There are a few reasons why I love a grilled cheese sandwich. One of the main reasons though, is because I am lactose intolerant. No one ever knows because I still love to eat it when it's in front of me. Lactose Intolerance can't tell me what to do! The other reason why I love a grilled cheese sandwich was also because when I was growing up, a lot of my classmates would have this in their brown lunch bag which I also did not have.

Brown lunch bags and grilled cheese sandwiches. I remember I always wanted a brown bag, but my parents would instead give me the plastic bags they use to bag groceries. I can tell, they wanted my life to be miserable. It's not even a simple plastic Vons bag. It had to be the ones from the Chinese market with weird prints on them. It was so embarrassing. But sometimes, the school would serve grilled cheese sandwiches. It's the cheapest thing ever made along with the bean & cheese burritos, but I would trade anything for one right now.

For national grilled cheese sandwich day, I made my own version of a grilled cheese sandwich for a small little competition hosted by Vons. The recipe you will find below feeds 4 people. I like to use really subtle cheeses just because I have a sensitive palate to stinky cheese. This recipe will definitely be friendly to anyone, but more towards the hardcore foodie fanatics. Why? Because it includes Pimento Cheese and tator tots. Holy COW.

You will need:

  • 3 Cups of frozen tater tots - I used Safeway tater tots. Selling 2 bags for $5 at the moment!
  • 1 - 3/4 cups (1 bag) Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese - Lucerne
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan - I had leftover Krafts
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise - Best Foods
  • 8oz of cream cheese - Lucerne
  • 4oz of diced pimento drained - (Found near the pickles at Vons)
  • 3oz canned green chiles drained - (Found near enchilada sauces at Vons)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 loaf of Signature Select sourdough - slice about 3/4 inch - 1 inch depending on preference. The sandwich will be pressed. - (Found near fresh baked breads)
  • 1.5 tablespoons of unsalted butter.

** Make sure your cream cheese is softened before proceeding. **

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 per instructions on the bag of your tater tots. Cover a pan with non-stick parchment paper before laying out your tots. The tots will bake for 22 - 25 minutes. I like to drizzle a bit of olive the LAST 5 minutes. Once the tots are completed, I sprinkle on Kosher salt while they are still HOT.
  2. Once your cream cheese has soften, you basically mix everything in a large bowl until all the ingredients are combined. This is why soft cream cheese is important. Like mixing cold butter. Might as well just give up.
  3. Preheat your non-stick pan (or whatever you are comfortable using) to medium heat.
  4. Start layering your sandwiches. Pimento cheese on both slices of bread. Top with an even layer of tater tots, then top the other slice with cheese on top of the tots. So it's: bread-cheese-tots-cheese-bread.
  5. Once your pan is read, take 1/2 the butter and put it in your pan. Once that melts, quickly put your sandwich in with a pan placed on top to press. The first side will take about 2 minutes pressed, but we all know it can always change. Just grab a spatula to slightly lift.
  6. Once it's golden brown with dark crispy edges, remove the sandwich on your cutting board. Put the rest of your butter in the pan, and repeat process 5 until golden brown. The cheese might ooze out. Don't panic, these get crispy and delicious. I scrape them up along the sandwich when they start getting too dark.
  7. Once the sandwich is completed, let stand for a minute before eating so you won't burn your mouth.

Boy was this scrumptious! This was extremely flavorful and savory you won't even miss the meat. BUT, if I had more time, I would totally cook some bacon bits to fold into my pimento cheese. The sourdough was perfectly crispy. The pimento cheese was slightly spicy from the cayenne, but was cooling from the creamy cheeses. Each bite gets your jowl going. Crack open a bottle of root beer and this will be the best summer backyard/outdoor sandwich to get the crowd going for days.

Feel free to bake all your tots to eat on the side. You can never have enough of these things.

Happy cheesin.

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