Breakfast Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This sandwich is a perfect breakfast meal for those mornings when I don’t have to rush out the door to work. It’s easy to make, flexible, and the perfect amount of food to fuel your morning, but not ruin your appetite for lunch. As the title suggests, the base of the recipe is a grilled cheese sandwich, spritzed up with a fried egg and greens. Hearty bread and a runny egg takes this sandwich from a typical grilled cheese to something extraordinary. Here I use sharp cheddar cheese and micro greens, but you can substitute with your favorite hard cheese and favorite grilled cheese toppings (I have also used tomato slices, spinach, and bacon!).

Cooking Time: 15 mins
Servings: 1

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tbsp Butter (spreadable)
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 Slices of Hearty Bread (wheat slice with oats in picture)
  • 2 Slices of Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Small Handful of Micro Greens (or other greens)

Recipe

  1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat with 1 tbsp of butter.
  2. When the butter starts to sizzle, carefully crack the egg in the skillet. Cook until the whites of the egg are no longer runny, about 3 minutes. Carefully lift the egg with a spatula and flip over so that the top of the yolk is against the pan. Cook for another 30 seconds, then remove to a plate.
  3. Spread the remaining butter over one side of each bread slice.
  4. Place one bread slice butter side down in the skillet. Quickly layer the remaining ingredients on top of the bread in this order: 1) half of the micro greens, 2) 1 slice of cheddar cheese, 3) previously cooked fried egg, 4) the remaining slice of cheddar cheese, 5) the remaining half of the micro greens, 6) the remaining bread slice, butter side up.
  5. Cook the sandwich in the skillet until the bottom slice of cheese is melted and the bottom bread slice is crispy, about 5 minutes. Then carefully flip the sandwich over so that the other bread slice is against the pan. Cook another 3-4 minutes until the bread is crispy. Remove from the pan onto a plate to serve.

Detailed Steps

Five ingredients. That’s it!!! Truly a simple meal. As mentioned before, use a hearty bread for the sandwich. Something that will be strong enough to hold all of the toppings and flavorful enough to stand apart from the other ingredients. The bread in the picture is a wheat slice with oats, but I’ve also used sourdough and rustic white. For the cheese, my favorite is sharp cheddar (similar notes to the classic american cheese, but stronger in flavor), but mild cheddar, provolone, and pepper jack are also good choices. The micro greens above I found at a local farmer’s market (shout out to Aqua Heirloom in Hume, VA!). If you’ve never had micro greens, they’re very flavorable (reminiscent of arugula in my opinion) and a great topping (for example, steak topped with a small micro green salad is excellent). Instead of micro greens, feel free to use spinach, arugula, or spring mix.

Steps 1-2: The picture on the left is the uncooked egg, in the center the cooked egg right before flipping, and on the right the egg after flipping. As soon as you crack the egg in the pan, I like to make tiny slits in the whites to let them spread more evenly. Some of the whites will pool around the yolk, creating a thick layer that cooks slower than the rest of the whites. The slits will help drain this thick layer to the rest of the whites. When flipping the egg, be gentle! The goal is to flip the egg to create a crust over the yolk, but without busting the yolk. Also, only wait 30 seconds before removing the egg. If it’s in the pan for too long, the yolk will set and not ooze out of the sandwich later.

Steps 3-4: The pictures from left to right show the order to assemble the sandwich. The key to grilled cheese building is to use the cheese as a binder. Placing the cheese in between the non-sticky ingredients (i.e., the micro greens and the egg) provides glue to hold everything together. Just make sure that the cheese can still reach the bread, otherwise all of the toppings will slide out!

Step 5: I cannot stress this enough: be careful when flipping! A normal grilled cheese sandwich is pretty easy to flip since it’s just cheese and bread, but the extra ingredients here make the sandwich prone to being shifted. My method is to pick up the sandwich with a spatula (picture on left), then while placing a finger or fork against the buttered side, slowly flip the sandwich. The bread should have a good crust, like the picture on the right.

And that’s it! Cut in half before serving to see the delicious oozing yolk!

Tandoori-Spiced Sous Vide Chicken Salad

I’ll admit, I’m not usually a fan of chicken salad. I don’t know if it’s the texture of the chicken or the nuts sometimes added or simply because it’s not tuna (spoiler, I’m a HUGE tuna fan), but I have never seemed to like it. This recipe for chicken salad is not that. The yogurt base with the Indian inspired spice palette makes this chicken salad much different than most. I ran across this recipe in a Washington Post article (link here) and decided to try it, but with a few modifications. First, I sous vide the chicken to keep it moist with a crispy outside. And second, I used Greek yogurt for a bit extra tanginess. This is a great recipe to use to meal prep for the week or make ahead of time for a quick dinner later. I like to serve it on a hearty bread with some leafy greens, but this will also work well on a bed of lettuce or on its own.

Cooking Time: 20 minutes (plus 90 minutes for the chicken)
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 – 1 1/2 lbs Boneless, Skinless, Chicken Breasts
  • Olive Oil (enough to coat the pan)
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 3 tbsps Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper (optional)
  • 1 Cucumber

Recipe

  1. Set-up the sous vide by clipping the sous vide machine onto a large pot filled with water as appropriate for the sous vide machine (i.e. to the min line). Set it to 147 degrees F.
  2. Place the chicken breast in a gallon size plastic bag. Submerge the bag in the water, clipping the opened top to the side of the pot (the force of the chicken being submerged in the water will force out the air from the bag). Cook for 60 minutes if defrosted or 90 minutes if frozen.
  3. Once the chicken is done, heat a skillet on medium-high with enough olive oil to coat the pan. Salt and pepper the chicken, and then sear on both sides until crispy, about 5 minutes per a side. Place the cooked chicken in the fridge while preparing the other ingredients.
  4. Peal the skin off the cucumber, remove the seeds using a spoon (if it has any), and cut into small bite-size pieces.
  5. Crush garlic cloves by applying weight to the side of a knife to remove the peel. Mince finely with a knife or crush with a garlic press.
  6. In a medium bowl, add yogurt, mayonnaise, and garlic. Add cumin, ginger, turmeric, and lemon juice, and whisk to combine. Taste and add coriander and cayenne if wanted/needed.
  7. Grab the chicken from the fridge, and cut into bite-size pieces. Add chopped chicken and cucumber to the bowl with the yogurt mixture.
  8. Toss with a spoon, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or store in the fridge until served.

Detailed Steps

Steps 1-2: I decided to sous vide the chicken for two reason. First, I hoped that the chicken would retain more of the juices by using this method instead of the oven. And second, I forgot to defrost my chicken beforehand! For anyone who hasn’t used a sous vide machine before, it’s a simple and easy way to slowly cook meats to lock in moisture and generally prevent over/undercooking. If you don’t have a sous vide machine, the chicken can easily be cooked in the oven and then transferred to the fridge to cool.

Step 3: I like to sear the chicken and make sure it gets a nice crunchy outer texture. You could omit this step, but I think it adds some texture and savory flavor to the chicken salad.

Steps 4-5: You can leave the skin on and the seeds in the cucumber if desired. I personally don’t like the skin and seeds, but feel free to leave them if you prefer to. I cut the cucumber into about 1/2 – 1 inch pieces, but you can dice it smaller or larger depending on personal preference (I wouldn’t make the pieces too big otherwise they wouldn’t balance well with the chicken).

Step 6: This is the part of the recipe where you can experiment and make modifications to your taste. Think of it as the yogurt being the base and everything else being slight modifications to the yogurt flavor. So if you mix everything together and think it’s too tangy, add more mayonnaise to mellow it out. Not flavorful enough? Play with the spice levels. Need some acid or something extra? Add lemon. And if you add something and you think it’s too much, you can always add more yogurt to basically erase what you just did. Recipe steps like this are the things that really make cooking fun and a creative outlet.

Steps 7-8: I decided to chop the chicken into bite size pieces instead of shredding it so that the chicken salad would be on the chunky side. But if you want the mixture to be blended better, I would suggest shredding the chicken and cutting the cucumber into smaller pieces.

As I mentioned in the beginning, this is a great recipe to use to meal prep for the week. I was able to get three lunches from one batch! (Would have been four, but I didn’t buy enough bread…) I served the chicken salad on a cored out french loaf with kale. Sandwich tip: always core out the bread! Removing some of the bread from the crust will allow you to place more sandwich fillings inside. Plus, the whole thing will be sturdier and easier to eat.

Have any questions or thoughts on this recipe? Let me know what you think and leave a comment!