Grilled Cheese Bites With Spicy Tomato Dipping Sauce

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

This week's blog is from guest bloggers Lisa Riedl and Anna Schaber from Garnish with Lemon. Their love of cooking is second only to their love of eating. Years of answering SOS calls from friends and family about what to make for dinner spurred Lisa and Anna to launch Garnish with Lemon, a resource for approachable, seasonal recipes as well as tips that make everyday entertaining effortless. Their work has been featured in The Huffington Post, The Kitchn, Today.com, The Daily Meal and BuzzFeed. During Minnesota summers, you'll find them on the back porch, swatting mosquitoes, sampling new cocktails and solving the world's problems, including how to get their kids to eat more veggies.

Grilled Cheese Bites With Spicy Tomato Dipping Sauce

 

Is there any good-natured March Madness competition going on at your house?

Basketball has always been one of my favorite sports to watch. Given the choice between college and professional hoops, I’ll take college ball any day. So March Madness is a fun time around here. Some families connect over fantasy football drafts. Others closely follow the pennant races in baseball. My family? We break out the basketball brackets and engage in some good natured trash talking under the guise of “family bonding”.

Don’t worry; no one is actually harmed during these dialogues, except maybe a bruised ego or two. My husband sets up the website so everyone can enter their picks electronically and track their progress over the course of the tournament. My 9-year-old son will spend hours pouring over his picks, shuffling around the options until he feels he has just the right winning combination. Even my 11-year-old daughter, who rarely bats at eye at most sports, gets in on the action when there is a victory title on the line. Sadly, I’m not a very knowledgeable sports fan, so my choices tend to be a bit random (my son has a different word for my predictions – it starts with cra- and ends with -zy), but my interest in all of these games has an ulterior motive.

Because, really, what are sports games without food? These easy Grilled Cheese Bites with Spicy Tomato Dipping Sauce are the perfect munchies to keep you nourished while you’re anxiously counting down the game clock.

These Bites are addictive on their own, thanks to Kerrygold’s Garlic and Herb Butter and slightly sweet Dubliner and Skellig Cheeses. But pair them with this simple Spicy Tomato Dipping Sauce, and you might find that family rivalry extends beyond basketball brackets.

You can also make these in mass quantity if you’re entertaining a large group. Simply make a bunch of grilled cheese sandwiches on a large griddle up to a half hour before guests arrive and keep them warm in a low oven. Then slice them into bite-sized morsels and serve. You can dial the spice factor of the sauce up or down depending on how your guests like their sauce. Personally, I love a bit of heat, especially contrasted with the slightly sweet cheeses.

As the tournament progresses, I will likely watch my team picks fall one by one. The chances of me predicting the tournament champ are pretty much slim to none. Now the odds of my family voting for me as tournament MVP because of these Grilled Cheese Bites? No contest.

Grilled Cheese Bites With Spicy Tomato Dipping Sauce 2

Grilled Cheese Bites With Spicy Tomato Dipping Sauce
Ingredients:
  • Spicy Tomato Dipping Sauce:
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt to taste
  • Grilled Cheese Bites:
  • Italian Bread, cut into 3/8-inch slices
  • Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese, cut into 1/8-inch slices
  • Kerrygold Skellig Cheese, cut into 1/8-inch slices
  • Kerrygold Garlic & Herb Butter
Directions:

To make the tomato sauce:
Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and onion and saute for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Gently stir in tomato paste and cook for another minute. Stir in tomatoes and desired amount of red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes or until sauce has thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt. If a smoother sauce is desired, pulse sauce in blender. Keep sauce warm while making grilled cheese bites.

To make the bites:
Preheat a cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spread butter on one side of bread slice. Place bread with buttered side down in the pan. Working quickly, top bread with one layer of Dubliner Cheese followed by another layer of Skellig Cheese. Butter one side of another piece of bread and place it on top of the cheeses. Cook for 3 minutes per side or until cheese is melted and bread is toasted. Remove from heat, let cool slightly and cut into cubes. Skewer with toothpicks, if desired.

 

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