Happy National Grilled Cheese Month!
There is no lunch more perfect than grilled cheese. When a loaf of tomato basil bread arrived in my house, I knew exactly what it would be used for. Grilled cheese always reminds me of childhood Saturdays, with lots of ketchup and French fries and a giant milkshake. Then I got to thinking…French fries…French toast…why not make savory French toast out of grilled cheese?
And this happened:
Wow. Wow, wow, wow. Why had I never thought of this before?
Grilled cheese French toast. This marks the dawning of a new era.
Plus, I used four cheeses in this recipe. Four! Mozzarella, cheddar, cottage, and American. Talk about yum.
The making of this meal is exactly what it sounds like: a cheese sandwich dipped in French toast batter and fried. I actually made this for dinner for myself and my sister, and we each had a half sandwich with one half leftover, so this recipe serves three. It really is quite filling and just a half is enough, especially when eaten with the ideal fries and a shake.
To make the cheese filling, mix with a fork 1/3 cup each shredded mozzarella, shredded cheddar cheese, and shredded cottage cheese, plus 1 slice of American cheese and a pinch or two of black pepper, in a small bowl. Then make the French toast batter, which consists of one beaten egg, 3 tablespoons almond milk (or any milk), and 2 teaspoons basil (to match the tomato basil bread!).
Set out three plates and on each, place a slice of tomato basil bread from Panera. Cut each slice in half.
Set a medium frying pan to medium heat and grease with butter or oil.
Note: In the pictures I was making a full sandwich with two bread slices. However, a sandwich with just one slice of bread cut in half is the serving size and corresponds to the amount of filling I used.
For each sandwich (do one at a time):
Place 1/3 of the cheese mixture on one half of the bread.
Dip both sides of the other half into the egg mixture and fry briefly in the pan, about twenty seconds per side. Place the fried half back on the other, on top of the cheese, to make a sandwich. Dip the uncooked side of the sandwich into the egg mixture and fry one to two minutes on each side.
Grease the pan again and repeat with the other two sandwiches.
Serve with loads of ketchup.
Four Cheese Tomato Basil Stuffed French Toast (serves three)
- 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup low fat cottage cheese
- 1 slice American cheese
- A pinch or two ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix with a fork.
French Toast Batter
- 1 egg
- 3 tbs almond milk
- 2 tsp basil
Beat egg with a fork in a shallow dish and beat in milk and basil.
- 3 slices Panera tomato basil bread
- Set a frying pan to medium heat and grease with butter or oil when hot.
- Place one slice of bread on each of three plates. Cut each slice in half.
- For each sandwich (do one at a time): Top one of the half slices with a third of the cheese mixture. Dip the bare half in the egg mixture. Do not soak, just dip quickly. Fry briefly, about twenty seconds per side, then remove from the pan and place on top of the slice with the cheese to form a sandwich.
- Dip the uncooked side in the egg mixture and fry the sandwich, one to minutes per side.
- Grease the pan again and repeat with the other sandwiches.
I’m really glad this worked. I was a little afraid the cheese mixture wouldn’t be just right, or the flavors wouldn’t go well, or something…but oh, was I wrong. The cheese was melted and creamy, and the French toast batter gave the usually crispy fried bread a degree of soft moistness. I love tomato basil bread. It paired perfectly with the cheese. As I mentioned before and as my sister pointed out to me, this is a pretty filling dish, so one slice of bread is more than enough for a meal. Although you’ll certainly wish you had room for more.
Caution: these pictures may make you melt.