What do you eat when you’re home alone? (Remember this book?) There’s something freeing about eating by yourself. So this month, just for fun, we’re asking five food bloggers to share their go-to solo dinners, and we’ll be featuring one every Wednesday. First up, Kelly from Just A Taste has a grown-up grilled cheese…

A Grown-Up Grilled Cheese Sandwich
By Kelly Senyei of Just A Taste

By some magic, two ordinary pieces of bread, a slice of cheese and a slathering of butter have the ability to transform into one of life’s best culinary indulgences. The grilled cheese sandwich is a weeknight meal in a pinch, a late-night meal in a hurry, and an any-night-and-every-occasion meal for parties of one or 100. When reinvigorated beyond the basics, it leaps from childhood favorite to adult mainstay, without losing an ounce of its ooey-gooey appeal.

The real star of this recipe is every child’s enemy: onions. But thinly sliced and cooked in sugar, little ones may just believe that vegetables, too, can be candy. We have the balsamic, and all its tangy strength to thank for erasing any hint of cloying sweetness, while sharp cheddar cheese and hearty greens balance the palate and leave the door wide open for other additions (think crispy bacon, sliced tomatoes or mashed avocado).

Recipe: Grown-Up Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Balsamic Onions
Serves 2

You’ll need:

For the caramelized onions:
• 2 tsp. vegetable oil
• 1 large onion, thinly sliced
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1/8 tsp. black pepper
• 2 tbsp. sugar
• 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

For the grilled cheese:
• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
• 4 slices bread (such as sourdough or brioche)
• 4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
• 1 cup kale leaves

What to do:

Make the caramelized balsamic onions:

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the sliced onions, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the sugar and continue cooking the onions for 5 more minutes.

Add the balsamic vinegar and reduce the heat to low. Continue cooking the onions, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes until they are very soft and dry.

Assemble the grilled cheese:

Slather one side of all four slices of bread with the butter and set them aside.

Assemble one of the grilled cheese sandwiches by stacking one slice of cheese atop one slice of bread (the non-buttered side) and topping it with half the caramelized onions, half the kale leaves and a second slice of cheese. Top it with another buttered slice of bread (buttered side on top).

Repeat the assembly process for the second grilled cheese sandwich.

Heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Place each sandwich on the skillet and cook until the bread is toasted and golden and the cheese begins to melt. Flip each sandwich once and continue cooking until the opposite side of bread is toasted. Slice and serve immediately.

Thank you, Kelly!

P.S. More best recipes, including an egg sandwich and the best French picnic dish.

(Photos and recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just A Taste. Thanks to Shoko for helping with this series.)