If there is one thing that I absolutely LOVE (vegetarian and non-vegetarian), it’s a good grilled cheese sandwich. I like how you can change it up and really completely different from the last time you ate it, and there are so many options! There’s the classic: white bread and Kraft cheese singles, and while I enjoyed it as a kid, I can’t really stomach it now. Something about the grease factor of the cheese slices and the butter on the bread…it basically kills my stomach. I guess that’s a good thing, as I’m sure the original grilled cheese wasn’t exactly “figure friendly” either.
But, I’ve found a few ways to lighten up the amazingness that is the Grilled Cheese sandwich. I try to use really flavorful cheeses, so I can use less of it, and I skip all the butter business altogether. Some people would argue that it’s no longer a grilled cheese, but I love it, and that’s what matters. So, the point of this is to talk about my creation last night! It’s my favorite go-to Grilled Cheese sandwich (though I have several in my arsenal, this is my favorite). It’s a sharp cheddar and apple grilled cheese. YUM!
Normally, before I started changing my diet, I’d make grilled cheese sandwiches on deliciously thick cut, sourdough bread. But, after decided to get my eating under control and make healthier choices, I found these amazing things called Sandwich Rounds. They’re like a bun, but super thin! You still get bread, but not too much bread, and definitely far fewer calories. I make a lot of our own breads, but I haven’t quite mastered the thin sandwich rounds just yet. It’s a future goal…we’ll get there.
Another thing I like to add to my grilled cheese (specifically the cheddar and apple one) is spicy stone ground mustard. Something about the mustard, with the apples, with the cheese. OMG…it just WORKS! So, instead of butter on the inside of the bread (because who likes a dry grilled cheese), I mix up a teaspoon of olive oil mayonnaise and a teaspoon of spicy, stone ground mustard. I slather that on the inside of the bun before putting on my cheese.
Finally, the key ingredients. The apple and the cheese. This is where you can go nuts in your choices. Personally, I like nothing better than a nice, raw milk, white sharp cheddar cheese. I recently got a good one from Organic Valley. It’s a raw milk, sharp cheddar, and it is so tasty! It also melts beautifully, which is important for a good grilled cheese. Plus, a serving size is 1 ounce, but I realized last night that 1 ounce is almost too much cheese for the sandwich, so you can easily cut it back a bit for a more calorie friendly portion! SCORE!
The, of course, the apple. I prefer granny smith apples for these sandwiches, because they’re nice and tart. However, this honestly is a “whatever floats your boat” kind of preference choice. Last night, I used a gala apple…it was all we had. Guess what, the sandwich was still darn tasty! So, you could go with any sort of apple here. I would choose one that’s a bit under-ripe so that you can have that nice crunch, but again, it’s up to you.
Here’s where my grilled cheese really deviates from the classic. I don’t do the whole “butter on the outside and slap it in a skillet” part. GASP! I know. But…I go for healthy a lot of the time, and a few tablespoons of butter and frying a sandwich doesn’t usually equate “healthy.” So, what I do is take my bread/sandwich round/whatever, and put it in the toaster. Then, with the toasted bread, I build the sandwich and put it in the microwave to melt the cheese. I would use a Panini press, if we had one, but we don’t. So…I do the toaster and microwave combo and go from there. Some people will be apoplectic over my choice, but I like it and it honestly doesn’t taste different from the original (to me).
So…there you have it…my grilled cheese sandwich. I have a produce delivery coming tomorrow, and we’re getting two pints of fresh blueberries, so I’m thinking about making a blueberry brie grilled cheese later in the week. I’ll be sure to report back and let you know how it goes! What’s your favorite combination for a grilled cheese? I’d love to have new ideas!