The following “Chew This!” column originally appeared in “The Courier-Times” and / or “The Shelbyville News”. Check their websites for further information and dates.
The Best Ever Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Tomato Rice Soup
I have a confession. All my life I have loved grilled cheese but have always turned my nose up at tomato soup. Always. I remember my Grandma Deloris used to make tomato soup for my brother, Damon, all the time and put ice cubes in it to help cool it off and I would think it was just the most disgusting thing ever! Skip ahead years later and I actually love it! Ha! Who would have thought, right? Well, I am not sure if it was because I had not ever really given it a fair chance or just had not really had a delicious enough bowl. All I remember when I was little was that I thought it looked and smelled like a big bowl full of hot watery ketchup and I just could not even stomach the thought of putting it anywhere near my mouth! How awful is that? Well, after trying countless recipes for homemade tomato soup, I finally discovered one that was 3 ingredients, 2 really not counting the water and it is fabulous, but more on that later. Let me talk a minute about my new grilled cheese sandwich discovery! Did you know that you can actually make a grilled cheese better by coating both sides of it in more cheese before frying? Yes, it is true and yes, it is luxurious and fabulous. I am not saying to eat this every day of your life, but if you would I would not judge, I am just saying everyone needs to try this at least once!
Ok, now let me move on to the easiest and most delicious tomato rice soup that you will ever have! I am not kidding here. It is really a miracle! First, take a jar of your favorite pasta sauce, I really like to use my favorite marinara sauce for this recipe and place into a medium sized pot over medium high heat. Add in 4 cups water and 1 cup rice. You can use any type of rice for this soup, but I really prefer the classic tomato and rice pairing of white rice. Turn the heat up nearly as high as your burner will go, cover with a lid and just let it cook. Stir this occasionally and cook for about 10 minutes, once boiling and hot. This is so much better than the canned variety. It is quick, delicious and really comforting and best of all, pairs perfectly with a grilled cheese!
The Best Ever Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Feel free to substitute the yellow American processed cheese with your favorite cheese but be warned that lots of other “deli” style type cheeses do not melt as well and take on a rubbery texture when melted.
2 slices white bread
2 slices yellow processed cheese
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
Start by melting two tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Spread the other two tablespoons of butter, evenly, over both slices of the bread, inside and outside. Sandwich in the cheese slices.
When the sandwich is closed, sprinkle, roll and pat the grated Parmesan cheese all over the outsides of the sandwich.
Once the butter is bubbly in the skillet, place the sandwich in and cook 4 minutes on one side and about 3 minutes on the other.
Remove, cut and enjoy hot.
Ask and Answer: Many of you wrote into me asking about the latest food trend of “Ranch Pickles”. They are delicious and easy to make! Empty the contents of one packet of Ranch dressing and seasoning mix into a 24 oz jar of your favorite pickles. I used Kosher dill spears. Screw the top on tight and shake well. Refrigerate for 3-4 days before enjoying. You can also substitute the Ranch dressing mix with Italian dressing mix or taco seasoning.