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Nanny's easy open-faced sandwich

Updated on January 10, 2015

Quick and easy lunch idea with bacon, tomatoes, and cheese for kids of all ages

This easy sandwich never fails to please

One of my fondest food memories is of the many times my grandmother and I used to fix these open-faced tomato-bacon sandwiches or, as we affectionately call them, Nanny's sandwiches. I loved them and still do. My daughter is always asking me how I make these. So today I will.

Great recipe for kids young or grown

This became my daughter's favorite lunch (or dinner) and every time she comes, she peers into the fridge and searches for the basic ingredients so she can prod me into making them. I don't need much prodding. I know she continues the tradition with her kids.

Simple ingredients for an easy to make lunch recipe

This is an easy recipe and guaranteed memory-maker. The ingredients are simple and basic. You'll probably have most of them. The recipe is easy and quick. The cooking time is short. The taste is delicious. Let's make some of Nanny's sandwiches, shall we?

My gift to Nanny for Mother's Day, A small Grandmother Remembrance

As a writer, one way that I honor my family members who are no longer with me is by writing about them. Often we read essays or poems but for me, I like to write about different facets and memories that still sit in my memory house. We often link Mother's Day to our mothers, naturally, or even to our daughters who have become new mothers, but our grandmothers deserve our attention and thought, too.

All photographs for recipe and preparation and of Nanny copyright 2013 Vikk Simmons

Who is Nanny?

Who is Nanny?
Who is Nanny?
My grandparents, copyright 2013 Vikk Simmons
My grandparents, copyright 2013 Vikk Simmons

Nanny is my grandmother

Why I remember Nanny

I lived with my grandmother off and on all during my early childhood. My dad was in the Army and stationed in Korea during the police action and my mom and I lived with my grandparents. Because we were a military family, we were in and out of the Philadelphia area where I was born so there were times when I didn't see her at all and other times when I lived in her house (the best of times.)

Nanny had a long life

She lived to be 101 1/2 years old. She was the youngest of 9 children. She and my grandfather moved to America right after World War I and settled in Philadelphia among the strong Scottish community that was there at the time.

Nanny had many gifts

She had long, blue-black hair and the voice of an angel. She sang in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. She could knit a suit in a day. She could even read tea leaves in a tea cup. Best of all, she made some great simple recipes that I absolutely loved and her open-faced tomato, bacon, and cheese sandwich was--and is--my absolute favorite.

Grandmother's play such an important role in our lives and leave a great legacy. What do you remember about your grandmother? How did she influence you?

Don't forget to remember your grandmother on Mother's Day

Who is your grandmother? - Share one memory of one of your grandmothers here

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    • tazzytamar profile image

      Anna 3 years ago from chichester

      She made the best homemade bread ever. She was an amazingly kind, sweet lady who kept my Grandad in check!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

      My parents were both orphaned at a relatively young age so unfortunately I did not have a chance to meet either family side of grandparents.


    The magic ingredient

    The magic ingredient
    The magic ingredient

    Bacon - The most beautiful thing on earth - A fellow bacon lover: Comic Jim Gaffigan loves bacon, too!

    This little piggy went to market - This little piggy went to your house to be a chef and live in your kitchen

    Have fun with this detailed Chef Pig figurine with a chalk board you can actually use to leave notes. He's much taller than he looks. I think he's adorable.

    Gather all the ingredients

    Easy to find ingredients for this simple lunch

    Most ingredients found in the kitchen

    This simple dish uses most of what is already in the kitchen. Bread, cheese, garlic salt, pepper, tomatoes, and bacon. That's it.

    What type of bread?

    My grandmother always used the basic white bread. I've used that, too, and it's really good. But, as I have today, I also use other types of bread such as dark rye or even the Pepperidge Farm THIN sliced white bread. It's really up to you.

    Today I have two types of bread because I'm using up the end pieces.

    Choose your favorite cheese

    We have always used American cheese. It's what we like. But, honestly you can use any type of cheese you want.

    Why American cheese? - Today American cheese has achieved cultural value

    We have always, always, always used American cheese when making Nanny's open-faced sandwiches. For us, it's almost sacrilegious to use anything else. But I do recognize that some people don't like it or prefer something else. That's great. Use whatever you want. (If it's Gouda, remember that cheese doesn't melt so well.)

    Alternate ingredients and ideas - Make the basic recipe your own

    Try different ingredients

    Here are some ingredients you can use to create Nanny's Open-faced Bacon Tomato Cheese Sandwich. Maybe try Velveeta instead of the Great American staple American cheese. Change to a homemade Artisan bread.

    Have trouble slicing tomatoes?

    If you really hate to slice those tomatoes, why not check out a tomato slicer? They're handy to have around and speed things up.

    Nanny's Official Recipe

    Nanny's Open-faced Tomato-Bacon-Cheese Sandwich

    Black pepper and garlic salt spice things up
    Black pepper and garlic salt spice things up

    Classic family lunch recipe

    This recipe has been made for more than sixty years. My family loves this sandwich. I have to admit that I'll make extra and cover them up in Saran Wrap and put them in to the refrigerator to eat later. (Wrap them in a paper towel and microwave.)

    Are substitutes allowed?

    Yes, you can substitute a different bread, different cheese, your favorite brand of garlic salt or pepper. You can omit the bacon but I think you'll be missing the final touch that makes this a great meal. (I have made this without the bacon and it's good...just not as great as with bacon.)

    What about the garlic salt?

    The garlic salt has a distinct part in this recipe as far as taste goes. You do not want to be heavy-handed with it. A little bit goes a long way but the sandwiches definitely taste different without it.

    Cook Time

    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    Total Time: 20 - 30 minutes

    Serves: 3 (2 per person)


    • Black pepper - to taste
    • Garlic salt - to taste
    • American Cheese - 6
    • Slices of bread - 6
    • Tomato slices - 4-6
    • Bacon strips - 2-3


    1. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil.
    2. Place the 6 slices of bread on the pan.
    3. Place one slice of American cheese on top of each slice of bread.
    4. Place one slice of tomato in the center of each piece of bread.
    5. Lightly season with black pepper and garlic salt according to taste.
    6. Cut strips of bacon into small pieces as shown.
    7. Place the cut bacon pieces on top of each sandwich on the each of the four corners and on the top of the tomato in the center.
    8. Place the baking pan of sandwiches into the preheated oven (375 degrees) and bake for 15-20 minutes.
    9. Turn off oven and broil the sandwiches for 3-4 minutes until the cheese is golden brown.
    10. Remove from oven and let sit a few minutes.
    11. Servings: 3 (Most people eat two)
    Cast your vote for Recipe for Nanny's tomato-cheese-bacon open-faced sandwiches

    The Great Bacon Debate

    If you made this recipe would you add bacon?

    You know I would. Love bacon.

    You know I would. Love bacon.

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      • Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

        I sure would add bacon.

      • Meganhere 3 years ago


      • KyraB 4 years ago

        Yes I would :)

      • Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

        Oh, yeh!

      • stanger66 4 years ago

        Yes, I'd love to add bacon


      Bright red tomato sliced and ready to go - Slice your tomatoes

      Plump red tomato sliced teases the tongue
      Plump red tomato sliced teases the tongue

      How many tomatoes?

      The number of tomatoes depends on how open-faced sandwiches you are making and how much tomato you want to use.

      How to slice a tomato

      I know I'm not the most detailed person and I admit my knife was a bit dull so the sliced tomato doesn't look that great but it works. If you really want to fine-tune your tomato slicing skills, check out the video below.

      Simple tips on how to slice a tomato - Kitchen knife tips

      Kitchen tool saves time and energy with a Mandoline - Makes it easy to slice and julienne vegetables and fruits

      Swissmar Borner V-1001 V-Slicer Plus Mandoline 5 Piece Set
      Swissmar Borner V-1001 V-Slicer Plus Mandoline 5 Piece Set

      My son-in-law wanted one of these for Christmas a few years back and that's how I learned about this handy kitchen tool. He loved his so I got one, too.


      Place the bread on the baking pan - Classic white bread is the traditional bread we use

      Bread is the foundation for the sandwich
      Bread is the foundation for the sandwich

      Choosing the bread

      You can use any type of bread you want. My grandmother always used classic plain white bread and the sandwich is delicious when made that way, and I normally do that.

      Great recipe to use up last slices and heels of bread

      However, this is a great way to use up the last slices and the heels of bread and that's what I've done today. I'm using Orowheat's Dark Rye bread and the last slices of the Pepperridge Farm THIN sliced bread.

      Add the cheese - Center the American cheese on the bread

      Lunch special - American cheese for easy quick lunch idea
      Lunch special - American cheese for easy quick lunch idea

      Add the sliced tomatoes - Use one slice of tomato or more

      Add the tomatoes to this quick open-faced sandwich lunch recipe
      Add the tomatoes to this quick open-faced sandwich lunch recipe

      When to season the open-faced sandwich?

      Add black pepper and garlic salt now.

      I tend to add the pepper and the garlic salt BEFORE I add the bacon; but, it's not critical. I've also added it after the bacon's been placed on the cheese and tomatoes.

      Place the bacon just right

      I cut the bacon into small slices and lay them across the four corners of the sandwich and place a nice-sized one on the center of the tomato.

      Into the hot oven we go - Cooking time is short for this quick lunch recipe

      Bake at 350 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes

      The oven should already be heated to 350 degrees (my oven requires 375). I set the timer for 10-12 minutes and then check. Sometimes I bake them for a full 15 minutes.

      Why not skip this step and go to broil?

      This step is done to toast the bottom of the bread so the sandwiches aren't soggy and to cook the bacon.

      When is it ready to broil?

      Once the cheese has melted and the bacon is looking good, it's time to switch and broil.

      Open-faced sandwiches are topped off with the broiler
      Open-faced sandwiches are topped off with the broiler

      The final step - Using the broiler

      When the open-faced sandwiches are ready to broil

      Once the sandwiches have been baked in the oven, it's time to switch on the broiler for the final touch.

      Turn off the oven and turn the broiler on.

      How long to broil?

      This is the tricky part because you want to broil long enough for the cheese to be golden brown and the edges dark but not enough to burn.

      The time length will depend on your oven but it won't take long. Anywhere from 2-4 minutes. This also finishes the bacon. Broil to your liking and you're done.

      Nanny's finished open-faced bacon tomato cheese sandwich - Easy to make lunch, hot and ready to eat

      Nanny's open-faced bacon tomato cheese sandwich is a fast easy lunch
      Nanny's open-faced bacon tomato cheese sandwich is a fast easy lunch

      Finished broiling? Time to eat.

      The cheese will be bubbling and the tops will golden. The smell will tantalize your taste buds. Bacon edges will crisp and the broiled tomatoes will be hot. You'll know it's time to eat.

      What to do with leftovers

      We love Nanny's sandwiches so much we always make more than we think we'll eat. One, because we always eat more than we think we will, and two, because we like to put them in the fridge and warm them up in the microwave later.

      Finished sandwich using white bread

      quick and easy broiled bacon tomato cheese sandwich for lunch
      quick and easy broiled bacon tomato cheese sandwich for lunch

      Have fun cooking with kids

      Cooking with your kids is a great activity for parents and children to share but it isn't limited to the parent-child relationship. Some of my favorite cooking memories happened with my grandmother, my aunt, and my "second" moms.

      Vegan or Vegetarian?

      Vegan or Vegetarian substitutes

      Vegan Cheese alternatives - For those needing non-dairy products or are vegan or vegetarian

      With the growing popularity of vegan and vegetarian lifestyles, there are plenty of opportunities to adapt this recipe. While I often go to the nearest Whole Foods, many groceries offer cheese alternatives that would work for this recipe.

      Yes, there are substitutes for bacon

      When you are looking to substitute, remember, vegetarian is NOT vegan. If you're trying the total Vegan approach it's recommended that the item actual lists "vegan" on the label.

      More simple lunch sandwiches

      Are you fan of the Grilled Cheese Sandwich? - Classic easy to make sandwich

      Kiss a Frog, Get a Chef - Cute Disney Cooking video on making the famous Monte Cristo Sandwich

      Simple and quick lunch recipe.

      So, are you ready to make Nanny's sandwiches? Share your thoughts and your suggestions for fast, easy lunch ideas. - I hope you'll leave a comment as I love to

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        • tazzytamar profile image

          Anna 3 years ago from chichester

          These look so good that I think I'm going to make some today for lunch! Thank you for the recipe and Your Grandmother sounds like a truly wonderful, inspirational lady

        • Lady Lorelei profile image

          Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

          Bacon? I'm in. Who can resist anything with bacon on it or in it? Yummy.

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          othellos 3 years ago

          Very nice idea for lunch or quick meal. Delightful lens. Thank you for publishing it.

        • rob-hemphill profile image

          Rob Hemphill 4 years ago from Ireland

          You had me drooling all the way through, I often make one with just Irish cheddar cheese and tomatoes, so must add the bacon next time.

        • SusanDeppner profile image

          Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

          Of course I'm reading this at 12:03 pm, lunchtime. Now I'm really hungry! I love the look of the sandwiches, but I love the history behind them, too.

        • mbgphoto profile image

          Mary Beth Granger 4 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

          These look very interesting. i will definitely try them...thanks for the introduction.

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          getmoreinfo 4 years ago

          We love sandwiches at our house and I am always looking for easy to prepare recipes. This one really fits the bill, I like how the ingredients are cooked in a broiler that's a great idea.

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          Those sandwiches look great. Very cool lens.

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          Yum. So, what's for lunch today? LOL

          Those sandwiches look so good, and easy to make. :)

        • mrdata profile image

          mrdata 4 years ago

          Delicious recipe! Thanks and congrats for your TOD!

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