Broke Life Food: The Glory of Grilled Cheese

Today, I asked my good friend and star of my sidebar Dana from the amazing food blog, Killing Thyme, to wax poetic about her favorite broke food: grilled cheese. Two pieces of bread, X amount of cheese, and a little butter – you’ve got yourself a fine meal, albeit lacking in nutrition. But when you put cheap food in the hands of a genius food blogger… magic happens. 

Grilled cheese is the epitome of comfort food; the poster sandwich for indulgence, and a bowl of hot soup’s best friend. It has also been a constant throughout my entire life, both as a child fighting a bad flu or an adult dealing with a crummy day. There is just something about warm, melted cheese between two slices of toasty bread that puts a bandage on the soul.

Despite my knack for gourmet grilled cheese today, it certainly hasn’t always been my forte. The first time I attempted grilled cheese on my own, I squashed a few slices of cheese between two slices of bread, jammed it into the toaster, and had my first taste of epic failure. (Yeah, insert sad trumpet sound here).

After that incident I left the grilled cheese making up to my Mom for a stint, but I’m really glad that I eventually jumped back into the game because (and if you follow my blog, you’re definitely aware) it is hands down my favourite thing to experiment with. The possibilities are endless, and grilled cheese never gets old. I don’t care how many foodie hipsters want to slam gourmet grilled cheese for becoming trendy, hyped up, and overdone. The grilled cheese sandwich is a classic that leaves room for experimenting – so I say,  let the people experiment!

Here are some of my experiments.

Mushroom Jack Grilled Cheese

Mushroom Jack Grilled Cheese

Garlic sautéed cremini mushrooms, fresh spinach, Monterey Jack, and a Dijon mustard spread to offer a tangy flare.

Philly Steak Grilled Cheese

Philly Cheesesteak Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Leftover steak is a rarity, but if you’ve got some kicking around, this is an awesome way to use it! Strips of steak cooked to your preference, onions, bell peppers, and mozzarella. For added ‘awesome’ factor, wrap the sandwich in tin foil and grill it on…THE GRILL!

Strawberry Arugula Grilled Cheese

strawberry arugula grilled cheese

I’m not a big fan of arugula, to be honest. But I’m slowly learning how to use it in a way where I can appreciate it and this is one of those ways. Paired with fresh and tart strawberries, crispy radishes, smooth mozzarella, and honey drizzles to sweeten things up, arugula works for me.

Grilled Cheese Italiano

Grilled Cheese Italiano

This is a recent favourite. You just can’t go wrong with these ingredients and if you do, the kitchen exit is over there. Prosciutto and genoa salami sliced right from the deli, roasted red peppers, and provolone cheese snuggled between two slices of fresh Italian bread. Can we say heaven? Or, sorry…cielo!

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Hawaiian Grilled Cheese

Hawaiian Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Salty, sweet, and spiced flavours create a killer combo and the evidence is between the bread here. Black forest ham and charred pineapple relish are meant to be the stars of this sandwich, but it just wouldn’t be complete without the creamy avocado and delicate mozzarella.

Apple and Aged Cheddar Grilled Cheese

aged cheddar and apple grilled cheese

Cheddar and apples are friends, that is no secret. This combination, as a result, is a no-brainer. Aged white cheddar, apple slices, old style mustard, red onions, and apple sauce.

Fresh Pesto Melt on Pumpernickel Rye

pesto grilled cheese on pumpernickel rye

This grilled cheese just screams ‘rustic’. Fresh homemade pesto and a roasted tomato accompanied by gooey mozzarella on pumpernickel rye.

Camembert and Pear Grilled Cheese

camembert and pear grilled cheese

Heavy-flavoured camembert (brie works just as well) with pear slices, fresh spinach, and a honey Dijon walnut spread. The flavours in this one are awesome, and the textures are totally worth mention; gooey cheese, crisp pear, and crunchy walnuts.

Horseradish Roast Beef Melt

horseradish roast beef melt

Thinly sliced roast beef, crispy strips of bacon, provolone cheese, and horseradish – it’s like a bacon grilled cheese and a Sunday dinner made a lovechild.

Blueberry Molasses Grilled Cheese

Blueberry Molasses Grilled Cheese

Fresh, tart blueberries spread with gruyere, fresh spinach and drizzled molasses. I wanted to sweeten this one up with something that wasn’t sugar or honey. Molasses, I must say, was an excellent choice.

On-the-vine Tomato Grilled Cheese

on-the-vine tomato grilled cheese

Another recent favourite! Sweet yellow and orange on-the-vine tomatoes breaded in Italian bread crumbs and fried to a crisp, topped with Monterey Jack cheese, crunchy dried onions, fresh spinach, and finished off with a mouth-watering horseradish aioli.

Check out these recipes (and a gazillion more) on Dana’s blog, Killing Thyme!