Eating; it’s one item on an unquestionably short list of things that we must do in order to survive (see also: breathing, sleeping, and cooing at service dogs). And while some of us are experts at clearing this task without breaking the budget, others in our populous struggle with it more than my dad with the input button on his TV (I honestly cannot understate how many times I’ve explained this).
That’s where Cheap Eats busts through your living room wall to save the day. Whether you’re a seasoned cook that simply spends too much on groceries or a rookie whose definition of cooking is nuking an easy mac, we’re here to share some recipes that’ll leave you with more free moolah to spend on a new Tamagotchi to be your forever-friend and a stomach that’ll literally respond with, “hells yeah, broski”.
This is Cheap Eats.
Today, we’ll be talking about one of the greatest staples of all time. It’s a sandwich that’s been an American favorite since the 1920’s when sliced cheese and bread became inexpensive and widely available. That’s right; it’s the one and only grilled cheese sandwich.
I know what you’re thinking: BD, you sad sack, everyone knows how to make a grilled cheese. What’s the deal?
And my answer after a dramatic pause and a heavy eye brow raise that would threaten to dethrone even The Rock’s otherworldly, unprecedented, genetically God gifted brow would be…
“Everyone you say?”
For it is true that I have tasted in this life the sweet nectar of a magically gooey, perfectly grilled, immaculately portioned grilled cheese. But I have also tasted a grilled cheese that would make your grandmother swear in her mother tongue and write you out of her will forever for poisoning her taste buds. That’s why we’ll be attacking this today by providing you with a grilled cheese recipe that packs full flavor, ingredients that can be easily deployed into other dishes later in the week, and one that can be used to regain your footing in your grandmother’s will.
Alright, let’s start with our basic ingredients that we’ll use for the grilled cheese:
- 1 Jar – Miracle Whip (or mayonnaise, whichever you prefer)
- $3.39/container, $0.11/two servings
- 1 Pack of Market Pantry (Target brand) shredded mozzarella cheese
- $2.29/pack, $0.29/serving
- 1 Loaf of Sara Lee Artesan bakery bread
- $2.89/loaf, $.040/two slices
- Total cost per sandwich: $0.80
Simple, right? But let’s not stop there. Let’s kick it up a notch with a special sauce that people from the West coast will recognize from their favorite burger chain:
- 1/2 Cup mayonnaise (the real stuff)
- 3 Tbsp ketchup
- 2 Tbsp sweet relish
- 1 + 1/2 Tsp sugar
- 1 + 1/2 Tsp distilled white vinegar
- (cost per serving not calculated – optional sauce)
While the additional sauce isn’t exactly a requirement, if you’ve never tried it and want something that can be paired with nearly any savory dish, that’s the one to use. In our house, it’s a staple, and we always keep a jar of it in our fridge to pair with any number of dishes.
But without further delay, let’s start cooking:
Step one: Prep
Let’s prepare the sandwich for the flat grill. First, take a swig of your favorite wine and do a little dance to prepare yourself for cooking. Great job! I knew you could do it.
Second, take out two slices of bread and portion out one tbsp of Miracle Whip (my favorite for grilled cheese) or mayo and spread it on both pieces of bread (one side each). Then, take 1/4 cup of your mozzarella cheese and stack it evenly on one side. It should look like this:
Then, put them together to complete the signature sandwich look. Two scrumptious pieces of bread stacked together and some mayo/cheese filling the inside.
Finally, slather some of that delicious mayo on the top of it as well to prep it for grillin’.
STEP TWO: Cooking
It’s time to make fire like good cave man/woman. Grab a flat pan and pop that bad boy down on your stove top. Then, use your strong hand (the one that you entered into that modeling competition when you needed to make rent money) and turn the heat up to just above medium. That should translate to just hot enough to melt the cheese between the bread slices and just cool enough not to turn the outside into a charred mess.
If your not sure how long it’ll take in order for your pan to heat up, it should be about the same time it takes to debate your uncle on the ethics of leading your children around on leashes when exploring the local zoo. Or it might be a little shorter. I’m really not sure how excitable your uncle is. You be the judge.
Regardless, once your pan is hot, place your sandwich with the mayo side down on the flat pan. The heat will turn that mayo into a golden buttery crust on that side. Meanwhile, while your sandwich is toasting, apply mayo to the other side of your sandwich so it doesn’t get jealous.
Now, as soon as you see a small amount of smoke coming from underneath the sandwich, flip it and let the other now-also-mayonnaise-covered side get crispy as well. Finally, remove it from the grill and stare at what you’ve accomplished.
But that’s not all. Remember that sauce we talked about earlier? Take all the ingredients we listed for it and put them all in one bowl. Give it a good mix and within seconds, you’ve got yourself a copycat sauce from one of the best damn burger chains Southern California has to offer.
All ingredients needed are shown together in the mixing bowl before they’re stirred together and made into a salmon pink sauce:
Whether you want to use it as a dipping sauce for your grilled cheese or do what we do in our house (which is swapping the mayo on the inside of the sandwich with this sauce), you can’t really go wrong with this one. See picture below for finished product + West coast burger chain sauce pouring out of the inside:
And that’s all we’ve got for this one, folks. If you liked what you read and perhaps tried it yourself, give this baby a share. We’d appreciate the love!
Until next time,