Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sweet & Spicy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

I live with a veritable grilled cheese master. It's kind of Dane's signature dish, if you will... always his first suggestion when he's in charge of lunch or dinner and the thing I jokingly tell him he's best at making. (While I am still teaching the boy to cook he does make many things very well... but it is true, he does also make a mean grilled cheese.) So imagine my nerves when I decided to tackle this recipe. I had no doubt it would be easy and delicious... but would it live up to the boy's high standards of a great grilled cheese?

The easy answer? Of course it did.

These sandwiches are every bit as yummy as their name makes them sound. The simple yet genius combination of flavors make these anything but your everyday ordinary grilled cheese. Slightly caramelizing the onions brings out an amazing sweetness that, when paired with the summer's sweetest, ripest tomato, lends an almost candy-like quality to the sandwich. Then the sharp flavors of the full-bodied cheddar and spicy pepper jack kick in, and suddenly you're on a whole new level of delicious. Serve it with the Summer Corn & Vegetable Soup I shared earlier this week, and you've got yourself a healthy, flavorful meal fit for even the busiest night in your week.

Sweet & Spicy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
slightly adapted from The Food You Crave
yields 4 servings, about 350 calories each

2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 large red onion, finely diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 slices whole wheat bread
3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
3 ounces pepper jack cheese, thinly sliced
1 large ripe beefsteak tomato, thinly sliced
cooking spray (optional)

1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until golden and the edges are browned, 10-12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Divide the cheddar cheese between 4 slices of the bread. Spread 1 tablespoon of the caramelized onions on top of the cheddar, then top with the pepper jack. Place 1 or 2 slices of tomato and the other slice of bread on top.
3. Clean and dry the skillet, then coat with cooking spray if desired and heat over medium-high heat until hot. Place one of the sandwiches in the skillet and weigh down with a heavy skillet or plate. Lower the heat to medium-low and grill until the underside is a deep brown but not burnt and the cheese is partially melted, 5-6 minutes. Flip the sandwich and grill the other side until it's nicely colored, another 4-5 minutes. Slice in half and serve hot. Repeat with the other sandwiches.


  1. Love the onions and tomatoes. Also the spicy kick, of course.

  2. Great way to kick up the traditional!

  3. Yum, I love any type of grilled cheese. The onions in there sound soooo good too!

  4. Mm, so good. Jazzed up grilled cheese. Love it!

  5. My mouth is watering... I love that it's spicy!

  6. Oh I love grilled cheese! And this version sounds like a winner to me!


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