Here we go! Food talk...I wanted to talk about something we’re all familiar with; casual and quick comfort lunches. Two of the biggies are grilled cheese sandwiches and Ramen Noodles. Now, I’m a big fan of both. Nothing like a good grilled cheese sandwich, or some Ramen when I’m sick. But what can we do to give these favorites a new life? What are others doing to remake these classics?
First up, Ramen. These delicious, quick and easy noodles have taken a seat at the favorites table, and they don’t seem to be in a hurry to leave either. People say college kids live off of them, and they supplement kids’ diets everywhere in the country. With good reason too; they are very cheap and oddly satisfying for a bowl of empty carbs. So what do you do to add some nutritional value?
When I was younger, I remember my mom used to put peas, corn, and diced ham in to make it a more filling meal. You can do that, or you can return the Ramen to its original glory! It requires more time and effort, but it’s worth it. There are so many varieties of flavors and toppings you can add to “beef” up your brothy noodles. You can put mirin (An Asian sweet wine sauce), fish sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and other things. For protein, you can try boiled egg, shrimp, fish, chicken, beef, and even pork belly (Mmmm). Even leftover meats can work! You can also add toppings such as: dried seaweed, green onions, kale, mushrooms, or bean sprouts.
Use your imagination or take some inspiration from the popup Ramen houses that are so popular in big cities; create your perfect comfort bowl! :)
Second, grilled cheese. Who can say no to gooey melted cheese on buttery, toasted bread? Unless you’re lactose intolerant or gluten-free (My condolences).
Let’s talk about breads and cheeses for a second; as there are SO many different breads and cheeses it’s almost ridiculous to discuss the options.
My thoughts on grilled cheese:
In my opinion, the classic grilled cheese is cheddar on sourdough (the best bread in the world) toasted in golden butter. Of course, the best sourdough comes from San Francisco but when you can’t find decent sourdough you can substitute with a crisp French baguette, thinly sliced. For a different taste and texture, you can try a nutty wheat bread. Another favorite cheese of mine is Muenster.
Now, many people have only ever had the square, white bread with American cheese slices browned in margarine and they swear by this version. Let me just say that cheese is NOT cheese and that square bread is quite sad... so please branch out from that archaic sandwich. For protein and flavor, you can add a bit of ham or other thinly sliced meats or bacon. Avocado and sun-dried tomatoes can really flavor up this classic too!
With that being said, my favorite sandwich on earth is a hybrid grilled cheese called “panini”. It is made with sliced sourdough, basil pesto, Havarti cheese, and seasoned chicken breast, all bronzed in butter. It is sooo delicious! The point is that you can add anything, because the grilled cheese can be an empty canvas. It will be delicious and is low effort, and high impact! That’s a favorite saying of my mom, who likes low effort foods with impressionable looks and taste. There’s nothing wrong with an easy meal that earns you points!
I hope I have inspired you to explore beyond the ordinary plastic package of noodles and grilled cheese! Until next time, I must find me some bread, cheese, and butter...