Hubs and I are usually very regimented when it comes to our meals. He is a body builder, and I am on a never-ending mission to lose weight. We don't indulge in breads much, because I could eat an entire loaf in one sitting and most commercial breads have a lot of hidden sugar in them. (We try to limit our sugar intake as well.)
The other night we were both feeling like doing something fun, so after some discussion, we landed on the option of grilled cheese. When we both let out a simultaneous, "Yuuuummmmmmmm!", I knew we'd reached our decision.
The next half hour consisted of salivating over the different ways we could amp up this dish. We decided on thinly sliced zucchini, thinly sliced tomato, Swiss and Cheddar cheeses, caramelized onions, freshly chopped basil, yellow mustard and of course some great bread: thick cut sour dough (my favorite). (All you Mom's out there: this is a great way to sneak veggies into your children's food. I'm thinking spinach would be great in this! They won't even know!)
I confess to being distracted by my **favorite Food Network program, (or at least the sound of it), so I didn't photograph every step. I have to say, with conviction, that everyone should already know how to make a basic grilled cheese! It's absolutely not rocket science! I have faith you all do!
You should have all of your ingredients gathered together holding hands next to the pan, because once the bread goes down, you want to work quickly so you don't burn it.
I started by buttering one side of each bread slice. (I always use REAL butter, anything else is unhealthy.) Then I heated a cast iron skillet to medium-high, melted some more butter and about a Tbsp of olive oil, and placed the first piece of bread butter-side down in the pan. These were big slices of bread, so I did one sandwich at a time. I let the bread sit in the pan for about a minute, turned the heat down a tad, then added my first layer of cheese (Swiss volunteered to be first.) Then I sprinkled on a little yellow mustard.
Then came the thinly sliced Roma tomatoes. (We used the mandolin set on super thin to do these these and the zucchini. If you don't have a mandolin, slice the tomatoes as thinly as possible. Alternatively, you can use a vegetable peeler to pull off long strips of zucchini instead of medallions.) We then salted them and left them out on paper towels for half an hour to get the water out of them. Blot them dry before you use them.
Like I said, I didn't photograph all of my steps so just use your imagination or squint while you look at the next photos. AFTER the tomatoes, I sprinkled on some shredded sharp cheddar, then came the zucchini. I also failed to mention that I season at every turn. So here you can see some freshly cracked pepper. Don't use salt on the vegetables because you don't want any more liquid coming out making your sammie soggy. (Sammie soggy; Say that five times fast! -Sammie-soggy, Sammie-soggy, Sammie-soggy...)
I totally failed at getting the photo of the BEST part and that is the sprinkling of caramelized onions. (Click the link to be taken to my food blog site (www.bobbecrouch.com) to learn how to do these in the crock pot! So easy!) We keep those on hand most of the time, so I just pulled mine out of the fridge and used them cold. Then a sprinkling of freshly chopped basil, more Swiss and the top goes on.
By now it's time to flip because I'm certain the bottom is golden brown. (I forgot to say this earlier. I didn't do it this time, but it would have been great to have sprinkled a little granulated garlic or garlic salt in that butter before it went in the pan.)
Yup. Right on the money.
Cut that thing of beauty in half and pair it with your favorite soup! I used tomato-basil, but I confess that I bought it prepared at my local deli. No recipe for this today, but I'll post mine soon.
Do you really NEED a recipe for this sandwich? Choose ingredients you love and go to town!
Here is one I did just the other day using caramelized onions and a neato kewl bacon lattice with tomato and Fontina cheese!
• 4 pieces thick cut sour dough bread
• Enough real softened butter to coat one side of each piece of bread (you do the math)
• 1 Tbsp real butter & 1 Tbsp olive oil (for melting in the skillet)
• 1 zucchini sliced as thinly as humanly possible.
• 3 Roma tomatoes sliced like the zucchini
• 4 Tbsp caramelized onions
• 8 pieces of pre-sliced Swiss Cheese
• ½-3/4 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
• 2 Tbsp prepared yellow mustard
• Salt & pepper to taste
1. Slice your vegetables and lay them out on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and let them rest for half an hour. Then blot them dry with more paper towels.
2. Spread softened butter onto one side of each piece of bread.
3. Assemble all ingredients prior to putting the first slice in the pan.
4. Heat a cast iron skillet to medium high and melt 1-2 Tbsp butter & 1 Tbsp olive oil in the pan.
5. Put the first slice in, butter-side down, let it sit about 30 seconds.
6. Layer your ingredients: Swiss cheese, mustard, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, zucchini, caramelized onions, more Swiss cheese, then the other piece of bread.
7. Flip and press down. Sandwich is done when the cheese is melted and the outsides are golden brown. Salt and pepper the outside while still hot.
**Favorite Food Network Program: Pioneer Woman (hands down!)
What's your favorite Food Network Program?
Do you have any Grilled Cheese Hacks to share?
PLEASE comment below. I would love to hear!!
Lots of Love,