Dishin’ Up a Little Honesty

In order to dispel any myths that we’re a super family that eats, plays and loves in some idyllic Rockwellian world, we thought we’d share some of our reality. While we love to cook and are having a blast with this worldly cooking adventure, we’re not gourmands every night. After busy days spent juggling work schedules, play dates, play time with the kids, homework, working out, paying bills, keeping up the house and lawn, and finding time to fit in friends and family, there are plenty of nights where our kitchen is anything but exciting. We’re talkin’ about dinners involving chicken nuggets, frozen pizzas, easy pastas and Subway. And dad and I are on a first name basis with the local sushi restaurant owners who we visit at least once every couple of weeks.

That’s why I love this next sandwich. It’s easy, healthy, wonderfully flavorful and a great option for a fast dinner on a crazy weeknight spent trying to juggle a three-year old throwing a tantrum because you helped her put a shoe on, a seven-year old who’s plugging his ears and screaming to drown out his sister, all the while trying to put something together because they’ve let you know in no uncertain terms that they’re hungry. So here is one of my favorite, honestly easy fall-backs inspired by a sandwich I ate at Greens N Grains on a girls’ weekend to Door County, Wisconsin – The Apple Cheddar Sandwich.

Start with a hearty bread. I like a solid multi-grain loaf.

Butter the outside of each slice of bread and add about a tablespoon of honey Dijon mustard to the inside of one slice.

Next add some shredded white cheddar cheese to each slice.

Top one side with thinly sliced apples and spinach leaves.

Close the sandwich and place it in a skillet and grill over medium heat. It’s helpful to use toothpicks to secure each end of the sandwich – particularly when it comes time to flip.

Once the cheddar is melted and the bread has been toasted, the sandwich is ready to serve.

I love the fresh sweet and tangy flavors, the warmth, the crunch and the little bit of sanity the meal provides. I like to serve the sandwich with a side of almonds or tortilla chips depending on my mood.

I can’t guarantee that it will quell the raving lunacy of a three-year old, but it will put a meal on the table fast. And as for our little screamer, we ended the day with a kiss and hug and an “I love you so, so, so, so much.”

Print this recipe: Apple Cheddar Sandwich

55 thoughts on “Dishin’ Up a Little Honesty

  1. Grammie Mom says:

    Try using an Italian or Vinaigrette salad dressing rather than the butter or margarine spread on the bread. It gives a grilled cheese sandwich a whole new flavor, and I am a big fan as well. I’ve got to try this one while I wait for the tomatoes in the garden to ripen so I can use nice fresh ones on grilled cheese. Yummm…

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  2. sheila @ Elements says:

    This sounds really good! I’m gonna have to try it! 🙂

    On Sundays we work double shifts so if we don’t have leftovers, we just usually heat up some frozen bean burgers and sweet potato fries. Making home cooked meals and freshly baked bread is wonderful, but sometimes we just simply don’t have the time and energy.

    Your sandwich sounds perfect…got your whole grains, veggies, fruit, and dairy. Nice! 🙂

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    • ChefMom says:

      Thanks Sheila! It’s easily one of my favorites. I don’t think the kids would pick it if they had a choice though. I never used to be a big fan of leftovers, but since having kids…they are a life saver at times!

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  3. kitchenbelleicious says:

    Maybe i should break any preconceived notions some may have for me on my blog. We do the SAME THING! Frozen pizzas and chicken nuggets are always handy as well as quick pastas with a touch of butter and cheese and herbs. This sandwich will now be on our quick to do list because it looks so delicious. I love any sandwich that is grilled and the cheese with the apples and spinach is just heavenly!

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    • ChefMom says:

      So glad it’s not just us. 😉 Oh and pasta! I love pasta. That’s definitely my go-to comfort meal. 🙂 It’s funny the perceptions people get about your kitchen/life when you blog about food and recipes. I remember a post the Pioneer Woman did about the state of her kitchen after cooking where she showed all of the dirty dishes everywhere…reality. LOL.

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    • ChefMom says:

      Maybe it is the heat – or just that they’re both home in the summer. Mr. N tends to get bored easily and Miss A isn’t used to having to compete for attention during the day. I think they’re figuring things out though – they have invented lots of new games to play together. And don’t worry – we had our share of junk food nights this week too. LOL.

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  4. sallybr says:

    Loved the idea of sliced apples in the sandwich, very nice!

    One day I’ll have to share some recent misadventures in the canine world (no more kids in the house) – that can drive a level-headed woman (that would be me, don’t laugh) insane

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    • ChefMom says:

      I remember reading one about a dog and shoe at one point – you had that picture of the two of them looking so innocent. 🙂 Your dogs are just adorable too! How have they adjusted to the move? Fortunately our cats seem to have mellowed out since we had the kids, so at least they’re not contributing to the chaos.

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      • sallybr says:

        THe untold story is a third dog we brought into the picture… unfortunately things are not going very well. Today in particular, I have my right arm pretty hurt from separating two dogs in a horrible fight. It’s a long, convoluted story, I hope it will have a happy ending, but right now, I’m in a bit of a funk… 😦

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        • ChefMom says:

          Oh no! That’s so stressful. Our oldest cat was not happy when we brought home a little brother for him. It took a good few weeks before he would stop from hissing and leaping at him. I hope that you’re ok and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that they get used to each other and adapt. It’s so stressful though – especially when you’re attached to all of them. And how could you not be – they are just all so cute. Sending vibes of harmony your way. 😉 Keep me posted. I’ll be thinking of you.

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  5. thefooddoctor says:

    No ..are you kidding me?
    You mean you don’t cook 5 course meals everyday when you get home and hang your super hero cape in the kitchen?

    hehehe just kidding Kristy..I know what you are talking about only too well..You know we should start a category called What you don’t see in the pictures 🙂
    P.S. that is one amazing sandwich 🙂

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    • ChefMom says:

      LOL! I would love a super hero cape! And I agree – a category of what you don’t see in pictures would be priceless. For us it usually involves a big mess and a crying child at least once a week at dinner time. 😉

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  6. Caroline says:

    Hey, this is still pretty impressive for a night of not wanting to cook! Love the combo of apples and spinach. And trust me, my kitchen is definitely not always exciting. I love nights of ordering in, going out to eat, etc. Gotta take a break from the kitchen once in a while! Though, I never seem to have a problem with baking for some reason (I currently have tupperwares full of cookes, cupcakes, brownies). Someone needs to take them off of my hands!

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    • ChefMom says:

      I’m with you! Gotta have a break sometimes, but there seem to always be desserts and sweets. I try and give them away as much as I can, but then I just make more. LOL. Have a good one Caroline!

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  7. spicegirlfla says:

    Kristy, I’m thinking that’s a pretty fancy sandwich for a run of the mill night!! sounds really good! When I was raising my kids I had routine weekly meals, i.e., Thursday was sandwich night and board games, Friday was always pizza & movies, Monday frittata & books, Wednesday pasta and play- lots of variations but it kept me sane through those very busy years!!!

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    • ChefMom says:

      My mom used to do that as well! I should start doing that when we’re not doing our cooking around the world thing. That’s not a bad idea…sandwich night, pizza night, perhaps a fish night. That might provide some sanity – especially during the school year. 🙂 Thanks Linda!

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  8. Kelly says:

    I had to smile reading about the temper tantrum over helping with a shoe. My eldest was the exact same way and would insist on re-doing whatever it was that we had the nerve to help him with only much slooower to illustrate his disapproval of our intervention (alert, alert – serious intensity personality here! 🙂 ) Love this sandwich. Fruit and melted cheese on bread is a gorgeous meal that I would savour any night – rushed or not. Your pictures are fantastic by the way, everything looks so appetizing. Great post.

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    • ChefMom says:

      Thanks Kelly! Oh a definite serious intensity personality here. And yep…she usually redoes everything much slower too. LOL. While she was putting her shoes on one day (seems to always involve shoes) I carried her toy to the door with me. Well apparently she wanted to carry it because when she got to the door and saw that I carried it for her, she actually picked it up, walked back down the drive, put it down, took her shoes off again, so that she could be the one to carry the toy to the door after she got her shoes on. It just killed me that she didn’t just take the toy back, but also had to re-do her shoes! LOL. Times like this I just tell myself she’s going to have such great independence and assertiveness when she’s older. 😉

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      • Kelly says:

        That’s hilarious and EXACTLY the same routine we had to go through with our now 13 year old (wow, time flies!!). But, you’re absolutely right, these characteristics are what drive remarkable abilities and achievements in life – he is quite a force to be reckoned with even today and despite having two lawyers in the house, he still wins every argument 🙂 (it can be downright exhausting!!) I take lots of DEEP yoga breaths…

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  9. Charles says:

    Aaaah, one day, I’ll have all that to come. Screeching kids and no time to cook… what fun! 😀 At least I don’t have to worry about actively paying bills. They’re always for the same amount every month, give or take a few euros and just get withdrawn from my bank automatically. I even opted for a special “eco-friendly” option they have in France where you can have all your paper bills replaced with PDFs sent via email. Not receiving 60 sheets of paper from various institutions each month is one sure way to cut down on a bit of stress.

    Sandwich looks delicious – reminds me of my mother’s toasted sandwiches – it’s been a good while since I had one of those! 🙂

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    • ChefMom says:

      And I remember those days well…when we were first married and our bills were relatively the same each month. We even managed to pull ourselves out of debt from the wedding. I love the pdf bill option too. Well I should say hubby does. Over the years that’s become his “job.” While some days the screeching kids can drive me bananas, I’m going to be miss this years. 🙂

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  10. Kathryn says:

    Grilled cheese is so wonderful. You can do anything to make it fancy or plain, sweet or savory. This version looks like a great fall back for busy weeknights. Is that your homemade bread, by the way?? It looks divine.

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  11. Sue says:

    Yay! That’s pretty much how I have tried to replicate it too. I did make it a couple times in a wheat pita pocket. That helped hold everything in when it came time to flip. 🙂

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  12. Kay aka Babygirl says:

    You want to hear something funny.. I was going to feature this sandwich LOL. Paula Deen has a version of this but I think yours looks better ;). And your family functions just like my family.. but we kids are older now and some of us still act like that (speaking of my brother) lol. Love the sandwich.

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    • ChefMom says:

      LOL! Is your brother older or younger? I have no doubt my kiddos will act this way for quite some time. Most of the time they do pretty well together, but other days they’re just out to make each other mad it seems. (Or just drive me mad!) LOL.

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      • Kay aka Babygirl says:

        My brother is older but when he gets hungry, he gives ever so subtle hints that he is lol. I don’t think it ever changes but it gets more refined lol. We’re just mainly loving at family dinners. And I believe they’re not trying to make you crazy now.. not until teenage years lol.

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        • ChefMom says:

          LOL! Your comment reminds me of a conversation I heard in a store a while back. There was a couple with a tantruming toddler in the middle of the store – obviously embarassed and frazzled. An older couple walked by and said, we’ll trade you our teenage daughter for this one. LOL. Oh the teenage years. I so wish I could keep them little – but then there is the side of me that’s proud to see them grow-up. 🙂

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