Friday, February 8, 2013

Grilled Cheese....YES, please!

Family issues have caused me to deactivate my Facebook (it's tough being a parent.....) so I hope that at least the people who follow this blog will know that I am still alive....and still blogging.  It's liberating to cut FB out of your life for a while....although, it seems, I find SO many things that I think..."oh wow...that'd make a GREAT FB status..." then reality hits.  Additionally, being away from FB means my house is clean, my laundry is all done, I'm studying my Italian and practicing my meditation much more regularly....and I'm catching up on my writing and my blogging.  So here goes.

One of my "comfort foods" is a grilled cheese sandwich.  If you give me that AND some cream of tomato soup....I'm yours.  I'm in the palm of your hand.  Usually this sandwich consists of regular old white bread and Kraft individually wrapped cheese (IS it cheese?  I sometimes wonder) slices.  Sometimes I add sliced tomato.  But I ran across a couple ideas that are AWESOME and have become part of my repertoire.  Thank you to Publix for giving me this "tips"  Here goes:

Chicken, Asparagus & Swiss Grilled Cheese
4 slices whole grain bread
4 slices Swiss cheese
4 slices, deli-shaved chicken breast
8 fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and steamed until "crisp/tender" (although, I made it with GRILLED asparagus...and I must say...awesome)
1 T. basil pesto
1 1/2 T butter, softened.

Top each of 2 bread slices with 2 slices of cheese, followed by 2 slices of chicken breast and 4 asparagus spears.  Spread remaining slices of bread with basil pesto; place on top of the asparagus, spread side down. Brush both sides of each sandwich with butter.

Heat a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat.  Add sandwiches to skillet.  Cook 2 minutes.  Turn over and cook 2 minutes more or until cheese is melted.

Ham & Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese
Nonstick cooking spray
1 medium onion, very thinly slices
1/8 tsp sugar
Dash of salt
2 tsp spicy brown mustard
1/2 T. prepared horseradish
1 tsp honey
4 slices whole wheat bread
6 slices ham
2 ounces Gruyere cheese

Coat a medium skilled with cooking spray and place over medium heat.  Add onion, sugar and salt to skillet; cover.  Cook for 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat
Stir together mustard, horseradish and honey.  Spread 2 bread slices evenly with mustard mixture then layer with 3 slices of ham on each piece.  Place about 2 T. of onions on top of the ham, then place 1 ounce of the Gruyere on top of the onions.  Place the remaining bread slice on top, over the cheese.
Coat sandwiches lightly with nonstick cooking spray.  Preheat a covered indoor grill or panini press.  Place sandwiches onto grill or panini press.  Cover and cook about 5 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is melted.  Don't have an indoor grill (George Foreman variety) or a panini press?  Place the sandwiches in a grill pan (they have "ridges" on the bottom) or a skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Turn sandwiches over, weigh them down (use a heavy pan and place a can or even a brick inside it) and cook for 2 minutes more or until golden brown and cheese is melted.

Grilled cheese is one of THE most versatile sandwiches there is.  Experiment!  Try different types of bread....different kinds of cheese....and add anything you LOVE to the mix.  I've made them with gorgonzola, with bleu cheese....even brie.  I've added anything from dried cranberries to sliced mushrooms to sliced boiled eggs.  Have fun, don't be scared.  If you love grilled cheese, you can't EVER really go wrong.

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