Get Your Grilled Cheese On!

grilled cheese apple baconSay “Cheese!”, put on a smile and take some time to celebrate this iconic sandwich!The grilled cheese sandwich is a simple, tasty delicacy that first emerged in the 1920’s when it was served as a single slice of bread with cheese on top. The modern grilled cheese sandwich, made with 2 slices of bread, was not created until the early 1960’s. After World War II, tomato soup was first introduced as a side dish to the grilled cheese sandwich; the soup was served in schools as a cheap way to ensure that kids were getting their vitamin C. From tough economic times to today, tomato soup and the grilled cheese sandwich have remained a popular, inexpensive, filling meal. Although it has existed for over 90 years, the grilled cheese sandwich never gets old, and there are always exciting new ways to prepare this American staple food!

grilled cheese plainAlthough many people think of a grilled cheese sandwich as an inexpensive, boring meal, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Grilled cheese sandwiches can be made more gourmet and upscale with the right ingredients. In fact, some famous chefs sell grilled cheese sandwiches for up to $55 per sandwich! The typical American-style grilled cheese involves sliced American cheese and white bread with butter on the outside of the bread; however, there are an unlimited number of ways to put together the iconic grilled cheese sandwich. You can choose from various breads, cheeses, oils, meats and even vegetables or fruits. You can also pair your grilled cheese with a bowl of tomato or French Onion soup.

Creative Grilled Cheese Sandwich Ideas:

  • Avocado and Pepper Jack: In the mood for fresh avocado? Try a grilled cheese sandwich with 2 slices of pepper jack cheese and sliced avocado on whole wheat bread.
  • Hawaiian: Spread pineapple preserves on 2 slices of Hawaiian sweet bread and add Monterey jack cheese and ham for a tropical, tangy dinner!
  • Spinach Pesto: Spread pesto sauce on 2 slices of multigrain bread. Top with 2 slices of mozzarella cheese and sautéed spinach for a delicious, Greek-style sandwich!
  • Apple Cinnamon Swirl: In the mood for something sweet? Try using 2 slices of cinnamon swirl bread, 2 slices of cheddar cheese, and a thinly-sliced Granny Smith apple for a sweet, savory sandwich.
  • Pizza: Want pizza but don’t have time to cook it? Try a pizza grilled cheese sandwich instead! Lightly spread tomato sauce on 2 slices of Italian bread. Add shredded mozzarella cheese and Italian seasoning to create a hearty, pizza-like sandwich. You can also use olive oil instead of butter to grill the sandwich; this will give it a very authentic Italian taste.

Fun Facts about the Grilled Cheese Sandwich:

  • Americans eat 2.2 billion grilled cheese sandwiches per year, about 8.4 sandwiches per person!
  • The grilled cheese sandwich is a variation of the French recipe, the “Croque Monsieur,” a hot ham and cheese sandwich tomato avocadocreated in the early 1900’s.
  • Sonya Thomas, who weighs 100 pounds, holds the Grilled Cheese Eating Championship World Title. In 2006, she ate 26 grilled cheese sandwiches in 10 minutes.
  • During WWII, Navy cooks prepared grilled cheese sandwiches on Navy ships as instructed by government issued cookbooks. These sandwiches were called “American Cheese Filling Sandwiches.”
  • The grilled cheese sandwich was named after the 18th-century English aristocrat, John Montague, 4th Earl of Sandwich.

The possibilities for creating grilled cheese sandwich recipes are endless. No matter how you like your grilled cheese sandwich, make one today and celebrate this American tradition!

Photo Credit: FBM

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