At my college dining hall, there was a custom grill station where you could order eggs, hots dogs, and burgers just how you liked them. I lived on fried eggs for at least a year, and so I don’t want to say anything too negative about the grill station. But their grilled cheese was abominable. I love grilled cheese. But I won’t eat a sandwich made with American cheese and margarine on texture-less white bread.
Luckily for my snobbish ways, the dining hall also had an electric grill–like a George Foreman. I developed a foolproof way to make amazing grilled cheese sandwiches on it, no kitchen required. I ate them for years straight, and since I now make them in a frying pan in my real quarter-life kitchen, I think it’s time to bequeath my formula to you.
Here’s how you do it.
1. Choose Good Bread. You want to pick a bread that’s first. Health breads or seven grain are often your best bet; if your dining hall has a good, hearty white bread, use that, but avoid all smushy breads for best results.
2. Toast. First, give your bread a light toast. You want to get it just slightly crusty and golden so that it crisps up better later.
3. Butter. Generously spread softened butter on one side of each slice. If you’re feeling indulgent, you can spread butter on both sides of each slice. But only if you’re feeling indulgent.
4. Cheese. Dining halls have a variety of cheese on offer, but you’ll have to look around. The deli station should have a good variety of sliced cheese; try jack, munster, swiss, or cheddar slices. You may also have good luck at the salad bar, where you can find shredded cheese, another good option. You can always gild the lily with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan from the pasta station. Load the slices of bread with cheese, leaving the buttered sides facing out. Press them together.
5. Grill. Stick the sandwich on the George Foreman or other electric grill. Close the top and let cook for 3-5 minutes, until the outside is crusty and brown and the cheese is melted. If you don’t have a George Forman, you can do this in a preheated pan–cast iron works great.
6. Garnish. To round out your sandwich, make a side salad or load your plate with carrot and celery sticks. If you’re the type who butters both sides of your bread, add a side of chips or fries.
Cara is the co-founder of Small Kitchen College and Big Girls, Small Kitchen.