APPLE-BACON GRILLED CHEESE

I love to fancy up a grilled cheese sandwich, and that I most certainly did by adding thinly sliced Granny Smith apple, turkey bacon, and Dijon mustard to this lunch treat. Wonderfully yum (though, in Junior Too’s case I was asked to “hold the Dijon”).

Apple Bacon Grilled Cheese

4 slices bread (I used our favorite sourdough from Panera Bread’s bakery)

1 tbsp Dijon Mustard

4 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 small Granny Smith apple, sliced thin

6 strips turkey bacon, fried

1 tbsp butter

1) Assemble each of 2 sandwiches as follows: spread mustard on both sides of bread, top bottom slice with one-fourth the cheese, one-half the apple slices, one-half the bacon, one-fourth the cheese, the top slice of bread

2) Melt butter in skillet over medium heat; add sandwich to skillet and cook 4-5 minutes each side until golden brown and lightly crunchy; remove from skillet and serve immediately

Servings: 2

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BLUE CHEESE-PEAR-SPINACH GRILLED SANDWICH

Sunday lunch could have been soup, but it was such a pleasantly warm day that it seemed like overkill, and so…grilled sandwiches featuring two of my favorite (I have quite a few favorites) ingredients: blue cheese and spinach. As for the fruit, one of the most divine combinations going is pear and blue cheese. A very satisfying lunch!

Blue Cheese-Pear Grilled Sandwich

3 tbsp butter, divided

1 tsp olive oil

1 firm but ripe pear, sliced 1/4″ thick

1/4 cup white cooking wine

6 slices bread (I used swirled white-wheat)

3 oz reduced-far cream cheese

3 oz crumbled blue cheese

3/4 cup baby spinach

1) In medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter (reserving 2 tbsp) in olive oil; add pear slices and saute 5 minutes, turning once; reduce heat to low and add cooking wine; cook 4-5 minutes until sauce reduces, leaving a glaze on pears; remove from heat and set aside

2) Assemble each of three sandwiches as follows: Spread 1 oz cream cheese on one slice of bread, lay one-third of pear slices on cream cheese, followed by one-third of spinach and one-third of crumbled blue cheese, top with slice of bread

3) In large skillet (I used a grill pan) over medium heat, melt remaining 2 tbsp butter; grill sandwiches 3-4 minutes each side until cheeses melt; serve

Servings: 3

JALAPENO POPPER AND BACON GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH

Yes, it’s another jalapeno popper sandwich, this time with bacon. Yum, yum, yum–and gone, gone, gone! As for Junior Too, he liked this sandwich MUCH better than my fabulous (if I may say so myself) Mushroom-Basmati Rice Soup. Guys and their meat-and-cheese-stuffed, buttered-and-grilled slabs of bread. Not that I don’t like them too 🙂

8 jalapeno peppers, cut in quarters lengthwise and seeded

8 slices sourdough bread (good quality–Panera Bread is our favorite)

8 tbsp reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

sea salt

ground black pepper

3/4 cup crumbled tortilla chips

8 strips turkey bacon strips, fried to lightly crisp

4 slices sharp cheddar cheese

2 tbsp butter

1) Preheat oven to broil

2) Place pepper quarters on baking sheet, skin side up; broil 8-10 minutes until skin browns and blisters; remove from oven, let cool, peel and discard blistered skin

3) Lay out 4 slices of bread and top each with 1/4 of the following ingredients: cream cheese, sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper, jalapeno strips, crumbled tortilla chips, bacon, and cheddar cheese; top with remaining slices of bread

4) In non-stick pan* (I used a grill pan) over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter (reserving 1 tbsp); add sandwiches to pan and grill until cheese begins to melt and bread is golden brown (4-5 minutes); before grilling second side, spread remaining butter over top slices of bread; flip, grill until golden brown; and eat!

Note: Depending on size of your pan, you may have to make sandwiches in batches, so divide butter accordingly

Serves: 4