I have a good excuse for this one. The Southern Daughter and her merry band of friends have just left to go back to college, taking all their noisiness and messiness with them and the house is quiet. TOO quiet. They are a super-charged ray of sunshine when they are here, and when they first burst through the door I am so incredibly delighted to see them I will say yes to just about anything they ask me for. And this time? They asked if I would be able to figure out how to make them grilled macaroni and cheese sandwiches.
And since I was helplessly caught in the tractor beam of my sheer happiness to see them, I said “Of COURSE I can!,” and the next thing I knew I was actually making grilled macaroni and cheese sandwiches. And while a pack of ravenous college kids who have been living on cafeteria food for weeks might not be the most discriminating of critics, they seemed pretty deliriously happy while they were munching away. They were actually quiet for about 90 seconds or so.
Please excuse the blurry Iphone photo…when I see them all together in my kitchen I get weak in the knees and lose all my photographic skills.
Meanwhile, back at the sandwich, when they first suggested this particular dish I thought that a voracious college student would be the only candidate for eating this. But then I started making it…two slices of soft Pullman bread with a creamy stovetop version of mac and cheese ladled into the center, and then grilled until the bread was golden and crunchy. The Southern husband sidled into the kitchen wanting to know if I was making any extra. And I started thinking to myself that this sandwich might not be half-bad.
It wasn’t half-bad. It was actually pretty dang delicious. As is always the case whenever I make macaroni and cheese anything, so not sure why I was ever doubtful in the first place. So there you have it…my tuition dollars at work! Now I have to dream up something delicious enough to entice them to come home on spring break…
Grilled Macaroni and Cheese Sandwiches
For Macaroni and Cheese
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
4 cups whole milk
3/4 pound macaroni (elbows, small shells, etc)
4 cups shredded cheddar
8 slices soft bread
Macaroni and Cheese (if you use your own, make sure it is a creamy version - the baked kind doesn't work as well for these sandwiches)
1. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until flour is slightly brown, about 3-5 minutes
2. Pour in milk, whisking constantly until mixture is smooth. Stir until boiling and then reduce heat to low. Simmer until mixture thickens a little, about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
3. Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente, drain and return to pot. Remove sauce from heat, whisk in cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Add pasta and stir to coat. This will make a little more mac and cheese than you need for the sandwiches, but there's nothing better than leftover m&c!
1. Heat an electric griddle to medium high, or place a large skillet over medium high heat on the stovetop.
2. Spread one side of each slice of bread with butter. Place four slices butter-side down and top with a generous amount of mac and cheese (about 1/2 to 3/4 cups). Top with remaining bread slices, butter side up.
3. Carefully place on griddle or skillet and cook until first side is golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Flip carefully and cook until second side is golden.
4. Remove, cut in half if you like (this works best with a serrated knife) and serve immediately.