One of my favorite inexpensive “go to” dinners is Grilled Cheese and Soup, particularly in the winter. I know many people have this as a common lunch, but I first married, there wasn’t hardly a month that we didn’t plan at least one dinner of Grilled Cheese and Soup. It was a cheap comfort food, and one of the meals I could surely make well.
Anytime that we have a dinner like Grilled Cheese and Soup, it means that I am making them for several people at once. I do come from a big family, so I learned at a young age how to make a bunch of grilled cheese sandwiches with ease. The key is simple: be organized and have a system.
Here is how I make grilled cheese sandwiches for a crowd (I made 16 sandwiches tonight):
You will need:
- Sliced cheese (my favorite is swiss or pepperjack)
- Sliced bread (my favorite is Sourdough)
- Softened butter or margarine
- Other optional fillings: sliced sandwich meat, sliced tomatoes, sliced avocados, etc
How I do it:
- Determine how many sandwiches you need to make and get all the bread out that you will need. For my 16 sandwiches, I needed 32 slices of bread.
- Spread one side of each piece of bread with a bit of butter or margarine. For every two pieces that you butter, place the two pieces together with the butter sides facing each other. Sort of like you are making a butter sandwich: two piece of bread with only butter in the middle. This will allow you to butter all your bread and then stack them, so you aren’t taking up all your counter space with buttered bread. Continue with all your bread – I usually stack these “sandwiches” as I go.
- Next, get your cheese ready. If you have to slice it, do that. If you are using sliced cheese that might come in a clear wrapper, open up each wrapper most of the way and stack them on top of each other. If you are using sliced deli cheese or another packaged variety, open the package and lay out the cheese.
- If you will be using any other fillings, prepare those. You want everything out and ready: sliced meats, sliced tomatoes, sliced avocado, etc.
- Heat your griddle (I used a large family sized one) or frying pan on medium heat. If your pan is not a non-stick variety, you may want to lightly grease your pan or griddle or give it a quick spray with cooking spray. But if you butter your bread generously, you probably won’t need to.
- Once your cooking surface is hot, start laying down bread with the buttered side down. If I am cooking eight sandwiches at a time, I will take four of my “butter sandwiches” and will lay down eight pieces all at once before I do anything else.
- Next, top each slide of bread with the cheese or other fillings. I generally lay down 1-2 pieces of cheese, then top with sliced tomato and avocado, and then top that with another slice or two of cheese.
- Top the cheese and other fillings with another slice of buttered bread, but this slice will have the butter facing upwards (because soon it will be flipped downwards to grill and the butter is what makes it nice and toasty).
- When the bottom slices of bread are nicely browned, carefully start flipping over your sandwiches.
- If you have extra fillings in your sandwich, it is sometimes helpful to place something heavy on top of your sandwiches to sort of smoosh everything together better. It’s not a “have to”, but if I feel like things are starting to slip out a bit, I sometimes place a heavy pot or pan on top for a couple minutes. I’ve also seen some cooks use a clean brick that has been wrapped in foil.
- After the other side of the bread is lightly browned, they are done! Remove from the griddle or pan and serve.
That’s it! If I have to do another batch, I do it the same way as I described above. Tonight, I made 16 sandwiches so it was done in two batches of eight.