Baked Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

grilledcheeseYou guys. I discovered a tip for making grilled cheese that will blow your mind.

Are you ready?

You can bake it in the oven. And … it turns out better than cooking it in a skillet!

A week or so ago, I had whipped up a pot of tomato soup and wanted grilled cheese sandwiches to go with it. I typically use my cast iron skillet to make each sandwich one by one, but I was looking for a way to make multiple sandwiches at once (we have a big appetite). Apparently, other people have wondered the same thing and I found a recipe online for baked grilled cheese sandwiches.

All you have to do is preheat your oven to 450 degrees. From there, butter one side of your bread (I use Earth Balance), throw your cheese in the middle (Daiya slices work perfectly), and bake on one side for 6 minutes, then flip to the other side and bake for 4 to 6 minutes. And, voila! You can make as many as your sheet pan will hold at one time.

It’s the little things …

Lunch: Tomato Soup and Chickpea of the Sea Salad

Tomato Soup and Chickpea Salad

Neither the soup nor the salad you see here are new recipes; I’ve blogged about them before. But this is kind of where we are right now with our food: sticking to tried-and-true favorites for the sake of saving both time and money. We’re trying our best to get our food budget down as much as possible so that we can reach specific goals we’ve planned for this year. We’ve stumbled a few times, but we’re getting there, slowly but surely. And hey, I got to try out my new (old) soup and sandwich set. I’m just amazed at how much smaller the portions were 50+ years ago. I have coffee mugs larger than the soup bowl.

I hope 2013 is going well for you so far!

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

I know what you’re thinking: “Cheese? I thought this was a vegan blog.” Don’t worry! The meal you see above is 100 percent vegan. If you haven’t discovered Daiya, I highly recommend that you do so, and soon! It’s pretty incredible as a cheese substitute; it melts easily and tastes like the real deal. And as you can see, it works perfectly for a grilled cheese.

Tomato soup and grilled cheese are a comfort food staple. This version is actually pretty healthy and very quick to make. For the soup, I modified Vegan Yum Yum’s Spicy Tomato Chickpea Soup. As its name suggests, the original recipe is more of a spicy tomato soup rather than a sweet one, so I added some roasted red peppers that I had leftover from my Roasted Red Pepper and Hummus Wraps to mellow out some of the acidity. And like most soups, this soup tastes better the next day; I recommend making it the day before you plan on serving it (though it’s still good the same day).

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Serves 2 + leftovers

Ingredients:

5 tbsp olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp turmeric
2 15oz cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large roasted red pepper, coarsely chopped
2 28oz cans of diced tomatoes
2 tsp salt
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 cups hot water
black pepper to taste

4 slices sprouted wheat bread (I used Ezekiel 4:9 Organic Sprouted Whole Grain Bread)
1 package Daiya cheddar
Earth Balance margarine

Directions:

Heat the oil in deep soup pot on medium-high heat and sauté the onions for a 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, red chili flakes, mustard powder, turmeric, chickpeas, and roasted red pepper to the pot and sauté for about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and salt and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, then add in the nutritional yeast and hot water and blend. I used my immersion blender to blend the mixture into a smooth pureé, but a blender or food processor works well, too.

To make the grilled cheese, butter one side of each slice of bread and lay two of the four slices, butter-side-down, onto a skillet set to medium-high. Add the shredded cheese and the other two slices of bread, butter-side-up. Cook each side until golden brown and the cheese is melted.

Enjoy!