Make-Your-Own Panini Night


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We re-discovered this family favorite a few weeks ago. Foreman grill. Bread. Fillings (cheeses, meats, veggies, condiments). Each person can choose what they like, slap together their sandwich, and press it on the grill. Serve soup on the side, and you’ve got yourself a meal that will be loved by even your pickiest eaters. 

The Foreman Grill presents a few logistical challenges, but using this neglected piece of equipment saved us from having to purchase a panini press. Which is good, because those suckers are expensive. The only real trick to it is the slant of the cooking surface. Originally intended to just let that fat drain right away from your now-low-fat piece of overcooked meat, this pitch can make for a lopsided mess of a sandwich. You can prop up the bottom of the grill so that the cooking surface is level. Or you can press the top down gradually and hope that the melting cheese will hold things together as gravity takes hold.

We rather enjoy “Bambino rolls” from Turano for our panini. They are mini hoagie buns. We’ve also used sourdough slices, pretzel buns, and just about every other form of bread. This recipe is not picky. There’s no need for oil or butter on the outside of the bread. So really, it’s a much healthier grilled cheese, right? You can probably eat 2 or 3 sandwiches now. You’re welcome.

Here are a few ideas for sandwich fillings, in case you could use some inspiration:

  • Leftover meat from that chicken, ham, or roast you made earlier in the week.
  • Cheeses (whole-milk mozzarella is our current fave because it melts so nicely)
  • Perfectly cooked mushrooms
  • Caramelized onions
  • Sauteed or roasted vegetables
  • Thinly sliced pickled vegetables
  • Kimchi
  • Hummus
  • A mix of mayonnaise and dijon mustard
  • Peanut butter and marshmallow fluff (if only to be able to use the phrase “hot fluffernutter”) or mini marshmallows.

This is also a popular party meal. If a few friends bring their foreman grills, you can have a panini bar. Everyone can make what they like whenever they want it. And it’s way less work than lasagna.

We look forward to panini night whenever it appears on our weekly menus. Hope you will, too!

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One thought on “Make-Your-Own Panini Night

  1. Pingback: Thanksgiving Leftovers | The Reluctant Hippie

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