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Amy E. Reichert Shares Grilled Cheese Recipes
By Amy E. Reichert

Amy E. Reichert Shares Grilled Cheese Recipes

Is there a more perfect food than a grilled cheese? It’s glorious and malleable. At its most simple, it’s buttered bread, lovingly hugging cheese, and cooked until melty and crispy. Combined with some tomato soup, it even makes a balanced meal. Heck, if you’re desperate, you could even make it with an actual iron in a hotel room (not that I’ve ever done that—nope never). It’s kid friendly, vegetarian friendly, and with the wide selection of gluten and dairy-free options—you can probably make one of those, too. You can make it in a frying pan, oven, toaster oven, a toaster (though that might get a bit messy), a grill, a George Foreman, over a fire—you get the idea. And the combinations are endless. If it’s bread, it counts. If it’s a cheese, give it a try. If it goes well with bread and cheese, layer it in.

In my new book, THE OPTIMIST’S GUIDE TO LETTING GO, my main character, Gina, runs a gourmet grilled cheese food truck where she imagines new versions daily. To her, grilled cheese is the jazz of food—made for improvisation, but you have to learn the basics first. Once you’ve mastered those, you can start riffing like Gina.

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  • Fundamentals of a Grilled Cheese

    While I’ve written the ingredients to some of my favorite combinations below, any grilled cheese starts here.

    • Two slices of some sort of bread—anything from white to a hearty whole grain or any brioche, english muffin bread, and challah in between. If it can be sliced and put in a toaster, it’ll work.
    • Butter—I’m always going to recommend butter on the outside for toasting because it tastes the best, but you could also use coconut oil, brush on olive oil (or any cooking oil), or even spray with cooking spray if your desperate—but seriously, that is a last-resort option.
    • Cheese—preferably a combination of flavor and meltability. I like american, cheddar, colby, monteray jack, gouda, mozzarella, and provolone.
    • Cooking method—Preheat a pan over medium to medium-low heat. Any pan will do because the butter will keep the sandwich from sticking to the pan. Set the assembled sandwich in the pan. Grill the first side until toasty brown to your preferences. Flip and repeat. If you have a lot of cheese in the sandwich, you might want to cover the pan with a lid to help melt the cheese faster.

    That’s it! Now you’re ready to riff! Here’s some combinations to try.

  • BBQ Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese

    This is a great way to use up leftover pulled pork from a different meal.

    • 2 slices multigrain bread—you need something hearty and substantial to hold up the pork.
    • Butter
    • 1/2 cup shredded taco cheese—shredded cheese melt’s faster
    • 1/2-3/4 cup of shredded pulled pork mixed with BBQ to taste. Add more if you like it saucy, less if you don’t. Heat up the pork before adding it to the assembled sandwich for grilling otherwise the sandwich won’t cook evenly.
  • Nutty Banana Dessert Grilled Cheese

    • 2 slices challah, brioche, or similar eggy bread.
    • Butter
    • Cream cheese or marscapone if you want to be fancy.
    • Nutella or similar hazelnut spread. I also think Trader Joe’s/Biscoff’s cookie spread would be amazing in this, too.
    • Sliced banana, I slice them thin, but do what works for you.
  • Italian Grilled Cheese

    • Two slices Italian bread
    • Butter, sprinkled with granulated garlic or garlic salt
    • 1 slice each of mozzarella and provolone
    • 2 Tbsp shredded parmesan
    • Spaghetti sauce, spread onto the bread
    • 2 slices of prosciutto
    • 1 tsp Italian seasoning, sprinkled over the cheese
  • About The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go

    Three generations. Seven days. One big secret. The author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cakeunfolds a mother-daughter story told by three women whose time to reckon with a life-altering secret is running out.

    Gina Zoberski wants to make it through one day without her fastidious mother, Lorraine, cataloguing all her faults, and her sullen teenage daughter, May, snubbing her. Too bad there’s no chance of that. Her relentlessly sunny disposition annoys them both, no matter how hard she tries. Instead, Gina finds order and comfort in obsessive list-making and her work at Grilled G’s, the gourmet grilled cheese food truck built by her late husband.

    But when Lorraine suffers a sudden stroke, Gina stumbles upon a family secret Lorraine’s kept hidden for forty years. In the face of her mother’s failing health and her daughter’s rebellion, this optimist might find that piecing together the truth is the push she needs to let go…

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