This week, I want to talk grilled cheese. Slapping cheese onto bread and frying it all up is a really old idea. Most people have heard of it and most lactose-tolerant people have eaten it.
All those reasons do not make it any less of a good idea, especially when dinner time has rolled around and you’re out of time. In fact, I consider my usual pairing of it with tomato soup to bring the meal up to restaurant-by-the-road standards.
Two things completely save my bacon any time as a dinner-making parent: adding just a little something to traditional recipes, and ensuring that I have staples of most common meals on hand. In the case of grilled cheese sandwiches, the former means a few tweaks and the latter means stocking bread and cheese.
In terms of ‘adding a little something,’ here are my two secrets:
For the sandwiches, I spread butter on the inside and a little mustard on one half.
In the soup, I mix Italian diced tomatoes with canned tomato soup instead of the recommended can of milk or water.
As I said, on-hand stock of bread and cheese is a must for me. I highly recommend purchasing cheese and freezing it in grated form. Freezing works better if it’s a pre-grated mix, though I know that can be more expensive. I use my frozen grated cheese for sandwiches, soups, Mexican dishes, and snacks. It’s a huge time-saver and money-saver.
We cut all the sandwiches in half after they’re done and use the soup for dipping. My kids really don’t eat the soup, but I’m totally okay with that. I serve another veggie on the side and they’ve got their vitamins.
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup
Bread: Enough slices to make a sandwich or more for each person eating
Grated cheddar cheese (or, your family favorite as a substitute)
1 Can tomato soup. This works well for about 4 people.
1 Can Italian diced tomatoes OR 1 Can diced tomatoes and Italian seasoning
Griddle or fry pan
Small soup pot
- Follow directions for warming the tomato soup printed on the can, but replace the milk or water with the can of diced tomatoes.
- Heat the griddle or fry pan.
- Put a small amount of butter on the pan surface, or spread it on the outsides of the bread slices.
- Spread some butter on the inside of one slice of bread. Add some mustard to the butter-spread slice, to taste.
- Set one slice of bread on the butter on the griddle with the mustard side up. Top with a handful of grated cheese, then top both with another slice of bread.
Repeat steps 3-5 for the number of sandwiches you wish to make.
- Once the cheese inside has melted and the side of the sandwich on the griddle is lightly browned, use the spatula to flip the sandwich. Turn every sandwich in this manner.
- After both sides are evenly browned, remove the sandwiches.
- Cut in half and serve with tomato soup.
As I said earlier, this recipe is perfect for simple tweaks or substitutions to mix things up. We’ve done cheddar with mozzarella at our wildest, because the kids can be picky eaters.
I like that this is a cheap meal, a quick meal, and an easy meal that even the kids can make on their own.