Toaster oven days
Ok, so maybe I’m going to alienate some people today, but here goes nothing. I grew up with a toaster oven. My husband also grew up with a toaster oven. We were toaster oven people. Now I don’t know if that was just a symptom of our 80’s/90’s upbringing, or an insight into our socio-economic status – which I’ll say was comfortable but not without coupons. But either way both Eddie and I, somewhere in our early tweens, both knew the allure of the toaster oven and the glorious creations that emerged from within its radiant-heated walls.
But time, it changes you. Fast forward a couple of decades, and you’d find us older, taller, fatter, in some ways wiser, but ultimately without said toaster oven. Honestly for a while I had no toaster at all. I would just spear a piece of a bread with a knife and hold it over the open flame of the stove in whatever apartment I was calling home that year. I’m pretty sure Eddie never stooped to that level of sadness/genius and went without toast for a good long while – eventually throwing 20 bucks at the problem and getting a run-of-the-mill slot toaster. Once we got serious and merged our lives, stuff, and various emotional baggage though, it occurred to us that our toaster situation kind of sucked. And that we were longing for the nostalgic treats of our youth – pizza muffins, cinnamon toast, and melty, ooey, gooey, cheesy bread.
So this past Christmas we righted that wrong. Or rather Eddie did, by way of the cats (yes we’re those people that give each other presents that are technically from our pets – feel free to judge). And now we’re the proud owners of one monster of a toaster oven and our lives are COMPLETE.
Or at least made better by the addition of cheese toast
So again, if you didn’t grow up with a toaster oven, then maybe you’re not in the cheese toast is life club. But even if you didn’t have the equipment you are still human and so must understand the beautiful coalescence of toasty bread and melty cheese. If you are a vegan, lactose intolerant, or just a cheese hater – well I am truly sorry. But I must speak my truth. And that truth is cheese toast.
How to make the best cheese toast
Uh Jo, the recipe’s right there in the name. Let’s not over-complicate things shall we? And yes, I’d agree that the cheese toast of my youth was delicious – I mean I’m dedicating an entire blog post to it, so it must have struck a major chord somewhere, right? But the BEST cheese toast, and maybe even further to that, the BEST cheese toast that you as a grown-ass adult might hope to make, involves just a few tips to ensure maximum cheese toast enjoyability.
- Toast your bread, sans cheese, first. You want to make sure you have a solid foundation for your mountain of melty deliciousness to sit upon.
- While we’re discussing bread – make it a delicious, hearty slice. Sourdough is always nice, but anything sturdy is great. If it comes pre-sliced steer clear.
- Because this is grown up cheese toast add a couple of grown up type things. It won’t ruin the experience, I promise. You’ll still get lots of cheesy goodness, but also enough nutrient dense stuff to call it a proper meal.
- If you don’t have a toaster oven don’t fret. You have a regular oven, yes? It’s just a bigger version of the same thing.
And if you don’t want to say you’re having cheese toast for dinner?
Just call it an opened face mushroom melt – though I’m pretty sure if you told someone you were having them over for cheese toast they’d think you were the coolest. So just food for thought.Print
Open Faced Mushroom Melts
These open faced mushroom melts are vegetarian comfort food goals. Get this hearty, healthy, and cheesy recipe on the table in under 3o minutes.
- Prep Time: 5 Minutes
- Cook Time: 20 Minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 6 Servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Cuisine: American
1 lb cremini mushrooms
3 T olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp fresh thyme
10 ounces baby spinach
1 C grated cheddar cheese
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
3 T whole grain mustard
6 slices sourdough or multigrain bread
2 garlic cloves
Heat olive oil in a large skillet until shimmering. Toss mushrooms in oil and spread into an even layer. Cook undisturbed for five minutes. Toss and cook for another 2. Add salt, pepper, thyme, and spinach. Cook until spinach is wilted. Add balsamic and cook for one more minute. Remove from heat.
While mushrooms cook lightly toast bread. Cut open a clove of garlic and rub it against the toast on one side. Spread each piece of toast with mustard, pile on 1/2 C of mushroom mixture, cover with cheese. Broil for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Fry eggs and serve along side or over top.
Letting the mushrooms cook without touching them and not salting them too early both promote browning, and brown is where it’s at.
If you need a quick egg frying technique that works EVERY time. Check this one out.
Keywords: hearty vegetarian, vegetarian comfort food, open faced sandwich
Oh hey, one more thing!
If you make this recipe please snap a quick pic and tag me. I love seeing your creations! Also if you’re bored and feeling like clicking around the internet – feel free to leave a comment and tell me about your experience making this. And as always, thank you so much for reading. You’re the tops!
I remember in elementary school, they would serve “cheese toast” for breakfast. It was much more depressing though – white toasted bread with a small piece of American “cheese” broiled on top. Sigh. This looks much more delicious!! I love mushrooms + cheese so this is right up my alley! Can’t wait to give it a whirl.
Yeah that’s the cheese toast of my youth too. About time for an upgrade!
I made this more simple because I had no spinach or balsamic, (grocery days tomorrow!) But I did have mushrooms, garlic and thyme and a loaf of sourdough on the verge of being to crunchy that I was ecstatic to have a use for! I DO have a toaster oven and happily broiled my cheese, parm/mozzarella till gooey strings were ready to pull mushrooms off every other bite. Delicious, simple and my fiancee would like it every day! Awesome!
Diane, that sounds great! I’m so glad you liked it!