Today I am inspired by cast iron skillets and grilled cheese sandwiches (Doesn’t take much to excite me, huh :) ) because in my opinion they just make the best grilled cheese!
On a side note , I also love making breakfast foods in cast iron skillets. Why cast iron? I find that cast iron tends to get things just the right crispness on the outside , but yet soft inside. My pancakes and omelets come out perfectly golden brown, and the bacon is more crispy. Why is this? It is because cast iron is an even conductor of heat (meaning stuff gets evenly browned).
What about saving money? They also save you money because these pans can last your whole lifetime! In fact, many people have passed down their cast iron cookware to other generations.
Maybe most importantly though, are the health benefits of cooking with cast iron. I am a fan of using anything non cancer causing, and non stick coating is so not healthy for you. Just google the topic and you will see what I mean ! As far as a nonstick alternative , If your pans are well seasoned, food won’t stick to them and you shouldn’t really have to grease them much (which also is better for health, because you can cook with less fat). Lastly, this kind of cookware also infuses your food with extra iron, which many people (especially women) tend to be deficient in.
For my omelets and sandwiches, I find these to be the perfect size skillet (esp. if cooking for one or 2 people):
Yes, these skillets look a bit rough…that will happen over the years with cast iron. The great thing is though, that these types of skillets get BETTER with time and tend to become even more non stick if cared for properly.
My most favorite thing to make in a Cast Iron Skillet is a Grilled Cheese Sandwich- which is what I am making for lunch today. You may wonder, what on earth is inspiring about grilled cheese? Well who said your grilled cheese has to be ordinary?
If you are going to make something as basic as grilled cheese , why not have a little fun with it? Some of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I have made are when I experiment with different types of cheeses and breads. You can use Italian bread and mozzarella cheese for example and even some Prosciutto (a ham) and serve with tomato soup. How about a French bread and some type of fancy cheese with a bowl of French onion soup on the side? I have used cheddar cheeses, colby jacks, wheat breads, thick texas toast, oatmeal breads,etc. Once I even experimented by making an herbed garlic bread grilled cheese.
There are some very unusual grilled cheeses I have heard of too, such as adding pears and pecans to a grilled cheese (I think it was some type of white cheese that was used) or doing a grilled cheddar with apple slices in it. You can search for recipes like this online. One of these days I will have to try it!
Today though, I am just making a pretty basic recipe, using a marbled cheddar and some Rudi’s organic multi grain oat bread.
You probably know how to make grilled cheese. All you do is butter the 2 slices of bread, place the first piece butter side down in the skillet, add your cheese slices, and then top with the other piece of bread – butter side up. I do have one secret to my grilled cheese though, (aside from using cast iron) after the one side cooks a little, (but is not fully cooked) I flip the sandwich over and use the back of the spatula to press the sandwich down. I keep flipping and pressing the sandwich until it is finished cooking. I think the spatula pressing is sort of like when you put sandwiches in those sandwich press things that you can buy…(but that is just more kitchen equipment and an extra expense, so I do it this way).
Voila! A quick lunch !
Do you have any creative grilled cheese ideas? What do you make in your cast iron cookware (if you have any)? Or what is a quick and easy lunch you like to make?