Calzone grilled cheese from Awesome on 20

Calzone Grilled Cheese

Calzone grilled cheese from Awesome on 20

They tell me it’s National Sandwich Month. I’m ready to celebrate, as I’m a carboholic and wrapping food, especially cheese, in bread is sort of my favorite thing. I think I can get into this. Let’s celebrate.

August also means it’s time to go back to school. When I was a teacher this meant that the rest of my life completely fell apart. After the slow long summer evenings, the shock of returning to work left me exhausted. Putting my high heels back on left my feet stupid tired. Cooking dinner was pretty much the last thing I wanted to do. Grilled cheese seems doable. And delicious. And almost as comforting as a pillow.

Calzone grilled cheese from Awesome on 20

And here’s a crazy thing. This grilled cheese has a vegetable. What? Yes, that’s spinach in there. Between two slices of melty provolone is a blend of ricotta, parmesan, and chopped spinach. You’re gonna have bulging forearms in a second. Watch out!

This grilled cheese has all the gooey wonderfulness of a calzone without that whole yeast dough folding baking taking forever making your kitchen hot thing. Plus, dipped in tomato soup, as all grilled cheese sandwiches should be, it’s almost like dipping your calzone in marinara sauce. And there’s crunchy bread. It’s pretty awesome.

Calzone grilled cheese from Awesome on 20

Happy Sandwich Month! Crunchy, gooey, wonderful. Do it!

Calzone Grilled Cheese
Serves 4
Melty provolone and a ricotta spinach mixture come together in a grilled cheese sandwich packed with cheese and vitamins
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 box frozen spinach, thawed
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 10 grinds pepper
  6. 2 shakes ground nutmeg
  7. 1 cup ricotta cheese
  8. 1/3 cup shaved parmesan (or grated, use what you have)
  9. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  10. butter, softened
  11. 8 slices sandwich bread
  12. 8 slices provolone
Instructions
  1. Ring out as much water as possible from your thawed spinach.
  2. In a skillet, add oil and heat to medium. Cook garlic for about a minute or until you start to smell it.
  3. Add spinach and break it up in the pan. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook until heated through.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, mix spinach and garlic, ricotta and parmesan cheeses, and oregano. Adjust seasonings if needed.
  5. Place a slice of provolone on one piece of bread, spread two or three heaping spoonfuls of spinach ricotta mixture over bread. Top with another slice of provolone and then your second piece of bread.
  6. Butter the outside of one piece of bread and place your sandwich, butter side down, in a skillet over medium heat.
  7. While cooking, butter the outside of the other side of the sandwich.
  8. Cook 3 to 5 minutes per side.
  9. Cut in half, dip in soup, and see how far you can stretch your cheese.
Adapted from Rachael Ray
Adapted from Rachael Ray
http://awesomeon20.com/
*This post contains an Amazon Affiliate link.

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Don’t miss my all time favorite, cholesterol sandwich.

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Awesome in July

July has been an extremely difficult month for us. We’ve had thousands of dollars in extra expenses this year, and not enough work to go around. But this blog is all about keeping it awesome even when the money is tight. We did manage to experience some super awesome stuff in July, all made even better by the very special human we got to share it with.

Kiss My Grits

Awesomest way to get your Southern food fix in the middle of the ocean: Kiss My Grits

I think my new favorite restaurant in Honolulu is Kiss My Grits on University Ave. in Puck’s Alley. I lived in the South for 12 years, and I learned to love a good biscuit, salty ham, and hushpuppies that will still burn your fingers. Kiss My Grits serves all this and more. I’ve been there twice now, and I still need to go back several more times to try all the things I want to check out on their menu. Except for the things that swim, I pretty much want to try everything on the menu. I also love the bottomless mason jar of sweet tea. So far, I’ve tried two of their cat’s head biscuit sandwiches (as in, biscuits as big as a cat’s head.) They were both a perfect blend of Southern flavors made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. And I didn’t manage to finish either one. It’s not Southern food if you don’t leave the table feeling like you might slip into a coma.

pacific-rim-poster-banner

Awesomest way to see a city destroyed: Pacific Rim

We saw Pacific Rim on $6 movie day, and I think I have a new favorite summer movie. The spectacle of giant sea monsters and giant robots smashing up cities is something you must see on the big screen. This film does a great job of cutting through all the convoluted exposition and blending story and action. They use a great narrative voiceover to keep the story moving forward, and they let the subtext speak for itself without having to make every feeling explicit. Also, there’s Idris Elba. If you just said “Who’s Idris Elba?” you need to rush to your Netflix and watch Luther and become a huge fan. Run out and see Pacific Rim right this minute.

bastard-out-of-carolina

Awesomest book to fill you with righteous anger: Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison

This month, I read Two or Three Things I Know For Surea memoir by the brilliant Dorothy Allison. I’ve also read her beautiful and tragic novel Bastard Out of Carolina. Both of these books were heartbreaking and beautiful. They deal with the difficult subject of sexual abuse of a child. Bastard Out of Carolina is told from the point of view of the child whose courage is remarkable. If you haven’t read anything by Dorothy Allison, please give her work a try. It’s powerful and difficult and necessary. 

Emily

Awesomest kid on the planet

I got to spend the month of July with my baby who is about to become a teenager in just 11 days and is nearly as tall as me. It’s a bit difficult to grasp. I love every moment that she gets to spend with us, which is never enough. We played silly games, had Uno tournaments, took funny and artsy photos all over the island, cooked together, read together, and hugged a lot. My baby is the super awesomest and I can’t wait until she’s back for Christmas. 

Things you found awesome

You were super stoked about double chocolate muffins.

You also love to spice things up with bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers.

And mostly, you love to feed your feathered friends with this DIY chicken feeder.

Exciting things are coming our way in August. I’m not sure what they are yet, but I know it’s gonna be awesome!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars from Awesome on 20

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars from Awesome on 20

My husband is crazy for caramel. He also insists that the word be pronounced with three syllables. Saying KAR-MUL is practically a sin in this house. He’s very particular about that.

It also has to be football, never ever soccer.

Three meals a day? Breakfast, dinner, tea. It gets a bit confusing sometimes.

It took me months to learn the difference between the washing and the washing up. One’s laundry and one’s dishes. Why can’t they use different words for different things?

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars from Awesome on 20

Luckily, cheesecake is a language we both speak. These caramel swirl cheesecake bars live on a buttery shortbread crust and are run through with sweet sticky salted caramel sauce. I love it because it’s delicious, duh, but also because it’s much easier to transport and serve than a regular cheesecake.We brought this to Geoff’s birthday party, and everybody loved it. And I made the whole thing for what it would have cost to buy one dessert at a restaurant.

This recipe is slightly simplified from the brilliant Shauna of Piece of Cake. Everything she does is beautiful.

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars from Awesome on 20

No matter what version of English you speak, I think we call all agree that caramel swirl cheesecake bars are totally awesome.

Photos by Monica Szczupider

Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars
Serves 20
Creamy cheesecake bars swirled with caramel on a shortbread crust
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
For the crust
  1. 14 tablespoons butter, melted
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 2 cups flour
For the cheesecake
  1. 1-1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
  2. 6 tablespoons sugar
  3. 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (if you just have regular caramel sauce, just add salt.)
For the crust
  1. Position a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat to 350. Cover a 9x13 inch baking pan with foil. Do your best to tuck it in smoothly in the corners and fold the extra over the side. (I'm terrible at this.)
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add in the flour and mix until just combined. Your mixture will probably be very buttery. This is awesome.
  3. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. I like to use a bit of wax paper to keep the dough from sticking to my hands. This helps make a smoother layer.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The edges will be slightly brown, but the center will still be pale. Pop it on a rack to cool.
For the cheesecake
  1. Reduce your oven temp to 325.
  2. If you have an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese for a few minutes to smooth it out. If not, this will count as your workout of the day.
  3. Beat in the sugar and vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time.
  4. Scrape down the sides of your bowl and then give everything one good last mix to make sure it's all smooth and lovely.
  5. Pour the cheesecake batter over your cooled crust. Plop small spoonfuls of caramel throughout the batter. Using a butter knife, carefully swirl your caramel over the surface of the cheesecake batter. Be careful not to scrape the crust with your knife.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes. The cheesecake will still be ever so slightly wobbly in the center.
  7. Let your cheesecake cool to room temperature on a rack, then transfer it to the fridge to chill for at least four hours, overnight is better.
  8. Cut into rectangles and store in the fridge in an airtight container, if you can make them last that long.
Adapted from Shauna Sever @ Piece of Cake
http://awesomeon20.com/
Check us out at Chef in Training's link party
Check us out at Chef in Training’s link party
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