Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Grilled Cheese, Please!

Grilled cheese for work or school lunches!

It's still back-to-school season, and already I'm starting to get burnt out on packing lunches! And I don't even have to do it every day! I don't know what I'm gonna do once school starts! So this was a quick and easy lunch thrown together in less than 20-minutes, including prep and cooking time. Grilled processed non-dairy cheese feels like a cop-out, but no one went hungry. (And there have been days where they lived off of lollipops, chips, and salt until Dadda came home, so I have to remind myself that this is still a win!)

Thursday, 8/1/13 - Everyone needed a packed lunch this day because of a short time window for lunch between activities. Little Z had drama camp until noon, then another camp at Little Gym at 1pm while I took E to her first ever dentist appointment. I had wavered a bit over bringing Z with us, maybe to set a good example and reassure the little one. On the other hand, she could have been a major distraction and tried to hog the exam chair to watch the cartoon. So I signed her up for camp, last-minute!

My "recipe" for grilled cheese is super simple. I set the oven to broil, butter (or Earth Balance dairy-free buttery spread) one side on each slice of bread, slap some cheese in between (1 thicker slice if you're slicing from a brick, or 1-2 slices of the processed vegan cheese. Baby got 1 slice, Z and I each got 1 1/2.) I pop them in the oven on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or a silpat) and then flip them after 3-5 minutes. (Check them after 3 minutes if your rack is up high in the oven. Mine's in the middle, so I can get away with wandering off for 5 minutes.) For second side, check them every minute until they're the desired level of toastiness. I do 3 minutes, but again, my rack is further away from the heat. Ta-da! Easy-peasy toasted cheese-y!
While they cooked, I was able to cut the fruits and veggies, so the lunches were ready to go out the door hot and fresh to pick up Big Sis from camp!

Z's Cheese 
GF grilled "cheese" sandwich, organic Ranch; organic carrots, sugar snap peas, raspberries, and strawberries
So far for grilled cheese sandwiches, I like the Tofutti brand of non-dairy "cheddar" cheese. It isn't too strong a flavor, like the Daiya can be, and it melts well enough I don't get protestations from the peanut gallery whining that I used the wrong cheese.
I cut hers into "fingers" since she tends to eat the crusts that way. Gluten-free bread is so small, without the crusts I need to make two sandwiches! And then that's practically half the loaf!

E's Cheese
GF grilled "cheese" sandwich; organic sugar snap peas, carrots, grapes, and raspberries
Baby was never much of a cheese-eater before, other than on pizza and grilled cheese, and she's made the switch seamlessly to non-dairy milks and "cheeses." I'm a lot pickier about it than she is! But she doesn't like the gluten-free bread, so just ate the cheese off of it. *sigh*

Mama's Lunch
Leftover grilled veggies, GF grilled "cheese," Peanut Butter and Co's Cinnamon Raisin Swirl PB, organic apples
Someone from Hubby's new job had hosted a BBQ the evening before, and sent home all the extra grilled veggies with me, since they were leaving the next day on a road trip and didn't want them to go bad. SOLD! I packed them in a jumbo muffin cup (fits flush against the lid in an EasyLunchbox!)

I packed some Peanut Butter and Co's Cinnamon Raisin Swirl peanut butter in the smaller compartment for dipping my apples. I have only one word. Ambrosia! Just the right mix of sweet and chewy and crunchy and gritty... a nice mix of textures and flavors in your mouth. Ironically, this was the flavor I never would have purchased for myself, since I generally don't like raisins in things (except my salads...) Okay. That's more than just one word...

Tools of the Trade

[This post contains affiliate links. Also, I was sent a sampler of Peanut Butter and Co flavors to enjoy. Because I'm awesome. But trust me, this peanut butter tastes just as good as if I had paid for it myself!]


  1. I will have to try that. I had avoided grilled cheese because of our dairy allergy -- though right now the only non-dairy cheese we have is Daiya (And I wish you were closer because she refused to eat it the last time I tried!)

    1. Daiya is very... pungent. A little goes a long-way, as far as scent and flavor. Pizzas look a little bare, but I've had pizzas covered with Daiya shreds from Naked Pizza and it makes me a little nauseous. Apparently Chicago Vegan Foods' "Tease" mozzarella is really good on pizza. I've had their nacho cheese on nachos and liked it, although Hubby and Seesee thought it was a little chalky. But I messed up heating it and cooked it too long. I also hear their cheddar is great for macaroni and cheese. They're a liquid form, in a package like ground meat or polenta. So they melt nicely!

  2. What type of gluten free bread did you use? It looks yummy!

    1. It's a local Seattle bakery - Essential Bakery - that delivers to the farm stand where I pick up our weekly CSA share. It's yummy, roughly the same price as the stuff at the grocery store, and I rarely have to go to the store for anything anymore!

  3. We use the Daiya Shredded Cheese. It's easier to control the amounts that way. My lil guy isn't a cheese lover, but he will eat it - and that's good enough for me.
    I was going to ask about the bread as well. We use Udi's, which he likes, but there has to be something tastier (and larger), right?


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