Grilled cheese: the king of easy weeknight dinners; the blank slate of culinary goodness, upon which we pile our hopes, dreams, and favorite cheeses; the gooey, warm, golden, and delicious answer to whatever ails us.
Did I oversell it? That’s impossible! Like the burger or the omelet, grilled cheese has an endless amount of permutations, making it accessible, crowd-pleasing, and never boring. Recently, I used our easy, frozen Pullman loaves (defrost the slices as you need them and the rest stays in the freezer) to make a few different sandwiches, one to fit each of my grilled cheese moods.
1. For when you’re feeling fancy…
For this sandwich, I used the cinnamon-raisin Pullman, creamy, mild brie, and slices of green apple. Once the bread was golden and the brie nice and melted, I topped the sandwich with a spring mix dressed in a simple balsamic vinaigrette, just to add a little bite.
The bread also works great with sharp cheddar and red apple slices. A little bacon on either certainly wouldn’t hurt so if you’re looking for a salty layer, try it out. Other great additions: fresh figs or fig spread, prosciutto, toasted pecans.
2. For when you’re feeling spicy…
Jalapenos pack a punch, so I’m always looking for new ways to use them that will spice things up without, you know, setting my tongue on fire. For this grilled cheese, I cut up four peppers, took out all the seeds, and roasted them in the toaster oven for about 20 minutes on 350° F. I used sourdough bread, melted slices of Colby Jack cheese (though I think this sandwich would also be great with cheddar, pepper jack, provolone, etc), and added the roasted jalapenos on top. The end product tastes like a jalapeno popper—if you have teenagers to feed, they’ll be all over this.
3. For when you’re feeling nostalgic…
Fancy, high-quality cheeses are good most of the time. But sometimes I just want a greasy spoon tuna melt, the kind you’d find at your favorite hometown diner.
I like my tuna melt on the hearty whole wheat Pullman, but this sandwich is also great on any thick, crusty bread. I chop up dill pickles and add them to my tuna with salt, pepper, and mayo. The secret to this melt: Kraft singles. Make sure to add a slice to each piece of bread for extra melty goodness. You can even throw on some tomato to class things up. (If you don’t like Kraft singles, Muenster cheese is a good substitute.)
For all your other feelings…
4. Melted cheese comes in many forms—steak sandwiches, panini, nachos. Quesadillas are an easy (and cheesy!) after-school snack: Just heat your tortilla in the pan like you would grilled cheese, layering cheese and veggies in the middle and folding over, and serve with sour cream and salsa.
5. Breakfast grilled cheese: everything bagel (use the inside of the bagel to grill and cut the rounded part to make it square), fresh creamed cheese, tomato
6. Black olive loaf with sharp parmesan
7. Italian bread with ricotta, mozzarella, fresh basil, tomato (Alternate: provolone and pepperoni)
8. White bread with strawberry, melted chocolate, and brie
9. Brioche Pullman bread with pear, honey, mascarpone
10. Rye bread with Swiss cheese and sauerkraut