I didn’t think my beloved grilled cheese from childhood could get any better, and then someone introduced me to paninis. My adult self has since upgraded with these scrumptious Chicken Cordon Bleu Paninis. They combine crispy, fried chicken cutlets, melted Swiss cheese, and sweet ham slices into a gourmet sandwich that’s a beauty to both behold and to savor.
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.
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.
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:
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!
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
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.
Grilled cheese sandwiches bring back the memory of staying home from school, sick on the couch with a potentially fatal math-class-hating fever, watching my grandma’s favorite soap opera, and eating white bread and yellow cheesefood-slice filled grilled cheeses dipped in Campbell’s tomato soup. All these years later, now with my own kids stuck on the couch, there’s still something super comforting about the crusty concoction. As time has gone by though my grilled cheese obsession has managed to mature a bit since my elementary, middle, and high school days.
Here’s out latest version of what the sons call a ‘grown-up’ grilled cheese. All the familiar ooey,gooey cheesy bits you love, but filled with real ingredients and flavors fit for any sophisticated adult palate. I’m lucky the sons love them too, even with the addition of veggies. Yes sons, your Mom can and will attempt to try and ruin one of your favorite ‘classics’ by making it a tad bit healthier.
1 cup shredded or finely chopped, cooked chicken
1 cup steamed broccoli, finely chopped
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
¼ t garlic powder
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
salt & pepper, to taste
8-10 slices of your favorite bread
2 tbsp butter, plus extra if needed
1. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, broccoli, cheddar, Parmesan, garlic powder, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and salt & pepper.
2. Divide the mixture evenly between four of the bread slices, and top with another slice of bread.
3. Melt butter in a pan over medium-low heat.
4. Cook the sandwiches for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown and the cheese has melted. Covering the pan with a lid during cooking will help the inside get all warm and gooey before the bread gets too browned.
These little grilled cheese ‘sticks’ are easy, delicious, and dippable. For all of you fellow double-dip offenders, you know exactly what I mean when I say, it’s ten times better if it’s dippable. Son # 3 dubbed these his favorite ‘eggrolls’. All the sons thoroughly enjoyed dunking them in their bowls of creamy tomato soup.These were so much more convenient than our old grilled cheese sandwich. Son made, son tested, and son approved.
6 slices of your favorite sandwich bread, any kind will do
6 slices of American or Cheddar cheese
2 tbsp butter
1. Lay out pieces of sandwich bread on a flat surface. Use a rolling pin to flatten. Then, if you’re anti-crusts, use a knife to cut the crusts off of each piece of flattened bread.
2. Place a slice of cheese on top of each slice of bread, then roll up tightly to form a grilled cheese
3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat until melted. Place the grilled cheese rolls (about 3 at a time) seam-side down in the skillet, and cook on all sides until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. You can press the rolls down with a spatula to be sure that they do not unfold while cooking.
4. Remove and repeat with the remaining sandwiches, adding more melted butter if necessary. Serve immediately while the cheese is still warm and gooey with extra delicious dipping sauce tomato soup.