COOKING: Italian Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)

12 slices white bread (use a firm white bread for best results)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 (8 ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese

1 (24 ounce) jar vodka marinara sauce

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat your oven's broiler. Put a cooling rack onto a cookie sheet (Using the cooling rack eliminates being left with soggy-bottom bread!! Total-surface ventilation.)

Place 6 slices of bread onto the cooling rack. Spread a small handful of the mozzarella cheese over each slice. Top with the remaining 6 slices of bread. Mix together the butter and garlic powder, brush some over the tops of the sandwiches, or spread with the back of a tablespoon. Sprinkle with dried oregano.

Place baking sheet under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown. Remove pan from oven, flip sandwiches, and brush the other sides with butter, and sprinkle with oregano. Return to the broiler, and cook until golden, about 2 minutes.

Cut sandwiches in half diagonally, and serve immediately.

Notes:

Another option is to make them out of provolone and cheddar and use your George Foreman. Make your own garlic butter using 1/4 cup of butter, 1 tsp granulated garlic, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tbls parmesan cheese, dash of salt and pepper and 1 tsp oregano. Mix it all together and spread it over the sandwiches before grilling them.

If you really don’t want to try using the oven cooking route, here’s another, easier way, to make them stovetop! Melt your butter in a large skillet, and sprinkle in garlic powder, onion powder and oregano. Add 3 slices of bread, sprinkle cheese on each slice and add top slices of bread. After the bottom seared, I flip. Also, I use a mixture of whatever shredded cheeses I have on hand: Italian, swiss, mozzarella and/or parmesan. If you need more sandwiches than your skillet will hold, wipe out skillet and add another round of butter and seasonings; otherwise, second round will taste burnt. Next time I will try with olive oil instead of butter to reduce the 'bad' fat content.

If using a thick slice of cheese, or a pair of American singles, you might want to melt the cheese with the sandwich open-faced before closing it, buttering and baking/broiling as indicated. I find that the cheese sometimes doesn't get melted completely otherwise. To me, there is no comparison; the oven gives a nice, crispy texture that I have been unable to duplicate any other way.

Using the cooling rack eliminates being left with soggy-bottom bread!! Total-surface ventilation.

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