Friday, September 9, 2011

Crustless Grilled Cheese

At the beginning of last school year, I wrote a post about making your own peanut butter and jelly Uncrustables.  These are still one of my go-to school lunches, along with bean burritos and quesadillas.  But I am always on the lookout for new items that I can stock in my freezer.

This week, Kimiko’s nieces and nephews started at a new school.  Unfortunately for their mom, the school has a nut-free policy.  She is not allowed to send anything in their lunches that contains nuts of any kind in any form.  Since she can’t rely on pulling PB&J’s out of her freezer, she asked if it was possible to make and freeze grilled cheese.  While I didn’t see any problem with it, I didn’t actually try it until this week.  And I was met with success!!

Beforehand, the main obstacle I could foresee was trying to get the cheese big enough to fill the sandwich without getting into the edges.  When I went to actually make the sandwiches, it was a no-brainer!  I simply folded the corners of each slice of cheese into the middle and they fit perfectly into the center of my sandwich cutter.  If you have a different size cutter, you may need to experiment to see what works best for you.

The one problem I did encounter was ripped bread.  I bought Iron Kids bread because I happened to be at Costco and that’s what they carry.  It wasn’t as soft as it needed to be to keep from ripping.  However, it ended up not being a problem.  I just buttered right over the cracks and they sealed themselves closed when I cooked the sandwiches.

Don't worry about the cracks if they occur.

Just butter over the tears.

Yesterday I picked up some Oroweat Soft Family 100% Whole Wheat bread, but haven’t tried it yet.  Extrapolating from my experience with PB&J, I’m guessing it will work better than the Iron Kids bread.

As far as reheating goes, it will vary depending on whether or not the sandwich is still frozen or has thawed by lunch time.  Either way, it doesn’t take long.  Pulled straight from the freezer, they only take about 30 seconds in my microwave.  If they are thawed, I imagine about 15 seconds would be sufficient.

And I don’t suggest microwaving them in the plastic wrap.  It just traps all the steam, making the sandwich soggy.  I will be sending these to school in plastic containers.

Crustless Grilled Cheese
Sliced American cheese
Margarine or softened butter

Heat skillet over medium to medium-high heat.  Fold corners of each slice of cheese to middle and place in center of bread.  Top each with second slice of bread.

Cut and seal with sandwich cutter (mine is from Pampered Chef, but you can find other kinds elsewhere).

Butter tops of sandwiches.  Butter bottoms and immediately place in pan, top down.

This is the messy part.

Flip when top is browned; continue to cook until bottom is browned.  Cool completely on wire rack.

Wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap and store in zip-top bag in freezer.

And don't throw those scraps away!!  Save them for croutons and bread crumbs (recipes to come in the near future.)

UPDATES:  The Oroweat Soft Family 100% Whole Wheat bread was much softer and didn't tear!  The only problem I had was that it is slightly smaller than the Iron Kids bread so I had parts that didn't seal because the crust was in the cutter.  I'm guessing it would work with the cutter that Pampered Chef currently carries.

Someone had asked about eating them without reheating them.  I pulled one out of my freezer when the kids left for school and left it on the kitchen counter until lunch time (to simulate being in a lunch bag until lunch time).  Surprisingly, it wasn't bad!  I still prefer them warm, but I'd eat them just thawed if I had to.  And I'm sure my kids wouldn't notice the difference.


StaceyN said...

These are so cute! How do you serve them after they have been frozen? Do you microwave or reheat in the oven?

Kristin said...

Have I mentioned that you guys are the best! :) Thanks for thinking of me and going to all that work, Sumiko, of making them!

I found out from Samuel that he is NOT allowed to use the microwave at school...hmmm...have you tried them "not heated back up"? Just curious?!

I'll let you know how my experiment goes!:)

Sumiko said...

Stacey, for the kids, I microwave them about 30 seconds if frozen. Keanna's are thawed by the time lunch comes around so they probably take about 15 seconds.

For me, I would prefer them heated in the toaster oven so they recrisp. I haven't actually done it yet, but I would guess 350 for a little while--maybe 8-10 minutes? Once I try it, I'll be sure to post it. If you get to it before me, definitely let us know!

Kristin, too bad! It's so easy to pack microwavable lunches! I haven't tried them unheated. Tomorrow I'll pull one out of the freezer before sending everyone off to school and see what it's like at lunch time.

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