Cheesy Pesto BLT

Cheesy Pesto BLT

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

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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.

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
      Mushroom and Arugula Quinoa Bowls

      Mushroom and Arugula Quinoa Bowls

      Even though I’m not a vegetarian, that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a meatless meal on regular occasion. In fact, I think it’s very important to eat legumes and plant-based proteins for a good overall balance of one’s diet.  My thoughts on the matter also play nicely with the new Canada Food Guide, so I see it as a win-win. But eating a meatless meal doesn’t have to be complicated, and that’s why I love these Mushroom and Arugula Quinoa Bowls.

      Why do I love quinoa?

      It’s neutral in taste and can take on a wide variety of flavours.

      Quick and easy to prepare with no special equipment or longer soaking periods required.

      Great as a main dish or side dish and is gluten-free.

      It contains plant-based protein and essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. This is important because essential amino acids are the ones that the body cannot produce on its own and must get from food. 

      Not only a source of protein but fibre, magnesium, manganese and folate to name only a few. 

      It has a pleasant texture and holds up well on its own or in combination with other foods.

      If you love quinoa too or simply want to find out for yourself what all the fuss is about, here are a couple of other great recipes that include this amazing food. 

      Quinoa Spinach Egg Cups

      Spinach and Quinoa Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

      Mushroom and Arugula Quinoa Bowls sit on a wooden board surrounded by fresh thyme, lemon half, mushrooms and linen napkin.
      Mushroom and Arugula Quinoa Bowls
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        2 people 20 minutes
        Cook Time
        12 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        2 people 20 minutes
        Cook Time
        12 minutes
        Mushroom and Arugula Quinoa Bowls sit on a wooden board surrounded by fresh thyme, lemon half, mushrooms and linen napkin.
        Mushroom and Arugula Quinoa Bowls
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          2 people 20 minutes
          Cook Time
          12 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          2 people 20 minutes
          Cook Time
          12 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: people
          Instructions
          1. Heat broth to a simmer in a small pot. Stir in quinoa, reduce heat to a steady simmer, cover and cook for about 18 minutes (I find cooking quinoa in broth takes a few minutes longer than just water). Remove from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
          2. In a small bowl whisk together 1 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, half of the thyme, salt and pepper. Set aside.
          3. In a medium skillet, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil. Once hot, add mushrooms and cook on medium highfor 3-4 minutes until starting to turn golden. Stir and continue to cook for about 2 minutes. Add garlic, shallots and half of the thyme. Cook, stirring often until garlic and shallots have softened, another 2-3 minutes.
          4. Fluff quinoa with a fork and add to mushrooms, stirring to combine. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
          5. Add arugula and sauté for 1-2 minutes until starting to soften and wilt. Remove from heat and stir in dressing. Divide into 2 bowls and top with grated parmesan cheese and toasted nuts.
          Recipe Notes

          I used pine nuts here, but cashews are also wonderful.  To quickly toast nuts, heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add nuts and toss or stir occasionally until golden.

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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
          Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

          Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

          I promised!

          Yes, not too long ago I promised to build up my “cookie” category because who doesn’t want more cookies?  Today’s Coconut Oatmeal Cookies are made just for me!  That’s right, they’re not Christmas cookies made for giving, chocolate chip for my husband or spicy oatmeal for my brother.  Nope, they’re golden with crispy, buttery edges and a slightly chewy centre. Pure coconut and oatmeal goodness, and they’re just for me. This wonderful Coconut Oatmeal Cookie is MY favourite and not made enough in my opinion.  It’s wonderful to bake for others and I truly love to do so, but today I’m thinking of myself.  I really don’t need to eat a bunch of cookies all by myself, but these are oh so good and I do like to have a little treat once in a while. Luckily they freeze wonderfully!!

          What makes a good cookie?

          I suppose one could say that depends on what kind of cookie your making, but many cookies start off in a similar manner by creaming the butter and sugar first.  So here are a few tips,

          1. Use room temperature butter, do not substitute margarine or shortening. Sure they will work, but butter just tastes better.

          2. Cream the butter and sugar well, ensuring the sugar crystals are evenly coated. This helps give a tender texture to the cookie.

          3. Mix dough until just incorporated and dough sticks together. 

          4. Measure out dough or use an Amazon cookie scoop where applicable for each cookie to ensure each one is the same size for uniform baking.

          5. Do not overcrowd on the pan.  Allow the cookie enough room to spread and brown evenly all around.

          6. Do not over bake.  This can be difficult as cookies are still soft when removed from the oven so it’s hard to judge sometimes.  I bake one tray first according to the recipe and adjust if needed before baking more.

          7. Use parchment paper or Amazon Silpat mat  to prevent cookies from sticking.

          8. Bake one tray at a time using the middle rack.  This takes a little more time, but every cookie will be the same.

          Author: Compelled to Cook, recipe adapted from Best of Bridge BL’s Cookies.

          Coconut Oatmeal Cookies rest on a blue and white striped napkin that is draped through a white wooden tray. A small glass bottle of milk sits to the side and a canister of cookies lays in the background.
          Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            54 cookies 20 minutes
            Cook Time
            10-12 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            54 cookies 20 minutes
            Cook Time
            10-12 minutes
            Coconut Oatmeal Cookies rest on a blue and white striped napkin that is draped through a white wooden tray. A small glass bottle of milk sits to the side and a canister of cookies lays in the background.
            Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              54 cookies 20 minutes
              Cook Time
              10-12 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              54 cookies 20 minutes
              Cook Time
              10-12 minutes
              Ingredients
              Servings: cookies
              Instructions
              1. Preheat oven to 350℉.
              2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside.
              3. Using an electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars.
              4. Add egg and molasses and beat to fully incorporate. Stir in vanilla.
              5. Add flour mixture, oatmeal and coconut. Mix until just combined and dough comes together.
              6. Line baking trays with parchment or silpat mat. Using a 1 ounce cookie scoop, scoop out dough, spacing 2 inches apart.
              7. Bake one tray at a time on the middle rack for 10-12 minutes.
              8. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on tray for 2-3 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely.

              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
              Flaky Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits

              Flaky Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits

              Make a better biscuit…

              It’s hard to resist a flaky, buttery biscuit and these Flaky Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits are tender and flaky.  So good on their own, dunked or piled high with your favourite fillings. The good thing is, they’re easy to make using basic ingredients.  So what makes a good biscuit?  Let’s look at the basics.

              -use quality butter.

              -use fresh baking powder and baking soda, they do EXPIRE!

              -cut butter into flour evenly to ensure a flaky biscuit.

              -do not overwork the dough, once mixed, only knead enough to bring the dough together.  Overworking dough will result in a tougher biscuit.

              -use a sharp cutting tool for the best edges.

              -brush tops and sides with a whisked mixture of egg and cream for a nice golden exterior.

              What’s a biscuit good for?

              By far my favourite thing to do with a flaky biscuit is dunk it into soup, stew or chili.  But, they’re also wonderful as a sandwich.  Especially these Flaky Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits, because they spread out a little, making them just the right size for a fried egg…just saying!

              Flaky Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuits
              Print Recipe
                Servings Prep Time
                8-10 4" biscuits 25 minutes
                Cook Time
                18 minutes
                Servings Prep Time
                8-10 4" biscuits 25 minutes
                Cook Time
                18 minutes
                Flaky Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuits
                Print Recipe
                  Servings Prep Time
                  8-10 4" biscuits 25 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  18 minutes
                  Servings Prep Time
                  8-10 4" biscuits 25 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  18 minutes
                  Ingredients
                  Servings: 4" biscuits
                  Instructions
                  1. Preheat oven to 425℉ and line a large baking tray with parchment.
                  2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
                  3. Add cubed butter and using a pastry cutter, cut butter into dry ingredients until pea-sized and evenly distributed.
                  4. Whisk together buttermilk and one large egg. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just starting to come together. Add grated cheese and diced jalapeno and continue to mix until incorporated being careful not to overmix. It will be a bit of a scraggly mess.
                  5. Flour your work surface and dump out the dough. Knead dough a few times to bring everything together. Flatten dough into a 3/4"-1" disk. Using a 3" round cutter, cut out biscuits.
                  6. Reform remaining dough and cut out biscuits. Place biscuits on a parchment lined baking tray.
                  7. Whisk together one large egg and one tbsp of milk or cream. Brush each biscuit top and sides generoulsly. Bake in preheated oven for about 18 minutes until golden and puffed.
                  8. Remove from oven and allow to rest on the tray for 3-5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. Serve slightly warm.
                  Recipe Notes

                  -these particular biscuits spread out some and are wonderful sliced as a sandwich.

                  -I used a 3" cutter, however for slightly smaller biscuits that would be good for soups or stews a 2 1/2" cutter is probably preferred.

                  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
                  Chocolate Ganache Sandwich Cookies

                  Chocolate Ganache Sandwich Cookies

                  We all need a little love,

                  What better way to show a little love than with homemade Chocolate Ganache Sandwich Cookies. The day of love is almost upon us and this year I ’ll be sharing my heart in cookie form. And not just any cookie, Chocolate Ganache Sandwich Cookies!  These gorgeous cookies will win the heart of your Valentine with just one bite. 

                  Rolled chocolate cookie wafers get sandwiched together with a rich chocolate ganache and then drizzled with even more chocolate. These cookies are made with love and are not only beautiful but perfect for sharing and giving.  Because after all, cookies make the world a better place.

                  Be creative!

                  This recipe is relatively simple, however, they do take some time to prepare, assemble and decorate.  I chose heart shape Amazon Heart Shape Cookie Cutters with a simple drizzle of chocolate and candied pearls.  The shape and decorating are completely up to you, get the kids involved and have some fun. Personalized cookies show that they’re made with love and say to that special person just how much they mean to you. Happy Valentine’s Day?

                  Chocolate Ganache Sandwich Cookies
                  Print Recipe
                    Servings Prep Time
                    30 Cookies 60-70 minutes
                    Cook Time Passive Time
                    7-8 minutes per tray 3-24 hours
                    Servings Prep Time
                    30 Cookies 60-70 minutes
                    Cook Time Passive Time
                    7-8 minutes per tray 3-24 hours
                    Chocolate Ganache Sandwich Cookies
                    Print Recipe
                      Servings Prep Time
                      30 Cookies 60-70 minutes
                      Cook Time Passive Time
                      7-8 minutes per tray 3-24 hours
                      Servings Prep Time
                      30 Cookies 60-70 minutes
                      Cook Time Passive Time
                      7-8 minutes per tray 3-24 hours
                      Ingredients
                      Servings: Cookies
                      Instructions
                      1. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
                      2. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or electric mixer beat butter until fluffy.
                      3. Add granulated sugar and beat until incorporated. Add egg and vanilla and continue to beat on medium until egg is incorporated and the mixture is fluffy.
                      4. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and blend together until just incorporated.
                      5. Divide dough in two, scooping out onto sheets of plastic wrap. Fold over plastic wrap to seal and press each into a 1" flat disk. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
                      6. Heat heavy cream and pour over 8 ounces of chopped chocolate and 3 tsp corn syrup. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Whisk together until smooth and glossy. Cover with plastic wrap directly on chocolate. Allow to sit and set at room temperature (see note), this will take several hours.
                      7. Preheat oven to 350℉ and line baking trays with parchment.
                      8. Remove dough from fridge and allow to rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Flour your work surface and roll out one disk at a time, dusting your work surface underneath and the top of the dough as you roll. Roll out to 1/8" thickness. Cut into desired shapes and place 1" apart on baking trays.
                      9. Re-roll remaining dough, dusting with flour as needed. Repeat with the second disk of dough.
                      10. Bake cookies for 7-8 minutes, allowing to cool slightly on trays before removing to a cooling rack.
                      11. Once completely cooled, spread or pipe 2-3 tsp of ganache onto the bottom of a cookie. Top with another cookie, bottom side down.
                      12. Melt 2 ounces of chopped chocolate with 1 tsp corn syrup. Pour into a disposable piping bag cut with a very small hole or use a #4 round tip to drizzle chocolate over the cookie tops.
                      13. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days, in the fridge for 3-4 or the freezer for up to a month.
                      Recipe Notes

                      -Ganache takes several hours to cool to room temperature, make first if planning to bake and assemble cookies the same day.

                      -Allowing ganache to set at room temperature allows it to be more spreadable and pipeable.  If you do chill it, allow it to come to room temperature and beat with 1-2 tbsp of heavy cream for about 30 seconds to soften it enough to pipe.

                      -I re-rolled the dough 3 times with no ill effect to the final cookie.

                      -Cookies are slightly crisp but soften when sandwiched together with the ganache.

                      -The recipe yield will vary with the thickness of your dough, and cookie cutter used.  I yielded 30 sandwiched cookies using a 2" heart shape cutter.

                      -The cookie wafers can be made in advance and frozen until ready to assemble.

                      -If you happen to have any ganache left over, chill, roll into small balls and dust with cocoa for a homemade truffle!

                      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