Grilled Cheddar Cheese, Mortadella and Apple Butter Sandwich

Grilled Cheddar Cheese Apple Butter and Mortadella Sandwich

This Grilled Cheddar Cheese, Apple Butter and Mortadella Sandwich beats the HECK out of a fried baloney sandwich.

In the South, “we” like our fried baloney sandwiches.
And I use that “we”, loosely.

OK, at least my HUSBAND likes HIS fried baloney sandwiches. 

I can take or leave them, and if given the choice, I’ll leave them.

White Wonder Bread (and it’s a wonder why they call it bread), a thick old slab of fried baloney and a processed slice of Velveeta, with Miracle (White Trash) Whip? No thank ye.

 And yes, I DO know that baloney is actually spelled b-o-l-o-g-n-a. I’ve seen the commercial.

But this is the SOUTH we’re talking about here, and in the SOUTH, you don’t order up a “bologna” sandwich. It’s fried baloney, ’round these parts.

My husband bought me my first (and last) fried baloney sandwich at a gas station once in Lower Alabama. Because all the great cuisine is coming out of gas stations in L.A., don’tchaknow.

Anyway, I hear they’re still a tradition, but really, not for me, nor at my house.

But April is Grilled Cheese Month, and I’ve been wanting to make something special, and somebody already wrote up my idea for a Grilled Chipotle Cheddar Cheese with Avocado and Pickled Onions and Cilantro on a Tortilla. That one was a doozy, I’m here to tell you!!! Mmmm mmm!

So, it occurred to me, why not bump up the deliciousness factor on that old Southern favorite, a fried baloney sandwich? Why not, indeed???

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Step One: some GOOD bread. I favor a rustic artisan loaf I find locally, chewy, with big holes, called Tuscan Bread.  

Step Two: bump up the yum factor of the bologna. Mortadella is a pork cold cut that is a lot like bologna, but it’s imported from (perhaps not surprisingly) Bologna, Italy. I buy Boar’s Head, and it contains  both peppercorns and pistachios. Really, really yummy stuff. 

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Step Three: Cabot Seriously Sharp White Cheddar Cheese, if you please. So, so good! (You can also throw on a slice or two of Chipotle Cheddar, if you’d like to add a little heat to the mix, like I did.)

Step Four: what goes great with cheddar cheese? How about apples? On the right track, but that’s not quite what I want on my sandwich. So, to balance out all the savory, crispy, creamy goodness, how about a sweet spread, made with apples. Apple butter! Perfect!

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Step Five: Spread the outside of the bread with butter, and slap it on the griddle, baby. That gives you crispy crunch you’re craving.

They say April is the cruelest month, but how can any month that celebrates and elevates the grilled cheese sandwich be cruel???

Voilà the Fried Baloney Sandwich, gone gourmet: The Grilled White Cheddar Cheese, Mortadella and Apple Butter Sandwich! Bon appétit!

Don’t forget to pin this on Pinterest or share it on Facebook, so you and your friends can enjoy the fun of Grilled Cheese Month together.
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The Cure, Chapter Six: Two Friends

Sometimes the evening light here in the booni

Sometimes the evening light here in the Boonies is just glorious.

The title of the sixth chapter of The Cure is “Two Friends”, and the subject, not surprisingly,  is two different types of friends. 

One type of friend will love you, come what may. They will be loyal to you, stand by you in your difficulties, and protect you, even in the midst of your mess. Because, let’s face it, all God’s chilluns got issues – which is is basically a paraphrase of Romans 3:23, which says: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

To this type of friend, you grant permission to tell the hard truth, because you are absolutely convinced that this friend has your back.

You’ll find this type of friend in the Room of Grace. (If you’re confused by the reference to “the Room of Grace”, you may have missed my previous posts on this book. This is the sixth in a series of 7 planned posts on the book, The Cure, by John Lynch, Bruce McNicol and Bill Thrall. I have wanted to share not only how great I thought this book was – life-changingly great – but also, to share the thoughts that the book triggered for me at this point in my life. I’ll put links to the other 5 posts I’ve written so far, at the bottom of this post.)

In the Room of Good Intentions, where appearance is everything, you’ll be more likely to run into a different type of friend. With this type of friend, it is more important that you appear to have yourself together. Because if it becomes apparent to this friend that, in fact, you don’t quite have it together, this friend may step in to “fix” you. And if you don’t get fixed pretty quickly, this friend may just talk about you behind your back. Or, worse, tell all your friends about your issues, phrasing it as a “prayer request”. And finally, if you continue to be a disappointment or an embarrassment, this type of friend will walk away from you.

This chapter poses the paradigm-shifting question “What if it was less important that anything ever gets fixed than that nothing has to be hidden?”

In The Room of Grace, people understand that because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross on their behalf, that they are ALREADY pleasing to God – that they ALREADY  possess the righteousness of Christ, that they truly ARE a new creation, and that God is standing right there beside them, helping them to work on their sin issues. Obviously, God is fully aware of those same failings that our friends see. He’s not oblivious to them or apathetic about them. But He has adopted us as children. So, He’s not going to leave us: our sin will not keep His Father-heart from reaching out to us in love, and holding us close. His love and power are there to assist us, as we wrestle with our issues. He has our back – always.

So, if we’re now living in the Room of Grace,  how we treat other people, our friends, in particular, is based on the same principle. We love them. We are in it for the long haul. Even when we see the worst that is in them.We want our friends to know, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you”.

And, in part, we want them to know that because that’s the way we ourselves want to be treated, once our warts become apparent. Even when they see the worst that is in us.

Not everyone can be trusted in this way. I’ve been burnt before. So, given that, the question for me becomes, “With whom am I willing to allow myself to be this vulnerable?” Not everyone is worthy of that kind of trust.

The book asks, “What if there was a friend so safe that the worst aspects of me could be known, and I would not be loved less, but actually loved more by opening up?”

Are there such people out there? I really believe that there are. In fact, I believe I know quite a few of them.

When I find I AM safe enough to reveal the worst about myself with someone, there is real, life-giving power in that kind of relationship. My basic human needs for love, security, and attention get met. When I meet someone who is willing to stand with me in my struggles, who will persevere in relationship with me, even as God works in me to resolve my sin issues, this is love.

When people are bound up in external appearances, they keep on trying to manage their “junk” through sheer willpower, and bootstrap effort. “I just have to try harder, and I can lick this issue, and then, people will know that Christianity is working, and God will be pleased with me” is the thought pattern of the Room of Good Intentions. Sadly, they are missing important, Biblical truths: that God has *already* re-made you, and found you acceptable. He is pleased by your faith – the fact that you trust Him and what He’s done for you.

Placing your focus on your sin and failings is misplaced, wasted energy, not only because it ignores what God has already accomplished for you, but also because it cripples you in regard to the work he actually means for you to do. God lives inside of you, and has commanded you to do one thing: and that is to love. And because His strength and love live inside of you, you have all the resources you need. You have a well that continually springs up from within you, enabling you to fulfill that command.

Perhaps the worst part of that wrong focus, I think, is the loss of the freedom and joy that Christ purchased for you at highest cost – the freedom that comes from knowing that we are “accepted in the Beloved”. He meant for you to have it, to enjoy it, to revel in it. He came for you to have life to the full. Not life spent in endless shame and self-flagellation due to your own shortcomings.

Struggling to sin less won’t please God any more. He already loves you as much as He’s ever going to love you. The Bible says that without faith, it’s impossible to please Him. So, it’s trusting God that is the very thing that pleases Him most.  And then, following His example, we persevere in love. We persevere in loving Him, and we persevere in loving others in that same way.  We love, because He first loved us.

That’s where our focus should be.

So, as friends, our job is not to focus on fixing the other guy. Our job is to live authentically with each other, in honest relationships that persevere, intent on giving and receiving love. This is what the Church SHOULD be.

If you are interested in reading my other posts on this wonderful book, here they are: 
Chapter One: Two Roads
Chapter Two: Two Faces
Chapter Three: Two Gods
Chapter Four: Two Solutions
Chapter Five: Two Healings

I have in NO way been compensated to talk about this book. It’s just brought me a tremendous amount of healing, and I wanted to share what I’ve gained with any other soul who might be searching for a little hope. And if you’re tired of this series of posts, well, kudos to you for reading this far! And only one more chapter to go !!!

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Slow Cooker Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

Soup that will warm your body and soul.

Slow Cooker Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons: soup that will warm your body and soul.

Spring’s failure to arrive this year has left me wondering if winter has stabbed it through its tender heart with an icicle. All these cold evenings leave me longing for a steaming bowl of creamy homemade soup that warms my body and soul. Tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich was what Mom used to warm up my tummy after a long morning of playing in the snow. But back then,  tomato soup meant a thin bowl of canned Campbell’s. And the grilled cheese was nearly always those plasticized American singles, on white sandwich bread.  

I think we can do a little better than that.

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Wholesome and delicious, this soup is the perfect comfort food.

One of the things I adore about this delicious recipe is that it uses an appliance I don’t utilize often enough: my slow cooker! I found the original recipe in my Cook’s Illustrated Slow Cooker Revolution cookbook. So as I was thinking about ways to improve the recipe, I had a flash of inspiration.

Why not turn a grilled cheese sandwich into croutons?

I wanted to make the world’s BEST croutons for tomato soup:  crunchy on the outside…creamy on the inside! To make my grilled cheese the best it could be, I used a good quality, crusty French bread that I like, and sliced it thin. And I used my favorite cheddar,  Seriously Sharp Cheddar from Cabot Cheese. It is tangy, nutty, and complex in flavor, and its taste added so much to the flavor of this dish.

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Grilled Cheese Sandwiches made with Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese, being cut into croutons.

Recipe Notes:

This soup gets its depth of flavor from the step where you caramelize the tomatoes: that is, you cook them until they are nearly dry and beginning to brown. When food browns, it brings out the natural sugars in it. And as Chef Anne Burrell says, “Brown food tastes good!”. 

You can use regular diced tomatoes, but I find the fire-roasted tomatoes add a nice depth of flavor, so that’s what I use. I also use my own homemade chicken broth. I make up a large batch and store it in approximately 2 or 3 cup portions in my freezer. You can certainly use store bought chicken broth, but your soup will only be better if you’ve made your own. You can use any type of cheese that you like for a grilled cheese, but I used Cabot Seriously Sharp, and it is seriously good. 

Because I am a PROUD member of the Cabot Cheese Board, they sent me a box of 4 types of their cheeses to try, a few months ago. But I made this recipe with Cabot Cheese that I purchased on my own, since then, because I love their cheese. So I actually received no product, nor financial compensation whatsoever for this post. I just like Cabot’s cheddar. So stick THAT in your sandwich and melt it. :D

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Slow Cooker Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons
Serves 6
A creamy tomato soup made in your slow cooker, and garnished with grilled cheese croutons
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
6 hr
Total Time
6 hr 30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
6 hr
Total Time
6 hr 30 min
For the Soup
  1. 2 T. butter
  2. 3 (14.5 oz.) cans of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained (Reserve the juices for use in the soup.)
  3. 1 onion, minced
  4. 1 T. brown sugar
  5. 1 T. tomato paste
  6. salt and pepper
  7. 2 T. all-purpose flour
  8. 3 c. chicken broth
  9. 2 bay leaves
  10. 1/2 c. heavy cream
  11. 1 T. dry sherry
  12. pinch of cayenne pepper
For the croutons
  1. crusty loaf of French or Tuscan bread, thinly sliced
  2. butter
  3. Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes, onion, sugar, tomato paste and 1/2 t. salt and a few grinds of pepper, and cook until tomatoes are dry and lightly browned. Your goal here is to caramelize the tomatoes, a bit, and this will take about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour, and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of the broth, scraping up any browned bits in the pan. Transfer everything to your slow cooker.
  2. Stir remaining 2 c. chicken broth, the tomato juice you drained from the tomatoes, and bay leaves into slow cooker. Cover and cook until tomatoes begin to break down, 4 to 6 hours on low, depending on how high your slow cooker tends to cook. (I left my soup on Low for 6 hours, and that was fine: but my slow cooker doesn't tend to burn things, so your mileage may vary.)
  3. Discard bay leaves. Working in batches, purée soup in blender until smooth. I used my Vitamix. (Do not put too much hot liquid into a blender! I only fill my Vitamix about 1/3 full when I'm puréeing hot liquids, just to be safe.) Pour each batch of puréed soup into a large saucepan, and Stir in cream, sherry, and cayenne. You may add additional chicken broth at this time, if you prefer a thinner soup, (I didn't.) Re-heat soup over medium low heat, until hot, and taste for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper, if desired. (Mine needed a bit more salt.)
  4. Butter the slices of bread on what will be the outside of the sandwich, and apply as much cheese as you like. Grill sandwiches until you have a lovely brown color, and slice into approximately 1" cubes. I served my grilled cheese croutons on the side of the bowl, so that I could add one at a time, because I didn't want them to get soggy by adding them all at once. Each to her own, however.
Notes
  1. You can use regular diced tomatoes, but I find the fire-roasted tomatoes add a nice depth of flavor, so that's what I use. I also use my own homemade chicken broth. I make up a large batch and store it in approximately 2 or 3 cup portions in my freezer. You can certainly use store bought chicken broth, but your soup will only be better if you've made your own. You can use any type of cheese that you like for a grilled cheese, but I used Cabot Seriously Sharp, and it is seriously good.
Adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution
Adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution
That Susan Williams http://www.thatsusanwilliams.com/
 

 

 

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