Cooking for the Frugal: Cheesy comfort

By on August 17, 2013
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In my opinion, there really is no food more American than the grilled cheese sandwich. It’s the only food that can proudly claim it was invented due to the Great Depression. During the Depression, Americans were desperate for cheap and filling menu items that they could put in their poor, down trodden bellies. Thankfully, the cheapest things you could buy were bread and cheese. According to the food timeline online, during World War II, the U.S. government would send our boys in the Navy the fixin’s for an open faced “American cheese sandwich.” That’ll get the boys morale up: cheese and bread! Ever since then, the grilled cheese sandwich has become the most popular sandwich in the world. No, I am NOT exaggerating!

Not only is the grilled cheese the most American sandwich around, it’s also the sandwich with the most variations attached to its name. There is literally no food item you cannot put in a grilled cheese sandwich. There are so many modifications of this tasty ‘wich that it’s impossible to name them all. Up until a few years ago, I was what you’d call a Plain Jane.
I was perfectly happy with your simple cheddar with bread combo and tomato soup. I was in my own little universe thinking that there was no other way to eat grilled cheese. Then my world was turned upside down. I saw someone put tomatoes (YES THAT’S RIGHT TOMATOES!) in between their slices of cheese on their sandwich. That may sound stupid to some of you, but this really changed my whole perspective of this delicious temptress of a sandwich.

In the years following I have found literally hundreds of different recipes for different forms of the grilled cheese. I believe the craziest one I’ve ever seen included guacamole and bacon. I know: madness. It sounds like something a cliche pregnant woman or a high person with the munchies would put together. But it exists and we must accept this.
Moving on, the other day I was watching one of my favorite TV shows, “Eat Street,” on the Cooking Channel.

For those of you that aren’t familiar, “Eat Street” is a show that talks about the best food trucks in the nation, and if they’re really really amazing sometimes out of the nation. Anyway, one of the trucks they discussed was a food truck up in New York City called “Gorilla Cheese.” Get it? I’ll give you a moment to chuckle to yourself. This truck has twenty menu items that are all variations of the grilled cheese. One of their menu items that really stuck out at me was the buffalo chicken grilled cheese. My mind was blown again that something so crazy could exist. And seeing as I love cheese, chicken, AND buffalo sauce, this sandwich was obviously made for me.

Sadly, I am a poor college student and probably won’t be able to travel to the fair maiden of New York for quite some time. So what am I to do?! When one finds the seemingly perfect sandwich for one’s taste buds…you just gotta have it!! With a craving on my tongue and a rumbly in my tumbly (Winnie the Pooh, your childhood is calling), I decided to venture off into the unknown territory, of crazy bread land.

Perfect Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese

What You’ll Need

  • 1/2 cup shredded chicken breasts (season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven)
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce (sriracha with Buffalo Wild Wings spicy garlic is my favorite combination. Just saying.)
  • 1 tablespoon sliced celery
  • 1 tablespoon of minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon of crumbled blue cheese

Your favorite sandwich cheese sliced (mine is jalapeno jack and mozzarella but this is your sandwich so GO NUTS!)

  • 2 slices of bread

Take a bowl and combine your shredded chicken, hot sauce, celery, and shallots until mixed together. Butter the outsides of each slice of bread and top the non buttered side with your sliced cheese of choice. Top your cheese with your chicken salad and then top your salad with the crumbled blue cheese. Finally, top your blue cheese with you second slice of bread. Grill your sandwich in a pan on medium heat until the cheese starts to run down the side and the bread is browned evenly on each side. Serve with your favorite beverage and a side of chips and go to town! I salute you, cheese lover.

Michelle Love
Staff Writer
mlove221@uab.edu

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