The World's Easiest Crispy, Super Cheesy Grilled Cheese

The cheesiest, crispiest grilled cheese ever

The cheesiest, crispiest grilled cheese ever

If you’re like me, a sandwich can never be too cheesy.

This one is delish dunked in ketchup, sriracha, sriracha-infused ketchup, or, better yet, Roasted Tomato Soup.

Super Crispy and Cheesy Grilled Cheese

 Makes 2 sandwiches

 4 slices good quality sandwich bread, thickly sliced
3–4 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature*
50­–60g old cheddar cheese (preferably orange) or mozzarella cheese, grated
50–60g Monterey Jack cheese, grated

Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.

 Set out the four slices of bread and butter one side of each.  Place two slices of bread butter side down onto your preheated grill or pan and top with cheese the cheeses, reserving about ¼ cup of the grated cheese for later.  Top each with a second slice of bread, butter side up, and cook until the bottom is golden brown and the cheese is starting to melt, about 4 minutes.  Flip and cook the other side until golden and the cheese is fully melted. 

Remove the sandwiches and scatter the remaining cheese over the bottom of the pan.  Allow the cheese to melt and start to get nice and bubbly.  Pop the sandwiches on top of the melting cheese and allow it to cook for another minute or so or until the cheese is crispy and lovely.  Remove the sandwiches to a cutting board, crispy cheese side up and allow them to cool slightly.

Cut each sandwich in half and serve straight away for optimal gooeyness and crispiness!

*If you don’t have butter at room temp, try using mayonnaise for your grilled cheese. It’s kind of my new favourite thing - it’s so easy to spread and browns up so beautifully!

Date Night In: Brown Butter Lobster Tortellini

Brown Butter Lobster Tortellini

Brown Butter Lobster Tortellini

Valentine’s Day.

To be honest, Aaron and I aren’t really all that into it. It’s mushy and romantic, two words that don’t really describe our relationship. It’s also a day where you know that everyone around you in a restaurant is on a date and

For us, Valentine’s is usually just a night in with a home cooked meal that seems much fancier than a normal night’s feast but, in reality, is just as easy to whip up.

I mean, any excuse to open a bottle of wine and dig into a big plate of brown butter lobster tortellini mid-week is reason enough for to celebrate, right?

Brown Butter Lobster Tortellini

Serves 2

 1 batch Basic Pasta Dough or 25–30 wonton wrappers
2 fresh (or frozen and thawed) 175g lobster tails
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1–2 cloves garlic, finely minced
½ lemon, zested and juiced
Pinch red chili flakes
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
2/3 cup smooth ricotta cheese
1 egg yolk
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce and serving
3–4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
½ lemon, zested and juiced
Kosher salt
Fresh tarragon and parsley, finely chopped
Pecorino Romano cheese

Prepare a batch of Basic Pasta Dough, cover, and set aside (or set out your wonton wrappers, cover, and set aside).

Remove the lobster meat from the shells by cutting down the centre of each tail with a pair of kitchen shears, splitting the shell open, and extracting all of the meat. Chop the meat into small pieces and set aside.

In a medium non-stick skillet, melt the butter and cook until it starts to turn lightly golden brown. Add in the chopped lobster meat as well as the finely minced garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the lobster meat is just cooked through. Add in the lemon zest, lemon juice, chili flakes, and herbs and transfer the meat to a bowl. Set aside to cool slightly.

When cooled, stir in the ricotta cheese and egg yolk and season well with salt and pepper.

To form the tortellini, roll out the pasta dough into very thin sheets.  Using a 4-inch round cutter, cut out as many circles as possible (you can also use a knife to cut 4-inch squares).  Place a rounded teaspoon of the lobster filling into the middle of each pasta shape.  Dip your finger in a bowl of water and run it along the edge to moisten.  Fold the dough over to form a half moon (or triangles) around the filling, press well to seal, then draw the two corners of the half moon together to form a little tortellini shape.  Press tightly to join the two corners together and place your formed tortellini onto a flour dusted baking sheet, leaving room between each shape. 

For the brown butter sauce, add the butter to a large stainless steel sauté pan and set it over medium heat. Allow the butter to melt and brown, stirring occasionally. As soon as the butter is golden, add in the black pepper and halved cherry tomatoes and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or just until the tomatoes start to soften up. Add in the lemon zest and juice and remove the pan from the heat.

Cook the tortellini in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes for fresh pasta or 2 minutes for wonton wrappers or until the tortellini bob up to the surface and is cooked to your liking.

When the tortellini is cooked, transfer them directly to the brown butter and toss to combine. Add in a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking liquid and give the tortellini a toss so that it is thoroughly coated with the brown butter sauce. Season with a pinch of kosher salt, toss in some fresh herbs and serve, topped with a scattering of Pecorino Romano.

Croque Monsieur Mac & Cheese: It's like if the world's best sandwich and the most cheesy pasta had a baby

Croque Monsieur Mac & Cheese

Croque Monsieur Mac & Cheese

When I made this little number for my hubs, he told me that I’m an evil genius who must be stopped.

He then voraciously dug into his third serving.

A super cheesy French sandwich with all my favourite flavours + everyone’s favourite pasta dish = all of the carbs and cheese I could ever want on my plate.

Also, two things:

  1. That photo up there is a double recipe. My friends devoured it during our latest game night and there was still enough left over for lunch the next day! In my house, the only thing better than mac & cheese is bonus mac & cheese.

  2. If you are more of a stovetop mac & cheese person, omit the casserole dish and topping and stir the ham into the sauce with the noodles. It’ll be so good.

Croque Monsieur Mac and Cheese

Serves 4

225g dry rigatoni
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk, warmed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon Herbes de Provence
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ cup (30g) grated Pecorino cheese
2 cups (120g) grated Gruyere cheese*
225g sliced deli ham, roughly chopped

For the topping:
1 egg
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 slices white bread, roughly torn into nickel-sized pieces
½ cup (30g) grated Gruyere cheese*
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 425ºF and lightly grease a 9-inch square casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray or room temperature butter.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil then add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and leave it in the colander until ready to use.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add in the garlic and cook for about 1 minute then sprinkle in the flour. Whisk the flour in and cook, whisking constantly, for about 1 to 2 minutes to toast the roux. While continuing to whisk, slowly pour in the warm milk, salt, pepper, Herbes de Provence, and nutmeg and bring it all to a light boil. Cook, whisking frequently, until thick, about 4 to 5 minutes.

When the sauce is thick, turn the heat down to low and whisk in the mustard, grated Pecorino cheese, and grated Gruyere. Switch to a heatproof spatula or a wooden spoon and carefully stir in the cooked rigatoni making sure that every noodle is well coated. Pour half of the mixture into your prepared casserole dish, scatter on half of the ham, then layer on the remaining pasta and ham and set aside.

To make the topping, whisk the egg and 2 tablespoons of milk in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the torn bread and ½ cup of grated Gruyere.

Top the casserole with this bread mixture and pop it in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Allow the mac and cheese to rest for a few minutes before digging in!

*Emmental, Jarlsberg, or regular Swiss cheese will also work well in this recipe - I just love the classic, nutty flavour of Gruyere best!

PANNA-MA!... Cotta... with Goat Cheese... scream sang à la Van Halen

Goat Cheese Panna Cotta with Strawberry Thyme Freezer Jam

Goat Cheese Panna Cotta with Strawberry Thyme Freezer Jam

Am I the only one who involuntarily starts singing Panama by Van Halen every time I see panna cotta on a menu? Well, even if I am, it remains a stinking delicious treat with or without the tune.

This is my take on the classic Italian dessert. By adding buttermilk and goat cheese to the mix, it makes for a tangy sweet delight that is oh-so perfect topped with a dollop of lemon curd, whipped cream, or your favourite jam!

Goat Cheese Panna Cotta

Serves 8

1 ½ cups heavy cream
½ cup sugar
¾ vanilla bean, scraped and pod reserved
¼ cup goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon unflavoured gelatin powder
2 tablespoons cold water
1 cup buttermilk

In a medium saucepan, bring the cream, sugar, vanilla bean pulp and the pod to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently until sugar is dissolved, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and whisk in the crumbled goat cheese until melted. Remove the mixture from the heat.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let it stand for about 1 minute to soften and bloom. Heat the mixture in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds or until melted and add to the cream and goat cheese mixture. Allow it to cool for 5 minutes then whisk in the buttermilk.

Pour the panna cotta mixture into 8 serving glasses or ramekins and cool to room temperature. Place the panna cottas in the fridge for at least 5 hours or preferably overnight.

Serve the set panna cottas topped with your favourite jam, some lemon curd, fresh fruit, or a big spoonful of Strawberry Thyme Freezer Jam.