Friday, August 14, 2009

Frannie, Grilled Cheese & The Donkey....

Frannie, Grilled Cheese and the Donkey...

I can see your faces already... you're reading this and saying, Grilled Cheese, Donkey? Really Michelle? Really? Well look, when my friend Frannie came to me with a hilarious memory of an Aunt who used to make the best grilled cheese sandwiches I had the same reaction! But her story was just so cute and funny and she really did want to know how to make them... so I set out to see if I could find a way to help her relive this memory. Here is her story in her own words...
"This photo was taken in my aunt Genevieve's living room in Tell City, Indiana. My grandmother would take me to her house for a few weeks every summer. She was my god mother. She was always happy, loving, and was never without a smile. Four boys and a girl did not break her. I loved her house it always smelled like cedar. She would cook anything anyone wanted and never complained. She was a nurse in WWII stationed in France, but would never talk about it. I was also not allowed to ask. Oh, she was rollie pollie and always wore a dress. Her neighbor had a donkey that wore a straw hat and it stayed in the neighbors back yard. I loved that donkey."
So... grilled cheese you say....What's not to know about how to make it? You slap a piece of Velvetta Cheese in the middle of a piece of two pieces of Webbers plain white bread, throw it in a frying pan and VOILA! Ok... not so simple... pump the brakes my friends... because you've never had a Grilled Cheese Sandwich like this and I know you're gonna love it! I know this because not only did I try it and love it too, but Frannie and her family have been singing lunch time praises to this great grilled cheese recipe!

The great thing about a grilled cheese sandwich is that there are so many variations that you can do to it! You can add just about anything to it and well, it's just yummy home goodness!

Frannie, I'm not quite sure what the donkey will think about them, but I know they're sure to be a part of some new memories you make with your family now! I hope all of you will be able to make some new Grilled Cheese memories too!!

Classic Grilled Cheese

  • 8 Slices Firm Sandwich Bread
  • Cheddar Cheese (mild, medium or sharp)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • Mayonaisse (optional)
  • Dijon Mustard (optional)


  1. Spread bread slices with a thin layer of mayonnaise and/or mustard and evenly divide the grated Cheddar over four slices of bread.
  2. Top with remaining four slices.
  3. Heat half of the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat.
  4. Place sandwiches in skillet and spread remaining butter over top slices of bread.
  5. Cover skillet.
  6. Cook about 3 minutes, until underside is golden brown. Carefully flip sandwiched with spatula and continue cooking, uncovered, 2 to 3 minutes, until cheese is melted and underside is browned.
  7. Serve immediately.

Tips For The Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich

  1. Use real butter. The flavor of fresh butter is important for
    a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich.
  2. Butter the outer side of the bread, not the pan. The butter will be more evenly distributed, which ensures a properly golden,crisp sandwich.
  3. Grate or shred the cheese; it will melt faster.
  4. When using dense breads, slice them no more than 1/2-inch thick, so that the heat can penetrate and melt the cheese.
  5. Press the sandwich with a spatula after it’s been flipped, to help the melted cheese spread evenly.
  6. Use a nonstick pan instead of cast-iron. The sandwich is less likely to stick to the pan, which makes clean-up much easier.

Optional Ingredients that can be substituted for an even better sandwich!
  • Grilled Vegetables or Chicken
  • Experiment with Cheese! Smoked Gouda, Mozarella, Muenster, Fontina or even Swiss
  • Add some Ham or Turkey Slices
  • Pan Fried Bacon
I hope that you keep sending me those memories, stories and recipes!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Real Men Don't Eat Quiche

Real men don't eat quiche you ask??? Well just don't say that to my friend Peter who shared with me a story about his Aunt Jenny and "the best spinach quiche in the world!" He would religiously go to visit her every summer in North Carolina. So he sent me an email telling me all about her and his memories ever summer there and wanted to see if I could help him re-create it!

So my mission was kinda tough... I don't really know what Aunt Jenny's recipe was as she passed on a few years back and Peter hasn't had it since... and there's probably about a million and one different quiche recipes out there, but I did a ton of trial and error, I might add and I think Peter was pretty thrilled with the end result and said it was pretty darn close!

This recipe for Spinach Quiche is actually pretty simple and is super delicious! You can substitute the Spinach for just about any other vegetable that you might really like also.. for example, string beans, asparagus, artichokes, or even mushrooms.... ham, bacon or panchetta that's been fried is great inside of it too!

It's perfect to make for a fantastic light lunch or even for dinner along side a soup and small salad.

I hope you try it... and Peter, I hope I made Aunt Jenny proud! I can see why he remembered all those summers at her house... I guess that old adage wasn't so true after all!

Spinach Quiche
  • 1 package unbaked pie crust shell
  • 1 3-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup half and half (or milk)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar (gruyere works well, too)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 4 to 6 green onions, thinly sliced (1/2 cup finely diced red or white onion or shallots work as well)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 425°. Bake Pie Crust according to the package.

Beat cream cheese in medium bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in half and half and eggs. Mix in remaining ingredients. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is set, about 25 minutes. If the edges of the pie begin to brown, remove from the oven and cover just the edges with some aluminum foil and continue baking. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Keep sending me your stories and memories!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cancun Chicken Enchiladas

So my story and recipe from the heart this week comes courtesy of Adrienne & George... two of my nearest and dearest friends! Adrienne came to me this past weekend and we were talking about the blog and how I'd love for everyone to contribute their stories and recipes and she said, Michelle, I would love to make the chicken enchiladas that George & I had when we went to Cancun for our first anniversary! Seeing as they've been married for 6 years... it's been 5 years since they've had them and I'd told her I'd love to help her recreate the memory! I think it went over muy bueno! Here's to 6 years of wedding bliss my friend... oh and yummy delicioso chicken enchiladas...

They're a little bit of work, but super easy to do and oh so worth it!


1 small onion, chopped (about a cup)

Vegetable oil

2 small cloves garlic, minced

1 can of chopped tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted if you can get it

2 Tbsp red chili powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup to a cup of water

12-14 corn tortillas

Peanut oil or canola oil - a high smoke point oil

2-3 cups of cooked chicken, shredded or chopped

2 cups grated cheese- monterey jack, cheddar mix


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Prepare the sauce. Coat a large skillet with oil and sauté the onions on medium heat until translucent, a few minutes. Add the garlic for a minute more. While the onions are cooking, purée the canned tomatoes in a blender. Add the tomatoes to the onions and garlic. Bring to a low simmer. Start adding the chili powder, one teaspoon at a time, tasting after each addition, until you get to the desired level of heat and chili flavor. Around 2 Tablespoons. It depends on your taste and how strong the chili powder is that you are using. Note that the tortillas and chicken will absorb some of the heat, so allow for that and let it be a little bit spicier than what you want in the finished dish. Add a teaspoon of sugar if necessary to cut down on the acid from the tomatoes. You want more of the taste of the chili and less of the tomatoes for this sauce. As the sauce simmers, dilute it with water to keep it from getting to thick as it simmers. Remove from heat.
  • Mix in 1/4 cup of the sauce with the cooked chicken, and a 1/4 cup of the cheese. Sprinkle with a little salt. Set aside.
  • Prepare the tortillas. Dip them in the sauce individually

  • Heat a small light skillet on medium high heat. Add a teaspoon of oil (high smoke point oil as directed) to coat the bottom of the pan. Dip a tortilla in the sauce to coat the tortilla on both sides. Place the tortilla in the skillet and heat for a few seconds, until the tortilla begins to show some air bubbles, with a metal spatula flip it over and do the same thing to the otehr side. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
  • Assemble the enchiladas... Get a pyrex dish 8x12 or 9x10. place a couple of spoonfuls of the shredded chicken and a bit of the grated cheese into the center of a tortilla and roll it up like a little cigar. Place in the backing dish and repeat untill all of your tortillas are neatly placed in rows in the pyrex dish. Cover the tortilla rolls with the remaining sauce.

  • Sprinkle the top of the tortillas with the remaining cheese.
  • Place in the oven and cook in the oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.
  • Serve with shredded iceberg lettuce and sour cream
OPTIONAL: Chopped cilantro, tomatoes or avocado slices.


Quick Shredded Chicken Recipe

1 chicken breast half, on the bone and with skin

1 slice onion

1 clove garlic

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Combine ingredients in a small pan (or larger if recipe is multiplied). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through, about twenty minutes

Remove chicken from broth. When it is cool enough to handle, remove bones and skin and shred chicken with fingers.

Please keep sending me your stories and recipes!

AYE! AYE! AYE!!!!! Keep making food memories!