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Being a food blogger, you’d think that there’s always something to eat in my kitchen, but I can’t tell you the number of times when my writing and photo editing absorbs my concentration to the point where I look up and realize it’s 7:00 and I’ve done nothing for dinner. Enter the Knife and Fork Grilled Cheese!
This simple, flavorful sandwich is one that my family gobbles up — I don’t think they realize that I’m making it because I forgot to defrost the chicken… This meal comes together in about 15 minutes and I have to be honest, as good as it is for dinner — it would probably be even better the morning after a particularly “raucous” night — not that I’d know about that… Plus, you’ve probably already got the ingredients in your pantry and fridge. There’s only 6 of them…
Let’s start with the bread – a key component for this sandwich. You want something that will stand up to the griddle and not fall apart – for me, that’s Pepperidge Farm®. You could use any of their Farmhouse varieties, but for me, Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse™ Hearty White works best here. It’s slow baked, hearty and delicious, crafted from small batches with wholesome flavorful ingredients. Authentic and fresh, it’s the perfect canvas for this panini.
The ham should be very thinly sliced, moist and flavorful. I think Hillshire Farm® Honey Ham works best here – I got mine Ultra Thin. It contains no artificial flavors or byproducts and is slow roasted for hours — making it the most flavorful packaged lunchmeat and my pick for this sammie along with a few slices of Colby Jack cheese. Colby Jack is a great melting cheese and ideal for this dish.
Making the aioli couldn’t be any easier. Start with Hellmann’s® Real Mayonnaise and blend it with one or two whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for a spicy, southwestern kick.
Spread some aioli on the top slice of bread and rest it on the sandwich (chipotle side down — duh!!!)
You know how when you try to spread cold butter on a slice of bread, it tears up the crumb? Well, here’s a not-so-secret-secret… use a little Hellmann’s® Real Mayonnaise instead. When you grill the sandwich, you’ll get a beautifully golden, crisp crust without damaging the bread .
The sandwich grills up in no time on a panini press, but you’ll get equally fab results using a nonstick griddle or cast iron pan.
An oozy fried egg and a little more of that chipotle aioli drizzled on top and you’ve got yourself one heck of a breakfast sandwich. It almost makes you want to “forget” dinner on purpose, doesn’t it?
Check out this link for more inspiration!
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Knife & Fork Grilled Cheese
- 2 slices Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse™ Hearty White Bread
- 7-8 slices Hillshire Farm® Thin or Ultra Thin Sliced Honey Ham
- 1 egg
- 2 slices colby jack cheese
- 2 teaspoons Hellmann's® Real Mayonnaise
For Chipotle Aioli
- 1 cup + 2 teaspoons Hellmann's® Real Mayonnaise
- 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce start with 1 pepper and 1 teaspoon adobo -- add more if desired, after tasting this level of spice
- In the bowl of a mini prep food processor, combine the mayonnaise with chipotle and adobo sauce. Pulse until smooth and taste. If you like more heat, add another pepper and pulse again. Set aside. (This obviously makes more aioli than you'll need for one sandwich -but it keeps in the fridge for up to a week and is great on fish or chicken as a spicy sauce.)
- Heat a nonstick grill pan or panini press over medium high heat. Layer the ham and cheese on one slice of the bread. Spread the other slice with a spoonful of chipotle mayonnaise and top the sandwich with it. Squeeze about 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise onto the top of the sandwich and spread it with a knife. Place the sandwich mayonnaise side down on the grill. Spread the top of the sandwich with another teaspoon of mayonnaise and close the panini press. If using a skillet, cook until the bread on the bottom is toasted and golden, then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes until toasted. Transfer sandwich to a plate.
- Spray a pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium high heat. When the pan is sufficiently hot, crack an egg and fry it for 1-2 minutes or until most of the white is set. Flip the egg and cook for an additional 30 seconds to set the top. Rest the egg on the top of the sandwich and drizzle 2-3 teaspoons of chipotle aioli on top. Enjoy!