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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!

A Simple Sandwich Fav: Grilled Cheese

What was the first meal you ever learned to cook by yourself? Did it happen to be two slices of buttered bread with a slab of American cheese in between and toasted over a hot skillet? A grilled cheese sandwich is simple to make and scores high on a child's menu, but it's so gooey and comforting even adults can't turn it away.

Simply start with two slices of whole wheat sliced bread. Sliced loaf bread is the way to go in terms of proper thickness. Plus, there's no chewy center filled with air pockets. Buy whole grain bread, and you'll acquire more nutrients. Next, spread a teaspoon or two of trans-fat free margarine on one side of each bread. This will melt flavor into your sandwich while providing a nice brown crisp outside. Buy trans-fat free tub margarine to avoid heart clogging trans and saturated fats, while still providing the perfect flavor and soft spreadable texture. Finally, layer a cheese that melts well. American is a classic of course, but Gouda, Gruyere, mozzarella and a mild cheddar may also work well. You can use a low-fat cheese to cut calories, but stay away from fat-free cheese because it won't melt well. Lastly, cook the sandwich on a medium-low heat for a toasty outside but gooey center.

Mix it up by using different cheeses with different toppings. Pesto, tomatoes, caramelized onions, mushrooms, avocado, jam, pineapple, spinach and the list goes on and on. That's when I call it a "Grown-Up Grilled Cheese!"

Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Gouda

4 slices whole wheat bread

2 Tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil and herbs

¾ cup shredded Gouda cheese

If sun-dried tomatoes are in halves, chop and set aside. Dip pastry brush into the jar of the sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil and herbs. Brush one slice of each bread with the oil and herbs. Place two slices of bread, oil face down, on a preheated medium-low skillet. Evenly distribute the cheese, then the tomatoes, on top of the bread. Top with remaining slices of bread, oil side up. Cook until golden brown on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Yield: 2 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 320 calories, 19 grams fat, 470 milligrams sodium, 22 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 16 grams protein

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