April is National Grilled Cheese Month!

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I was in Trader Joe’s a couple of weeks ago and saw a sign for the Trader Joe’s Great Grilled Cheese Sandwich Contest in honor of National Grilled Cheese month (April) and National Grilled Cheese Day (April 12).

When I was young, my mom would make grilled ham, cheese and tomato sandwiches with deli ham, American cheese and white bread. She was very specific that it had to be white bread. But there was something about the combination of the sweetness from the tomato, the salty ham and the rich cheese that hit the right “comfort food” note. Soooooo good.

I seldom eat white bread anymore. Something about the consistency bothers me. But I still love a good grilled cheese. So, inspired by the Trader Joe’s contest and in honor of National Grilled Cheese Month, I decided to have a grilled cheese making sesh with my family.

And I wanted to play with the same comfort food combinations of rich, sweet, salty, tangy, buttery flavors and see what I could come up with.

So I bought a whole bunch of ingredients, invited my sister-in-law Kim and my daughter Ally to join me, and we made grilled cheeses. We had so much fun. Some of our sandwiches were traditional, some were super creative and out-of-the-box, but all were so yummy!

In the end, we had 9 different sandwiches ranging from the simple and delicious Colby Jack Cheese and bacon on multigrain sourdough bread to more complex flavors like Sharp Cheddar Cheese, pesto, bacon, and red onions on Cranberry Pecan Batard.

Some of the sandwiches were cooked with butter. For others, we used mayonnaise instead. I’d never done this before, but it was great. The bread was crispy and tasty! I would highly recommend trying this technique.

All of them hit that “comfort food” threshold in one way or another. Very satisfying.

Here are the recipes for three of my favorites from the day. If you give these recipes a try, please let me know how it came out. I’d love to hear from you. Follow me on InstagramPinterest and Facebook for more stories and recipes from my family table to yours. 

White Stilton & Raspberry Grilled Cheese

  • 2 slices Trader Joe’s Cranberry, Raisin, Pecan Batard
  • 2 slices Bacon
  • 2 tbsp. raspberry preserves 
  • 2-3 tbsp. Trader Joe’s White Stilton with apricots
  • butter
  1. Cook bacon until crispy.
  2. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-low heat.
  3. To assemble sandwich, spread raspberry preserves on one piece of bread.  Top with cooked bacon, desired amount of White Stilton cheese and top with remaining slice of bread. 
  4. Spread both sides of sandwich with softened butter. Place sandwich in hot skillet. Cook until bread is golden brown on each side and cheese has completely melted, 3-4 minutes per side, turning once.  
  5. Before removing from skillet, give the sandwich one more flip to reheat the first side for about 15 seconds.
  6. Serve immediately. 

Chicken ‘n Waffles Grilled Cheese

  • 2 Trader Joe’s multigrain toaster waffles
  • 2 Trader Joe’s breaded chicken tenderloin breasts
  • 1-2 tbsp. raspberry preserves
  • 2 tbsp. Trader Joe’s white stilton with apricots
  • 2 slices sharp cheddar cheese
  1. Set oven rack a few inches below broiler element and preheat the broiler.
  2. Cook chicken according to package directions. (I just heated them in the microwave)
  3. Toast waffles. Make sure they are not too crispy, as they will be going under the broiler.
  4. To assemble sandwich, place waffles on a non-stick baking sheet, and place one slice of cheddar cheese on each waffle.
  5. On one waffle, place the chicken, raspberry preserves and stilton. 
  6. Place baking sheet under broiler and cook for 2-3 minutes, until cheese on both waffles is melted. 
  7. Put sandwich together and serve immediately. 

Portabella Dolmas Grilled Cheese

  • 2 Trader Joe’s multi grain sourdough bread
  • 1 medium portabella mushroom
  • 3 Trader Joe’s Dolmas rice stuffed vine leaves
  • 1-2 tbsp. Pesto
  • 1 slice sharp cheddar cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  1. Use a spoon to remove the gills from the underside of the portabella. 
  2. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Put portabella in pan and season with a sprinkle of salt if desired. Cook 3-5 minutes. Flip and cook 3-5 minutes more, until fork tender. Remove from pan.
  3. To assemble sandwich, cut bread in half. Spread desired amount of pesto on one bread half. Top with cooked portabella, Dolmas, cheese slice and remaining bread half.
  4. Brush both sides of sandwich with olive oil. Place sandwich in hot skillet. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until bread is golden brown on each side and cheese has completely melted, 3-4 minutes per side, turning once.  
  5. Before removing from skillet, give the sandwich one more flip to reheat the first side for about 15 seconds.
  6. Serve immediately. 

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