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it’s a little meatier

Recipe: grilled steak and cheese sandwich

Congratulations to Laura of Laura’s Best Recipes for winning the Quaker Oats challenge! My sincerest thanks to all of you who took me and Farm to School to the finals! You all are wonderful. While I’m disappointed that we didn’t win $10,000 for Farm to School, I think we raised awareness of the awesome work they are doing. You can always contribute independently – it is a great organization that gets at the root of helping farmers and helping our school children both immediately and for the long haul.

I can’t tell you how many times I have driven between 1 to 6 hours in order to get to a dark sky site and wait all night for meteor showers back in the day. I’ve gone with friends, but mostly I’ve gone with Jeremy. Jeremy and I would drive 4-6 hours out of Los Angeles to escape the light pollution and it was always on a weeknight so that we’d leave home sometime after dinner, arrive at the dark sky site by midnight, then watch for four hours and drive back bleary-eyed at 4 am only to hit the CRAZY 6 am traffic from Lancaster into the LA basin and then drag our carcasses into work. That made for some big headaches, let me tell you. These days, I just step out onto my deck and see if the weather is cooperating. When the skies are clear here, we can see the Milky Way as plain as if someone smacked you in the face with it. It is stunning to behold, every time. Some might think it would grow old seeing this on a daily basis, but like the beautiful mountains I live in – I never tire of seeing the Milky Way. I never tire of seeing the Pleiades overhead or Orion rising in the winter to chase them across the sky or Venus setting in the west. Ever since I was a little girl I would gaze up at the moon, the stars, the night sky. I still do. It takes my breath away.

All that to say, I did see Leonids last night. I find shooting stars to be mesmerizing. I didn’t capture any to share, because even though I had enough foresight to call my neighbor to ask that they turn off any lights overnight, I didn’t call the OTHER neighbor who leaves this crazy giant floodlight on – which reflects remarkably well off all of the snow on the ground. *squinty eyes* Guess I’ll have two phone calls to make next time.

Right. There is snow on the ground, but it’s fast melting away because we here in Colorado get a lot of snow and a lot of sun. It’s a perfect combination especially on a blue bird morning.


beautiful and familiar view from my deck



I’m still sorting my brain, my photos, my schtuff from last week and will be sharing that fantastic trip with you soon enough (when brain is in order). I landed in Denver on Friday and raced the snow storm home (it beat me), fed the dog, downloaded photos, wiped a CF card clean, and headed back to Boulder just in time to pick up Jeremy and arrive at the Culinary School of the Rockies (CSR) Harvest Dinner. We had been invited by Sarah Blecher, the lovely woman I met at the Savory Spice Shop shoot. I have a special place in my heart for CSR because that’s where I learned how to make pastries and how to adjust for high altitude (it’s still an ongoing learning process, but at least I’m no longer floundering about like a turtle on its back thanks to CSR). When I walk into the professional kitchen, I almost feel like I’m coming home – it is that familiar for me. The people who work there are wonderful, happy, and enthusiastic. They teach, they learn, they have fun.

The Harvest Dinner is a meal planned, prepared, and served by the Culinary Arts Farm to Table Program students to a dining room of about 60 guests. I was so excited to go back into the kitchen and watch the students in action! You’d think after a week of fine food and fine wine that I’d be sick of it. To that I say: ELASTIC WAISTBANDS are your friends.


best plate of the night: ale-brined pork belly with polenta and apple cider reduction

a student preps the pappardelle



We sat with several members of the CSR staff and friends talking about the local restaurant and food scene, CSR classes and programs, food, wine, and more food. I feel fortunate that a town the size of Boulder can boast its own Culinary School and still offer fun home classes for cooking enthusiasts. CSR has a strong involvement with the local community as well – and that’s a great thing for all of us.

another winner: sherry-braised chick peas

students quickly gather to serve apple brioche bread pudding with bourbon caramel sauce



Overall, the meal was superbly executed. I kept thinking to myself, “I must get these recipes!” followed by “I need to not eat for the next month.” You can see more photos from the evening on my photo blog. But now, it’s time for a recipe so simple that the only reason I don’t make it more often is because you’d have to plunger me through the door.

hello pretty ribeye steak, i think i love you

make that, i *definitely* love you



When we grill steaks, we will occasionally have enough for leftovers which I quite love turning into sandwiches. Remember my ongoing love affair with sandwiches? Okay, maybe you haven’t been reading long enough, but sandwiches are a most beloved form of delivering awesomeness to my belly. I like to slice up the leftover steak when it’s cold (easier to slice thin), and slice up some onion…

thin slices of cold steak

don’t cry



Swiss is my cheese of choice because it’s terrific when melted between two slices of grilled bread. Layer the cheese on the bread first, then some steak. While the bread, cheese, and steak get to know each other, I sauté the onions in a little oil until they are soft… really soft. You can caramelize them if you like, but mine didn’t make it before my impatience won out (it always does).

two… three… four…

i know, they’re a little burnt – whatevs



I don’t know when or where I first learned to grill a sandwich, but my life is so much better for it! It’s nothing fancy – a flat-bottomed pan on medium to medium-high heat and you’re good to go. The cheese side should always go down first to achieve a state of meltiness. That is a technical term, so don’t argue with me. When the bread (which I like to spread with a little butter) is golden, carefully flip the sandwich over and brown the other side. I know there are a million ways to grill a sandwich, so do whatever floats your boat. The ultimate goal is to eat a delicious sandwich. [Yeah, I used the word delicious. People who don't like it can go stuff it and you know damn well who you are.]

ready to sizzle

for the love of all that is good and beautiful in this world, don’t forget the cornichons!



My favorite accompaniment to the grilled steak sandwich (or any grilled cheese sandwich) would have to be a piping hot bowl of tomato soup because they were meant to be. Even Jeremy, the man who used to fear tomatoes, concedes this fact and enjoys his sandwich with tomato soup. I’m curious to hear what your favorite soup and sandwich combinations are. I know I can’t be the only sandwich lover out there.

dear sandwich, how i love thee



Grilled Steak Sandwich
[print recipe]

2 tsps vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
salt to taste (optional)
2 slices bread, buttered on one side (I like the sourdough)
1-2 slices cheese (I like the Swiss)
leftover steak, sliced thin

In a medium sauté pan, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent and golden (about 5-10 minutes depending on the heat and how impatient you are). Add a little salt if desired. Remove from heat and set aside. You can either use the same pan (cleared of onions) or another flat-bottomed pan and place a slice of bread, buttered-side down on medium heat. Layer the cheese evenly on the non-buttered side of the bread. Then layer the steak over the cheese. Top with onions and set the second slice of bread non-buttered side down on the sandwich. The cheese will begin to melt in a few minutes. Watch that the base bread doesn’t burn during the cheese-melting phase. When the bread is crisp and golden, flip the sandwich to brown the other side and then serve. Makes one kickass sandwich.

44 nibbles at “it’s a little meatier”

  1. Dawson says:

    you hit the nail on the head: grilled cheese and tomato!!

  2. Abby (Nibble, Nourish, Run) says:

    I would like that sandwich and your morning view please!

  3. Jessica @ How Sweet It Is says:

    Your view is to die for. I saw you post it on Twitter the other day and I almost died. It is gorgeous. And this sandwich is my husband’s idea of perfect.

  4. Sarah Welch says:

    Grilled cheese and tomato or beef veggie soup for me

    I also love brie, green apple, and sour dough grilled cheese–yummy!

  5. Jean Kyung Huston says:

    i am so jealous of your view and your sandwich that I actually felt a pang of depression. it may be time to plan a road trip away from Michigan. and make a sandwich.

  6. Phoo-D says:

    Cheese and tomato cannot be separated in my world! The two belong together and are one of our all time favorite soup/sandwich combinations.

  7. Silvia says:

    I think I miss snow and cold weather. Since we have hot weather here almost all year round we don’t eat soup too often, but a great combo is coliflour soup with dill and a salmon-avocado-egg sandwich. Good stuff.

  8. Julie Wilson says:

    Hello to you – love the pics and recent posts. Yummy combos? Grilled cheese and tomato – natch. Grilled ham and cheese with veggie soup, apple and brie with chicken and rice, chili and open-face cheese toast, white chicken chili with cheddar and chutney sandwiches.

  9. Chaitali says:

    My favorite combo is a grilled steak sandwich with a beef consomme or chicken noodle soup. I like to saute the steak with onions, green peppers and mushrooms and top it with fresh mozzarella on either rye or sourdough bread. Its such a perfect winter lunch!
    My second fav combo is grilled cheese with tomato soup. This one has to be done the old fashioned way with processed american cheese, white bread and canned soup otherwise it just doesn’t taste the same. :)

  10. dawn says:

    ohhh that’s ok if it’s burnt, bring it on. hello!

  11. Hsin says:

    Mmmm, my mother used to make me a sandwich very much like yours with the cooked onions, leftover steaks and other beef, plus whatever bread we had on hand.
    I like eating that sandwich a lot with onion soup, and I also like a good ham and cheese sandwich with split pea or red lentil soup.

    But what I’m really hungry for is your view. I love stargazing. When I was a kid, I used to wish I could be an astronaut when I grew up. I think the earth is beautiful (whatever we humans haven’t turned ugly, that is), but I really thought it would be so amazing to go up into the skies. I still do. I think it’s sweet that both you and J enjoy looking at the stars so much.

    Thanks for sharing.

  12. Andrea says:

    love this combo, but what’s your tomato soup recipe?

  13. Dani says:

    Ditto love your view!
    Ditto excellent sandwich!

    I also live in a never-gets-cold clime (Phoenix, Arizona) so generally stay away from soup (except French onion soup, which I will even eat for breakfast!) But I do like a BLT or grilled cheese sandwich with cold gazpacho. Add avocado to both and I’m in heaven. Although from your view, I’d say you live closer to heaven than I do.

  14. TheKitchenWitch says:

    What kind of fucknut objects to the usage of the word “delicious” in a food blog? How odd!

    I love me the sandwiches! Sandwiches rock. I’m a huge fan of spicy tomato or black bean soup with a cubano (extra pickles) on the side. Heaven!

  15. Banannas says:

    Hooo…I, too, love me some sammiches!

    it’s so hard to pick a favorite combo. I do tend to be partial to a warm, buttery croissant, halved and filled with a little good ham, thinly sliced bell peppers, and a bit of spicy mustard. I like to dip this into a bowl of my broccoli-cheese soup. Yum!

  16. Sara says:

    Looks amazing. I’m imagining that perfect bite of bread/steak/cheese/onions in my mouth right now…YUM!

  17. Natalie says:

    That looks delicious. I agree with the tomato soup/grilled cheese combination, it’s definitely a winner. My favorite soup and sandwich is a curried butternut squash soup with a cheddar grilled cheese sandwich. Sometime I sneak a little honeycrisp apple slice in there to mix it up- perfect fall meal.

  18. Shoshanna says:

    What a delightful and delicious sandwich! :P I agree that a nice grilled sandwich should most certainly be accompanied by soup. I think my favorite at the moment is a Goat Cheese with prosciutto on an Artisan bread and milestrone soup. Other contenders for sandwiches aside from grilled steak with mushrooms/green peppers/onion/cheese are brie and Turkey on ciabatta (melted)… drool…

  19. barbara says:

    And I thought I was the only sandwich addict out there. I sometimes feel guilty about my love for the sandwich. I like them both grilled or ungrilled. We call them toasted sandwiches, but the method is the same – butter the outside and fry in pan. My favourite is a simple toasted cheese and onion sandwich served with tomato soup. In fall I do like haloumi and fig matched with a pumpkin soup. When I was doing chemo they would bring around tea and sandwiches for lunch. The sandwiches were cut on the diagonal. Since then I can only eat the sandwich cut on the horizontal.

  20. Xtal says:

    This looks SOOO good.. i HAVE to make this!! My favorite soup/sandwich is… Corned beef/brie/sour dough bread grilled of course.. It is SOOOOOOOOOOOOO good! I like it with a bowl of broccoli cheese soup!
    I keep meaning to comment.. i made a few things on this site… and they turned out excellent. My husband is from Taiwan and loves all the recipes i got from here.. YOUR AMAZING!!!!!!!!!! He said that you are an angel hehe… Thanks again this site is wonderful!

  21. m says:

    a small bowl of pho and a sandwich made with french bread, ‘cha lua’ slices, a fried runny egg and soy sauce with pepper

    oh my goodnessssss! *drool*

  22. emhuze says:

    Oh to have your star-gazing venue, alas I live in a low sun index area and meteorite showers are often disguised. I admire your earlier star-gazing efforts… what troopers.
    Favorite sandwich = fried egg on whole wheat – must have mayo and sour pickle slices on it… must.
    Favorite soup = beef & barley

  23. Raecheal says:

    oooohhhhh… that looks *SO* good! I cannot sleep and now you have me thinking of a 4 am raid on the fridge. lol

  24. Mrs Ergül says:

    This just looks too good! I love having leftover meat for sandwiches too! It is like making two meals with one effort. I think that tomato soup looks darn amazing too! I want, no, I need that recipe!!

  25. Kristin says:

    Ok, I’m thinking your hotel bedroom with your view from home would be perfection. I love soup & sandwiches so much that I can’t pick a fav combo. But I love my roasted & grilled veggie w/ avocado combo on Great Grains bread. Soup…lentil, minestrone, ooh…scallop chowder, tomato…I can’t choose.

    Since you mostly seem to head west, you may never find yourself in Lancaster, PA, but if you do, go to Isaac’s Deli & Restaurant & get a sandwich. They’re all named after birds & are unbelievably delicious. I insist that we go to Isaac’s whenever we go back to visit.

  26. Divina says:

    Wow, that last photo is just calling me. Just the perfect combination.

  27. Annie says:

    Yes, grilled cheese and tomato is definitely my favorite too. I used to think I hated tomato soup until I had the real, homemade stuff instead of the kind from the red and white can – now it’s my favorite! A close second would be a veggie panini with black bean salsa soup. Mmm.

  28. Laura Flowers says:

    Um. Yum!!!!!

  29. The Other Woman says:

    Farm to School was what attracted me to your entry. You did a great job AND yes, you did help raise awareness. Congratulations!

  30. L. says:

    I used to live in a place where I could see the Milky Way. There are a lot of things I don’t miss about being out in the sticks, but I DO miss the stars, a lot.

    Two open-faced sandwiches via Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone: sliced leeks, simmered in white wine, add some cream and milk and reduce, stir in cheese at the end, serve over country bread. And spinach sauteed with garlic over caramelized onions, add sliced tomatoes if you like (I don’t, husband does), cheese on top, put under broiler until deliciously* melted. Drizzle with balsamic.

    * I agree with someone above. What’s wrong with saying “delicious”?!

  31. Tartelette says:

    Delicious! Delicious! Delicious! Delicious! Delicious! Delicious! Delicious!….

    Nah!

    Steak, cheese and soup! Love it! My favorite sandwich is grilled red bell pepper, grilled onion, grilled eggplant, herbs and goat chese, drizzle of balsamic and olive oil. Oh….

  32. KMS says:

    i haven’t really been able to concentrate after seeing the pork belly photo!!

  33. Valérie says:

    Yes, I too have fallen in love with sandwiches! I’ll even have them for dinner, if they’re elaborate enough! Yum!

  34. Melissa says:

    …I see Helen mocking you up there…

    Like you, sandwiches are absolutely one of my favorite things. I don’t often make soup with them though and I can’t imagine why not. Tomato is great. I also like homemade broccoli. Goes well with a turkey bacon swiss panini.

    For me, the four days leading up to Thanksgiving will consist of very simple meals, with no leftovers. This steak sandwich will likely make an appearance and no I’m not just saying that. ;)

  35. Brenda S 'Okie in Colorado' says:

    That looks so delicious. I love to take leftover ribeyes, cut thin, and add to a salad of greens, red onion, croutons, and tangy vinaigrette.

  36. Brenda S 'Okie in Colorado' says:

    Oh, by the way, is that Udi’s sourdough you used on the sandwich, by chance?

  37. Saskia says:

    Split pea soup, dark, dark, dark (black) rye bread and bacon. But I am Dutch..:-)

  38. Lisa says:

    Nothing fancy, but it floats my boat: a grilled cheddar cheese sandwich and cream of tomato soup. However, the best part of Thanksgiving is the turkey-cranberry sauce sandwich the next day w/ extra mayo, please.

  39. Eileen says:

    I love tomato soup with a sandwich – but really any soup with a grilled sandwich is perfect for me. I really got into making soups last winter with whatever random veggies were lying around the kitchen. I need to keep better notes though because some turned out horrible but I can’t even remember now… I’m likely doomed to make the same mistakes this winter. Doh!

  40. Andrea says:

    I love being able to look up at orion on a cold frosty winter night. You are so right about the san-soup combo. I dido the other Andrea’s comment, any good tomato soup recipe? I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect tomato soup for what seems like forever.

  41. Kevin says:

    That is one nice looking sandwich!

  42. jenyu says:

    Oooh, I love hearing everyone’s favorite sandwich and soup combos! Giving me tons of ideas (and making me not just a little hungry!) Thanks, guys! As for my tomato soup… I don’t have my own recipe (although there is one I’ve been wanting to try lately, so perhaps I’ll give it a go). I buy Imagine organic creamy tomato soup. It’s one of the few that doesn’t contain any milk solids (because milk doesn’t like me so much) and I think the flavor is quite satisfying.

    Julie – thanks, babe. Clearly, our years apart have not affected our affinity for the good food in life :) xoxo

    TKW – just people who say it’s overused. It IS overused, but that doesn’t mean the word has no place in the English language.

    Barbara – So happy that we are both crazy for sandwiches :) It will make it all the easier when we have to decide on lunch when you visit the states or when I visit Oz! And NO sandwiches on the diagonal! xoxo

    Xtal – thanks, you’re so sweet.

    Kristin – thanks for the tip! I rarely travel east, but I used to spend my summers in Lancaster, PA (math camp… don’t laugh!) :) If I ever head back, I will surely keep Isaac’s Deli in mind. Thanks!

    Tartelette – a ha ha ha!! :)

    Melissa – Helen is always one to joke around with me. We have the same immature humor ;)

    Brenda – it’s actually Trader Joe’s sourdough bread. I hoard it whenever we swing past a TJ’s (which unfortunately isn’t often), but when I run out of TJ’s sourdough, I do buy Udi’s which isn’t a bad substitute.

  43. Rainy Day « Sarah-fina Custom Designs & Invitations says:

    [...] Grilled Cheese Sandwich – http://www.foodgwaker.com / http://userealbutter.com/2009/11/17/grilled-steak-sandwiches-recipe/ [...]

  44. Amanda says:

    Yum! Have you submitted this to the Grilled Cheese Academy yet? http://www.grilledcheeseacademy.com/submitrecipe

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