From Our Pantry: Homemade PB&J and Grilled Cheese Uncrustables

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The following is a weekly feature brought to us by Sumiko from Near to Nothing.  I’ve asked her to share tips and tricks (and recipes!) that show us ways to replace the items we’d typically buy canned or frozen from scratch at home for less!  You’ll find a new From Our Pantry post each Monday.

Last week I posted my tips and strategies to streamline school lunch preparation and save money.  I also included a list of suggested items to make for lunches.  I’d like to share two of those with you this week:  PB&J and grilled cheese.  Both of these can be made in large batches ahead of time and frozen.

While it is faster and easier to make and freeze regular PB&J and grilled cheese, most kids prefer crustless sandwiches such as Uncrustables.  They are really convenient, but that convenience comes at a price.  When I started making my own crustless sandwiches about a year-and-a-half ago, I estimated that it cost me $0.25 per sandwich.  At that time, I priced them at $0.62 each at the store.

I use Pampered Chef’s Cut-N-Seal and absolutely love it.  You can find it on their website for $9.50.  That might sound pricey for a cutter, but considering I’m saving about $0.37 per sandwich, it has definitely paid for itself!  A note about the size—I have two older cutters, a 3-inch and a 4-inch.  The 3-inch is too small (pictured) and the 4-inch is just slightly too big.  Pampered Chef now only caries one that is 3½ inches—perfect bread size.

There is also this Krustbuster which is more bread shaped.  It is available on Amazon for just over $8.  I haven’t used this one so I can’t vouch for it.

One thing that will really affect how your crustless sandwiches turn out is what type of bread you use.  It needs to be soft so it will crimp together and not tear.  Unfortunately, that means a lot of whole grain breads don’t work so well.  I’ve tried a few different varieties and have found that Sara Lee’s Soft and Smooth Plus 100% Whole Wheat Made with DHA Omega-3 seals and tastes the best (it also has the longest name).

Once you have a cutter, bread, peanut butter, and jelly (or honey!), there are only six easy steps to homemade crustless sandwiches!

Homemade Crustless PB&J

Step 1:  Spread two slices of bread with peanut butter—putting peanut butter on both sides will keep the jelly from making the bread soggy.

Step 2:  Spread jelly on top of peanut butter on one side; put two halves together.

Step 3:  Press outer edges of Cut-N-Seal into sandwich to cut off excess.

Step 4:  Press down crimper to seal edges.

Step 5:  Remove crustless sandwich from middle of bread.

Step 6:  Wrap sandwich in plastic wrap, place in gallon zip-top bag, and store in freezer.  In the morning, I simply pull one out of the freezer and put it in my daughter’s lunch box.  By lunch time, it has thawed and is ready to eat!

You can also make crustless grilled cheese!  These are great if your kids’ school has a nut-free policy.  I prefer these reheated in the toaster oven, but my kids gobble them down even when they are not heated, making them great even if your kids cannot use the microwave at school.  Taken out of the freezer in the morning or night before, they will be thawed by lunch time.

Sliced American, the cheese of classic grilled cheese sandwiches, is too large to fit into the cutter.  However, if the corners are folded in, it’s a perfect fit!  Of course, you could substitute whatever shredded cheese you like.

Homemade Crustless Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Step 1:  Heat skillet over medium to medium-high heat.

Step 2:  Fold corners of each slice of cheese to middle and place in center of bread.  Top each with second slice of bread.

Step 3:  Cut and seal with sandwich cutter.

If the bread tears, don't worry about it. This was Iron Kids bread, which wasn't soft enough.

Step 4:  Butter tops of sandwiches.  Butter bottoms and immediately place in pan, top down.

Buttering the bottom is the messy part.

Step 5:  Flip when top is browned; continue to cook until bottom is browned.  Cool completely on wire rack.

Step 6:  Wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap and store in zip-top bag in freezer.

Whether I’m making PB&J or grilled cheese, I usually make one or two loaves-worth at a time.  And don’t throw all those scraps away!!  Save them for croutons or breadcrumbs.


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Comments

  1. Or save the bread scraps for the ducks:)

  2. You could make bread pudding with the scraps. At our house no one eats the bread butts (ends) so we started a bag in our freezer we just tear up one piece at a time (top or bottom) and put it in the bag and put it back in the freezer. When the bag is full we make bread pudding. The great part about this system is that the bread is already torn up and we don’t have to tear up a whole loaf of bread at once to make it.

  3. We spray our grilled cheese sandwiches with PAM instead of using butter. It is a lot less calories, makes them crispier and is less messy. We prefer them that way now and so do our kids. :)

  4. Jennifer Bush LaRocque via Facebook says:

    Been doing this for a few years now and love it! What a time saver too!

  5. Just a heads up, Walmrt sells a sandwich de-cruster and sealer for $1.96 made by Wonder Bread. It’s on the bread aisle at my local Walmart.

  6. I LOVE this post! and yes, we will save ours for the local ducks ;)

  7. Elizabeth A. Maher Purdum via Facebook says:

    Great ideas, thank you!

  8. Linda Middendorf says:

    Since these are way too small for my big kids (who could eat 2 or 3 of them at one time), I am going to try this out for camping trips. It will make a great treat for our walks. My 16 year old eats them directly from the freezer (in 2-3 bites). Thanks for the tips.

    • You can also freeze whole, regular-sized sandwiches for bigger eaters. Sometimes I do this with grilled cheese for myself and my husband.

  9. Selena A. Balgos-Flores via Facebook says:

    Wish I could do the pb&j. Have a son with nut allergy & he is not a fan of soy butter. Grilled cheese, however is one of his new favorites. Wasn’t sure I could freeze it. What a great time saver. Gonna work on it this week. Thanks Frugal Find!!!

  10. You can also use the bread scraps to make a French Toast Casserole
    http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/french-toast-casserole-1030014/

  11. Oh this is incredible! I have to hunt down that cutter. My sandwich hating daughter would ADORE those PBJs.

  12. Sonya Lowe via Facebook says:

    I use the PC snadwich cutter also, I love it and so do my kids!

  13. We have this tool called a toastite, we serve all kinds of sandwiches toasted,pb jelly,cheese, corn beef…..ect. I think we also waste less of the bread, but then the size maybe what is important. It does two at a time. You can use oil spray or any other fat. We use it over our stove top or any cooking heat source. For our family of twelve it works very well, we actually have two.

  14. You can do all those grilled cheese at one time in the over. Brush with butter, put on your PC stone and bake at 350 till toasty.

  15. I love these, i also have a mini pie maker I bought for 24.99 I make mini breakfast quiche, and pot pies and freeze those, it makes 4 at a time. I also purchased the https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002TZ04J6/ref=as_li_ss_til?tag=thefrufin-20&camp=0&creative=0&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=B002TZ04J6&adid=1H1ERVGH2P85P4HTJ67X& Animal shape ones to make it more fun for myself, i’m a 29 year old kidless adult by the way, but I find that if it’s cuter I eat it more often, and I think your kids would agree.

  16. Shirley Steiniger says:

    You can also add ham to the grilled cheese sanwiches before you cut and grill and make ham and cheese sandwiches. I put a thin layer of mayo on both bread slices so that they get a good seal.

  17. You could also save the bread scraps and make your own homemade stuffing and freeze that for a quick side dish for dinner.

  18. Just wondering…. Do you think it would work if I brushed the pb&j uncrustable with butter and grilled it like a grilled pb&j? Mmmmm sounds so good!

  19. SarahBeth Scanland says:

    How do you Reheat the grilled cheese?

    • Marci Loehner says:

      Hi SarahBeth! You can place in a skillet or oven to heat up for about 5 minutes. If you want to keep it warm try wrapping it in reynolds wrap!

Trackbacks

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  3. […] The Frugal Find‘s recipe for uncrustable peanut butter and jelly sandwiches is an easy way to send your children to school with a tasty lunch. Prepare as many sandwiches as you’d like, freeze them, and pop one in your child’s lunch box in the morning. By lunch time, the uncrustable will be thawed and ready to eat! […]

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