Sometimes when I get home from a long day of school, I find myself craving a grilled cheese. Night after night I will stand in my kitchen staring at a multitude of ingredients and ending on a favorite from my childhood. Let's be honest though, for an intermediate chef, grilled cheeses are pretty easy to perfect, especially if you have the patience to wait for all of the cheese on the sandwich to melt. Throw some avocado and tomato on there and you have a dish Gordon Ramsay might find himself approving of despite its childish essence.
However, I also find myself getting bored of things really quickly. I am always looking for an easy meal to make and something slightly different to satisfy my seemingly exponential grilled cheese craving. After all, calling home to my parents every weekend to tell them I have had grilled cheese for dinner five nights a week does not seem to please my dad who had taught me to make dishes like fresh spaghetti, eggplant parmesan, and homemade bean burgers.
Here are 13 dishes you can easily make that your parents would be proud to have you call home about!
1. Cheese Fries
Cheese fries give off the image of processed cheese and crinkle-cut fries. However, they can easily be made at home by buying and cooking a potato and adding a homemade cheese sauce!
Quesadillas are another one of my childhood favorites, probably due to their close relation to the grilled cheese. They are perfect for a busy night seeing as they take less than five minutes to make!
Making homemade pizza is a great activity to bring friends together and to become more adventurous with topping choices. They also make amazing leftovers for the next day.
4. Cheese and Crackers
Cheese and crackers don't necessarily count as a meal, however, sometimes nothing can beat a platter of crackers, vegetables, hummus, and fancy cheeses.
Nachos are the perfect sports night food. They take a short time to cook and always help quench salty cravings. Moreover, they can be made "healthy" with the addition of tomatoes, avocados, beans, etc.
6. Parmesan Pasta
Parmesan pasta is basically mac and cheese without the baking. Stir up some pasta in boiling water, add parmesan, and eat a quick carb-loaded meal.
Homemade macaroni takes a little longer to make than cheese and crackers, but trust me when I say the wait is worth it. Homemade mac and cheese can include bacon, broccoli, and other foods. Moreover, it can contain as many cheeses as you wish and can be topped with a fancy bread crumble that helps create the perfect texture!
8. Grilled Cheese
All-time favorite. I recommend eating a grilled cheese any day of the week for any meal because they are so adaptable!
9. Mozzarella Sticks
Delicious, greasy, and satisfying. Mozzarella sticks are reminiscent of pizza restaurants and nights spent watching movies. Although I am not aware of how to make these, I am sure it can be done! If, like me, you find yourself too lazy to cook, the frozen aisle of any grocery store will do.
10. Cheesy Potatoes
Basically, take a potato, microwave it, and add cheese. If you are looking for a more complicated dish, slice the potato and make a potato layer with cheese separating the sections in a pan and bake!
A cheese salad for those overwhelmed by real salads. The mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and balsamic make for the perfect appetizer or meal teaser.
12. Parmesan Crusted Grilled Mac and Cheese Sandwich
The fancy grilled cheese. I highly recommend this for when you have a lot of time and are bored with the classic grilled cheese. Recipes are detailed and can be found online!
13. Eggplant Parmesan
Consider making eggplant parmesan for a Sunday dinner with friends! It is definitely a people pleaser due to its extreme deliciousness. Caution: it does take a fair amount of prep work.
There are so many great foods that include cheese and please all. For me, cheese dishes are perfect because they do not take much preparation and can usually be saved and eaten the next day too. However, I do not recommend eating only cheese-based foods. Try mixing in some vegetables and fruits. Stay healthy, but also stay indulgent.