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I can't say enough good things about grilled cheese sandwiches.  What's not to love about melted cheese pressed between crisp, buttery bread?  And what's even better than that, with a little creative thinking you'll find there is a lot more to a grilled cheese than, well, just cheese. 

With this in mind, I'm going to share my top 3 favorite grilled cheese recipes.  One is a bit more traditional, while the other two push the boundaries on the conventional cheesy sandwich many of us have grown up with. 

I'll start with the standard route. 

Grilled Cheese Sandwich Number 1: Classic Ham, Tomato and Cheddar Cheese
Total Time: 10 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes

What you'll need
4 thick slices of fresh bread (your choice -- sourdough, french, tuscan etc.)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tomato diced
1 cup diced ham
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper

Directions
1. In a medium skillet melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter over medium heat.
2. Top bread with tomato, cheese and ham.  Season with salt and pepper.

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3. Place the top of the bread loaf over the tomato, cheese and ham.  
4. Add both sandwiches to the skillet.  Turn heat down to low and cover. 
5. After about 2-3 minutes lift the sandwiches up with a spatula and check to see if the bottom side of the bread is golden brown.  Remove sandwiches from the pan when one side of the bread appears toasted and place on a side plate.  Add 1/2 tablespoon of butter to the skillet; melt.
6. Add sandwiches back to the skillet and brown the other side.  Remove from pan when the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted. 
7.  Slice and enjoy!
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Grilled Cheese Sandwich Number 2: Mexi-cheese Sandwich
Total Time: 10 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes

What you'll need
4 thick slices of fresh bread (your choice -- sourdough, french, etc.)
1 avocado, diced
3-4 tablespoons salsa
jack cheese, sliced
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper

Directions:
1. In a medium skillet melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter over medium heat.
2. Top bread with avocado, jack cheese and salsa.  Season with salt and pepper.
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3. Place the top of the bread loaf over the avocado and jack cheese.  
4. Add both sandwiches to the skillet.  Turn heat down to low and cover. 
5. After about 2-3 minutes lift the sandwiches up with a spatula and check to see if the bottom side of the bread is golden brown.  Remove sandwiches from the pan when one side of the bread appears toasted and place on a side plate.  Add 1/2 tablespoon of butter to skillet; melt.
6. Add sandwiches back to the skillet and brown the other side.  Remove from pan when the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted. 
7.  Slice and enjoy!
Grilled Cheese Sandwich Number 3: "Capre-chessy" Sandwich 
Total Time: 10 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes

What you'll need
4 thick slices of fresh bread (your choice -- sourdough, french, etc.)
1 cup fresh mozzarella, shredded or sliced
2-3 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tomato, diced
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper

Directions:
1. In a medium skillet melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter over medium heat.
2. Top bread with tomato, cheese and basil.  Season with salt and pepper.
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3. Place the top of the bread loaf over the tomato, cheese and basil.  
4. Add both sandwiches to the skillet.  Turn heat down to low and cover. 
5. After about 2-3 minutes lift the sandwiches up with a spatula and check to see if the bottom side of the bread is golden brown.  Remove sandwiches from the pan when one side of the bread appears toasted and place on a side plate.  Add 1/2 tablespoon of butter to skillet; melt.
6. Add sandwiches back to the skillet and brown the other side.  Remove from pan when the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted. 
7.  Slice and enjoy!
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Be sure to check back on Sunday for next week's complete dinner menu plan, which will include a grocery list of everything you'll need to cook along with me.  Have a great weekend everyone! 
 
 
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to post a recipe yesterday because I had the flu -- the can't lift your head up, feel like you're going to die kind of flu.  My dinner therefore consisted of jello and crackers, and I went ahead and made the assumption that you probably wouldn't want to make the same thing. 

The good news is, I'm feeling much better today, so comfort food week is back on!
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The Main Dish
Even though I posted a meatloaf recipe last week, I felt like I couldn't have comfort food week without meatloaf and mashed potatoes, so I'm providing another great meatloaf recipe idea for two.  However, this time I'm putting a unique spin on the traditional recipe -- barbecue sauce!    

The Side Dish
I'll be serving the barbecue meatloaf with the ultimate comfort food side dish -- mashed potatoes.
Barbecue Meatloaf
Total Time: 35 minutes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes

What you'll need
1/2 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped (optional)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 tablespoons milk
1 egg
1/3 cup crushed seasoned croutons 

Glaze 
2 additional tablespoons barbecue sauce
1 additional tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together milk and egg; add crushed croutons.  Mix well. 
3. Combine crouton mixture, ground beef, 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, Worcestershire, salt and pepper.  Mix well. 

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4. Form mixture into 2 loaves (I love the idea of individual meatloaves.  They are perfect when cooking for two)!
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5. Place loaves on a greased baking sheet.
6. For the glaze, whisk together 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl.  
7. Brush glaze over each loaf. 
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8. Bake for 15 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F.
9. Let loaves rest for about 5 minutes before serving. 

Mashed Red Potatoes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes

What you'll need
1/2 pound red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/3 cup milk, warmed
1 tablespoon butter, softened
Garlic salt and pepper, to taste

Directions
1. Cook potatoes in a pot of boiling water until tender (about 15 minutes). 
2. Drain potatoes; return to pot, stirring over low heat for 1 minute. 
3. Mash potatoes with a hand masher until desired consistency.  Stir in milk and butter; season with garlic salt and pepper.  Serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Cuisine at Home Magazine
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The Main Dish
Macaroni and cheese isn't just for kids and college students nor does it always need to come from a box.  With a little extra prep work you can make a delicious macaroni and cheese for grownup taste buds.  

Unfortunately, with a dish that has cheese in the title, it's hard to find a healthy alternative.  Therefore, I'm putting this one in the indulgence category, but it will be worth every bite.

Macaroni and Cheese
Total Time: 40 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes

What you'll need
1 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 egg
6 ounces low-fat evaporated milk (about 1/2 can)
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup seasoned croutons, crushed
paprika
salt and pepper

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
3. In a large bowl, mix together egg, evaporated milk, cooled melted butter, salt and pepper. 
4. Stir in cheese and cooked pasta. 
5. Spray a small baking pan or 2 oven safe 14-ounce bowls with nonstick spray.  Add the pasta mixture. 
6. Put croutons in a Ziploc bag and crush with your hands or a potato masher.
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7. Sprinkle the top of the dish with crushed croutons.  Dust with paprika.
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8.  Bake until the cheese is golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!
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It's Comfort Food Week at Reservation For Two, which means I'll be serving up some of my favorite meals from my youth that continue to sooth my food soul today.  Of course, each meal plan is designed for two, so the meals I once shared with my family, can now be enjoyed with my husband.

The Main Dish
I'm kicking off Comfort Food Week with chicken pot pie.  This hearty dinner is the perfect remedy to a long, cold day.  

My chicken pot pie dinner is not only tailored for parties of two, but it is also a healthier take on a dish that has a bad rep for being loaded with fat and calories.  And the good news just keeps on coming, as this recipe also falls under my favorite category -- quick and easy.  

Chicken Pot Pie
Total Time: 25 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes

What you'll need
1 uncooked chicken breast, cut into small cubes and seasoned with salt and pepper
1/4 small onion, diced
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced (about a centimeter thick otherwise they won't cook all the way through)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup chicken stock
4 Pillsbury crescent roll dough triangles (from a tube of Pillsbury crescent rolls)
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon pepper
cooking spray 
2 x 14 ounce oven safe bowls

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a small mixing bowl, combine cream of chicken soup, chicken stock, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  

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3. Grease your oven safe bowls with cooking spray.  Line each bowl with 2 crescent roll dough triangles (I either form the triangles around the edges, and then I leave the corners to wrap over the top of the bowl, or I create an upside-down chicken pot pie and form the dough around the bottom of the bowl).
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Option 1
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Option 2
4. Add carrot, celery, onion, peas and chicken to the bottom of each bowl.  
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5. Pour soup mixture over the vegetables until the bowl is almost full. 
6. If you chose option 1, take the edges of the crescent rolls and cover the top of the soup. 
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7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until soup is bubbling and crescent rolls are golden brown. 
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Enjoy!

The skinny on the chicken pot pie
Chicken pot pie has often been labeled as one of the worst meals in the frozen food section.  This is unfortunate because it tastes so good!  However, with a few minor alterations, I found a way to reduce the typically 40 grams of fat and 700 calorie per serving dish to about 400 calories and 14 grams of fat.  And it still tastes just as good as I remember. 

Below is the calorie and fat breakdown for one of my chicken pot pies:
• 2 x crescent rolls: 180 calories and 8 grams of fat 
• 1/2 can cream of chicken soup: 90 calories and 3 grams of fat
• 1/4 cup chicken stock: 5 calories and 0 grams of fat
• vegetables: 50 calories and .2 grams of fat
• chicken: 82.5 calories and 1.5 grams of fat
Total: 407.5 calories and 14.2 grams of fat

I'd love to hear from you.  What are some of your favorite comfort food recipes?