Friday, April 29, 2016

Camembert, Apple and Jam Grilled Cheese

This is the final grilled cheese of Vegetarian & Cooking's Grilled Cheese Month 2016. We had some jam we wanted to use in the fridge, but you can really use any flavor jam or jelly that you'd like. The apples help give this a crisp texture on the inside.

A Vegetarian & Cooking original.

-2 sturdy slices sourdough bread 
-2 tablespoons butter
-2 ounces of Camembert cheese, thinly sliced
-1 medium honeycrisp apple, cut into thin slices
-1/4 cup jam, any flavor

Spread the jam on the inside of both piece of bread. Layer the Camembert cheese and apple slices, so that once the Camembert melts it will keep the apple slices in place. Put the two pieces of bread together to form a sandwich and spread the butter on the outside of the bread. Cook in a skillet over medium heat for several minutes on each side or until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted.

A sweet way to round out the 2016 grilled cheeses, the melted cheese in this sandwich is the perfect consistency and the other ingredients help to keep things on the sweet side. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Pizza Margherita Grilled Cheese

I love turning classic recipes into grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza margherita lends itself nicely to a grilled cheese sandwich, because all of the simple ingredients are given their own time to shine. 

Recipe from Cooking for Keeps.

-1 teaspoon olive oil
-1 large garlic clove, minced
-14.5 ounces fire-roasted canned tomatoes
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 tablespoon sugar
-16 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
-1 cup basil leaves
-8 slices sourdough bread
-3 tablespoons butter, melted

In a small sauce pan, heat olive oil and garlic over a medium heat. Saute until softened, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, salt and sugar. Simmer for 8-10 minutes. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet to a medium heat and then spread about 2 tablespoons of sauce on each slice of bread. Top with four ounces of slices of cheese. Top with 4-5 leaves of basil. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place top of bread, sauce side down on cheese and basil. Brush tops with butter. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.

Place sandwich butter side down in heated skillet, brush other side with butter. Cook until golden brown and crispy on each side and the cheese is melted. 

The fresh mozzarella in this sandwich turns nice and gooey. Fresh mozzarella and brie are some of my favorite cheeses to use in grilled cheese sandwiches, they melt nicely and help to keep the other ingredients in place. The tomato sauce from fire roasted tomatoes helped to amplify the tomato flavor a bit and the fresh basil was nice and bright. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Pesto, Camembert, and Harissa Grilled Cheese

This grilled cheese was supposed to be another recipe entirely, but it turned out that Camembert was on sale instead of Brie and I had harissa on hand, but no sweet red peppers. I felt a little weird combining pesto and harissa into one sandwich, but I think the end result was a pretty good snack.

-2 slices of Italian Bread
-2 tablespoon soft butter, for brushing the bread
-1 tablespoon basil pesto
-1 tablespoon mild harissa paste
-3 ounces Camembert cheese, thinly sliced

Butter the outside of each slice of bread. Spread basil pesto on the inside of one slice of bread and spread the harissa paste on the inside of the other.. Place the Camembert cheese slices on the basil pesto and top with the other slice of bread.

Place the sandwich, butter side down, on the hot pan. Grill for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and cook until golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 2 more minutes. 

Something about the garlicky flavor of the basil pesto and the spice of the harissa paste worked nicely together. Camembert is a mild cheese, so it didn't compete with the already strong flavors of the other ingredients -- it also melted well which is a plus during grilled cheese making. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Beet, Spinach & Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese

We ate so many beets this past summer you would think we'd be tired of them by now, but they're just such a great vegetarian sandwich ingredient I couldn't pass up this grilled cheese. If your beet greens look great feel free to swap them for the spinach.

Recipe from BS in the Kitchen.

-1-2 Beets
-Olive Oil
-Goat Cheese
-Italian Bread

You can adjust the ingredients to make as many sandwiches as you'd like, we just made one.

Start off by roasting the beets, I skinned them with a vegetable peeler, sliced them evenly, tossed them in some olive oil and salt, then baked on 375°F for 20-30 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Add the roasted beets, goat cheese and spinach to the Italian bread. Brush the outsides of the sandwich with butter and cook in a hot skillet on medium heat until both sides are toasted and the goat cheese has melted. 

This grilled cheese was really good. The combination of the earthy beets with the tangy goat cheese just paired nicely. I also loved the bright colors that showed up once we cut this sandwich in half, this grilled cheese was a winner for sure.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese

A spinach artichoke grilled cheese has been making the rounds on Facebook and as we're in the midst of Grilled Cheese Month 2016 two people have asked me if I've seen the video. Rather than following a recipe we created this Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese in our kitchen with a dash of extra flavor in the form of dried Thai Basil.

A Vegetarian and Cooking original. 

-2 slices of Italian Bread
-1 cup of spinach, chopped
-1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
-1 teaspoon Thai Basil, dried
-2 ounces fontina cheese
-1 tablespoon of butter, divided

Top a piece of Italian bread with the spinach, artichoke hearts, thai basil and fontina cheese. Add the other slice of bread to the toppings to form a sandwich and then generously slather the bread with butter.

Place the sandwich butter side down in a hot skillet and then butter the piece of bread facing up towards you. Cook the grilled cheese for 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden and crispy. This should give the cheese plenty of time to melt and the ingredients time to cook on the inside.


This sandwich was good, but not one of my favorites. The Thai Basil helped to add a little something special to the sandwich, but I guess I prefer my spinach and artichokes slathered in sour cream and more cheese than you can imagine while sitting on top of a tortilla chip. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Raspberry and Chocolate With Almonds Grilled Cheese

I like to do at least on dessert grilled cheese for April, because it really is a fun play on the traditional grilled cheese sandwich. Incorporating sweet ingredients with savory cheeses like in this recipe will help to keep the sandwich from being too sweet overall.

Recipe from Foodie Crush.

-4 slices angel food cake 
-2 tablespoons butter, 
-4 slices havarti
-4 ounces neufchatel cheese, softened 
-½ teaspoon granulated sugar
-1 1.45-ounce bar milk chocolate with almonds
-½ cup fresh raspberries
-Zest of 1 orange

Spread ½ tablespoon of butter on one side of each slice of the angel food cake and turn the unbuttered side up, laying the buttered side down on a cutting board.

Layer each of the 4 slices of angel food cake with 1 slice of the havarti, then set 2 of the havarti topped slices aside. Spread half of the neufchatel cheese on top of the other 2 slices and sprinkle with the sugar. Top these with a generous pinch of the orange zest then roughly break the pieces of the chocolate bar into chunks and divide among the 2 slices of cake with the neufchatel cheese and zest. Top each slice with a few berries.

Place the four sandwich slices in the pan buttered side down. Cover with a lid and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the bread is golden and the cheese and chocolate has melted.

Transfer to a plate and top the chocolate, cheese and berry sides of the sandwich with the slices of cake with just the melted cheese. Enjoy hot.

The neufchatel cheese gave the filling in these sandwiches a bit of a marshmallow fluff texture. We weren't expecting that to happen, so it was cool to discover it once we bit into the sandwiches. The raspberries, orange zest, and havarti cheese prevent this from becoming overly sweet. The almonds from the chocolate bar add a nice bit of texture to the sandwich and the angel food cake crisps up nicely in the skillet. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Toasted Coconut Grilled Cheese

A provolone grilled cheese with toasted coconut, paired smooth and crisp, salty and sweet in this light and intriguing sandwich, great for a quick meal or snack.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original.

-1-2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
-2 ounces provolone cheese
-2 slices whole wheat bread

Spread the coconut in a single layer on a foil lined pan in the toaster oven at 300 degrees for about 5 minutes, and watch so that it becomes toasted without burning. Melt provolone topped with crispy toasted coconut between slices of bread in a buttered frying pan over medium heat, flipping to brown both sides of the sandwich.

The toasted coconut adds subtle elements of sweetness, nuttiness, crispness, and aroma to the creamy provolone cheese, a mild cheese that really lets the coconut come through in this delicious grilled cheese. Consider seasoning the coconut with a pinch of chili powder to awaken yet more of the palate with each bite.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sushi Grilled Cheese

No chopsticks required here, this vegetable sushi roll inspired sandwich brings all the good flavors and textures of sushi into a handheld rice cake grilled cheese sandwich. A unique, very cool and delicious sandwich, I wish I hadn't just made it for myself late one night, I wanted to wake people up and share the experience.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original.

-1 1/2 cups cooked sushi rice
-1 egg
-salt and pepper
-2 ounces goat cheese
-1/2 sheet nori
-2 tablespoons shredded carrot
-1/2 avocado
-soy sauce

Cook the sushi rice according to the package instructions; I started with about 1/2 cup uncooked rice and ended up with 1 1/2 cups cooked rice. It may vary from preparation to preparation. Break up the egg white and yolk in a bowl, then mix in the rice and a pinch of salt and pepper. Scoop half the eggy rice into a medium heat frying pan with some cooking spray, and form into a 1/2 inch thick patty. Cook until crisp and light brown, then gently flip to cook the other side. Remove the first patty, scoop and form the rest of the rice into a second patty in the pan, cook and flip.

When one side of the second patty is cooked, top the crisp side with goat cheese, thinly sliced nori, shredded carrot, sliced avocado, and the other rice cake. When the bottom rice cake is crispy, the sushi grilled cheese is ready to serve.

Every bite delivers perfect sushi flavor, creaminess from the avocado and goat cheese and crispness from the carrot and toasted rice, even more excellent when dipped in soy sauce.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Habenaro Cheese Grilled Cheese

As gripping as its inspiration, this grilled cheese is one to captivate and excite -- best eaten quickly or shared with others.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original.

-2 slices Italian bread
-2 ounces habanero+tequila cheddar (or an assertive, hot cheese)
-1 tablespoon salt
-1/2 tablespoon lime juice

Stir the salt and lime juice plus some zest if you have any, then spread thinly onto a foil-lined pan and bake at 250 for about ten minutes in the toaster oven. Break apart any lumps in the salt and set aside.

Cut the cheese and arrange a slice of bread; brush lightly with lime juice and sprinkle conservatively with the prepared salt. Cheese is salty so we don't want to overdo it, but we're turning up intensity with this sandwich. Place the other slice of bread on top.

Toast both sides of the sandwich in a little butter or cooking spray in a frying pan on the stovetop over medium heat. If the bread colors too quickly adjust the heat so that the cheese inside gets to melt without the bread burning.

Serve with a glass of water; the assertiveness of this sandwich is awakening and very compelling. I ate it very quickly and loved the intense flavors.

Monday, April 18, 2016

White Pizza Grilled Cheese

I love traditional pizza with red sauce, but sometimes switching things up with a garlicky white pizza is the way to go. I kept things simple by using the pizza cheese blend from my grocery store which has mozzarella and provolone mixed with other Italian cheeses.

Recipe adapted from How Sweet Eats.

-4 ounces garlic and herb goat cheese
-4 ounces pizza blend cheese, shredded
-4 thick slices sourdough bread

Spread the outsides of the bread with softened butter. Spread the insides of the bread with the garlic and herb goat cheese. Place a slice of bread butter-side down in the skillet and add a few handfuls of pizza blend cheese on top. Follow it with another slide of bread, butter-side up. Cook until the cheese is melty and each side is golden, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. 

This grilled cheese was simple, but full of flavor. The garlic and herb goat cheese really helped to impart some extra flavors to the sandwich without providing too many additional ingredients. The cheese blend and goat cheese also melted really nicely in this sandwich -- some cheeses don't melt as well as other, but this blend gave the grilled cheese center a nice consistency compared to the crisp bread. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Tomato Jam Grilled Cheese

Dave is our resident jam/jelly maker, so he tackled making this grilled cheese as a snack for himself. 

Recipe from the Kitchy Kitchen.

-4 slices cheddar
-2 slices sourdough bread
-2 tablespoons tomato jam**

**Tomato Jam
-1/4 pound peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped
-1 cup sugar
-1/2 large orange, grated and juiced
-1 lemon, grated and juiced
-1 sticks cinnamon

First, prep your tomato jam: Drain the peeled tomatoes and finely chop them. In a pot, combine the tomatoes with sugar, the orange and lemon zest and juice, and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes, until the mixture gels on a spoon (it will look like a thin syrup). Skim any foam off the top. This won't make too much jam, so allow the to cool before using on the grilled cheese and store the rest in the fridge to use over the course of a week or so.

Place two pieces of cheese on one slice of bread and top with the tomato jam, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Add the other two slices of cheese, and press the other slice of bread onto it. With a knife, butter the bread. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the sandwich, buttered side down. Cook until the bread is golden brown and the cheese has started to melt. Butter the other side of the sandwich (which is facing up) and flip. Cook until golden brown and the cheese is melted.

This grilled cheese was very flavorful. A little tangy from the tomato jam, but the tomato jam overall was pretty sweet and citrusy. The cheddar paired nicely with the tomato jam flavors and adding the homemade tomato jam to the sandwich was a fun idea. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Swiss + Raspberry Peach Champagne Jam

We love the grocery store near our new place, because it's full of cool products and ingredients we've never used before. I found this Raspberry Peach Champagne Jam while wandering around the aisles and thought it would be perfect for a grilled cheese sandwich.

-Swiss cheese
-Raspberry Peach Champagne Jam (or any other flavor of jam)
-Multi-grain bread

Slather the inside of two pieces of bread generously with the Raspberry Peach Champagne Jam and then add two slices or more of Swiss cheese. Close the sandwich and lightly butter the outside. Cook in a hot skillet until the cheese is melted and the outside of the bread is lightly toasted. 


Swiss is a delicate cheese, so it lends itself nicely to being paired with stronger ingredients. The Raspberry Peach Champagne Jam is a nice mix of tart and sweet flavors, and although it's bolder than the Swiss, it doesn't overpower the cheese entirely. This sandwich was fun for dinner, but would be equally fun for brunch. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Everything Bagel Grilled Cheese

How cool is this Everything Bagel Cheese by Cabot? It captured the essence of an everything bagel on a block of cheddar, it was delicious on this grilled cheese sandwich as well as on crackers for a snack. This grilled cheese is very versatile, I intended to add a fried egg to it also, but we were out of eggs when we made this.

Recipe from Peas and Crayons.

-2 whole wheat bagel-thins
-2 slices of vegan bacon, cooked
-1 slice of your favorite deli cheese
-1-2 oz freshly grated Cabot Everything Bagel Cheese
-butter for grilling the sandwich, to taste

Butter the outside of the bagel or use some cooking spray on the inside of the pan to help keep things from sticking if the cheese oozes out. Add the vegan bacon, cheese (I used a little provolone) and the Everything Bagel Cheese to the inside of the sandwich and top with the other buttered bagel half.

Add the sandwich to a hot skillet and cook until the cheese is melted and outside of the bagel is toasted.

I was irrationally obsessed with this grilled cheese, I don't know if it was the Everything Bagel Cheese that made this taste so good, or that in combination with the salty/crunchy vegan bacon, but this was my favorite grilled cheese sandwich so far this year.