Cooking Basics

How to make grilled cheese interesting

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Grilled cheese will never be the same!
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Beyond white bread and bland cheese: how to make grilled cheese interesting!

When you were a kid, grilled cheese made with processed American cheese on white bread was about as good as it got.

But with your more sophisticated adult tastes, the old standby just isn't quite the same.  But before you give up on grilled cheese, check out these ideas for how to make grilled cheese into a delicious part of your lunch or dinner menu.

Step 1: The Bread

When you're redesigning grilled cheese, the first thing you need to start with is the bread. Of course, you could just substitute whole wheat or rye for the white bread, and that's a great start.  But why not go even further?  How about raisin bread, pumpernickel, ciabatta, or even a soft and rich pumpkin bread?

Step 2: The Cheese

American cheese?  No way!  This is a new take on grilled cheese, so select a new cheese.  A rich brie, a tangy asiago, or a flavorful gouda are all good candidates for your quest to make grilled cheese into something new.

Step 3: The Add-On

Believe it or not, nothing in the rules about how to make grilled cheese says you can only add tomato slices.  With the right cheeses, consider fruit, nuts, olives, fresh herbs or grilled vegetables.

Okay, now that you're in the right frame of mind, let's get right to the recipes.

Grilled cheese with ripe mango

For each sandwich, you'll need:

  • 2 slices of dense fruited bread (could be raisin, apple, cranberry or mixed fruit)
  • 1 oz of smoked provolone
  • 1/4-1/2 ripe mango, peeled and sliced very thin
  • Dash of ground cardamon
  • Butter
  • Put a heavy pan or griddle over medium heat.
  • Butter one slice of the bread on the outside
  • Butter the other on both sides
  • Place both pieces butter-side down into the pan
  • Put half of provolone on the slice of bread with butter on one side only
  • Add mango slices on top of cheese,  and sprinkle with cardamon 
  • Put remaining cheese on top of mango
  • Put the other slice of bread on top, hot side down over the cheese
  • Grill for 2-3 minutes, then flip and grill the other side.

Macaroni and cheese grilled cheese

Why not combine two childhood favorites into one delicious sandwich?

For each sandwich, you need:

  • 2 slices garlic focaccia
  • Scant 1/3 cup leftover macaroni and cheese
  • 2 thin slices sharp Cheddar
  • Thin strips oil-cured sun dried tomato, drained
  • Butter
  • Butter the bread slices on one side.
  • Place in cold skillet.
  • Top one slice with cheddar cheese, spread macaroni and cheese on cheese, then top with a few slices of sun dried tomato.
  • Close with second slice of cheddar and bread. 
  • Turn skillet on medium low, and cover.
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until cheddar just starts to melt, then flip, cover and grill the other side. 
  • Remove cover and cook 1 more minute on each side.
Now that you have a few ideas about how to make grilled cheese in a new way, it's time for you to get creative.  Try new combinations and test new favors until you find the next great grilled cheese recipe.

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