Actually Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Wednesday was National Grilled Cheese Day.  I don’t really remember that day from past years, but thought I would celebrate this year with actually preparing grilled cheese sandwiches–Not just made indoors on a grill, but made outdoors on a charcoal grill.

The feat was totally easy since I have a new grilled cheese basket by The Charcoal Companion.  This non-stick basket is perfect for any type of grilled sandwich on an open grill.  The rosewood handle is especially nice and the basket clip keeps the tool together for easy turning.  I was able to fit three smaller sandwiches with plenty of cheddar cheese for each sandwich into the basket. The sandwiches are held together nicely without any worries of losing a sandwich into the charcoal.

It took only minutes before the cheese was melty, gooey and so delicious!  The actual outdoor charcoal flavor adds that extra special taste that cannot be achieved indoors. The basket is the perfect size and really could be used to grill flat vegetables as well.

I plan to be using my grills so much more this year as I have come to appreciate all types of outdoor grilling and various foods that can be easily made on the grill today with the proper tools. Grilled cheese is also perfect for tailgating season.  There is just something about cooking food outdoors that makes it taste extra special!

Baskets can be found at Wal-Mart, World Market, many specialty cooking stores and even online at The Home Depot or

Picnic lunches for warmer weather

With warmer weather coming to Michigan, the anticipation of picnic weather is here.  Portable containers to transport summer picnic food need to be properly sized with temperature consideration.  The containers need to keep food cold during transport.  I also like to have foods kept separately during transport.  There is nothing worse than having fruit juices spill or stain onto other picnic foods.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This past week I was asked to review one of the latest products to be launched next month from Francois et Mimi.  The set is a three-piece stackable Bento Lunch box with an insulated lunch box bag.  The set is available in five different colors, and includes a portable fork, knife and spoon.  Made from food grade materials, the set is BPA free and FDA approved

I especially like the design of this bento box set.  The boxes are stackable, and have an elastic strap to hold them together.


 Some of my favorite picnic foods to easily transport include:

grilled shrimp, watercress and cucumber sandwiches with cream cheese, chicken salad with rosemary–served with crackers, cole slaw, fresh watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries or grapes, scones with jam, brownies, shortbread cookies, and various cheeses with thin sourdough bread slices.

Other great picnic packables are: tortilla roll-ups, stuffed cherry tomatoes with dill cream cheese, olives, pickles, cheese twists and nut bread.


For more information about the Bento boxes or to order on, please follow this link:



Homemade potato skins–Super Bowl

Making homemade potato skins always seemed liked an all day event.  However, I have developed over time a technique that makes the process much more timely for big game days.

The Super Bowl is over, but I wanted to share this recipe for future television events.  This is one of those appetizers that is enjoyed year-round.  What speeds up this recipe seems to be the fact that I can bake the potatoes earlier in the day and allow them to cool on the kitchen counter.  I even prepare the toppings in advance and have them ready to assemble just before game time.


I tried two different versions this time, a pizza topped potato skin and a cheddar bacon potato skin. I used Yukon Gold potatoes and shredded my own Monterey Jack cheese.

To make these skins:

Bake 4-6 Yukon Gold potatoes (each potato will yield 3 skins) early in the day until done.  Allow to cool, and then slice into 3 long sections.  In the outer two sections, remove some of the potato pulp before placing on a baking sheet.  With the center section, place flat on the baking sheet.  Assemble the potato toppings as desired.  I used shredded cheddar cheese and bacon crumbles for some.  And, for the others, I used shredded Monterey Jack cheese and turkey pepperoni.  Other toppings could be used as desired–shredded cooked chicken mixed with barbecue sauce, or a selection of cheeses.

Brush the skins with melted margarine and broil to crispy in the oven.  This will take only a few minutes. Then, place the toppings into or on the skins.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted.  Garnish with parsley flakes, dried chives or other herbal seasoning.

Serve with sour cream or salsa. This appetizer is often a favorite for sports TV watchers.


2015 breakfast or appetizer biscuits

Are you looking for a way to celebrate the New Year?  How about using Pillsbury crescent roll dough to shape into the numerals of the year?  I found this idea on their website.

It was so easy. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES I rolled the crescent dough into a 12 by 8 rectangle and cut into 8 squares.  I then divided each square into 4 sections and formed the numbers.  I placed them on a cookie sheet prepared with Pam original spray and baked at 350 degrees for 11 minutes.

Be sure to press the numbers together very well before baking, or they will separate when removing them from the baking sheet.  We still enjoyed the numbers, even if they separated, and used them with jam for breakfast.  Also, they were used for a football party with cheese.

Easy and cute for a different type of biscuit.  Next time, I will add sesame seeds or poppy seeds for flavor.  Another idea would be to form initials for your favorite sports team.  This would be a cute tailgating idea.