Celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month!

Pesto Pizza Grilled CheeseI’m ashamed of myself. April is National Grilled Cheese month, surely cause for celebration for anyone who calls herself a cheese lover like me, and yet here it is April 27th and I’ve posted exactly zero recipes about grilled cheese. The first year I was blogging, I found out about National Grilled Cheese month too late, at the end of April. Last year, I had Wes in April, so I’ll go ahead and take that one as a good excuse. This year, I have a one year old and have been planning a first birthday party. Excuses aside, if all of you loyal cheese loving fans forgive me, I’ll give you two fantastic grilled cheese recipes right now!

Before I go too much farther, I will say that grilled cheese “recipes” are hard for me to write. Recipes include measurements, of which there are none when I make grilled cheese. So what I’ll give you are approximations, but I’ll trust you to use your judgment. Also, I had been hearing for a while that you can use mayonnaise instead of butter on the outside of the grilled cheese bread, and then it can withstand cooking longer so the cheese can melt without the bread burning. I did not have good results when I tried using mayonnaise, so I’ll be sticking with butter and a low burner.

The first recipe might sound unusual to you. It came to me, as many grilled cheese recipes do, when we didn’t have anything planned for dinner and were scrounging around the pantry and refrigerator for something to eat. We had some gouda to use up and also some provolone, so we decided on grilled cheese. In getting ready to make the grilled cheese, I was really looking for something else to put in there…an avocado, a tomato, something. I didn’t have either of those things at the time (I told you, we were scrounging), but I did have apples. And bacon! Tim wasn’t really sure about this concoction, but I knew it would be amazing! If you think about it, people eat apples and cheese together all the time (though I’m not sure I’m on board with the apple pie and cheese thing). And what isn’t good with bacon? Once he tried it, he agreed with me that it totally worked. The apple added a nice texture inside the sandwich and a little bit of sweetness, which was amazing against the saltiness of the bacon. I made a maple Dijon dipping sauce for the side, and it really completed the combination!

The thing about this grilled cheese, like I already said, is that we were in scrounge mode. Which means we were hungry. And it wasn’t really planned to be a blog post, so I don’t have great pictures of this one. We pretty much inhaled the sandwiches as soon as they were done. But it was so good I just really want to share it, so I’ll let you see a couple I managed to take. Don’t judge.

Gouda Apple Bacon Grilled CheeseGouda Apple Bacon Grilled Cheese

The other recipe was much more intentional and pre-planned. I just started thinking that it would be interesting to combine two favorite foods – pizza and grilled cheese. Who wouldn’t love that?! Obviously, this could look differently depending on what you like on your pizza, but I went pretty classic with fresh mozzarella, (turkey) pepperoni (Even though we don’t really like pepperoni on our pizza that much, it’s a pretty traditional pizza ingredient.) Canadian bacon, and tomato. Then I went non-traditional and added pesto because I really wanted the bold herbaciousness that pesto brings to the party. The dipping sauce was a no-brainer. I took some help from the store and got some jarred pizza sauce. The verdict? It was a really delicious grilled cheese! The pesto added a ton of flavor and the fresh mozzarella was so creamy and delicious. It didn’t taste exactly like pizza because, well, it’s not pizza. I think it’s because something really distinctive about the flavor of pizza is the crust, which you don’t have here. Nonetheless, this is a delicious and fun take on grilled cheese.

Pesto Pizza Grilled Cheese

Gouda Apple Bacon Grilled Cheese with Maple Mustard Dipping Sauce

Makes 2 sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 4 pieces of bread of your choice (I used a grainy sandwich bread)
  • 1 cup of shredded gouda
  • 4 slices of nonsmoked provolone
  • 1/2 of an apple, sliced pretty thin (I used Golden Delicious)
  • 4-5 slices of bacon, cooked until almost crispy
  • butter
  • 2 Tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 1-2 teaspoons of Dijon (depending on how tangy you want it)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of real maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want it)

Directions:
Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Butter one side of each piece of bread. Lay two pieces of bread in the skillet, butter side down. Assemble the sandwich with the gouda, apple, bacon, and then provolone. Top with remaining bread, butter side up. Allow to cook until bread is browned to your liking and cheese is melted, about 5-7 minutes each side. Allow to sit for a minute before slicing and diving in.

For the dipping sauce, combine mayonnaise, Dijon, and syrup in a small bowl.

Enjoy!

Pesto Pizza Grilled Cheese

Makes 2 sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 4 pieces of bread of your choice (I used a grainy sandwich bread)
  • 8 oz ball of fresh mozzarella
  • 1 small tomato, sliced
  • 1/4 cup of basil pesto (homemade or store bought)
  • 10-20 pepperoni slices (I used turkey)
  • 6-8 slices of Canadian bacon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
  • butter

Directions:

Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Butter one side of each piece of bread. Lay two pieces of bread in the skillet, butter side down. Spread 1-2 Tablespoons of pesto on other side of the bread. Assemble the sandwich with the mozzarella, tomato, pepperoni, and Canadian bacon. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Top with remaining bread, butter side up. Allow to cook until bread is browned to your liking and cheese is melted, about 5-7 minutes each side. Allow to sit for a minute before serving.

Pesto Pizza Grilled Cheese

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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