Italian Grilled Cheese | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Italian Grilled Cheese

This Italian Grilled Cheese features fresh mozzarella, crispy proscuitto, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, and a bright hit of syrupy balsamic vinegar. Plus, it’s extra crunchy from a coating of Parmesan cheese on the outside of the bread. It’s got all the good stuff.

Italian Grilled Cheese | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

The other day I had friends over fairly early in the day. I knew I wanted to feed them, but I wanted to keep it simple. Somehow, I managed to convince them that it would be a real treat to make them grilled cheese sandwiches. I felt guilty about doing something so simple, but when they actually ate them, they were so happy. On the one hand, people like any food they don’t have to cook themselves. Yet on the other hand, it’s clear that if something is delicious, it doesn’t matter how elaborate it is.

The simplest things are often the ones that bring us the most joy. A laughing baby, a cute cat video, a Ron Swanson hamburger, a simple cozy black sweater. Maybe we’re stressing ourselves out trying to make things complicated when they can just be simple.

Italian Grilled Cheese | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Okay, so maybe this Italian Grilled Cheese is a little more advanced than just a couple of slices of buttered white bread and too much Velveeta. While that’s certainly great, this Italian Grilled Cheese is a little bit extra. Sometimes more is more, ya know. Sometimes we’re a bundle of contradictions. But good food is good food, and this is definitely that.

That’s being said, we’re still just making a sandwich, so it’s not exactly rocket science. Spread the inside of your bread with your favorite pesto. No need to make it yourself, but you can if you want. Next we’re going to add some fresh mozzarella. We could stop there, but we’re not gonna. Next, we layer on some chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Then comes the slice of proscuitto that we crisped up by popping it in a hot oven for about five minutes. Then because Samin taught us that everything is better with a hit of acid, we’re going to add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar that we reduced down to a syrup by boiling it down for a few minutes.

Italian Grilled Cheese | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

For a last little hit of salty goodness and ultimate texture, we’re going to spread some softened butter on the outside of our bread and then sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese. When we grill up our sandwiches, they’re going to go extra crispy as that Parmesan sizzles away. When you dig in, you’re gonna get the crispy cheese and bread, the crunch of the proscuitto, and the oozing cheese. That little bit of extra work will really pay off.

Keep it simple but creative. Do the thing that makes you happy. Who cares if someone else thinks it’s impressive. And make yourself an Italian Grilled Cheese. It’s gonna be awesome.

Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod.

Looking for more awesome Grilled Cheese ideas? Try this Fig Jam & Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese.

Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatball Sliders | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatball Sliders

Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatball Sliders | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

If you follow me on Instagram, you know we’ve got a new mess maker living in our house. Within eight hours of moving in, she smashed the glass in our living room door and peed on the rug on which I do my yoga. Right where my face would go when I’m in downward dog. I doubt she did it for irony.

Eevee is our mystery-breed rescue puppy, and if you know me at all, you know she was not my idea. I know a lot of you will judge me for not being a dog person. I’m an introvert who finds pleasure in a certain level of order, routine, and general chillness. Dogs are rambunctious, messy, and constantly want to interact. And by constantly, I mean chasing a ball basically non-stop since she got here. If I don’t qualify as a cat person, no one does.

Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatball Sliders | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

To comfort myself through this new upheaval, I’m going to need a lot of cheese. These meatballs each have a chunk of fresh mozzarella hidden inside.  You can use your favorite jarred or homemade tomato sauce to bake them in. Other than a little light assembly, these really couldn’t be simpler.

I like to serve these on a soft roll, but you can do ’em up any way you like. They’d be great as a meatball sub, or serve with spaghetti. Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatballs are fantastic, sliders or no.

Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatball Sliders | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

We do strange things for the people we love, even inviting a dirty, smelly dog into your once peaceful and not entirely unattractive home. For that, we get to eat Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatball Sliders whenever we want.

Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatball Sliders
Serves 6
Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatball Sliders are so delicious, they make nearly anything bearable.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound ground beef
  2. 1 egg
  3. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  4. 1/3 cup shaved parmesan cheese
  5. 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  6. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  7. 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  10. 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  11. 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
  12. 2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
  13. Your favorite soft rolls
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly spray a casserole or baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine beef, egg, oil, parmesan, seasonings, and breadcrumbs. Use your hands to mix the ingredients gently so that you don't overwork the meat.
  3. Form the meat mixture into golfball size meatballs, burying and completely surrounding a cube of mozzarella in each one.
  4. Pour about 1 to 1-1/2 cups of your pasta sauce into your baking pan. Make sure it covers the bottom. Place meatballs in pan, add more pasta sauce over the top, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and a bit more parmesan if you have it.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. Allow the dish to cool long enough for the sauce to stop acting like molten lava.
  6. Scoop meatballs, with some extra cheesy sauce, onto a roll, and go to town.
Adapted from How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
How to be Awesome on $20 a day https://awesomeon20.com/

Continental Grilled Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Continental Grilled Cheese

Continental Grilled Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Almost every day I wake up in the morning wishing I could just stay home and cook all day. I don’t much care what it is. I don’t even necessarily want t eat it. There’s just something about the magic of turning ingredients into food that I find so calming. 

Work gets stressful. People think I’m dumb. But in my kitchen, I’m the boss. I do actual dumb things in there all the time, but I don’t much care. It’s quiet. It’s warm. It smells great. Where else would a person want to be?

The truth is, I’m usually so frazzled by the time I get home from work that I can barely summon the energy to stand in front of a skillet for 10 minutes. Lucky for me, you can make something pretty amazing in that amount of time.

Continental Grilled Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This gooey, delicious Continental Grilled Cheese is a fantastic mash-up of European flavors. It’s lacking in any sort of authenticity but completely loaded with good things to eat. It starts with buttery brioche which gets spread with some tart cherry jam. Polish ham went into my sandwich because I couldn’t find the Black Forest ham the original recipe called for. All of this is held together with oozing brie. It’s so right.

There are few things in life that make me quite as happy as gooey cheese. The crunch from the grilled brioche is the perfect contrast to the ultra soft brie, and the slight smokiness of the ham and sharp sweetness of the cherry jam is spot on. 

Continental Grilled Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Take a deep breath. Be good to yourself. Eat a Continental Grilled Cheese. Smile. Be Awesome.

Continental Grilled Cheese
Serves 1
Continental Grilled Cheese is a delicious mash up of Polish ham, French cheese, and total awesomeness.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
6 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
6 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 slices brioche bread
  2. 1 tablespoon cherry jam
  3. About 2 ounces brie, enough thin slices off your wedge to cover both slices of bread
  4. 1-2 slices Polish ham
  5. 1 tablespoon butter, softened
Instructions
  1. Place a skillet over medium low heat on your stove to heat up while you build your sandwich.
  2. Start building your sandwich by spreading cherry jam in a thin layer on each slice of bread. Next, lay slices of brie over each slice of bread, then add your ham. Close up your sandwich and spread the top, outside piece of bread with your softened butter.
  3. Place your sandwich in the preheated skillet, butter side down. Spread the new top with butter as well and cook for approximately three minutes on each side or until your bread is as dark brown as you like.
  4. Slice and eat quickly before the cheese drips gloriously down your hand.
Adapted from Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson
How to be Awesome on $20 a day https://awesomeon20.com/

10 Totally Awesome Sandwiches

10 Totally Awesome Sandwiches

10 Totally Awesome Sandwiches

August is National Sandwich Month, and as someone who is desperately in love with bread, I’m all for this. Here are 10 totally awesome sandwiches for you to sink your teeth into.

Feed a bunch of hungry faces all at once with these Mini Ham and Cheese Sandwiches. Little is awesome.

The British will put just about anything on a sandwich. Don’t believe me? Check out Things British People Put Between Two Slices of Bread.

Everybody loves a grilled cheese. Make it fancy with a Fig Jam & Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese.

Perfect for parking yourself in the living room on game day, Cheesy Meatball Sliders are completely outrageous.

Maybe I’ll eat a vegetable if it’s in a gooey grilled cheese. Try this Calzone Grilled Cheese

Have a Bacon Egg Salad Sandwich because bacon, duh.

A Cholesterol Sandwich is life.

Apple and cheddar is a classic combination. Bring them together in an Apple Butter & Sharp Cheddar Grilled Cheese.

I love a sandwich at breakfast, especially when it’s as indulgent as this Pumpkin Butter Dark Chocolate Stuffed French Toast.

I might eat glass if it had Buffalo sauce on it. This Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese is much better than that.

What’s your favorite sandwich?

Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese

Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

You guys!!! My oven is broken. It’s distressing to say the least. I feel like I’m wandering around in a daze. I just don’t know what to do with myself, as if I’ve lost an appendage or something. I’m really quite pathetic.

The last thing I made in it was the transformer chicken for this recipe. Then two hours later, I set my oven to preheat for a totally awesome gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate cake I wanted to share with you guys. I went to put my carefully crafted cake batter into to oven with all those lovely tiny bubbles I’d built into the eggs to make it rise beautifully, and that’s when I realized that the oven was still stone cold.  Tragedy!

Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

It happened on the Friday before Easter which is a four day weekend in Scotland, so the property manager couldn’t even call the repair company until the following Tuesday. Turns out the part that needs replacing is obsolete, so the good news is I’m getting a brand new oven. The bad news is, I have no idea when this is going to happen.

Luckily, it doesn’t matter how you cook your chicken for this gooey, spicy, crunchy, awesome Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese. Any cooked chicken can be shredded up and tossed in spicy buffalo sauce. Then we just smash together some cheeses and ranch dressing, spread them on whatever bread we have on hand, give the outside a good smear of butter, and slap it in a hot skillet until golden brown, crunchy, and so awesome.

Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Fingers crossed our oven gets replaced soon, so I can get back to normal and make a damn cake. Until then more Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese for everyone!

Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese
Serves 2
Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese is spicy, gooey, crunchy, and totally awesome.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon ranch dressing
  2. 3 tablespoons cream cheese
  3. 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
  4. 2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
  5. 1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken
  6. 2 to 4 tablespoons buffalo sauce (depending on how spicy you like it)
  7. 4 slices of bread
  8. 2 tablespoons softened butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  2. In a small bowl, use a fork to smash together the ranch dressing, cream cheese, blue cheese, and shredded cheddar. Just mix and mash til it's all incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl, toss your shredded chicken in the buffalo sauce until it's all coated.
  4. Lay out your four slices of bread and evenly divide your cheese mixture onto each slice, smearing it gently across the bread. Divide your chicken amongst two slices of bread, then top the chicken side with the cheese only side. You know how to make a sandwich.
  5. Lightly butter the outside of the top of each sandwich and place them, butter side down, into your hot skillet. While the first side is cooking, butter the top of each sandwich so it's ready to flip.
  6. Cook for three to five minutes on each side depending on how brown and crunchy you like your grilled cheese.
  7. Serve with lots of napkins.
Notes
  1. Measurements do not need to be exact.
Adapted from Grilled Cheese Social
How to be Awesome on $20 a day https://awesomeon20.com/



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