Sunday, April 14, 2013

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

April is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month

It has always been my philosophy that you will never go hungry as long as you have a loaf of bread, butter and some cheese.  There have been times in my life when I was forced to put that philosophy in action.  I would always thank God that at least they are a tasty treat and actually fool the mind into thinking I was spoiling myself.  If I happened to be lucky enough to have a jar of dill pickles in the fridge, it was a feast!

With the variety of cheese and breads in the market, the combinations for a great grilled cheese sandwich are endless.

Cheese is one of my favorite things and I love to experiment with all types as the budget allows.  My favorite thing to do with a grilled cheese sandwich is mixing two different types of cheeses.  Try it sometime!

Tips For The Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich from The Nibble

Use real butter. 

The flavor of fresh butter is important for a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich.

Butter the outer side of the bread, not the pan. The butter will be more evenly distributed, which ensures a properly golden, crisp sandwich.

Grate or shred the cheese; it will melt faster.

When using dense breads, slice them no more than 1/2-inch thick, so that the heat can penetrate and melt the cheese.

Press the sandwich with a spatula after it’s been flipped, to help the melted cheese spread evenly.

Use a nonstick pan instead of cast-iron. The sandwich is less likely to stick to the pan, which makes clean-up much easier.

Click here for an awesome variety of
grilled cheese sandwich recipes and ideas.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Empanadas . . . a tasty treat!

"An empanada (called pastel in Brazilian Portuguese) is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries in South Europe, Latin America, and parts of Southeast Asia. The name comes from the Galician, Portuguese and Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. 
Empanadas are made by folding dough or bread around stuffing, which usually consists of a variety of meat, cheese, huitlacoche, vegetables or fruits, among others."

Source:  Wikipedia
click on the link for more history of the empanada

Today is National Empanada Day . . . if you have never had an empanada, let the celebration begin and try out an empanada recipe (links for recipes listed at the end of this post).  They can be as simple or as difficult to make as you like, depending on the method used :)

For as long as I can remember, empanadas have been a part of my life.  As a child, my nana made the most delicious sweet empanadas with guava and cream cheese.   As an adult, I made them stuffed with Italian sausage with peppers and onions cooked in a savory tomato sauce and lots of mozzarella cheese.  You can stuff them with whatever you like . . . great for leftovers!

As I think of these delicious treats, it occurs to me that you can take plain ole buttered American sandwich bread, place a generous portion or two (or three) of sliced guava paste (found in the ethnic section of your grocery store) and lots of cream cheese . . .  prepare in a sandwich maker, toast in the oven or grill in a pan (like a grilled cheese sandwich).  Not quite an empanada, but equally tasty!

My original recipe for empanada dough was lost, along with a huge notebook of  my favorite recipes and I still have not found a recipe that is up to the standards of the original recipe, but I'm still searching!  In the past, I used Hot Roll Mix, but it has been difficult to find at the grocery store.  So . . . to celebrate National Empanada Day, I decided to go on a search expedition for all types of recipes that I can start experimenting with. has an awesome section on empanadas!  That is where I am going to begin my search.

An excellent website dedicated to empanada recipes!

All About Empanadas from Laylita

Simple Empanada Dough and Fillings from My Columbian Recipes

There are plenty of recipes on these websites to get started discovering the delicious world of empanadas.  Enjoy . . . and Happy National Empanada Day!

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