Tag Archives: grilled cheese

Welcome 2013 with Grilled Cheese!

Even though we are far past the 12 days of Grilled Cheese, what’s one more?  For the kids’ snack today, I went back to the old tried-and-true standard grilled cheese.  We are talking old school Kraft singles and white bread.  I’m not sure if it makes me a good mom or a bad mom that my children had never actually had this before.  A “normal” grilled cheese for us consists of bread and either Colby Jack or Cheddar cheese.

kraft and white

Since I hope you all know how to make a grilled cheese by now, assemble the ingredients shown, (my youngest adores pickles, so I added some to hers) and grill in butter on a flat top grill.  Tada!!!!

grilled cheese 'n pickles

My oldest asked what kind of cheese I used, because he didn’t remember that flavor before.  When I answered, “American,” he responded, “I didn’t know Americans made cheese!”  The child makes me laugh, and he has A LOT to learn.  😀

grilled cheese

On the side, I served some sliced apples with Muenster cheese to go on top.  All I had to tell them, was their Auntie Kara likes it that way, and they thoroughly enjoyed them!

Happy New Year!


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The Twelfth Day of Grilled Cheese

Surprise, it’s another grilled cheese!

All I have to say is, “What’s this game called? I win!” If you haven’t seen Big Daddy in a while, watch it.  Hilarious.  Anyway, we had a super snowy day, and for some reason school was not cancelled. Really?!? We have a lot out there. Oh well, when the kids came home, my oldest said to me, “Mom, please tell me you are working on another grilled cheese, ’cause that sounds really good.” HAHAHA they have been won over.

I made my own bread this time.  Not because I was feeling particularly homemaker-y, but because it was too cold and gross to make it to the store for more.


To start, slice the bread.  Next, slice some tomatoes and onions, and grill them.  Again, I used my Foreman grill.  Finally, season and grill some steak.  We used a rib eye.  I asked Jason to do the grilling, cause he is pretty awesome at it.  Cook the steak to the desired doneness, but remember it will cook more while the sandwich is being grilled.  Be sure to let the steak rest for 10 or so minutes before slicing.

grill vegetables

slice beef

To assemble the sandwich, layer the tomatoes and onions, steak, and cheese on the bread.  Butter the bread.  Grill!

grilled beef

This was a really, really good sandwich, and the kids even loved it!


From the Troika’s table to yours, we wish you a very merry Christmas. Thanks for joining us in the twelve days of grilled cheeses – have a lovely holiday, everyone.


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Little Italy

I’ve mentioned my friend Gariann before, but now it is time for a formal introduction: I’d like you to meet a fabulous cook and the most positive person I know, and if you knew her I bet you would say the same thing (everyone else does!).  I met Gariann back in the spring of 2010, when I made a trip to Italy to do some teacher training, and we first started getting to know each other over a really good Italian meal.  Gariann was one of the teachers in the training, and while she was there she was offered a job in Germany.  During casual getting-acquainted talk we discovered we both grew up in small central Washington towns and had completed the same major with the same profs at Eastern Washington University.  A few months later, we were sharing an office and have been friends ever since.  As for that really good meal I mentioned, if you ever find yourself anywhere near Aeolia in Longare (Vicenza Province), trust me – make your way there for pear and prosciutto fagottini (contented sigh just thinking of it).

I’ve already written about the yummy Latin-influenced grilled cheese sandwiches we made at Gariann’s house earlier this week.  Even earlier in the week, she tested out her sandwich maker* by making an Italian-inspired version with odds and ends she found in the fridge.  Fortunately, she took a few pictures so we can all enjoy the creation!

little Italy

Gariann’s Little Italy Grilled Cheese

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 6 mushrooms
  • 1 Italian sausage link
  • A few sun-dried tomatoes
  • Dried Italian seasoning to taste
  • A little red wine
  • Sliced mozzarella
  • Bread of your choice
  • Grated parmesan, garlic powder, and rosemary to taste
  • Butter, olive oil, or butter or olive oil spray

Thinly slice the veggies and sauté them with the sausage link sans skin.  Add some Italian seasonings and a generous splash of red wine along with the sundried tomatoes.

all together now




splash of wine

Heat sandwich maker and butter the bread slices or spray with butter or olive oil.  Put a layer of the sausage-veggie mixture on the bread, add mozzarella slices, then top with another slice of bread (buttered side up and sprinkled with parmesan cheese, garlic powder and rosemary).   Cook until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasty.



in the press



*This sandwich maker found a new home in Gariann’s kitchen when our friends Pat and Sue retired and moved back to the states – a panini press or Foreman grill would give the same great results, and a good old-fashioned frying pan with a lid will do the trick as well (in that case, follow the method described in the first post of this series).

Tami and Gariann

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The End of the World

Did anyone out there notice that no one posted last night and get a little worried that maybe this end-of-the-world, Mayan thing wasn’t a silly idea after all?

Fear not, we’re still here!

And today, you’ll get two grilled cheese sandwiches to make up for our (mostly my) lack of post yesterday.

Also, kitty:



So you see why I got distracted.

This morning’s grilled cheese is slightly similar to Tami’s recent grilled cheeses: we used guava paste, mashed black beans, gouda, and a few candied jalapenos. I was inspired to make this from a description of a glorious-sounding grilled cheese I found a while back:

“Gouda Grilled Cheese at Queens Kickshaw in Astoria: Nutty gouda is reinforced by an earthy black bean spread and sweetened by guava jam, all piled on well-crisped brioche. It’d be an overbearing combination, save for the ample sprinkle of pickled jalapenos, a reprieve of sour and spice to pop in each bite. This is sandwich architecture at its finest: powerful flavors, well balanced, delivered in the perfect package.”

Only one thing: I am running out of bread to make all these grilled cheeses and had to use corn tortillas. It was still delicious.

End of the World Grilled Cheese
  • bread or tortillas
  • gouda
  • candied jalapenos (This is at least the third time we’ve referenced these. You really need to make them.)
  • guava paste
  • black beans, mashed with the back of a fork



beans mashed







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It’s All Greek To Me

When experimenting with grilled cheese, you must always keep in mind that the experiments could go awry. Obviously you hope and even believe this won’t be the case, and that you’re invincible, and that no grilled cheese is too great for you, but there will come a day when your grilled cheese is just “meh.”

For me, today was that day.

I make a pretty delicious tzatziki, if I my say so myself. So I thought, “Hey! Grilled cheese would love some tzatziki! Maybe with a little roasted lamb? A slice or two of tomato? Like a kebab-meets-extra cheese-and-an-American type thing?! YEAH!”


I was wrong. Or at least, I think I was wrong. Today’s grilled cheese was made of tzatziki, havarti, a slice of deli-style turkey, and that’s it. No lamb, for no pre-roasted slices of lamb were to be found. Sure, I probably could have bought some lamb and roasted it myself, but I wasn’t quite in the mood to wait that long when I was already starving. I also forgot to buy a tomato, and I think my slices of bread were a teeny bit too small to handle all the saucy mess of grilled havarti + tzatziki.

But, in spite of alllllll these shortcomings, I recommend you give it a shot.

Or at least make the tzatziki. It’s good.

Tzatziki Grilled Cheese

To make tzatziki, combine about a cup of Greek yogurt, a big handful of chopped dill, a 1/4 cup of crumbled feta, a squirt or two of lemon juice, some zest of a lemon, a splash of olive oil, ground pepper, and about a 1/3 – 1/2 cup of finely diced cucumber (peel and seed it first). Taste; adjust for seasoning and add salt if you need to. I added a few pinches of dill seed, because I felt like it. Also some garlic would be nice (I just don’t really use garlic).


To make the sandwich, spread a layer of tzatziki on one slice.  On the other slice, carefully layer turkey (Or lamb! Do try lamb! And tell me if it’s good!), havarti, a bit of extra feta if you’d like, and tomato slices if you remember to buy a tomato. (I really think that would have improved the sandwich a lot. It was just very….richandcheesy. Which might make you go “Uh…yeah Kara…it’s grilled cheese….it’s s’posed to be cheesy…” but whatever.) Grill, serve with some extra tzatziki on the side, and give it a try.

grilled cheese with extra tzatziki

That’s all I ask.


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Another Day, Another Dollar — I Mean Grilled Cheese

If your husband is a hunter like mine, you probably need a few new ways to use the meat. My hubby had Italian sausage made out of some of the elk, and it is actually quite delicious.  Yes, until about a month ago, I was convinced I wouldn’t like game meat. Surprise!!! I love it.  (Side note…if your husband isn’t a hunter, just use any sausage!)


First things first, thinly slice bell peppers and onions, because everything is better with a plethora of onions. Sautee the peppers and onions in a bit of oil or butter. You don’t want them to cook all the way through, a bit of crunch is good!


Next, thinly slice sausage. Make sure it is pre-cooked.  You can always cook it beforehand, like we did.


I used a ciabatta bread again. It was very inexpensive, what can I say? This time I chose not to spread the outside with butter before grilling. It turned out a lot better, and the crust was not the slightest bit chewy.

Layer cheese (I used Muenster), the onion/pepper mixture, and sausage.

Grill it!





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Grilled cheese for breakfast (or whenever)

This morning, I was planning on getting up really early to make a yummy breakfast grilled cheese.  Although I did wake up far too early, I didn’t make it for breakfast.  Instead, I made a breakfast-for-lunch grilled cheese.


Breakfast grilled cheese

I made scrambled eggs by combining:

  •  6 eggs (this was for 2 adults and 3 kids)
  • 1 tablespoon of heavy cream
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sliced green onions (my kids claim that they don’t like green onions…but if they come from my gene pool, lets face it… they love them. Even if they don’t realize it yet.)

I cooked the eggs in a buttered skillet until they were almost done.  I left them fairly wet, because they cooked a little more when they were in the sandwich.


I cooked them a bit more than the picture shows. 🙂

After the eggs were ready, I let them sit for a little while to firm up a bit more. While the eggs were resting, I sliced the cheese and tomatoes. I then assembled the sandwich and grilled it!


I used an Irish cheese that was on sale, and it was amazing. The label said it was a “gouda style” cheese, so any gouda would be just as delicious.  For the bread, I used a ciabatta loaf, and sliced it up. Looking back on it, I probably would choose another bread.  The crust got a little chewy when grilled.  It was still good, good, good!



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My true love gave to me more cheese.

Day three of the Twelve Days of Grilled Cheese continues the pesto-on-grilled cheese trend. (Trust me, it’s a thing. You’ll see.)

I present to you The Grilled Queso.

It’s easy and breezy. It’s just a layer of cilantro pesto, quickly whipped up in about 5 minutes. You add a layer of cheese (…obviously), a thin smear of finely chopped chipotle in adobo (if you’re feeling spicy), and what dish of such proportions wouldn’t love a few slices of creamy avocado? Exactly.

The Grilled Queso

For the Cilantro Pesto (makes a little over a cup, leftover can be frozen for future use):

  • 1 cup of cilantro, including stems if you like (I do)
  • 1 green onion
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup of pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or walnuts or basically any other crunchy thing
  • half a lemon
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt to taste

pesto makin

For the rest, to make one sandwich:

  • 2 slices of bread
  • a couple tablespoons of cilantro pesto (recipe instructions below)
  • 1/2 chipotle in adobo, finely chopped
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • cheese – I used Manchego, although I had visions of Queso Fresco and/or Cotija



1. Make pesto: Roughly chop cilantro and green onion, place in bowl. Toast pumpkin seeds until they begin to pop, then roughly chop and place in same bowl. Add a few glugs of olive oil, juice of half a lemon, and some salt. Taste and adjust to desired salty-ness and oily consistency.

2. Assemble sandwich: Divide finely chopped chipotle and spread on each half of bread. Top one slice with layer of pesto. Top other slice with cheese, then avocado.

3. Heat pan over medium low and melt a little butter and olive oil. Same technique as before: Briefly dip the un-pesto-ed side in the oil and butter, then place the slice, pesto side down, on top of sandwich. Place sandwich in pan, put lid of a pan on top, and cook for about 5 minutes. Flip, cover, cook for about 3 minutes more. Then EAT!



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Pesto power

Lately, I have been quite obsessed with all things Williams-Sonoma. We recently made fried chicken. It was the most amazing fried chicken I’ve ever had in my life, no question…. for real.

comfort fooood

We saved the leftovers, and a few days later we had a surprise snow. I was feeling extremely lazy about lunch, so I made a quick creamy tomato soup along with the actual star of lunch, THE grilled cheese sandwich.

THE sandwich consisted of:

  • Bread
  • Pesto
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • Leftover fried chicken breast (skin removed)
  • Cheese (we used provolone)

I’m sure most of you have made a grilled cheese sandwich before. If not, layer all of the ingredients between two slices of bread! I like to put multiple layers of cheese between everything, so it melts nicely. Slather both outsides of the bread with butter and grill it. You can use a plain old grill pan or a Panini press. I don’t have a Panini press, so I used my very trusty Foreman grill. It was pretty much delicious!

THE sandwich


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Twelve Days of…

With only a little more than 12 days until Christmas, and buckets and buckets full of holiday recipes slamming the internet waves, we at the Troika Table are here with a little somethin’ different.

You know what I really love? A Christmas cookie.

You know what I love even more?

A grilled cheese sandwich.

And so, in honor of the season and things that are better than Christmas cookies, we bring you –


A few things about this series:

  1. We will very seriously attempt to bring you one grilled cheese per day for the next consecutive twelve days.
  2. “That’s a lot of grilled cheese…” you say? We really like grilled cheese. And so should you.
  3. Full disclosure: We will be pulling a few grilled cheeses from our past and as such we probably won’t be eating said grilled cheeses for twelve days straight, and maybe you shouldn’t either. I mean, twelve days of grilled cheese in a row is a little much. Even for us.
  4. We assume you know the basics of making grilled cheese; however, this post will cover my preferred method.
  5. In the event we are not able to post a tried and true recipe, we will post a link to a recipe for a grilled cheese, because let’s face it, the internet also has buckets and buckets full of grilled cheese suggestions.
  6. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll sneak a cookie recipe in too.
  7. Maybe.


First up, a humble, simple grilled cheese – nothing too fancy, just, you know, some cheese. And bread. And mustard-and-green-onions-and-a-fried-egg-on-top.

mis en place

Grilled Cheese No. 1
à la Croque Madame

For one serving:

  • two slices of bread
  • enough cheese to satisfactorily fill your grilled cheese (I used cheddar and smoked mozzarella)
  • one green onion, roughly chopped
  • mustard – for this, I prefer a sweet, Bavarian style. Honey mustard would be good. Dijon if you dare.
  • one egg
  • butter and olive oil for pan

1. Slather as much mustard as you’d like on each slice of bread.

2. Arrange cheese slices in an even layer on one slice of bread; top with most of green onion. Dot with a bit more cheese to keep things held together. Important: DO NOT mess with the other, mustard-ed slice of bread yet.

3. Heat pan over medium-low heat. Add a little butter and a splash of olive oil. Take the untouched slice of mustard-ed bread, briefly dip the un-mustard-ed side in the melted butter and oil, then place the slice, mustard side down, on top of the slice prepared in step two. Illustration:


The mustard side of the other piece goes on here. Easy peasy.

4. Carefully place sandwich in pan. Cover with a lid (this facilitates melting of cheese without burning the bread. Very important.)


5. After 3-5 minutes, flip the sandwich.

6. After a few more minutes, your grilled cheese will be successfully and perfectly golden and ooey-gooey melty. Place your work on a plate, but keep your pan on the heat as our work here is not done. The pièce de résistance:


7. Add a nub more of butter just to prevent sticking, and crack that egg into the pan. Fry to your preference: I like mine salted, peppered, and medium.

8. Slip egg onto sandwich. Top with any remaining green onions.

9. You know what to do now:



See you tomorrow, dear readers.



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