Summer is right around the corner so grilling season and salad season is top of my mind. Fun! Fun! FUN! I enjoy the outdoors and the grill is my best friend when preparing meals for the weekends or entertaining guests. What does cheese have to do with the grill? So many side dishes are better with cheese! Here are a few of my favorite grilling recipes that feature cheese: Wisconsin Fontina Cherry Chop Ingredients to serve 6 1 tablespoon butter 1 jalapeño chile, minced 1/4 cup onion, diced 1 pound Door County fresh cherries, chopped 1 cup red wine or orange juice 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed 1 tablespoon cornstarch Salt and pepper, to taste 6 pork chops 6 (1 ounce) slices Wisconsin Fontina Cheese Cooking Directions: In medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter and sauté jalapeño and onion until softened and onions are translucent. Add cherries, wine, vinegar and sugar; cook until cherries are softened and liquid is reduced slightly. In small bowl, mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water and stir into sauce. Continue stirring until compote thickens slightly, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Grill pork chops until fully cooked; top with slice of Fontina and melt. Remove pork chops to individual plates and spoon cherry compote over; serve immediately. Blue Cheese Crusted Tomatoes 1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs (Italian or parmesan) 1 tablespoon olive oil 12 medium tomatoes (Heirloom or something sturdy is best) 3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 3 ounces) Preheat Grill; Mix breadcrumbs and olive oil in small bowl, mashing to coat. Slice tomatoes in half and scoop out some of the seeds, lay on grilling pan. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper. Top each with 1 tablespoon blue cheese. Sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture. Cover grill and cook tomatoes until slightly soft and cheese melts, about 10-12 minutes. Serve immediately Wisconsin Pepper Jack Stuffed Burgers Ingredients for 6 servings: 2 pounds ground beef 1 1/2 teaspoon salt & 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1/4 cup onion, minced 8 ounces Wisconsin Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded* 6 tablespoons salsa 6 hamburger buns Cooking Directions: In large bowl, combine ground beef, salt, pepper and onion, mix thoroughly. Shape into 12, 1/4-inch thick patties. Reserve 1/3 cup shredded Wisconsin Pepper Jack cheese. Top six patties with remaining cheese. Place remaining patties over cheese-topped patties and firmly press edges together. Spray grate of outdoor grill and utensils with PAM® For Grilling Spray. Preheat grill to medium. Place burgers on grill and cook, covered, 7-8 minutes to medium (160°F) doneness, until no longer pink in center and juices show no pink color; turning occasionally. During last 2 minutes of cooking, spoon 1 tablespoon of salsa on each burger and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Serve immediately. There are so many wonderful choices for summer salads but the first that comes to mind is a fresh mozzarella salad. This is great as a side or an appetizer, remember to include picks if you are using this as an appetizer. I always try to serve one new item per week if time permits. Don’t we all like to be the creative one when bringing a dish to pass? I have included a few that will brighten up any table and will be a blue ribbon for you to be proud of! Fresh Mozzarella Salad ½oz Fresh Basil chopped (plus a little for garnish) 1/8 teaspoons freshly ground pepper 1 pint grape tomatoes (cut tomatoes in half) 2 cups pitted Kalamata olives 2 pounds fresh Mozzarella Pearl (drained) 1 cup Italian dressing Shredded Parmesan Cheese (for topping) Mix all ingredients but the parmesan cheese. Chill for 1-2 hours. Place in your favorite serving dish and top with shredded parmesan cheese and the extra fresh basil. Garnish bowl with a few basil leaves and serve. Berry Fresh Toss Salad Ingredients to serve 4-6 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar 3 tablespoons pomegranate juice 2 tablespoons honey 1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1 tablespoon olive oil 4 cups mixed baby or chopped greens 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced 1 4.4-ounce container fresh blueberries 1 cup Feta crumbles or Blue cheese crumbles 1/3 cup walnut pieces (Toast slightly) Cooking Directions: Whisk together first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Slowly add oil, whisking to combine; set aside. In large bowl, combine mixed greens and remaining ingredients. Add dressing, tossing well. Wisconsin True Blue Potato Salad Ingredients to serve 6 1-1/4 cups sour cream 2 tablespoons parsley, minced 2 tablespoons tarragon white wine vinegar* 1/2 teaspoon celery seed 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper 3/4 cup (3 ounces) Wisconsin Blue cheese, crumbled 4 cups (1-1/2 pounds) cooked red potatoes, cubed 1/2 cup celery, diced 1/2 cup green onion slices 1/2 cup water chestnuts, sliced Cooking Directions: Combine sour cream, parsley, vinegar and seasonings; mix well. Stir in Blue cheese. Combine potatoes, celery, green onions and water chestnuts in a bowl. Add sour cream mixture and toss lightly. *Can be substituted with 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar mixed with 1/8 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves. Summer also needs a refreshing dessert. Something light, but yet a grand finale to a wonderful BBQ or event. The two below are some of my favorites for the summer season and I rarely hear anyone passing on dessert when they see these. Get your summer started with a plan to invite your favorite friends/ family over and try something new. There is nothing better than sitting outside, visiting over great food, cold beverages and taking in the sun. Enjoy! Lemon and Wisconsin Mascarpone Tiramisu Ingredients to serve 6-8 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, divided 1/4 to 1/3 cup cream sherry or 1 1/2 teaspoons sherry extract, optional 2 3-ounce packages soft ladyfingers 1 cup whipping cream 8 ounces Wisconsin Mascarpone Cheese 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 jar (10 to 11 1/4 ounces) lemon curd 1/2 cup lemon yogurt, preferably whole milk Cooking Directions: Combine lemon juice and 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar in small bowl. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add sherry, if desired. Reserve three (doubled) lady fingers for garnish. Brush bottom of 8-inch square glass dish lightly with lemon juice mixture; place one layer of split ladyfingers, cut side up, over bottom of dish. Brush with half of lemon juice mixture. In large mixer bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form. Beat in 1/4 cup of remaining confectioners' sugar; set aside. Place cheese in mixer bowl, stir until softened. Gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Beat just until light and fluffy. Fold whipped cream into cheese mixture with rubber spatula; set aside. Beat lemon curd and yogurt on medium speed of electric mixer until blended. Spread half of lemon curd mixture over ladyfingers; top with half of cheese mixture. Place another layer of ladyfingers, cut side up over cheese mixture. Brush with remaining lemon juice mixture. Layer with remaining lemon curd and cheese mixtures. Place reserved ladyfingers in food processor or blender; process to fine crumbs and sprinkle over tiramisu. Cover and chill at least 6 hours. Berries and Cream Clouds Ingredients to serve 4-6 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar 1 8-ounce container Wisconsin Mascarpone Cheese 1 cup whipping cream 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 4 cups angel food cake, cubed 2 cups strawberries, sliced Garnish: Fresh mint, sliced strawberries Cooking Directions: In medium bowl, whisk sugar, Mascarpone and whipping cream until blended. Do not overbeat—mixture will curdle. Stir in vanilla. In a clear, wide glass bowl or similar container, alternate even layers of cheese mixture, cake and strawberries, finishing with Mascarpone mixture on top. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Garnish with fresh mint and strawberries, if desired
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