National Grilled Cheese Day is today. The annual holiday dedicated to the art of smashing cheese products between bread has finally arrived, and cheese-heads from Green Bay to the Chesapeake are cooking up fun variations of the yummy food in homage to the American staple.
There's no better comfort food than a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup at a local diner, so be sure to leave room in your stomach for the delectable food.
But National Grilled Cheese Day is about more than just grilling up a couple pieces of buttered white bread with two slices of American cheese smashed between them.
From international variations to versions of the old standby reworked with new, unexpected ingredients, National Grilled Cheese Day is a time for experimentation.
Mix up the old recipe, and if it doesn't work out as well as you might have hoped, there's always next year. But if you strike cheesy gold, you'll have a new sandwich to get you through the 12 months before next April 12.
Below we've compiled a list of links to some of the best grilled cheese sandwich recipes with a twist to help ensure you have the best National Grilled Cheese Day of your life today:
1. Jalapeno popper grilled cheese sandwich: These are not for the light of palate. Combining the familiar cheese-and-bread model with the spicy tastes of the jalapeno popper, they will have your mouth watering and your forehead sweating. Featuring crushed tortilla chips, jalapeno peppers and a schmear of cream cheese, these are some of the tastiest sandwiches you'll have north of the border. Just make sure you let your guests, kids or tastebuds know they're going to have a kick.
2. Grilled macaroni & cheese with pulled pork: These grilled sandwiches need no accompaniment, but they may require a bit of an introduction. They start as basic grilled cheese sandwiches, but in honor of National Grilled Cheese Day, they are decked out with two other beloved American comfort foods. First, mac & cheese, one of the only cheesy dishes arguably more popular than the ubiquitous grilled cheese sandwich. But you then add to that a sizable portion of barbecue-sauce-slathered pulled pork and onions. This one will either leave you in hog heaven or in the hospital with heart trouble. But at least you'll have a belly full of some of the most over-the-top grilled cheese you've ever had.
3. Gourmet grilled cheese: Grilled cheese sandwiches may be known as low-rent fare any college kid can whip up for $5 on their trusty George Foreman grill. But they can also be a gourmet experience, as evidenced by this exotic variation, which has some of the look but none of the same flavor as your mother's grilled cheeses sandwiches. With only three ingredients, it may sound pretty simple, but the flavors in this gourmet grilled cheese are more complex than you'd ever imagine, from the creamy, nutty taste of gruyere surchoix cheese to the crunchiness of the toasted almonds. But what really sets this panini apart is the bread of choice: raisin bread. Try it before you knock it. It will knock you off your feet.
4. Vegan grilled cheese: Grilled cheese sandwiches are not just for the omnivores among us. Even vegans can join in to celebrate everyone's favorite finger-licking-good food event. The ingredients list on these is quite lengthy, with oddities from tahini and kuzu to oats and yeast flakes, but the result looks like a scrumptious variety on the orginal that could fool the eyes (but probably not the taste-buds) of any foodie out there. So don't count yourself out because you don't like dairy, just cook up some vegan grilled cheese sandwiches and join in the fun!
5. Mexican grilled cheese: An admission: the taste-testers here are suckers for the spicier flavors. So this list begins and ends with versions of the grilled cheese sandwich that have been imbued with a bit of the hot stuff. These Mexican grilled cheese sandwiches are another example of just that wonderful amalgamation of savory and picante. Featuring cilantro, avocado and the essential cotija cheese, these will make your tastebuds dance. We recommend adding some cayenne pepper and some jalapeno peppers to up the temperature, but they're great at the low heat this recipe provides.
That concludes our National Grilled Cheese Day list of 5 tantalizing grilled cheese sandwich recipes with a twist. Happy grilling!