Cheesy Pesto BLT

Cheesy Pesto BLT

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Cheesy Pesto BLT is grilled cheese and BLT sandwiches married together with vibrant pesto.  It’s the indulgent, adult sandwich for the kid in all of us.

Cheesy Pesto BLT sandwich cut and stacked on a small wooden tray.

I was recently asked by a friend and co-worker what he and his work crew could cook up with limited kitchen gear. Available was a frying pan, electric grill press and a toaster oven.  One of my first thoughts was a  grilled cheese sandwich.  But on second thought, who wants just a grilled cheese, other than a 5-year-old of course?

I sent him a recipe for a pesto grilled cheese because I knew the combo would be amazing and it got me thinking that it could be the start of something great. I knew I wanted to add some kind of meat, and plenty of chewy bacon was the answer for a heartier sandwich. And how can you not have bacon without fresh tomato slices and cool, crisp lettuce? They bring balance to the melty cheese and salty bacon which are wonderfully paired with the pesto.  So remember, grilled cheese doesn’t have to be “JUST” a grilled cheese.

Ingredients for Cheesy Pesto BLT arranged on a small wooden tray draped with a white kitchen towel.

Truthfully, the kid in me loves that simple and traditional grilled cheese made with processed cheese slices, but I also love pesto and BLT’s, so it only made sense to put them all together into one delicious sandwich.  So don’t just think grilled cheese when graving crispy fried bread and oozy cheese.  Think Cheesy Pesto BLT!!

Cheesy Pesto BLT
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    2 people 15 minutes
    Cook Time
    10 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    2 people 15 minutes
    Cook Time
    10 minutes
    Cheesy Pesto BLT
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      2 people 15 minutes
      Cook Time
      10 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      2 people 15 minutes
      Cook Time
      10 minutes
      Ingredients
      Servings: people
      Instructions
      1. Heat a non-stick stick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat until hot.
      2. Butter the outside of each bread slice.
      3. Place the bread buttered side down in skillet and layer provolone evenly over two slices. Adjust heat to medium-low.
      4. Spread 1 tbsp of pesto evenly over the cheese and top with 3 slices of bacon each.
      5. Cook on medium-low to medium until bottoms are golden and cheese is melty. (I find medium-low best to melt cheese while not overcooking the bread)
      6. Remove grilled bread from pan and top the cheese side slices with tomato slices. Season tomatoes with freshly ground sea salt and pepper to taste. Top with lettuce and remaining grilled bread.
      7. Cut as desired and serve immediately.
      Recipe Notes

      - You can use fresh or purchased pesto in this recipe.  I do recommend using fresh if possible like my Classic Pesto

      -Prep time is based on using pre-made pesto and pre-cooked bacon.

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      I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
      Tarragon Chicken Salad

      Tarragon Chicken Salad

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      Tarragon Chicken Salad is piled high and topped with lettuce on a golden bun. The bun sits on a stack of plates garnished with cucumber slices.

      Here’s to having plenty of summer days that are too hot to want to cook.  Tarragon Chicken Salad is perfect for just such days.  No need to cook when tender chicken pairs up with mustard and creamy mayo for a wonderful salad that’s amazing on a crusty roll, croissant, lettuce wrap or cracker.

       

      Cooked diced chicken rests on a wooden cutting board and is surrounded by dried tarragon and whole grain mustard in preparation for Tarragon Chicken Salad.

      Start with cooked chicken, preferably leftovers or even a pre-cooked roaster chicken for convenience.  While I’m all for making as much homemade as possible, it’s hard to deny the lure of a plump, juicy roast chicken that’s ready when you need it.  Whatever chicken you use, chop it chunky and avoid over mixing it after adding the other ingredients. Overmixing tends to break down the fibres of the chicken a little too much for my liking, so be gentle.

      Along with the crisp chopped celery, I also like to add a few of the celery leaves for a bit of freshness.  I have left out adding any onions to this chicken salad, however, thinly sliced scallions would be a nice additional touch if desired.

       

      Ingredients for Tarragon Chicken Salad are measured into a glass bowl and ready to be stirred. A basket of buns sits in the background.

      The tarragon is a wonderful flavour to go with chicken and mustard. You’ll find that the longer it sits in the salad the stronger the flavour will be.  It does take a little time for it to meld with everything.  By all means use fresh tarragon if you can, using about 3 times the amount of the dry, so in this case, I’d use a tablespoon of fresh.  The fresh won’t require the same amount of melding time, simply mix and enjoy!!

       

       

      Tarragon Chicken Salad is piled high and topped with lettuce on a golden bun. The bun sits on a stack of plates garnished with cucumber slices.
      Tarragon Chicken Salad
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        2 1/3 cups 15-20 minutes
        Passive Time
        15 -120 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        2 1/3 cups 15-20 minutes
        Passive Time
        15 -120 minutes
        Tarragon Chicken Salad is piled high and topped with lettuce on a golden bun. The bun sits on a stack of plates garnished with cucumber slices.
        Tarragon Chicken Salad
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          2 1/3 cups 15-20 minutes
          Passive Time
          15 -120 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          2 1/3 cups 15-20 minutes
          Passive Time
          15 -120 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: cups
          Instructions
          1. Add all ingredients to a medium size bowl starting with 1/3 cup of mayonnaise. Stir gently until combined adjusting creaminess with additional mayonnaise and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
          2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and up to several hours to allow flavours to meld.
          Recipe Notes

          -The tarragon flavour will become more pronounced the longer the chicken salad sits.

          -A precooked roaster chicken that has been chilled works wonderfully.

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          Affiliate Disclosure

          I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
          Poached Egg and Kale Toasts

          Poached Egg and Kale Toasts

          I love eggs with greens, so when I was on the hunt for a nice lunch, I couldn’t think of what would be better than braised kale and eggs. Poached Eggs and Kale Toasts are not only quick and delicious, but a great way to eat your greens. Need more motivation to kale?  It’s crazy high in vitamin K, high in vitamins A and C and also a great source of fibre to name just a few. 

          Curly leaf kale braised with shallots, red pepper and garlic get a bright finish with a splash of white wine vinegar.  The tender, yet still slightly chewy kale provides a good texture contrast with the soft eggs.  Crisp toast is the perfect crunchy base to soak up any juices and runny yolk. It goes to prove that eating well can be simple and delicious with only a few quality ingredients. Enjoy!

          Recipe source for Poached Egg and Kale Toasts:  Compelled To Cook

          Poached Egg and Kale Toasts
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            4 Toasts 15 minutes
            Cook Time
            12-15 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            4 Toasts 15 minutes
            Cook Time
            12-15 minutes
            Poached Egg and Kale Toasts
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              4 Toasts 15 minutes
              Cook Time
              12-15 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              4 Toasts 15 minutes
              Cook Time
              12-15 minutes
              Ingredients
              Servings: Toasts
              Instructions
              1. Heat oil in a medium skillet, add shallots and garlic. Cook on medium for 1-2 minutes, stirring often.
              2. Add kale, red pepper and water. Continue to cook, stirring often until kale is tender but still has some texture and all the water has been absorbed about 10-12 minutes. Stir in white wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
              3. While kale is cooking, add 3" of water to a shallow pot. Bring to a gentle simmer and add 1 tbsp of white vinegar and a sprinkle of salt. Crack eggs, one at a time into the water. Cook for 4 minutes for soft eggs. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess moisture.
              4. Toast bread and butter if desired, top with a generous portion of sauteed kale and top with a poached egg. Sprinkle with chilli flakes if desired. Serve immediately.

              Spinach and Cheddar Potato Cakes

              Spinach and Cheddar Potato Cakes

              Spinach and Cheddar Potato Cakes recipe is an oldie but a goodie.  A simple way to use the cold, hard mashed potatoes that have been hiding in your fridge for three days. I can say with confidence that I always make too many mashed potatoes.  With the same confidence, I can also say that I’ve had that forgotten Tupperware container of mashed potatoes buried in my refrigerator.  I think we’ve all been there. So the next time you’re sifting through your fridge, desperately trying to find something for lunch and can’t believe you have nothing.  Dig deep and move a few jars to find the lost and lonely tub of mashed potatoes, begging to be consumed.  Mix with a few pantry items and a give a quick pan fry, you’ll find lunch is served.

              What I like about this recipe, is the ratio of potato to egg and breadcrumbs.  I find the cakes stay moist and hold together very well during forming and frying.  While this is my own little version, you could easily customize the flavours to your liking. Maybe try different greens and herbs, garlic, parmesan, corn or sautéed onions. I also used sour cream and fresh dill as an accompaniment, but tzatziki would also be great. Use whatever you have on hand and enjoy!

              Recipe source for Spinach and Cheddar Potato Cakes:  Compelled To Cook

              Spinach and Cheddar Potato Cakes
              Print Recipe
                Servings Prep Time
                2 people 15 minutes
                Cook Time
                10 minutes
                Servings Prep Time
                2 people 15 minutes
                Cook Time
                10 minutes
                Spinach and Cheddar Potato Cakes
                Print Recipe
                  Servings Prep Time
                  2 people 15 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  10 minutes
                  Servings Prep Time
                  2 people 15 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  10 minutes
                  Ingredients
                  Servings: people
                  Instructions
                  1. In a medium bowl, mix together egg, spinach, seasoning salt, onion powder and pepper Add mashed potatoes and mix until well combined. Stir in cheese, bread crumbs and chives. Mix until combined and bread crumbs have been absorbed.
                  2. Heat oil in a non stick frying pan over medium high heat. While pan is heating, form 1/3 cup potato mixture into approximate 3" patties about 1/2" thick and place into pan as you form them. Cook 4-5 minutes per side until heated through and golden brown.
                  3. Stir together sour cream and dill and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep chilled until ready to serve with cakes.

                  Kohlrabi Crab Cakes

                  Kohlrabi Crab Cakes

                  Are you growing kohlrabi in your garden this year? Fresh kohlrabi is amazing, and with it, you’ll be able to treat yourself to these lovely Kohlrabi Crab Cakes.  They make a wonderful lunch served with dill sauce and a green salad. Not home for lunch most days?  Try them as an appetizer, or top with a poached egg for a heartier meal.

                  If you happen to have a little fresh kohlrabi left, trim, peel and cut into sticks.  Dunk the fresh sticks in leftover dill sauce or your favourite veggie dip.   You will love how crisp and refreshing the kohlrabi is and wonder why you haven’t been munching on it sooner.  Kohlrabi is also great in stews, soup, gratins, and salads.

                  Recipe source for Kohlrabi Crab Cakes:  Compelled To Cook

                   

                  Kohlrabi Crab Cakes
                  Print Recipe
                    Servings Prep Time
                    10 3-4" cakes 25-30 minutes
                    Cook Time
                    20 minutes
                    Servings Prep Time
                    10 3-4" cakes 25-30 minutes
                    Cook Time
                    20 minutes
                    Kohlrabi Crab Cakes
                    Print Recipe
                      Servings Prep Time
                      10 3-4" cakes 25-30 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      20 minutes
                      Servings Prep Time
                      10 3-4" cakes 25-30 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      20 minutes
                      Ingredients
                      Dill Sauce
                      Kohlrabi Crab Cakes
                      Servings: 3-4" cakes
                      Instructions
                      Dill Sauce
                      1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl and keep chilled until ready to use.
                      Kohlrabi Crab Cakes
                      1. Trim ends off kohlrabi and peel with a vegetable peeler. Grate using a large grater and add to a separate bowl. Sprinkle with salt and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Drain and squeeze dry with a paper towel. Using the same large grater, peel and grate potato and pat dry with a paper towel. Add to kohlrabi.
                      2. In a large bowl stir together egg, dill, dijon mustard, celery salt and pepper. Stir in drained crab meat, prepped and dried grated kohlrabi and potato, bread crumbs, flour and green onions.
                      3. Add about 1 tbsp of oil to a large non stick skillet and heat over medium heat until hot. Form approximately 1/4 cup of batter into a 3-4" round patty. Flatten as much as you can while still retaining its shape. Pan fry for 5-6 minutes per side, adjusting heat if necessary. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and keep warm in a low oven while cooking any remaining cakes. Serve immediately with dill sauce.

                      Everyday Lunch Buns

                      Everyday Lunch Buns

                      Everyday Lunch Buns are just that, used everyday, almost! Since I’m a shift worker who packs up to 4 meals a day when including my husband, I need a reliable go to option for our everyday lunches. While I will generally take frozen leftovers for my main meals, my husband does’t always have the luxury of a microwave or a way to heat frozen meals. That’s one of the reasons a cold lunch is best for him. The other is because he likes to run errands over his lunch and is often driving while eating…..I know, distracted driver for sure!! For these reasons I make bread and buns regularly, and my go to recipe is tender, yet sturdy enough to fill will shaved meats or tuna salad. They’re also made with multigrain cereal and whole wheat flour for added fibre and nutrition.

                      I believe these buns are the reason I got a new 7quart, 1.3HP KitchenAid Stand mixer for Christmas this year. I can now make multiple batches at once, it’s fantastic to say the least. This recipe also falls into a new, fun category called “Mark’s top ten”. My husband’s favourite recipes, some of which are not mine in their entirety but HIS favourites. You’ll see them make an appearance every so often, for fun and good food to eat if nothing else.

                      You’ll notice that I use a dry multigrain cereal as apposed to multigrain flour. As USUAL, I cannot always find multigrain flour in my community, so I took matters into my own hands and decided to add my own multigrain mix from dry cereal. The solution really works well, as I cook a pot of cereal, allow it to cool, then wrap and freeze in individual portions for future use. No more hunting for the flour, just grab a little bundle from the freezer when getting ready to make a batch of buns. I believe it’s also a cheaper option than the flour as well. It’s one more step to the recipe, however if you make bread and buns often, it’s a great way to do it. Enjoy!

                      Recipe source for Everyday Lunch Buns:  Compelled To Cook

                      Everyday Lunch Buns
                      Print Recipe
                        Servings Prep Time
                        12 Buns 30 minutes
                        Cook Time Passive Time
                        23-25 minutes 1 3/4-2 hours
                        Servings Prep Time
                        12 Buns 30 minutes
                        Cook Time Passive Time
                        23-25 minutes 1 3/4-2 hours
                        Everyday Lunch Buns
                        Print Recipe
                          Servings Prep Time
                          12 Buns 30 minutes
                          Cook Time Passive Time
                          23-25 minutes 1 3/4-2 hours
                          Servings Prep Time
                          12 Buns 30 minutes
                          Cook Time Passive Time
                          23-25 minutes 1 3/4-2 hours
                          Ingredients
                          Servings: Buns
                          Instructions
                          1. In a small sauce pan combine dry cereal and 2/3 cup of water. Bring to a simmer and cook for approximately 5 minutes until visible moisture is gone. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to 95-110℉
                          2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, stir together buttermilk, 1/2 cup water, honey and yeast. Allow to ferment for 5-6 minutes until frothy. Add whole wheat flour, 1 cup bread flour, cooked cereal, butter and salt. Stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup bread flour and begin kneading until flour is absorbed. Continue adding bread flour by the 1/4 cup until dough is supple and pulls away from the bowl, approximately 7-9 minutes.
                          3. Grease a large bowl with oil or non stick spray. Remove dough from mixer and form into a ball, placing into greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm draft free area until double in size, 60-80 minutes.
                          4. Line a large baking tray with parchment. Remove dough from bowl and knead 3-4 times to remove air. Weight out dough into 12 equal size portions of approximately 85grams. Arrange dough balls with even spacing 4x3 on baking sheet. Cover with greased plastic wrap or kitchen towel and allow to rise until puffed and double in size, approximately 45 minutes.
                          5. Preheat oven to 400℉. Bake buns for 18-20 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and slide buns onto cooling rack. Brush with melted butter if desired. Allow to cool to room temperature.