Grilled Cheese Combos
Setting up a grilled cheese bar is an easy and great idea; considering the endless varieties and combinations of cheeses, breads and other fillings, the options are nearly unlimited. All that’s needed to start: up to three breads, three types of cheeses and six to eight fillings. Here’s a few examples: Ham ‘N’ Jam-Multigrain bread + Swiss cheese + ham + seedless raspberry jam Sweet Chick-Honey wheat bread + American cheese + sliced deli chicken + dill pickles Spicy Cow-Sourdough bread + pepper jack cheese + roast beef + honey mustard.
Instead of buttering the outside of the bread, why not try mayo? It’ll be extra crispy. Instead of putting condiments inside the sandwich before grilling, consider using spreads and condiments as dipping sauces. Your grilled cheese will stay nice and crispy. Want some texture? Tuck in some crushed potato chips, crumbled crispy bacon or sliced almonds.
An electric griddle will maximize your cooking space and will take all the work away from that one skillet (the Farberware Family-size 14 x 14-inch Griddle is available at WalMart; retails for $25. Source: “The Big (Grilled) Cheese”-Relish, March 2016).
Renowned TV chef and cookbook author Melissa d’Arabian offers a few tips on extending a few leftovers into full-fledged dinners: Make a soup of any kind or type, with just a few strips of meat and a couple of chopped veggies (and seasoning, of course). Stir-fry-Add veggies, meat (diced or in strips) and an easy sauce-for example, take one-half cup of soy sauce, 1 minced clove of garlic, 2 Tbsp of lemon juice, 2 Tbsp brown sugar and 1 tsp sesame or olive oil. Combine all this; then serve over rice or noodles. The abovementioned mixture can also not only be used for soup and stir-fry; add it to a burrito bowl with rice, beans and salsa (Source: “ask melissa”-Relish, March 2016).
Three Easy-Peasy Meal Tips (from Curtis Stone)
1. A well-stocked kitchen can turn you into a supper superstar, Stone says. By keeping some basic components on hand, like pasta, condiments, fresh and aged cheeses, cheeses, canned tomatoes, lemons, garlic, etc., you’ll always be able to pull together a great dinner right away any time. 2. “I think people tend to fall into the trap of, ‘Well, I’ve cooked this before and I had some success with it, so I’ll cook the exact same thing over again,” says Stone. “People are nervous to branch outside their comfort zone.” Cookbooks are a good way to mix it up, Stone says with a wink. His recipes (and those of other chefs) for home-cooked dinners will help to expand your horizons. 3. Eat in season-“When things are in season, they taste the best,” Stone said. Going seasonal makes it easy to change up your go-to dishes. For example: Toss pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe in winter; in summer, pair it with fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella (Source: “Let’s Make Dinner fun Again!” by Alison Ashton-Parade, March 8, 2015).
Smart Food Choices
Did you know that 40 percent of overweight American adults are deficient in vitamins A, C, D, and E, calcium and magnesium (according to a recent study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition)? Here’s a quick and easy guide to a remedy: Vitamin A can be found in meat, fish, dairy products and veggies. A helps bone growth and organs function; it also preserves vision. Vitamin C can be found in sweet potatoes, cantaloupe and citrus fruits. C is important for collagen production (keeps your skin healthy) and all the membranes in the body.
Vitamin D is contained in salmon, tuna, trout and other fatty fish, mushrooms, orange juice, fortified milk-and sunlight. Like Vitamin A, D also helps bone growth calcium absorption. Vitamin E is contained in almonds, sunflower seeds, avocado, peanuts and leafy green veggies. E fights off invading viruses and bacteria, helps widen blood vessels and prevents blood from clotting within them. Calcium’s found in cheese, kale, milk, yogurt, broccoli, canned sardines, salmon, fortified cereals and fruit juices. Calcium helps the body do everything from clotting blood to building strong bones. Magnesium can be found in dark chocolate, veggies like squash and broccoli, legumes and whole grains. And magnesium’s necessary for more than 300 chemical reactions in the body, helping the heart function better and protecting blood vessels, among other things (Source: “Stay Healthy-Smart Food” by Lambeth Hochwald-Parade, March 8, 2015).