This fresh take on classic comfort food — the Spicy Fajita Grilled Cheese Sandwich recipe — is perfect for making together. This recipe was created for my friends at Land O’Lakes, but all opinions are my own. And when you pin this, you can help give meals to families in need. Read on to find out how.
What is home? It can be a place — that spot where you live. But if you are anything like me, home isn’t just one place. It’s a collection of places, bound by the common thread of comfort, joy and nostalgia. There’s my home in Maine, where my kids and I have created new traditions and invigorated the old ones. There’s my family’s home in Connecticut, where I have spent more summer days than anywhere. There’s the home where I grew up, which we no longer own, which still holds a treasured space in my heart. And then there’s less tangible spaces — ones that don’t belong to me at all, but still carry that whisper of “this is home,” because of the people there.
Finding that comfort in life — and home — isn’t easy. When we moved here last summer, I felt like an outsider in a place that is very much like a small town. It seems like everyone knows each other, and have for a long time — so there’s a certain history and understanding that I simply can’t tap into as a newcomer.
Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It also means I am not a slave to that history.
That said, only now am I beginning to feel the tendrils of belonging swirl in our new community — 10 months after moving here. For a while, I was largely anonymous — the one from away who no one knew. But slowly it began to change. The occasional hellos in the grocery store have morphed into running into people we know just about everywhere. Coming from a place where that was part of the charm, it’s been an interesting transition. While the anonymity was nice for a while, feeling part of your community has its benefits.
But I’m not there yet.
A year ago, I was teaching Sunday school, leading a Girl Scout troop, volunteering in my son’s school and had a standing date to walk 5 miles every Friday. There were soccer practices and games, friends to rely on, girls to hang out with … and it took me 10 years to get there. One would think that coming from such an active life, I would have easily slid into a similar situation here.
Most of that is a choice though. With life changing so drastically, I didn’t jump into commitments as soon as we arrived. Instead, I focused on building our life at home first — so that home could be a place of comfort and security. And it is.
Here, we’ve created those new traditions I mentioned — like having a weekly cheese night (we call it “cheesy Mondays”) and cooking dinner together most nights. The kids take on some dishes, while I do others. It’s meant that we both spend more quality time together, and I get to pass on a useful skill.
As a result, when I plan meals for the week, I combine things we’ll all love with things that the kids can make or learn to make. From roasted asparagus to salads to fruit plates, they are dipping their toes into cooking and enjoying it.
When I recently heard that it’s Grilled Cheese Month, I couldn’t wait to add one to our menu. The great thing about grilled cheese is that it’s so easy but also so flexible. The kids can adapt the recipe to their liking while I make it to mine.
This grilled cheese recipe totally appeals to my spicy-loving self. Filled with jalapeños, seasoned sautéed onions and peppers, avocado, salsa, and LAND O LAKES® Deli American, Spicy Fajita Grilled Cheese is an explosion of flavor in a sandwich. But for my kids, who like things a little milder, it becomes a delicious Fajita Grilled Cheese — minus the spice — that they can love too.
Making it is a little more complicated than a classic grilled cheese because you start by sautéing onions and peppers until they are softened. This adds a little more time and effort to making these sandwiches — but it’s totally worth it. And then you pile buttered bread with all the ingredients, and grill the sandwich to melty perfection.
Pin a Meal. Give a Meal.
And there’s another good thing about this sandwich: This year, I am participating in Pin a Meal. Give a Meal. with Land O’Lakes and Feeding America to help families put dinner on the table. Help Land O’Lakes reach the goal of donating 3.5 million meals to Feeding America by pinning Land O’Lakes recipes like this one and using #pinameal. For every Land O’Lakes recipe that is pinned or re-pinned between now and April 30, 2015, the Land O’Lakes Foundation will donate $1 to Feeding America® (up to $350,000 or 3.5 million meals).
Are you familiar with Feeding America®? It’s a national organization that helps 37 million families each year, working with food banks and agencies in every single state. To learn more, check out the Pin a Meal page on the Land O’Lakes site.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup sliced red and green peppers and onions
- Butter, , to taste
- 8 slices white bread, (from a bakery loaf)
- 8 slices LAND O LAKES® Deli American
- 1 avocado, , pitted, peeled and sliced
- 1 1/2 tbsp hot salsa
- Sliced jalapeño, , to taste (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the peppers and onion and saute for 5-8 minutes, until softened and slightly golden.
- Butter one side of each of the slices of bread. On the opposite side as the buttered side of four slices, layer each with one slice of LAND O LAKES® Deli American, 1/4 of the peppers and onion mixture, 1/4 of the avocado, 1/4 of the salsa and sliced jalapeño, if using. Top each with another slice of LAND O LAKES® Deli American and a slice of bread.
- In a hot skillet on a burner set to medium, cook each sandwich, flipping once, until golden on both sides. Slice diagonally and enjoy.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.