I discovered something that seems so simple it's silly I haven't thought of it before. If you don't have softened butter on hand, or if your like me and you had softened butter but it had molded, and you had promised a grilled cheese sandwich to your two year old then there is an easy and quick fix. It does not involve melting the butter slowly in the microwave either, when I have done this I always end up melting it to a liquid state. All you do is, put a pad of butter in the frying pan, wait till it's melted, then add the sandwich, and cook like normal. No need to actually spread the butter on each slice of bread. Im thinking this would work with oil too but I have not tried that yet.
I hope this little cheat helps you out. I for one will be using it a lot, I'm sure.
Please feel welcome to share your little cooking cheats in the comments section. I'm sure we could all use a few more in our tool belt.