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Gooey Grilled Cheese

The Bacon Habanero

6 slices bacon
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp butter
1 large Portobello mushroom, sliced thin
1-1/2 Tbsp balsamic glaze
Salt and pepper
6 slices Wisconsin habanero jack cheese
2 slices pretzel bread
Olive oil for drizzling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line jelly roll pan with foil. Place bacon strips, one by one, on foil. Sprinkle brown sugar over bacon. Bake until crisp, 15–20 minutes, depending on slice thickness. Remove from oven and drain on paper towels. Heat butter in small skillet; add mushroom slices and cook for about 5 minutes. Add balsamic glaze and season with salt and pepper. Preheat Panini press. Place bacon on bottom slice of bread. Layer slices of Habanero Jack on top. Top with mushrooms and second piece of bread. Drizzle with olive oil and grill in panini press for 8–10 minutes, until golden and crunchy.


The Monroe

8 slices thick bacon
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
2–3 Tbsp water, divided
8 Tbsp butter, divided
10–12 oz fresh spinach leaves
4 whole-grain baguettes
4–8 Tbsp fig jam or preserves
8 oz Wisconsin limburger cheese, sliced

Heat large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until browned and crispy. Drain on paper towels; set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in pan and return to heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté onions for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add 1 tablespoon water, stirring to deglaze pan; stir in any browned bits. Remove onions to bowl. Return pan to heat and add 1 tablespoon butter and 2 tablespoons water. Bring to simmer, add spinach and pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 3–5 minutes to wilt spinach; remove spinach to a bowl. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Split whole-grain baguettes. Assemble sandwiches: on each baguette bottom, spread 1–2 tablespoons jam, 2 ounces limburger slices, spinach leaves, onions, 2 slices of bacon, and baguette on top, in that order. Carefully turn the sandwiches over and butter the bottoms. Place sandwiches, bottom-side down on hot grill, then butter the tops of the baguettes. When bottom sides are golden and cheese starts to melt, carefully flip sandwiches and brown sandwiches’ tops, melting the cheese.


The Bavaria

4 small red potatoes
1 Tbsp kosher salt
3 Tbsp canola oil
4 Knackwurst sausages
1 yellow onion, sliced 1/8-inch thick
Salt and pepper
8 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
8 slices dark rye bread
16 slices Wisconsin edam cheese
8 oz prepared sauerkraut
1/2 cup whole-grain beer mustard
or other whole-grain mustard

Place potatoes in pot and cover with cold water; add kosher salt. Bring to a boil and then turn off heat. Let stand for 20 minutes, covered. Remove potatoes from water and let stand until cool enough to handle. Slice into 1/8-inch thick slices. Heat skillet over medium-high heat; add canola oil. Add sausages and fry until browned; remove to plate. Return pan to heat and add potato slices and onions. Fry with a pinch of salt and pepper for 5–6 minutes, or until onions are translucent and potatoes are lightly browned. Cut sausages in half lengthwise and add to potatoes and onion mix. Heat another skillet over medium heat, spread butter on one side of bread slices and place 4 slices, butter-side down, in skillet. Top each slice with 2 slices edam cheese, 2 tablespoons sauerkraut, 2 halves of sausage, a spoonful of the potato mixture, and 2 more slices edam cheese, in that order. Place a piece of bread on top of each, butter side-up. Grill sandwiches until bread is golden and cheese is melted, turning once during grilling. Serve with mustard on the side.


The Marco

Sauce:
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, minced (2 Tbsp), divided
1 small yellow onion, minced
Salt and pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp tomato paste
8 oz canned chopped tomatoes

Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and 1 tablespoon of minced garlic. Cook for 20–30 seconds or until light brown, do not burn. Add onions, season with salt and pepper; cook for 3 minutes. Stir in oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute. Add chopped tomatoes. Simmer 15 minutes and remove from heat.

Sandwich:
1 stick (4 oz) butter, softened
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup (2 oz) grated Wisconsin Parmesan cheese, plus 2 Tbsp for topping
1 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1 Tbsp Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 egg, whisked with 1/4 cup of water
Vegetable oil for frying
8 slices garlic ciabatta bread
16 slices Wisconsin Provolone cheese
8 fresh basil leaves for garnish, optional

In a bowl, mix softened butter with remaining garlic from sauce recipe and refrigerate until ready to use. Place 1 chicken breast between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using a small sauté pan, lightly tap breast to flatten. Repeat with remaining 3 chicken breasts, flattening to uniform size. In a wide shallow bowl, stir 1/4 cup Parmesan into bread crumbs; add chopped parsley and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place flour on a plate. Dip each breast in flour, then the egg/water mix, then the bread-crumb mix; set aside. In a large skillet, heat about 1/2-inch of vegetable oil to 350 degrees. Add chicken cutlets, working in batches if necessary, turning each cutlet once. Fry 2–3 minutes per side or until cooked through; drain on paper towels. Heat another large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Spread each slice of ciabatta with the reserved garlic butter. Place 4 slices of the ciabatta in pan, butter side down. Top with 2 slices of Provolone, 1 tablespoon of reserved tomato sauce, 1 chicken cutlet, and another tablespoon of tomato sauce, in that order. Sprinkle with parmesan and top with 2 more slices of Provolone and another slice of ciabatta, butter-side-up. Grill until bottom bread is golden brown and cheese starts to melt. Carefully turn sandwiches over and grill. Serve garnished with fresh basil leaves and warm tomato sauce on side for dipping.

Photos and recipes courtesy of Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin.