@speediedelivery not speaking for @jitc, but for me the biggest key to a good grilled cheese is time. i melt butter in the pan (spreading butter directly on the bread is a waste of time) on LOW heat. get your sandwich together and put it in there. it should take at least five minutes for it to get golden brown on the first side. when the first side is done, get a spatula under it and take it out. put a little more butter in the pan. flip the sandwich back into the pan and cook the other side. make sure the heat is at it’s lowest because the second side will go faster now that the pan is hot. if you’re using sturdy and/or fancy bread, i also recommend covering the pan with foil or a lid, so the cheese gets really melty. then, remove to a board and let it rest a few minutes, so that when you cut it in half (use a serrated knife or a good chef’s knife so you don’t squish it) the cheese doesn’t leave the sandwich entirely.
now, all that said, it would still be less time than making pasta - UNLESS i already had the sauce of choice on hand. grilled cheese is also relatively high on time (relative to how most people make grilled cheeses anyway, imo) but low on effort, and that last part is important to me. i’d rather stand around doing nothing a few extra minutes than have dinner done “faster” but be more involved and creating more dishes to wash, on a night when i don’t feel like cooking.
@jerk_nugget@speediedelivery it’s very similar to what @jerk_nugget said, but I prefer to have a pan weight if possible, to place on top of the bread to maximize browning. It’s not as time-intensive as making a sauce, with regard to the amount of time needed to have the thing cooked, but it’s more attention, for sure, more standing around the stovetop, and gets to be an even lengthier process if you’re making it for more than two people, unless you do the “grilled cheese for a crowd” version in the oven, which is inferior. You also need to have a cooling rack in a warm oven if you’re cooking for more than two, unless you have a giant pan, or want to attend to two pans at once, which I really don’t. I also make tomato soup from scratch whenever I have grilled cheese, which is its own time sink, but requires less attention than grilling a cheese.
On the other hand, using a couple cans of San Marzano tomatoes, a halved onion, some basil and minced garlic, maybe a lazily chopped carrot, if you’re feeling fancy, after sautéing the aromatics in a fat of your choice in a pressure cooker a couple of minutes, you can just crush the tomatoes with your hands, pop them (and their liquid) in, and pressure cook on high for somewhere around an hour. Then release the pressure, take out the onion, basil and carrot, and add a splash of fish sauce/salt/pepper to taste, you’ll have a great pasta sauce without the babysitting involved with grilled cheese making. Boil some water, add salt and noodles, voila.
@jitc a weight is a great addition! i sometimes just press with a spatula if i’m feeling particularly lazy. or put a piece of foil between the bottom of whatever i’m using as a weight and the sandwich so i don’t have to wash the the weight, heh.
@jerk_nugget@jitc Ahhh, I see. I currently use an off brand George Forman sandwich maker. It gives a nice even heat to both sides and I like the pressed result. Not much effort on my part and one of my favorite meals.
The best is cheese (of course) with good tomatoes and grilled onions. Only get good tomatoes in the fall and I could live on them.
if both of us are hungry and i really don’t want to cook, an order online to a local restaurant of choice. i actually do like cooking so usually “not wanting to cook” is really “not wanting to go to the store” bc i don’t have something to cook in the first place.
sometimes i will make The Good Sandwiches, if we have the good bakery bread. that can be a nice dinner esp in summer when it’s just too heckin’ hot to cook. to make The Good Sandwich, you gotta have the nice bread which is also quite large. spread it with your sandwich spread of choice (i like mayo with turkey, butter with ham, or cream cheese with either), and sprinkle the spread bits with everything bagel seasoning. add cold cuts of choice, but they have to be sliced at the deli really thin (but not shaved), and you gotta ribbon them on. don’t stack cold cuts on a sandwich. then a very thin layer of cheese of choice (optional), and then in a separate bowl lightly dress some baby arugula and put that on. more than you think. it will be a pain to get it onto the sandwich at first and your hands will be oily but it’s worth it. smash on the lid, and use a good knife to saw it in half on the diagonal. wash your hands and have some chips and/or fruit on the side and get to eating.
if it’s just me eating alone because my partner went right to bed after work, i’ll usually just cut up a bunch of fruit and cheese and pair with some salami, some pickles or olives if we have some, crackers etc and eat that off of the cutting board.
Sometimes oatmeal, or popcorn, but more often I sauté some kale and garlic and olive oil, then throw in a can of cannellini beans and some seasoning. It takes about 20 minutes total, very little of which requires effort from me.