip sandwiches are built on crescent rolls, which are easier to manage for young kids than the traditional hard rolls typically used. With the addition of Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheeses, you don't even need to serve the sandwiches with Au Jus sauce - in fact, it will be less messy to just omit the dipping sauce if you're dining with kids under the age of 5!
Ingredients for Mini French Dip Sandwiches
- 1 package of refrigerated crescent rolls
- 16 ounces (1 pound) of thinly sliced deli roast beef
- 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
- Garlic salt to taste
- Grated Parmesan cheese to taste
- 2 cups of Au Jus sauce (if desired)
How to Make Mini French Dip Sandwiches
Mini french dip sandwiches can be assembled, baked and on the dinner table in less than 15 minutes.
At a cost of less than $10 total, you can feed 4 people this healthy, easy family dinner. And did I mention how much kids love bite-sized sandwiches?
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
- Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking oil, or line with foil
- Sauté sliced onion in a skillet with the olive oil until golden brown
- Add roast beef to cooked onions and stir until warm, another 2-3 minutes
- Open the crescent roll package and separate individual rolls
- Arrange dough triangles unrolled onto the baking sheet and sprinkle with garlic salt
- Add approximately 2 ounces of roast beef/onion mixture to the bottom (large part) of each triangle and top with 1-2 tablespoons of shredded Mozzarella cheese
- Carefully roll up the dough triangle over the sandwich filling, pressing the tip lightly to secure
- Lightly sprinkle Parmesan cheese and garlic salt on the top of each roll
- Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned
- While sandwiches are baking, prepare Au Jus sauce, if desired (see below)
- Remove mini french dip sandwiches from the oven and allow to sit for 2 minutes before serving
Cook Time for Mini French Dip Sandwiches
Making the Au Jus Sauce for French Dip Sandwiches
Au Jus sauce is the traditional dip for french dip sandwiches. You can prepare Au Jus from a prepared package or from liquid Au Jus concentrate. Or, create it from scratch (recipe below)
A single packet of Au Jus will make 5 servings (1/2 cup each). Whisk into 2 1/2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If using liquid concentrate, use 1 part Au Jus to 2 parts water. Thus, for 2 cups of water, whisk in 1 cup of concentrated Au Jus.
Au Jus from Scratch:
Generally speaking, au jus is made from the natural juices that run out of a beef roast. If you are cooking your own roast for the sandwiches, you can deglaze the pan after removing the roast with a bit of red wine and/or beef broth. Add 2 tablespoons chopped onion, 1 tablespoon chopped garlic, salt and pepper to taste and 1/2 teaspoon sage.
Even if you are not cooking your own roast, you can still make a pretty good tasting Au Jus sauce by stirring the following together over medium heat on the stovetop:
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Bring just to a boil and then reduce heat. Stir constantly for 10 minutes and serve with french dip sandwiches.
Serving Mini French Dip Sandwiches
If you are making this recipe for a meal, place 2-4 mini sandwiches on a plate and serve with about 1/2 cup au jus sauce in a sturdy bowl or mug (I like to use french onion soup bowls).
As the name implies, french dip sandwiches are dunked into the au jus sauce, one corner or bite at a time. Since each person has their own container of au jus, it is perfectly acceptable manners to "double dip" your sandwich.
These sandwiches are delicious accompanied by potato chips and green or fruit salad. Don't forget to set extra napkins on the table.
You might want to make a few extra sandwiches because they taste so delicious, my kids always ask for seconds!