National Grilled Cheese Day & Oh, How We Love It
Caramelized onions, sautéed red peppers, and spinach combine with crispy bacon, pepper jack, and mozzarella cheese to make this National Grilled Cheese day the best one yet! Add in a Parmesan, parsley, and garlic compound butter on the outside of Italian bread and you have a winner.
The best grilled cheese on the planet…
…is the grilled cheese that YOU love. This is the one we love and I hope it inspires you!
I think almost every American can recall from their childhood the aroma of a grilled cheese filling their home. I know when I was little, that smell was the most delicious thing ever! How can that be? It’s buttered bread and cheese cooked in a pan. Probably the simplest of sandwiches but one of the best!
When I was 16, I started frequenting a local health food store and really started reading a lot about nutrition, supplements, and vitamins. I recall reading one book over the summer, out loud, to my mom. “Food Combining made easy”. This is the book that educated me about the Earl of Sandwich and then quickly wrote that you should never eat a sandwich. Say, what?
Well at that age, you know, when you know everything, I just thought that was ridiculous. I still do……. we are told to eat a protein, a fat, and a carb together at mealtime. I can’t think of a better representation of those three than a sandwich lol
The beautiful thing about a sandwich is you can do whatever you’d like to adjust to your dietary needs. Gluten Free? Change the bread. Don’t eat pork? Change out the bacon or the protein. Prefer different vegetables? Guess what…..swap them out!
I think this is why I absolutely love cooking. You can play with different foods and combine all kinds of things to suit your palate. Recipes are a guide and a basic one at that. Once you learn the basic culinary foundations you can run with them and do anything you please. I hope that is what you’re doing and if not, I encourage you to do so!
As you grow older and taste buds change you start being a bit more adventurous with your food and food combining choices.
Prepping and making your sandwich
This is the grilled cheese that our family loves. It combines all of the flavors that we enjoy and delivers it in sandwich form. You really can’t ask for anything more than that, right?
The first thing I always do is start baking my bacon. We have used turkey bacon before and it works just as well. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, line a sheet tray with foil, and lay out your bacon strips. Bake until golden brown and crispy. Once done, remove to a plate lined with paper towels and let drain.
While the bacon is baking, start with a preheated pan, a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté your onions and red peppers. I like to sauté these until the onions just start to caramelize.
Once your onions begin to caramelize, add in your spinach and continue to sauté until the spinach is slightly wilted and your onions are where you want them. I also add a pinch of kosher salt at this point.
While the vegetables are being sautéed, make your compound butter for your grilled cheese. Starting with room temperature butter, add in the dried parsley, parmesan cheese, and garlic powder. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated into the butter.
Assembly and cooking
We like a heartier bread than plain white or wheat sandwich bread for this particular recipe. I opted to use an Italian bread that is slightly thicker than normal and has a tighter bake. Start by spreading your compound butter onto one side of each slice.
Place one side, buttered side down in your preheated pan (I used the same pan that I sautéed the vegetables in), lay on two slices of pepper jack cheese and a healthy portion of your sautéed vegetables.
Roll up two strips of your bacon and place atop the vegetables.
Add two slices of mozzarella cheese atop your bacon and press down slightly.
Place the other slice of buttered bread on top of your sandwich, cover with a lid, and let the cheese melt.
I cook our grilled cheese over very low heat. While this may take a bit longer than if you were to turn up the heat, I find that the cheese melts beautifully and the bread has time to release the sugar and really give you the crispy, crunchy crust that adds another layer of texture.
Stack them up and watch them disappear. Seriously, I can’t make these fast enough when we have them. I usually have to triple the recipe as there are five of us in the house and three boys that eat like there is no tomorrow lol
This grilled cheese sandwich and any other grilled cheese sandwich pairs well with our Kabocha Squash Soup which also has a vegan option.
What is your ultimate go-to grilled cheese sandwich? I’ve seen some amazing concoctions around the web and am always excited to hear what others like to combine and consume.
With that said, what are we waiting for?
Let’s get cooking!
- 1 lb strip bacon
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper- sliced
- 1/2 large onion - sliced
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 1 pinch Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup butter - 1 stick
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 8 slices Italian bread - or hearty thick bread of your choice
- 8 slices pepper jack cheese
- 8 slices mozzarella cheese
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
- Line a sheet pan with foil and lay out your bacon strips. Bake in the oven until crispy - about 20 minutes.
- While your bacon is cooking, add olive oil to a preheated pan then add in your onion and red pepper. Once your onions start to caramelize, add the fresh spinach and a pinch of kosher salt. Saute until onions are slightly caramelized and your spinach is wilted. Remove from the pan nd set aside.
- While your vegetables are cooking, make the compound butter. Combine the butter, parsley, parmesan cheese, and garlic powder. Mix until incorporated. Set aside.
- Butter one side of each piece of bread with the compound butter. In your preheated pan, lay one slice for each sandwich butter side down.
- Add pepper jack cheese, sautéed vegetables, bacon, and mozzarella cheese then top with another slice of buttered bread, butter side up. Cover with a lid and let the cheese melt and the bread crisp. Flip the sandwich over and if your cheese has melted properly you can leave the lid off.
- Once the sandwich is cooked, let cool on a wire rack so you won't have soggy bread.