This week I looked at ways cooking can be healthier in general. Some of the ways in which cooking can be made healthier are: switching ingredients, adding or subtracting ingredients, or changing cooking methods. For this trial I decided to take a classic favorite, grilled cheese, and add vegetables to boost the nutritional value of the sandwich.
For my enhanced sandwich, I used: two pieces of whole wheat bread, an Italian shredded natural cheese blend, a few slices of tomato, and about a half cup of spinach. If you’re using shredded cheese like I did, I recommend layering the cheese in between all of your ingredients, and putting a layer of cheese touching eat piece of bread
Instead of using butter to fry my sandwich, I tried just spraying the pan with olive oil cooking spray and the bread fried up nice and brown with out getting soggy and greasy like it does with butter. I also fried it on a slightly lower heat setting (about one notch lower to be exact) than I normally do, so that the cheese all the way through would be able to melt without the bread frying too quickly.
One thing you will notice about my results is that the sandwich is really quite thin. The ingredients, especially greens like spinach, shrink down quite a bit so don’t be afraid to load them on.
I had never tried this kind of alternative grilled cheese before, and I have to say I am definitely hooked. The great thing about grilled cheese, is that there are about a million different combinations of things to add to the sandwich. This kind of cooking is definitely a good way to be creative. you will notice I had few slices of mango as a side to my sandwich, maybe next time I will try mango in my sandwich! (gasp)
My sister-in-law says she makes a version using left over pesto spread in the summer. The possibilities are truly endless, so stock up on your favorite vegetables (or fruit) and see what you can create and then, please come back and share your delicious ideas!