Grilled Cheese is probably my number one favorite comfort food. Whenever I’m feeling down, sad, alone, exhausted, fatigued, or even just cold (yes, like temperature wise), Grilled Cheese is my go to.
I learned how to make Grilled Cheese from the best of the best, my dad.
In high school he managed two different branches for his company, one of them being about an hours drive away. So he spent half the week there and half the week at home. He would always come home on Thursday nights and my mom would work late on Thursday nights and thus, Thursdays became our night.
My dad and I ate one of three things for dinner every Thursday:
- Grilled Cheese and Soup (sometimes PB+J if we were feeling super lazy...)
- Toshi’s Teriyaki followed by Marble Slab Creamery for ice cream
- Just Marble Slab Creamery for ice cream (we often failed to mention this option to my mom...)
I waited all week for Thursday nights! I’ve always been my Dad’s little dinosaur and to this day he is still one of my best friends – we could shoot shit for hours!!
Over dinner on Thursdays we would catch each other up on our weeks and then afterward, I would bombard him with homework questions! I always thought it was so rad that my dad could answer any history question off the top of his head and could still help me with my math homework my senior year in high school.
Seriously, the best dad ever :)
This time of year in Seattle gets a little rough for most of us Seattleites. It has been drizzling on us all winter and as if five long months filled with gray, gloomy skies just dumping rain wasn’t enough, it is still pouring like there is no tomorrow... We'd kill for sunshine at this point!!
I spent the entire weekend in my rain boots since everywhere you go there are puddles!! The outdoor chicken coop is basically a mud pit, though to my surprise, they love it! And Barkley just sits on the couch staring outside, longing for drier days and more tennis ball action.
Needless to say, I’ve been feeling a bit "blah" this week – I think seasonal depression probably runs rampant in Seattle… the grey has never really bothered me until this year though… perhaps it is working from home? Less human interaction? Maybe a little bit of cabin fever?
Whatever the reason, I figured it is nothing a little Grilled Cheese and Spicy Tomato Soup can’t fix. Low and behold, I was right! Meowing down on our grilled cheeses in front of the fire while watching some playoff hockey with the boys laying on our laps was just what I needed for a little pick me up!
Let’s talk Grilled Cheese first.
I love Franz Gluten Free Breads! For these grilled cheese sandwiches I used their 7 Grain bread. It reminds me a lot of Dave’s Killer Bread, which used to be my go to before Celiacs. The flavor of Franz’s bread is on point with its combination of ancient grains like sorghum and seeds such as amaranth and millet. Plus, its texture is just divine! It is light, soft, and fluffy much like traditional bread. In a blind taste test, I’m not sure you’d actually be able to tell the difference, it is that good!
I have two rules to make the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich all day, every day. If you follow these, you cannot go wrong!!
- Use at least two different kinds of cheese!! Oh my gosh, the depth of flavor you will get for such little effort, it’s mind blowing. Seriously, this step alone will have others thinking you’ve created a culinary masterpiece... because you have!!
- Grill the bread on both sides!! It is that easy.
Last but not least, this sandwich is all about personal taste and comfort!! If you want it extra cheesy, add an abundance of cheese. If you don’t love arugula, use spinach. Replace the Country Dijon with good ol’ yellow mustard or a dollop of mayo. This sandwich is all yours, so create it to your wants and needs!
And on to Spicy Tomato Soup!!
I love to make Tomato Soup from scratch; it is super simple and ready in no time. In summer I love to use tomatoes fresh from my garden, roast them in the oven with some olive oil and spices, and then blend them up. But since that’s not an option this time of year, I rolled with our next best choice, whole roasted tomatoes from a can!
Not only is this recipe bursting with tomato flavor but it has also got a kick! If you don’t like spice as much or have little ones around, you can tone it down a notch a few different ways.
- Leave out the Red Pepper Flakes (or at least cut amount in half).
- Add more butter.
- Add more cream.
One last note here, I used my Vitamix to blend up this soup. I. LOVE. MY. VITAMIX. If you are an avid at home chef, it is seriously worth considering. It can make just about anything including the best Hollandaise Sauce ever...from scratch...without any whisking!! It is incredible!
If you don’t have a Vitamix, a strong blender, immersion blender, or food processor ought to do the trick :)
There you have it. One wonderfully easy, cozy, comfort meal you can enjoy snuggled up on your couch taking in your favorite show or just chit-chatting with your favorite human(s).
I’d love to see your creations!
Lick the Bowl – You Only Live Once,
Ultimate Green Grilled Cheese
(Yield: 3 sandwiches)
- 6 slices of bacon
- 6 slices of Franz Bread
- 2.5 oz butter melted
- 3 to 4.5 oz Tillamook Sharp Cheddar
- 3 to 4.5 oz Tillamook Pepper Jack Cheese
- 3 Tbsp Country Dijon
- 3 handfuls of arugula
- ½ of a large avocado
Preheat griddle to medium-low. Grilled Cheese is best when done low and slow.
- Place 6 slices of bacon on the griddle and cook to the texture/consistency you prefer. I like my bacon to be nice and crisp for sandwiches.
- While bacon is cooking, use a silicon pastry brush to brush melted butter onto both sides of each piece of bread.
- When bacon is done, remove from griddle with tongs and place on a paper towel. Drain bacon grease from griddle but don’t bother to completely wash off :)
- Place 6 slices of buttered bread onto the griddle and grill until lightly browned. Once lightly browned, flip over and add cheese to all 6 slices of bread (1 to 1.5 oz of cheese per slice).
- As cheese begins to melt, add 2 slices of bacon each to 3 slices of bread. On the remaining 3 slices of bread, add 1 Tbsp Country Dijon to each and smear over cheese.
- When cheese is fully melted and bread is perfectly toasted and golden brown, remove all slices from heat.
- Place a handful of arugula onto three slices with bacon. Then, add avocado slices on top of the arugula.
- Finally, sandwich grilled cheeses by placing slices with Dijon on top off avocado-arugula slices.
- Cut all sandwiches into triangles because they just taste better that way!
- Enjoy with a warm bowl of Homemade Spicy Tomato Soup and good company :)
Spicy Tomato Soup
(Yield: Approximately 48oz )
- 1 orange bell pepper, medium diced
- 8.5 oz onion, medium diced
- 3 Tbsp Sun-Coco Oil
- 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 28 oz can of whole, roasted tomatoes
- 2 oz water
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1.5 oz parsley (including stems)
- 4 oz butter
- 8 oz heavy cream
- QS parsley, chopped
- Add diced bell pepper, onion, and oil to a 2.5QT saucepan, add a pinch of salt, and begin to sweat onions over medium heat.
- Once onions start to become translucent in color, add Italian Seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper, dried basil, and garlic. Continue to sauté mixture over medium heat for another 2-3 minutes. The mixture should become quite fragrant and your veggies will start to turn a light golden brown. At this point, remove from heat.
- Add can of whole tomatoes to Vitamix. Add about 2 oz of water to can and swirl around to get all the leftover tomato juices from the edges of the can and then pour into the Vitamix.
- Add sautéed veggie mixture to Vitamix followed by sugar and parsley. Start on a low variable speed and slowly increase. Continue to blend until mixture is smooth.
- Pour mixture back into the saucepan and place back on stove over medium-low heat.
- Once mixture starts to lightly boil add butter and heavy cream. Stir soup until butter is fully melted and thoroughly incorporated. Taste test at this point and adjust however you see fit!
- Garnish with fresh parsley and serve warm with Homemade Grilled Cheese Sandwiches :)