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Touring Wisconsin Food

A Grilled Cheese Sandwich for Big Kids

grilled-cheese-1 Let’s face it, kids from age 2 to 102 love a grilled cheese sandwich. I live right next door to one of the most popular restaurants in Madison and my favorite dish on the menu is the grilled cheese.  It seems silly to order a grilled cheese sandwich at a restaurant when it is easy to make one at home, but this is not your average grilled cheese.  In addition to the Wisconsin sharp cheddar, this sandwich has tomato, pesto and bacon.  I attempted to make a copycat (or should I say copydog?) and the results were as good, if not better, than the restaurant version! Try it for yourself.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich for Big Kids

Makes 2 Sandwiches

4 slices of applewood smoked bacon, recommended: Nueske Applewood Smoked Bacon

4 slices of sourdough bread

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons basil pesto (homemade is best but I used jarred to make it easy)

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, recommended: Carr Valley 1-Year Sharp Cheddar

4 slices of tomato

2-6 basil leaves (optional)


1. Heat skillet to medium-high heat and cook bacon, set aside.

2. Butter one side of each sourdough slice  and make sure your other ingredients are ready to go (cheese grated, tomatoes slice, bacon cooked) and within reach of the stove.

3. Heat another skillet (or use the first one after you drained the grease and cleaned it out) to medium high.

4. Put two slices of sourdough butter side down in the skillet.

5. Put a big tablespoon of pesto on top of each slice of bread and use the back of the spoon to spread it around.

6. Build your sandwiches: Arrange bacon on top of pesto (2 slices per sandwich), sprinkle 1/2 cup of the cheese on each sandwich, top with tomato slices and basil, then the other pieces of sourdough butter side up.

8. Cook until golden brown on each. Flipping can be kind of tricky, so be careful!

9.  Slice each sandwich in half and serve with your favorite tomato soup!


  1. Now that’s my kind of sandwich! I grow my own basil so I’m really looking forward to playing with pesto this season. Thanks for including the cheese preference. I can see that this is SERIOUSLY messy! Fun …

  2. The extra basil is a must for us basil lovers 😀 I realized when I made this again last night the tomato and basil were crying out for their good buddy mozzarella, so I put some of that in with the cheddar and it was deeelish!

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