The "Waffle" Sandwich
My son absolutely flipped his lid the first time I put buttered bread filled with cheese and a slice of turkey into our waffle maker. If you have a square waffle maker like I do, you could literally make 4 grilled cheese sandwiches in a matter of 2 minutes...and possibly be crowned Mother-of-the-Year at the same time! The cleanup is relatively easy, the presentation is fabulous and best of all--it's FUN!
Jackson, my five-year-old, has never been a fan of meat. He is also a creature of habit, a trait he definitely got from his dad. I decided to add a slice of turkey to his beloved "cheese sandwich" thinking the WOW factor of the waffle sandwich would distract him from my sneaky "addition" of the meat. It worked like a charm! He now claims he loves his grilled cheese with ("What's that piece of white stuff called again?") turkey in it. Time to go polish my crown!
The Grilled Pizza Sandwich
This is one of my favorite weekend night meals because it's easy, everyone loves it and it totally cures my pizza craving without making pizza crust or heating up my oven (which I avoid at all costs this time of year because we have no A/C). Save the money you would spend on take-out pizza and whip up a few of these yummy grilled pizza sandwiches. Then prepare yourself for the "ooohs and aaaahs" from your family!
I usually drizzle a little olive oil in my pan, along with a pinch of Italian seasoning and a dash of garlic salt. Then I toss in my bread, top with mozzarella, nitrate-free pepperoni and whatever else we happen to have in the fridge. My husband and I like mushrooms and green peppers on ours. The kids like pepperoni and cheese only. These are so simple to customize for each family member.
Once they've cooked on one side, take them out and put them on a plate cooked-side down. Drizzle a little more olive oil, seasoning and garlic salt in the pan and then throw them back in to cook on the other side until golden brown. Sometimes, I turn off the heat and cover them with a lid so the insides continue to cook without burning the bread.
Serve these up with a side of marinara for dipping and a few raw veggies for a quick, filling meal. Move over pizza rolls...these grilled pizza sandwiches have "teenager" written all over them!
The Benny and Joon Sandwich
If you've ever seen the movie Benny and Joon, you know that Sam used an iron to make his grilled cheese sandwiches--but Benny and Joon were the ones to suggest using the "Wool" setting to make them even better. Here's a 2 minute video that will teach you how you can impress your kids by making a no-mess grilled cheese sandwich with your iron. The sandwich itself might be exactly the same as the ones you always make, but the cool factor just went way, WAY up! (Not to mention how handy this would be for feeding the kiddos in the hotel room on your next vacation.)
I hope these 3 ideas help to get you out of your grilled cheese rut. Which of these sandwiches do you think your family would most enjoy? Do you have other ideas for creative grilled cheese sandwiches? Please share your comments or ideas below--I love hearing from you!