Itty Bitty Bites

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Recent consumer research shows that snacking is on the rise and convenience may be to blame. Americans are becoming more inclined to “graze” during the day and restaurants can provide options to profit from this trend. For instance, some restaurants have added a “Small Cravings” section to their menu with options like mini-sandwiches that are just like their gourmet full-sandwich counterparts, just smaller. Here are some great small-bite ideas for your menu:

> Classic Reuben
Thin slices of corned beef or pastrami, and Swiss cheese slices on rye bread served with a mixture of 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup Thousand Island dressing and 8 ounces drained and coarsely chopped sauerkraut for dipping.

> California Turkey & Cheddar
Turkey and Cheddar cheese slices on whole wheat or multigrain bread with avocado spread (use a ratio of half of a mashed avocado to 1 tablespoon Ranch dressing).

> Salami Pesto
Salami and provolone cheese slices, and roasted red peppers on Italian bread spread with prepared pesto.

Chef Tip
Cut sandwiches into squares, triangles or rectangles with a knife, or use cookie cutters to cut bread and sandwich fillings into shapes, then assemble sandwiches. Serve with accompaniments such as pickles, olives, pickled vegetables, cherry tomatoes and green onions.