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Some evenings it’s just too hot to turn on the oven or stove for dinner. Or even stand outside in front of a fiery, smoky grill. Sure, I could make my husband stand outside and grill, but I want him to continue to like me. Instead of ordering takeout yet again, I cook dinner using my waffle maker. Yes, you read that right. Make a tall pitcher of iced tea and settle down with a gourmet waffle maker grilled cheese sandwich for dinner. For me, a frosty glass of iced tea is a sure sign of summer.
My parents loved ice tea and passed down that love to me. When I was old enough, it became my job to keep our fridge well stocked with iced tea. I would heat a huge pot of water on the stove and throw in bags of Lipton tea to brew. Once it cooled, I transferred the tea into an old gallon milk jug and stuck it in the fridge to cool. Ice tea involved time and patience but I loved downing a cold glass during hot Louisiana summers.
Thankfully, tea making is more advanced now. At my Walmart, I found Lipton Tea & Honey mix that I can just pour into a pitcher or glass of cold water. Add some ice cubes and voila, instant gratification! There’s lots of different flavors, even a Decaf Half Berry Lemonade & Half Iced Tea mix for the kids. It’s a little too sweet for me, so I just add some extra water to the mix. The kids don’t even notice the difference!
As a college student I owned an electric sandwich maker but didn’t own my first waffle maker until after I got married. Domestic life loves kitchen gadgets! Usually I only make waffles in my waffle maker. Until I realize it’s like a fancy sandwich maker! Light bulbs went off! Instead of waffles, I made gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches: apple cheddar grilled cheese and jalapeno pepper jack grilled cheese, both on sourdough bread.
Preheat your waffle maker according to its instructions. Spray both sides lightly with cooking spay. Just like making a grilled cheese the traditional way, the key is to not overstuff your sandwich. You don’t want the cheese to ooze out during the cooking process. Make sure the apples are thinly sliced (about 1/4″ thick). For this sandwich I used granny smith apples and sharp cheddar.
Place another slice of cheese over those apples, then another slice of bread, and close the lid. Don’t close it all the way. If you flatten the sandwich all the way, your cheese will completely ooze out the sides. I learned that the hard way. Just press down enough to make sure the sandwich stays together.
The sandwich will cook quickly, in less time than a waffle making cycle. Just open it slightly and take a peek. Once the sandwich is toasted and the cheese melted, it’s ready! My waffle maker even scored lines into my sandwich to make it easy to cut. It’s the perfect summer lunch or dinner when accompanied by a glass of Decaf Half Berry Lemonade & Half Iced Tea. I threw in a few frozen strawberries into my tea to amp up the berry flavor. Plus they’ll keep the iced tea cold without watering down the flavor.
The combinations are endless for gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches! I also made a jalapeno popper inspired one with fresh jalapenos and pepper jack cheese. Make a riff off a Monte Cristo with turkey, swiss, and raspberry jam. Or how about one with gruyere and fresh figs?
The next time it’s too hot to cook, grab your waffle maker instead!
What’s your favorite kind of grilled cheese sandwich?
Brilliant!! I've been decluttering and I was debating whether to get rid of the bulky panini maker. Love using it, but don't do it often because it's cumbersome. Now that I have this idea, I can get rid of it with no regrets … thanks!