How Many Ways Do You Grill Your Cheese?

150 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches by Alison Lewis

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A grilled cheese sandwich is pretty far up there in my book as a great comfort food. Toasty, butter bread; gooey, molten cheese; with maybe some brown mustard or a slice of ham tucked inside for variation.

Perfect for a quick supper, an accompaniment to soup, or a warming snack on a cold winter day.

You can change up your bread (white, wheat, rye, potato), you can change up your cheese (provolone, cheddar, gouda, swiss) but I’ll bet that’s as far as many of go as far as rethinking the humble grilled cheese sandwich.

So when I heard about 150 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches by Alison Lewis, I was intrigued.

Lewis expands upon the idea of, at it’s simplest, 2* slices of bread and a slice of cheese. Bread is not limited to sliced–tortillas, pitas, and bagels are all fair game–and cheeses are ranked primarily by meltability, though flavor does come into play, of course. and it’s not just for lunch or dinner, anymore! The grilled cheeses in this book will take you from breakfast to dessert, offer flavor combinations with meat, fish, seafood, and poultry, as well as more veggie-centric ones. Just take a look as some of these recipe names and tell me you don’t start to salivate:

  • Grilled Goat Cheese and Figs (p.20)
  • Strawberry and Marscapone Sandwich (p.26)
  • Grilled Cheese Sliders with Carmalized Balsamic Onions (p.55)
  • Open-Faced Spinach and Havarti (p.67)
  • Grilled Swiss, Artichokes, and Olives (p.88)
  • Pastrami and White Cheddar Grilled Cheese (p.108)
  • Grilled Turkey and Brie with Apricot (p.127)
  • Grilled Spinach, Pepper Jack and Bacon (p.141)
  • Muffuletta Grilled Cheese (p.150)
  • Crab Mushroom Melts (p.172)
  • Tiramisu Grilled Cheese (p.202)
  • Dark Chocolate and Banana Grilled Cheese ( p.208)

We decided to try out a few different sandwiches the week surrounding Thanksgiving. Incidentally, many of these grilled cheeses would be perfect for using up leftovers and a great way to stretch your budget!


We started out with the Grilled Huevos Rancheros (p.32). In this case the bread was a flour tortilla and the cheese shredded cheddar, joined by eggs, black beans, olives, and other savory companions. Grilling was done quesadilla-style in a frying pan and, really, what more can you say about a flavorful breakfast burrito. Since it was so obviously a breakfast-inspired dish, we paired it with hash brown potatoes.


The next recipe we tried ventured a little further afield. The Broccoli Cheese Pitas (p. 73) are part of the Light and Healthy chapter, using whole wheat pitas pockets and a mixture of ricotta and feta cheeses along with the titular broccoli. It made for a very filling supper along with quinoa cooked in chicken stock.


Finally, in a fitting  tribute to Thanksgiving leftovers, we used some of our delicious turkey for a Grilled Turkey and Brie with Apricot (p.127) sandwich. I adore brie in pretty much any situation, but the combination of the brie with apples, apricot preserves, and turkey on a hearty sourdough bread felt like an indulgence rather than mere leftovers. Definitely our favorite, among the three, it was also the messiest to eat as the apples tend to slide around a bit and not meld with the creamy brie.

At least once a week we have a night where a quick supper is called for and a grilled cheese is definitely a great alternative to take-out. I have a feeling we’ll be delving back into 150 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches for inspiration on a regular basis.

*The earliest grilled cheese sandwiches were open-faced, almost more like cheese toast than what we’d commonly call a sandwich. The second slice of bread became the rule rather than the exception sometime in the 1960s


I was provided a copy of 150 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches by Alison Lewis for purposes of review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

In Search of Comfort & Good Grilled Cheese


(I have a feeling that I’ve written about this sort of thing before…)

Last week was a little rough around the edges: new schedules, unfortunate news, changing weather and a lot of things up in the air. When the going gets rough, the rough start craving foods that make them feel safe, warm and cuddled.

Remember, everything is fine in moderation: even comfort food.

So when it was my turn to grocery shop this weekend I loaded my list with comforting food that fit the change in the weather and were sure to sooth. Dishes including pot roast with potatoes and carrots, sausage with peppers and onions, chicken and broccoli roulade and stuffed meat load with glazed carrots will grace our table this week and  get us through the bumps in the road.

But to start things off, Sunday was soup and sandwich night.

I pulled out a container of the Borscht I’d made too much of while testing the recipe for Raiding Party and left it to defrost and simmer on the stove while I prepped the sandwiches. (This borscht, by the way, is based on a medieval Russian sour soup recipe and features 3 types of meat, lots of vegetables and a wine broth–it’s very hearty!) I can’t fully explain why (other than the general craving for comfort foods), but I’d been wanting a good grilled cheese sandwich for a couple of weeks.

Grilled cheese sandwiches are fairly simple, right? Butter both sides of two pieces of bread, place cheese between and cook until golden brown and melty.  Still, sometimes the simplest things can use a few tips…

Grilled Cheese Confidential

  • Make things easy on yourself, soften your butter first. Or, if you prefer, use a butter spread (we like Brummel & Brown yogurt spread). Point being, if you’re fighting with the bread there could be holes and holes mean the cheesy goodness can spill out (the horror!). Just 20 seconds in the microwave can soften a stick of unsalted butter, it’s worth the effort.
  • Speaking of bread, use a nice bakery bread. If you don’t want to bake your own, that’s fine, but some nice Italian sandwich, potato or honey wheat can really bring the sandwich up a bit, not to mention handle a wider variety of cheeses.
  • White bread and American singles might be what we were raised on, but there’s a lot of cheese out there deserving of the Welsh Rarebit treatment. Choose a cheese that melts well and has a good flavor. Stouter breads (such as rye or pumpernickel) can stand up to a good sharp cheddar or even a blue cheese while Havarti melds almost seamlessly with Italian or French breads (that’s what we had Sunday–delicious!).
  • If you like grilled cheese but think it might need just a little something extra, spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on the inside of one of the buttered slices. You don’t need much, just a little will impart a tang that’s better than salting your sandwich.
  • Keep the heat low and slow to allow the cheese to melt as the outside of the bread turns golden. Too high a heat will scorch those butter solids and turn your toast black before the cheese has had a chance to get nice and gooey! I like to use our electric griddle set at 200F-250F since it’s much easier to control the temperature plus you get a larger surface than the usual frying pan.
  • Finally, if you’re prone to include anything else in your sandwich (crispy bacon, deli ham or tomatoes), keep a half-inch border of cheese around any inclusions so that the edges will seal and your sandwich won’t go to pieces in your hand when you try to eat it.

How do you like your grilled cheese?