05/25/2013 11:48 am ET | Updated Mar 10, 2015

Basic Dishes: How To Make Everyday Meals Taste Amazing


By Lynn Andriani

Learn how to make everyday dishes, from French toast to popcorn, turn out so much better -- with just a few tiny tweaks.

5 Basics We're All Cooking Wrong

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  • The Grilled Cheese For People Who Put Pickles On Everything
    Juan Patiño Photography
    A topping made from Italian and Greek pepperoncini peppers, cornichon pickles and a dash of white wine give this grilled treat a tangy kick. Megan Johnson, chef at Casellula Cheese & Wine Café in New York, uses a mix of Emmentaler, Gruyère and Scharfer Max, a buttery, rich Alpine cheese. Get the recipe: Griddled Fondue Sandwich with Pickled Pepper Relish
  • The Grilled Cheese For Sweet Tooths
    Amy Neunsinger
    Giada De Laurentiis promises ham and cheese never tasted so good. She adds sautéed Granny Smith apples to give these panini a hint of sugary tartness, and chopped fresh thyme for a savory and earthy essence. Get the recipe: Ham, Gruyère, and Apple Panini
  • The Grilled Cheese For Homesick Southerners
    Smith Canteen
    Robert Newton, a chef from Arkansas, serves this spicy sandwich at his Brooklyn café Smith Canteen. A blend of sharp white Cheddar, roasted red peppers, mayonnaise and cayenne pepper form the basis of his take on the quintessential Southern spread. Get the recipe: Ham and Pimento Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • The Grilled Cheese For Bacon Lovers
    Proof on Main
    Michael Paley, chef at Proof on Main in Louisville, Kentucky, makes a jam from applewood-smoked bacon, Spanish onions, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup and coffee--which gives this sandwich a sweet-salty element. Get the recipe: Grilled Cheese with Sharp Cheddar, Taleggio Cheese and Bacon Marmalade
  • The Grilled Cheese For Someone Who'd Rather Be Eating Quiche
    Ellen Silverman
    Not technically a sandwich, this hand pie--which you make in a muffin tin--combines hearty farmer cheese (you can substitute ricotta or cottage cheese), subtle fresh thyme and floral honey. It's especially good with a cornmeal crust, though a butter crust works too. Get the recipe: Farmer Cheese Pie
  • The Grilled Cheese For Breakfast Fiends
    New York City cheese shop Murray's has its own version of bacon, egg and cheese: cherrywood-smoked bacon, a fried egg and melted Fontina cheese, served on an English muffin that toasts right in the skillet or on the griddle. Get the recipe: Murray's Breakfast Melt
  • The Grilled Cheese For Minimalists
    Juan Patiño Photography
    This recipe proves that when you use high-quality ingredients, you don't need fancy techniques. Casellula Cheese & Wine Café chef Megan Johnson just melts salty Comté, delicate Fol Epi, fresh chèvre and 5 Spoke Creamery Tumbleweed cheese, which is akin to aged Cheddar, on sourdough with sliced tomato. Get the recipe: Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Goat Cheese and Tomato
  • The Grilled Cheese For Pasta Fanatics
    Adam Schneider
    Adam Schneider based the signature dish at his New York grilled cheese restaurant Little Muenster on one of his favorite pastas. It's the sandwich equivalent of spaghetti carbonara. Get the recipe: Gruyère, Chèvre, Leek Confit and Pancetta Melt
  • The Grilled Cheese For Anyone Who Loves Chips And Dip
    Sean Olnowich
    Sean Olnowich, executive chef at the New York sports lounge Bounce Sporting Club, puts caramelized onions in between layers of Cheddar cheese for extra flavor. Make sure you slice the sandwich into finger-size lengths so they're easier to dunk. Get the recipe: Grilled Cheese Bars with Tomato Soup Dip