Most college towns have a well-known haunt that its students frequent for post-bar, late-night dining. In some cases, it’s pizza delivery at four a.m. In some cases, Cheese Whiz-smothered cheesesteaks chased down with an order of waffle fries.
For me, it was bagel sandwiches. During my junior and senior year at Susquehanna University, my two roommates and I lived directly across the street from the Campus Cafe, the only diner or sandwich shop within walking distance of our campus – which was basically comprised the entire town.
The bagel shop is probably the location of some of my most hilarious college memories, but really, when you’re partying every weekend, you get pretty tired of sandwiches with names like “The Roast Beast” or “The Crackerjack.” Not that they were bad, but really, who actually craves bagels and cream cheese after a long night of thirty-five cent draught beer? Even worse, if you showed up at the end of the night, the only bagel left would be blueberry.
So being the budding culinary genius that I was, I would work magic with my George Foreman and construct some of the best late-night grilled cheese sandwiches that my friends and I had ever tasted. Sometimes, if we were really hungry, I would just throw about four sandwiches at a time on the Foreman and happily feed half of Orange Street.
These gourmet sandwiches were of course nothing more than Kraft 2% Reduced-Fat Singles awkwardly juxtaposed between two pieces of Pepperidge Farm 7-Grain bread. And ketchup. There was lots and lots of ketchup.
I still like to make grilled cheese sandwiches – they’ve been a staple in my diet long since before I was feeding hungry, bar-hopping college crowd. They were the one menu item that my my picky-eater-brother and I could order from any kids menu at any family-friendly restaurant and know that we would actually like and eat.
Even though I did take a significant break from my grilled cheese streak after college, I still like to make them from time to time. I usually dress them up with spinach, apple or tomato for some extra flavor and fiber.
It’s a quick, easy post-gym, post-long workday dinner that in the winter, is perfect pairing for a bowl of butternut squash or tomato basil soup and in the summer, is great because you don’t need to turn your oven on.
- 2 slices whole-grain bread (I used whole grain sandwich bread but any whole-grain or sourdough version would be great)
- 2 thick slices white cheddar cheese
- 1 Golden Delicious Apple
- 1 butter
- Toast your bread so that it's a nice, even golden brown. Heat butter in a skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Slice apple in half. Cut one half into wedges and set aside. Slice the remaining half into paper-thin slices (as thinly as you can).
- Arrange a slice of cheese on the bottom piece of bread. Top with apples and remaining slice of cheese. Cover with top piece of bread and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until browned.
- Slice diagonally and serve with remaining apple wedges.