Thursday, August 23, 2012

Caprese Panini: No Panini press needed

My stomach has been craving a panini lately, but I kept thinking, "I don't have a panini press so I guess that's not going to happen." Really, that was my stumbling block!  I mentioned making a panini to the hubs and it took him 2 seconds to come up with a makeshift panini press.  This definitely goes down as one of the positive perks of being married to an engineer. 

Over the weekend I was at Wegman's and saw this amazing Jalapeno and cheddar loaf of bread and I immediately thought, "I'm going to use you to make paninis." 

Tools: Griddle, Small Cast Iron Grill Pan (Here's ours - Made in the USA!), and Aluminum Foil 

You're going to cover the cast iron grill pan with aluminum foil so it won't stick to your paninis when they're on the griddle. 

Ingredients: Thick-sliced Bread, Mozzarella Cheese, Basil Pesto Sauce, Tomatoes, and Olive Oil 

I slathered on some basil pesto sauce on both pieces of bread and then piled on the tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.  I lightly brushed on some olive oil on the outside pieces of bread in order to make the bread "crunchier" when it cooked on the griddle. 

Warm up your griddle to medium low heat and throw your paninis down on that bad boy.  Place the cast iron grill pan on top of the paninis and press down.  The aluminum foil keeps the grill pan from sticking to the paninis and you can press down on the aluminum foil without getting your hand hot (honestly, I didn't test it out, but the cast iron pan itself shouldn't be too warm either!). 

Cook for a few minutes on each side. I really pressed my paninis down when I flipped them.  

Eat when done! I like to slice my panini in half, but that's totally up to you. 

These are perfect for lunch or a light dinner.  I added in a small side salad and I was good to go. I wish I would have figured this out earlier in the summer because these are such a quick and low-energy meal that they're perfect for the heat of summer. 

Any other panini recipes you'd like to share?  Now that I have my method together I need to make a few more paninis. 

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