When we were kids, grilled cheese was on the menu a lot for meatless Fridays. Mom would take plain white bread, add some sliced cheese, toss some butter into her ancient cast iron skillet, and grill us up some toasty sandwiches. My kids loved Velveeta on white bread.
Today, grilled cheese sandwiches are trendy, and it’s not just the plain old fashioned grilled cheese, either. Here are some new ideas to put your grilled cheese into restaurant worthy grilled cheese!
Grilled Cheese Sandwich 101:
For starters, with all the recipes I’m sharing, here’s what’s important:
- The bread. Must be high-quality, STURDY bread, be careful not to get a bread that’s too “holey” – if it has real big holes, the filling will ooze out. (Though I love Ciabatta, it’s not a good choice for grilled cheese).
- The butter. Use real butter, and plenty of it. Buttering both outsides of bread with softened butter works well.
- The cheese. Again, high quality.
- The pan. A Panini grill pan works well. Or a heavy duty skillet. Heat before placing sandwich on, and use a plate to weigh sandwich down.
Reuben Grilled Cheese
I like sourdough rye for this, or a hearty, thick plain rye. Great for Oktoberfest.
1/2 pound real deli corned beef, chopped or shredded
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sauerkraut, well drained
1 cup each: Swiss and Cheddar, shredded
Follow instructions for Sophisticated Grilled Cheese.
Serve with side of Thousand Island dressing and pickles.
Sophisticated Grilled Cheese
For Annie, who wanted something like what Tom & Chee make. Nice for that Oktoberfest celebration. I use sourdough for this.
Preparing the bread:
First, butter your bread: Spread room temperature butter onto one side of each bread slice, about a teaspoon or so per slice, depending upon the size of the bread. Be generous.
1 cup each Gruyere or Swiss and White or Yellow Cheddar, shredded
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon each: Dijon or yellow mustard and 1 chopped green onion or a generous tablespoon or so of red onion
Grill until bread is toasted and cheese is melted.
Good add in: Arugula leaves on top of the mixture before grilling.
BLT Grilled Cheese
Adapted from Cooking Light.
1 cup sliced red onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon butter or more as needed
1 generous cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
8 slices hearty fairly thick white bread, like Pepperidge Farm, prepared as instructed in Sophisticated Grilled Cheese
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices tomato
6 slices bacon, cooked
Heat skillet. Add butter, onion and garlic; cook for 10 minutes or until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheese over each of 4 bread slices. Top each slice with 1/2 cup spinach, 2 tomato slices, 2 tablespoons onion mixture, and 1 1/2 bacon slices. Sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons cheese; top with the remaining 4 bread slices.
Heat skillet over medium heat. Place sandwiches in pan, and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cheese melts. Makes 4.
Grilled Cheese Croutons
So good with a steaming bowl of tomato soup!
4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices country white bread
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 ounces (1 generous cup) Gruyere, Swiss or Cheddar cheese, shredded
Prepare bread as instructed in Sophisticated Grilled Cheese. Turn the slices over and pile Gruyere on two of the slices. Divide cheese among bread.
Cook until golden on both sides. Place on a cutting board, allow to rest for 1 minute and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place on top of soup right before serving.
Other yummy combos:
- Pesto/Turkey Grilled Cheese: Use roasted turkey, pestso, mozzarella on sourdough
- Plain Grilled Cheese (I know some of you crave this!). Use 3 thin deli slices of American cheese per sandwich. Good add-ons are sliced red onion and red pepper, roasted or not.
Photo courtesy FreeImages