Growing up in Bulgaria, grilled cheese was not one of my childhood staples. Even when I moved to America I never quite learned to enjoy it. Probably because it is one of those comfort foods that one grows up with and gets to love the way their mom made it.
But when I saw this recipe in this month’s Southern Living magazine, I found it too tempting to ignore. Goat cheese is one of my favorites especially when paired with something sweet. And the thought of the strawberries and arugula was just too fresh to pass.
I was also curious to try red pepper jelly for the first time. It is one of those Southern classics which I’ve been so curious to learn about since I moved to Nashville. I loved the sweet heat of the jelly and found it to be a perfect pair for the smooth and tangy goat cheese. A modern take on the Southern tradition of crackers with cream cheese and red pepper jelly.
So, last Sunday for lunch, I made this recipe and have to report it was DELICIOUS. Everything I love in one fresh, flavorful, and creamy package. I see now why it is so easy to fall in love with grilled cheese. I truly enjoyed the taste but realized that there was something missing. Both Aaron and I are carnivores and I had to figure out a way to get us a piece of meat for a complete meal. Nothing could be a better fit than a piece of bacon, another American classic. I used turkey bacon for a healthier touch.
Here is my version of the recipe.
Goat Cheese and Strawberry Grilled Cheese
- 1 (4 oz) goat cheese log, softened
- 8 slices multigrain bread
- Red pepper jelly, just enough to spread on 4 pieces of bread
- 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
- 1 cup fresh arugula (or any other salad green)
- 4-6 pieces of bacon, cooked
Spread goat cheese on one side of 4 bread slices. Spread thin layer of pepper jelly on one side of remaining bread slices; layer with strawberries, arugula and bacon. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Top with remaining bread, goat cheese sides down. Cook sandwiches in a large, lightly greased nonstick skillet over medium heat 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
Although I love basil, I omitted the basil from the original recipe as I felt it added just one too many flavors to this perfect piece.
Are you a grilled cheese conservative or do you like to experiment with this American favorite?