By Kimberly Holland

Two classics become one fantastic meal.

Grilled cheese sandwiches don't get a lot of credit and are often relegated to kids' menus at restaurants. Or they're reserved for nights at home when the cupboard's bare, the energy is low, but the hunger is great. After all, little is as filling (and cheap) as two slices of bread, melty cheese, and a slathering of tongue-tantalizing butter.

But if you desire something a bit more next-level from your grilled cheese sandwiches, one simple swap will turn the humble sando into an out-of-this-world sammie you'll be more than thrilled to serve yourself or any guest who joins you at your table. And no, you don't have to buy expensive cheeses or costly artisan brioche.

Photo: Kimberly Holland

The answer lies in the bread. We're talking garlic bread. Instead of basic cold butter or mayo on the outside of the bread, you're going to use those spreads as the base of a garlic bread schmear. Then, you'll sandwich melty cheeses, like provolone and mozzarella, between the two garlic bread slices, and cook for an unforgettably good cheese sandwich experience.

It's unpretentious; garlic bread itself is quite modest. You don't need flashy toppings or fancy equipment to turn bread rounds into the perfect accoutrement for soups, stews, pastas, and more. That's precisely what makes this upgraded grilled cheese so spectacular: it's almost too easy.

How to Make Garlic Bread Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

1. Add fresh minced or grated garlic, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and minced fresh parsley to softened butter (or mayonnaise). Stir to combine.

2. Spread a light coating of the garlic-butter spread on one side of two slices of bread (sourdough preferred). Place slices or shreds of your favorite cheese on one slice of bread. Top with the other slice of bread. Find out which cheese makes the best grilled cheese sandwiches.

3. Place sandwich in a skillet heated over medium to medium-low heat. Cover skillet loosely with an aluminum foil sheet. This helps to retain the moisture and heat so the bread cooks evenly while the cheese melts quickly. Cook three to four minutes, or until the bread crust is crisped and golden. Flip to other side, and cook another three to four minutes.

Get the recipe: Garlic Bread Grilled Cheese

Photo: Kimberly Holland

If you happen to have a box of ready-made garlic bread in your freezer or bread box, you'll hear no arguments from us on using those as an easy cheat. With the frozen garlic bread, however, you may want to let the bread get a bit warm so the center of each slice cooks and heats through while in the skillet. If you go right from the freezer to the skillet, you may bite into a bit of icy bread.

Add a bit more "meal" to this sandwich, and serve it with Simple Tomato Soup and a nice ice cold beer or crisp Sauvignon Blanc. And if you want to keep the fantastic grilled cheese theme going, try one of these fancy-pants versions for dessert.

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