10 Tips for Making the Best Grilled Cheese With Kids (Slideshow)
January 20, 2014
'Melt' author Shane Kearns tells us why the grilled cheese is the ultimate sandwich
Cooking with Kids
Cooking a grilled cheese sandwich with children should be both fun and educational. No matter how simple a task, make sure to allow the child to get his/her hands dirty by being able to physically help make the grilled cheese. They could help brush the butter on the bread and depending on age, he/she could help grate the cheese or cut up the toppings. The more the child is able to help, the more he/she will have pride in the final product.
Click here for the "Honey Roasted PB & J" Recipe
Making the Perfect Grilled Cheese
There are many different keys to making a perfect grilled cheese but the most important key is to have patience. No one likes a non-melted burnt grilled cheese sandwich. Taking your time to cook the sandwich and not rush the heat will allow the bread to get nice and golden brown and the cheese to fully melt.
Additional keys include buttering the bread as opposed to the pan and using shredded cheese as opposed to sliced. This will assist in making your grilled cheese as delicious as possible.
Don’t Melt This Cheese
Halloumi. a cheese made from both goat's and sheep's milk, is best known for the fact that it doesn't melt, allowing you to grill or pan fry it. This is perfect for a grilled cheese as the halloumi could in fact be the bread, with ingredients placed in between the cheese.
Other cheeses that do not melt include:
The Indian fresh cheese Paneer
Mexican soft cheeses such as queso blanco, and quasi fresco
Feta and fresh goat cheese
Use This Cheese
I always tend towards aged Cheddars (the longer they are aged, the better) in my grilled cheese sandwiches. Cheddar has the perfect bite and melts well. However, there are so many cheeses out there that experimenting with various cheeses is the best part of creating and cooking a grilled cheese. These days, even the most generic grocery stores have great cheese departments allowing everyone to experiment with some very unique and delicious cheeses. Don't be afraid to try even the most random cheese as you never know what you will find.
No matter what cheese you decide on, you should definitely shred the cheese to allow it to melt easier and more evenly. What is a grilled cheese sandwich if the cheese isn't melted?
The Perfect Bread
For a more typical grilled cheese sandwich, I favor simple breads such as sourdough, rye or multigrain, that will give you nice sized slice and allow you to butter the outside giving you that golden brown color. I always look at local bakeries and fresh breads first but sometimes the slices are just too small to make a great sandwich. At that point, I look at the pre-packaged breads, which are still delicious.
Other bread such as rolls, ciabatta or even a bagel may not give you the typical grilled cheese you are used to but they still make amazing sandwiches.
Oddly enough, bread doesn't even need to be used in a grilled cheese sandwich. Portobello mushrooms, lettuce or even a waffle could be used as the bread and create a unique and delicious grilled cheese sandwich.
I tend towards avocado, caramelized onions and the classic tomato. They are all great ingredients that are easy to find/prepare and help elevate any grilled cheese.
These three ingredients are simply suggestions and a starting point. Look through your pantry or find intriguing ingredients at your local grocery store and experiment with those in your grilled cheese. Have fun with it and you will enjoy your homemade sandwich even more.
In my cookbook, I have made grilled cheese sandwiches with popcorn, mashed potatoes and even baked beans. Some of the more bizarre ingredients lead to really amazing grilled cheese sandwiches so don't hesitate to think outside the box when creating your own sandwich.
Last night's dinner can quickly become this night's delicious grilled cheese sandwich. By taking pieces and parts of your leftovers and adding some delicious cheese, you will reinvent your previous meal into something you never thought possible.
During the holiday season, pumpkin pie is often left sitting on the table once the guests are gone. Sure, pumpkin pie is good the weekend after Thanksgiving, but it is even better in a grilled cheese and mixed with cream cheese and blue cheese.