sucker for samples: Whole Foods goat cheese gouda and sour cherry preserves grilled cheese

Since I am almost always hungry, the whole "never grocery shop when you are hungry" is always tested on me.  I generally have a list, have my coupons ready (not easy when you really don't eat prepared food, most of my coupons are for Target purchase kind of things) and have some kind of meal plan in my mind or evolving as I see what looks good.  I shop all over the place.  Yesterday it was Trader Joe's and Costco.  Today it will be Meijer.  Tomorrow it will be Super Target.  Saturday it was Whole Foods after yoga.  That's a pretty reliable path.  Super sweaty, hungry and into WF we go.  There are plenty of us who make the same circuit.  Sorry if you get too close in the aisle.

The samples from both sides of the cheese island always call me over to at least take a gander or a look as they say.  Last week it was goat cheese gouda which looks like a fairly firm wheel of goat cheese instead of a log.  The week before it was some triple creme with Dalmation sour cherry preserves and those ridiculously good rain coast crips.  That's what I had in the backroom for my working girl, husband on the road Valentine's dinner.  Wine and cheese without the wine.  Still good.  Anyway, they paired the goat cheese gouda with the sour cherry preserves and some whole grain goodness and the cheese gal tells me all about the grilled cheese they made blah blah blah, you had me at grilled cheese.  So good that I've made it for the last two lunches or brunches.  I could add spinach leaves or some chicken or turkey, but straight up has been pretty darn tasty.  I made white bean and kale winter soup with chicken for dinner.  I got my meat protein for the day, don't worry.  If you are not yet a fan of goat cheese, try the goat cheese gouda and try it hot.  My work pal, Chloe is working on loving goat cheese and I told her one of the first ways we got acquainted (goat cheese and I, Chloe and I met at lulu) was in a baked appetizer of goat cheese, marinara and fresh herbs.  Try them both!

lunch in my greenpan skillet

Goat Cheese Gouda and Sour Cherry Preserves Grilled Cheese

thick slices of whole grain bread (pictured is a ciabatta from Trader Joe's)
butter or olive oil
goat cheese gouda
sour cherry preserves (a chutney would be good too, if this sounds too much like dessert)

Heat a non-stick pan and brush one side of each slice of bread with olive oil or spread with a little butter.  Put buttered sides of bread down in the pan and get the bread heating.  Top one slice with a slice of cheese and the other spread with preserves.  Heat for 2-3 minutes and then carefully put the halves together.  Press down with spatula (not too hard or everything will squeeze out) and cook a minute or two on both sides until hot and just a bit melty.

Baked Goat Cheese and Marinara with Fresh Herbs

8 oz log plain goat cheese
28 oz. jar of good marinara or favorite pasta sauce
fresh rosemary, thyme and or basil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour some sauce in a baking dish (I use an 8-inch square or 1 qt oval dish) sprayed with cooking spray.  Cut goat cheese log in half and place side by side in center of dish.  Pour over additional sauce (you might only use half or 3/4 of the jar).  Top with some complimentary fresh herbs.  Bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes until cheese is melted.  Serve with crostini, fresh crusty bread or crackers.


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