Dining Hall DIY: Le Gourmet Grilled Cheese

Cafeteria food. What more is there to say really? I mean, we’ve all been there before: eating out of Styrofoam trays, discovering the “spork,” and finding out that there really is such a thing as Mystery Meat. So what exactly possessed us to believe that college cafeterias would be dishing out 5-star meals every day? Whatever it was, we were sorely mistaken. Sure, they’ve stepped it up a little, but still, just like in elementary school, comfort foods and the salad bar are the bulk of our sustenance. (And then we wonder why the “freshman 15” turns into the college 25). Other than calling the cafeteria “the dining hall,” nothing has really changed. Right? Wrong. Now we can cook! So who’s to stop us from taking the drab dining hall dishes and fancying them up a bit? Let’s choose an All-American sandwich turned gourmet: the Grilled Cheese.

Candice Allouch is a junior at American University but abroad in Florence, Italy during the fall semester where she learns (and loves) to cook with the wonderful ingredients that Europe lends.


Le Gourmet Grilled Cheese
Makes 1 sandwich

Note: If you’re like me and you like to “borrow” ingredients from the dining hall so that you can cook in your room but you don’t have a Panini press, then here’s a tip: you can create your own makeshift Panini press by using a couple of pans to toast/melt/heat up your food. You take the first pan (very lightly buttered) and drop the sandwich in it. Then take the second pan bottom down (after being heated for 5-7 minutes) and press it on the top of the sandwich. The bread will toast, the cheese will melt, and the rest of your delicious sandwich will turn PANINI!

1 cup of tuna
A handful of dried cranberries
4-6 sliced olives
Some olive oil
2 slices of your choice of cheese
2 slices of your choice of bread (I like baguette but anything works)

Place the tuna, cranberries, olives, and olive oil together in a bowl, and mix to incorporate.

Then, on a plate, put your first slice of cheese on the bottom bread of your sandwich. Stack the tuna mixture on top. Finish it off with the last piece of cheese and the top bread. (If you’re doing this at home in your makeshift Panini press, I would start the stacking in the pan).

When you’re done putting your grilled cheese together, walk it over to your dining hall’s Panini maker and get grilling! Leave the sandwich in for about 5 minutes (or until you can see the bread browning and the cheese melting). Grab your sandwich off the press and enjoy the yumminess! I assure you, the rest of the dining hall will be quite envious of your skills!

L’Original: Use only A LOT of cheese in the sandwich and butter your bread
Le Croque Monsieur: Use ham and cheese in the sandwich and a slice of cheese over the bread (but don’t press the top layer of cheese in the panini press!)
Le Croque Madame: Add a sunny side up egg to the top of the Croque Monsieur (see note above re: panini press…)
Le Sweet and Cheesy: Use sliced Granny Smith apples, Brie (or your favorite cheese), and a little bit of honey

Recipe Index Keywords:

Categories: Campus Cooking, Dorm and Dining Hall, and Recipes.
Mealtime: Lunch.
I'm Cooking For...: Brunch, Dining Hall Sustenance, Easy Dinner, Hangover, Late Night Snack, Myself, and Senior Week.
Type of Food: Sandwiches.

Originally posted on Monday, August 22nd, 2011

5 Responses to “Dining Hall DIY: Le Gourmet Grilled Cheese”

  1. Andre Herrera

    August 23rd, 2011

    Hmm I’ve never seen tuna as a hot sandwich ingredient before, but this looks delish. Totally gonna make one when I’m home.

    Side note:Haha I’ve totally used the two pan method when we didn’t have a press. You should do Cuban tostada one of these days.

  2. Natacha Billon

    August 23rd, 2011

    The idea of using two pans is just so funny and yet creative. Never thought of that before! Good Idea =)

  3. Roda Buenconsejo

    August 23rd, 2011

    Yes everyone has commented on the two pans idea, but I gotta put my 2 cents in too. Just shows that how resourceful one can be! Love your variations too, going to try it out since i’m bringing lunch to campus from here on out. Keep these posts coming, they’re not only limited to the dorm room life anymore :)

  4. Catalina Forero

    August 25th, 2011

    Gotta love the make-shift panini maker you got going.
    I am for sure going to try this recipe out, I get so tired of eating the regular old sandwich, tuna and the cranberries…makes my mouth water!

  5. Vero

    July 30th, 2014

    Oh yum!! I love the flavors in a csaerpe salad. I think a good bread roll is very important for a sandwich like this!The heat hasn’t been bothering me much either. I work in AC all day and then come home to a cool house. The only problem I will have sometimes is when the AC in my car doesn’t want to work. It only decides when it wants to work. Grrr

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