Kid-Friendly Cooking: How to Make the Perfect Grilled Cheese

Who isn’t so busy these days that the prospect of cooking up a great grilled cheese for dinner is appealing? This time-honored and beloved sammie is quick and simple for kids of all ages to make. Not to mention, it’s easy on the wallet and an overall crowd-pleaser.

“After a long day, getting something on the table that pretty much everyone loves is what’s on the menu,” said The Gables at Chadds Ford’s Executive Chef Darryl Butts. “It’s old-school comfort food, and that’s why bread and cheese and a few accompaniments can be the perfect dinner choice.”

We agree: Who doesn’t love gooey cheese between just-right grilled bread? It’s also something that the family can do together. Depending on their ages, let the kids help with as many steps as possible. 

Every parent knows their kids’ skill levels, which will vary by age; still some kiddos are naturals in the kitchen. Use your best judgement when divvying up the following tasks to keep kids busy and engaged:

  1. Unwrapping or slicing the cheese

  2. Preparing the bread

  3. Heating pan

  4. Assembling the sandwich

  5. Flipping the sandwich

  6. Making sides, such as preparing salad, chopping veggies, heating soup — what do your kids enjoy doing in the kitchen?

Here’s Chef Darryl’s recipe for a perfectly indulgent grilled cheese!

Chef Darryl’s Grilled Cheese Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

Serves 4


  1. 8 slices bread of your choice (we went with kid-pleasing white bread)

  2. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter; more in reserve, if the pan needs

  3. 16 pieces thinly sliced cheese of your choice (we picked kid-friendly American cheese)

Method for two sandwiches cooked at once:

  1. Heat large skillet over medium heat; melt 1 tablespoon butter per sandwich. (Note: If your skillet can accommodate more than one sandwich at a time, go for it and scale up ingredients accordingly!)

  2. Place 2 slices of bread in skillet. Top each slice with 4 pieces cheese and top with another slice of bread.

  3. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the bottom is golden.

  4. Flip and gently press down to melt cheese. 

  5. Sandwich is done when the bottom is golden brown.

  6. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Although the traditional side for this dish is a hot cup of tomato soup, other options can include a salad with vinaigrette dressing, stewed tomatoes or a pickle selection. These slightly acidic sides contrast with the sandwich’s decadent fat content.

Having trouble sourcing some ingredients? The Gables at Chadds Ford is not only offering takeout, but also a pop-up grocery shop! Pick up produce, dairy, meat, dry goods, The Gables salad dressings, and paper/sanitary items. Watch the website for holiday and other specials, too. You’ll find many favorites on these menus that are available Tuesday through Sunday, from noon to 7:30 p.m. for curbside pick-up and delivery (delivery is free up to 5 miles, and only $10 for 6 to 10 miles). Things remain unsettled as stay-at-home orders linger on; The Gables is here for you.

And, a reminder that we’ll be here to serve you at the restaurant when these challenging times are behind us. The Gables at Chadds Ford is nestled in the heart of the historic Brandywine Valley and features fresh seasonal cuisine, rustic yet elegant charm, and enchanting outdoor dining (in season). The Gables is also the perfect venue to host a special event, whether you are planning a wedding, rehearsal dinner, baby shower or corporate event.

Nina Malone

Feature photo: Bigstock; All other photos courtesy of The Gables at Chadds Ford.

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