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Donna Beck’s Famous Grilled Tillamook Cheese Sandwich Recipe

Tillamook Grilled Cheese Contest
Donna is a fabulous nurse, mom of two, and cooking competition pro who brought her recipe to the Tillamook Cheese Grilled Cheese Contest that I judged in April, and she walked away from that contest as First Runner-Up, with a large goodie basket overflowing with Tillamook Cheese goodies… and 24 POUNDS OF CHEESE. That’s no small amount of cheese, my friends!
This recipe is a fabulous, creative and sophisticated twist to the everyday classic grilled cheese sandwich recipe.

About Donna Beck

Tillamook - Donna Beck Grilled Cheese Cook
Donna is a radiation-oncology nurse who works full-time at a cancer care center. She has two kids: Emma (age 13) and TJ (age 17). In her spare time (how does she do it?), she loves hot yoga, running, spending time with her family and dogs, and enjoying life in the Pacific Northwest.
Donna says her favorite meal to cook is sandwiches on a panini press. “My kids love sandwiches and it’s so fun to just rummage through the fridge and throw together new and interesting combinations.  It’s also easy to sneak in fruits and veggies that my kids my not normally eat otherwise.”
No stranger in the kitchen, Donna says she loves to enter cooking contests.  “It’s a hobby of mine that allows me to be creative and have a chance to win some really great prizes.  I was especially excited to enter the Tillamook contest because it is a local company and a product I really respect and use on a daily basis.  I grew up in Washington and Oregon, so Tillamook has a special place in my heart.” she says. “I think cooking in front of an audience is really fun.  It can be a bit nerve racking at first, but when I remember that I’m just cooking something amazing, I can relax,” she sayd.  “I love to cook yummy food that I hope people will enjoy, and I hope to inspire people to try it at home.”

More Competition for Donna

Donna is already preparing for a very big competition this November: she has been chosen to compete in the Pillsbury Bake-Off in Las Vegas!  Donna will be cooking with 99 other contestants for a $1 MILLION dollar grand prize. That’s a lot of zeros you could win, Donna!).Check out Donna’s Pillsbury Back-Off recipe for Ham & Creamy Sriracha Pizza, which she says is a super simple and delicious weeknight dinner:

Grilled Tillamook Sharp Cheddar with Ham, Spiced Apple Bacon Compote & Maple Butter

You can try Donna’s winning grilled cheese recipe at home. Thanks for sharing your recipe with Urban Bliss Life readers, Donna!
Grilled Tillamook Sharp Cheddar with Ham, Spiced Apple Bacon Compote & Maple Butter
Recipe type: Sandwich
Serves: 4 sandwiches
  • 3 medium Granny Smith apples,peeled, cored & chopped
  • 6 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
  • 6 tablespoons apple juice
  • 1½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 3 slices of thick, hickory smoked bacon, cooked crisp & chopped
  • 8 thick slices high quality, fresh baked potato bread
  • ¼ cup Tillamook Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 12 thick slices of smoked honey deli ham
  • 8-12, ¼ inch thick slices of Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  1. Place apples, 5 tbsp of maple syrup, apple juice and cayenne pepper in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the apples are soft & most of the liquid is gone. Mash. Stir in bacon . Keep warm and set aside.
  2. Mix remaining 1 tbsp of maple syrup with softened butter.
  3. Heat griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium. Assemble sandwiches while skillet heats
  4. Spread maple butter evenly on 1 side of each bread slice. On each of 4 slices of bread, buttered-side down, layer 1 cheese slice and then ¼ of the apple bacon compote, and ham, followed by another slice of cheese. Top with remaining 4 bread slices, buttered-side up.
  5. Place sandwiches (1 or 2 at a time) in heated skillet. Grill 3-4 minutes or until bread is golden brown and cheese begins to melt. Flip and cook until bottom is brown. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.
  6. Slice in half, serve immediately and enjoy!

Food + Drink + Travel writer. Adventurer, mom, biz owner ( In constant pursuit of all that is creative & fun. Email: info (at) urbanblisslife (dot) com.

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