Earlier this month, while strolling around during Oakland’s monthly Art Murmur, I noticed a crowd gathering around a street food cart. I’ve often been delighted by the cuisine sold on the streets, from butternut squash ice cream to chicken adobo to- dare I say it- dirty dogs, and this time, I knew it just had to be something new. Something different. Something we’ve never tasted before. But once I peeked through the peeps, written in chicken scratch on a piece of ripped up cardboard read “Happy Grilled Cheese Month.” Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me some grilled cheese, but I just couldn’t believe all of the hype for something so simple. But this guy was doing it, live right there on the streets, giving everyone that passed by that nostalgic feeling of lunchtime at your best friend’s house. Oozy cheese encased between two slices of crispy, buttery bread. This guy was smart, because anytime is a good time for grilled cheese, and anywhere as well. You can’t say no to grilled cheese, ever.
I didn’t get to try grilled cheese guy’s food, but I did not deny myself the celebration either. I wasn’t trying to wait in line…for a grilled cheese! Plus I like mine prepared a particular way. As a child, it was all about the white bread with American cheese, smashed flat on the pan then diagonally cut. I would eat the crust first. That was the only way I knew grilled cheese.
Now, of course, I do things a little different, and on the healthier tip. I still need the sandwich cut diagonally, and I always eat the crust first, but I wouldn’t even think of using American cheese! And white bread…no way! I’ve grown to have an open mind in my approach to grilled cheese sandwiches.
For National Grilled Cheese Month, try these tips so you can have a grilled cheese that’s all grown up…and healthier for you too!
- Use whole grain bread. Make sure it’s 100% whole grain so you’ll get a good dose of fiber for your digestive system. White bread uses enriched flour, where most of the nutrients are stripped away and then added back in.
- Don’t fake the cheese. Cheese is a great source of calcium for your bones. Real cheese on your sandwich provides the best taste and optimum health benefits. American cheese is heavily processed and full of other chemicals and it does not taste as good as real cheddar cheese. Buy a block and cut slices yourself, because shredded cheese often contains food additive anticaking agents. Personally, I like to mix cheeses up, maybe a slice of sharp cheddar and some Swiss. When you add fancy cheeses, you’ve got a fancy grilled cheese!
- Add something fresh. I love adding a slice of fresh sweet tomato to my grilled cheese sandwich while it’s cooking. Just shop for what’s in season and add it to your sandwich and it’ll be a step above other ordinary grilled cheeses. Spinach and garlic could kick up the flavors, and so could roasted peppers.
- Make it a complete meal. Everyone knows that grilled cheese goes great with tomato soup. Top off the meal with a hearty salad that includes some protein and you’ll have one healthy meal out of the way for the day.
Whatever you do, don’t blame me if’ you eat grilled cheese every day this month!
- M.I.S.S. Healthy Bites: You Say Tomato….
- Skimkim Yummies: Creamy Tomato Soup
- Mama’s Kitchen: Bruschetta & Arugula Salad
- M.I.S.S. Healthy Bites: Wishing You a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving
- What to do in DC: So’s Your Mom