PATRIOTIC GRILLED CHEESE GOODNESS

Do not lick your screen. That is gross bro.

Do not lick your screen. That is gross bro.

Happy National Grilled Cheese Day!  Although I agree with most that all the National Day of this and International Day of that can get pretty ridiculous at times, this is one I am 100% on board with.  Grilled cheese is amazing.  Period.

 

 

The cool thing about grilled cheese is it’s been around, in some form, since ancient times, across multiple cultures (So it is a time tested food that should never be challenged).  The grilled cheese that we traditionally think of came onto the scene in the 1920’s when cheap sliced bread and American cheese came onto the scene.  

Now, I definitely want to honor those that came before us and brought us this magnificent food, but today’s recipe goes far beyond cheap bread and American cheese.  

The sandwich I describe today left both myself and my husband speechless and we slowly savored it.  I would take a bite and immediately thoughts of how good life and my family and this world is would flood my mind.  It literally gave me a better outlook on life.  

All the things.

All the things.

This recipe is adapted from one from The Beeroness (this lady is truly the coolest).  You should definitely check out her site for more beer-inspired meals.  She is a foodie genius.  I adapted this recipe purely because budgetary reasons, not because I thought I could improve it at all.  Really, the money in this recipe is the caramelized onions, which I did not change at all.  You could put them on many things and transform your dining experience from everyday to noteworthy.  Burgers, roast beef sandwiches, eggs, cereal, pretty much anything.  

Slow Cooker Beer Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

For the Onions

  • 2 sweet white onions (Walla Walla, Maui, Vidalia)

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar

  • ½ cup Lagunitas Imperial Stout

  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Sandwiches

  • 8 slices of good sourdough bread

  • 8 oz sharp cheddar, sliced

  • 4 oz cream cheese

  • Butter for cooking

Instructions

  1. Thinly slice the onions.

  2. Add the onions, butter, brown sugar, beer and salt to a slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or until soft and dark. Stir occasionally, if possible.

  3. Use the onions immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

  4. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Add a few slices of cheese to the non-buttered side, top with a tablespoon or two of the caramelized onions, a few teaspoons of cream cheese, then more slices of cheddar. Top with another slice of bread, buttered side out.

  5. Cook in a pan over medium high heat until cheese has melted and butter is golden brown. Slice and serve immediately.

Notes: You can use any darker, malty beer. In addition to Stout, the Beeroness recommended a brown ale, porter or Belgian ale.

God bless America and cheese.

God bless America and cheese.

I hope you THOROUGHLY enjoy this grilled cheese and the rest of your holiday.  

Ashley

Ashley Santoro

Ashley Santoro

Ashley Santoro

I’m a wife, mother of four and work full-time outside of the home. This means meal times usually needs to be quick and simple, but not at the expense of flavor! I like going to farmers markets, hunting for lesser known ingredients, making things from scratch and making any recipe that includes a lot of chopping. I think our gut affects so much of what goes on in the rest of the body, and we should treat it nicely.

CRUNCH IN THE NIGHT

Captain Crunch in my our Mouth!

Captain Crunch in my our Mouth!

 

I have arrived.  My first beer and food pairing for the Let’s Go! Podcast show!  My first assignment: Lagunitas Brewing Company’s Night Time.  This was an incredibly fun beer to read about.  “Kinda like Daytime's big, dark and scary sidekick, this ale is packed full of highly roasted malts then bitterly balanced with fistfuls of the dankest hops.

Not for the lunch crowd or the faint of heart.”

No faint of heart here.  

Better than the beer’s description is the foods it lists to pair with this beer on the Lagunitas site:

“...Sour cream and onion chips with some dip, man. Some beef jerky, some peanut butter.  Get some Haagen-Daaz ice cream bars.  A whole lotta chocolate. Gotta have chocolate, man.  Some popcorn...GRAHAM CRACKERS!!! Graham crackers with the marshmallows. Little marshmallows with little chocolate bars and we'll make some s'mores, man. Celery, grape jelly, Captain Crunch…”

If you’re familiar with the Paradox of Choice, you’ll understand how I may have been a little overwhelmed with choices when I was trying to decide what to make.  But for some unknown reason, Cap’n Crunch kept catching my attention.  Maybe it’s because it’s my beer drinking daddy’s favorite cereal.  Maybe I was just hungry for some of the sweet sugary goodness of my youth.  Either way, what we have today is a beautiful marriage between the Cap’n (not Captain) and peanut butter.  These cookies have all the deliciousness of a traditional peanut butter cookie, and the fun crunch of the cereal (BONUS: all the dagger-like corners of the cereal are avoided in this delectable dessert).  

Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Cookie Stackers

7 Tablespoons softened butter

1/2 Cup granulated sugar

1/2 Cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 Cup creamy peanut butter

1 egg

1 Tablespoon pure vanilla

1 Cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup Cap’n Crunch Cereal, crushed with rolling pin

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a stand or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until well combined.  Beat in peanut butter until combined then beat in the egg and vanilla.

2.  In a large bowl mix the flour baking soda and salt.  Slowly add to wet ingredients on slow speed.  Add in Cap’n Crunch Cereal until just combined.  With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.  With the tines of a fork, press gently forming a criss cross shape over tops.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until baked to your liking.

Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies (Side note, when I made these, it was LITERALLY the first time I’ve ever made a recipe of cookies and made EXACTLY the number specified.  You know, if you’re into that sort of info.)

I hope you enjoy these tasty treats!

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Ashley

P.S. If you aren’t already convinced of Cap’n Crunch’s greatness (and even if you are), you HAVE to check out this project they put together with Funny or Die to try out a whole new type of advertising for their product.  An incredible article outlining the whole process with links to the videos can be found HERE.  They’re fantastic.  

Ashley Santoro

I’m a wife, mother of four and work full-time outside of the home. This means meal times usually needs to be quick and simple, but not at the expense of flavor! I like going to farmers markets, hunting for lesser known ingredients, making things from scratch and making any recipe that includes a lot of chopping. I think our gut affects so much of what goes on in the rest of the body, and we should treat it nicely.

STAY GREEN

Photo credit, here.

Photo credit, here.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day week!  Certainly one of the more fun and festive holidays we celebrate during the year, St. Patrick’s Day is one of green anything, beer and, of course, Irish food.

So, full disclosure, I am not a fan of corned beef and cabbage.  I’m a good sport about it.  I try it every year, hoping something will change and I can be apart of this staple of the holiday, but thus far, nothing has changed.  Then what’s a girl to do?  I don’t know, maybe scour Pinterest for other delicious Irish food (there’s more than just the corned beef it turns out!)  

In the spirit of the holiday, I have not only found a wonderful Irish stew, but one made with none other than the poster child for Irish beer: Guinness.  

 

Before we get to the recipe though, here are some fun facts about Guinness:

  • Company started in 1759 (it’s older than the United States!)

  • For many years, aged brew was blended with fresh beer to give it a sharp “tang” (although the company refuses to confirm if this still occurs)

  • Guinness’ thick, creamy head comes from carbon dioxide and nitrogen being mixed in when poured.  

 

And now, for the good stuff...

EDITORS NOTE: May we suggest some music to get you in the mood?
 

 

 

SLOW COOKER GUINNESS BEEF STEW

 

From Becky Hardin at the Cookie Rookie

Yields 6-8

15 min Prep Time

8 hr Cook Time

8 hr, 15 min Total Time

Ingredients

  • 10 small red potatoes, quartered

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can sliced carrots

  • 2 full stalks celery, chopped

  • 3 lbs stew meat, cubed

  • 1/2 cup flour

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion

  • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce

  • 10 ounces beef broth

  • 1 (13 g) envelope Onion Soup Mix

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

  • 12 ounces (1 bottle) Guinness Stout

Instructions

  1. Put potato, carrot, and celery chunks in the bottom of crock pot on low heat. Pour in beer, beef broth, garlic powder, salt and pepper, soup mix, and basil. Stir to combine.

  2. Season beef lightly with salt and pepper and then coat in the flour.

  3. Heat oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Cook the beef until almost browned, and then add in the onion. Continue turning and browning until the meat is fully browned and the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

  4. Add meat and onions to the slow cooker.

  5. Stir in the tomato sauce and cover, heating on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Low is best, but if you don't have the time, high will work!

  6. Serve with lots of bread and more Guinness! Enjoy!

 

Something else I learned while preparing for this article is how incredibly amazing the Guinness website is.  Not only does it have a list of their beers and where to buy them, but it has it’s own unbelieveable page of Beer Pairings.  So if you have some leftover Guinness after making this stew and don’t know what to eat with it, check out their Indonesian Satay Chicken Skewers.  They look fantastic!

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

Ashley

 

 

Ashley Santoro

I’m a wife, mother of four and work full-time outside of the home. This means meal times usually needs to be quick and simple, but not at the expense of flavor! I like going to farmers markets, hunting for lesser known ingredients, making things from scratch and making any recipe that includes a lot of chopping. I think our gut affects so much of what goes on in the rest of the body, and we should treat it nicely.