Pimento Cheese Spread with Jalapeño
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Cook time: 
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Serves: large party-size bowl for serving and making sandwiches
 
A classic southern spread of creamy pimento cheese, gets pepped up with some fresh jalapeño and lightened up with the addition of reduced fat cream cheese! Leftovers? No problem, we’re making crispy grilled pimento cheese sandwiches, and not skimping on the bacon!
What to get:
For Pimento Dip:
  • 4 oz Pimentos (jar of sliced, sweet variety)
  • 16 oz Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz cream cheese (I use reduced fat, soften to room temp)
  • 2 T mayonnaise (I use Best Foods Light)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt (fine)
  • ¼ tsp black pepper (ground)
  • ¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2T fresh jalapeño (deseeded and finely diced)
  • 1 tsp fresh garlic (minced)
  • 2 dashes paprika
  • *pretzel chips, crackers or celery sticks for dipping (optional)
For Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches:
  • ~1/4 cup pimento cheese spread (recipe above)
  • 2 slices of sourdough bread (2/sandwich)
  • ½T shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 pieces of crisped bacon (I use maple bacon)
  • softened butter for coating bread slices for grilling
What to do:
Making the Pimento Spread:
  1. (Before preparation, soften cream cheese at room temperature).
  2. Drain jar of pimentos, and roughly chop, set aside.
  3. Deseed & remove membrane of a fresh jalapeño (using just about half), finely dice, set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine all pimento spread ingredients (cream cheese, chopped pimentos, shredded cheddar, minced garlic, mayo, Worcestershire, jalapeño, salt, pepper & paprika), mix until thoroughly combined/smooth (this can be done by hand or in bowl of an electric mixer on low).
  5. Refrigerate dip at least 30 mins before serving (serve with crackers, sliced bread, chips, or cut veggies).
Making Pimento Grilled Cheese Sandwiches:
  1. Cook 2-3 bacon slices until crispy (per sandwich).
  2. Butter both sides of 2 slices of sourdough bread, and in a preheated skillet, place slices to brown the first side of each, and also sprinkle the shredded parmesan onto the top face of each slice (we’re ultimately parmesan-crusting the outside of sandwich).
  3. Once bottom side of slices are brown, flip bread carefully to brown outside of sandwich. Now add the pimento cheese spread to the top of slices and let heat (~5 mins).
  4. To one half add the bacon slices, and then combine halves of sandwich together and let sit on skillet to heat through another few minutes.
  5. Serve sandwiches immediately while warm!
Notes:
This cheese spread is super easy and great to make ahead! The sandwiches are a nice variation of the standard grilled cheese and are very creamy & decadent! I like to have them alongside tomato soup on occasion. The pimento spread if refrigerated stays good for up to 7 days.
Recipe by the dinnervine at http://www.dinnervine.com/2015/02/pimento-cheese-spread/