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Grilled Cheese Academy Recipe Contest Seeks New Variations on Classic Sandwich

Mar 06, 2014

Some may refer to the fourth month of the year as simply "April," but for cheese lovers, it's so much more. It's National Grilled Cheese Month, and it's time to celebrate. That's why the Grilled Cheese Academy is bringing back its popular Grilled Cheese Recipe Showdown. This year, the contest is bigger and better than ever with grocery partners across the country and, most importantly, a $10,000 grand prize. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, the contest begins Tuesday, April 1, and ends Monday, May 12. To enter, contestants must submit an original grilled cheese recipe and photo featuring Wisconsin Cheese.

Recipes will be judged by a panel of food bloggers, including McKenzie Smith of Grilled Cheese Social, Heidi Larsen of FoodieCrush and Paula Jones of bell'alimento. To help inspire contestants and all grilled cheese lovers, Smith has created five new grilled cheese recipes featuring Wisconsin Cheese:

  • Ricotta & Bresaola Grilled Cheese – the bright flavors of lemon zest and arugula shine in this creamy Ricotta and Parmesan grilled cheese
  • The Herby Turkey Grilled Cheese – sweet peppers and fresh herbs star in this simple turkey and grilled Provolone combination
  • Hole-in-One Grilled Cheese – this twist on the classic egg-in-a-hole sandwich features Cheddar Cheese, tomato jam, bacon and a fried egg on brioche
  • Pineapple & Chorizo Grilled Cheese – pineapple-cilantro salsa, Fontina Cheese and chorizo add a sweet, savory and spicy kick to this grilled sandwich
  • Bananas Foster Grilled Cheese – bananas foster meets grilled cheese in this luscious dessert version made with Mascarpone Cheese on French toast brioche

The Grilled Cheese Academy, home to 30 signature sandwiches, is a culinary destination dedicated to grilled cheese deliciousness. In conjunction with the recipe contest, the site will re-launch on April 1 offering an expanded recipe gallery and more robust functionality. For more information or to enter the contest, visit Grilled Cheese Academy.

A photo of the Ricotta & Bresaola Grilled Cheese is attached. For additional information, hi-res images or recipes, contact Joanna Miller, 608-692-3234. For more information about Wisconsin Cheese, contact Marilyn Wilkinson, 608-203-7262.

Ricotta and Bresaola Grilled Cheese

By Grilled Cheese Social

Servings: 1 sandwich

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (2 ounces) Wisconsin Ricotta Cheese
2 slices sourdough bread
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
Red chile flakes
6-8 thin slices bresaola (may substitute prosciutto)
1 ounce Wisconsin Parmesan Cheese, shaved
1 tablespoon salted butter
1/2 cup arugula
1 lemon wedge
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions:

Spread Ricotta on both slices of bread. Drizzle olive oil over Ricotta and top with pinch of sea salt, black pepper and red chile flakes.

Top 1 slice of bread with bresaola and Parmesan; then close sandwich with remaining bread slice. Butter both sides of sandwich and place in skillet over medium heat. Grill 3-6 minutes per side, until both sides are golden brown, flipping once.

Remove sandwich from heat and allow to rest 2 minutes. Meanwhile, toss juice from lemon wedge and arugula together. Carefully open sandwich and place dressed arugula inside. Close sandwich, slice and top with sprinkle of lemon zest. Serve immediately.

The Herby Turkey Grilled Cheese

By Grilled Cheese Social

Servings: 1 sandwich

Ingredients:

For herbed cream cheese:
1 1/2 ounces Wisconsin Whipped Cream Cheese
1/2 teaspoon parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chives, chopped
1/2 teaspoon basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dill, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced

For sandwich:
2 slices pumpernickel bread
6 thin slices honey turkey breast
1.5 ounces jarred sweet peppers (such as peppadews or cherry peppers)
1 tablespoon salted butter

Directions:

In small bowl, combine Cream Cheese with herbs and garlic. Mix well.

Evenly spread herbed cream cheese mixture onto both slices of bread. In scattered fashion, crumple turkey slices and pile onto 1 bread slice. Top with sweet peppers. Close sandwich with remaining bread slice. Butter both sides of sandwich and place in skillet over medium heat. Grill 3-6 minutes per side, flipping once, until evenly golden and brown. Remove from heat and allow to rest 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Hole-in-One Grilled Cheese

By Grilled Cheese Social

Servings: 1 sandwich

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons prepared tomato jam
2 slices brioche bread
4 slices (about 2 ounces) Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese
3 slices thick cut bacon, cooked
1 tablespoon salted butter
1 egg
Sea salt
Black pepper

Directions:

Spread tomato jam on 1 slice of bread and top with 2 slices of Cheddar and the bacon. Top with remaining 2 slices of Cheddar and remaining slice of bread.

Using biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter, cut a circle out of the middle of sandwich, cutting through both bread slices. Gently remove inner circle and set aside. Cut-out circle can be grilled along with sandwich.

In skillet over medium heat, melt butter and place sandwich and cut-out circle in skillet. Carefully crack egg into center cut hole. Sprinkle egg with pinch of salt and black pepper. Grill sandwich until one side is golden brown and egg has begun to cook. When egg white starts to become opaque, gently flip, adding remaining butter to pan.

Once both sides are golden brown and egg is firm to touch, remove sandwich and allow to rest 2 minutes. Serve immediately, cutting in half to release egg yolk.

Bananas Foster Grilled Cheese

By Grilled Cheese Social

Servings: 1 sandwich

Ingredients:

1 ounce (about 1/8 cup) Wisconsin Mascarpone Cheese
1 ounce Wisconsin Cream Cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons salted butter, divided
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon banana liqueur or brandy
1/2 small banana, thickly sliced
2 slices brioche bread
Sea salt flakes

Directions:

In bowl, beat Mascarpone and Cream Cheese together. Set aside.

Prepare French toast batter: In bowl, beat egg, milk and vanilla together and set aside in a bowl wide enough to hold sandwich for dipping.

In skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add brown sugar to pan and stir until sugar dissolves. Add liqueur and bring to simmer. Once mixture begins to thicken, add banana, stirring constantly to evenly coat bananas. Cook 2-3 minutes, until bananas are well coated in sauce. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

To prepare sandwich, spread Mascarpone mixture evenly onto each slice of bread. Top 1 slice with banana mixture, sprinkle of sea salt and remaining bread slice.

Gently soak each side of sandwich in French toast batter up to 1 minute.

In skillet, melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Place sandwich in skillet and grill 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from pan and allow to rest 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

  • For a variation, add chocolate hazelnut spread to sandwich before adding cream cheese mixture.

Pineapple & Chorizo Grilled Cheese

By Grilled Cheese Social

Servings: 1 sandwich

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon pineapple, diced
1 teaspoon cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon jalapeño chile, chopped
1 teaspoon red onion, diced
Juice of 1 lime wedge
Sea salt
1 small loaf Cuban bread or large sandwich roll
4 slices (about 2 ounces) Wisconsin Fontina Cheese
2 ounces chorizo, crumbled and cooked
1 tablespoon butter

Directions:

In small bowl, combine pineapple, cilantro, jalapeño, red onion, lime juice and sea salt to taste. Set aside.

Slice Cuban bread in half and layer 2 slices of Fontina, crumbled chorizo, pineapple salsa and remaining Fontina, topping with remaining bread slice. Butter both sides of sandwich and place in skillet over medium heat. Grill sandwich 3-6 minutes per side, until both sides are golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to rest 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

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The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board is a nonprofit organization of dairy producers that promotes the consumption of milk, cheese and other dairy products made in America’s Dairyland.

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