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I thought I was doing pretty well with my grilled-cheese sandwiches. I make them in a cast-iron skillet, and when Jersey tomatoes are in season, I tuck a nice thick slice of tomato between two pieces of sandwich bread and some white American cheese.

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Looks good to me--but that was before I found out what CatholicMom.com contributor Kelly Wahlquist's teenagers were up to.

What does an impromptu teenager-invaded Friday night in Lent look like?

Funny you should ask! It looks like a new tradition—Grilled Cheese Bar! Yep, that's right... in a snowball-like effect, my kitchen became infiltrated with the friends of my teenage daughters at dinner time—go figure?

This means teens with different tastebuds! The result = best grilled cheese bar ever!

Ingredients to choose from: Creamy Havarti, fresh mozzarella, Horseradish-bacon Havarti, American, Velveeta, tomatoes, Basil, Spinach, Italian parsley, sautéed red onion with yellow and green squash, sautéed Portobello mushrooms and English Muffin Toasting Bread! YUM!!!

This all pretty much puts my same-old, plain-old grilled-cheese-and-tomato to shame.

More importantly, it highlights something I've always felt was important:  being able to extend hospitality to a bunch of teenagers on very short notice. Pizza is great, but it can be pricey to order pizza for a crowd. Grilled cheese is less expensive, and as Kelly demonstrates, part of the fun is in the creation of original sandwiches.

With summer coming up, fresh vegetables will be at their peak of flavor; why not tuck some of your favorite veggies into your next grilled-cheese sandwich? Change up the bread and cheese while you're at it, and don't forget to save a spot on the griddle for a sandwich for a friend.

What are your favorite grilled-cheese add-ins?

Copyright 2014 Barb Szyszkiewicz
Photo copyright Barb Szyszkiewicz