Grilled Cheese Sandwiches for Busy Nights

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side shot of tuna melt on panini press

On busy nights or crazy days, one of my go-to meals is the grilled cheese sandwich. Most of the family enjoys it. It’s filling on cold days or nights.

And it’s by far a good cheap eat. I buy bread for about $1-2 a loaf and cheese for $2 a pound, making it a very economical meal, especially when paired with fresh fruit or a cup of soup.

When I was a child, I called it a “Bird Cheese Sandwich.” I requested it once at a friend’s house and her mom was able to track down the meaning. She asked my mom what a bird cheese sandwich was. My mom laughed. Poor mom used to burn our sandwiches quite often and thus, served us, “Burnt Cheese Sandwiches.”

Make It Good

Whatever you call it, it’s good eating. And simple enough to make.

Spread butter on the outside of two sliced of bread. Put a slice of cheese in between and cook in a hot pan, turning to brown both sides and melt cheese.

Make It More

You can dress up your grilled cheese by varying the cheese or adding a spread, veggies, or meat. Consider the following combinations:

Make It Easy

While a regular fry pan or skillet works well for one or two sandwiches, it certainly slows down your cooking for a crowd. For ease of cooking, I make good use of two appliances:

The Electric Griddle – This is a necessary gadget at our house, enabling me to cook five grilled cheese sandwiches, eight pancakes, or a dozen chimichangas at one time. We also use it to cook homemade corn tortillas or quesadillas in an efficient manner. We store it atop our refrigerator and use it at least 1-2 times per week.

The Panini Press – I was a skeptic, but now, I’m a believer. The Panini Press saves so much time since I don’t have to stand and flip. This is a great feature when you’re filling sandwiches with goodies that might tumble out upon turning. I get two sandwiches toasting and set the timer for 4 minutes. Easy peasy. And no need for buttering the bread!

I love my grilled cheese sandwich. Whether you call it a croque-monsieur, a bird cheese sandwich, or a cheese toasty, it’s pretty hard to beat for a good, cheap eat.

What do you put on your grilled cheese?

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Michelle K says

    We love our panini press. We received it as a wedding gift (not on the registry) along with a cookbook specifically for these sandwiches. We’ve not been too creative, but the possibilities are ENDLESS!

  2. Cheese, cheese, and more cheese.
    I’ve tried other variations, but really, nothing beats the blissful nostalgia of sitting down to a classic grilled cheese sandwich, cut in half. I almost feel like I should be wearing pig tails and be perched on a phone book.
    And paired with a bowl of homemade tomato soup? Now we’re talkin’…

  3. Jan says

    I don’t have a panini press- I just use the good old George Foreman grill!

  4. Stacy says

    We also LOVE grilled cheese in our house. I actually have it on our 2 week meal plan right now to serve along with some homemade tomato soup. Just wondering how you get your cheese at $2.00 a pound. Do you buy yours from a deli counter or a big block and cut it yourself. Just wondering how I can make ours cost less. Thanks!

    • Jessica says

      $2 is my target price. I get it at Costco for close to that or less when it’s on sale.

  5. Nia says

    This post made me laugh so hard “bird cheese sandwich/burnt cheese sandwich”. I still like mine a little on the burnt side actually. Did you see Martha Stewart on Oprah recently making grilled cheese?

  6. Stacy says

    I love it as an easy, tasty meal. A couple of years ago, saw the idea someone had posted online to make them in the oven when you have several to make at once. I do what you do, then put them on a baking sheet and cook for about 10 minutes on one side, flip them over for another 2-5 minutes, and they’re done. You can make ten sandwiches at once, if you want to do that. I think I bake them around 375, but you can figure out what works best. Most of the time I just do that in the toaster oven, but I’ve used the big oven, too. Also, I usually put garlic powder and cajun seasoning in the butter–it adds a very nice flavor.

    • Jessica says

      @Stacy, I’d never heard about doing them in the oven until last month. Sounds like a great idea!

      • Stacy says

        @Jessica, I hadn’t either, but I never make them any other way now since it’s so much easier and works very well. You really could do a lot at once, probably even twenty or more if you put them on separate oven shelves.

        Another thing I do is mix up whatever cheese I have on hand, shredded or sliced or whatever. That makes it even more convenient since I can really use whatever is around if it’s a low-grocery day.

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