Fig and Blue Grilled Cheese

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Finding the energy to cook dinner at the end of a long (sometimes very long) day of entertaining a baby can be close to impossible. As easy it is to throw a frozen meal into the oven, I try really hard to make the vast majority of our meals as fresh as I can. Sometimes I turn to products to make my life a bit easier – some I’ll use in this recipe.

First, a bone to pick with the food world: A lot of recipes seem to boast they are “30 minutes” (side eye Rachael Ray), so why does it always take me an hour to make them? I’m fairly certain they never account for prep time or the pile of dishes you end up with afterwards. That being said, I’m always looking for truly fast and limited mess meals I can make on our roughest days and grilled cheese always hits the spot.

Grilled cheese is so easy to amp up with ingredients you love and often have on hand. Today’s grilled cheese uses store-bought fig jam (or fig “butter”), smokey bacon and two kinds of cheese: cheddar and blue. I throw everything into my panini press and dinner is literally done in minutes. While the grilled cheeses are getting hot and gooey, I heat up a carton of Trader Joe’s creamy tomato soup and viola! Dinner is served in a flash.

Fig and Blue Grilled Cheese
yields: 2 servings (4 if you don’t want a HUGE grilled cheese sandwich)

4 large slices of sourdough, like the 10-inch ones in the middle of a fresh loaf of sourdough
8 oz cheddar, grated
1-2 oz blue cheese, crumbled, depending on your preference (I like a little, James likes a lot)
6 strips of bacon, cooked until crispy (optional, but recommended)*
1-2 Tablespoons fig jam/fig butter, depending on how sweet and fig-gy you want your sandwich. I find it pretty sweet so I like to use a small amount.

Heat panini press or a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place 2 slices of bread down in the press and slather on a 1/2-1 Tablespoon of fig butter on each slice. Layer 4 oz of grated cheddar on each slice of bread and sprinkle with blue cheese, dividing equally (or not!). Add bacon, if desired, and top each slice with the second piece of bread. Press in panini press or weigh sandwiches down with a heavy bottom skillet on top of them, flipping at least once. Serve immediately.

*If you eat bacon at breakfast, especially during the weekend, make a few extra slices and store in the fridge to top salads, or mix into grilled cheese during the week. It’s an easy way to add a little meat into the meal and doesn’t take any extra effort. To recrisp the bacon, place it on a paper towel plate and microwave for 20 seconds.

Use it up!
fig butter – make a quick flatbread with fig butter, melty brie, walnuts and arugula
sourdough – freeze the rest of the loaf ASAP to keep it fresh! Toast up a slice, cover with half of a mashed up avocado and top with a poached egg for a slightly fancy, but super easy brunch option

Use What I Use

Hamilton Beach 25450 Gourmet Panini Press

Hamilton Beach 25450 Gourmet Panini Press
This panini press gets dinner on the table fast and is easy to clean. It’s a great little appliance for sandwich lovers!

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