Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwich

While most Southern dishes have long since jumped the Mason-Dixon line and can easily be found on menus and store shelves from New York to L.A., pimento cheese is one that’s still firmly stuck in the South. I blame the nasty cheap-store bought containers containing slimy orange goo occasionally peppered with flakes of things that vaguely resemble pimentos. To anyone else who grew up with Pimento cheese… move away from the soulless, processed stuff sold in supermarkets. Come home to the wonderful, chunky and flavorful hand-made version.

If you read this blog on the regular, you have probably gathered by now that I like cheese. And if you’re especially perceptive, you know that I like melted cheese. It’s like a hidden message I have buried deep within the posts. Subtlety is my forte.

This sandwich is a cheese-lovers dream. In fact, it’s so mind-blowingly simple — so forehead-slappingly perfect — that I couldn’t believe I’d never of it before:  grilled pimento cheese.

Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwich.

 4 Sons 'R' Us: Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwich 2

recipe adapted from Magnolia Days

1/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon grated onion
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of salt
Pinch of fresh ground pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper, optional
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 jar (4 ounces) chopped pimentos, drained & smashed
Thick slices of hearty white bread
Butter, softened for easy spreading

Look at all that melty, cheesy goodness oozing out. My sandwich runneth over.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwich

Directions

1. In a food processor, using the knife-blade attachment, process cream cheese, mayonnaise, onion, garlic powder, salt, and peppers until fully incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
2. Add in the other cheeses and pimentos and combine without over-processing. This time chunky is good. Transfer pimento cheese to a bowl and stir if needed to combine ingredients thoroughly. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours.
3. Heat a skillet or griddle to medium heat. Be careful not to let it get too hot or it will burn the butter and bread before it even melts the cheeses.
4. Butter one side of two bread slices. Spread a thick layer of pimento cheese on the un-buttered side of a bread slice.
5. Place the pimento cheese covered bread slice butter side down in the skillet/griddle. Cover the sandwich with a lid and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until pleasantly browned and cheese has begun to melt.
6. Remove lid and top sandwich with the other slice butter side up. Cook until bottom is lightly browned and toasted.
7. Flip sandwich over and cook until the other side is also lightly browned and toasted.
8. Transfer sandwich to a plate and allow it to cool slightly before slicing it in half.
9. Repeat with the remaining bread and pimento cheese or grill 2-4 sandwiches at a time, depending on size of skillet. Be careful not over-crowd the skillet.
10. Refrigerate any extra pimento cheese for up to one week.

Got a thing for all things grilled & cheesy? Try these recipes next:

Tex Mex Grilled Cheese

Tex Mex Grilled Cheese

4 Sons 'R' Us: White Pizza Grilled Cheese

White Pizza Grilled Cheese

4 Sons 'R' Us: Chicken & Broccoli Grilled Cheese

Chicken & Broccoli Grilled Cheese

Chicken Florentine Soup

The hubs and I happened to be out to lunch a while back. Kid-less. Don’t sound so shocked! We were both over-due for an hour where we could feel and eat like adults, without wiping other peoples’ faces, and listening to lip-smacking in between chews. I happened to be idly perusing the menu, listening to some story the hubs was telling, when my eyes caught on something. Chicken Florentine…in a soup? Say whaaaat?? I mean I love Chicken Florentine. We make it all the time with pasta. Well, not all the time, that would be like the calorie equivalent of an atomic bomb, but you get my drift. And, soup itself, in any form, is a staple for my soul. I had to have it. Had to. It was a beautiful thing. It was glorious. And I just knew I had to find a way to make my own version at home because there were bound to be some intense cravings, and possible withdraws. And those don’t make for a fun Mom, and you know, when Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

This here is my precious, but I don’t wanna do the whole Smeagol devolving into Gollum thing so, in the interest of self preservation, I decided I had to share it with you asap.

Chicken Florentine Soup

4 Sons 'R' Us: Chicken Florentine Soup

about 1 lb, or 2 medium, boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2-3 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 tsp minced garlic
3 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp pepper, or to taste
4 cups chicken broth or stock
1 cup half and half
3 cups fresh baby spinach

Feel free to round out this romantically,  rustic one-dish meal with warm crusty bread. You’ll definitely use it to soak up the every last drop of it’s richly flavored broth.

Directions

1. Cut chicken breasts into bite size pieces and season with salt & pepper. Heat olive oil in a 2-3 qt saucepan. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the same pan and add the onion, carrots and celery. Cook for 5 min or until onions are translucent. Add garlic, thyme & cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook for another 3 minutes.
3. Add flour to the vegetables, stirring to coat them all, and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the chicken stock slowly to mixture. Cook for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender and soup thickens.
4. Add the Half & Half & cook and stir until thickened. Add Chicken and Spinach, cooking for another 5-10 min. Check the seasonings and add more salt, pepper, or cayenne to taste.
5. Serve with a slice of that warm, crusty bread and enjoy!

Tortellini Caesar Salad

 I feel like I need to spread the love and not horde this amazingly simple scrumptious creation. I may be jumping the seasonal ‘gun’ a bit, but this meal just says summer to me. Summer (noun) as in, “it is too hot, and I am too tired to cook”. This meal is freaking awesome! This salad is a delicious combination of complementary flavors. You’ll enjoy the creamy, tangy Caesar dressing in this recipe. Though calling it an actual recipe is a bit of a stretch, it’s still sure to do the trick.

Tortellini Caesar Salad

4 Sons 'R' Us: Tortellini Caesar Salad

recipe adapted from Amuse Your Bouche

2 cups tortellini (I used a spinach and ricotta flavor)
1/2 cup lettuce, roughly chopped
1/4 cup  Parmesan-style cheese, shaved
3/4-1 cup of Caesar dressing
black pepper

Directions

1. Boil the tortellini according to the instructions on the packet. Fresh tortellini takes just a couple of minutes to cook, so make sure you don’t overcook it – you want it to be slightly al dente. Once cooked, drain the tortellini and give it a rinse under cold water. Set aside to cool fully.
2. When the tortellini is cool, add it to the remaining ingredients, and mix gently to combine. Serve immediately.
3. Note: if making this salad in advance, only add the dressing when ready to serve. Also, if serving a crowd, this meal easily doubles.

 

 

Asian Pasta Salad

This pasta, tossed in a sesame oil and soy sauce-based dressing, is a refreshing, Asian-inspired side dish perfect for picnics.  This is great for lunch, a light main meal, or even a supper-time side dish, so serve it for the family, or make ahead for your next Bar-B-Q.

Do you ever roast a whole chicken, and then wonder what you’re going to do with all the leftover meat after dinner is over? This is perfect for a chicken dinner day after. Pick those bones clean! Don’t let anything go to waste. As my mom always said, ‘A penny saved is a penny earned.’ That, and some juicy, leftover pieces from your roast chicken would be the perfect reason to whip up this dish.  Vegetarian or looking for a meatless meal idea? Omit the chicken. All the original tangy flavors will still infiltrate every bite.

Summer will be here before we know it, and this quick, colorful, and oh-so tasty cold, oriental noodle salad will pair perfectly with the season!

Asian Pasta Salad

4 Sons 'R' Us: Asian Pasta Salad

recipe adapted from Lil Luna

1 lb.  Tri-Color Rotini
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 cups diced or shredded chicken breast
2 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper strips, optional

Directions

1. Make pasta as directed and set aside.
2. Cook sesame seeds in a skillet on medium heat for 1-2 minutes until lightly toasted. Set aside.
3. Mix together vegetable oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, sesame seeds and pepper with a whisk until mixed well.
4. Pour dressing mixture over pasta and mix until coated evenly
5. Add chicken, cilantro, spinach, carrots, and peppers, if using. Toss and serve.

Tex Mex Grilled Cheese

Although it only requires three ingredients (bread, cheese, and butter), grilled cheese is one of the most popular comfort foods in the world. The Ancient Romans were the first civilization to make a cooked bread and cheese sandwich, but many cultures have invented their own take on this ‘classic’ dish. In France, people enjoy Croque Monsieur (a grilled ham and cheese sandwich) while in Switzerland it is customary to melt the cheese and toast the bread separately before combining them. The American grilled cheese sandwich emerged in the 1920s when inexpensive cheese and affordable sliced bread became available. It is now a staple in cafés, diners, and school cafeterias across the country.

Despite this noteworthy past, and it’s longevity, today, it’s a sad world for the grilled cheese sandwich. Somewhere along the way it has been demoted from a classic comfort food to the dismal realm of the kid’s menu; thus, making it ‘socially’ off limits to the older-than-15-crowd. And when you’re an adult who just wants some melted cheddar between two buttery, toasty slices of bread…that’s a sad, sad thing. Being that I have the four sons, I jsut don’t care. Social norms be damned. If I want a grilled cheese, I’m having grilled cheese. Even if the waitress looks at me funny when I place an order for not 4, but 5, kid meals.

Still, being that April is ‘grilled cheese month’ and all, and I saw that waitresses’ questioning arched eyebrow,  I thought it was time for a revival. An upgrade, if you will, to make it worthy of a place in the world of socially acceptable adult fare. I know I’ve mentioned this in several posts before. I will never be to old for grilled cheese! At it’s most basic, it’s totally awesome. At it’s fanciest adaptation? It’s still freakin’ awesome!!

This is a far cry from your typical grilled cheese sandwich. Kick things up a notch with the salsa and chiles. If you happen to have a babysitter, enjoy it out on your patio with a margarita to make it REALLY good!

Tex Mex Grilled Cheese

4 Sons 'R' Us: Tex Mex Grilled Cheese

recipe adapted from Julie’s Eats & Treats

1 lb ground beef
1 packet taco season
1/2 c. salsa
1/4 cup diced, canned green chilies (optional)
12 slices bread
1 tbsp butter
1 lb Velveeta

Directions

1. Brown ground beef in medium sized skillet. Drain fat. Mix in taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions. Add salsa & green chiles.
2. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Cut Velveeta into 6 pieces.
3. In a large skillet place two pieces of bread, buttered side down. Top each piece of bread with one slice of Velveeta. On top of Velveeta spoon 1/6 of hamburger mixture. Place another piece of bread on top of beef with the buttered side up.
4. Cook over medium heat until bread is golden brown. Flip sandwich and repeat on other side. Repeat until all sandwiches have been made.

Crockpot Chicken Parmesan Sliders

I can’t stop. I won’t stop. No, I’m not trying to be Miley. I don’t want to get anywhere near Robin Thicke. I would much rather make a yummy slider sandwich than twerk. Seriously, though. I can’t seem to get enough of sliders recently. I don’t know if it’s the whole ‘mini’ thing that’s got me hooked, or just a refreshing change.  I’m guessing a bit of both. In either case, I’ve pinned every new slider recipe I have found, and am on a mission to try them all. One recipe at a time of course, like the easiest cheeseburger sliders ever and our chicken and waffle sliders. This is the latest, and it lived up to it’s name. These petite, slightly varied versions, have all the tried and true flavors of Chicken Parmesan, but without all the work. These healthy sandwiches are perfect for a party, a dinner, or even for a lazy weekend lunch. They are sure to score a spot on your list of family favorite recipes.

Crockpot Chicken Parmesan Sliders

4 Sons 'R' Us: Crockpot Chicken Parmesan Sliders

recipe adapted from Plain Chicken

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (can use frozen)
1 jar(28oz) spaghetti sauce
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp onion powder
salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
slider buns

Directions

1. Place chicken breast in the bottom of a crock pot. Top with spaghetti sauce, minced garlic, and onion powder. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or HIGH for 4. Shred chicken and stir until evenly combined with the sauce. 2. Preheat broiler. Toast buns. Top toasted buns with chicken and a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella cheese. Place chicken sandwiches under broiler to melt cheese.

Creamy Taco Pasta

Better for you hamburger helper — that’s what we decided this recipe was. Reminiscent of hamburger helper, but without all the preservatives and ingredients you can’t pronounce. Creamy, cheesy, and delicious! If I haven’t sold you on it yet, where can you go wrong with a combination of two family favorites? Tacos & pasta?!  A perfect quick and easy, busy weeknight meal. Be prepared though. Dinner will be silent. Everyone will be too busy eating, or in my case, scarfing down their first helping so they can call dibs on whatever is left in the pot. 

Creamy Taco Pasta

4 Sons 'R' Us: Creamy Taco Pasta

recipe adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

1 pound ground beef or turkey
8-12 ounces medium pasta shells or other small dry pasta shapes
1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1-2 tsp minced garlic
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, drained, or 1 cup salsa
1 packet (4 tablespoons) taco seasoning
3 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp dried cilantro leaves
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet or sauté pan, cook the ground meat over medium-high heat until no longer pink. A few minutes before the meat is cooked through, add the chopped onion to the skillet. Once the meat is cooked through, mix in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the diced tomatoes and taco seasoning and let simmer over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes.
3. Stir in the cooked pasta, cream cheese, sour cream and reserved pasta water, and continue stirring until the cream cheese is melted and the sauce is well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat 3-5 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit if it is still too thin.
4. Toss in the dried cilantro right before serving for some added color and flavor. Serve with a green salad.

 

 

Sriracha Beef Lettuce Wraps

I’m always on the look out for something new to do with meat. I can’t spend month after month recycling the same tried and true recipes. I have to constantly change things up, occassionally surprising everyone with an old family favorite that we haven’t had in a while. It makes everyone more appreciative, and more adventurous in light of their ever expanding palate. The sons took one look at these and dubbed them lettuce ‘tacos’, they took one bite and couldn’t get enough. I served them with some fried rice and a steamed Asian vegetable blend. Who has the time for an expensive family feast at P.F. Changes? I certainly don’t. Now, there’s no need.

Tangy beef with a perfect hint of spice is wrapped in refreshing lettuce leaves in this quick and easy Asian lettuce wrap recipe.

Sriracha Beef Lettuce Wraps

4 Sons 'R' Us: Sriracha Beef Lettuce Wraps

recipe adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen

2 tsp. neutral-flavored oil like grapeseed or peanut oil
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 tbsp Hoisin sauce
1-2 tbsp Sriracha Sauce (depending on how much heat you want)
1 tbsp water
zest from one lemon
juice from one lemon (about 1 1/2 tbsp juice)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion (or double that amount if you’re not using the cilantro)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1-2 heads artisan romaine or iceberg lettuce

Directions

1. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan, then saute the beef until it’s cooked through and starting to brown, breaking apart with a turner as it cooks.
2. While beef cooks, mix together the Hoisin sauce, Sriracha Sauce, and water in a small bowl.  Zest the skin of the lemon and squeeze the juice.  Thinly slice the green onions and chop the cilantro.  (Most iceberg lettuce doesn’t need washing, but if yours does break the heads apart gently and wash and dry the lettuce.)
3. When the beef is done, add the Sriracha Sauce mixture and let it sizzle until the water has evaporated, stirring a few times to get the flavor mixed through the meat.  Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, sliced green onions, and chopped cilantro.
4. Serve meat mixture with iceberg, or artisan romaine,  lettuce leaves to fill with meat and wrap around it, to be eaten with your hands.
5. This was definitely still good when the meat mixture was kept in the fridge and reheated for a very short time in the microwave, but I still liked it best freshly made.

40 Minute Hamburger Buns

Any good burger is typically built upon a solid beef patty and an assortment of tasty, traditional toppings. The key to a great burger? Starting it all off with a good bun. This simple recipe makes a dozen fluffy, yet hearty buns that are the perfect foundation for any burger. One of these bad boys, a patty, and their favorite fixins’ and all my guys are decidedly full and satisfied! Even better for me? They’re last minute friendly. I’m a habitual dinner procrastinator. Even if I already know what I’m making, I will almost always wait until the last minute possible to get started. With no rise times needed, even when I’ve waited until the last minute, I still always have just enough time to get a batch of these in the oven.

40 Minute Hamburger Buns

4 Sons 'R' Us: 40 Minute Hamburger Buns

recipe originally from Taste of Home

2 tbsp active dry yeast
1 cup + 2 tbsp warm water (110° to 115°)*
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp salt
3-31/2 cups all purpose flour

*The temp of the water is important. If you’re not familiar with baking and proofing yeast, use a candy thermometer to make sure it’s warm enough. If it’s not warm enough the buns won’t rise at all during baking and will become hard and crunchy.

Directions

1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil and sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg, salt and enough flour to form a soft dough.
2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes. Do not let rise. Divide into 12 equal pieces; shape each into a ball. Place 3 in. apart on greased baking sheets. If you want a more browned and glossy outside, brush the tops of each with an egg wash.
3. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Bake at 425° for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

 

Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole–Served Hot or Cold!

Every now and then I’m looking for a change from our typical chicken or beef-based meals. A lot of times I will just go meatless, but last week I was still craving something meaty. This hot tuna noodle casserole hit the spot at dinner time. Everyone liked it so much that we made it again, over the weekend, as a cold pasta salad for lunch.

I know everyone has their brands they prefer and remain loyal too, but tuna is one of those things where I will pay for quality. This meal deserves a quality tuna. I go with Costco’s solid white albacore. Less fishy flavor, more actual tuna meat, no oil or grease, and I haven’t come across a bone yet.

Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole

 4 Sons 'R' Us: Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole

recipe adapted from Sugar Dish Me

12 ounces whole wheat egg noodles, cooked according to package instructions
1 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
12 ounces canned tuna, drained and flaked (tuna packed in water works best)
1/2 of a lemon, juiced
salt & black pepper to taste
1 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (use your favorite! I go with a sharp low fat white Cheddar)
2 teaspoons spicy mustard
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

4 Sons 'R' Us: Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole

Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, onion, celery, peas, and tuna. Squeeze the lemon juice over the contents of the bowl (being careful not to drop seeds in). Sprinkle with the salt and pepper, to taste.
2. In a smaller bowl, mix together the Greek yogurt, Cheddar cheese, spicy mustard, red wine vinegar, parsley, and lemon pepper. Pour the sauce over the pasta/tuna mixture in the larger bowl and stir or toss to coat.
3. If you are serving this casserole cold, empty the contents into your serving dish, sprinkle the top with the Panko breadcrumbs, and refrigerate for at least an hour (to let the flavors meld).
4. If you are serving this hot, then preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9 x 13 casserole with non-stick cooking spray or vegetable oil. Spread the noodle mixture evenly in the prepared pan and sprinkle the Panko bread crumbs over the top. You can also sprinkle with a little extra cheese if you like.
5. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, just until it’s heated through and the sauce begins to bubble a little.